How to Watch the Batman Movies in Order

By: Mitch Ryan  | 
Bat signal
There are tons of movies about Batman. Should you watch the Batman movies in order or is there a better way to view them? Warner Bros.

Batman, the Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne, the Caped Crusader — for a character with so many aliases, it's only fair that a range of Batman movies is available for fans of all ages to enjoy.

From the edge-of-your-seat action of the Dark Knight trilogy and the self-aware hilarity of "The Lego Batman Movie," to the campy '60s Adam West flick and the iconic animated series, there's no shortage of Batman movies and animated films to go around.


So what's the best way to watch Batman movies in order? With so many choices, you can start anywhere; however, most hardcore "bat-fans" recommend beginning with Tim Burton's 1989 "Batman" before proceeding through chronologically.

That's a lot of movies though. If you need a refresher, here are all the Batman movies in order of release date, with a bonus list of animated Batman films for family movie nights. Then we'll talk a little about each Batman movie, in case you want to skip a few or just watch one or two of your favorites.


Batman Films in Order of Release Date

The Tim Burton Films
  • "Batman" (1989)
  • "Batman Returns" (1992)
The Joel Schumacher Films
  • "Batman Forever" (1995)
  • "Batman & Robin" (1997)
The Christopher Nolan Films, AKA the Dark Knight Trilogy
  • "Batman Begins" (2005)
  • "The Dark Knight" (2008)
  • "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
The DC Extended Universe
  • "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016)
  • "Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021)
Matt Reeves' Batman
  • "The Batman" (2022)
Animated Batman Movies In Order
  • "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" (1993)
  • "The Lego Batman Movie" (2017)
  • "DC League of Super-Pets" (2022)


The Tim Burton Films

"Batman" (1989)

The first Tim Burton "Batman" movie stars Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader and Jack Nicholson as his maniacal arch-nemesis, the Joker. This is the best place to start as a new initiate to the world because Michael Keaton's "Batman" sets the gold standard for superhero films to come, and Tim Burton's gothic aesthetic and neo-noir styling of Gotham City is dazzling.

Actor Michael Keaton on the set of the film Batman, directed by Tim Burton.
Murray Close/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images
"Batman Returns" (1992)

Michael Keaton dons the cape and cowl once more in "Batman Returns," as he faces off with seductive Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, and Danny Devito as the psychopathic politician, Penguin. Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny Devito provide quintessential performances as outcasted antagonists for this final Burton Batman blockbuster. Fair warning: "Batman Returns" may not be the best Batman movie for the kiddos.


Batman Returns
American actors Danny De Vito and Michelle Pfeiffer on the set of "Batman Returns," directed by Tim Burton.
Warner Bros. Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images


The Joel Schumacher Films

"Batman Forever" (1995)

After Warner Bros. received considerable backlash from Burton's macabre portrayal of Gotham City, the studio decided to rebrand with a mainstream approach with their next few Batman movies. Enter the "bright knight," Val Kilmer. In "Batman Forever," Bruce Wayne is joined by an orphaned boy-wonder, Dick Grayson, played by Chris O'Donnell. The acrobatic sidekick provides a youthful flair and more than a few bad puns. Jim Carrey, in his over-the-top, comedic take on the Riddler, and Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, team up to foot the bill for Big Bads in this wild ride. Although Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones suffered a few offscreen disputes, their onscreen chemistry added some energy to the mid-90s rendition of Batman & Robin.

Batman Forever
Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones starred as Riddler and Two-Face in "Batman Forever."
Warner Bros.
"Batman & Robin" (1997)

"Batman & Robin" is the final installment with Joel Schumacher at the helm and one that die-hard fans will never let him live down. George Clooney plays Batman alongside Chris O'Donnell and Alicia Silverstone, who take on the roles of Robin and Batgirl. The trio battles a menagerie of zany villains, including Poison Ivy and Dr. Freeze, played by Uma Thurman and Arnold Schwarzenegger, respectively. A convoluted plot, bizarre artistic choices (a bat suit with anatomical nipples? 30-something Chris O'Donnell playing Robin?), and Arnold Schwarzenegger delivering relentless winter-based puns forced Warner Bros. Studios to put the franchise on ice for nearly a decade. If you're short on time to watch the Batman movies in order, out of all the movies on this list, this is the one to skip.


Batman & Robin
American actors Alicia Silverstone, George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell on the set of "Batman & Robin," directed by Joel Schumacher.
Warner Bros. Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images


"The Dark Knight Trilogy"

"Batman Begins" (2005)

Director Christopher Nolan takes the helm for this much-needed reboot of the Batman franchise, and Christian Bale becomes the quintessential Bruce Wayne. Unlike other superhero movies that briefly touch on origin stories, "Batman Begins" gives a deeper insight into our hero's journey. This Batman film begins with young Bruce Wayne, a spoiled billionaire orphan who chooses to leave Gotham and the grief of his parents' deaths behind to train with Ra's al Ghul and the League of Shadows. Batman returns with his martial arts prowess, tools of deception, and some incredible tech from Wayne Enterprises to become a symbol of justice in a corrupt city.

Batman Begins
A young Bruce Wayne leaves Gotham City behind in "Batman Begins."
Warner Bros.
"The Dark Knight" (2008)

If you could only watch one Batman movie, this should be it! The second installment of director Christopher Nolan's trilogy delivers when it introduces the most iconic villain in the Batman film series: the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger. This critically acclaimed film is stunning from start to finish and stands as one of the greatest superhero movies ever made. Although Heath Ledger tragically passed shortly after filming, he won a posthumous Academy Award for his groundbreaking performance.


Dark Knight
The late Heath Ledger as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" is considered one of the best portrayals of a comic book villain ever.
Warner Bros.
"The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)

The final film in the Dark Knight trilogy opens on a somber note with Christian Bale playing an older Bruce Wayne, living a lonely, reclusive life, while the city's elite enjoys their time of relative peace. However, a storm is coming in the form of another masked member of the League of Shadows, Bane, played by Tom Hardy. "The Dark Knight Rises" pits the bruised-and-battered Bruce Wayne against this formidable foe, but he's not alone. Noble citizens like Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's inquisitive cop, John Blake, join the fight to save their city from destruction.

Bane Dark Knight Rises
"I'm Gotham’s reckoning, here to end the borrowed time you’ve all been living on." -Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises"
Warner Bros.


DC Extended Universe (DCEU)

"Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016)

Warner Bros. handed the keys of the Batmobile to Ben Affleck as the studio geared up for an expansive DC Universe in this sequel to Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel," starring Henry Cavill. Following all-time great Batman movies like "The Dark Knight" and "The Dark Knight Rises" is a tall order, but the disconnected plotline and heavy reliance on effects-driven action sequences divided fans for years.

Batman v Superman
"Batman v. Superman" pits Superman against Batman in what some critics called a "nonsensical plot."
Warner Bros.
"Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021)

The first release date of "Justice League" was 2017. Helmed by director Josh Whedon from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the original version met mixed reviews and backlash for commercial motivations trumping an honest reimagining of the hardest-hitting heroes of DC Comics. An overwhelming fan-led petition coerced Warner Bros. to release the director's cut of "Zack Snyder's Justice League" on HBO Max in 2021. The Snyder Cut allows Ben Affleck's Batman to step into the role of de facto leader of the Justice League, a motley crew of supers, including Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa's Aquaman.


Snyders Justice League
When HBO released Zack Snyder's cut of 2017's "Justice League" in 2021, it became the fourth-most streamed film on the platform that year.
Warner Bros.


Matt Reeves' Batman

"The Batman" (2022)

Director Matt Reeves provides a dark and gritty approach to telling the story of Bruce Wayne's fledgling years of crimefighting in "The Batman." Robert Pattinson suits up to lead an all-star cast that includes Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon, Paul Dano as the Riddler, and Zoe Kravitz in the most nuanced Selina Kyle performance since Michelle Pfeiffer. The dark aesthetic and sadistic cat-and-mouse plot is an elegant mix between graphic novels like the "Killing Joke" and the original detective comics from the '40s.

The Batman
Robert Pattison and Zoe Kravitz star alongside an all-star cast in "The Batman."
Warner Bros.


Animated Batman Films

"Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" (1993)

Batman forever reigns supreme when you recall the '90s Saturday-morning-cartoon era, so no list would be complete adding an animated film that reflects that cereal-and-jammies nostalgia. However, times change, and parents should be aware that "Batman: Mask of Phantasm" earned its PG rating in 1993 and presents a few more mature themes than your typical animated film for kid

Batman Maskfantasm
TIME named "Batman: Mask of Phantasm" one of the 10 best superhero movies ever, and Empire magazine called it the best Batman film ever. 
Warner Bros. Animation
"The Lego Batman Movie" (2017)

The Dark Knight returns from his hilarious cameos in "The Lego Movie" animated films to take his much-deserved spotlight in the Lego universe. "The Lego Batman Movie" is a fantastical, family-friendly flick that provides loads of laughs for kids and parents alike. The Joker, Harley Quinn and all your favorite Batman buddies are present for this light-hearted joyride.


Lego Batman
"I'm Batman." 
Warner Bros.
"DC League of Super-Pets" (2022)

This Warner Bros installment of the DC Animated Universe follows the journey of Justice League pets as they band together to save their superhero owners. Unlike other Batman movies, the emphasis is on the adorable sidekick Super-Pets, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Kate McKinnon.

DC League of Super-Pets
Batman (Keanu Reeves) and his dog, Ace The Bat-Hound (Kevin Hart) help Krypto master his own powers for a rescue mission when his owner, Superman, is kidnapped.
Warner Bros.