Riddle Me This: What’s the Right Order to Watch All the Batman Movies In?

Riddle Me This: What’s the Right Order to Watch All the Batman Movies In?
Image: Warner Bros.

Now that The Batman is available to rent or buy online (or stream at home if you’re game), you might be thinking about all of the other Batman flicks.

Well, wonder no more, for here’s your guide to watching the Batman movies, broken up by their respective universes.

The Batman movies in chronological order

Because most of the Batman movies are fragmented in separate universes, it’s a bit difficult to watch all of them in chronological order. Instead, we’ll be splitting them up by universe, giving you the option of which to watch and in what order.

The Batman

Because it’s the beginning of a fresh run of Batman movies, The Batman exists in a pocket dimension where it isn’t linked to any of the other Batman flicks. We know that a sequel is being developed, along with a spinoff centred on The Penguin, but for the moment, Matt Reeves’ Batverse is very small.

The Dark Knight trilogy

Otherwise known as the Nolan trilogy, as it borrows more from Christopher Nolan’s creativity than from the original Batman comics, the Dark Knight trilogy of Batman films consists of three movies: Batman Beings (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Starring Christian Bale as Batman, these are all super-solid films, with The Dark Knight often considered one of the best movies of all time (featuring Heath Ledger’s famous role as The Joker). You’d be at a loss for not watching the Dark Knight trilogy, as it’s easily the most robust collection of live-action DC films.

The Batman Anthology

Lost in time to those who loved the Dark Knight trilogy and were burnt out on the DCEU movies, the Batman Anthology includes films from 1989 all the way up to 1997. Included here are Batman (1989, starring Michael Keaton) Batman Returns (1992, Michael Keaton, again), Batman Forever (1995, starring Val Kilmer) and Batman and Robin (1997, starring George Clooney).

It’s often referred to as the Burtonverse, a reference to Tim Burton who directed the first two movies in the anthology, however it misses his flare when he left after directing the second film. They’re starting to look a bit dated, but they’re fine Batman movies.

The DCEU

As it currently stands, the DCEU (DC Extended Universe, DC’s take on the MCU) is unlikely to get another Batman film starring Ben Affleck after The Flash (2022), but the DCEU films are… Well, not exactly loved by all. Batman doesn’t have his own stand-alone film in the DCEU (The Batman was intended to be this, until it was separated during development), however, he does show up in some of them. You’ll see Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Justice League (2017), Zac Snyder’s Justice League (the same movie with different cuts, 2021) and briefly in Suicide Squad (2016).

The flicks that don’t fit anywhere else

Obviously, we can’t ignore these three other films. Joker (2019) focused on Batman’s nemesis, The Joker (played by Joaquin Phoenix), in a gritty, down-to-Earth way that tried to elevate itself above its comic book source material by questioning flaws in its society. It’s no Parasite (also 2019), but it gives us a more raw look at why Gotham is so crime-infested.

This list would also be incomplete without Batman: The Movie (1966) starring Adam West. It’s a chronically 60s film and is a movie supporting the Batman TV show of the era. It’s not essential, though.

As unessential but worth watching if you’re after a comedy and not a tragedy is The Lego Batman Movie (2017, with Will Arnett voicing Batman), which pokes fun at the darker takes on Batman by blending it with a more colourful approach. It’s honestly a lot of fun, though technically it’s a spinoff to The Lego Movie (2014).

The Batman movies in order of release date

Now this is an easy way to breeze through all the Batman movies, barring those animated in similar style to the Batman TV shows. Here’s the release order for Batman movies:

  • Batman: The Movie (1966)
  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • Batman and Robin (1997)
  • Batman Begins (2005)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
  • Suicide Squad (2016)
  • Justice League (2017)
  • The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
  • Joker (2019)
  • Zac Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
  • The Batman (2022)

This article has been updated since it was first published.