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Ranking the Batman Live-Action Films

Ever watch a Batman films and try to decide how they rank to the other films? Well, I have and I decided to give my two cents on howthey should be ranked.


Have you seen all the Batman films? Get on-demand movies with services like DirectStarTV to fill in the gaps of what you've missed. Or, head to the video rental store, grab all of them, and sit down and watch them one by one.


Here's a ranking of the full-length feature films from the late 1980s through 2012 starting with the least impressive and ending the with the epic:


Batman and Robin


7. Batman and Robin (1997): Batman and Robin featured George Clooney as Batman and Chris O'Donnell as Robin, and served up new although unexciting supporting characters including Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy and Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl. This is least successful live-action Batman film and is known in some circles as one of the worst superhero adaptations of all time.


Batman Returns


6. Batman Returns (1992): This sequel to the 1989 Batman film could have probably been better if not for the eccentricity of Tim Burton. It was almost too weird this time around. Michael Keaton played Batman, while Michelle Pfeiffer was cast as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as Penguin. At the time, the movie was unexpectedly violent and risqué, and although it achieved decent financial success, it was just too off-putting for a great deal of its audience.


Batman Forever


5. Batman Forever (1995): Val Kilmer took over for Michael Keaton as Batman in this rather mediocre interpretation. This is the first time Robin was introduced to the series. The villains included Jim Carrey as The Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, but the film lacked the "pop" that you would like to see with such star power.




4. Batman (1989): Michael Keaton's Batman played opposite Jack Nicholson as Joker in this popular early live-action adaptation. The film had a hefty budget, but set box office records at the time and generated mostly positive reviews by national media outlets and critics. The success of the film set the stage for the making of the rest of the 1990s Batman films.


The Dark Knight Rises


3. Dark Knight Rises (2012): Nolan doubted whether he could follow up the stellar Dark Knight with a third installment in the Batman series. His doubts weren't unfounded, as he wasn't able to really replicate the Joker with Bane (Tom Hardy) and Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). Still, this was arguably the second best Batman movie.


Batman Begins


2. Batman Begins (2005): Christopher Nolan took over and reworked the general feel of the original Batman movies by focusing more on the substance of the characters and emitting a darker, more realistic aura. The first film in Nolan's sequence, it was noted for the great portrayal of Bruce Wayne's early life and motivations.


The Dark Knight


1. The Dark Knight (2008): A box office record-setter, the Dark Knight featured Heath Ledger in a chilling, stunning performance. The filmed gained popular notoriety for being posthumously released after Ledger's death, but the story and overall execution of the movie can't be overlooked. This was the best Batman movie. And at the time, it had the largest box-office gross and cultural impact of any Batman movie.


While watching the movies in order is recommended, it's not necessary. Each series (especially the early movies from the '80s and '90s) can stand on their own as pieces of entertainment you can classify anywhere from marginal to great.


But what do you think? Where do the films rank on your scale? Leave your comment below.


Posted by Dustin Fritschel

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