The expansive Batman movie universe leaves a lot of room for storylines and character interpretations. Although blockbuster movies like the Dark Knight Trilogy are pretty astounding, some of the best Batman onscreen tales come from the animated movies. Whether you grew up with the classics or came to love the more recent DC media, there is a lot to pick from when considering the best-animated features to look at. Let’s dig into the 15 best Batman animated movies.
15. Batman and Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn really rose to popularity in recent years, and it is no surprise that she got a movie with an official Batfam team-up. After Harley Quinn gets paroled, she tries to lay low and genuinely stay out of the crime scene. However, she comes back into the bat-radar when Batman and Nightwing discover that Poison Ivy and Floronic Man are up to something.
Although they start out a bit skeptical of Harley’s “crime-free” intentions, they ultimately enlist her help. It’s a lighthearted story that is a great watch for any Harley Quinn fans who want a movie that isn’t too heavy or serious. Keep in mind; this is the famous animated feature that received harsh criticism for the controversial “romance” scene between Nightwing and Harley.
14. Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Any kid from the 80s or 90s can appreciate a good crossover between two popular franchises. This 2019 feature film is one of the most recent Batman crossovers where he teams up with the teenaged mutant ninja turtles. After Barbara Gordon identifies four mysterious “metahumans,” the turtles are suspicious.
At the same time, both turtles and Batman are on the search to defeat Shredder, the turtle’s face-off with the caped crusader with both parties believing that the other is the enemy. After Donatello discovers the entrance to the Batcave, the turtles face off against Robin until they all ultimately discover they’re on the same side. It’s another fun movie that adds a little something different to the usual Bat-allies.
13. Batman Ninja
Any fans of messed-up time travel and anime can appreciate the Batman Ninja movie. After the Batfamily battles face Gorilla Grodd at Arkham Asylum, the Batfamily (and enemies) are caught in a blast that sends them all the different points of time in feudal Japan. The movie follows Batman’s entry into the world.
While it feels like an instance for him, he discovers that, upon his arrival, the villains of Gotham already did their damage, and it is up to him and his scattered allies to save Japan and bring themselves back to the present day. It’s an interesting story that’s worth watching for the art style alone. The interesting take on Gotham’s favorite villains and heroes is a fun watch.
12: Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
When The Joker mysteriously returns to Gotham after a forty-year absence, Terry McGinnis has a lot of questions for his mentor. This classic movie switches back between handling a present-day conflict and exploring the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the notorious Batman adversary.
Without going into any spoilers, the devastating twist makes the movie worth watching. The traumatizing flashbacks stuck with the audience for years to come (and faced editing on the initial debut due to unfortunate timing with real-life tragedy).
11. Batman: Year one
The “Year One” comic series is incredibly enjoyable and critically acclaimed. While we probably will never get the pleasure of watching Robin or Batgirl Year One make it to the screens, fans can be happy that this popular Batman Comic got an animated adaption. The story explores Batman’s humble beginnings during his first year as Batman. It was enjoyable to watch (just as it was enjoyable to read).
10. Batman: Bad Blood
This animated movie is loosely based on Grant Morrison’s DickBat storyline. Following the disappearance of the caped crusader before her very eyes, Batwoman is surprised to see Batman return to the streets. She confronts Batman to discover he is Nightwing.
At the same time, he faces some criticism for taking on the mantle (at Alfred’s request); he, Robin, and Batwoman team up to figure out what exactly happened to Batman. It’s a great story that really dives into Batwoman (Kate Kane’s) origin and some lesser-known enemies, like the Heretic.
9. Batman Return of the Caped Crusaders
This 2016 movie was one of the last things the legend, Adam West, took part in. It’s a fun movie created in the retro style of the 1960s Batman series. The animated movie had some fun voice actors and great easter eggs for people who watched the original series. It’s a refreshing dive into the earlier days of the franchise and includes fan-favorite characters like The Joker, Penguin, and Catwoman. It’s a fun movie that any fan would love to watch.
8. Batman: The Killing Joke
The Killing Joke is a comic classic that many fans know through the original comic or novel adaption. Critically acclaimed as one of the best Batman comics to date, it’s received a love of admiration and a following of fans.
This pivotal storyline explained the birth of the Oracle and was so renowned that it’s still referenced in modern comics. In fact, the recent short series Batman: Three Jokers has strong ties with it, depicting one joker with that trademark camera. The movie was fantastic and true enough to the literature, with only one criticism many fans had over the nature of Barbara and Bruce’s relationship.
7. Batman vs. Robin
The Court of Owls was another popular comic arc that received a lot of praise and a subsequent novelization. The exciting storyline received a loose movie adaption with a sequel to Son of Batman. The movie addresses the interpersonal conflicts between Batman and his surprise son while introducing the Court of Owls into the animated universe.
6. Batman Hush
Batman Hush is a must-see movie for any Batman fan. It’s an amazing storyline that does justice to the comic materials and includes a whole range of popular characters, such as Nightwing, Batgirl, and Catwoman. It’s a dark movie that has a huge cast of fun characters and an engaging storyline that will keep the audience on their toes. While many comic fans will know somewhat where the storyline is going, there are still some exciting twists to add a little excitement for everyone.
5. The Lego Batman Movie
Switching over into a completely different genre of Batman, the Lego movies are worth watching. Although these films are more of a parody than anything else, they are super fun and enjoyable by any age. The storyline is funny, and there are tons of easter eggs that any fan can enjoy. The “Lego universe” version of Batman is a work of art.
4. Son of Batman
Fans tend to either love or hate Damian Wayne, but few can argue that his introduction didn’t make for an exciting storyline. Son of Batman is the answer to the popular comic that ultimately dragged the latest Robin into the Batman. The movie is enjoyable and sets the scene for the later installments of the DC animated universe.
3. Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero
Batman: The Animated Series was arguably the most popular and beloved Batman media of all time. This standalone sequel, Batman and Robin, faces off against Mr. Freeze. Mr. Freeze is a complicated villain whose sole aim is to help his wife, Nora, recover.
One thing leads to another, and he finds that he needs to find her perfect match for an organ transplant – who turns out to be Barbara Gordon. Batman and Robin chase down Mr. Freeze to save her in an enjoyable classic.
2. Batman: Under the Red Hood/ Death in the Family
The death of Jason Todd is one of the most jarring events of the entire Batman franchise. Under the Red Hood explores his unexpected return to Gotham, where he acts as a vigilante who uses guns and lethal force. It’s a complicated storyline that any fan can appreciate as Batman is forced to explain why The Joker is still running around hurting people.
If you enjoyed Batman: Under the Red Hood, Batman: Death in the Family is another enjoyable installment if you go in knowing what to expect (and get the blue-ray that actually includes the interactive features).
Top of the Best Batman Animated Movies List is…
1. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Many consider Batman: The Animated Series’ first movie the greatest animated Batman feature. Released back in 1993, it is a classic among many fans that aged perfectly. After Batman meets a woman at his parents’ grave and falls in love, he proposes to Andrea.
She mysteriously disappears, leaving only a letter behind to explain her absence to Bruce. He later goes on to become Batman ten years later, when he sees her again. It’s a complicated love story that really offers a little bit of everything for any Batman fan – it even got a comic sequel.
The movie is one of the most entertaining Batman movies ever made, and that’s why it tops the best Batman animated movies list.
Batman has been around for a long time, and these movies are just the tip of the iceberg! Did we miss any of your favorite features? Were any of these titles overrated from the best Batman animated movies list?