It’s always a thrill when batman comes to town. The same can be said about Batman on film. Seeing the caped crusader on the big screen is something monumental, so let’s recount all the times we have seen our favorite masked detective take down the bad guys of Gotham and the world in major box office releases.
Batman On Film Earnings Report
|Earnings in Dollars
|The Lego Batman Movie
|Batman v Superman
|The Dark Knight Rises
|Batman & Robin
$1989, would be $800,000,000 adjusted for inflation today.
Here’s a rundown of Batman on film.
Batman: The Movie (1966)
Adam West stars in the live-action version of Batman on film. The caped crusader appears with Burt Ward in tow as his trust sidekick Robin. Interestingly, it combines four of Batman’s greatest foes and rivals into a quadruple crime posse. The Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, and the Riddler all make a grand entrance. They plan to execute their group project to take over the world and defeat Batman.
The movie is not considered to be the first Batman movie by many. The show never did match the ethos of Batman in the Comics. Because of this, the first Batman movie is still considered to be the 1989 version.
Batman Anthology (1989 – 1997)
With Tim Burton’s Batman kicking off this series of Batman films, we see a shared universe where not one, not two, but three different actors take on the mantle of Bruce Wayne/ The Dark Knight.
There were four films in that entire run; Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman and Robin, with the lead role played by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney alongside some of Hollywood’s finest of that era, including Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Jim Carrey as the Riddler, Michelle Pfieffer as Catwoman and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy.
Michael Keaton’s Batman (1989)
The movie chronicles Batman’s adventures as he attempts to rid Gotham of crime and other nasty elements in the wake of the city’s bicentennial celebration. A fight with a group of criminals and the police leads to the Joker’s birth, played by Jack Nicholson, who seeks to destroy the city and its citizens with his signature gas.
This movie was the first to capture Batman’s ethos for many, and people who grew up watching this movie are adults now. In 10 -15 years or so, the kids that grew up on Dark Knight will be adults, and things could change. As of now, many consider this to be one of the best movies.
Batman Returns (1992)
The movie follows the events of the first film. Having defeated the Joker, Batman must now tackle the Penguin and Michael Shreck while maintaining his relationship with Selina Kyle and stopping Catwoman from carrying out her vengeance on Shreck.
Batman Forever (1995)
This was the third installment for the trilogy that never was, thanks to Burton and Keaton’s absence. Val Kilmer steps up to don the cowl against Tommy Lee Jones’s Two-Face and Jim Carrey’s Riddler. Robin also makes his debut in the franchise, embodied by Chris O’ Donnell. It is much less dark than the first two movies. Batman attempts to leave his crime-fighting life behind but is reminded of his duties when The Riddler deduces his identity and kidnaps the woman he’s in love with.
This movie set a negative trend that only worsened with having too many bad guys in one movie. Movies lose focus with too many storylines. In this movie, you had to learn about Two-Face, the Joker, and Robin, and it made all of their stories very thin.
Batman and Robin (1997)
If you ask any 90s baby just what they thought about Batman and Robin and you won’t get the warmest answers. That’s all the answers you need because they take from critics might make your ears bleed.
George Clooney takes on the mantle for this film, with Chris O’Donnell returning as Robin and Alicia Silverstone bringing Batgirl to life. The villains? None other than Arnold Schwarzenegger as ice-cold Dr. Victor Freeze, Uma Thurman as the delectable but deadly Poison Ivy, and Bane, played by Jeep Swenson. It’s pure fan service, cool gadgets, and icy puns (a lot of them, jeez)
The movie had too many people to keep up with. They took no time at all to develop Bane, who in the comics is really intelligent. In the movie, he was just a dumb meathead that could not even talk for some reason. The movie had no development; it focused purely on gimmicky scenes.
The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005 – 2012)
There is a lot to thank Chris Nolan for. Not only did he and his trilogy revive the superhero movie and comic book adaptation industry with his movies, he singlehandedly rid us of nipples on the Bat-suit. Of course, since the fifth batman movie rotted in development hell, there was enough time to think about those and realize they were such a terrible idea. The length of time before Nolan’s TDK trilogy came to rescue us? Almost a decade.
Batman Begins (2005)
This was our first proper view at an Origin story with Batman on film. The other movies in the past franchises focused on an already established Batman, but Batman Begins breaks things down into three stages.
- Loss as Bruce Wayne witnesses the loss of his parents
- Training to overcome fear with The League of Shadows
- Becoming Batman
The Dark Knight battles the Scarecrow for the safety of his beloved city. It features Cillian Murphy as Scarecrow and the ever so talented Liam Neeson as Ra’s Al Ghul.
The movie was not as good the first time around. When you go back and watch it, you realize how many details the movie covered and its uniqueness.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The movie holds a special place in everyone’s hearts. Featuring some of the best portrayals from an ensemble cast, it was probably the best superhero movie of its time. It set the bar high for superhero movies in many different ways.
It follows Batman as he faces off against a villain like never before, the Joker. The movie goes down to the wire with the most intense series of plots, testing Batman’s resolve not to kill and pushing Gotham to near destruction. The cast features Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, and of course, the late Heath Ledger.
The movie is all about chaos. It focuses on The Joker and how wild and crazy he seems. He makes everyone seem like a madman has taken over the city, but the truth is that he has a master plan through it all that he is working to reveal.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
This is the third and final installment to the Dark Knight trilogy. Reeling from some major plot points from The Dark Knight, Batman has become a fugitive in Gotham. Bruce Wayne’s lot isn’t any better, as his body has gone through a complete breakdown. Of course, like clockwork, a new threat comes to town, in the form of the venom-steroid beneficiary, Bane, seeking to finish the League of Shadows mandate of reducing Gotham to rubble.
The movie sees Batman go through some of the worst beatings ever seen in a Batman movie. He has his back broken by Bane as he steals all of his technology and equipment. It’s a nightmare, and it seems like Gotham’s doom is the only choice at this point. Batman overcomes his fear of dying in the hole and manages to get out of jail and return to save Gotham.
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
DC’s attempt to matchup to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe by creating the DC Extended Universe may have started on unsafe waters after 2013’s Man of Steel, but BvS was meant to steady the ship. It features a much older Batman, played by Ben Affleck, probably at his buffest.
He does not take kindly to Superman’s existence, leading to a series of confrontations as both try to stand for what they believe in, while Lex Luthor pulls some dirty strings in the background. It also features Wonder Woman and a version of Doomsday.
The movie does not give Ben Affleck enough credit, who plays one of the best Bruce Wayne’s ever on the big screen. He was the perfect mix of buff, smart, arrogant, and hard to work with that you can get. Not all loved the movie, but there were some shining moments.
Justice League (2017)
The events of BvS saw Superman meet an untimely demise. In the wake of his death, humanity is still sucking his thumb, and Batman is riddled with guilt. He and Wonder Woman attempt to build an all-star team to take on world-level threats now that they know what they could be up against.
A threat does indeed show up in the form of Steppenwolf, a precursor to Darkseid and Apokolips, who intends to change the formation of the earth to make it inhabitable for his aforementioned master.
The problem with Justice League is that you want to compare it to the Avengers. The Avengers set their movies up so much better than DC. Avengers gave different characters their own movie before bringing people together. DC did not give proper backstories for many of these characters, and the movie felt rushed to keep up with Marvel.
Batman on Film: Other Movies
Joker and Catwoman are movies that fit into the Batman world, but they were not Batman movies. The Joker was an origin story movie that did very well in the box office, making over a billion dollars. Whereas Cat Woman was one of the worst, and it barely got to $100,000. Neither movie featured Batman, but both can’t be mentioned without thinking of Batman.
Catwoman was not very good, but the Joker movie was a good origin story that makes you think about how we treat people in our daily lives. The Joker came from a person with mental illness who wanted to do well, but society cast him aside, and it eventually turned into him killing others.
Something evil grows inside of him from that day, and he kills his mom and keeps sliding downhill. The movie is very dark, and it would have been great to see it matched with a Batman. Sadly it may not happen, and the movie is just another example of DC not connecting their movies well.