The Dark Knight. The Caped Crusader. The World’s Greatest Detective. No matter what you call him, there’s no denying that Batman is one of the most popular and iconic superheroes of all time.
And with good reason! Batman has been around for almost 80 years, and in that time he’s been featured in countless comics, TV shows, movies, and video games. He’s a complex and fascinating character with a rich history, and there’s always something new to learn
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Batman is a 1989 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Jon Peters, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. It stars Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Michael Keaton as Batman, and Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale. The film became the fifth-highest-grossing film in history at the time of its release.
Batman Returns (1992)
The second entry in the Batman franchise, Batman Returns, again directed by Tim Burton, was released in 1992. The movie featured Michael Keaton as Batman, Danny DeVito as The Penguin, and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Burton’s gothic and ghoulish direction lent a much darker tone to the film than its predecessor. This entry into the series also increased the focus on Batman’s rogues gallery, with Catwoman and The Penguin taking center stage alongside the Caped Crusader.
Batman Forever (1995)
Batman Forever is a 1995 American superhero film directed by Joel Schumacher and produced by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics character Batman. It is the third installment of the initial Batman film series, with Val Kilmer replacing Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman. The film also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Chris O’Donnell, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, and Drew Barrymore.
Schumacher had originally intended to make a fifth Batman film following Batman Returns but reworked it into a midquel following the critical and commercial disappointment of that film. The new plot elements introduced elements of Burton’s 1989 film to appease Warner Bros. while still attempting to be original. In an attempt to lighten the tone of the film from that of its predecessor—and due to concerns over its PG-13 rating—Schumacher incorporated more humor by casting Carrey as The Riddler and Jones as Harvey Dent / Two-Face. These resulted in increased criticism over Schumacher’s “excessive use of camp”, which carried over to review of the final product.
Despite strong financial gains (it was both the highest-grossing movie of 1995 and second most expensive movie ever made at that time), many critics panned Batman Forever for its subpar acting performances (particularly Kilmer), writing, directing, editing, cinematography (outside Gotham City), musical score (recycled from past Tim Burton productions), special effects (particularly those during Two-Face’s transformation scene) and even toy merchandising tie-in’s (the now infamous “Batnipples”). It ultimately grossed over $336 million worldwide but received mixed reviews from movie critics.
Batman & Robin (1997)
Batman & Robin is a 1997 American superhero film based on the DC Comics characters Batman and Robin. The film was directed by Joel Schumacher and starred George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, Uma Thurman, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is the fourth and final installment of Warner Bros.’ initial Batman film series. The film was a commercial disappointment, grossing $238 million worldwide on a production budget of $125 million. It is notable for being the only live-action appearances of Batgirl and Robin prior to The Dark Knight Trilogy, as well as one of the last major superhero films to be released before the advent of the MCU.
Batman Begins (2005)
Batman Begins is the first movie in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The movie follows Bruce Wayne as he is trained by Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows to become a vigilante. He then returns to Gotham City to fight crime as Batman.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero movie based on the DC Comics character Batman. The movie was directed by Christopher Nolan and stars Christian Bale as Batman, Heath Ledger as the Joker, and Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent. The Dark Knight was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $1 billion at the box office and winning several awards, including an Academy Award for Ledger’s performance as the Joker.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Dark Knight Rises is the third and final installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. It was released on July 20, 2012. The film grossed over $1 billion worldwide and is considered one of the best superhero movies ever made.
The plot follows Bruce Wayne as he returns to Gotham City after eight years of self-imposed exile. He must face Bane, a terrorist who has taken control of the city, and save Gotham from destruction.
Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Anne Hathaway star in the film.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 American superhero film featuring the DC Comics characters Batman and Superman. The film is directed by Zack Snyder, with a screenplay by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer. Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, and Gal Gadot appear in supporting roles. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the first live-action film to feature both Batman and Superman together, as well as the first live-action cinematic portrayal of Wonder Woman. In the film, criminal mastermind Lex Luthor manipulates Batman into a preemptive battle with Superman, whom Luthor is obsessed with defeating.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Suicide Squad is a 2016 American superhero film based on the DC Comics antihero team of the same name. The film is the third installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). It was written and directed by David Ayer and stars an ensemble cast featuring Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, and Cara Delevingne. In Suicide Squad, a secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions and save the world from a powerful threat.
The film was announced following the success of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and was officially confirmed in October 2014. Ayer signed on to write and direct in September 2015; by that November stretching and reshoots occurred following multiple early test screenings. Principal photography began in April 2016 at locations in Toronto and ended in August that year. Suicide Squad premiered in New York City on August 1, 2016; the film was then released internationally on August 5 by Warner Bros. Pictures to positive reviews from critics but became a box office disappointment with a domestic gross of $746 million against its $325 million budget.
The Batman (2021)
The Batman is an upcoming 2021 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Batman. The film is directed by Matt Reeves and produced by Dylan Clark, Charles Roven, and Deborah Snyder. It stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne / Batman, with Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Jay Oliva Jr., Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell, and Danny DeVito in supporting roles.