12. "Batman v Superman" may not be all everyone hoped it would be, but the Bat's record on film is hardly perfect. Let's see where the new film ranks in the annals of theatrically released, live-action "Batman" movies.
11. "Batman and Robin" (1949) is just an abysmal experience, with a bad lead actor wearing a floppy-eared Batsuit. Though The Wizard, a villain original to this serial, is admittedly cool looking, it's not enough to stem the boredom in this four-hour slog.
10. "Batman" (1943) gets points for novelty thanks to its hilariously over-the-top old fashioned World War II racism. But Batman's first onscreen appearance lacks pretty much everything that would mark it as an engaging filmgoing experience today. It's cool that a grandfather clock provides the entrance to the Batcave, though.
9. "Batman and Robin" (1997) is rightly hated, but it's tremendously entertaining here and there. Uma Thurman and Arnold Schwarzeneggar are going so far over the top I can't help but admire them.
8. "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) probably wasn't intended to be a grim and gritty Shumacher Batmovie, but that is indeed what it is. This is Nolan going full Hollywood, smashing plot points into place by sheer force of will rather than because they make sense. An extremely theatrical Tom Hardy as Bane is amusing front to back, and a nuke with a countdown clock on it will never get old.
7. "Batman" (1989) is fondly remembered mostly because it was the first Batmovie in a couple decades. It isn't actually very good, though. The reveal that a younger version of the Joker killed Bruce Wayne's parents is as hamfistedly dumb as it gets in a "Batman" movie.
6. "Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice" (2016) is nearly saved by Ben Affleck going all-out as Bruce Wayne, but director Zack Snyder just couldn't keep his plot on track. There's too much ground to cover, and the movie is too unfocused to ever really cover any of it.
5. "The Dark Knight" (2008) should be way shorter, but Heath Ledger's Joker is far and away the best villain in any of these movies. Ledger elevates what would otherwise be just another self-indulgent Christopher Nolan exercise into an endlessly watchable picture.
4. "Batman Forever" (1995) hits just the right tone for what Joel Shumacher was trying to do with the two films he directed. Tommy Lee Jones, as Two Face, is doing stuff in this movie that is hard to believe even today, given his perpetual sour face in nearly every other movie he's been in.
3. "Batman Begins" (2005) is the most complete film, on its own, in the entire franchise. It's just, like, a regular movie except it's about Batman. It has actual characters and everything, and Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne even has emotions. It's weird.
2. "Batman Returns" (1992) is one of the best of the franchise because it's really just a political thriller. The Penguin emerges from the sewer and runs for mayor of Gotham! It's great stuff, especially now as we continue to watch the rise of Trump in our world.
1. "Batman: The Movie" (1966) has a timelessness that none of the other films do, and it's just a delight from beginning to end thanks to Adam West's winking Batman and the coalition of villains who can't stop cackling maniacally. Watching it again recently, I found it functions almost perfectly as a parody of the super-serious Christopher Nolan Batfilms, which is incredible.