Best Batman Animated Films

Since his animated debut decades ago, Batman has starred in nearly 30 feature-length cartoon films of wildly varying quality. For every home run like Mask of the Phantasm, there’s a swing-and-miss like The Killing Joke. Which is why we’re undertaking the ambitious mission of ranking all of Batman’s animated films definitively from worst to best.

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Related: Best DC Animated Movies

By looking at stuff like story, characters, action, designs, and faithfulness to the source, we aim to cover the full Bat-filmography. So whether your fave is an underrated-hidden gem or an acclaimed classic, see where it lands as we review and rate every single Batman animated movie.

24 Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke

The Real Joker

Batman races to save Commissioner Gordon from the Joker’s twisted agenda to prove anyone can go mad after one bad day.

Director
Sam Liu

Cast
Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong, Ray Wise

Runtime
77 minutes

Box Office
$4.4 million

The Killing Joke had the potential to be one of the great Batman animated movies, but as an adaptation it profoundly disappoints. The animation fails to recreate Brian Bolland’s mesmerizing comic panels, instead feeling sterile and perfunctory. One of the biggest letdowns is the misuse of the prologue featuring Barbara Gordon, which fails to give her character real agency or properly address the story’s problematic treatment of her.

While Mark Hamill delivers some nicely menacing moments as the Joker, he doesn’t fully capture the psychotic intensity that defined the character in Batman: The Animated Series. The psychological confrontation between Batman and Joker retains glimpses of its thought-provoking power from the source material.

The film lacks the complexity and nuance needed to successfully adapt Moore’s multilayered writing. With so much wasted potential to fully animate this classic Batman graphic novel, The Killing Joke comes across as the product of a soulless studio content-mill, coasting on the comic’s reputation rather than an insightful understanding of what made it a masterpiece.

23 Batman: Death in the Family

Batman: Death in the Family

Batman: Death in the Family

Dark Knight’s Darkest Hour

After Robin is captured by Joker, Batman must save him while struggling with emotions from his greatest failure and loss.

Director
Brandon Vietti

Cast
Bruce Greenwood, Vincent Martella, John DiMaggio, Gary Cole, Zehra Fazal

Runtime
95 minutes

Death In The Family takes the famous Batman comic story of the same name and makes it interactive, which is kinda cool. To be completely honest, other than letting you choose what happens to Robin, the movie doesn’t really add anything new to the Batman world. It hits all the main parts of the original story, how Jason Todd becomes Robin, the Joker capturing and torturing him, and Batman getting revenge.

But it feels more like they’re just going through the motions than actually trying to make an emotional movie. There’s none of the weight or tragedy you’d expect from a story about Batman’s greatest failure. It’s more like an extra cash-grab for fans who just want to see Robin die, not a meaningful addition.

For people who know this story from the comics or better animated movies like Under the Red Hood, there’s shockingly little that’s new here beyond the interactivity gimmick. Watching it linearly, it’s clearly just a rehash of an iconic plot we’ve seen done better before. The interactivity is a neat trick, but the movie itself brings nothing fresh to such a well-known Batman story. As a linear film, Death In The Family reveals itself as an artistically and emotionally repetitive retread.

Related: Best Batman Lego Sets

22 Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem

Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem

Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem

Halloween Havoc

On Halloween night Joker and Scarecrow use TCRI mutagen to transform citizens into monsters to spread mayhem across Gotham.

Director
butch lukic

Cast
Roger Craig Smith, Troy Baker, Khary Payton, Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Friedle, Yuri Lowenthal, kari wuhrer

Runtime
81 minutes

Release Date
August 15, 2015

Monster Mayhem feels like a paint-by-numbers Batman movie aimed only at the youngest new fans. The Halloween theme provides fun monster designs and transformations likely to entertain kids. Joker and Scarecrow ham it up orchestrating the spooky plotting. But for most, the overly simplistic story and dialogue offer little substance beyond seasonal flavor.

With thin characterization and forgettable action, Monster Mayhem gives adult fans minimal entertainment value beyond appreciating the slick animation. Parents seeking innocuous diversion for their children may find this adequate Halloween viewing. But for those wanting the engaging storytelling and visual splendor of past Batman series, Monster Mayhem delivers only fleeting superficial thrills.

It dutifully checks the boxes but brings no passion or inspired ideas to the Batman mythos. The holiday trappings and monsters offer momentary appeal for kids seeking easy Halloween fun. But with its rote plot and dumbed-down dialogue, Monster Mayhem feels creatively bankrupt, without contributing anything meaningful or memorable. It’s a disposable detour for the franchise that won’t leave a lasting impression.

21 Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts

Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts

Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts

Batman’s Furry Foes

The Animalitia technology grants animals human intelligence, allowing Penguin, Cheetah, Killer Croc and Man-Bat to coordinate crimes in Gotham.

Director
butch lukic

Cast
Roger Craig Smith, Chris Diamantopoulos, Dana Snyder, Laura Bailey, John DiMaggio

Runtime
77 minutes

Release Date
May 12, 2015

Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts leans hard into the animal theme to deliver some goofy fun for kids. Seeing Penguin, Cheetah and other baddies redesigned as animal hybrids gives this movie some inventive flair that’s missing from other cookie-cutter Batman adaptations aimed at little ones.

The plot still feels pretty generic, with the standard Batman fights villains storyline. But all the animal stuff sprinkles in silly moments of entertainment for the young target audience. The dialogue is full of obvious explanation, but you expect that in a children’s flick. While adult viewers probably won’t find much depth here, the crazy animal action provides some lively animation that animal-loving tykes will enjoy.

Animal Instincts doesn’t try for the seriousness of past Batman cartoons, instead just having as much goofy fun as it can with the animal concept. Those creative animal designs give it points for uniqueness compared to other dialed-in kids’ Batman movies. Even if the basic plot still feels phoned in, the animal theme is used well to bring amusement. For Bat-fans hoping for meaningful stories, this one may seem totally lightweight.

Related: Batman’s History In Video Games

20 Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants

Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants

Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants

Mecha Mutant Fun

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Batman and Robin battle Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc and Bane, who are mutating humans into monsters in a transformed Gotham future.

Director
Curt Geda

Cast
Dana Snyder, Will Friedle, Chris Diamantopoulos, Roger Craig Smith, Charlie Schlatter

Runtime
72 minutes

Release Date
July 24, 2016

Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants loads up on crazy mech suit and monster action to deliver some over-the-top sci-fi fun for kids. Seeing Batman rock his wild robot suits against an army of invading creatures allows for some intense animated action. The plot is pretty basic, heroes try to foil the bad guys’ latest takeover plan but all the mech and monster craziness keeps things visually exciting.

The dialogue’s full of the usual obvious explanation, but with all the abundant action it stays fast-paced for young viewer’s short attention spans. The creative mech designs and monsters give this flick some style that helps it stand apart from other cookie-cutter Batman cartoons aimed at kids. Older viewers probably won’t find much depth, but the non-stop battle sequences supply enough flashy entertainment to keep young audiences glued to the screen.

Mechs vs Mutants smartly capitalizes on the potential of its techno concept rather than just banking on Batman’s brand power. While the story remains straightforward, the awesome mech suits and wild creatures are used well to deliver thrills.

19 Son Of Batman

Son of Batman

Son of Batman

Father-Son Sentiment

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After Ra’s al Ghul is killed, his grandson Damian Wayne joins Batman in Gotham, struggling to control his violent League of Assassins conditioning.

Director
Ethan Spaulding

Cast
Jason O’Mara, Stuart Allan, Thomas Gibson, Morena Baccarin

Runtime
74 minutes

Release Date
April 22, 2014

By introducing Batman’s son Damian, Son of Batman brings some new dynamics to the animated universe, but the execution has flaws you can’t seem to shake off. Damian’s lethal upbringing by the League of Assassins lets Batman tackle an unfamiliar paternal role, allowing for meaningful characterization. The banter is fun to watch for sure, but the father-son friction scenes seem a little underplayed.

While Jason O’Mara fits the nurturing Batman adequately and Stuart Allan leans into a brash Robin, their performances don’t fully realize the dramatic potential. The action remains hard-hitting, though the plot covers some familiar ground despite using new characters. Ra’s al Ghul as the antagonist ties things to existing Bat-lore but doesn’t provide an exciting fresh direction. Talia has some complexity for sure, but is still massively underdeveloped, and it feels like she’s pigeonholed into the femme-fatale role a little too much.

Overall, Son of Batman gets a decent amount of credit for debuting a new take on Robin and exploring Batman’s paternal side. But it doesn’t fully commit to the opportunity of its new dynamics to elevate the storytelling, and the emotion borders on cheesy when sharper writing could have lent more impact.

18 Batman: Bad Blood

Batman: Bad Blood

Batman: Bad Blood

Broken Bonds

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When Batman vanishes, the extended Bat family must unite to solve the mystery behind his disappearance and stop a destructive new threat.

Director
Jay Oliva

Cast
Jason O’Mara, Yvonne Strahovski, Stuart Allan, Sean Maher, Morena Baccarin

Runtime
72 minutes

Release Date
January 20, 2016

Bad Blood succeeds at further expanding the Batman family by introducing Batwoman and developing the interpersonal relationships between the characters. Kate Kane’s arrival as Batwoman brings a captivating new presence, with her backstory organically integrated into the plot. The family dynamic between Batman, Batwoman, Robin, and Alfred infuses fresh personal drama into the standard save-Gotham storyline.

While the script balances wisecracks with darker themes well, a few plot points feel underexplored. Still, the stellar voice cast including Jason O’Mara, Yvonne Strahovski, and Stuart Allan delivers nuanced performances that lend emotional impact to the relationships. The animation impresses with fluid, fast-paced fight sequences. Rather than relying on Batman’s brand, Bad Blood crafts an ensemble narrative that complicates his character in compelling ways.

Seeing Batman unmasked as the more vulnerable Bruce Wayne allows room for substantive development. With confident storytelling and excellent character work, Bad Blood expands the potential of the animated universe.

17 Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham

Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham

Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham

Elseworlds Entertainment

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In this 1920s Lovecraftian Gotham, Batman confronts Ra’s al Ghul’s occult conspiracy to open a portal unleashing demonic destruction.

Director
Sam Liu, Christopher Berkeley

Cast
Tati Gabrielle, Christopher Gorham

Runtime
86 minutes

Release Date
March 28, 2023

Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham impressively brings the freaky Elseworlds comic to life through its creepy supernatural vibe. Dropping Batman into a gothic 1920s setting and pitting him against ancient evil forces like demons and cults puts a fresh horror spin on Bat-lore. The stellar voice cast led by David Giuntoli nails the brooding tone of this Batman wrestling with his dark destiny.

While cameos from other DC characters can distract, the occult-noir style pulls you into the eerie Gotham of the past. From demonic transformations to unsettling designs, the animation kicks butt at realizing the freaky threats. Rather than just banking on Batman’s brand, Doom crafts a compelling weird alternate take filled with atmosphere. Seeing Bruce evolve into a monster ‘Bat’ to defeat the big bad adds heavy complexity.

The mature content and violence help it stand out from the usual DC cartoon fare. Some plot points feel rushed, but overall Doom impresses with how well it adapts the comic’s tone and mythos. It expands what’s possible in Batman stories by mashing-up eldritch mythology with his world.

16 Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman

Bats And The Batwoman

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While a mysterious new Batwoman assists Batman and Robin fighting Penguin’s gang, Bruce investigates her identity and convoluted motivations.

Release Date
October 21, 2003

Director
Curt Geda

Cast
Kevin Conroy, Kimberly Brooks, Kelly Ripa, Kyra Sedgwick, David Ogden Stiers

Runtime
74 minutes

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman is one of the more inventive Batman cartoons thanks to its rad new lead. Bringing Batwoman into the mix and making her identity a mystery for Bats to uncover is definitely something that keeps you on the hook. Even the suspects like Kathleen, Rocky, and Sonia are all complex, with cool flashback origin stories, which is something that’s rare for the animated Batman movies.

Seeing Batman forced to team up with an unknown vigilante makes for funny conflicts even as they kick butt together against Penguin’s gang. While the viral weapon plot feels a bit routine, Batwoman brings personality with her specialized tech and banter with Bats. The voice acting is solid, especially Kyra Sedgwick as the sassy titular character.

By the finale, you’re invested in Batwoman’s backstory and her uneasy team-up with Batman. Mystery of the Batwoman avoids just coasting on Batman’s rep by crafting an original plot focused on this strong new heroine. Mostly because the mystery angle keeps things fresher than a basic Batman vs. villains story.

15 Batman And Harley Quinn

Batman and Harley Quinn

batman and harley quinn

Abysmal But Entertaining

Batman and Nightwing reluctantly team up with Harley to stop Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man from transforming humanity into plant hybrids.

Release Date
August 14, 2017

Director
Sam Liu

Cast
Kevin Conroy, Melissa Rauch, Paget Brewster, Loren Lester, Kevin Michael Richardson

Runtime
74 minutes

Batman and Harley Quinn shakes up the standard dynamic by forcing Batman to team up with his nemesis Harley, delivering a fun twist on the usual Bat-formula. Harley Quinn brings her signature irreverent humor to the mix as she and Batman reluctantly join forces to take down Poison Ivy.

The road trip vibe lets Harley’s chaotic energy collide hilariously with Batman’s stoic grit. Melissa Rauch nails the tone as Harley, while Kevin Conroy is perfect as the perpetually annoyed Caped Crusader. Seeing Harley play anti-hero offers fresh laughs, like her misguided attempts to reform. The mature humor and violence bring a distinct edge to this buddy adventure. While the environmental threat of the plant monsters is pretty standard, Harley’s unpredictable presence keeps things lively.

Trading in the brooding tone for quirky character dynamics, this mismatched team-up delivers a fun vehicle for Harley Quinn to wreak havoc on Batman’s world. Plot-wise, the movie doesn’t really offer you much, but it’s definitely an amusing twist on the formula that highlights the upside of shaking up established dynamics.

14 Batman Vs. Robin

Batman Vs. Robin

Batman vs. Robin

Father Vs Son

Batman clashes with his son Damian Wayne, who has become enthralled by the mysterious Court of Owls organization.

Release Date
April 15, 2015

Director
Jay Oliva

Cast
Stuart Allan, Jason O’Mara, Sean Maher, Jeremy Sisto, david mccallum

Runtime
80 minutes

Much like the previous film we discussed, Batman vs. Robin also flips the usual Batman and Robin dynamic in an entertaining way. However, this time it’s by pitting the partners against each other. Damian Wayne’s violent tendencies as Robin collide with Batman’s strict no-killing ethics, leading to explosive conflict. Seeing Batman and Robin truly at odds provides a thrilling tension as their relationship hangs in the balance.

The stellar vocal performances enhance the divide, with Stuart Allan capturing Damian’s deadly arrogance and Jason O’Mara conveying Batman’s stern dissatisfaction. The hand-to-hand combat scenes totally dominate, as the father-son duo’s tension boils over into physical confrontations. While the whole Court of Owls as villains thing does feel a little underbaked, the family feud at the story’s core makes for a riveting watch.

Robin’s eventual redemption allows for hard-won growth, giving the character an interesting arc throughout the movie. Overall, Batman vs. Robin succeeds at deepening this iconic duo in provocative fashion by exposing the cracks in their union. By trading the easy mentor-mentee dynamic for powerful confrontations, this thrilling battle of philosophies puts Batman and Robin’s bond to the test in cool new ways.

13 Justice League: The New Frontier

Justice League: The New Frontier

Justice League: The New Frontier

Retro League Assembles

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Set in the 1950s, Batman evolves from a paranoid loner to part of the Justice League uniting to battle an alien threat.

Release Date
February 26, 2008

Cast
David Boreanaz, Miguel Ferrer, Neil Patrick Harris, John Heard, Lex Lang (English)

Runtime
75 minutes

Box Office
$5.7 million

Justice League: The New Frontier is awesome for showing Batman team up with DC’s other big heroes in a bold 1950s setting. Seeing Bats interact with characters like Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern while they all get origin stories makes for killer world-building. You can just feel the nostalgic retro vibe popping through the stylized art, celebrating that classic chrome-age feel.

While the alien threat plot is pretty generic, the movie absolutely excels at exploring each hero’s motivations, like Hal Jordan confronting fear or Superman weighing heroism vs. vigilantism. Seeing less-popular like Martian Manhunter shine through was definitely a treat for hardcore DC fans. Batman especially brings his brooding energy to the group dynamic, earning the movie a spot on the list.

Seamlessly blending superhero action with nuanced origins, The New Frontier brings Batman and the rest of DC’s Icons together for an imaginative adventure story, giving him character-driven purpose.

12 The Batman Vs. Dracula

The Batman Vs. Dracula

The Batman Vs. Dracula

Count Bat-Ula?

Batman adjusts his crimefighting style to battle the legendary vampire Dracula, who has come to Gotham City.

Release Date
October 22, 2005

Cast
rino romano, Tara Strong, Peter Stormare, Alastair Duncan, Tom Kenny

Runtime
84 minutes

Batman vs. Dracula offers a fun Halloween-style take by pitting The Dark Knight against the iconic vampire lord. The Gotham City setting gets a moody makeover with gothic architecture and rad creature designs straight out of a monster mash. While the plot about Dracula wanting to turn the city feeds on Batman: The Animated Series, their inevitable face-off is loaded with creepy appeal.

The action goes for the jugular as Batman employs new bat-gadgets like garlic bombs (yeah, you read that right) to counter Dracula’s supernatural abilities. While Vicki Vale feels shoehorned into the damsel role, the Batman/Dracula rivalry is a monster mash made in heaven. Their final confrontation allows Batman to unleash his inner vampire hunter in spectacular fashion.

Through chilling visuals and a foreboding score, Batman vs. Dracula builds a horror vibe missing from other Caped Crusader cartoons. A definite must-watch, come Halloween!

11 Batman: Gotham By Gaslight

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight

Gothic Reimagination

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Set in Victorian Era Gotham, Batman hunts down Jack the Ripper while encountering familiar allies and villains reimagined.

Release Date
February 6, 2018

Director
Sam Liu

Cast
Bruce Greenwood, Jennifer Carpenter, Anthony Head, Scott Patterson

Runtime
78 minutes

Gotham by Gaslight totally reinvents Batman as a Victorian-era crimefighter going head-to-head with Jack the Ripper, which is just brilliant. The Gothic 1800s setting envelops Gotham in deliciously creepy dread. This inventive spin on Bat-lore has Bruce as a cloaked detective chasing a serial killer, tapping into the gritty underworld vibes of this era.

The mystery keeps you guessing on who the Ripper is, with suspects like Harvey Dent mixed in while Batman hunts the elusive maniac. Their inevitable face-off crackles with electric danger as two demented minds collide. Bruce Greenwood kills it voicing this hardened early Batman. While the ending could dig deeper into their link, the performances and cat-and-mouse chills are definitely a thrilling watch.

Where the plot lacks depth, the blood-soaked atmosphere and grisly Ripper murders more than make up for it in terms of excitement. By mashing up icons from different eras, Gotham by Gaslight certainly brings a new, provocative flavor to the Bat-mythos.

10 Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders

Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders

batman: return of the caped crusaders

One Last Biff!

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Adam West’s Batman and Robin make a glorious comeback, battling classic villains like Joker, Riddler, Penguin, and Catwoman in a loving throwback to the 1960s TV series.

Release Date
October 10, 2016

Director
rick morales

Cast
Burt Ward, Adam West, Julie Newmar, Steven Weber, Jeff Bergman

Runtime
78 minutes

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders serves as a nostalgic trip back to the groovy 1960s Batman TV series. The kooky humor and pop art colors recapture the vibe of the classic show to the T. Plus, seeing Adam West as Batman, Burt Ward as Robin and Julie Newmar as Catwoman reprise their roles after so many years was a treat for fans of the ’60s television series.

The goofy banter between Batman and Robin especially channels the cheesy charm that defined the era. While the plot involving a duplicator ray is pretty standard, the performances carry it, with the villains chewing scenery like champs. Return of the Caped Crusaders embraces the silly retro flair but also brings surprising heart, like Robin grappling with Batman’s strict morals.

While the animation is simpler compared to modern DC films, the faithfulness to the tone makes it a blast for longtime fans. By leaning hard into the original ’60s style, this nostalgic return trip captures the absurdity that gave Batman such widespread appeal.

9 Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Everyone’s Favourite Team-Up!

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Superman and Batman team up to defeat Lex Luthor, who has become President and framed them as criminals.

Release Date
September 29, 2009

Director
Sam Liu

Cast
Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Clancy Brown, Corey Burton

Runtime
67 minutes

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies brings the iconic super bros together against Lex Luthor’s corrupt government in an awesome team-up. Supes and Bats becoming wanted fugitives lets them play off each other with amusing banter, showcasing their classic chemistry.

The story captures their fundamental differences, with Superman’s faith in the system clashing with Batman’s vigilante mentality. Their uneasy bromance generates funny banter highlighted by Kevin Conroy’s signature dry Batman wit. The plot follows a standard comic book blueprint, but successfully explores their dueling philosophies.

Per usual, Superman represents idealism and restraint while Bats embraces extreme anti-authority measures, and that shtick makes for some damn good drama. The animation also nails their god-like abilities without undermining the moral quandaries that they face. All in all, Public Enemies doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it thoughtfully tackles the issues that come with having superpowered heroes, even the righteous ones.

8 Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths

Parallel Universe Showdown

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Batman joins the Justice League in fighting their evil doppelgängers, the Crime Syndicate, who come from a parallel universe.

Release Date
February 23, 2010

Director
Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery

Cast
Mark Harmon, James Woods, Gina Torres, Brian Bloom, William Baldwin

Runtime
75 minutes

Crisis on Two Earths is an absolute blast, pitting the League against evil versions of themselves from a parallel dimension. The “Crime Syndicate” twist puts a clever spin on iconic heroes like Ultraman and Owlman. The matchups are super creative, including Owlman’s cynical philosophy clashing with Batman’s true grit.

The animation is rather ingenious, especially during the scenes where the universal heroes collide. But the provocative character dynamics outshine the fights. One of the biggest examples of this would have to eb the sympathetic alternate Lex Luthor’s sacrifices versus the Crime Syndicate’s cruelty.

Rather than just doppelganger punchouts, Crisis on Two Earths uses the multiverse idea thoughtfully to examine heroism and morality. Side note, Crispin Freeman totally crushes it as the villainous Owlman. While not reinventing DC lore, Crisis on Two Earths impresses with its ambition and willingness to challenge assumptions about heroism under pressure.

7 Batman: Assault On Arkham

Batman: Assault On Arkham

Batman: Assault on Arkham

Inmates Run The Asylum

Amanda Waller assembles villains Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and others for the Suicide Squad to infiltrate Arkham Asylum on a secret mission.

Release Date
August 12, 2014

Director
Jay Oliva, Ethan Spaulding

Cast
Neal McDonough, Kevin Conroy, Hynden Walch, Troy Baker

Runtime
76 minutes

Batman: Assault On Arkham takes a killer new angle by showing Batman as a straight-up frightening force of nature undermining the Suicide Squad. Rather than the usual hero role, Bats becomes a relentless slasher movie-style threat violently crusading against their mission.

We get a chilling insight into how Batman cultivates fear as the Squad members stress about pissing him off. The tense, lethal game of cat-and-mouse that follows highlights some unsettling edges to Batman’s ruthless sense of justice. His hardcore determination to uphold order at any cost, however, does seem a bit sketchy when seen from the viewpoint of the so-called “expendable” villains.

Assault on Arkham smartly keeps Batman on the fringes as a lurking boogeyman rather than old-school protagonist, deconstructing the mythos in risky new ways.

6 The Lego Batman Movie

Lego batman movie

The Lego Batman Movie

Brick Built Redemption

Lego Batman must overcome selfish arrogance to work with others and stop the Joker from taking over Gotham City.

Release Date
January 29, 2017

Director
Chris McKay

Cast
Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Ralph Fiennes

Runtime
104 minutes

The Lego Batman Movie is a hilarious, irreverent take on Batman that also has real heart. Will Arnett is pitch-perfect as the brooding, narcissistic Lego Batman, delivering maximum laughs with his gravelly voiceover narration and spot-on send-up of Bats’ loner attitude.

The rapid-fire jokes and visual gags in the movie ended up playing around with the Batman lore a little too much, which is honestly a refreshing thing to watch. What really makes this film stand out though is the surprising emotional depth beneath all the plastic brick madness. Batman’s character arc of learning to open himself up to others, especially orphan Robin, adds an unexpected sweetness. Michael Cera is also pretty endearing as the wide-eyed Boy Wonder, playing off Batman’s cynicism nicely.

While the villain plot falls a bit flat, it takes a backseat to the non-stop hilarity of Batman sending up his larger-than-life persona and pop culture status. The set pieces like the opening plane sequence and climactic battle in particular are wildly fun. Overall, The Lego Batman Movie strikes the perfect balance between clever parody and crafting a thoughtful story about the loneliness behind Batman’s standoffish facade.

5 Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

batman vs. teenage mutant ninja turtles

Bats Meets The Turtles

Batman teams up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to stop a plot by Ra’s al Ghul and The Shredder involving a dangerous mutagen.

Release Date
May 14, 2019

Director
Jake Castorena

Cast
Troy Baker, Eric Bauza, Darren Criss, Kyle Mooney

Runtime
87 minutes

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles brings together two beloved franchises for a surprisingly natural and highly enjoyable crossover event. Watching The Dark Knight take on the wisecracking heroes in a half shell (geddit?) is a total blast that will delight fans.

The animation absolutely pops during the thrilling fight sequences as Batman and the Turtles match each other blow for blow with their unique combat styles. Seeing the Caped Crusader trade fisticuffs with the martial arts mastery of Leonardo and his brothers is geekout joy.

One of the stand-up aspects had to be Michelangelo’s silly surfer dude attitude clashing with Batman’s grim seriousness, bringing an entirely new dynamic of hilarity. That aside, the villain team-up between The Foot and Ra’s al Ghul also works to raise the stakes and set up epic battles across Gotham and New York. Both animation styles blend together into a visually satisfying crossover world. Minor quibbles aside, Batman vs. TMNT is an energetic love letter to fans that nails the clash between these iconic franchises.

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