Five of the Best – Batman Movies

Batman - Five of the Best

Superhero movies don’t get better than these!

Welcome back to Five of the Best and in this edition we are looking at the best Batman Movies

I know this subject divides opinion more than who was the best James Bond? or which order do the Star Wars films rank? Well I’m going to give this my best shot and tell you what I think are the best Batman movies.

Batman (Burton, 1989)

Batman, 1989

In at number five in this list is Tim Burton’s first attempt at trying recreate the comic world of Gotham City as Michael Keaton’s Batman seeks revenge for the death of his parents.

What I like about this film is it doesn’t take itself too seriously and in doing so I believe Burton is able to harness a comic book look and feel to the film. This notion is taken quite literally in Jack Nicholson’s performance of The Joker, who borders somewhere between insane and annoyingly laughable.

Then there’s the movie soundtrack from Prince which although now sounds a little dated, features this classic music video from The Artist formerly known as himself.

For me, this is the film that took Adam West’s cheesy portrayal of the caped crusader and brought Batman back into the mainstream and for that it deserves its place on this list.

The Dark Knight Rises (Nolan, 2012)

The Dark Knight Rises

The concluding part to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy sees Bruce Wayne having to re-emerge as The Dark Knight after he assumed full responsibility for the death of Harvey Dent in the previous movie.

In this film Batman is joined by Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) to take on the might of Bane, played by Tom Hardy.

I liked this film when I saw it at the cinema and felt it did a decent job of rounding off the three-part-mini-series. However, it does not come without its flaws and perhaps one of the biggest stumbling points of The Dark Knight Rises is the incessantly long prelude to the last action sequences.

Also, as the film wears on, Tom Hardy’s Bane character becomes a real struggle to understand (quite literally) as his dialogue is brutally muffled by the sound effects on his voice.

The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008)

The Dark Knight

Wait… What!? Why is this film only the third best Batman movie of all time I hear you say? Well for me this film loses itself in the last 20-30 minutes and whilst it has some stellar performances and one powerhouse performance from the late Heath Ledger, I cannot place this higher than third on this list.

First, the good stuff.. How about every single scene that includes The Joker? I remember the hype around Heath Ledger’s turn as the The Joker before he sadly passed away towards the end of making this movie.

The “Why so serious?” scene haunted me for days after watching, I kept thinking Ledger must have been in a dark place and in many ways, he was acting out his inner demons as The Joker.

Then, the bad stuff.. How about the loss of a cohesive plot from the well-rounded part one of the series and the terrible casting choice of Maggie Gyllenhaal as the new Rachel (she just wasn’t as good as Katie Holmes was in this role).

Batman Returns (Burton, 1992)

Batman Returns

It’s Dark, It’s Gothic.. It’s Batman.

The interesting thing about Tim Burton’s Batman Returns is that you really get an insight into the major influences in the director’s work. Burton uses German Expressionism (an artistic film movement formed prior to the 1920s) to great effect here and the result is a compelling mixture of comic book Batman and a dark sometimes sinister Batman that is synonymous with Nolan’s trilogy.

I really feel this is some of Burton’s best work and the juxtaposition between a bleak looking Gotham City and the snow that illuminates it at night, is visually exquisite.

Special Mentions here must go to Michelle Pfeiffer for her stunning performance as the unhinged Catwoman/Selina Kyle and Danny DeVito for the wickedly weird Penguin.

Batman Begins (Nolan, 2005)

Batman Begins

I love this Batman movie because everything about it was simply flawless. It was Christian Bale’s first outing as Batman and his wish to make the role his own is clear from the opening sequence, through to the dramatic climax.

What Nolan does incredibly well in this film that he fails to deliver in the later sequels, is tell the story of Bruce Wayne. Through this we become synonymous with Batman the human. Wayne isn’t just some rich kid who gets people to make all the gadgets to help him succeed as The Dark Knight, protector of Gotham City. He learns his craft, he has strengths, he has weaknesses but most importantly he has a true motif to be the good guy. I feel this somehow gets lost in the two sequels at points.

In addition, the developing love story between Bruce and Rachel is believable because of the great on-screen chemistry between Christian Bale and Katie Holmes. Finally,  we are introduced to Michael Caine as Alfred the Butler for the very first time. Simply excellent casting!

Which choices do you agree with? Which choices don’t you agree with? As always feel free to comment and be sure to check out our other blogs!

Batman (1989)
The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight
Batman Returns
Batman Begins
  • April 17, 2016

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