Yesterday I published a post taking a look at the various different running orders for the live-action Superman movies. Today it’s the turn of Batman!

You’ll be pleased to know that the live-action Batman movies are far easier to navigate around than the Superman films.

So, if you’ve ever asked the question, ‘in what order should I watch the Batman movies?’, here is the answer!

Viewing Order One – The Adam West movie

Image: ©20th Century Fox

This first viewing order is very simple and includes just one movie – Batman: The Movie (1966).

The film stars Adam West as Batman, alongside Burt Ward as Robin. The movie is a big screen spin-off from the 1960s Batman TV show and features the villains, the Joker, Catwoman, Penguin and the Riddler.

The viewing order is as follows:

  • Batman: The Movie (1966) + (if you wish) Seasons One to Three of Batman.

And should you want to remain firmly in this era of Batman then you may wish to watch the movie, Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt (2003). This is a TV movie about the making of the Batman TV show and once again, Adam West and Burt Ward star.

Viewing Order Two – The Batman Anthology

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

For this second viewing order we go dark (and then light) with a collection of four films, kicking off with Batman (1989) and running through Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997). This series tells the origin of Batman, before moving on to more high camp adventures featuring Robin.

The viewing order is as follows:

  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)

Across the course of the four movies, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney play the part of Batman, with Chris O’Donnell as Robin. It should be noted that while these movie are very different in tone, they are all set within the same continuity.

And should you LOVE these Batman movies, then you may wish to hunt down the OnStar commercials which took inspiration from this Bat-series. You can usually view them on YouTube.

The commercials are NOT movies (they’re 30-second) ads, but they are fun little videos which feel very much a part of this era of Batman. Plus, Michael Gough (aka Alfred) features in the commercials.

Viewing Order Three – The Batman Anthology + 1

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

This viewing order is a discretionary viewing order only and there’s a reason for this – it’s the same viewing order as the one above, but with the inclusion of an extra film that doesn’t feature Batman!

That extra film is of course, Catwoman – the 2004 super hero movie which stared Halle Berry as Patience Phillips/Catwoman. While the movie does not feature the Caped Crusader and therefore is not a Batman movie, it does feature a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to Selina Kyle/Catwoman from Batman Returns.

Is Catwoman set in the same universe then?

Well, that’s entirely up to you to decide.

The viewing order is as follows:

  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)
  • Catwoman (2004)

Viewing Order Four – The Christopher Nolan trilogy 

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

The reset button gets set with this collection of movies, with director Christopher Nolan taking Batman back to basics for another origin story. Christian Bale takes on the role of the Dark Knight.

This viewing order is as follows:

  • Batman Begins (2005)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Viewing Order Five – The Ben Affleck movies

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Another collection of Bat-movies, this time as part of DC’s interconnected series of films. Ben Affleck takes on the role of Batman.

The viewing order* is as follows:

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)**
  • Suicide Squad (2016)***
  • Justice League (2017)

*You may wish to start this viewing order with 2013’s Man of Steel as it contains a story beat that feeds into Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

As this series of movies is part of a wider universe, you may also wish to watch Wonder Woman (2017) and Aquaman (2018), although neither of these movies feature Batman.

**Two cuts of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice exist. The Ultimate Edition (aka TheExtended Cut) includes 31 additional minutes of footage not included in the theatrical cut.

***Two cuts of Suicide Squad also exist, with one being longer than the other. Effectively they’re both the same movie just with more footage in the extended version.

Viewing Order Six – Production order

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

And finally, should you simply want to watch all of the live-action Batman movies in order of their release, here are the details you’re after.

The viewing order is as follows:

  • Batman: The Movie (1966)
  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)
  • Batman Begins (2005)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
  • Suicide Squad (2016)
  • Justice League (2017)

That’s a lot of films.

Should you want to start playing catch up, Warner Bros. (Fox in the case of Batman: The Movie) has released all of them on digital and Blu-ray/DVD. The releases include the Batman – The Motion Picture Anthology, which includes the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher directed Bat-films and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

I own a copy of this 4-disc boxset and it is fantastic for fans of the four ’80s/’90s movies. Alongside HD copies of the movies, each disc includes a wealth of bonus material including featurettes, music videos, production information and director commentaries.

The highlight of the collection is a six-part documentary which runs across the four discs (three parts on Batman, one part on each of the other three films). The documentary tells the story of the Batman Anthology from start to finish and includes input from most of the key players, including Jack Nicholson and Joel Schumacher.

If you want to catch up on the other Batman movies, then you will need to buy them individually – with the exception of the Christopher Nolan trilogy, which is also available as a boxset.

And if you want to know more about the Batman movie series, then head on over to my blog, I’ll Get Drive-Thru – a blog dedicated to the Batman movies! I’ll Get Drive-Thru takes a look at all the films that feature the Dark Knight, including live-action and animated.

Bats all, folks! Happy viewing.

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