The week of The Batman is upon us. Can you believe it's been almost 10 years since the last live-action solo Batman movie? Me neither, as the Caped Crusader has barely left our screens since then, something I'm thankful for on a daily basis.
The Batman will see Robert Pattinson step into the role of the beloved superhero in what is expected to be a new film trilogy from director Matt Reeves. It will also see Paul Dano as the Riddler and Zoë Kravitz as Catwomen. All fine actors (make sure to watch Good Time with R-Batz) that are already receiving rave reviews for their performances.
Whenever a new Batman film releases, naturally the best thing to do is rewatch a load of classic films with the Dark Knight. Speaking of which, if you've read any recommendation list within the last decade you'll be well aware of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. It's a masterpiece and is easily the go-to recommendation. So for this one, we've taken the film out of the equation to bring you the best Batman films to watch that aren't The Dark Knight. Enjoy!
Batman: The Long Halloween
Let's start with Batman: The Long Halloween, the comicbook that The Batman is said to take inspiration from most (alongside Batman: Year One). A two-part animated adaption of Batman: The Long Halloween was released only last year and is the perfect introduction for anyone curious about the themes of the upcoming film.
Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel and video game veteran Troy Baker all make up the stellar voice cast with the film itself doing reasonable justice to its source material. I understand animation isn't for everyone but I implore you to give this one a chance. It's actually on HBO Max now. Better still, give the comicbook a read. It's relatively short but holds up incredibly well more than 20 years on.
No Dark Knight, no problem. The more I watch Batman Begins, the more I think it might actually be better than The Dark Knight. Crazy, I know! But hear me out: Batman was in a horrendous state after Batman & Robin in 1997. Eight years on and what Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. achieved with Batman Begins has to go down as one of the best comebacks in cinema history.
This was the first time we saw how Bruce Wayne became Batman. Taking inspiration from Batman: Year One, which again The Batman is said to, Christian Bale puts in a tremendous performance as a lost Bruce Wayne trying to find his way in the world. Let's not forget the sublime supporting cast in Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Rutger Hauer, Cillian Murphy and Morgan Freeman.
I really like Katie Holmes too! She brings out a great boyish charm from Bale that Maggie Gyllenhaal simply couldn't replicate in the sequel. I also think Murphy's Scarecrow isn't a million miles away from Health Ledger's Joker. I'm I monster? No, I'm just ahead of the curve.
Zack Snyder's Justice League
While not technically an out and out Batman film (Ben Affleck sadly never received one), this is the most recent live-action appearance in film of the character – and it's great. The original Justice League was a mess. I walked out of the cinema bitterly disappointed at seeing Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and co. line-up for the first time in this manner. Then, following years of begging from devoted fans, Warner Bros. lamented and gave us the Zack Snyder's Justice League – all four hours of it!
In no way shape or form is this movie perfect but it's at least cohesive – Ben Affleck as Batman is the gold standard in my books too. Though he delivers a better performance in Batman v Superman, Zack Snyder's Justice League gives us a much more interesting arc with Bruce Wayne trying to form a team after the death of Superman. Not to mention, there's lots of great Batman action featuring the grappling hook, the Bat-Tank and the Knightcrawler. Don't let the runtime put you off, either. If you're not a madman like me and watch the whole thing in one sitting, the film is split into six parts with an epilogue. Problem solved.
The Batman will star Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Jayme Lawson, Andy Serkis and Colin Farrell. It will debut in theatres globally on March 4th, 2022.
To find out more details, head on over to our handy The Batman guide on how to watch the new DC movie.