Batman has a celebrated history in comic books and live-action films, but which are the best Batman animated movies?
Halfway between print comics and blockbuster live-action films, are the animated films and television series centering around Bruce Wayne life and the legend of the Dark Knight. Batman: The Animated Series is for most of fans, the best superhero animated series ever made, but the animated films are a bit harder to rank, we’ll do our best 🙂
The Batman Vs. Dracula (2005)
From the Elseworlds tales universe, comes a phenomenal Batman vs. Dracula comic called Red Rain, which got two sequels due to its commercial and critical success. Unfortunately this comic is far too dark for an animated movie adaptation, and sadly this master piece of art wasn’t the inspiration of the animated film that was released in 2005.
Vampire Joker is pretty awesome, Vicki Vale gets an important role, and the story is not that bad, but overall The Batman vs. Dracula is one of the animated Batman features that you need to avoid.
Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman (2003)
A story focused on Batwoman sounds great, doesn’t it? Only that there is a little big problem with the story: it is impossibly, unbearably, unbelievably boring!
The revealing of the secret identity of the “mysterious” woman in a bat suit, you can imagine which is the end.
Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998)
The urban legend says that the release of Subzero was delayed because the animated movie was way better than Joel Schumacher’s live-action Batman & Robin. There isn’t a whole lot more that needs to be said about worst Batman Live Action movie ever, and SubZero is indeed a superior story.
The Dark Knight Returns, Parts 1 & 2 (2012)
An incredible well done adaptation of Frank Miller’s epic 1986 book of the same name, The Dark Knight Returns came out in 2012, and it didn’t disappoint to fans, the visual art was managed to stay faithful to nearly every panel of Miller’s book.
Year One (2010)
Like the animated adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, Year One is extremely faithful to the original graphic novel by Frank Miller. And again, this is simultaneously great and limiting.
You have to watch to Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle) voice acting to Detective James Gordon, it’s so freaking awesome!
The Return Of The Joker (2000)
The Return of the Joker recalls the past of original Batman, which is something Batman Beyond should have been doing all the time.
Appearances of Tim Drake and Harley Quinn bring color to the story, undoubtedly this film remains as one of the best Batman animated features ever made!
Under The Red Hood (2010)
Under the Red Hood is unique in a good way, while is based on a comic book arc, it distances itself from the adaptations of Year One and The Dark Knight Returns.
But this is not a bad thing, on the contrary, the Red Hood film manages to include a famous event from another Batman storyline, A Death in the Family, which is necessary for viewers unfamiliar with the comics. The outstanding visual art and a well written story result in a very exciting movie, whether you’re familiar with the original comics or not.
Mask Of The Phantasm (1993)
The greatest animated Batman feature, is 1993’s Mask of the Phantasm. This is the movie that spun directly out from Batman: The Animated Series, with all the charm and shadow of the “Dark Deco” Gotham noir feel.
Unlike the sequels SubZero and Mystery of the Batwoman, Mask of the Phantasm actually has enough story to support by itself as a feature-length film.
The whole movie feels like a comic book from the old Batman good days, the new characters, the deep personality of Bruce, and the awesome soundtrack solidifies Mask of the Phantasm as the quintessential Batman animated film.