On March 30, DC Comics is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Batman. Lasting three quarters of a century is no easy feat, and the Caped Crusader has survived this long in part to his simple premise, but also because of how varied many of his interpretations have been.
Few of pop culture’s most enduring characters have changed quite like the Dark Knight over the years, and so for my look back at Batman’s best on-screen moments, I’m taking a look at the big picture.
This means I’m considering the totality of Batman in movies and counting the goofy with the deathly serious, to get a more complete idea of his greatest moments on film. Check out my countdown below.
16. Bat Credit Card from “Batman & Robin”
It’s a struggle to find any moments from Joel Schumacher run worth mentioning, but at least here, they really went for it.
15. Shark Repellant Bat-Spray from “Batman: The Movie”
Sometimes you just have to go full crazy, and sometimes you have to applaud the 1966 Batman movie.
14. So That’s What That Feels Like in “The Dark Knight Rises”
Humor? Self-awarness? In a Batman movie? Well, I’ve never —
13. “Swear to Me” in “Batman Begins”
It was our first taste of how amazing over-the-top Bale’s Batman voice could be.
12. Bruce Wayne Rises in “The Dark Knight Rises”
Nolan’s emphasis on Batman’s role as a symbol comes full circle with a happier ending than we could have ever expected. Some purists might complain, but the moment is true to everything that came before it.
11. Both Bruce Wayne and Batman in “Batman Forever”
There are a few moments in the Schumacher movies that stand out as actually understanding Batman. This is one of them.
10. Batman Comes Home in “Batman Begins”
This stands as one of the most iconic shots of Bruce Wayne on film.
9. Bat Pod in “The Dark Knight”
There are few moments that have elicited cheers from the theater audience quite like this sequence.
8. Batman Bomb Run in “Batman: The Movie”
Does anything really need to be said?
7. “Not Everything, Not Yet” in “The Dark Knight Rises”
Batman hinted to Selina Kyle just how far he was willing to go for the people of Gotham even before he decided to fly off with that bomb. It was one of the finale’s emotional lows and still strikes a chord.
6. I’m Not Wearing Hockey Pads in “The Dark Knight”
Christian Bale’s best line delivery as Batman. Full stop.
5. Batwing in “Batman”
One of the more Batman-y moments from Burton’s films. Plus, an excellent use of a highly specific Batwing utility.
4. Bat Man in “Batman Begins”
This is just freaky. More than any other moment in the “Dark Knight” trilogy, Nolan points out the strangeness of the character.
3. Better Than He Deserves in “The Dark Knight”
Bruce Wayne shows his true colors when he saves the one guy who really doesn’t deserve any saving.
2. “Darkness, No Parents” in “The LEGO Movie”
After three very serious “Dark Knight” movies, it was time for Batman to find his sense of humor again. Will Arnett’s take on the Batman was both true to the character’s history and a pitch-perfect send-up of his most ridiculous attributes.
1. The Dark Knight in “The Dark Knight”
Nolan’s “Dark Knight” films are sometimes fairly criticized for not being all that interested in Batman himself, but there are certain moments, like the closing of his second movie, that are undeniably entrenched in what makes the character great. “The Dark Knight” ends on a complex note that completely nails what Batman represents.