Batman is one of the most iconic and popular superheroes of all time. He has been featured in various forms of media, including comic books, TV shows, and movies. One of the most successful adaptations of the Dark Knight is the series of Batman animated movies. These movies have captivated audiences of all ages and have been praised for their excellent storytelling, voice acting, and animation. However, with so many Batman animated movies released over the years, it can be challenging to know where to start or what order to watch them in. In this article, we will provide a guide on how to watch the Batman animated movies in the correct order, including the different series and standalone films.
The DC Animated Universe:
Before we dive into the different Batman animated movies, it is essential to understand the concept of the DC Animated Universe (DCAU). The DCAU is a shared universe of animated TV shows and movies produced by Warner Bros. Animation and based on DC Comics characters. The DCAU began with the debut of Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and expanded to include other shows such as Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. The DCAU has a cohesive continuity, with characters and storylines crossing over between shows and movies.
Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995):
Batman: The Animated Series is the first and most influential series in the DCAU. The show was produced by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski and featured the voice talents of Kevin Conroy as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Mark Hamill as the Joker. The series aired from 1992 to 1995 and won four Emmy Awards. Batman: The Animated Series is known for its noir-inspired animation, mature storytelling, and complex characters.
The series spawned several animated movies that are considered part of the DCAU continuity. These movies include:
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993): This movie is a continuation of Batman: The Animated Series and tells the origin story of the Phantasm, a mysterious vigilante targeting Gotham City’s criminal underworld. The movie also features flashbacks to Bruce Wayne’s early years as Batman and his relationship with Andrea Beaumont, a woman from his past.
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998): This movie takes place after the events of Batman: The Animated Series and focuses on Mr. Freeze’s attempt to save his wife from a rare disease by kidnapping Barbara Gordon (Batgirl).
- Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003): This movie introduces a new character, the Batwoman, who is investigating a series of crimes in Gotham City while Batman and Robin are trying to stop the Penguin’s illegal arms operation.
Batman Beyond (1999-2001):
Batman Beyond is a spin-off series of Batman: The Animated Series that takes place in the future. The show follows Terry McGinnis, a teenager who becomes the new Batman under the guidance of an elderly Bruce Wayne. The series aired from 1999 to 2001 and was created by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett.
The show also spawned a movie, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000), which is considered part of the DCAU continuity. The movie features the return of the Joker, who has been thought dead for years, and Terry’s quest to uncover the truth behind his resurrection.
Justice League (2001-2004):
Justice League is a TV series that brings together several DC Comics superheroes, including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl. The show aired from 2001 to 2004 and was created by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Dwayne
McDuffie. The series was praised for its action-packed storytelling, witty dialogue, and character development.
Justice League also spawned a direct-to-video movie, Justice League: Secret Origins (2001), which serves as a prequel to the TV series. The movie tells the story of how the Justice League came to be and their first battle against an alien invasion.
Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006):
Justice League Unlimited is a continuation of Justice League and features an expanded roster of superheroes, including new additions such as Black Canary, Blue Beetle, and Booster Gold. The series aired from 2004 to 2006 and was also created by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Dwayne McDuffie.
The show also spawned several direct-to-video movies that are considered part of the DCAU continuity. These movies include:
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Knights of Tomorrow! (2010): This movie is a crossover between Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Justice League Unlimited. The movie features an alternate timeline where Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle’s son becomes the new Batman, and Terry McGinnis becomes Robin.
- Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010): This movie takes place in a parallel universe where the Justice League must team up with their counterparts, the Crime Syndicate, to stop an interdimensional threat.
- Justice League: Doom (2012): This movie features the Justice League battling a group of their own enemies who have stolen contingency plans to defeat them.
Standalone Batman Animated Movies:
In addition to the movies that are part of the DCAU continuity, there are also several standalone Batman animated movies that are not connected to any specific series. These movies can be enjoyed on their own and provide unique takes on the character and his mythology.
- Batman: Year One (2011): This movie is an adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. The movie tells the story of Bruce Wayne’s first year as Batman and his struggles against corruption in Gotham City.
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Parts 1 & 2 (2012-2013): This movie is an adaptation of the seminal graphic novel by Frank Miller. The movie takes place in a dystopian future where an aging Bruce Wayne comes out of retirement to become Batman once again.
- Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014): This movie takes place in the same universe as the Batman: Arkham video game series and features the Suicide Squad attempting to break into Arkham Asylum to retrieve a device that could be used to destroy Gotham City.
In conclusion, the Batman animated movies offer a wealth of exciting and entertaining stories featuring one of the most iconic superheroes of all time. The movies can be enjoyed in different orders, depending on whether you want to follow the DCAU continuity or watch the standalone films. However, by following the guide in this article, you can ensure that you watch the movies in the correct order and fully appreciate the character and his mythology. Whether you are a longtime fan of Batman or a newcomer to the character, the Batman animated movies are sure to provide hours of thrilling entertainment.\
- What order should I watch Batman animated movies?
Answer: The chronological order to watch Batman animated movies is Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998), Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003), Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000), Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2012), Batman: The Killing Joke (2016), Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018), Batman vs. Two-Face (2017), Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014), and Batman: Bad Blood (2016).