Don’t know much about Batman movies? Well don’t worry, you’re not alone.

No Bat-fan was born with a detailed knowledge concerning the Caped Crusader – it has developed over time, and often comes on in leaps and bounds by reading the correct Batman comics or watching the right Batman movies.

There are a number of Batman movies which are perfect for beginners. Not only do they provide lots of information on the Dark Knight, but they can also prove to be an easy watch, without the need for lots of complex backstory.

In this post I am discussing the best Batman movies for beginners. The films listed below – both live-action and animated – are ideal for those who have little to no knowledge of who Batman is and are looking for answers.

With each film I will provide a short description, to give you an idea of why this film is good for beginners. In addition, I am offering up an extra recommendation that shares a link to the movie – either chronologically or thematically.

Let’s begin.

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Batman (1989)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

If you are a Batman movie novice, one of the best places to start is with Tim Burton’s Batman. Not only is the movie set during the early days of Batman’s career, it also includes his origin and his first encounter with the Joker – his most famous adversary.

Batman was conceived as a starting point for cinemagoers, so it presumes that audiences know little about the character. For many, this film is the perfect introduction to the Caped Crusader.

And if you like Batman, then you might like:

  • Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Returns continues the story from Batman, this time introducing new villains the Penguin and Catwoman.

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Batman Begins (2005)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

If Batman ’89 is perhaps a little too dated for you (hey, none of us are getting any younger), then you may wish to kick-start your journey with Batman Begins. As you might expect from a film with the word ‘begins’ in the title, this is a story which depicts the origin of Batman.

Batman Begins is not connected to Batman ’89, and instead resets the clock with a new cast, a new direction, and a new way of approaching the material. It’s a back-to-basics take on the character and easily one of the best Batman movies ever.

And if you like Batman Begins, then you might like:

  • The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight continues the story from Batman Begins and introduces the Joker into this version of the Batman mythology. The Dark Knight then leads into The Dark Knight Rises (2012), which concludes the story.

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Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Image: ©Warner Bros./DC Entertainment

Time to move across to animation now for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. This film is also set during the early stages of Batman’s career, but it puts a new spin on the material.

In the present day, a new villain arrives in Gotham City and is picking off mob bosses one by one. Meanwhile in the past (which is seen through flashbacks), Bruce Wayne takes his first steps towards becoming Batman, while developing a romantic relationship that could change the course of his life.

If you like Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, then you also might like:

  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)

Batman Beyond is set in the distant future, with Bruce Wayne effectively retired from the role of Batman, allowing a new hero to put on the suit. Return of the Joker is all part of the same time as Mask of the Phantasm and acts as a good bookend to Batman’s story.

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The Dark Knight Returns – Part 1 (2012) & Part 2 (2013)

Image: ©Warner Bros./DC Entertainment

Now for two movies which look at the opposite end of the Batman timeline via the two-part tale, The Dark Knight Returns. These two movies – Part 1 was released in 2012 and Part 2 in 2013 – are based on the comic book of the same name by Frank Miller and see Batman contend with the Joker, Two-Face and a hostile Superman.

The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 & 2 are not suitable for younger viewers, so this purely for those in their late teens and up. However, if that’s you then give these two movies a watch as they will show you potentially what happens to Batman when his best crimefighting days are behind him.

And if you like The Dark Knight Returns, then you might like:

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice also takes inspiration from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns comic book. It is not particular ideal for Batman newbies, as it has links to other movies, but it does include a brief flashback to Batman’s origin, ensuring newcomers know what led to Bruce Wayne becoming Batman.

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Batman Forever (1995)

Image: ©Warner Bros./DC Entertainment

And finally, a Batman movie that is perfect for beginners for completely different reasons than those listed above. Batman Forever is not an origin tale and is not a story that is set towards the end of Batman’s career – instead it is simply a fun, comic book movie that is suitable viewing for all.

If you have progressed past Batman’s early adventures and all you want is to watch the Caped Crusader in action, then Batman Forever is for you. The movie is not too dark, and not too light, and includes a number of great set pieces, some memorable dialogue, and is easy watching for those who know little about the character.

If you like Batman Forever, then you may also wish to check out:

  • Justice League: Doom (2012)

Justice League: Doom is an animated adventure which looks at Batman’s place as a member of the super hero team, the Justice League. Viewers need no prior knowledge of who the Justice League are, they just need to switch on the movie and enjoy.

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Additional suggestions

If none of the above films seem appealing, or you simply want to soak up as much ‘Batman for beginners’ as possible, then you should also check out:

  • Batman: Gotham Knight (2008) – An animated anthology movie featuring various unique takes on the Dark Knight (all using different styles of animation). This movie is great for beginners as it shows how different people interpret the same character.
  • Batman: Year One (2011) – An animated adventure set during the early career of Batman. The film is based on the Batman: Year One comic by Frank Miller and details the Caped Crusader’s first steps into crimefighting.

The movies listed above should provide plenty of backstory for anyone who wants to learn about Batman for the first time. Should you want further information about Batman movies, then I suggest you take a look around this blog or check out some of my posts, including Six best Batman movies for kids or Five popular opinions about the Batman movies.

Thanks for stopping by and happy viewing!

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