We’re really close to the release of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which means it’s time for us to look back at previous Bat flicks to remember the journey that ultimately led us here.
Today, we’re ranking the numerous Batmobiles that have sped across the screen over the years from worst to best. Keep in mind, these are the live-action iterations of the Batmobile, because, otherwise, Mask of the Phantasm’s Batmobile would likely take the cake — or, at the very least, rank very close to the top.
Let us know your own rankings of these iconic Batmobiles in the comments below!
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6. Batman & Robin
With its neon lights and clunky frame, the 30-foot Batmobile seen in Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin was clearly designed more for the toy market than as a practical vehicle for the Dark Knight. Owing a great deal to the aesthetic of Batman ’66, Batman & Robin’s convertible ride leaves its exposed driver susceptible to attacks from all sides. Not exactly ideal for its pointy-eared crime fighter.
Intriguingly, per this site, Batman & Robin’s Batmobile has a couple of interesting details to note: Apparently, its tires leave behind bat logos in the dirt and its interior is really intricate, though neither tidbit is seen in the film.
5. Batman ’66
The original Batmobile from the cheesy Adam West TV series and 1966 film still deserves some praise thanks to its then-inspired design. Built from a Lincoln Futura, the convertible style works well enough for the show and comes equipped with plenty of fun gadgets. Though, it is a bit odd that Batman didn’t paint the car to match his personal color scheme.
4. Batman Forever
I always loved the design of the Batmobile from Batman Forever, however impractical it may be. The slick blue neon lights and narrow shape look great, but that oversized fin plastered on the back looks like it would cause more harm than good. Visually, this one packs a punch (and even gets a couple of cool moments in the film before Jim Carrey’s Riddler blows it to bits), but also seems like the type of high-profile ride Batman would actively avoid.
3. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice / Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Batfleck’s Batmobile has always been a mixed bag for me. I do like the design, but on screen, it lacks a certain visual pop needed to place it above others on this list. It doesn’t help that it looks like it could snap in half at any moment and really doesn’t get a whole lot to do until the third act of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Still, I get why Batman would drive this particular vehicle. From a practical perspective, it makes the most sense out of any of the other Batmobiles, what with its slender (though, ironically, heavy) design and an assortment of weaponry. Batfleck’s ride is obviously a powerful bit of technology — it just needed something more to make it really stand out.
2. The Dark Knight Trilogy
Visually, the Tumbler is nothing more than a military vehicle painted black, but it still looks amazing. Sure, it’s clunky and a bit impractical considering it must somehow stealthily navigate Gotham’s busy streets with precision, but an assortment of powerful weapons, a near-impenetrable shell, and a crazy cool interior make the vehicle one of the more memorable Batmobiles to grace the screen. Plus, it has a “Batpod” built into its design — a reveal that ranks amongst the most badass Batman moments of all time.
1. Batman 1989
Finally, the crème de la crème: Tim Burton’s 1989 Batmobile. Yeah, this isn’t a very original take, but this sucker packs a wallop thanks to its dark exterior (which allows it to blend in the shadows), powerful weaponry, and an assortment of fun gadgets. Plus, it still maintains Batman’s personal aesthetic — it has bat wings! — without resorting to silly design tactics.
Sure, one could argue this vehicle has the same issues as its counterparts in terms of practicality. It is extremely long and doesn’t maneuver very well, but I suppose that doesn’t matter when Batman can flick a switch and transform the car into a literal missile.