10 Best Batman Animated Movies To Watch Before Matt Reeves’ The Batman

With Matt Reeves' The Batman on the horizon, now is the perfect time to look back at some of the best Batman films that match the new Dark Knight.

It would seem that fans are in for something special when it comes to Matt Reeves’ The Batman. For many, it is one of the most anticipated movies of 2022 due to its grounded detective thriller style. It seems to be taking inspiration from many iconic comic books but also Batman: The Animated Series.

It makes sense considering Batman: The Animated Series ended up spawning a massive library of straight-to-video animated movies. From the 1990s all the way to the current day, Batman animated films are cherished by fans and these are the perfect ones to get hyped for The Batman.

10 Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero (1998)

Stemming from Batman: The Animated SeriesBatman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero is the second movie in the DC Animated Universe created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini. It retains the darker tones of the series and brings back Mr. Freeze, one of the most tragic comic book villains.

Many fans have already noted similarities between the style of Matt Reeves and the animated series, especially with both scores. Both also mix a sense of grounded realism with enough comic book elements to make it a proper Batman story. Sub-Zero is simply more of what fans loved about the series but expanded.

9 Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)

Batman does not play a large role in The New Frontier but he does play an important part. Mainly featured in Martian Manhunter’s story, Batman is investigating the strange entity known as The Centre. Voiced by Jeremy Sisto, Batman is less of a superhero and more of a detective boogeyman of Gotham.

Both criminals and citizens alike fear him, even though he means nothing but good for Gotham City and Earth. He even goes through a story arc where he evolved into a more public hero rather than a monster. Fans of the comics will recognize that he wears two different famous suits from the long line of suits.

8 Batman: Hush (2019)

Despite its rather divisive twists on the story, Batman: Hush was still a bold attempt to adapt the famous storyline. Much like The Batman, Hush puts emphasis on the often toxic relationship between Batman and Catwoman, with the two working together to stop the titular villain.

There is also a similarity to The Batman in which the villain seems to have a vendetta against Bruce Wayne and Batman. As a result, this is one of the most personal stories for Jason O’Mara’s Batman in the DC Animated Movie Universe.

7 Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker (2000)

Batman Beyond AKA Terry McGinnis is less of a detective than his predecessor. For the most part, Batman Beyond fights crime as a superhero would but that changed when Batman’s oldest foe: The Joker returns from the grave.

In Return Of The Joker, Terry has to develop the detective side a bit more. Especially when Bruce Wayne is put into a coma and Terry is forced to operate alone, trying to figure out how the Joker is still alive and operating in Neo-Gotham. The result is a dark and surprisingly disturbing film for Bruce Timm’s DC Animated Universe that fans have cherished.

6 Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)

Rather than one story, Batman: Gotham Knight is an anime anthology with several stories made by different animators and filmmakers. Each one delivers something unique that portrays Batman in different styles, perspectives, and tones; each featuring Kevin Conroy providing the voice of Batman.

In one of the stories, Bruce Wayne is portrayed as much younger and even bears a striking resemblance to Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne. Even the Batsuit he wears has some similarities with the style of armor mixed with a high collar.

5 Batman: Gotham By Gaslight (2018)

For those looking for a pure detective story much like The Batman, then Gotham By Gaslight is the right choice. Essentially, Batman is Gotham’s version of Sherlock Holmes in an alternate version of Gotham City in the 1800s with Jack The Ripper on the loose.

It’s based on a one-shot Elseworlds story but it takes liberties that end up paying off for a gruesome R-rated Batman movie. The murder mystery element is engaging with the Victorian Gotham City providing an ominous yet welcoming atmosphere that compliments the characters and twists.

4 Batman: Under The Red Hood (2010)

Matt Reeves’ The Batman appears to be telling a story from Batman’s perspective, giving an insight into the tragedy and unhinged nature of Bruce’s mind. Featuring a similar point-of-view is Batman: Under The Red Hood where most of the movie is spent on Batman trying to uncover the identity of the Red Hood.

At the same time, a lot of flashbacks are also told from his perspective which helps show Batman’s emotional side that he keeps hidden behind his broody exterior. How Batman handles his pain is very much the focus as well as the mystery of the titular villain which will not be spoiled here.

3 Batman: Year One (2011)

Despite taking place in his second year as Batman, Matt Reeves has openly stated that he wanted to bring Batman: Year One to life. The Frank Miller comics are beloved by fans to the point that it too received an animated adaptation, featuring Ben McKenzie as one of the more underrated Batman voice actors.

The animated Batman: Year One movie is very loyal to its source material, keeping with the gritty crime thriller angle, showcasing the corruption of Gotham from the streets to the police department.

2 Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (1993)

The new Batman himself, Robert Pattinson, has stated his love and appreciation for Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm. Pattinson also stated that he believes there has yet to be a film that gets Batman’s struggle how Mask Of the Phantasm did and that the new film is very much inspired by the animated film.

That shows how well Bruce Timm and Paul Dini executed their film because it was the first DC animated movie ever made and its impact is still felt to this day. From the gloomy atmospheric score, very reminiscent of Michael Giacchino’s to exploring Batman’s inner turmoil along with a mystery that leads to an epic finale. Any fan of Batman should see Mask Of The Phantasm.

1 Batman: The Long Halloween (2021)

Starring Jensen Ackles of Supernatural fame as Batman, The Long Halloween is a nearly page-by-page adaptation of the Jeph Loeb comic. This is thanks to the movie being split into two parts combined to make 172 minutes, making it the longest Batman movie ever made before Matt Reeves’ movie which is 175 minutes.

In terms of tone, setting, and style, The Batman comes closest to The Long Halloween, as it was the story that brought Batman back to his roots as a detective. There is a strange serial killer that puts Batman through the wringer, much like Riddler in the new film. This is another that features an unlikely alliance between Batman and Catwoman. It does make changes from its source material but most fans hold the film in high regard.

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