A collection of caped crusader cars: Ranking the Batmobiles

The Batmobile has been through a lot of changes in just over three decades

From modified cars to full on armored vehicles for war, Batman’s main mode of transportation through the years has been a diverse mix. The latest Batmobile was featured in the new 2022 film, “The Batman.”

With a new car added to the mix, it seemed like a good opportunity to rank the Batmobiles I’ve seen in movies. Here’s my ranking from worst to best.

9. Mask of the Phantasm (1993) and Subzero (1998)

BatmobileAM

There’s a lot to like and a ton to love about “Batman: The Animated Series” and its related films, “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” and “Batman: Subzero.” However, the Batmobile in the series was, sadly, kind of lame.

Outside of being really long, it’s basically just a regular looking car. There are few things about it that set itself apart from its counterparts on the list.

Give me a bat symbol, a few wings at the back, or a more unique shape.

8. Batman & Robin (1997)

BatmobileanRob

“Batman & Robin” is full of vibrant, neon colors and camp. That’s definitely reflected in the Batmobile the Dark Knight drives from A to B in this movie.

It’s an excessive, flashy look for a character who should probably be more discreet. But honestly, I can forgive the colorful, spinning  turbine engine and the bright lights in this thing.

What I don’t like about this Batmobile is how it’s shaped. It’s such a narrow ride that it doesn’t even look like a typical car, but more like a bumper car that’s been retrofitted.

Also, why is there no roof? I feel like it made more sense for the 60s series to not have a top, but it seemed more necessary here. If I was Mr. Freeze, I’d just get perched with my ice gun and wait for Batman to drive by.

This one only gets out of last place because it has some features that are unique, there’s an effort here to give it some pizzazz.

7. The Batman (2022)

Batmobile222

I loved the new “Batman” film and it features a phenomenal car chase sequence. The Batmobile itself, though, still needs some work. That’s expected, since the Batman in this series is young and he seems to have just recently finished working on the car.

In that sense, the car earns some points for having a work-in-progress charm. Like the Batman in the film, this Batmobile is somewhat raw and new, but still has a fury. When this thing is moving around Gotham, it looks and sounds intimidating.

I’m looking forward to see where this Batmobile goes next. As it stands, it’s not the best out there, but shows a lot of potential.

6. Batman Forever (1995)

BatmobileFOrever

This Batmobile was one of the first signs that the series was moving in a different direction when Joel Schumacher took over directing duties from Tim Burton. It was more colorful, having blue lighting across the body and in the wheels.

It actually worked pretty well, too. It’s a sleek Batmobile, and the lighting has sort of a cool blue aesthetic that fits fairly well with the character driving it.

What I wasn’t as much of a fan of were the wings/fins at the back. They were just too big for the car and should have been scaled down, especially the one in the back middle.

5. The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012)

BatmobileBegins

In “The Dark Knight” trilogy, Batman came in ready to launch an offensive on crime in Gotham. You wanna go to war? You bring a tank. That’s basically what this version of the Batmobile was.

It’s not a traditionally stylish looking vehicle, but what it lacks in visual identity, it makes up for in brute power. Additionally, this Batmobile, known as the tumbler, has a look reminiscent of the F-117 Nighthawk, the stealth fighter. That ups the cool factor.

I think the battle-readyness of a Batmobile can be done better, though, as seen by the next vehicle on the list.

4. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League (2016-2017)

BatmobileJUstice

This was the Tumbler, but done a bit better. Having to go up against a dangerous alien race, this Batmobile needed to be ready for battle, and it sure was.

As the only non-super powered member of the Justice League, Batman needed some serious firepower and he brought it. The image above is the Batmobile after it had been modified, with the Dark Knight knowing there was a larger threat on the way after “Dawn of Justice.”

Even without all the added armor and weapons, though, the Batmobile looked nice.

Sleek, stealthy, stylish and strong. It’s a Bat vehicle that ranks near the top

3. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)

BatmobileBeyond

This is cheating just a bit since this Batmobile technically isn’t a car. However, in a future of flying vehicles, this one fits, especially as it’s Batman’s main form of transportation.

The hints of red on the outside give it some flair and it has a sleek, futuristic look. The sharp, angled sections, meanwhile, give it a true Batman identity. For a futuristic Batman, this is the right looking Batmobile.

BatmanBeyondMobileINterior

It helps that the interior looks great, too, bathed in red lighting, which adds to the tech-noir feel of “Beyond.”

2. Batman (1966)

Batmobile60s

Yes I said the vehicle in “Batman & Robin” should have had a roof, but despite that movie’s camp, it was still a different type of Caped Crusader story than the 60s series. For that series and the 66 film, this Batmobile was a perfect fit and having the top down really worked.

This Batmobile was so damn stylish. The black car with the red accents, the siren and emergency light in the center, plus the rocket booster engine at the back make it such a cool looking vehicle for its time.

batmobile66another

It may not be as intimidating as others on this list, but it didn’t need to be. It was a souped-up car to get Batman and Robin to an emergency in time and the design showed people that help was on the way.

1. Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992)

Batmobile89

Fast, intimidating, stylish, dark and Gothic. This Batmobile had it all. It’s the premiere vehicle the Dark Knight has driven during his time on screen. The front of the car with the turbine looking engine gives it an iconic look, as does the windshield and roof toward the back of the car.

The slight wing features on the rear wheels give the mobile its Bat identity, and the rocket engine on the back not only means it can reach high speeds, but gives a bit of an intimidation factor too. The flames shooting from the engine is like the fire of vengeance burning inside Batman.

BatmobileBack

Seeing it have to be dismantled in “Batman Returns” after the Penguin had taken control of it was a real bummer. To this day, it remains the best looking Batmobile in my opinion.

Along with the music, the scene where Batman is driving back to the Batcave with Vicki Vale is made phenomenal thanks to the excellent Batmobile design.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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