When it comes to getting around, every superhero does it differently: Superman flies into action, The Flash runs there in a split, Aquaman swims (or gets a lift from Wonder Woman). Batman, however, has to drive there like every other normal human being.
This limitation on Batman's powers has given us one of the most iconic pieces of equipment in comic books: the Batmobile.
Every film iteration of The Dark Knight has come with its own version of the decked-out vehicle. In fact, the reveal of the Batmobile is one of the most highly anticipated moments in any new Batman film—as awaited as getting to see Bruce Wayne's cape-and-cowl outfit.
But not all movie Batmobiles are made equal. Some are way cooler, more useful, and better looking than others. Which ones are the best? Here are our picks for the best live-action movie Batmobiles.
7. Batman Forever (1995)
When Joel Schumacher stepped into the role of director after Tim Burton's departure on the films, the entire Batman film franchise was in for a huge tonal shift.
Michael Keaton was out as Batman and Val Kilmer was in. Despite a few hints of the gothic overtures that were Burton's signature, everything was brighter and more vibrant—including the Batmobile.
While the Batmobile had stayed largely consistent between Tim Burton's two films, Schumacher's version was lit up like a Christmas tree, and so much so that it was at odds with the world around it.
The design lacked the style of Keaton's ride and lacked the over-the-top fun of Clooney's version. It sits somewhere in the middle, neither intimidating nor a spectacle, putting it firmly at the bottom of our list.
6. The Batman (2022)
The most recent reboot of the Batman franchise sees Robert Pattinson embrace the moody early years of Batman.
This gritty new Batman film highlighted the skills that earned The Dark Knight the title of world's greatest detective, but that doesn't mean he doesn't get into more than a few action scenes along the way.
One of the most explosive scenes is a car chase with The Penguin. Earlier in the film, we're given glimpses of the new Batmobile beneath a cover in the Batcave. We only see it in action once, though: when it sneaks past a group of thugs to hide in wait around the side of a building.
This version takes a lot of inspiration from the 1966 version, with a curved back on top of what appears to be a classic Dodge Charger modified with armor and a jet engine on the back.
It doesn't have any of the gadgets of other Batmobiles, but it has plenty of muscle under the hood to give a fun chase scene. Future films might lift this version higher up this list as we see more of it in action.
5. Batman v Superman (2016)
Ben Affleck didn't get a fair shake as Batman. Hampered by confusing scripts from conflicting directors, he never got to fully embody Batman—and that drags this version of the iconic ride down.
This Batmobile looks like a more outlandish version of what we saw earlier in Christopher Nolan's trilogy, but with way more firepower. Zack Snyder's Batmobile was too weaponized, including multiple guns that can blow up thieves and cause massive property damage along the way.
It goes against many of the core tenants of the character, making him feel like he's doing far more harm than good in most of the Batmobile's scenes. As cool as it looks with the armor plating and tank-like design, it doesn't feel like a Batmobile that Batman would be proud of.
4. Batman and Robin (1997)
I have a soft spot for this movie. Not because I think it's good, but because it's pure, unadulterated camp—and I love it for that.
Batman and Robin is as close to a Broadway musical version of Batman as we'll ever get, complete with a Batmobile that you can see from space and more ice-related puns than at a refrigerator salesmen convention.
This Batmobile is big and bright, with a gadget for every occasion and absolutely no regard for logic. Why is there fire coming from beneath the cockpit? Why is the front made of glass? What do those wings do?
None of this matters because the movie doesn't care and neither should you. Just have fun with it and be distracted by the shiny lights and the existence of Bat-Nipples.
3. The Dark Knight (2008)
When Christopher Nolan took the reins for his take on Batman, he brought the franchise screaming back down to Earth and gave us a version of the character that could truly exist in the real world.
That sense of realism extended to the Batmobile, which is largely referred to as The Tumbler throughout the films.
This version of the car is built like a tank and drives like one too, tearing through buildings and other vehicles with reckless abandon. Despite performing some ridiculous feats, the movies go to length in assuring us that this is a real thing that we should take seriously.
This version of the Batmobile is stripped of its fun, opting for function over form all the way. That's why it isn't at the top of our list.
2. Tim Burton's Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992)
Tim Burton's Batman films strike the perfect balance between the serious origins of the character and the inherent silliness of a man who dresses up as a bat to punch gangsters.
There's no frame in his movies that isn't stylized to emphasize these two points. Michael Keaton's Caped Crusader might not have been able to move his head side to side, but at least he looked cool doing it.
This Batmobile was the basis for every other version until Batman Begins in 2005, including the version we saw in the Schumacher films and the animated TV series that followed shortly after.
It has all the wonderful toys you could ask for while still looking tough enough to withstand a bomb or two. It was dark, sleek, and gothic without feeling ridiculous, fitting perfectly into the universe Burton created.
1. Batman (1966)
Sometimes the old ways are the best. Watching the 1966 TV show today is a comedic experience, but there's nothing funny about how cool this version of the Batmobile looks.
Like everything else in the show, this car was done on the cheap: it's a simple outfitting of a decade-old Lincoln Futura with the iconic wings and stripes that this version became known for.
Why does this version top our list? Because sometimes it isn't about how effective the car is, nor about how tough it is. Sometimes you just want something fun, and everyone who grew up watching this show dreamed of hopping into the cockpit of this very Batmobile.
While this version might not be as intimidating as others on this list, it's carried by how incredibly cool and stylish it looks.