Batman might have had his share of really terrible live-action movies but what he lacks in live-action he makes up for in animated series and movies. If you’ve left the theaters after watching The Batman and are looking for more content to ride your Batman high, we’ve got you covered. HBO Max has a whole DC hub with everything you need to watch (and rewatch over again) until The Batman sequel.
Batman: Year One
If you’re looking to watch an animated movie that mirrors that comic book that The Batman was heavily influenced by, this is the film for you. Year One follows Bruce Wayne during his early years as Batman and delves into the root of his darkness, exposing a side of Bruce Wayne that we haven’t had time to explore in many live-action and animated series and films.
Batman: The Animated Series
In The Batman, we hear Robert Pattinson’s Batman say “I am vengeance” which is a direct pull from Batman: The Animated Series. The full quote is “I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Batman!” This four-time Emmy award winning series is beloved by many Batman fans and seen as the most on-point iteration of Batman (now with Robert Pattinson’s Batman right next to it).
This show is not only the origin point of the now extremely popular Harley Quinn, but also home to Mark Hamill’s Joker. Yes, Star Wars legend Mark Hamill lends his voice to Batman’s iconic arch nemesis, cementing himself as one of the most memorable Jokers.
Batman: The Long Halloween (Pt. 1 & Pt. 2)
Another inspiration for The Batman, The Long Halloween is a mystery that has two parts. Similar to the tone of The Batman, you are taken for a ride along with Batman as he tries to uncover the mystery of the Holiday Killer. It’s not an easy mystery to guess from the jump and you are introduced to familiar faces with no idea who could be behind the numerous Gotham City murders. Without any spoilers, the twist at the end is unexpected and neatly ties up the entire two-part series in a nice bow.
Batman: Under the Red Hood
Adapted from the popular comic, this story shows us something that we have never seen from Batman — vulnerability. Batman follows a mysterious anti-hero who takes on the old moniker that the Joker used to use in his early days of crime — Red Hood. Lacking a moral code, Red Hood finds himself on Batman’s radar and is relentlessly hunted down. In Batman’s search for the masked anti-hero, old wounds are opened and mysteries from his past become a rude awakening.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
Before watching this, I recommend watching the Batman Beyond series too. Batman Beyond is (to this day) up there with Batman: The Animated Series as the best animated Batman series. Return of the Joker brings back Batman’s key antagonist and his bone-chilling laugh. Despite Bruce Wayne believing the Joker to have died, the Joker makes an abrupt appearance in Gotham and starts up his typical brand of chaos.
The film follows Terry McGinnis, Bruce Wayne, and Commissioner Barbara Gordon as they walk down memory lane to uncover the true identity behind the resurrected Joker.
Batman vs. Robin
Enter Batman’s first blood son, Damian Wayne. Son of Talia Al Ghul and Bruce Wayne, Damian Wayne is handed off to Bruce Wayne to learn the ways of Batman. Raised by Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Assassins, Damian Wayne has a very different mindset than Batman and has a lot to learn before he takes on the mantle of Robin.
When he struggles to assimilate to the lifestyle of a morally-bound vigilante, he considers paving his own path and accepting an offer to train as a Talon for the Court of Owls. The struggle between Batman and his son are put to the test and we see Batman struggle with Damian Wayne as Robin in a very different way than he did with Dick Grayson’s Robin and Tim Drake’s Robin.
For more HBO Max content, check out Peacemaker, a DC hero based of a famous Marvel hero.
Photo via HBO Max