There may be certain things that every Batman film-maker (and indeed every Batman comic writer) must adhere to - conventions, mythology, back-story pillars - but one of the most telling reasons for his enduring appeal as a film character is his adaptability. While not all of the approaches have yielded perfect results, five wildly different film-makers with five wildly different visions have used the Dark Knight as a character in feature length movies, and he's fit in all organically.
He endures because of the story elements that define him, and which have passed into received, collective knowledge. He's an orphan, driven to correcting moral imbalance by shocking trauma, hidden under a cowl for effect and forced to repeatedly take down the most famous and starry rogue's gallery in the history of fiction. That much will continue even if the next three Batman movie appearances are driven mercilessly into the ground.
Now that the franchise has taken its most unconventional swerve - into the realms of animated LEGO - and new possibilities are open. it actually now feels like even better a time to be a Batman fan.
But which of the films released in the Dark Knight's name deserves to be considered the best?
The LEGO Movie
Though he's a principle cast member of the exceptional LEGO Movie, it's absolutely not his story and it could probably have worked just as well without him. He has some sway on the plot, obviously, but he's basically dropped in without his mythology and he could probably be replaced by any macho superhero or movie hero without the cut really showing.
Still, his supporting role is hilarious nonetheless, and it was Will Arnett's performance here and the exceptionally funny writing that really unpacked the idea of Batman's persona being a construct to hilarious effect. And without it, we wouldn't have the genius of the LEGO Batman Movie.