Friday, August 21, 2015

DC Movies: First to Worst

Last week, I ranked Marvel's live-action films (at least the 37 I have seen) from first to worst. Thanks to everyone who read the list and have asked me about it since.

This week, I'm tackling the DC films. As I mentioned last week, I am more of a DC guy. I grew up with Batman, Superman and the Justice League, and so I feel more invested in their comic universe. However, I am by no means a "comic nerd," meaning that I do not know every single thing about every single character in every single story-line. I just like the stories and the characters.

That being said, I have to admit something: DC, overall, is much better at animated films that live-action. They just haven't done that many, and the non-Batman or early-Superman ones have just not been that good. In short, this list is live-action films...and I basically just gave numbers to the ones after 10 in order to make a publishable list. So here goes:
  1. The Dark Knight (2008) -- This film is so good for so many reasons: Bale was at this best as Batman, Heath Ledger gave us one of the great screen villains of all time, and Nolan proved to a larger audience that he is a mater filmmaker.
  2. Superman (1978) -- Christopher Reeves in that plain-style Superman suit squaring off against Gene Hackman in a role he was born to play (Lex Luthor) with John Williams' incredible score playing in the background. You know you dressed up at least once as Superman for Halloween because of this movie. Also, it set the bar for everything that has come after, only to be outdone by the aforementioned The Dark Knight.
  3. Batman Begins (2005) -- In a lot of ways, this served as a reboot not only for the Batman film franchise but for superhero films in general. If you don't believe me, just look at what came between Batman Returns (1992) and Iron Man (2008) and honestly tell me those were some glory years (the Tobey McGuire-Spider-Man films aside).
  4. Batman (1989) -- This is the film that captured me as a Batman fan and drove me to the comics to learn more about this silent guardian...this masked vigilante...this caped crusader...this dark knight. Whether they say it or not, this is the film all comic-book and superhero filmmakers look to for both inspiration and challenge.
  5. Superman II (1980) -- The empire struck back that same year, which overshadowed Superman's return a little. Thankfully Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) was there to enchant audiences back to Metropolis.
  6. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) -- Of Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, this is my least favorite simply because it is not as good as The Dark Knight. It feels rushed in spots. It's still better than the rest of the films on the list and many on the Marvel list. Yet it was a letdown in terms of ending Nolan's epic storyline.
  7. Batman Returns (1992) -- You could make a case that this is better than The Dark Knight Rises. You could probably make a strong case. It's a really good sequel to the 1989 Batman film and a good overall sequel film in general. Danny DeVito does a good job as Chester Cobblepot/Penguin; yet the Penguin is just a hard-to-believe character that it comes in just a step behind TDKR.
  8. Batman: The Movie (1966) -- The was campy Batman (and campy 1960s movie-making) at it's finest.
  9. Batman Forever (1995) -- I realize that I am probably going to catch some flack for this because Joel Schumacher directed this. However, if you pretend almost anyone else directed this, then you see that it's actually pretty good. It's right on the border of campy, and it suffers from it's own inflated ego due to the casting choices of Jim Carry (Riddler) and Tommy Lee Jones (Two-Face) in superbly fun roles. However there was little to not like about this film.
  10. Watchmen (2009) -- This is arduously long and difficult to stick with (especially if you have not read the graphic novel), however it's better than everything else on this list.
  11. Man of Steel (2013) -- Yes, there are a lot of problems with this film. However, like Watchmen, it's better than everything else on this list.
  12. Superman Returns (2006) -- Bryan Singer left X-Men: The Last Stand to direct this? Are we sure that actually happened? Maybe Brett Ratner tricked Singer into thinking he was directing X-Men: The Last Stand. Regardless, this film is just flat and just flat boring. Even Kevin Spacey's well-played turn as Lex Luthor (in a way very much that draws from Hackman) couldn't help Sups soar here.
  13. Swamp Thing (1982) -- Just let this sink in for a moment, remind yourself you probably saw it on USA or SyFy once, and let's move on.
  14. The Return of Swamp Thing (1989) -- After seeing this and realizing that it only had a limited release, you wonder how the rest of the films on this list ever saw a single silver screen.
  15. Superman III (1983) -- After-school special about the dangers of tobacco and how smoking can ruin your the form of a Superman film that tried really, really hard to be a comedy.
  16. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) -- Getting scratched robs Superman of his power? Really? On a lighter note, the "Honest Trailer" for this is hysterical.
  17. Steel (1997) -- You can't actually prove that I saw this. I mean, I did...and I felt horrible as a result. But you still can't prove that I saw it.
  18. Green Lantern (2011) -- I'm just finishing off the list at this point. And DC was scrapping the bottom of the barrel here. Martin Campbell's stellar directorial career still hasn't recovered.
  19. Catwoman (2004) -- (sigh)
  20. Batman and Robin (1997) -- When your cast and director apologize for making the film, you know it's going to be awful.
  21. Supergirl (1984) -- I hear the new series is actually we'll pretend this didn't happen.
So there you go. My opinion of the DC films. Got something you would like me to review or list next week? Leave me a comment.

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