DC Comics Movies, Ranked

Get prepped for the 4-hour epic #SnyderCut, as we rank all the movies spun from the pages of DC Comics.

By Matt Lissauer

Poster art from "Zack Snyder's Justice League."

© HBO Max / Courtesy Everett Collection

From "Superman" and "The Dark Knight" to "Wonder Woman" and "Joker" – plus, all the DC Comic imprint adaptations in between – we rank all the movies ripped from the pages of DC.

  • 41Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

    © Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

    Absolutely one of the worst movies ever, and definitely the most terrible DC movie on record. The plot? Something about the Man of Steel (Christopher Reeve) taking on Lex Luthor's (Gene Hackman) buddy, a He-Man wannabe named Nuclear Man. Does it matter? No. No, it doesn't.

    Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

    Action / 1987 / PG

    Seeing the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a nuclear arms race that could lead to Earth's destruction, Superman (Christopher Reeve) decides that he must take action. He collects all the nuclear warheads from the world and throws them into space. Meanwhile, Superman's nemesis, Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), has broken out of prison with a new scheme. He clones Superman with radioactive material to create Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow), a being just as powerful as the man of steel.

  • 40Catwoman

    © Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

    Halle Berry may look great as a loner artist who acquires super strength and agility and transforms into Catwoman. Unfortunately for her, the look's about the only thing happening for this rotten superhero movie, which earned Raspberry Awards for Worst Actress, Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Screenplay. One of the worst movies of all time? Take a look and see...or don't.

    Catwoman

    Action / 2004 / PG-13

    "Catwoman" is the story of shy, sensitive artist Patience Philips (Halle Berry), a woman who can't seem to stop apologizing for her own existence. She works as a graphic designer for Hedare Beauty, a mammoth cosmetics company on the verge of releasing a revolutionary anti-aging product. When Patience inadvertently happens upon a dark secret her employer is hiding, she finds herself in the middle of a corporate conspiracy. What happens next changes Patience forever.

  • 39Steel

    © Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

    In some universe, the story of an Army scientist (played by ex-pro basketball player Shaquille O'Neal) who fights bad guys in a steel suit is likely a formula for box office success...this is not that universe.

    Steel

    Action / 1997 / PG-13

    Former Army scientists (Shaquille O'Neal, Annabeth Gish), one in a steel suit, team up in Los Angeles against another (Judd Nelson) who turned bad.

  • 38The Spirit

    © Lionsgate/courtesy Everett Collection

    Having a hard time remembering "The Spirit," an adaptation of a DC comic about a risen-from-the-dead police officer (Gabriel Macht) who fights crime in Central City? That's o.k. No one else remembers it, either.

    The Spirit

    Action / 2008 / PG-13

    Apparently murdered cop Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) returns as the Spirit, dedicated to protecting Central City from crime. His archenemy, the Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), is a ruthless killer who will destroy the Spirit's well-loved city to find the secret of immortality. As the Spirit pursues his quarry, he meets many beautiful women who would be happy to either kiss or kill him.

  • 37Jonah Hex

    © Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

    Before he was Thanos, he was supernatural gunfighter Jonah Hex. However, Josh Brolin would probably like to snap his finger and make all memories of this genre stinker disappear from the universe. Accompanying him on this failed superhero ride were respected actor John Malkovich and blockbuster bombshell of the era Megan Fox.

    Jonah Hex

    Action / 2010 / PG-13

    Having cheated death, gunslinger and bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) has one foot in the natural world and one in the supernatural. His unusual nature gives him the ability to track down anyone or anything, so the Army makes him an irresistible offer: It will erase the warrants on his head if he will find Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich). Turnbull, his oldest enemy, is preparing to unleash hell on Earth and will stop at nothing to kill him.

  • 36Batman & Robin

    © Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

    After this Batman movie, the studio would go on a long hiatus before attempting another one. Blame it on the batnips on George Clooney's costume. Or director Joel Schumacher's over-emphasized camp. Or Arnold Schwarzenegger's ill-advised take on Mr. Freeze. Whatever the reasons, this movie exists as a prime example on how not to produce a mega-budgeted Batman movie.

    Batman & Robin

    Action / 1997 / PG-13

    This superhero adventure finds Batman (George Clooney) and his partner, Robin (Chris O'Donnell), attempting to the foil the sinister schemes of a deranged set of new villains, most notably the melancholy Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who wants to make Gotham into an arctic region, and the sultry Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), a plant-loving femme fatale. As the Dynamic Duo contends with these bad guys, a third hero, Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), joins the ranks of the city's crime-fighters.

  • 35The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

    © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    No offense to the original cinematic James Bond, but the concept of important adventurers from literature led by Sean Connery uniting to stop a mad bomber was always going to have limited appeal. This isn't exactly the buff heroes of the MCU coming to the rescue. To the surprise of perhaps few but the studio executives who greenlit this DC project, "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" bombed in extraordinary fashion.

    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

    Action / 2003 / PG-13

    A team of extraordinary figures culled from great adventure literature (including Alan Quatermain, vampiress Mina Harker from Dracula, the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, an American secret service agent named Sawyer, Captain Nemo, and Dorian Gray), are called to stop a villain intent on turning the nations of the world against one another.

  • 34Green Lantern

    © Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

    So unremarkable and overlong that star Ryan Reynolds would later on have no shame at all in making fun of the movie and himself in the title role. It helps that Reynolds found his own true superhero calling later on as Deadpool (in the title movie, as opposed to Reynolds' Deadpool version in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"). Hopefully, someone will revisit this character some day with better success.

    Green Lantern

    Action / 2011 / PG-13

    Sworn to preserve intergalactic order, the Green Lantern Corps has existed for centuries. Its newest recruit, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), is the first human to join the ranks. The Green Lanterns have little regard for humans, who have thus far been unable to harness the powers of the ring each member wears. But Jordan, a gifted and cocky test pilot, may be the corps' only hope when a new enemy called Parallax threatens the universal balance of power.

  • 33Batman

    © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved / Courtesy: Everett Collection

    This version of Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) taking on all of their greatest hits villains is intentionally campy, corny...and honestly, not very good.

    Batman

    Action / 1966 / PG

    Kaaapowie! Holy feature film, Batman ... one based on the tongue-in-cheek, campy 1960's television series. Watch Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) battle sharks, Catwoman, The Joker and The Riddler on the big screen. Can they try to prevent the bad guys from taking over the world? With a wham! and a pow! and a zip! ... our heroes just might win.

  • 32Batman Forever

    © Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

    This is where the resurgence of "Batman" movies in the late '80s to mid '90s started to go off the rails. Val Kilmer actually makes a decent Batman, and comic book movie fans could do worse than the supporting cast of Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, Jim Carrey as the Riddler and Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian. Chris O'Donnell's Robin is definitely a little suspect, though, and Joel Schumacher's direction is way over the top.

    Batman Forever

    Action / 1995 / PG-13

    Batman (Val Kilmer) faces off against two foes: the schizophrenic, horribly scarred former District Attorney Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), and the Riddler (Jim Carrey), a disgruntled ex-Wayne Enterprises inventor seeking revenge against his former employer by unleashing his brain-sucking weapon on Gotham City's residents. As the caped crusader also deals with tortured memories of his parents' murder, he has a new romance, with psychologist Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman).

  • 31Superman III

    © Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

    The third "Superman" in the Christopher Reeve series featured our hero alongside comedian Richard Pryor, which was funny in a way, but not nearly funny enough. The less said about Robert Vaughn's villainous tycoon, the better. While it isn't quite as bad as the horrid "Superman IV," it's not good.

    Superman III

    Action / 1983 / PG

    Computer programmer Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) is hired by financial tycoon Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn) to seize control of a weather satellite and annihilate Colombia's coffee crop. When Superman (Christopher Reeve) manages to thwart the plan, Webster commands Gorman to use the satellite to locate kryptonite, the Man of Steel's mortal weakness. But a missing unknown element in the kryptonite -- replaced by Gorman with tar -- causes an unintended side effect when presented to Superman.

  • 30Red 2

    © Summit Entertainment/courtesy Everett Collection

    The second time for the veteran "Red" crew was not the charm. The all-star cast still seems to be having fun, but most of this spy thriller is going through the motions. It's a bit long in the tooth - pun intended.

    Red 2

    Action / 2013 / PG-13

    Former CIA black-ops agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) and his old partner, Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), are caught in the grip of retirement -- but that soon changes when a powerful Cold War weapon known as Nightshade resurfaces decades after its disappearance. With assassins hot on their trail, Frank and his team set out to find the one scientist (Anthony Hopkins) who can unravel the mystery of Nightshade and help them save themselves -- and the world.

  • 29The Kitchen

    © Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

    The big news is that this 2019 picture based on the Vertigo comic book series from DC stars A-list talents Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss. And...that's about it. Everything else about this adaptation is executed poorly. The story of wives taking over their husbands' corrupt business was covered much better a year earlier in the Steve McQueen film "Widows." See that instead.

    The Kitchen

    Crime Drama / 2019 / R

    Between 8th Ave. and the Hudson River, the Irish mafia runs 20 blocks of a tough New York City neighborhood known as Hell's Kitchen. But for mob wives Kathy, Ruby and Claire, things are about to take a dramatic and radical turn. When the FBI sends their husbands to prison, the three women take business into their own hands by running the rackets and taking out the competition.

  • 28Suicide Squad

    © Warner Bros. /Courtesy Everett Collection

    Was it studio meddling or the idea of giving final edits to the marketing team behind the successful trailers? Whatever it was, the film ended up being a jumbled mess. The saving grace, if there was one? Margot Robbie's delightfully psychotic Harley Quinn impresses, who continued to delight as she took charge in "Birds of Prey." We can't wait to see where her character goes next year in James Gunn's psudo-sequel/psudo-reboot "The Suicide Squad."

    Suicide Squad

    Action / 2016 / PG-13

    Figuring they're all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own.

  • 27The Losers

    ©Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

    The 2010 action ensemble "The Losers" had plenty of potential. "Captain America" star Chris Evans? Check. "Guardians of the Galaxy" star Zoe Saldana? Check. "Watchmen" star Jeffrey Dean Morgan? Check. Somehow though, this story of a special-ops team hunting down the person who tried to have them killed never quite comes together. It's subpar in the same way that both of Evans' "Fantastic Four" films also underwhelmed.

    The Losers

    Action / 2010 / PG-13

    On a mission deep in the Bolivian jungle, a team of elite commandos (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans) finds itself on the receiving end of a lethal betrayal. Now presumed dead, the men join forces with a mysterious operative named Aisha (Zoe Saldana) to hunt down their enemy and even the score.

  • 26Justice League

    © Warner Bros. Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection

    When tragedy struck, Zack Snyder left the reigns to one of the most iconic superhero supergroups of all time in the hands of Joss Whedon, the man who successfully brought to the screen a similar group in another comic universe (i.e. "Avengers" in the MCU). However, where things worked in that space, it just didn't seem to stick in DC, proving that Marvel may have had the right formula all along -- give each member their stand-alone adventure first, and then get them all together.

    Justice League

    Action / 2017 / PG-13

    Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes -- Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash -- it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

  • 25Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

    © Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

    Zack Snyder's bloated opus tried to be two movies in one, philosophizing on how a super-man with super-strength can fit into our world, while also attempting to set up a larger universe filled with other supers. The end result was a mess that left critics and fans scratching their heads, though we can't help but feel that there is a great movie in there somewhere. Of course, the film did introduce us to Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. So there's that...

    Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

    Action / 2016 / PG-13

    It's been nearly two years since Superman's (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and collateral damage left many feeling angry and helpless, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end his reign on Earth, while the conniving Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) launches his own crusade against the Man of Steel.

  • 24Superman Returns

    © Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

    Bryan Singer left Fox's X-Men franchise for a chance to bring the Man of Steel back to the big screen (years prior to Zack Snyder's attempt). While it was great to catch up with Superman and his rousing theme after 20 years, instead of carrying the legendary character forward, the movie was perhaps a bit too beholden to the films of the past.

    Superman Returns

    Action / 2006 / PG-13

    While Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) plots to destroy him once and for all, the Man of Steel (Brandon Routh) returns after a long absence to a much-changed world. Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has moved on with her life, and society has learned to survive without him. Superman must find a way to reconnect with her and find his place in a world that may no longer need him.

  • 23Constantine

    © Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

    One of Keanu Reeves' more underrated genre flicks is this one based on the DC comic book character Constantine, a man who can see the demons that plague our human world. Along with his sidekick Chas (a young but eager Shia LaBeouf), Constantine attempts to help a policewoman (Rachel Weisz) investigating the death of her twin sister.

    Constantine

    Horror / 2005 / R

    As a suicide survivor, demon hunter John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) has literally been to hell and back -- and he knows that when he dies, he's got a one-way ticket to Satan's realm unless he can earn enough goodwill to climb God's stairway to heaven. While helping policewoman Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) investigate her identical twin's apparent suicide, Constantine becomes caught up in a supernatural plot involving both demonic and angelic forces. Based on the DC/Vertigo "Hellblazer" comics.

  • 22Red

    © Summit Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Based on another limited run DC comic series, this all-star affair is novel mostly because it features an older ensemble as retired CIA agents back on the job. Here, they reunite for an action-packed adventure that's normally reserved for stars half their age. It's fun stuff. Amongst the veteran players are Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren.

    Red

    Action / 2010 / PG-13

    After surviving an assault from a squad of hit men, retired CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) reassembles his old team for an all-out war. Frank reunites with old Joe (Morgan Freeman), crazy Marvin (John Malkovich) and wily Victoria (Helen Mirren) to uncover a massive conspiracy that threatens their lives. Only their expert training will allow them to survive a near-impossible mission -- breaking into CIA headquarters.

  • 21Teen Titans GO! to the Movies

    © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    DC Comics breaks the fourth wall with this rousing animated adventure that follows on from their successful Cartoon Network series. If you liked the TV show, there's plenty more to like here.

    Teen Titans GO! to the Movies

    Animated / 2018 / PG

    It seems that all the major superheroes out there are starring in their own movies -- all but the Teen Titans. Robin is bound and determined to remedy that situation by becoming a star instead of a sidekick. With a few madcap ideas and a song in their hearts, the Teen Titans head to Hollywood to fulfill their dreams. Things soon go awry, however, when a supervillain plans to take over the planet -- putting the very fate of the young heroes on the line.

  • 20Wonder Woman 1984

    © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Gal Gadot reprises her popular role as superheroine Wonder Woman, stepping into the 1980s to battle evil villaness Cheetah and sleazy businessman Max Lord, who has the power to fulfill anyone's wildest dreams. In spite of it's many flaws, we have to give credit to writer and director Patty Jenkins, who tried to do something different with the superhero formula.

    Wonder Woman 1984

    Action / 2020 / PG-13

    Diana Prince lives quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s -- an era of excess driven by the pursuit of having it all. Though she's come into her full powers, she maintains a low profile by curating ancient artifacts, and only performing heroic acts incognito. But soon, Diana will have to muster all of her strength, wisdom and courage as she finds herself squaring off against Maxwell Lord and the Cheetah, a villainess who possesses superhuman strength and agility.

  • 19Man of Steel

    © Warner Bros. Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

    Zack Snyder's re-telling of the "Superman" origin style is in nearly every way inferior to the Richard Donner '78 version. It's also a lot darker, which doesn't fit as well as it did with Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. There are things to enjoy. Henry Cavill is entirely credible as the Man of Steel and Clark Kent, and he earns a lot of empathy. Likewise, both Diane Lane and Kevin Costner are effective as Kent's adopted parents on Earth. And, while many may view Hans Zimmer's score as too bombastic, we think it's a nice follow-up and something different to what John Williams provided for the original. Considering the true bombast of the other Snyder-directed DC films, this one's mostly a keeper.

    Man of Steel

    Action / 2013 / PG-13

    With the imminent destruction of Krypton, their home planet, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife seek to preserve their race by sending their infant son to Earth. The child's spacecraft lands at the farm of Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha (Diane Lane) Kent, who name him Clark and raise him as their own son. Though his extraordinary abilities have led to the adult Clark (Henry Cavill) living on the fringe of society, he finds he must become a hero to save those he loves from a dire threat.

  • 18Stardust

    © Paramount / courtesy Everett Collection

    Most won't recall this 2007 movie as a DC Comics film, but it is based on a Neil Gaiman graphic fantasy novel published by DC, and it's an underrated tale all about a young gentleman (Charlie Cox) who embarks on a journey to retrieve a fallen star (Claire Danes). Veteran thespians Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer lend support to the whimsical adventure.

    Stardust

    Fantasy / 2007 / PG-13

    To win the heart of his beloved (Sienna Miller), a young man named Tristan (Charlie Cox) ventures into the realm of fairies to retrieve a fallen star. What Tristan finds, however, is not a chunk of space rock, but a woman (Claire Danes) named Yvaine. Yvaine is in great danger, for the king's sons need her powers to secure the throne, and an evil witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) wants to use her to achieve eternal youth and beauty.

  • 17Batman Returns

    © Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

    While not as influential as Tim Burton's first Batman movie, the director's follow-up is still handsomely made and quirky enough to fit the bill. Plus, both Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as Penguin are memorable in the roles, while Keaton further enshrines himself as a fine, slightly off-kilter dark knight.

    Batman Returns

    Action / 1992 / PG-13

    The monstrous Penguin (Danny DeVito), who lives in the sewers beneath Gotham, joins up with wicked shock-headed businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) to topple the Batman (Michael Keaton) once and for all. But when Shreck's timid assistant, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer), finds out, and Shreck tries to kill her, she is transformed into the sexy Catwoman. She teams up with the Penguin and Shreck to destroy Batman, but sparks fly unexpectedly when she confronts the caped crusader.

  • 16Aquaman

    © Warner Bros. /Courtesy Everett Collection

    Remember when "Aquaman" the motion picture was just an imaginary project envisioned for the imaginary movie star Vincent Chase on the Hollywood wish-fulfillment HBO series "Entourage"? This one doesn't star Vince and it's not directed by James Cameron. But it does feature an enthusiastically game (and appropriately yolked) real-life movie star, Jason Momoa, and it's ably directed by former "Fast & Furious" guru James Wan. It's a little bit campy and a little bit "Star Wars." And it's not half bad.

    Aquaman

    Action / 2018 / PG-13

    Once home to the most advanced civilization on Earth, the city of Atlantis is now an underwater kingdom ruled by the power-hungry King Orm. With a vast army at his disposal, Orm plans to conquer the remaining oceanic people -- and then the surface world. Standing in his way is Aquaman, Orm's half-human, half-Atlantean brother and true heir to the throne. With help from royal counselor Vulko, Aquaman must retrieve the legendary Trident of Atlan and embrace his destiny as protector of the deep.

  • 15Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    © Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

    The ladies take the charge in this follow-up to the much-maligned "Suicide Squad." Stripping away Jared Leto's way too method Joker, and turning the focus on Margot Robbie's delightfully quirky and wonderfully psychotic Harley Quinn, "Birds of Prey" does well enough to stand on its own. More, however, could have been done to give each "bird of prey" some proper character development. But, well-deserved props must be given to WB for handing the reigns to director Cathy Yan, as this is one of the very few DC comic movies to be helmed by a female director.

    Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    Action / 2020 / R

    It's open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her back. Unprotected and on the run, Quinn faces the wrath of narcissistic crime boss Black Mask, his right-hand man, Victor Zsasz, and every other thug in the city. But things soon even out for Harley when she becomes unexpected allies with three deadly women -- Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya.

  • 14Shazam!

    © Warner Bros. /Courtesy Everett Collection

    This surprising 2019 kids movie basically takes the DC comics "Shazam" legend and turns it into a modern-day, comic book movie take on Tom Hanks' '80s body-swap blockbuster "Big." Star Zachary Levi has a similar breakout performance in this one, playing a teenager trapped in the muscle-bound thirtysomething body of a superhero.

    Shazam!

    Action / 2019 / PG-13

    We all have a superhero inside of us -- it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In 14-year-old Billy Batson's case, all he needs to do is shout out one word to transform into the adult superhero Shazam. Still a kid at heart, Shazam revels in the new version of himself by doing what any other teen would do -- have fun while testing out his newfound powers. But he'll need to master them quickly before the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana can get his hands on Shazam's magical abilities.

  • 13V for Vendetta

    ©Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

    Years before jumping into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, future "Thor" Natalie Portman starred in this well-made dystopian political thriller based on a DC Comics limited series. The highly stylized action film involves a vigilante named V who fights for right in a futuristic, post-war London. "Matrix" villain Hugo Weaving plays the hero this time around, in a film scripted by his "Matrix" collaborators The Wachowskis.

    V for Vendetta

    Action / 2006 / R

    Following world war, London is a police state occupied by a fascist government, and a vigilante known only as V (Hugo Weaving) uses terrorist tactics to fight the oppressors of the world in which he now lives. When V saves a young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) from the secret police, he discovers an ally in his fight against England's oppressors.

  • 12Watchmen

    © Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

    For all its faults, filmmaker Zack Snyder should be commended for doing what was long thought impossible, and that's creating a film out of a comic book series that many regarded as "unfilmable." The results were mixed, but fans still appreciated the effort -- there's no denying that Snyder is a true fan of the comics. And, in our opinion, the film does have one of the best opening sequences of the past 10 years.

    Watchmen

    Action / 2009 / R

    In an alternate 1985 America, costumed superheroes are part of everyday life. When one of his former comrades is murdered, masked vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) uncovers a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his retired associates, only one of which has true powers, Rorschach glimpses a far-reaching conspiracy involving their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the world's future.

  • 11The LEGO Batman Movie

    © Warner Bros. Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

    WB had a hit out of the gate with "The LEGO Movie," and audiences loved Will Arnett's gravelly-voiced take on the Caped Crusader, who aids hero Emmet in his mission. Following the success of the main movie, Arnett's Batman was spun off with his own equally successful and charming adventure. The film keeps the tone of the previous LEGO movie, while honoring the "Batmen" of the past.

    The LEGO Batman Movie

    Animated / 2017 / PG

    There are big changes brewing in Gotham, but if Batman (Will Arnett) wants to save the city from the Joker's (Zach Galifianakis) hostile takeover, he may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up. Maybe his superhero sidekick Robin (Michael Cera) and loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) can show him a thing or two.

  • 10Superman II

    © Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

    Filmed directly after the first movie, "Superman II" faced several setbacks including the replacement of original director Richard Donner with Richard Lester. In spite of all this -- and some obvious continuity errors from the re-shoots -- the movie still managed to carry a good story and introduced an iconic villain in General Zod - played with expert menace by Terence Stamp.

    Superman II

    Action / 1980 / PG

    Superman (Christopher Reeve) foils the plot of terrorists by hurtling their nuclear device into outer space, but the bomb's shock waves free the Kryptonian villain General Zod (Terence Stamp) and his henchmen Ursa (Sarah Douglas) and Non (Jack O'Halloran) from their imprisonment. Traveling to Earth, they threaten the planet with destruction at the same time that Superman decides to renounce his superpowers in order to live a normal life as Clark Kent with his new love, Lois Lane (Margot Kidder).

  • 9Batman

    © Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

    The odds were against Tim Burton in 1989, but he took risks -- like casting Beetlejuice as the Bat -- and it paid off. Burton's Batman managed to shake off the campiness from the '60s TV show, bringing the character back to his dark and gothic roots. As well, actors Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson offered fresh -- and ultimately iconic -- takes on Batman and Joker.

    Batman

    Action / 1989 / PG-13

    Having witnessed his parents' brutal murder as a child, millionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) fights crime in Gotham City disguised as Batman, a costumed hero who strikes fear into the hearts of villains. But when a deformed madman who calls himself "The Joker" (Jack Nicholson) seizes control of Gotham's criminal underworld, Batman must face his most ruthless nemesis ever while protecting both his identity and his love interest, reporter Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger).

  • 8The Dark Knight Rises

    © Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

    While Nolan's final Batman entry might not be the most loved of the three, it still manages to conclude the trilogy in the best way possible. While it's easy to point out the plot holes, what remains is a thrilling capper to one of the more unique takes on the Dark Knight.

    The Dark Knight Rises

    Action / 2012 / PG-13

    It has been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale), in collusion with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), vanished into the night. Assuming responsibility for the death of Harvey Dent, Batman sacrificed everything for what he and Gordon hoped would be the greater good. However, the arrival of a cunning cat burglar (Anne Hathaway) and a merciless terrorist named Bane (Tom Hardy) force Batman out of exile and into a battle he may not be able to win.

  • 7Road to Perdition

    © DreamWorks/courtesy Everett Collection

    Based on a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, director Sam Mendes' film plays up the themes of fathers and sons and the effects of violence, while Tom Hanks gave us his darkest role yet, as mob enforcer Michael Sullivan.

    Road to Perdition

    Crime Drama / 2002 / R

    Mike Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is an enforcer for powerful Depression-era Midwestern mobster John Rooney (Paul Newman). Rooney's son, Connor (Daniel Craig), is jealous of the close bond they share, and when Mike's eldest son, Michael (Tyler Hoechlin), witnesses a hit, Connor uses the incident as an excuse to murder Sullivan's wife (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and youngest son. Forced to flee, Sullivan and Michael set out on a journey of revenge and self-discovery.

  • 6Batman Begins

    © Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

    After the camp and spectacle of director Joel Schumacher's turn with the Bat in the '90s ("Batman Forever" and "Batman and Robin"), fans were ready for Christopher Nolan to bring the franchise back to its dark and gritty roots. Nolan discarded Batman's cartoonish gadgetry for a more grounded and realistic take on the Caped Crusader.

    Batman Begins

    Action / 2005 / PG-13

    A young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels to the Far East, where he's trained in the martial arts by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), a member of the mysterious League of Shadows. When Ducard reveals the League's true purpose -- the complete destruction of Gotham City -- Wayne returns to Gotham intent on cleaning up the city without resorting to murder. With the help of Alfred (Michael Caine), his loyal butler, and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), a tech expert at Wayne Enterprises, Batman is born.

  • 5A History of Violence

    © New Line/courtesy Everett Collection

    Director David Cronenberg's character-focused adaptation of John Wagner and Vince Locke's noir-esque graphic novel (published under the imprint of DC Comics), was released to critical acclaim, and earned Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor (William Hurt) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Josh Olson).

    A History of Violence

    Drama / 2005 / R

    When a pair of petty criminals attempt to rob his small-town diner, Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) quickly and easily kills them both. In the flush of news coverage of Tom's seemingly heroic actions, a threatening stranger named Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris) comes to town, fingering the unassuming family man as long-missing Philadelphia mobster Joey Cusack. To the horror of his wife, Edie (Maria Bello), and teenage son, Jack (Ashton Holmes), Tom finds he must confront his violent past.

  • 4Joker

    © Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

    Star Joaquin Phoenix and filmmaker Todd Phillips put a whole new spin on the Batman villain and the superhero movie genre - basically reinventing them both as a character study in the vein of classic gritty, Martin Scorsese pictures such as "Taxi Driver" and "The King of Comedy." The end results caused all sorts of controversy even before the movie opened, with detractors worrying that the film would incite real-life violence. No matter the sides, one thing is for certain - "Joker" is unlike any other comic book movie.

    Joker

    Crime Drama / 2019 / R

    Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur wears two masks -- the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he's part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker.

  • 3Wonder Woman

    © Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

    Patty Jenkins' entry into DC's shared cinematic universe took the original "Superman" formula and turned it on its head for an ass-kicking adventure through WWI that proved that anything that men can do, women can do better.

    Wonder Woman

    Action / 2017 / PG-13

    Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that's raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.

  • 2Superman

    © Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

    Director Richard Donner's 1978 cosmic adventure proved the viability and mega-success of the comic book movie genre. Even after two new cinematic takes on the iconic hero, we still come back to Christopher Reeve, and that inspiring theme music from John Williams.

    Superman

    Action / 1978 / PG

    Just before the destruction of the planet Krypton, scientist Jor-El (Marlon Brando) sends his infant son Kal-El on a spaceship to Earth. Raised by kindly farmers Jonathan (Glenn Ford) and Martha Kent (Phyllis Thaxter), young Clark (Christopher Reeve) discovers the source of his superhuman powers and moves to Metropolis to fight evil. As Superman, he battles the villainous Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), while, as novice reporter Clark Kent, he attempts to woo co-worker Lois Lane (Margot Kidder).

  • 1The Dark Knight

    © Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

    Christopher Nolan's follow-up to his dark and gritty reboot of Batman was a film that not only helped usher in a new era of superhero cinema, but also gave all franchise owners the idea that going dark, stark, and gritty can work to freshen up longstanding IP (at least some of the time).

    The Dark Knight

    Action / 2008 / PG-13

    With the help of allies Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman (Christian Bale) has been able to keep a tight lid on crime in Gotham City. But when a vile young criminal calling himself the Joker (Heath Ledger) suddenly throws the town into chaos, the caped Crusader begins to tread a fine line between heroism and vigilantism.

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About the Author

Matt Lissauer

Matt Lissauer is a writer & data manager for Noovie. When he is not busy writing listicles, Matt is enjoying life in New Jersey with his lovely wife and three kids.

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