DC Universe: Every DC Comics Movie Ranked
DC Comics may still be figuring out how to build a big-screen shared universe that effectively rivals the storytelling prowess of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but if box office receipts and promise are any indication, the DC Extended Universe will only improve in the years ahead. Despite the fact that 30 films featuring DC characters have been released in theaters thus far, the characters of DC Comics have never been united in a single big-screen continuity until now.
We’ve already taken a look back at those films featuring DC mainstays Batman and Superman, but now we turn our attention to the history of DC Comics on-screen as a whole. For the record, this ranking only includes feature length projects that received at least a limited theatrical run. Don’t expect to see any of the dozens of direct-to-video animated films on here, aside from Batman: The Killing Joke (which received a special theatrical release).
30. Supergirl (1984)
The first DC Comics film starring a female hero, this one unfortunately gave female-led superhero films a bad name, a reputation that hopefully the Wonder Woman film can redeem next year.
29. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
The last of Christopher Reeve’s films as the Man of Steel was essentially the Batman & Robin of the Superman-based film series long before Joel Schumacher ever stepped on a Batman set.
28. Catwoman (2004)
Another female-led DC film that fell flat. Poor Halle Berry squandered her Oscar-winning goodwill on this embarrassment that has actually little to do with the actual title character.
27. Steel (1997)
In the mid-1990s, few people were bigger stars — literally and figuratively — than Shaquille O’Neal. Still, that doesn’t mean he can act. Kazaam, anyone?
26. Superman III (1983)
Richard Pryor in a major Hollywood blockbuster? Sign us up. Wait, on second thought, Pryor should have sat this one out.
25. Batman & Robin (1997)
The infamous misfire that brought the world Bat-nipples isn’t the worst DC Comics film ever. Shocking, right?
24. Jonah Hex (2010)
Josh Brolin is a gifted actor with incredible range, but this lame attempt to launch a franchise did him no favors whatsoever.
23. Green Lantern (2011)
Ryan Reynolds tries his best to make this disaster of a film succeed, but to no avail. Fingers crossed the upcoming reboot works out.
22. The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)
Without Wes Craven behind the camera, this one probably shouldn’t have even happened in the first place.
21. Superman and the Mole Men (1951)
Although this is technically the first theatrically released DC Comics film, it’s really just the pilot for the George Reeves series Adventures of Superman.
20. Superman Returns (2006)
Bryan Singer’s attempt to capture the magic of Richard Donner’s original film ended up being the perfect bridge between the memorable first two Reeve films and their dreadful sequels.
19. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Batman and Superman finally share the screen, but why aren’t we more excited at the result?
18. The Losers (2010)
Chances are, audiences didn’t know the comic book, but there are enough compelling stars to make this film a fun ride.
17. Suicide Squad (2016)
Two words: Harley Quinn. Sure, there are other characters like Deadshot and Amanda Waller. But let’s face it, this film exists to give the world the live-action debut of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. We’ll take it.
16. Constantine (2005)
Not the short-lived NBC drama. Keanu Reeves “whoas” his way through this supernatural thriller that holds up as a solid B-movie.
15. Swamp Thing (1982)
Wes Craven lends his considerable talents to the title’s misunderstood character, and we appreciate the effort.
14. Batman Returns (1992)
Michelle Pfeiffer defined the role of Catwoman with her stellar turn here. We heard her roar and loved every second.
13. Batman: The Movie (1966)
The campy humor of this film perfectly encapsulates everything that made the show so popular in its time.
12. Batman Forever (1995)
Unfairly lumped together with its crapfest sequel, this is what a film looks like when Joel Schumacher manages to care.
11. Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)
Sure, the Batgirl prologue is problematic, but the actual adaptation of the title comic is flawless. Give Mark Hamill all the love for this one.
10. Superman II (1980)
It hasn’t aged very well, but dammit, this one still wins us over. The 2006 Richard Donner cut is even better.
9. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
This one is a very flawed finale to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. However, it gets enough right to provide a satisfying sense of closure to this version of the character.
8. Man of Steel (2013)
This film split fans in two, but if you ask us, Zod had the rougher fate. Oh, snap.
7. Watchmen (2009)
Who watches Watchmen? Anyone who does recognizes what an achievement Zack Snyder’s film really is.
6. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
This feature based on the beloved 1990s animated series is still one of the best Batman films ever. Seek it out.
5. V for Vendetta (2006)
Alan Moore may have disowned all film versions of his work, but changes aside, we still think this one is worthy.
4. Batman Begins (2005)
Now this is how you do a superhero origin story. We can only hope Ben Affleck studies this before prepping for his solo Batman film.
3. Batman (1989)
Without this Tim Burton film, modern superhero cinema wouldn’t be the same.
2. Superman (1978)
Richard Donner’s film proved that superheroes didn’t have to be played for laughs. The grandfather of all comic book movies is still one of DC’s best.
1. The Dark Knight (2008)
Don’t even pretend you didn’t see this coming. A masterpiece in every sense of the word. Time will tell if any DC film will ever manage to top it.
Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable
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