The DC Comics universe hasn’t flooded the big screen quite the way Marvel ones have, but the DC brand has been hitting the big screen longer in the modern era. We ranked all those modern flicks, from “Superman: The Movie” to “Joker” and “Birds of Prey”
35. “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” (1987)
Christopher Reeve is by far the best Superman. But “Superman IV” is a bomb in every sense — partly because of its heavy-handedness about bombs. Nuclear bombs. The film finds Superman trying to eliminate the world’s nuclear threat, but his best intentions run afoul of a silly, badly dated villain named Nuclear Man.
34. “Supergirl” (1984)
We had a female-superhero movie in 1984, and it was pure cheese. But hey, at least they tried. The best thing I can say about it is there are worse things in life than this movie.
32. “Steel” (1997)
Best known as “the one Shaq was in back when he tried acting,” “Steel” is pretty bad. But the fun kind of bad.
31. “Justice League”
Warner Bros has continued to innovate in how to make bad DCEU movies, with “Justice League” managing to be terrible in a totally different way from “Batman v Superman” and “Suicide Squad.”
30. “Man of Steel” (2013)
Could have been worse, I guess. But it’s still morally gross and has a plot that doesn’t make sense. That it’s very pretty to look at doesn’t override those things nearly enough to make it watchable.
29. “Joker” (2019)
This is not a good characterization of the Joker as a human being, and aside from that it’s just a soulless, meaningless experience.
28. “Catwoman” (2004)
Thoroughly horrible, but somehow amusing even so. Sad that it’s seemingly been swept into the litter box of history.
25. “Green Lantern” (2011)
Overreliance on cartoony visual effects during a period when big blockbusters were moving away from that aesthetic meant this was a movie nobody liked. Not that it was especially horrible. It just looked like a dumb cartoon and is hard to watch.
22. “Watchmen” (2009)
I have no particular affection for the revered “Watchmen” comic the way a lot of other nerds do, so my distaste for this adaptation isn’t personal. It just doesn’t add up to nearly as much as it thinks it does.
21. “Batman” (1989)
Fondly remembered mostly because it was the first Batmovie in a couple decades. It isn’t actually very good, though. The reveal that a younger version of the Joker killed Bruce Wayne’s parents is as hamfistedly dumb as it gets in a “Batman” movie.
20. “V for Vendetta” (2006)
Felt nothing watching this. I tried, OK. It’s impeccably made, though, and very watchable.
18. “Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition” (2016)
Giving this its own slot because it fundamentally changes the narrative of the movie and the character of Superman in the DC Extended Universe. This version is still not great (especially at three freaking hours), but it’s a monumental improvement over the theatrical version.
17. “Red 2” (2013)
Did you even know these were comic book movies? Whatever, it’s a great cast in a serviceable action movie and everybody’s having a good time. Hard to remember, but fun.
13. “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” (1993)
Remember that time they released a “Batman” cartoon theatrically? It gets lost amongst all the live-action ones, but “Mask of the Phantasm” is better than most of them.
12. “The LEGO Batman Movie” (2017)
Funny, sweet and self-deprecating — exactly what we needed in the wake of the disaster that was “Batman v Superman.”
11. “Superman II” (1980)
Made kids everywhere cry as they watched Superman give up his powers for a normal life with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). There are different edits of this movie, and we frankly can’t keep them straight. But the sight of a powerless Clark getting beat up in a diner made Superman as sympathetic as he’s ever been.
10. “Wonder Woman” (2017)
Has the standard origin movie problem of “too much story, not enough time.” And the standard DC Extended Universe problem of “We gotta have a nonsensical CGI battle at the end.” But despite those caveats it’s an enormous delight, and a big step forward for the DCEU.
9. “Birds of Prey” (2020)
This film is sensory overload, but (mostly) in all the right ways. And it’s got the best action we’ve ever seen in any DC or Marvel movie. This would be a top 5 DC flick easily if the storytelling wasn’t such a huge mess.
7. “Batman Returns” (1992)
One of the best of the franchise because it’s really just a political thriller. The Penguin emerges from the sewer and runs for mayor of Gotham! It’s great stuff, especially as we continue to watch the rise of Trump in our world.
6. “Shazam” (2019)
It’s just so much fun! It’s a blast to watch, and is just a really nice celebration of the good parts of humanity. “Shazam” is a movie that simply feels good to watch.
4. “Aquaman” (2018)
It’s not often that we get a comic book movie that is: full on ridiculous; loves how ridiculous it is; and is made with skill by a legitimately great filmmaker. James Wan’s “Aquaman” is all of that, and it’s just a wonderful experience.