1. The Dark Knight (2008), 2. Wonder Woman (2017), 3. The Boys (2019), 4. Arrow (2012), 5. Man of Steel (2013), 6. V/Vendetta (2006), 7. Joker (2019), 8. The Flash (2014), 9. Watchmen (2009), 10. Batman: TAS (1991), 11. JL: TAS (2003), 12. Superman: The Movie (1978), 13. Titans (2018), 14. Doom Patrol (2019), 15. Aquaman (2018), 16. Shazam! (2019), 17. Batman Begins (2005), 18. Batman (1989), 19. Wonder Woman (1975), 20. Smallville (2001)
CLC’s All-Time DC Films Ranking
(Click On Titles For Full Reviews)
A bone-chilling masterpiece/descent into madness with hypnotic blue-tinted cinematography, ultra-dark sociopathological tone, thunderous scoring, white-knuckled existential dissertation, & one of history’s greatest performances: Ledger’s Joker. One of the greatest films of All-Time. 10/10.
Breathtaking cinematography, epic genre-mixes, period/war adventure, passion, & hopeful power of presence unfelt since Reeve ’78 to change filmmaking and inspire millions of girls for generations, WW is the film DC’s 75-year-old pop icon deserves – and why we love CBM’s. 9.6/10.
With breathtaking cinematography, action sequences, and a sophisticated modernization of the first + greatest superhero, Man of Steel is a work of art. 9.5/10.
One of the most politically-provocative & powerful dystopian films of the 21st century, DC/Vertigo’s V For Vendetta is a symphony of screenwriting and cinematic intellectualism – voraciously-volatile with visceral action sequences, volitional philosophical discourse, virtuosic performances/characterization, and virile anarchic chaos. 9.4/10.
An ultra-dark sociopathological study steeped in deep nihilistic psychology with chilling realism & wildly-violent social commentary, Joker is A Clockwork Orange x Taxi Driver x RFAD with a career performance by Joaquin Phoenix on supervillains’ origins. 9/10.
Bold, nihilistic, & one of the most gorgeously cinematographed projects ever, Watchmen is a higher class of comic book film & Snyder’s pièce de resistance. 9/10.
The original superhero movie that started it all & got golden-age comic-book Superman with perfection in Reeves’ dual-portrayal, immaculate hope-driven tone, and gamechanging stuntwork, Donner’s 1978 Superman made you believe a man could fly as one of the most important & game-changing blockbusters *ever* made. 8.9/10.
A bonkers, wildly imaginative Kaiju-esque sci-fi/fantasy film with striking cinematography, massive scale, big emotion, epic villains in Black Manta/Ocean Master, & badass Polynesian reinvention of DC’s sea-hero fueled by Momoa’s burly charm & Wan’s fresh direction. 8.7/10.
A brilliant cocktail of coming-of-age story, superhero origin, Christmas movie, and hilarious comedy with a lifetime-casting in Zachary Levi, dark villain in Dr. Silvana, & nostalgic heart expertly handling the Seven Deadly Sins mythos. 8.5/10.
The end of one of the most groundbreaking trilogies ever, TDKR’s brutal, animalistic Bane & sibylline Catwoman break Bruce Wayne & plunge Gotham into political authoritarian chaos: a character-driven apocalypse of exigent filmmaking pedigree of Christopher Nolan – despite several costume/visual mishaps and ending that lacked the sheer gravitas of ’08’s TDK. 8.5/10.
11. Batman Begins (2005)
A groundbreaking cinematic evolution of the comic book film, Nolan’s reimagination of the caped crusader is a dark, brooding, intelligent, nihilistic, beautifully-acted, characterization-heavy, nuanced adult-centric chef’s showcase of directorial finesse for the new millennium. 8.4/10.
The perfect dosage of optimism for 2020, WW84 is a Classic Golden-Age DC sequel out a time-capsule – featuring epic ’80’s nostalgia, powerful emotion, diverse genre-mixes, iconic comic book lore, valorous action scenes, allegorical complexity, & darkly-characterized villains brought to life by proficient contrastive Wiig-led performances. 8/10.
13. Superman II: The Donner Cut
14. Batman (1989)
The film that changed the world, defining in classic Tim Burton-imaginative glory the world-building & dark-toned mythology of what would become the world’s most popular superhero – and greatest villain, 1989’s Batman joins Donner’s ’78 Superman companion piece as founders of the Comic Book Movie – and a star-studded, brutalistic dark fantasy one at that here. 8/10.
15. Birds Of Prey (& The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn)
A glittery, bonkers hard-R ‘90’s indie that doubles as a comic book-antihero comedy, BOP brings together the iconic female gang in one of the funniest, most violent, & boldly-original CBM’s – despite a miscast Black Canary/C.Cain & not enough Sionis. 7.8/10.
16. Batman Returns (1991)
A chilly, unmistakably-Tim Burton film with fittingly-brooding Xmas atmospherics led by Keaton’s return as the Dark Knight & perfectly-cast Penguin in Danny Devito, despite an overdone performance in Pfeiffer’s mixed-yet-well-imagined Catwoman, Returns is good. 7.5/10.
A visionary horror-take on Superman, James Gunn spins an innovative avant-garde subversion of the lore with a child-bullying/outcast narrative, stylistic flair in (*brutal*) slasher sequences, small-town Kansas feel, and twisted coming-of-age origin that could spark a new genre division: superhero horror. 7.5/10.
18. Superman Returns (2006)
High art in the guise of a blockbuster movie, but with slow pacing and scarce action, Superman Returns is stunning but doesn’t pack enough of a punch. 7.2/10.
Comic book-like in visuals, strong in team action, & well-cast & characterized, but flawed in rushed production, inconsistent tone, a horrific choice in villain, Green Lantern’s exclusion, & WB meddling, JL doesn’t do the most storied superhero team enough justice. 6.5/10.
20. Green Lantern (2011)
Definitively answering the question ‘What if DC made movies like the MCU?’ & showing it won’t work for the galactic expectations of heroes of *this* level of comics-lore/mythology, GL is a fine-but-average CBM – bizarre CGI/animation, charismatic Reynolds-led castings, & poor choice of origin-villain in [trilogy-end worth] Parallax. 5.6/10.
The world’s biggest indie movie, BvS’ fine action, epic cameo, incredible Batfleck, & corruptibility-of-power/lust-for-control themes are mixed with a poorly-scored, overstuffed, rushed doom-and-gloom narrative with sour tone; a mixed event. 5/10.
22. Batman (1966 Film)
Buoyed by Adam West & Burt Ward’s effortless charisma/hysterics as the Dynamic Duo, set against a backdrop of multi-Batman rogues, this silver-to-big-screen comedy ride is okay but sadly restrained by an awful screenplay/plot. 5/10.
23. Constantine (2005)
24. Swamp Thing (1982)
25. Batman & Robin (1995)
The arctic cool-factor of having Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, flowery toxicity of Thurman’s epic Poison Ivy, and Clooney’s suave charm cannot save this awful script, joke-overloaded, & capricious introduction of The Boy Wonder, Batgirl, & Bat-nipples. Though, its tonicism and flamboyance were ahead of its time; the MCU/Guardians Of The Galaxy of the ’90’s – and if you hate this for its jokes, be consistent. 4/10.
26. Suicide Squad (2016)
Funny yet thinly written, badly CGI’d, and disappointingly executed, Suicide Squad is a muddled attempt to bring the original villains-turned-heroes team to life. 3.7/10.
27. Supergirl (1984)
28. The Return Of Swamp Thing (1989)
29. Catwoman (2004)
30. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)
31. Batman Forever (1997)
Despite a blithe/insouciant Tommy Lee Jones Two-Face & mythical Jim Carrey Riddler for limitless charisma, Forever’s poor other castings/plot, weird Kilmer Batman, bad name, & disorientative excess-yet-boredom begs to question: hopefully this series doesn’t go on as long as its title suggests. 3.2/10.
32. Superman III (1983)
33. Jonah Hex (2010)
34. Steel (1992)
CLC’s All-Time DC TV Series Ranking
1. The Boys (2017)
The Boys might be the best comic book TV series ever made. The project is one of the most diverse of its genre, wildly succeeding in each of the multitude of categories it blends into an impossibly seamless smooth and emphatically-bingeable mixture – hard-R comedy whizzing one-liners that make Deadpool look comparatively-tame, blood-splattered ultra-violence straight out of a Tarantino movie painted by top-notch blockbuster VFX on an Amazon budget, romance in boy-meets-girl love-story, complex (magnificently-acted) character studies, power dynamic-horror, plucky classic-Kansas/John Wayne Americana-superheroicism, & anti-capitalism/narcotics crime drama. The series goes beyond the magnificence of comedy, action, and antiheroicism it could’ve absolutely succeeded just from to tackle heavy social themes that elevate it into a new level of intellectualized cinema one could not expect from its premise or dichotomization of tones. Through the comfortable lens of our idolized crimefighters, the show weaves a rich meta-cynical analysis of the corrupt real world around us: the machine of capitalism, Harvey Weinstein’s terrorizations, #MeToo movement, child-star fame, police brutality and racism, #BlackLivesMatter, the hateful and outdated side of Christianity in modern contexts, religious/atheistic exposition, LGBTQ+ rights, privatization of war, opioid/drug abuse, human trafficking, patriarchy, misogyny/objectification, and gun control are all on the docket it paints (though over-frequently as one of its only [minor] gripes) with exceptional poise and execution. The performances are magnificent led by Starr’s villain-of-the-century Homelander and The Seven a direct satirization of DC’s ‘Big 7’ Justice League in all the best and most sadistic/twisted ways. The Boys comes at the perfect time: the antidote to comic book media-sickness from overpopulation and laziness of studio construction to highlight our flaws through the era’s biggest franchise phenomenon it eschews and brings to reality: superheroes. A meta-analysis of the CBM-totalitarianism over pop culture & heavy social themes plus a Justice League TV-Series set in a hyper-realistic world painting what ‘heroes’ would be like in real life (far from the romanticized lens we expect of their powers), The Boys is a visceral, savage, genre-diverse hard-R masterpiece dosage of anti-comic book cynicism. 9.7/10.
S1 – 10/10 / S2 – 9.7/10 / S3 – 8/10 / S4 – 4/10 / S5 – 9.2/10 / S6 – 6/10 / S7 – 8.7/10 / S8 – 9.5/10 /// Series Review: Dark, cinematic, beautifully-choreographed, vigilantism-complex, epic in orchestral score, & rich in character development with a brilliant island dual-plot motif and career performance by Stephen Amell as the Billionaire-Turned-Emerald-Archer, DC Comics’ 2012 Arrow is one of the greatest & most revolutionary TV Series post-2000 – proof-of-concepting Blockbuster Franchises (& The Streaming Boom) on Television. 9.6/10.
3. Batman: The Animated Series (1990)
The definitive portrayal of The Dark Knight that revolutionized TV animation and brought to life the Caped Crusader’s lore & Rogues’ Gallery in a way never thought possible – by way of Kevin Conroy’s iconic performance and Timm’s noir world-building. A dark, rich character study decades ahead of its time (only slightly given lower placement due to precedence following suit of Batman 1989’s establishing tone/feel of Batman, plus animation’s easier than live-action). 9.4/10.
S1 – 9.7/10 / S2 – 9.3/10 / S3 – 7.1/10 / S4 – 8/10 / S5 – 9.2/10 /// Series Review: Lightning-fast, visually-stunning in game-changing VFX, full of heart, pure-comic book tone, and proficient handling of the sacred speedster lore with legendary villains, diversity in cast, and perfect geeky-CSI Barry Allen casting in Grant Gustin, The Flash gets one of DC’s most famous (and difficult) heroes near-perfectly in glorious live-action what once was only possible in animation. 9.3/10.
5. Justice League: The Series (2003)
The ultimate Saturday morning cartoon for cereal-filled escapism, JL: TAS immaculately captures the childlike wonder of superheroicism with intricacy in bringing to life (in gorgeous sunset-silhouetted majesty) the storied history of the world’s greatest superhero team. 9.3/10.
A bold, dark new take on the team for mature audiences, Titans is an addictive Netflix-like binge with chilled mise-en-scene, near-perfect castings (except Starfire), and phenomenal indie crowd-pleaser cameos like Hawk & Dove/Wonder Girl/Doom Patrol. 9.3/10.
The original mutants/misfts before Marvel copied them for X-Men, DC’s strangest hero team Doom Patrol get a masterful character study, with delightfully weird tone, majestic scoring, crass R-humor, psychotic/omniscient villain, & extreme comic-accuracy. 9/10.
8. Batman (1966)
A dramatically-different, lighter, comedic version of the Caped Crusader – but one that played *major* role in popularizing him (& the comic book genre) to eventually become the biggest superhero & blockbuster type in the world, ’66 is FAR from the night-stalking vigilante badass noir-vision of the character but charming, clean Saturday morning/pajama-clad, Golden Age-comic book fun that endeared Adam West & Burt Ward’s iconic buddy-duo to millions of kids & innovated what was possible on the silver screen. 8.7/10.
9. Smallville (2001)
11. Teen Titans (2003)
12. Stargirl (2019)
From its striking opening JSA scene, Stargirl breathes a pure nostalgic Golden-Age comic book lore/vibrance – boosted by a classic Nebraska-set Americana, epic CGI, Easter Eggs, youthful pop energized tone, fantastic soundtrack, iconic villain, & subversive Brec Bassinger lead. 7.8/10.
13. Wonder Woman (1975)
14. Young Justice (2010)
15. Batwoman (2019)
Richly-noir in Gotham City world-building with a badass lead casting in Ruby Rose (though a bit ~rough around the edges acting-wise), vital legacy in the first LGBTQ superhero with important relevant social commentary, & one of The Bat’s trippiest villains in Mad Hatter/Hush. 7.1/10.
16. Supergirl (2015)
Full of heart in classic-Kryptonian tonal mix wholly understanding its titular hero’s lore [& fanbase] with *perfection* in lead-casting the bubbly, gorgeous, hope-bursting Melissa Benoist, solid VFX, & storied villains – despite politicization & inconsistent writing. 6.5/10.
17. Gotham (2014)
With splendid acting, good characterization, and fine overall direction, Gotham is a serviceable Batman prequel but, like Krypton, just isn’t engrossing enough without the presence of its titular hero to anchor it. 6.2/10.
18. Black Lightning (2018)
S1- Great cinematography and action sequences, star-making performance by Cress Williams, and intriguing gang villain in The 100. Fresh & electrifying. 6.2/10.
19. Constantine (2003)
20. Birds of Prey (1990)
21. Legends of Tomorrow (2016)
S1 – 6/10. Ok, weighed down by some poor choices in team members / S2 – 6.2/10. Much better, discovered what show is and Legion of Doom. / S3 – 3/10 / Overall Rating: 5/10.
22. The Flash (1990)
Jon Wesley Shipp certainly tries and gives his all in this overall-unfocused and comic-inaccurate TV series that has its highs plus a good Flash costume and fine FX for the time, but is overall mediocre & unmemorable. 5/10.
23. Krypton (2018)
Shoddily acted & another Superman show without Superman.. but with good cinematography & finally a live-action Brainiac & Lobo, Krypton yields mixed results. 4/10.
24. Powerless (2017)
Although Vanessa Anne Hudgens of HSM/Disney fame tries her hardest and exudes charisma as central actress rivaling the similarly-gem Alan Tudryk, this potentially-clever sitcom originally on insurance companies in the world of DC (far better concept) changed to tech angle ends up a cheesy joke fest with lame alternate actors & plotlines. 2.5/10.