DC Films & TV Ranked

The originator of comic book movies, DC has released over 35 feature films from 1978-2021.

Plot Synopsis: The brand that created superheroes back in the early-1930’s by one kid’s idealization of a mythological being to fight NYC criminals in Superman, DC Comics has built the greatest, most pop-culture iconic, and groundbreaking collection of comic book heroes ever: The Justice League. The journey to film has been a mixed [& ~slow] one over the last century by the sheer lore and pressure of expectations; masterpieces and failures. Ranked.

CLC’s All-Time DC Films Ranking

1. The Dark Knight (2008)

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.

2. Wonder Woman (2017)

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. 9.7/10.

3. Man of Steel (2013)

Breathtaking cinematography, pure science-fiction, thematically-advanced exposition on 21st-century immigrant experiences, epic action scenes, & a sophisticated complete-restylization of the first & greatest superhero for a new modern era, MOS is a work of art. 9.5/10.

4. V For Vendetta (2006)

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.

5. The Batman (2022)

Back To The Beginning, Reeves crafts a raw, powerful, emotional, dark, mature, complex noir love-letter to Golden-Age Hollywood and Se7en/Arrow/TAS/Bogart/Daredevil/Nirvana-themed nihilistic detective Year One origin story of gloom, chiaroscuro, tragedy, criminal psychology, vigiliantism, politics, corruption, news, marxism, & rage – cherishable, despite a growing weariness of the one hero’s ciné-spotlight over DC’s preponderance of alternative icons, bad costume designs, a few miscasts, & mixedly-executed/superfluous final act, by a chef d’oeuvre old-world Giacchino score, richly-immersive Gotham City worldbuild, bold cinematography palette, wild mystery storytelling, & epic performances led by the Greatest Live-Action Batman Of All-Time: Robert Pattinson. 9.4/10.

6. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

A cinematographical masterpiece & groundbreaking, impossible win for directorial/artistic freedom over studio-interference [the biggest since Kane], the original comic book team is finally here – with industry-changing capabilities, epic mythological scale, pure blockbuster power-of-experience, poignance of emotionalism, important psychological race/gender themes, characterization-depth for each hero given their own arc, genre-diverse fantasy/drama/action/mystery/adventure/sci-fi/horror/war/opera/romance landscape, and correction of 2017’s antagonist in-context of the greatest comic book villain of all-time. The League finally got cinematic justice – and one of the best CBM’s ever made. 9/10.

7. Watchmen (2009)

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.

8. Superman: The Movie (1978)

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.

9. Aquaman (2018)

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.

10. Joker (2019)

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. 8.7/10.

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. 8.6/10.

12. Shazam! (2019)

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.

13. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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. 8.4/10.

14. The Suicide Squad (2021)

Pure idiosyncrasy, dark themes, indie songs, depth in characterization, huge DC comics’ mythology, and bonkers hard-R bloodsoaked Black Ops glory free of PG-13 & MCU limitations, The Suicide Squad is one of the most comic book films ever made: the morbidly-strange/twisted imagination of James Gunn unleashed; 10x superior in every aspect to the 2016 version it makes like a joke and evolves with industry-changing capabilities. 8/10.

15. Superman II: The Donner Cut (1980)

16. The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

The antithesization of BVS, TLBM is a beautifully-animated and compellingly voice-acted masterclass of edgy spoof-comedy capturing gags in everything bat/DC-related – one that is a huge breath of fresh-air showing there’s more than just grimdark capable in the DC Universe. 8/10.

17. 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.

18. Birds Of Prey (& The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) [2019]

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.

19. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

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. 7.5/10.

20. 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.

21. Brightburn (2019)

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.

22. Superman Returns (2006)

A proficiently-crafted & perfectly-cast talent-showcase homage love-letter to ’78 Reeve/Donner with ~every bit of its tone, experience, & magic – a bizarre combo of awe-and-letdown by its kryptonite: lack of risk/originalty & action-scarcity. 7.6/10.

23. 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.

24. Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)

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.

25. 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.

26. Constantine (2005)

27. Swamp Thing (1982)

28. Josstice League (2017)

Though strongly-cast & characterized with nice team action and ZS-visual afterimages, JL is a heavily-flawed CBM in rushed production, tonal-inconsistency, passionless corporatized sterility, awful choice in villain, bad studio exec-choices, and incomplete team – failing to do the original and most storied superhero team enough justice. 4/10.

29. 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.

30. 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. 3.7/10.

31. Supergirl (1984)

32. The Return Of Swamp Thing (1989)

33. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)