One of the most anticipated comic book movies of all time is upon us, and with it, I thought I would try something new. It’s time for my first Top 10 list here at The Pulse. In honor of the clash of the two most famous superheroes in history, Knight of Gotham and Son of Krypton, as Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor puts it in the trailer, here are my Top 10 Movies Based on DC Comics presented by FatCats Gilbert on Greenfield and Baseline. As all of my Top 10 lists will be and all movies are, this is a subjective list, but if you disagree I would love to hear your thoughts down in the comments! Let’s get going!
10. Batman Returns (1992)
With the first cinematic Batman, Michael Keaton, back in action for his final appearance as The Caped Crusader, we got to see a couple more comic book characters such as Danny DeVito’s Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. With Penguin and successful business man Max Shreck teaming up to put Batman away forever, Batman must team up with the unexpected love interest of Selina Kyle, or Catwoman. The first movie was dark, but this movie took dark to a whole other level, and Batman is a character who works well with and in the dark. Michael Keaton is very good as Batman, and though I am actually not a fan of the Tim Burton or Joel Schumacher Batman films, Batman Returns definitely deserves a spot on this list.
9. Batman (1989)
I have to be completely honest, I don’t really like this movie. I know, I know. Everyone likes to talk about how good it is, but I don’t like it. Nevertheless, it at least deserves a spot on a list like this. It was the first theatrical Batman movie to go dark, and I do like Michael Keaton as Batman, but the rest of the movie seems so uneven and tonally strange. There are scenes that don’t belong, and though everyone seems to like Jack Nicholson’s Joker, I’m not a huge fan. Like I said, I still think it deserve a spot on this list, and whether or not I like it, it is a pioneer in comic book movies, one of my favorite genres of today.
8. Man of Steel (2013)
In our first time with our current Superman, Henry Cavill stars as the titular superhero in both an origin story and a battle against General Zod, a Krypton military general with plans to rebuild Krypton from the remains of Earth. While I do think that the movie is overblown and overstuffed, I can say that I do still like Man of Steel. I think that Henry Cavill makes a great Superman and Clark Kent. Even with the almost two and a half hour run time, there are still parts that seem rushed. Overall, I do like Man of Steel, and that is why it is number 8 on the list.
7. Superman (1978)
Now we’re getting into the meat. I hear a lot about how DC is racing to catch up to Marvel, but the rest of the movies on this list are awesome, and I mean every one. This was one of the first Superhero movies, and it was so well done. I love Henry Cavill as Superman and Clark Kent, but Christopher Reeve will always own that role. It is one of my favorite origin stories of all time, and though it has those 1970s effects that don’t hold up today, it is still a great time, and one of my favorite adaptations of the Last Son of Krypton.
6. V for Vendetta (2005)
It may not be the most known movie based on DC Comics, but dang it’s good. Vigilante V performs terrorists attacks to stop oppression and meets an ally along the way played by Natalie Portman. Natalie Portman is one of my favorite actresses of today, and she and Hugo Weaving both kill it in this movie. It’s so visually impressive, and is musically one of the best on the list. I love V for Vendetta, and though I haven’t had a chance to check out the graphic novel, V for Vendetta is one of my favorite adaptations.
5. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Dark Knight Rises is the final installment in Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed and fanboy-drooled-over trilogy. Not saying it’s not worth drooling over. That’s just a fact. After eight years of a Batman-less Gotham City, he finally returns to take on the man who broke the Bat, Bane. Forget the huge plot hole in the movie. I’m willing to assume that Bruce Wayne, Batman, the greatest detective in the world, has some strings he can pull. I love Tom Hardy as Bane in this movie, and I can’t say enough about the score. There are so many great performances with an awesome plot, and while I do have problems here and there with this movie, I do love it.
4. Watchmen (2009)
In one of the most underrated movies of all time and one of the most faithful comic and graphic novel adaptations, a member of a former group of vigilantes is murdered. They have to come back together to find out who the murderer is, and learn about events that will change the course of history. Watchmen is an absolutely beautiful movie as most Zack Snyder movies are, and it is one of my personal favorite comic book adaptations of all time. Everyone is so good in the movie, and Jackie Earle Haley absolutely steals the show as Rorschach, and though Watchmen is a pretty long watch, it is so visually fascinating, and I think as far as storytelling goes, it’s one of Snyder’s best movies.
3. Superman II (1980)
I may take some heat for putting this above the original, but I completely stand by that. Superman II finds Supes up against General Zod after saving the Eiffel Tower from a nuclear bomb. General Zod plans to destroy Earth, and with Superman living as his alter ego Clark Kent with Lois Lane, he might just have an easier time with that than we might think. Or will he? I love this movie. We go so deep into the character of Superman, and the character building is so fantastic. As I said before about the first Superman movie, Christopher Reeve will always be my Superman. He’s so easy to watch, and he transforms into the character. I also love the character of General Zod and his portrayal by Terrence Stamp. He’s such a good contrast to Superman, and he is one of the best parts of both Superman movies he has been in.
2. Batman Begins (2005)
Almost to the top, but definitely not before this. Batman Begins is the first of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and boy did this movie give me what I want from Batman. All of the time movies are made with directors, writers, and producers trying to go dark. Darkness is seen as a good quality in film today, but it doesn’t have to be. This movie is an example that uses that darkness to its advantage, and everybody in the movie is so good. Christian Bale is my personal favorite incarnation of Batman, and voice aside (though I do actually like the voice), he is so awesome as Batman. There is no denying that Christian Bale is one of the best actors of our time, and next to American Psycho, I think that Bruce Wayne and Batman is his best performance. Christopher Nolan does such an amazing job telling a story with visuals, camera shots, and overall direction. The score is incredible, and Batman Begins is a top-of-the-line comic book movie.
1. The Dark Knight (2008)
Was there any doubt that this would be the number one on the list? I doubt it. Not only is The Dark Knight one of my favorite comic book movies of all time. It is one of my favorites in general. It is so well-directed by Christopher Nolan, and not a minute of the one hundred fifty-two minutes is wasted. It is so well paced, and how could I not mention Heath Ledger’s Joker? Of course what happened to Heath Ledger is terrible, and to this day it makes me sad to think about, not just because he was a wickedly talented actor, but he was also an amazing person. He hasn’t gone anywhere. His Academy Award winning Joker will never be forgotten. Ever. He is one of my personal favorite movie villains, and I don’t think he’s going anywhere on that list. I still listen to the score for The Dark Knight, and though I didn’t mention him at all on this list, Gary Oldman is phenomenal in this movie. When I think of the best actors I think of actors who transform, and I stop seeing the actor and instead see the character. There are the obvious answers, and then there are actors like Gary Oldman who will never get enough credit for what they do. The action in The Dark Knight is so fantastic with the chase scene, and don’t even get me started on the opening scene. Every small detail and small element in The Dark Knight is perfect, and it surpasses this list, and is probably my favorite comic adaptation of all time from any publisher.
Well, that’s it for this list! I hope you enjoyed my first Top 10 list because I did, and there are definitely more to come! If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I will try to keep them related to the upcoming movie, but I would definitely also take suggestions. I should have my review for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice out on Friday, so be sure to stay tuned for that because this list may just be changing. As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!