Where does "Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice" come in the list?
In the wake of some "mixed reviews" but sure to be record-breaking box-office numbers, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice has us taking a trip down memory lane of all of the Batman and Superman movies to date.
While there are some left off the list - apologies to all you fans of 1958's Superman and The Mole Men - we have ranked all the remaining sixteen Batman and/or Superman movies from worst to best.
16. SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE
This was the one where Lex Luthor created an evil-version of Superman called Nuclear Man, and the production company making the movie ran out of money before they managed to finish the film, and ended up just releasing an unfinished product. Which is why it so regularly appears on "Worst Movies Of All Time" lists.
15. BATMAN & ROBIN
"Let's kick some ice!" Between Arnie's onslaught of chilly puns, an inexplicable abundance of nipple-ized costumes and George Clooney's charmless, ineffectual Bruce Wayne, this is far and away the worst big screen outing for Gotham.
14. SUPERMAN III
The opening scene of the third Superman film should tell you everything you need to know about the tone shift from the first two movies: a prolonged slap-stick scene with people walking into poles and falling over dogs. Richard Pryor was cast during the height of his popularity, in a role almost as big as Christopher Reeves', and the entire project suddenly because a comedy. A mess.
13. BATMAN FOREVER
This is where it all started to fall apart for Bruce Wayne, when Warner Bros. got a little scared of just how dark Tim Burton took Batman Returns, so re-aimed the series towards something a little more family friendly. So we got Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones stinking the place out with ham, while Val Kilmer tried to conjure up some chemistry with Nicole Kidman, but ended up having far more interest in his new Robin.
12. BATMAN: THE MOVIE
At face value, this would appear to be a fundamentally terrible movie, but it's quite clear that everyone involved knew what they were doing. "We were attacked at sea. Sea? C? C stands for Catwoman!" That kind of screenwriting doesn't happen overnight.
11. SUPERMAN RETURNS
Hiring the guy who made The X-Men movies a success was a good idea, but we ended up with a film that for everything it got really right (Brandon Routh was a perfect Clark Kent), it also got something really wrong (everything involving Superman's potential Super-Son). Kevin Spacey was great as Lex Luthor, but his plan was off-the-charts bonkers. Not bad, but couldn't decide between being too beholden to the original movies or wanting to be something entirely new.
10. BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
The first and only time so far we've had these two heavies on the big screen together, and unfortunately, it doesn't quite work out the way it should have. Affleck is great, Cavill is more comfortable in the cape, some of the action scenes are class, but the plot is literally all over the place, trying too hard to set up the upcoming Justice League movies that it forgets to tell it's own story. This is the Iron Man 2 of the DC movie universe; fun but basically one long trailer.
9. MAN OF STEEL
Despite being Zack Snyder's movie (and his stylistic flourishes can be seen in every frame), you can also feel Christopher Nolan's influences everywhere, bringing some of that grounded realism he presented in his Dark Knight trilogy. Far more sci-fi heavy than anyone expected, with a genuine look into how the world would react if super-powered aliens suddenly appeared on our doorsteps. But then there's an hour of CGI explosions that are far more difficult to actually care about.
8. SUPERMAN II
The original director (who had also directed the original Superman) was booted off the project when he was about 75% done, and his replacement ended up refilming a lot of the movie, which is why it can sometimes feel like a tonally mixed rough edit. Despite that, Terence Stamp is incredible evil as Zod, and Reeves is having in more fun as both Kent and Kal-El.
Getting the guy who directed Beetlejuice (and the guy who played Beetlejuice!) to bring Batman to big screen was a huge risk, but one that paid off. Despite some bizarro style choices - all the Prince music? the Stalin-istic design of Gotham? - it had Nicholson on flying form as The Joker, and a simple story of man dresses as bat, wants to beat up the bad guys.
6. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
After Heath Ledger's The Joker, what could they possibly do next? They tried their best, and a bulked up Hardy as Bane was a good choice, but Nolan painted himself into a corner with a too-real Gotham, which meant baddies like Mr. Freeze or Clayface couldn't make an appearance.
5. BATMAN BEGINS
After the train-wreck that was Batman & Robin, Warner wanted something completely different, and ended up giving the gig to the director of psychological thrillers Insomnia and Memento, and cast the American Psycho as Bruce Wayne. Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy and Tom Wilkinson do great work as the trifecta of baddies, and we were finally given a more grown-up, intelligent look into why a billionaire would want to dress up as a bat and kick people in the face.
4. BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM
A cartoon?? Well, yes, but this isn't family-friendly! Based off the absolutely brilliant animated series, this finds another vigilante - one that bears a striking resemblance to Batman - killing off crime bosses, and Batman finds himself wanted for their murders. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker!) are amazing as Batman and The Joker, while the lush visual style and fantastically written original plot make it a must-watch for Dark Knight aficionados.
3. BATMAN RETURNS
There is a very distinctive argument to be made here that this is really more about two S&M enthusiasts who find each other in a city riddled with penguin-related crime, with Catwoman whipping up some justice of her own, and Christopher Walken giving the most Christopher Walken-y performance of his career. Meow, indeed.
Director Richard Donner took on this massive job in between giving us The Omen, The Goonies and Lethal Weapon, which just goes to show how underrated he continues to be as a director. The perfect casting of Reeves, getting Marlon Brando in as Superman's dad, Gene Hackman having a ball as the bad guy, that awesome John Williams score... it all adds up to a classic of the genre.
1. THE DARK KNIGHT
Even outside of Batman and Superman, looking at the X-Men and Avengers and beyond, The Dark Knight is probably still the best comic book adaptation to date. We can't leave it all at Heath Ledger's feet - Aaron Eckhart's fall from grace was perfectly handled, Nolan directed some epic action scenes, Hans Zimmer out-did himself with that creepy score - but The Joker is what everyone remembers most from the movie, and with good reason.