In Honor of theDC Fandome event, we wanted to honor the greatness of DC Comics in media. This is going to being the first of lists that we come up with during the pandemic. Here we are going to countdown 10-1 of our favorite DC comics live action film, with our list consisting of different films. We are not looking at the DCEU, but DC as a whole. Don’t worry, a MCU and Marvel list will come in the near future, yes two separate lists for Marvel films.
His # 10: Man of Steel , Her # 10: Birds of Prey
Both of films have their defenders and haters, but we enjoyed both films. Let’s start with Birds of Prey, directed by Cathy Yan and screenplay by Christina Hodson, takes the best aspect of Suicide Squad in Harley Quinn and gives the character a spotlight. Margot Robbie improves on her characterization of Harley Quinn. Despite the characterization not being comic accurate, introducing characters such as Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor in a villainous role), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Helena Bertinelli/ The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to a mainstream audience was awesome to see. The real highlight of the film is Jurnee Smollett’s performance of Black Canary, as she commanded the screen throughout the film. To us, Birds of Prey was a Harley Quinn comic coming to life, as most of the time reading Harley Quinn, you just don’t know what to expect. As a female Centric film, Nora loved every aspect of the film. Birds of Prey barely missed the cut for Kyle.
Spoiler alert, Man of Steel will be on this countdown again. If it was not for Christopher Reeve, Henry Cavill would be the definitive live action Superman. Personal opinion, the man could be perfect as superman with the right script. It has a brilliant cast with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane playing Jonathan and Martha Kent, Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Michael Shannon in an underrated performance as the evil General Zod. Remember leaving the theater, wanting more and each time we watch Man of Steel, we want a true sequel.
His #9: Batman Returns, Her #9: Batman Returns
Holy crap, Batman we agreed upon here. Up until earlier this year, Nora had never seen Tim Burton’s Batman (she lived under a rock for twenty-six years), to change that we obviously had a Batman marathon. After we finished the marathon, Kyle asked the question of what was your favorite? She replied with Batman and Robin…… no shockingly she picked the 1992 sequel. Batman Returns is a favorite for us mainly due to the three core villains that carry the film and the Burton design throughout the film. Let’s start with the first villain in Christopher Walken’s Max Shreck, within the first ten minutes of the film, you hate the guy. When watching the film, you can sense that Walken was having fun with the character. The second character is that of Danny Devito’s Penguin, Burton created a nasty version of a well known Batman character and Devito’s performance as the character makes the character jump off the screen. But the true MVP of Batman Returns and the main reason it is on this list is due to the Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance as Selina Kyle/ Catwoman. Twenty-eight years later and we still have not had a performance of Catwoman that surpass that of Pfeiffer’s, but lets hope Zoe Kravitz can in the upcoming The Batman. We are both hoping that she will be the perfect fit for the role.
His #8: V for Vendetta, Her #8: Dark Knight Rises
Much like Man of Steel, V for Vendetta will show up on this list again as we disagree on the placement of the film. V for Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue and screenplay by the Wachowskis, takes the brilliant graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd and creates an unforgettable film. The film is carried by performances of Hugo Weaving as V and Natalie Portman as Evey. Up until this film, I was not a fan of Hugo Weaving and now he is among my favorite actors due to this film. On the 5th of November, V for Vendetta will be on the TV in celebration of this fantastic film.
The Dark Knight Rises is the finale of the Nolan trilogy with Tom Hardy’s Bane as the villain and the introduction of Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle. Nora was surprised to find that the Dark Knight rises did not crack his top ten. It is a phenomenal film that is overshadowed by another film in the trilogy. The action is great with an opening scene that is unforgettable. If this list was based on the best DC films then this would have been on both lists. We are both waiting for the Robin film starring Joseph Gordon Levitt.
His #7: Wonder Woman, Her #7: Aquaman
Patty Jenkins helmed the 2017 film that was long overdue and did it deliver in terms of greatness. Gal Gadot officially replaced Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman in this film and the “No Man’s Land” scene may be one of the most powerful moments in DC Comics films. The only thing that holds back this film, are the terrible villains. If it wasn’t for the poor version of Ares, this film would have cracked the top five films from DC. The chemistry between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor was a joy to watch as well, with Chris Pine being a great Steve Trevor. But now after just re-watching the film, the Ares portrayal was not as horrible as seen and perceived after the first viewing (at least to Nora).
As Wonder Woman acts a “fish out of water” tale, Aquaman showed that Atlantis needs to be explored more in live action. The Direction of James Wan proves that he can helm a superhero film and Jason Momoa proves that Aquaman is no longer a joke. Nora desperately wants more of Aquaman and Atlantis in film.
His #6: Superman 2 The Richard Donner Cut, Her #6: Man of Steel
The last time there will be a Superman film on the list but while doing this list, we realized how much of an impact that the character has had on superhero films. Granted that may be an obvious comment, but in today’s superhero films landscape, the important of Richard Donner’s Superman can be forgotten.
As a kid, Kyle remembers loving Superman: The Movie and Superman 2. Later on in life, he would finally watch the Richard Donner cut and holy crap it was like visiting the film for the first time. The cast is absolutely brilliant in the film with Christopher Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent, Margot Kidder as Lois Lane (the best love action Lois), Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, and Terrence Stamp as General Zod.
That being said, we both hope Henry Cavill gets the chance to start as Superman in another film. Fingers crossed!
His #5: Shazam, Her #5: V for Vendetta
Did not expect to love Shazam as much as Kyle did. It was another example of great casting. Zachary Levi was perfect as Captain Marv…. I mean Shazam. The film felt like Big was smashed together with a superhero film. It’s just a fun film wonderfully directed by David F Sandberg that brings humor to the DC universe. In the recent DC films, Shazam has the best villain next to Aquaman’s Orm.
Nora’s reaction to V for Vendetta was that of “holy crap, this film is powerful” and a absolute love for Alan Moore’s masterpiece.
His #4: Watchmen, Her #4: Watchmen
Here is another film we agree on. We both love Watchmen and we know that this may be an unpopular opinion but this is Zack Snyder’s greatest film. Besides not involving a killer squid, Watchmen is ripped right from the pages and placed on the screen. Now you may realize that Batman Vs. Superman is missing from the list and that is due to this film. We are huge fans of Snyder’s work and did not want the list to be filled with Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder, so that’s why Man of Steel and Watchmen have a place on this list.
The visuals are stunning throughout the film with Dr. Manhattan feeling like a serious threat throughout the whole film. The real standout performances belong to Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach and Jeffery Dean Morgan as Edward Black/ The Comedian. Despite the length, this is a film we can watch multiple times and find a new love for the film. (Look out for a in depth post on the film in the future). Side note, if you have not watched the HBO series, do yourself a favor and watch it even if you do not like the film or graphic novel. It pulls you in from the first episode. That being said, we are do for a rewatch of it soon.
His #3: Batman, Her #3: Wonder Woman
Jack Nicholson as the Joker and a killer soundtrack from Prince, if it were not for two other brilliant characterization of the sadistic clown, Batman would be Kyle’s all time favorite DC film. Tim Burton’s vision presented a gritty and comic accurate version of the caped crusader for the first time and superhero films would never be the same again. The film is cheesy but at the same time it’s a blast to watch even thirty years later. Micheal Keaton will always be Kyle’s batman and to know that Keaton is coming back as old man Bruce Wayne has us excited for the future of DC films.
Wonder Woman was the film that made Nora fall in love with comics, the story of Diana Prince. The feeling of female empowerment was overwhelming for her and the experience of viewing this in the theater caused a huge smile across her face. And she loves rewatching it over and over. Cannot wait for Wonder Woman 84, even though it will hit theaters in the middle of a pandemic…
His #2: Joker Her #2: The Dark Knight
One performance can make a film great and that was the story of Todd Philips’ Joker. Joaquin Pheonix gives one of the greatest performance in Comic book film history as Arthur Fleck and won the academy for Best Actor for obvious reasons. Pheonix’s performance was not the only thing that stood out in the film as the score by Hildur Guonadottir. The film acting as psychological character study but also a social commentary.
We forced Nora to watch The Dark Knight on New Years Day when we found out that she had never seen the film. She was enthralled by what she saw and brought me enviousness as Kyle wanted to experience for the first time again.
His #1: The Dark Knight Her #1: Joker
We both feel like both films are among the greatest films in general. Walking out of the movie theater after viewing Joker, Nora would say “That is the greatest film I have ever seen.” Which was the same thing I said when walking out the movie theater for The Dark Knight.
Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker will never be forgotten, its one of the greatest performances of all time. But as he was great in the film, so was the whole cast. Aaron Eckhart was perfect as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. For the sake of argument, lets just say both films are absolutely brilliant.
We do hope in the next couple years this list looks different as the future of DC comics films looks extremely bright.