This week’s Top Ten Show, in honor of this weekend’s release of Justice League, put together the Top Ten list of best DC movies. John Rocha and Matt Knost also welcomed Jason Inman to the show.
Now, on my list, I stuck with the rules the Top Ten Show uses– only those films that have a theatrical release will be counted. That means some of my favorite DC Comics animated films will not be on this list. Films such as Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker, Batman: Sub Zero, Flashpoint: Paradox, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Batman: Assault on Arkham will not be included even though they are great.
Now, there will also be a lot of Batman on this list. I would like to have spread it out more, but there just have not been enough good DC films yet. I hope that they are now on the right track and this list could be very different in a few years.
#10. Batman (1966). This is my guilty pleasure that I decided would make this list. As a kid, Adam West was my Batman and I loved this movie. When I saw it as a child, I was enthralled with the heroics of the show and as I got older I loved the ridiculousness of the camp. The Bat Shark repellent is just unbelievably funny. And I still might find myself using the line, “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.” Sure this is not the serious, Dark Knight Batman that has been so popular, but Adam West was special and I loved this film.
#9. Batman (1989). This one does not hold up as well, but I found myself placing it above the others from the honorable mention category and I couldn’t put those others ahead of it. Jack Nicholson was a fantastic Joker, and, honestly, this helped kick the super hero movie genre into high gear. And yes, this series of movies also nearly killed it with Batman and Robin. People believed that Michael Keaton was a terrible choice as Batman, and he just became, arguably, the best ever.
#8. Batman Begins. The first of the Christopher Nolan trilogy is one of the great movie origin story around. The film took Bruce Wayne and showed the process of him becoming Batman in his training in the Himalayas . He does it with a great new Batman in Christian Bale and the villainous Ra’s Al Ghoul. Batman Begin beautifully sets up the fantastic sequel that will follow it. Batman Begins helped save the character of Batman from the horrific Batman and Robin (the second time I mentioned that terrible film).
#7. Watchmen. Our first non-Batman movie. I actually enjoyed this more than some people. Watchmen the mini series is one of the greatest comic series ever (and is in the EYG Hall of Fame) and the film does an admirable job of adapting it. Rorschach is done as well as it could possibly have been. Rorschach is like the Wolverine of the film and his fate is amazingly tragic. Dr. Manhattan is perfectly used in this movie. The Comedian is portrayed brilliantly by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Watchmen might be a bit overlong, but it is a great adaptation.
#6. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. This is one of the animated films that had been released theatrically, and it is nice to have one of the animated films on the list. This is connected to the Batman: The Animated Series universe and that is one of the greatest animated series ever. This is one of the best Batman movies around. The movie features an original villain in the Phantasm that was created for this, and he fit in with the Batman rogue gallery. We get the classic voice acting by Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker.
#5. V for Vendetta. To this day, I love to quote “Remember, Remember, the fifth of November” line from this film as our hero, V, wears the iconic Guy Fawkes mask. And V for Vendetta is a great movie that rages against the corruption of government in ways that we had never seen before. V’s promo with all the words starting with v is another one of my favorite moments in the film. Even though Alan Moore, the writer of the original graphic novel, hated the adaption, I loved it.
#4. The Lego Batman Movie. This felt like it was not going to work because there was just not enough here to make a full movie. And yet, Lego Batman worked brilliantly and could be considered one of the best Batman movies ever made. Will Arnett is a surprisingly solid Batman and the film does a real strange thing and made the film feature Robin. From earlier this year, Lego Batman is one of the best super hero films of the year. It is hilarious. It worked as well as you could imagine.
#3. Wonder Woman. After Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, the DC Universe had its troubles and there were people really worried. Then, here came Wonder Woman, and the film was tremendous. Gal Gadot, who was questioned whether she was capable of playing the role, just dominated the role. She was an inspiration to people everywhere, but really spoke to women. The sequence of the film at the No Man’s Land in World War I was one of the best scenes in any movie this year. I was not a huge fan of the CGI ending sequence, but it did not deter from this wonderful movie. Wonder Woman is an important movie and a true success in the DCEU.
#2. Superman: The Movie. You’ll believe a man can fly. One of the great super hero movies of all time, Superman starred the great EYG Hall of Famer Christopher Reeve as the perfect rendition of Kal-El, the last son of Krypton. There is a fun relationship between Superman and Lois Lane (played by Margot Kidder) and they had one of the great scenes with Superman catching Lois, saying, “I’ve got you, ma’am.” And Lois Lane says, “You’ve got me? Who’s got you?” Sure the reversal of the earth to save Lois’s life is a bit cheesy and not the best use of superpowers, but this film survives the bit. Superman: The Movie is a magnificent movie.
#1. The Dark Knight. The best DC movie of all time is the second film of the Nolan trilogy for several reasons. First, we see great action with Batman. Second, the film is really a crime drama with batman involved. Thirdly, the film took some real chances, including a recast. Oh… and there is the Joker played by Heath Ledger, who posthumously was awarded an Oscar for this performance. Some might claim that this is more of the Joker’s movie than Batman’s and that might be a truth, but I don’t see that as a negative. We have seen Batman many times. This was a new take on the genre. And The Dark Knight is arguably perhaps the greatest comic book movie ever. Do you want to see a magic trick?
Honorable mentions: Losers, Red, Batman: The Return of the Caped Crusaders, Superman 2.