Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. The official topic for this week was Secondary/Minor Characters who Deserve More Love, which, while interesting did not appeal to me. Instead, I figured I would do something a little more in my wheelhouse and turn my mind to the film adaptions of DC Comics. I am currently in a major DC Comics mood, and the reason for this was the awesome recently released film, The Suicide Squad. The Suicide Squad was an absolute blast from start to finish, and it was probably one of my favourite films of the year, and the best entry in the current DC Extended Universe (DCEU). I loved this film so much, and so I thought I might do some related posts this week, starting with this Top Ten Tuesday.
While not as prolific or as impressive as Marvel in recent years, DC Comics has produced some awesome film adaptions of their comic properties over the years, including animated films, standalone films, series, and the recent DCEU films. Despite some regrettable duds, there are still some outstanding DC films out there, and I thought that I would take the time to highlight them in this list. I recently did a similar list for Marvel films (where I ranked the MCU), although rather than feature all the films of a particular shared universe, I am going to look at my absolute 10 favourite DC films of all time and have a go at ranking those.
I had a few rules in place when I started making this list. I was only going to feature films based on mainstream DC Comics, so that excludes excellent films like Watchmen or V for Vendetta, both of which’s source material was published by DC Comics, and probably would have made the list. I also excluded films I haven’t seen, such as Joker (I know, I know, it’s on my to-watch list) and Justice League: The Snyder Cut (I honestly can’t be bothered watching this film again no matter how they recut it). I am sure that some readers will be amazed that I have excluded a few classic films, such as the Michael Keaton Batman or the Christopher Reeve Superman films, but to be honest, I was never a big fan of them (I’m such a millennial). However, I did leave the list open to animated films (check out my previous list to see how much I enjoy them), with a couple making the cut. Using these criteria, I was able to come up with and rank my absolute 10 favourite DC films, and I think my list turned out pretty good as a result. So buckle in and see which great films made the cut.
Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay
The best Suicide Squad movie I’d seen before last week.
Wonder Woman 1984
Not as polished as the first film, but still lots of fun.
The Death of Superman
An outstanding piece of animation that will make you care for Superman again, and then absolutely break your heart.
Ignore the plot and the villains and focus on the amazing main cast and the great music.
Top Ten List (Ranked in Descending Order):
Let’s start this list off with a bang and look at the awesome and incredible animated film, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. This fantastic film serves as the culmination of 15 brilliant, animated films and sends the entire Justice League through hell and back as they attempt to save the world. Exceedingly grim, emotionally draining and featuring some massive moments and an amazing voice cast, Apokolips War is a thing of beauty and comes highly recommended.
9. Batman: Under the Red Hood
My current favourite DC animated film is the 2010 classic, Batman: Under the Red Hood. A near-perfect adaptation of the Under the Hood comic storyline, this epic film is one of the best Batman films in existence. Containing a deep and emotionally rich story, this is an exciting and moving tale, which sees Batman come to terms with the ghosts of his past. Featuring an exceptional voice cast, including Bruce Greenwood, Jensen Ackles, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Isaacs, and John DiMaggio as a particularly impressive Joker, you will love every second of this cool film.
8. Wonder Woman
The moment that this film came out was the moment that the DCEU actually got good. Following on from a couple of disappointing duds, Wonder Woman tells an exciting and powerful origin tale of one of DC’s most iconic characters. With a great cast, a cool story, a tragic ending, fantastic music (Wonder Woman’s instrumental theme is so epic) and some impressive action (that no man’s land scene is just amazing), this is a captivating and distinctive film. If only that final battle scene could have been a little less cheesy, then this film would be way higher up on the list.
7. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Another great entry in the DCEU is the wacky and relentlessly entertaining Birds of Prey. This cool film sees the return of Margo Robbie as fan favourite Harley Quinn and includes an amazing cast of characters. An unfortunate casualty of COVID-19, this was one of the best (and only) comic films of 2020, and I had a great time watching it. Special mentions to Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress and Ewan McGregor as Black Mask, who really added a lot of fun to this already hilarious film.
One of the main reasons that the DCEU is doing so much better these days is because the films try to embrace their fun side a little more. Nothing encapsulates this philosophy more than Shazam, which utilises some great humour to tell a very fun and surprisingly deep story. Featuring the origin of long-time DC character Captain Marvel/Shazam, this film featured a heart-warming tale of a teenager who gains the power of a god and has some fun with it. I love the combination of adult and teen actors, and Zachary Levi, Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer absolutely rock as the three main characters. There are so many fun moments in this film, although I particularly loved their take of training montage sequence, which had me in stiches. A really cool and excellent film.
I had a hard time figuring out whether to rank this film higher or lower than Shazam, but in the end I ranked it higher, because I think it is an overall better movie, even if it does not reach the same levels of humour. After making Aquaman cool in Justice League (one of the few good things you can say about Justice League), Jason Momoa returns to the role in a feature film and knocks it out of the park. Thanks to James Wan’s impressive directing, Aquaman was a major CGI epic that not only dives into the heart of its main character but presents an outstanding adventure at the same time. All the underwater scenes are stunning, and every sequence is visually beautiful and eye-catching. A powerful film that serves as a true anchor to the DCEU.
4. Batman Begins
To my mind there is not better film version of the Batman origin tale than 2005’s Batman Begins. Based on the Batman: Year One comic and written and directed by the unbelievable Christopher Nolan, this amazing film reinvents the iconic character and gives him a bold new story to follow. Containing an epic cast of some of the best actors on the planet, this outstanding film had me from the moment Liam Neeson delivered his prison cell monologue, all the way to its explosive ending. I have seen this film so many times, and only the very best comic adaptions can rank above it.
3. The Suicide Squad
Now we are at the latest DC film to be released, with The Suicide Squad. After the mediocre performance of the first Suicide Squad live-action film, the legendary James Gunn takes the helm producing an outrageous, hilarious, and downright bloody film. While I was expecting something pretty incredible, I was blown away with how good this film was, and I loved every second of it. Gunn ensures that The Suicide Squad has all the utter carnage and absurdity a Suicide Squad movie needs, and the entire outstanding film is carried on a back of bizarre group of characters and actors. On paper you wouldn’t assume that a team of Idris Elba, John Cena, Margot Robbie, and the voice of Sylvester Stallone, would work, however, it does, with all the characters playing off each other perfectly to bring you an exceptional performance. I have so much love for this film, and it is a major favourite for me now.
2. The Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy comes to an end perfectly with The Dark Knight Rises, a grim and powerful film. Taking inspiration from The Dark Knight Returns comic, this great movie features an outstanding story that shows a fallen Batman return to save his city one last time. With the entire trilogy flowing into this film perfectly, you will be hit by every emotional imaginable as you witness Batman’s final adventure. On top of the great cast from the previous two movies, Tom Hardy shines as Bane while Anne Hathaway manages to redeem Catwoman after her last film outing. With a nail-biting conclusion, an amazing twist, and a moving ending, this was an amazing way to conclude the defining Batman film series.
1. The Dark Knight
“And here we go!” Ok, so the top film on this list is going to come as no surprise to anybody. The Dark Knight is easily the best DC film of all time, and honestly it is probably the best comic film ever made (sorry Infinity War and Deadpool 2). Featuring the epic and tragic performance of the late, great Heath Ledger, this movie contains the perfect portrayal of the Joker, who brings all manner of madness and chaos to an already dark setting. I could honestly watch this film 100 times and not get bored, and I know most comic fans could do the same. I cannot see how this film could ever be upstaged by any other comic film adaption, and it was the only entry that could sit at the top of this list.
So that is the end of this Top Ten list and I think it did a good job of capturing my thoughts on the current DC film adaptions. I am sure that this will provoke some disagreement, so let me know your opinions in the comments below. I will probably come back to this list at some point in the future after I check out some more films, and maybe revaluate my decisions. Hopefully some of the planned upcoming DC films will be great, and if they can knock any of the above off this list, I will be excited. Until then, make sure you check out The Suicide Squad, because it is pretty damn awesome.