Top 5 DC Live-Action Movies Since 2000 — Top 5 Tuesday
Uh, I think I’m a Batman fan.
Welcome to Tuesday, a day that isn’t normally celebrated because for normal people it’s still basically the beginning of the work week. However, here on Flickmetic there are no rules! So in order to lighten up your Tuesday I make top five lists that you can either somewhat agree with or vehemently disagree with. If you, for some reason, are in complete accord with me then maybe we should be friends.
Because Zack Snyder’s Justice League is releasing in two days I wanted to theme this week’s Top 5 Tuesday around DC, specifically the live-action movies. I also created a parameter where I only included movies since 2000. You may be asking why I did any of this and the answer is mostly because I wanted to zone in on a time period, and format, that would allow me to do more justice (heh) to the films.
I’m a huge fan and defender of both Zack Snyder and the DCEU, and this will show. But that doesn’t mean that his superhero movies are the only ones that count. Marvel may have the better reputation because the MCU maintains an exceptional level of quality and seems less scattershot than their rivals, but that doesn’t mean DC doesn’t have some big guns.
I don’t usually do this but I did want to shout out a few honourable mentions. It was hard to cut Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984 and Man of Steel but I had to do it. I also considered Joker because of how different it is but it doesn’t quite stack up to the others.
5: Watchmen (2009)
It’s only fitting that we start it off with a controversial Snyder production. Is Watchmen as good as the acclaimed graphic novel? No. Could a feature length film ever cover all the ground that the comics did? No. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think that this is also a great adaptation of the classic Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons work.
The flaws are relatively minor and don’t subtract from the overall experience very much. Everything makes perfect sense thematically, such as the odd choice of music. It’s both serious and ridiculous and because of that it can periodically be challenging. It embodies both of those things so it can be a tad polarizing.
Perhaps I go easier on this film because it was such a thrill ride. It felt different from other superhero films and I don’t tend to nitpick. I know some things were changed from the comic book, such as the ending, but I was okay with that because the flick was so entertaining. Watchmen gets unfairly maligned.
4: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
I’m fully aware that The Dark Knight Rises is kind of the black sheep of the Nolanverse and I wouldn’t actually diverge from that opinion. However, I just love the Nolanverse.
All of the characters were handled well, the action moved along at a competent pace–with the first fight with Bane being amazing–and it was interesting to see Batman brought more to the light. It used its visuals well and, contrary to what Nolan is doing now, also used sound brilliantly. Even if this may be a lesser film than the other two in the trilogy, there are still few movies that I enjoy as much as this.
3: Batman Begins (2005)
From this point on we’ve reached the big boys. While I could easily place The Dark Knight Rises and Watchmen, Batman Begins was a lot more difficult to insert in this spot. Truthfully, if there was such a thing as objectivity in movie criticism I would say that objectively this is the best flick on the list. If somebody came up to me and declared it as the best of the Nolan trilogy I don’t know that I could find it in my heart to disagree, despite its placement on this list.
It’s a brilliant origin story for a character with an overdone origin story. There are no glaring flaws and even today the flick seems special. I will speak more on this once I get to the number one spot but while it may not have the highest highs of the Nolan trilogy, it also doesn’t have the lowest lows. From point A to point B to point C, the filmmaking here is radiant. It’s just a complete flick.
2: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Spend enough time with me, or browse this website, and you’ll see how I love this film. There are minor gripes here and there, but the extended version that was released largely wipes them out. It helps that this flick includes a version of Superman that I actually like and my favourite Batman to ever appear on-screen.
I don’t want to spend too much time preemptively being on the offensive here (as I did in this article) so I will just say that a lot of the hatred that’s spewed at this is unfounded and this deserves a lot more respect than it currently gets for trying something different–and substantial–within the genre.
1: The Dark Knight (2008)
This is a much safer pick than Batman v Superman but it deserves to be forever glued to the pedestal that it sits on; backlash be damned. In short, The Dark Knight is a masterpiece and it feels just as extraordinary upon a re-watch as it did when I first visited the theatre to see it.
But do you remember how I said that Batman Begins might be the best flick on this list? That’s because The Dark Knight does have some flaws that Begins doesn’t. However, The Dark Knight also has Heath Ledger’s Joker, and his presence/performance–among other elements of the flick–allow the viewer to forget about the times in which The Dark Knight slips slightly and just get lost in how magical the highs still are.
Look, nothing here is bad; it’s just that some things could have been done better. Ultimately though it doesn’t matter because the flick covers its own ass. Sure, Two-Face probably deserved a better arc because while Harvey Dent was treated with respect, Two-Face didn’t have the impact that he could have. With that said, how could I be too harsh on it when I watch the amazing opening scene or how Nolan contrasted that with the first appearance of Batman?
People criticize The Dark Knight for belonging mostly to the Joker. It’s a valid complaint because the flick’s title doesn’t reference him, but the criticism has always felt shortsighted to me even still. You could say The Dark Knight wouldn’t be nearly as good without Heath Ledger but that’s like saying that The Godfather wouldn’t be as good without Marlon Brando. Well yeah, of course it wouldn’t, but the film still contains that performance! Bale’s Batman is still given ample room to breathe and expand. Why are we fabricating issues?
He would have chosen Aquaman.