Over the past 50 years, there have been more than 30 times that DC characters have graced the big screen. The majorly successful comic book franchise has spawned plenty of beloved films and some of the best in superhero cinema.
From DC’s biggest stars like Batman and Superman to their lesser-known characters like Steel, Swampthing, and Shazam, DC has experimented with plenty throughout the years.
In this article, we’ll be ranking every DC film to date starting from Superman and the Mole Men in 1951 and ending with Zack Snyder’s Justice League that aired on HBO Max earlier in 2021.
All DC Comics movies ranked
34. Steel (1997)
When DC decided to bring the character of Steel to the big screen they did so with NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal in mind for the role. Despite his best attempt, the acting ability wasn’t quite there for Shaq, and with a clunky script, lackluster production, and more obscure source material, Steel is most definitely the worst DC film to date.
33. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)
Superman was one of the first superheroes to get their own series on the big screen and its fourth edition was by far the worst. While the movie is a bit of fun with a couple of laughs along the way it’s not something you’ll need to experience for yourself.
32. Batman And Robin (1997)
Riding the coattails of Tim Burton’s majorly successful Batman trilogy, Batman and Robin was the first time we saw George Clooney man the role as Gotham’s hero, but thankfully it was also the last. In an attempt to take bring the franchise back to its comedic television roots, this film misses the mark and is arguably the worst Batman film to date.
31. Catwoman (2004)
Despite being a fan favorite during the character’s first appearance in Batman Returns, Catwoman didn’t play so well when it came time to make a solo movie. Despite a commendable performance by Halle Berry, the film failed to have enough legs to establish any further desires for stories about the character.
30. Jonah Hex (2010)
Many of these early entries to our rankings can be attributed to the production quality of the time, but for 2010’s Jonah Hex there is no excuse. This film doesn’t feel like a DC production at all even for those familiar with the comic book character and outside of its notable source material, it’s a shell of an action film that is lackluster at best.
29. Superman And The Mole Men (1951)
For its time this movie was iconic and did a lot for the superhero film genre, however, watching it today it’s hard to look past the limited production capabilities and that holds it back from ranking up against newer films on this list.
28. The Return Of The Swamp Thing (1989)
Yes, it is quite humorous to see a swamp monster find love with vegetarian women but it isn’t enough to make this movie something of value. If you’re a fan of the character or are looking for something on this list with a comedic spin then you may find some benefit in checking this flick out.
27. Supergirl (1984)
Despite the success of Superman beforehand, this attempt to bring this female superhero to the big screen wasn’t so well received. The film isn’t so bad and does a great job at bringing the comic-book narrative to life, but unfortunately, it pales in comparison to many other DC movies on this list.
26. Superman III (1983)
It’s often the third film in a franchise where the story can become formulaic and begin to bring no real benefit to a series overall narrative, and that is the case with Superman III. If you’re a Superman fan then you’ll probably enjoy this addition to the franchise, but if not, Superman III offers little more than your standard superhero action movie experience.
25. Green Lantern (2011)
While no CGI can make films less impressive, Green Lantern is a great example of when there is too much CGI. Despite a commendable performance by Ryan Reynolds to salvage the film, Green Lantern is a mess with only a few glimpses of fun shining through.
24. Birds Of Prey (2020)
Following on with Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn character as the lead, Birds of Prey offers similar outcomes, but with a slightly better story at hand. If you like high-budget action then this might be worth your time, but otherwise, steer clear of this movie.
23. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
While Gal Gadot’s first time in the role of Wonderwoman is renounced as one of the best DC films to date, its sequel fell short of the mark, by a longshot. With no real threat, villains who make themselves apparent from the get-go, and some pandemic era effects, it sadly didn’t live up to audience expectations.
22. Swamp Thing (1982)
Despite being extremely dated, Swamp Thing is a decent movie. It’s a fun Wes Craven wrote and directed tale about DC’s iconic mutant Swamp Monster Thing and nothing more. If you go on with that in mind you’ll have a good time.
21. Batman Forever (1995)
Despite having a star-studded cast including names like Nicole Kidman, Tommy Lee Jones, Val Kilmer, and Jim Carrey, Batman Forever isn’t the film it could be, but it is however a lot of fun. With a great script, plenty of humor and the patented Batman style of action you aren’t going to regret throwing this film on to kill some time.
20. Suicide Squad (2016)
This movie may look flashy but it’s really a mess at its core. One of the biggest issues that it suffers from is not establishing its characters enough for viewers who aren’t familiar with them prior. On top of this, the film has a completely unprecedented cameo of the Joker that feels like an afterthought to provide some familiarity for fans. While not the worst DC film, Suicide Squad is far from the best.
19. Batman: The Movie (1966)
With its age, you’d think that 1966’s Batman might suffer from similar problems to the initial Superman film, but thanks to it being closer to grounded within reality this film still holds up reasonably well. This film has clear comedy chops, fun action, and a charismatic cast which makes it the perfect choice to kill some time if you’re after a fix of DC fun.
18. Justice League (2017)
When DC chose to bring their biggest movie characters together in 2017’s Justice League they were slaughtered by critics for its poor pacing and lack of exposition. These errors would later be amended in the film’s recut, but aside from the still impressive violence and action in this film, its theatrical release didn’t offer a whole lot.
17. Superman Returns (2006)
After putting the Superman series on hold in the ‘80s Clark Kent made his return to the big screen in 2006. The film, Superman Returns had plenty of action and one of the better villains in DC movie history but wasn’t enough to spawn a franchise of its own.
16. Superman II (1980)
A sequel to 1978 hit Superman, this film is a fun action romance-inspired movie that will keep you engaged for its entire runtime. For Superman fans, you’ve got to add this one to your watchlist.
15. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)
Bringing together two of DC’s most beloved heroes to do battle sounds like a flawless premise for a film, but with this 2016 film, it wasn’t exactly a perfect fit. Suffering from a dragging plot among other issues, Dawn of Justice isn’t DC’s greatest work but it is fun and full of action.
14. Man Of Steel (2013)
After Superman Returns, DC would bring the son of Krypton to the big screen in his own film once again for Man of Steel. In this movie, we got to see a retelling of the hero’s origin story with the best visuals yet.
13. Superman (1978)
In 1978’s Superman, viewers were first introduced to the alien orphan from Crypton thanks to this telling of his origin story. While it doesn’t have the same flashy effects as Man of Steel in this slightly different origin tale, fans were perfectly introduced to Superman himself.
12. Constantine (2005)
One of DC’s more obscure characters, Keanu Reeves was brought in for the task of bringing Constantine to life, and overall he did a great job. The tale of the exorcist and demonologist doesn’t feel the most like a DC movie but it’s a great ride anyways.
11. Aquaman (2018)
While for the longest time Aquaman’s appearances in shows had been for a comedic purpose, when the hero made his way to the big screen he was perfectly cast as Jason Momoa. There was no joking about this character or his story after that and the film itself is one of the better attempts DC has made in recent years.
10. Shazam! (2019)
Known for their darker movies, DC’s Shazam! Was a great breath of fresh air showcasing some of the more light-hearted characters within DC Comics.
9. Batman Returns (1992)
With all the attempts to bring Batman to the big screen, Batman Returns is one of the best. This film has some of the best villains, story, and arguably the best Batman to date — Michael Keaton.
8. Batman (1989)
Starring Michael Keaton in his first time portraying Batman, this film is beloved by fans for its excellent performances including Jack Nicholson’s bar setting role as the Joker.
7. Watchmen (2009)
While many of DC’s films focus on one hero specifically, Watchmen endeavored to induct the entire league of characters from the comic series of the same name. With its own unique spin on the hero movie genre and gritty violence, there is a lot to love about this film.
6. Batman Begins (2005)
The first of the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy, Batman Begins offers the dark gritty telling of Gotham’s hero that fans had been desiring for years. With a unique villain and stars like Christian Bale and Liam Neeson, it shouldn’t be a shock that Batman Begins is one of the best DC films to date.
5. The Suicide Squad (2021)
While it seemed like the Suicide Squad wouldn’t appear on the big screen again after the embarrassing attempt put forward in 2016, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is everything fans wanted from the film and more. With plenty of jokes, nonstop action, and some over-the-top gore, The Suicide Squad is a DC fan’s dream with its own Gunn style of spin on it.
4. Joker (2019)
Being completely disconnected from other DC films, Joker brings the most unique take on the titular character yet masterfully portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix. The film is dark, violent, and captures the audience from the get-go. This is likely the darkest film DC has done yet and that’s a big reason why it remains a fan favorite.
3. Wonder Woman (2017)
After DC being in a rut with their films, 2017’s Wonder Woman was the perfect movie to bring the franchise back to where it once was. This origin story was masterfully told and a big part of its success was the exceptional performance by Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman herself.
2. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
In the final film in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, we saw the character of Bane come to life for a second time on the big screen, but this rendition was not only more serious but far better than before. With its impressive action, engaging narrative, and all-around great performances, The Dark Knight Rises takes number two on our list.
1. The Dark Knight (2008)
It really shouldn’t be a surprise that The Dark Knight tops our list. Not only is this the best DC film, but it’s one of the better films in superhero cinema period. With nonstop physical and psychological action and an award-winning performance by Health Ledger as the notorious Batman villain The Joker, DC will likely never top this masterpiece.