Warner Bros. Pictures’ plans for the DC Comics characters always seem in a state of flux — projects are announced and forgotten, release dates shift constantly, and any attempt to maintain a consistent universe seemingly falls by the wayside. DC’s small-screen Multiverse, on the other hand, appeared on firmer ground with long-running shows like Smallville and The CW’s The Flash, surprise successes like HBO Max’s Doom Patrol and Peacemaker, and beloved animated programs including Young Justice and Harley Quinn.

But that sense of solidity may be changing. In summer 2022, DC’s new corporate parent, Warner Bros. Discovery, announced to investors a 10-year plan for the characters, with a heavy emphasis on theatrical features. The company’s long hunt for a mastermind (à la Marvel’s Kevin Feige) to take control of a brand reset for film and TV finally ended when James Gunn and Peter Safran assumed their duties as co-CEOs and chairmen at the newly formed DC Studios on November 1, 2022. Meanwhile, the sale of The CW television network to Nexstar Media Group seemingly ended the longstanding foothold for DC on broadcast TV.

Of course, the DC superheroes always bounce back from any crisis, so there is always hope to be found. But it is worthwhile to take stock of the series based on the characters currently airing and in development in light of WBD’s and DC Studios new plans. Will your favorites survive a seeming Zero Hour to become Legends in a new (52) environment? Let’s take a look at what we know about the various DC TV series for more insight.


Batwheels

Status: New episodes airing through November 28 on Cartoon Network and HBO Max

What We Know: The children’s program centers on a Batmobile with a consciousness, known as Bam (voiced by Jacob Bertrand), as he and the other Bat-related vehicles learn to become a team and fight crime around Gotham in their particular, gasoline-filled way. Considering the way animated programs are produced, it is possible a second season is in production.


Status: Currently streaming new episodes on HBO Max

What We Know: The third season of the series moves from Epix to HBO Max with a new subtitle (The Origin of Batman’s Butler) and a new focus. Set five years after the English Civil War, Alfie (Jack Bannon), Thomas (Ben Aldridge), and Martha (Emma Paetz) must navigate a new world of superheroes. And considering the subtitle, we imagine the story will also see Alfie move from ex-SAS mercenary to Thomas and Martha’s faithful houseman — a role that will be very surprising to fans of Bannon’s take on the character and Pennyworth’s overall vibe. Future seasons will likely be determined by the success of the upcoming set of episodes.


Titans s3 key art

(Photo by HBO Max)

Status: Currently streaming new episodes on HBO Max

What We Know: The Titans continue to do what they do best as they face a new set of threats. Joining the series for the upcoming season are Joseph Morgan as Brother Blood, Franka Potente as Mother Mayhem, and Lisa Ambalavanar as Jinx. Set in Metropolis, the team faces the Church of Blood as the program returns to some of its horror roots. And if that were not enough, Titus Welliver will appear as Lex Luthor. Unlike previous years, the season will be split into two parts, with the second half streaming, presumably, in 2023.


Status: Season 4 debuts December 8 on HBO Max

What We Know: With Rita (April Bowlby) now leading a “Doom Force,” the team is seemingly, finally, a superhero outfit. But that could change with the wrong choice of words or the arrival of a new antagonist. Additionally, recent Doom Patrol comic book addition Space Case — aka Casey Brinke — will join the team in the form of actor Madeline Zima. And, if a list of episode titles floating around the internet are to be believed, the series may be wrapping up of its own accord.


The Flash -- "Negative, Part Two" -- Image Number: FLA820fg_0001r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as The Flash -- Photo: The CW -- 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by The CW)

Status: Returning to The CW for a ninth and final season in 2023

What We Know: The final 13-episode season of The Flash will presumably resolve any remaining season 8 threads before going into its final story. Additionally, former Batwoman star Javicia Leslie will appear in the series, but it is unclear if she will be reprising her previous Arrowverse role — although some reports indicate she will be an as-yet unannounced villain. Beyond that, details are scarce, but it is worth noting that the program’s series finale will, effectively, end the Arrowverse as an ongoing shared fictional universe. The other remaining CW superhero shows — Stargirl, Superman & Lois, and Gotham Knights — all take place in separate realities along the DC Multiverse.


Superman & Lois

(Photo by Nino Muñoz/The CW)

Status: Returning for its third season on The CW in 2023

What We Know: A still strong performer for the network, Superman & Lois continues on as a mid-season series due to ongoing production difficulties related to the Covid-19 epidemic that, unfortunately, caused various unannounced delays in its second year. Meanwhile, season 3 will definitely look different in one respect: former star Jordan Elsass (pictured above, far left) chose to quit the series in mid-August 2022. Shortly thereafter, Michael Bishop was cast in Elsass’ former role: Superman’s (Tyler Hoechlin) son Jonathan Kent. With the ongoing changes at The CW and Henry Cavill’s eventual return as Superman in the movies, an additional season seems unlikely.


Status: Set to debut during The CW’s mid-season in early 2023

What We Know: Although the series comes from former Batwoman producers James Stoteraux, Natalie Abrams, and Chad Fiveash, the series takes place in a separate reality in which the Batman is dead and his adopted son, Turner Hayes (Oscar Morgan), is accused of his murder. Forced to ally with the children of Batman’s foes, Hayes attempts to clear his name and protect a city now without its Dark Knight. In the immediate wake of Batgirl’s shelving, rumors suggested the yet-to-air series might also end up scrapped, but this is not the case. It will air at least one season, although with Nexstar claiming the average age of a CW viewer is 58, the program’s attempt to skew much younger may lead to a quick end.


Sweet Tooth

(Photo by Kirsty Griffin/Netflix)

Status: Returning to Netflix for a second season in the near future

What We Know: Although not part of any DC comic book universe, the series was published by the company’s now-defunct Vertigo imprint. The second season will see Gus (Christian Convery) confront General Abbot (Neil Sandilands) directly as additional secrets of the virus, the hybrid kind, and Gus’ family are learned.


Read Also: What We Could See in Sweet Tooth Season 2


Peacemaker season 1 key art (HBO Max)

(Photo by HBO Max)

Status: Season 2 is in development

What We Know: The success of Peacemaker on HBO Max means its planned second season will go forward. No plot details have emerged, but it is easy to imagine Chris (John Cena) seeking to get the band back together for any number of reasons. It is also possible Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) might want to exact some revenge on the task force. And with Gunn now the co-CEO and co-chair of DC Studios, the possibility of Peacemaker continuing beyond the second season increases exponentially.


Related: What Peacemaker Season 2 Could Hold


Dead Boy Detectives

Dead Boys Detectives

(Photo by DC Comics)

Status: Ordered direct to series on HBO Max

What We Know: Based on characters appearing in an issue of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman and a third season episode of Doom Patrol, Dead Boy Detectives stars George Rexstrew and Jayden Revri as two British schoolboys who enjoy being dead and solving crimes together. Kassius Nelson will also appear as Crystal Palace, their connection to the mortal realm, with Briana Cuoco as Jenny the Butcher, Ruth Connell as the Night Nurse (the part she played in the Doom Patrol episode), Yuyu Kitamura as Niko, and Jenn Lyon as Esther. In September 2022, Lukas Gage joined the cast with Caitlin Reilly and Max Jenkins also signing on that November. Production on the eight-episode series began in Vancouver in November 2022. Steve Yockey serves as showrunner and an executive producer alongside Jeremy Carver, Greg Berlanti, and Sarah Schechter.


The Sandman

(Photo by Netflix)

Status: Renewed for a second season at Netflix

What We Know: Although the series was welcomed by fans, critics, and viewers when it debuted in August, its future was unknown for a distressingly long time as the Warner Bros. Television production requires a green light from Netflix to continue. Thankfully, word finally broke of its renewal in early November. As previously reported, co-creator Neil Gaiman said on several occasions that season 2 was mapped out during the writing of season 1. Based on the structure of that debut season, the program will likely move on to the next major Sandman comic book story, “Season of Mists,” which sees Lucifer (Gwendoline Christie in the television series) making a momentous choice and Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) dealing with the fallout. Gaiman’s statement about the renewal strengthens our guess about the subject matter. “It’s time to get back to work,” he wrote. “There’s a family meal ahead, after all. And Lucifer is waiting for Morpheus to return to Hell…”


Related:
The Sandman Season 2: What’s Next for the Dream Team

5 Things We Learned from The Sandman’s Surprise Episode


The Batman’s Penguin Spinoff Series

Colin Farrell as The Penguin

(Photo by © Warner Bros.)

Status: In development for an eventual HBO Max slot

What We Know: Announced shortly after the success of The Batman feature film, the series will star Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot as he continues to climb the Gotham’s criminal underworld. And although that premise offers a chance for the series to be a prequel, it will likely take place in the gulf between The Batman and its eventual feature film sequel. Matt Reeves and Lauren LeFranc are the executive producer with LeFranc serving as showrunner. In early October 2022, Craig Zobel signed on as an episode director and executive producer. And at the end of the month, Cristin Milioti was cast as mobster scion Sofia Falcone, who will no doubt challenge Cobblepot’s climb to the top of Gotham’s criminal underworld.


Related: Everything We Know About HBO Max’s The Batman Spinoff Series


Arkham Asylum

Matt Reeves

(Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)

Status: In development

What We Know: Growing out of Reeves (pictured) and HBO Max’s plan to develop a series centered on the Gotham City Police Department, the Arkham Asylum series will instead focus on the family known for running the infamous mental institution. In October 2022, The Staircase’s Antonio Campos signed on to serve as executive producer and showrunner.


Green Lantern

Finn Wittrock

(Photo by Amy Sussman/FilmMagic)

Status: Still in development at HBO Max after a major creative change

What We Know: Announced at a HBO Max preview day in 2019, Green Lantern was said to be most ambitious comics-to-screen adaptation ever attempted by Berlanti Productions (the company behind the Arrowverse, Titans, and Doom Patrol), but those ambitions clearly changed in late 2022. Originally set to star Jeremy Irvine and Finn Wittrock (pictured) as Green Lanterns Alan Scott and Guy Gardner, respectively, word broke in October 2022 indicating the program will now focus on Green Lantern John Stewart. Irvine and Wittrock were released and the previously announced showrunner, Seth Grahame-Smith, exited the series. Berlanti and other executives at his company remain involved, but none of the other previous creative staff remain. In fact, it is unclear who is developing the John Stewart version of the series.


Status: Renewed for a fourth season on HBO Max

What We Know: After much worry and doubt in the late summer — when Warner Bros. Discovery was pulling the plug on seemingly everythingHarley Quinn was renewed for another season. Of course, with a show as unpredictable as this, it is hard to guess what Harley (Kaley Cuoco), Ivy (Lake Bell), and the others will do in another batch of episodes. Mayhem is a safe bet, though.


Justice League Dark

(Photo by DC Comics)

Status: In development (probably)

What We Know: As part of Bad Robot’s DC initiative, Justice League Dark will presumably unite Constantine, Madame Xanadu, Zatanna (who is reportedly getting her own feature film), and other magically inclined characters in a league all their own. Magic and mysticism is, of course, their focus. But like any hero team, learning how to deal with one another will no doubt be a key element of the project. It is unclear how Keanu Reeves’s return to Constantine movies will change the plan or if Justice League Dark is still even in development.


Status: Season 8 has been announced

What We Know: The off-the-wall, younger-skewing Teen Titans series will return for another season, as announced in February 2022, but it is unclear when it will air. As a Cartoon Network series, the program is likely safe, but with Warner Bros. Discovery also announcing plans to scale back its family offerings, it is unclear if Cartoon Network itself is safe.


Status: To be determined

What We Know: Completing its fourth season in June 2022, the fate of the series is, as co-creator Greg Wiseman put it on Twitter, a question of “if,” not “when.” Considering WBD’s stated plan to reduce family offerings, it is possible the series has once again been canceled. Then again, Young Justice’s audience is more diverse than the family market, which is allegedly one of the reasons it was canceled after its second season on Cartoon Network many years ago. This time, though, it may turn out to be its saving grace. And with Gunn and Safran also taking charge of DC’s animated offerings, there may be more hope for the program than existed two months ago.


Noonan’s

HARLEY QUINN: Kite Man

(Photo by ©DC Universe/Courtesy Everett C)

Status: Set for a 10-episode debut season on HBO Max

What We Know: Tentatively titled Noonan’s, the project is a Harley Quinn spinoff focusing on Kite Man (Matt Oberg) as he and Golden Glider return to a life of crime after purchasing the currently eponymous bar for villains and other assorted ne’er-do-wells. Like the other animated series in this list, is it unclear if the project still fits the WBD corporate strategy. Ordered directly to series in April, the program will presumably stream on the successor platform to HBO Max and Discovery+.


Batman: Caped Crusader

Batman: Caped Crusader

(Photo by Warner Bros. Animation)

Status: In development

What We Know: Revealed in 2021, Caped Crusader will be an animated series from the mind of Batman: The Animated Series Bruce Timm, The Batman’s Matt Reeves, and J.J. Abrams, with head writer Ed Brubaker and co-executive producer James Tucker adding spins of their own. While it will share some visual similarities with Batman: TAS, the program’s stated goal is to “once again reinvent Batman and his iconic rogue’s gallery with sophisticated storytelling, nuanced characters and intense action sequences all set in a visually striking world.” In August 2022, HBO Max cancelled the series with Warner Animation Group intending to shop it around to other outlets.


My Adventures with Superman

Jack Quaid

(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/WireImage)

Status: Set for a Cartoon Network debut in 2023

What We Know: Announced at the same time as Batman: Caped Crusader, this animated series will focus on Clark Kent (Jack Quaid) as he builds his Superman persona, gets accustomed to Metropolis, and starts a relationship with Lois Lane (Alice Lee). Also along for the adventure: Jimmy Olsen. Creative staff include executive producer Sam Register, co-EPs  Jake Wyatt (Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus) and Brendan Clogher (Voltron: Legendary Defender), and co-producer Josie Campbell (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power). In August 2022, Campbell said the series is still “slated to come out” on Cartoon Network and its associated app.


Status: Cancelled with new episodes continuing to air through December 7 on The CW

What We Know: Subtitled “Frenemies,” the new season sees The Crocks (formerly Injustice Society villains Sportmaster and Tigress) and their daughter, Artemis (Stella Smith), moving next door to Courtney (Brec Bassinger) and her blended family in an attempt to move past their villainous ways. Courtney takes this to heart by also adding Artemis and Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy) — another second-generation villain — to her circle of friends even as a murder mystery threatens to destroy the Justice Society of America. The season finished filming well before any of the Warner Bros. Discovery changes took hold, but as part Nexstar’s sweeping revision of The CW, Stargirl was cancelled at the end of October, 2022.


Merry Little Batman

Merry Little Batman title

(Photo by Warner Bros. Animation)

Status: Cancelled at HBO Max

What We Know: The holiday-themed Batman special centers on a six-year-old Damian Wayne, Batman’s biological son, who adopts a “Little Batman” persona to save Gotham from a villain’s Yuletide plot. Mike Roth (Regular Show) directs from a script by Earth to Ned’s Morgan Evans. Like Caped Crusader, the special will not stream on HBO Max, but as it is at some stage of production, it will be shopped around to other services and channels.


Strange Adventures

Status: Shelved

What We Know: The program, originally announced alongside Green Lantern, was meant to be an anthology program probing the stranger corners of the DC Universe. The Berlanti Productions series was meant to be headed by Gotham’s John Stephens, but news slowed to a trickle quickly. In August 2022, HBO Max confirmed the program was no longer in development.


Constantine

Constantine vol. 1

(Photo by DC Comics)

Status: Shelved

What We Know: The series — rumored to star Sope Dirisu as a slightly younger version of John Constantine — was to be part of an initiative from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot to create a Justice League Dark universe. But as things in the DC realm change constantly, the concept was shelved when Keanu Reeves agreed to star in a Constantine movie sequel.


Madame X

Madame Xanadu

(Photo by DC Comics)

Status: Shelved

What We Know: Like Constantine, Madame X was to be part of the Bad Robot Justice League Dark universe. And like that series, it was set aside in the wake of the Constantine movie sequel deal.


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The 85 Best Superhero Movies of All Time

The Dark Knight celebrates its 14th anniversary! Black Panther: Wakanda Forever added!

Friends of the super variety, we’ve collected every Fresh and Certified Fresh superhero movie with at least 20 reviews to assemble our guide to the best superhero movies ever, ranked by Tomatometer!

It’s been a decades-long battle towards the top in pop culture for superhero movies, and we’re featuring here all the goods, the greats, and the masterpieces made along the way. Everything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Iron Man, Avengers) to DCEU (Aquaman, Wonder Woman), animated fare (The Incredibles, Megamind) to live-action spoofs (The Toxic Avenger, Mystery Men), comedies (Deadpool) and the super serious (The Dark Knight), and then throwing in some originals made just for the big screen (The Rocketeer, Darkman, Unbreakable).

Great leaping buggaboos! This introduction is now over! Throw up the cape, slip on that cowl, and hop into the Tomatomobile: We ride for to the best superhero movies of all time! (And don’t forget the worst superhero movies ever as well.)

#1
Adjusted Score: 115993%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.
Synopsis: Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into... [More]

#2

The Incredibles (2004)
97%75%

#2
Adjusted Score: 106616%
Critics Consensus: Bringing loads of wit and tons of fun to the animated superhero genre, The Incredibles easily lives up to its name.
Synopsis: In this lauded Pixar animated film, married superheroes Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) are forced to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#3

Black Panther (2018)
96%79%

#3
Adjusted Score: 121894%
Critics Consensus: Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories -- and introducing some of its most fully realized characters.
Synopsis: After the death of his father, T'Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

#4

Avengers: Endgame (2019)
94%90%

#4
Adjusted Score: 124044%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, entertaining, and emotionally impactful, Avengers: Endgame does whatever it takes to deliver a satisfying finale to Marvel's epic Infinity Saga.
Synopsis: Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#5

Logan (2017)
94%90%

#5
Adjusted Score: 124046%
Critics Consensus: Hugh Jackman makes the most of his final outing as Wolverine with a gritty, nuanced performance in a violent but surprisingly thoughtful superhero action film that defies genre conventions.
Synopsis: In the near future, a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) at a remote... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#6

The Dark Knight (2008)
94%94%

#6
Adjusted Score: 107633%
Critics Consensus: Dark, complex, and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.
Synopsis: With the help of allies Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman (Christian Bale) has... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#7

Iron Man (2008)
94%91%

#7
Adjusted Score: 104918%
Critics Consensus: Powered by Robert Downey Jr.'s vibrant charm, Iron Man turbo-charges the superhero genre with a deft intelligence and infectious sense of fun.
Synopsis: A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#8

Superman: The Movie (1978)
93%86%

#8
Adjusted Score: 98999%
Critics Consensus: Superman deftly blends humor and gravitas, taking advantage of the perfectly cast Christopher Reeve to craft a loving, nostalgic tribute to an American pop culture icon.
Synopsis: Just before the destruction of the planet Krypton, scientist Jor-El (Marlon Brando) sends his infant son Kal-El on a spaceship... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#9

Wonder Woman (2017)
93%83%

#9
Adjusted Score: 126593%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot's charismatic performance, Wonder Woman succeeds in spectacular fashion.
Synopsis: Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior.... [More]
Directed By: Patty Jenkins

#10

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
93%87%

#10
Adjusted Score: 123842%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, funny, and above all fun, Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful cosmic adventure that sets a new standard for its franchise -- and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Synopsis: Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits... [More]
Directed By: Taika Waititi

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 111253%
Critics Consensus: A bigger, bolder Spider-Man sequel, No Way Home expands the franchise's scope and stakes without losing sight of its humor and heart.
Synopsis: For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero's identity is revealed, bringing his Super... [More]
Directed By: Jon Watts

#12

Incredibles 2 (2018)
93%84%

#12
Adjusted Score: 111790%
Critics Consensus: Incredibles 2 reunites Pixar's family crimefighting team for a long-awaited follow-up that may not quite live up to the original, but comes close enough to earn its name.
Synopsis: Telecommunications guru Winston Deavor enlists Elastigirl to fight crime and make the public fall in love with superheroes once again.... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#13

Spider-Man 2 (2004)
93%82%

#13
Adjusted Score: 103726%
Critics Consensus: Boasting an entertaining villain and deeper emotional focus, this is a nimble sequel that improves upon the original.
Synopsis: When a failed nuclear fusion experiment results in an explosion that kills his wife, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) is... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 119875%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Homecoming does whatever a second reboot can, delivering a colorful, fun adventure that fits snugly in the sprawling MCU without getting bogged down in franchise-building.
Synopsis: Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the... [More]
Directed By: Jon Watts

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 104830%
Critics Consensus: Guardians of the Galaxy is just as irreverent as fans of the frequently zany Marvel comic would expect -- as well as funny, thrilling, full of heart, and packed with visual splendor.
Synopsis: Brash space adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) finds himself the quarry of relentless bounty hunters after he steals an orb... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#16

Marvel's the Avengers (2012)
91%91%

#16
Adjusted Score: 105393%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a script that emphasizes its heroes' humanity and a wealth of superpowered set pieces, The Avengers lives up to its hype and raises the bar for Marvel at the movies.
Synopsis: When Thor's evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), gains access to the unlimited power of the energy cube called the Tesseract,... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 96800%
Critics Consensus: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies distills the enduring appeal of its colorful characters into a charmingly light-hearted adventure whose wacky humor fuels its infectious fun -- and belies a surprising level of intelligence.
Synopsis: It seems that all the major superheroes out there are starring in their own movies -- all but the Teen... [More]

#18

RoboCop (1987)
91%84%

#18
Adjusted Score: 96104%
Critics Consensus: While over-the-top and gory, Robocop is also a surprisingly smart sci-fi flick that uses ultraviolence to disguise its satire of American culture.
Synopsis: In a violent, near-apocalyptic Detroit, evil corporation Omni Consumer Products wins a contract from the city government to privatize the... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 114549%
Critics Consensus: A breezily unpredictable blend of teen romance and superhero action, Spider-Man: Far from Home stylishly sets the stage for the next era of the MCU.
Synopsis: Peter Parker's relaxing European vacation takes an unexpected turn when Nick Fury shows up in his hotel room to recruit... [More]
Directed By: Jon Watts

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 115085%
Critics Consensus: Captain America: Civil War begins the next wave of Marvel movies with an action-packed superhero blockbuster boasting a decidedly non-cartoonish plot and the courage to explore thought-provoking themes.
Synopsis: Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#21

Shazam! (2019)
90%82%

#21
Adjusted Score: 112417%
Critics Consensus: An effortlessly entertaining blend of humor and heart, Shazam! is a superhero movie that never forgets the genre's real power: joyous wish fulfillment.
Synopsis: We all have a superhero inside of us -- it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out.... [More]
Directed By: David F. Sandberg

#22

The Suicide Squad (2021)
90%82%

#22
Adjusted Score: 106146%
Critics Consensus: Enlivened by writer-director James Gunn's singularly skewed vision, The Suicide Squad marks a funny, fast-paced rebound that plays to the source material's violent, anarchic strengths.
Synopsis: Welcome to hell--a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 102625%
Critics Consensus: X-Men: Days of Future Past combines the best elements of the series to produce a satisfyingly fast-paced outing that ranks among the franchise's finest installments.
Synopsis: Convinced that mutants pose a threat to humanity, Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) develops the Sentinels, enormous robotic weapons that... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#24

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)
90%80%

#24
Adjusted Score: 111869%
Critics Consensus: The Lego Batman Movie continues its block-buster franchise's winning streak with another round of dizzyingly funny -- and beautifully animated -- family-friendly mayhem.
Synopsis: There are big changes brewing in Gotham, but if Batman (Will Arnett) wants to save the city from the Joker's... [More]
Directed By: Chris McKay

#25
Adjusted Score: 101807%
Critics Consensus: Suspenseful and politically astute, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior entry in the Avengers canon and is sure to thrill Marvel diehards.
Synopsis: After the cataclysmic events in New York with his fellow Avengers, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), lives in... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#26

Spider-Man (2002)
90%67%

#26
Adjusted Score: 97872%
Critics Consensus: Not only does Spider-Man provide a good dose of web-swinging fun, it also has a heart, thanks to the combined charms of director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire.
Synopsis: "Spider-Man" centers on student Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) who, after being bitten by a genetically-altered spider, gains superhuman strength and... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#27

Big Hero 6 (2014)
90%91%

#27
Adjusted Score: 98370%
Critics Consensus: Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching.
Synopsis: Robotics prodigy Hiro (Ryan Potter) lives in the city of San Fransokyo. Next to his older brother, Tadashi, Hiro's closest... [More]
Directed By: Don Hall, Chris Williams

#28

Doctor Strange (2016)
89%86%

#28
Adjusted Score: 111531%
Critics Consensus: Doctor Strange artfully balances its outré source material against the blockbuster constraints of the MCU, delivering a thoroughly entertaining superhero origin story in the bargain.
Synopsis: Dr. Stephen Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When... [More]
Directed By: Scott Derrickson

#29

Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)
87%80%

#29
Adjusted Score: 103026%
Critics Consensus: A lighter, brighter superhero movie powered by the effortless charisma of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp offers a much-needed MCU palate cleanser.
Synopsis: Scott Lang is grappling with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. Approached by Hope... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

#30

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
87%90%

#30
Adjusted Score: 101773%
Critics Consensus: The Dark Knight Rises is an ambitious, thoughtful, and potent action film that concludes Christopher Nolan's franchise in spectacular fashion.
Synopsis: It has been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale), in collusion with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), vanished into the night.... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#31
Adjusted Score: 95915%
Critics Consensus: With a tidy plot, clean animation, and humor that fits its source material snugly, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is entertainment that won't drive a wedge between family members.
Synopsis: George Beard and Harold Hutchins are two overly imaginative pranksters who spend hours in a treehouse creating comic books. When... [More]
Directed By: David Soren

#32

X-Men: First Class (2011)
86%87%

#32
Adjusted Score: 97082%
Critics Consensus: With a strong script, stylish direction, and powerful performances from its well-rounded cast, X-Men: First Class is a welcome return to form for the franchise.
Synopsis: In the early 1960s, during the height of the Cold War, a mutant named Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) meets a... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 95604%
Critics Consensus: Guillermo del Toro crafts a stellar comic book sequel, boasting visuals that are as imaginative as the characters are endearing.
Synopsis: Hellboy (Ron Perlman), his pyrokinetic girlfriend, Liz (Selma Blair), and aquatic empath, Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), face their biggest battle... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#34

The Batman (2022)
85%87%

#34
Adjusted Score: 104556%
Critics Consensus: A grim, gritty, and gripping super-noir, The Batman ranks among the Dark Knight's bleakest -- and most thrillingly ambitious -- live-action outings.
Synopsis: Batman ventures into Gotham City's underworld when a sadistic killer leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues. As the evidence... [More]
Directed By: Matt Reeves

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 108813%
Critics Consensus: Avengers: Infinity War ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.
Synopsis: Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet --... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 114829%
Critics Consensus: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's action-packed plot, dazzling visuals, and irreverent humor add up to a sequel that's almost as fun -- if not quite as thrillingly fresh -- as its predecessor.
Synopsis: Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians are hired by a powerful alien race, the Sovereign, to protect their precious batteries... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#37

Deadpool (2016)
85%90%

#37
Adjusted Score: 105220%
Critics Consensus: Fast, funny, and gleefully profane, the fourth-wall-busting Deadpool subverts superhero film formula with wildly entertaining -- and decidedly non-family-friendly -- results.
Synopsis: Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a former Special Forces operative who now works as a mercenary. His world comes crashing... [More]
Directed By: Tim Miller

#38

X2 (2003)
85%85%

#38
Adjusted Score: 93542%
Critics Consensus: Tightly scripted, solidly acted, and impressively ambitious, X2: X-Men United is bigger and better than its predecessor -- and a benchmark for comic sequels in general.
Synopsis: Stryker (Brian Cox), a villianous former Army commander, holds the key to Wolverine's (Hugh Jackman) past and the future of... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#39

Deadpool 2 (2018)
84%85%

#39
Adjusted Score: 104363%
Critics Consensus: Though it threatens to buckle under the weight of its meta gags, Deadpool 2 is a gory, gleeful lampoon of the superhero genre buoyed by Ryan Reynolds' undeniable charm.
Synopsis: Wisecracking mercenary Deadpool meets Russell, an angry teenage mutant who lives at an orphanage. When Russell becomes the target of... [More]
Directed By: David Leitch

#40

Batman Begins (2005)
84%94%

#40
Adjusted Score: 95537%
Critics Consensus: Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.
Synopsis: A young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels to the Far East, where he's trained in the martial arts by Henri... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 98910%
Critics Consensus: A poignant tribute that satisfyingly moves the franchise forward, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marks an ambitious and emotionally rewarding triumph for the MCU.
Synopsis: In Marvel Studios' "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M'Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira)... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

#42

The Crow (1994)
84%90%

#42
Adjusted Score: 86913%
Critics Consensus: Filled with style and dark, lurid energy, The Crow is an action-packed visual feast that also has a soul in the performance of the late Brandon Lee.
Synopsis: The night before his wedding, musician Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancée are brutally murdered by members of a... [More]
Directed By: Alex Proyas

#43

Darkman (1990)
84%59%

#43
Adjusted Score: 87130%
Critics Consensus: Gruesome and deliciously broad, Sam Raimi's Darkman bears the haunted soulfulness of gothic tragedy while packing the stylistic verve of onomatopoeia springing off a comic strip page.
Synopsis: When thugs employed by a crime boss lead a vicious assault on Dr. Peyton Wilder (Liam Neeson), leaving him literally... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#44

Superman II (1980)
83%76%

#44
Adjusted Score: 86683%
Critics Consensus: The humor occasionally stumbles into slapstick territory, and the special effects are dated, but Superman II meets, if not exceeds, the standard set by its predecessor.
Synopsis: Superman (Christopher Reeve) foils the plot of terrorists by hurtling their nuclear device into outer space, but the bomb's shock... [More]
Directed By: Richard Lester

#45

Ant-Man (2015)
83%85%

#45
Adjusted Score: 95029%
Critics Consensus: Led by a charming performance from Paul Rudd, Ant-Man offers Marvel thrills on an appropriately smaller scale -- albeit not as smoothly as its most successful predecessors.
Synopsis: Forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) recruits the talents of... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

#46

X-Men (2000)
82%83%

#46
Adjusted Score: 87730%
Critics Consensus: Faithful to the comics and filled with action, X-Men brings a crowded slate of classic Marvel characters to the screen with a talented ensemble cast and surprisingly sharp narrative focus.
Synopsis: They are children of the atom, homo superior, the next link in the chain of evolution. Each was born with... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#47

Hellboy (2004)
81%66%

#47
Adjusted Score: 88613%
Critics Consensus: With wit, humor and Guillermo del Toro's fantastic visuals, the entertaining Hellboy transcends the derivative nature of the genre.
Synopsis: At the end of World War II, the Nazis attempt to open a portal to a paranormal dimension in order... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#48

Batman Returns (1992)
81%73%

#48
Adjusted Score: 86300%
Critics Consensus: Director Tim Burton's dark, brooding atmosphere, Michael Keaton's work as the tormented hero, and the flawless casting of Danny DeVito as The Penguin and Christopher Walken as, well, Christopher Walken make the sequel better than the first.
Synopsis: The monstrous Penguin (Danny DeVito), who lives in the sewers beneath Gotham, joins up with wicked shock-headed businessman Max Shreck... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#49

The Mask (1994)
80%68%

#49
Adjusted Score: 82409%
Critics Consensus: It misses perhaps as often as it hits, but Jim Carrey's manic bombast, Cameron Diaz' blowsy appeal, and the film's overall cartoony bombast keep The Mask afloat.
Synopsis: When timid bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey) discovers a magical mask containing the spirit of the Norse god Loki,... [More]
Directed By: Charles Russell

#50

Captain Marvel (2019)
79%45%

#50
Adjusted Score: 108652%
Critics Consensus: Packed with action, humor, and visual thrills, Captain Marvel introduces the MCU's latest hero with an origin story that makes effective use of the franchise's signature formula.
Synopsis: Captain Marvel is an extraterrestrial Kree warrior who finds herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle between her... [More]
Directed By: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

#51

Black Widow (2021)
79%91%

#51
Adjusted Score: 98626%
Critics Consensus: Black Widow's deeper themes are drowned out in all the action, but it remains a solidly entertaining standalone adventure that's rounded out by a stellar supporting cast.
Synopsis: In Marvel Studios' action-packed spy thriller "Black Widow," Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger... [More]
Directed By: Cate Shortland

#52
Adjusted Score: 106912%
Critics Consensus: With a fresh perspective, some new friends, and loads of fast-paced action, Birds of Prey captures the colorfully anarchic spirit of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn.
Synopsis: It's open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her... [More]
Directed By: Cathy Yan

#53

Iron Man 3 (2013)
79%78%

#53
Adjusted Score: 91299%
Critics Consensus: With the help of its charismatic lead, some impressive action sequences, and even a few surprises, Iron Man 3 is a witty, entertaining adventure and a strong addition to the Marvel canon.
Synopsis: Plagued with worry and insomnia since saving New York from destruction, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), now, is more dependent... [More]
Directed By: Shane Black

#54
Adjusted Score: 89032%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of pulpy action, a pleasantly retro vibe, and a handful of fine performances, Captain America is solidly old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment.
Synopsis: It is 1941 and the world is in the throes of war. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wants to do his... [More]
Directed By: Joe Johnston

#55

Dredd (2012)
79%72%

#55
Adjusted Score: 85151%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by bombastic violence and impressive special effects, rooted in self-satire and deadpan humor, Dredd 3D does a remarkable job of capturing its source material's gritty spirit.
Synopsis: Mega City One is a vast, violent metropolis where felons rule the streets. The only law lies with cops called... [More]
Directed By: Pete Travis

#56

Thor (2011)
77%76%

#56
Adjusted Score: 87840%
Critics Consensus: A dazzling blockbuster that tempers its sweeping scope with wit, humor, and human drama, Thor is mighty Marvel entertainment.
Synopsis: As the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), king of the Norse gods, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will soon inherit the throne... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

#57
#57
Adjusted Score: 89566%
Critics Consensus: Exuberant and eye-popping, Avengers: Age of Ultron serves as an overstuffed but mostly satisfying sequel, reuniting its predecessor's unwieldy cast with a few new additions and a worthy foe.
Synopsis: When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jump-starts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth),... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#58

Kick-Ass (2010)
76%81%

#58
Adjusted Score: 86034%
Critics Consensus: Not for the faint of heart, Kick-Ass takes the comic adaptation genre to new levels of visual style, bloody violence, and gleeful profanity.
Synopsis: Using his love for comics as inspiration, teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides to reinvent himself as a superhero --... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

#59

Superman Returns (2006)
74%61%

#59
Adjusted Score: 84593%
Critics Consensus: Bryan Singer's reverent and visually decadent adaptation gives the Man of Steel welcome emotional complexity. The result: a satisfying stick-to-your-ribs adaptation.
Synopsis: While Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) plots to destroy him once and for all, the Man of Steel (Brandon Routh) returns... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#60

V for Vendetta (2006)
73%90%

#60
Adjusted Score: 83201%
Critics Consensus: Visually stunning and thought-provoking, V For Vendetta's political pronouncements may rile some, but its story and impressive set pieces will nevertheless entertain.
Synopsis: Following world war, London is a police state occupied by a fascist government, and a vigilante known only as V... [More]
Directed By: James McTeigue

#61
#61
Adjusted Score: 84254%
Critics Consensus: A well-chosen cast and sure-handed direction allow The Amazing Spider-Man to thrill, despite revisiting many of the same plot points from 2002's Spider-Man.
Synopsis: Abandoned by his parents and raised by an aunt and uncle, teenager Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), AKA Spider-Man, is trying... [More]
Directed By: Marc Webb

#62

Iron Man 2 (2010)
71%71%

#62
Adjusted Score: 82475%
Critics Consensus: It isn't quite the breath of fresh air that Iron Man was, but this sequel comes close with solid performances and an action-packed plot.
Synopsis: With the world now aware that he is Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 87483%
Critics Consensus: Stylish and admirably respectful of the source material, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm succeeds where many of the live-action Batman adaptations have failed.
Synopsis: In this animated feature set in the 1940s, the troubled yet heroic Batman (Kevin Conroy) is pitted against a mysterious... [More]

#64

Batman (1966)
81%62%

#64
Adjusted Score: 84126%
Critics Consensus: Batman: The Movie elevates camp to an art form -- and has a blast doing it, every gloriously tongue-in-cheek inch of the way.
Synopsis: Kaaapowie! Holy feature film, Batman ... one based on the tongue-in-cheek, campy 1960's television series. Watch Batman (Adam West) and... [More]
Directed By: Leslie H. Martinson

#65

Defendor (2009)
74%58%

#65
Adjusted Score: 70076%
Critics Consensus: Defendor's reach occasionally exceeds its grasp, but this unique take on the superhero genre is held together by Woody Harrelson's solid performance.
Synopsis: An everyday guy (Woody Harrelson) believes he is a superhero and befriends a teenager while seeing a psychiatrist.... [More]
Directed By: Peter Stebbings

#66

Sky High (2005)
73%57%

#66
Adjusted Score: 77766%
Critics Consensus: This highly derivative superhero coming-of-age flick is moderately entertaining, family-friendly fluff.
Synopsis: At a school in the sky where teens learn how to be superheroes, Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) lands in a... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell

#67

Flora and Ulysses (2020)
73%61%

#67
Adjusted Score: 74834%
Critics Consensus: Agreeable if not exceptional, Flora and Ulysses offers a fun, funny, family-friendly diversion -- and a furry twist on the superhero genre.
Synopsis: An imaginative and creative 10-year old cynic never could have predicted that her little squirrel would be born anew as... [More]
Directed By: Lena Khan

#68

Megamind (2010)
72%72%

#68
Adjusted Score: 78493%
Critics Consensus: It regurgitates plot points from earlier animated efforts, and isn't quite as funny as it should be, but a top-shelf voice cast and strong visuals help make Megamind a pleasant, if unspectacular, diversion.
Synopsis: Though he is the most-brilliant supervillain the world has known, Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the least-successful. Thwarted time and again... [More]
Directed By: Tom McGrath

#69

Batman (1989)
73%84%

#69
Adjusted Score: 78302%
Critics Consensus: An eerie, haunting spectacle, Batman succeeds as dark entertainment, even if Jack Nicholson's Joker too often overshadows the title character.
Synopsis: Having witnessed his parents' brutal murder as a child, millionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) fights crime in Gotham City... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#70
#70
Adjusted Score: 83991%
Critics Consensus: Zack Snyder's Justice League lives up to its title with a sprawling cut that expands to fit the director's vision -- and should satisfy the fans who willed it into existence.
Synopsis: In ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE, determined to ensure Superman's (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#71

The Wolverine (2013)
71%69%

#71
Adjusted Score: 80486%
Critics Consensus: Although its final act succumbs to the usual cartoonish antics, The Wolverine is one superhero movie that manages to stay true to the comics while keeping casual viewers entertained.
Synopsis: Lured to a Japan he hasn't seen since World War II, century-old mutant Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) finds himself in a... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#72

Unbreakable (2000)
70%77%

#72
Adjusted Score: 75691%
Critics Consensus: With a weaker ending, Unbreakable is not as a good as The Sixth Sense. However, it is a quietly suspenseful film that intrigues and engages, taking the audience through unpredictable twists and turns along the way.
Synopsis: David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is the sole survivor of a devastating train wreck. Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) is a... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#73

The Toxic Avenger (1984)
70%63%

#73
Adjusted Score: 70606%
Critics Consensus: A silly and ribald superhero spoof, Toxic Avenger uninhibited humor hits more than it misses.
Synopsis: A 98-pound nerd (Mark Torgl) from New Jersey lands in a vat of toxic waste and becomes a benevolent monster... [More]
Directed By: Michael Herz, Samuel Weil

#74

The Incredible Hulk (2008)
67%69%

#74
Adjusted Score: 76095%
Critics Consensus: The Incredible Hulk may not be quite the smashing success that fans of Marvel's raging behemoth might hope for, but it offers more than enough big green action to make up for its occasionally puny narrative.
Synopsis: Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately seeks a cure for the gamma radiation that contaminated his cells and turned him... [More]
Directed By: Louis Leterrier

#75
Adjusted Score: 23295%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The mutant superhero (David Mattey) rises from the sludge to save a group of students held hostage in Tromaville.... [More]
Directed By: Lloyd Kaufman

#76

Thor: The Dark World (2013)
66%75%

#76
Adjusted Score: 76531%
Critics Consensus: It may not be the finest film to come from the Marvel Universe, but Thor: The Dark World still offers plenty of the humor and high-stakes action that fans have come to expect.
Synopsis: In ancient times, the gods of Asgard fought and won a war against an evil race known as the Dark... [More]
Directed By: Alan Taylor

#77

The Rocketeer (1991)
66%65%

#77
Adjusted Score: 69557%
Critics Consensus: An action-packed, if anachronistic, look back at pulp matinee serials, The Rocketeer may ring hollow with viewers expecting more than simple fun and gee-whiz special effects.
Synopsis: Cliff Secord (Bill Campbell) is a cocky stunt pilot in love with a beautiful actress, Jenny Blake (Jennifer Connelly). When... [More]
Directed By: Joe Johnston

#78

Aquaman (2018)
65%73%

#78
Adjusted Score: 84906%
Critics Consensus: Aquaman swims with its entertainingly ludicrous tide, offering up CGI superhero spectacle that delivers energetic action with an emphasis on good old-fashioned fun.
Synopsis: Once home to the most advanced civilization on Earth, the city of Atlantis is now an underwater kingdom ruled by... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#79

Watchmen (2009)
65%71%

#79
Adjusted Score: 77450%
Critics Consensus: Gritty and visually striking, Watchmen is a faithful adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel, but its complex narrative structure may make it difficult for it to appeal to viewers not already familiar with the source material.
Synopsis: In an alternate 1985 America, costumed superheroes are part of everyday life. When one of his former comrades is murdered,... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#80
#80
Adjusted Score: 80538%
Critics Consensus: In some ways, Thor: Love and Thunder feels like Ragnarok redux -- but overall, it offers enough fast-paced fun to make this a worthy addition to the MCU.
Synopsis: "Thor: Love and Thunder" finds Thor (Chris Hemsworth) on a journey unlike anything he's ever faced -- a quest for... [More]
Directed By: Taika Waititi

#81

Spider-Man 3 (2007)
63%51%

#81
Adjusted Score: 73801%
Critics Consensus: Though there are more characters and plotlines, and the action sequences still dazzle, Spider-Man 3 nonetheless isn't quite as refined as the first two.
Synopsis: Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and M.J. (Kirsten Dunst) seem to finally be on the right track in their complicated relationship,... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#82
#82
Adjusted Score: 66664%
Critics Consensus: It plays like an extended episode, but The Powerpuff Girls Movie is still lots of fun.
Synopsis: Based on the hit animated television series, this feature film adaptation tells the story of how Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup... [More]
Directed By: Craig McCracken

#83

Hulk (2003)
62%29%

#83
Adjusted Score: 70193%
Critics Consensus: While Ang Lee's ambitious film earns marks for style and an attempt at dramatic depth, there's ultimately too much talking and not enough smashing.
Synopsis: Eric Bana ("Black Hawk Down") stars as scientist Bruce Banner, whose inner demons transform him in the aftermath of a... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

#84

Mystery Men (1999)
61%57%

#84
Adjusted Score: 64631%
Critics Consensus: Absurd characters and quirky gags are brought to life by a talented cast, providing this superhero spoof with lots of laughs.
Synopsis: Champion City already has a superhero, the appropriately named Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear), but that doesn't deter the city's seven... [More]
Directed By: Kinka Usher

#85

Swamp Thing (1982)
60%40%

#85
Adjusted Score: 60747%
Critics Consensus: Unabashedly campy -- often to its detriment -- Swamp Thing is not without its charms, among them Adrienne Barbeau as the damsel in distress.
Synopsis: On the verge of a breakthrough in his quest to wipe out world hunger, altruistic botanist Dr. Alec Holland (Ray... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

Disney

(Photo by Warner Bros/ Everett Collection)

DCEU Ranked: DC Movies and Series By Tomatometer

After a long-running Superman series with Christopher Reeve in the iconic tights and cape (and one more with Brandon Routh), and compelling takes on Batman on both sides of the millennium, Warner Bros. put the reset on their DC Comics movies and created the DC Extended Universe. The first in this new constellation of comic book cinema was 2013’s Man of Steel, which took audiences back through the beefy boy from Krypton’s origins and his blossoming into the protector of mankind. The super-serious tone and dismissal of some of Superman’s key characteristics put off some, but this new take was bold enough to keep modern cynical audiences intrigued.

Inevitably, comparisons were incessant to the rival Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially as director Zack Snyder doubled down on the dourness with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In this day and age, fans on the internet expect an all-access pass on the production of their favorite properties, including leaks, rumors, and sneaky on-set photos. The publicly aired dirty laundry of the troubled Suicide Squad shoot colored audience perception of the film before it even released. It also wasn’t very good.

Wonder Woman, with its fleet touch and storytelling pizzazz, would become the first beacon of light for the DCEU, and its first Certified Fresh hit. Justice League followed that year, cramming huge characters into a truncated runtime (not to mention tonally inconsistent reshoots by Joss Whedon, and Henry Cavill’s phantom mustache), leading to rallying cries online of a fabled “Snyder Cut” of the movie.

It’d be more than a year later for the next DCEU entry: 2018’s Aquaman. Directed by James Wan, if the film wasn’t exactly drowning in critical praise, it at last was enough to keep the audiences worldwide satisfied and optimistic for the future. That paid off with Shazam!, a superhero comedy in the more classic vein, one that doesn’t bend over backwards to connect with the larger DC Universe. It worked there and with Birds of Prey, featuring. Wonder Woman 1984 didn’t quite continue the streak, The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker have become among the franchise’s best-reviewed. See where how they all play out as we rank all DC Extended Universe movies! Alex Vo

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: John Cena's still in solid form in Peacemaker, leading a bloody good time that gives writer-director James Gunn full permission to let his freak flag fly.

#2

Wonder Woman (2017)
93%83%

#2
Adjusted Score: 126593%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot's charismatic performance, Wonder Woman succeeds in spectacular fashion.
Synopsis: Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior.... [More]
Directed By: Patty Jenkins

#3

Shazam! (2019)
90%82%

#3
Adjusted Score: 112417%
Critics Consensus: An effortlessly entertaining blend of humor and heart, Shazam! is a superhero movie that never forgets the genre's real power: joyous wish fulfillment.
Synopsis: We all have a superhero inside of us -- it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out.... [More]
Directed By: David F. Sandberg

#4

The Suicide Squad (2021)
90%82%

#4
Adjusted Score: 106146%
Critics Consensus: Enlivened by writer-director James Gunn's singularly skewed vision, The Suicide Squad marks a funny, fast-paced rebound that plays to the source material's violent, anarchic strengths.
Synopsis: Welcome to hell--a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#5
Adjusted Score: 106912%
Critics Consensus: With a fresh perspective, some new friends, and loads of fast-paced action, Birds of Prey captures the colorfully anarchic spirit of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn.
Synopsis: It's open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her... [More]
Directed By: Cathy Yan

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 83991%
Critics Consensus: Zack Snyder's Justice League lives up to its title with a sprawling cut that expands to fit the director's vision -- and should satisfy the fans who willed it into existence.
Synopsis: In ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE, determined to ensure Superman's (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#7

Aquaman (2018)
65%73%

#7
Adjusted Score: 84906%
Critics Consensus: Aquaman swims with its entertainingly ludicrous tide, offering up CGI superhero spectacle that delivers energetic action with an emphasis on good old-fashioned fun.
Synopsis: Once home to the most advanced civilization on Earth, the city of Atlantis is now an underwater kingdom ruled by... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#8

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
58%73%

#8
Adjusted Score: 86512%
Critics Consensus: Wonder Woman 1984 struggles with sequel overload, but still offers enough vibrant escapism to satisfy fans of the franchise and its classic central character.
Synopsis: Diana Prince lives quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s -- an era of excess driven by the pursuit... [More]
Directed By: Patty Jenkins

#9

Man of Steel (2013)
56%75%

#9
Adjusted Score: 68740%
Critics Consensus: Man of Steel's exhilarating action and spectacle can't fully overcome its detours into generic blockbuster territory.
Synopsis: With the imminent destruction of Krypton, their home planet, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife seek to preserve their race... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#10

Justice League (2017)
39%68%

#10
Adjusted Score: 67527%
Critics Consensus: Justice League leaps over a number of DC movies, but its single bound isn't enough to shed the murky aesthetic, thin characters, and chaotic action that continue to dog the franchise.
Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#11

Black Adam (2022)
39%89%

#11
Adjusted Score: 49519%
Critics Consensus: Black Adam may end up pointing the way to an exciting future for DC films, but as a standalone experience, it's a wildly uneven letdown.
Synopsis: Nearly 5,000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the ancient gods--and imprisoned just as quickly--Black Adam... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#12
Adjusted Score: 54571%
Critics Consensus: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story -- and some of America's most iconic superheroes -- in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.
Synopsis: It's been nearly two years since Superman's (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis.... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#13

Suicide Squad (2016)
26%58%

#13
Adjusted Score: 48775%
Critics Consensus: Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and a little more humor than previous DCEU efforts, but they aren't enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing.
Synopsis: Figuring they're all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret... [More]
Directed By: David Ayer

Almost 15 years after Dwayne Johnson first announced interest in playing the character, he finally makes his debut as Black Adam in the DCEU this week. But is the movie, eponymously titled Black Adam, worth the wait, the promise, and the anticipation? The first reviews of the superhero spectacle are mixed, but those that get what the movie is and who it’s for praise the positives enough to disregard any shortcomings.

Here’s what critics are saying about Black Adam:


Does it live up to expectations?

Johnson has been attached to the Black Adam role for nearly two decades… His love for the DC Universe shines through the film and his passion pays off well throughout. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

Those who have been waiting for this adaptation long since Johnson first expressed interest back in 2007 will not walk away disappointed. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

If The Rock smashing more things than he usually can as human characters sounds like a good time, Black Adam delivers. – Fred Topel, United Press International

Given the number of years this project was in development, and how it was promoted to shift the balance of power in the DC Universe, it’s disappointing that the end result is so unremarkable. – Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend


How well does it fit into the DCEU?

Black Adam isn’t a full-on course correction for the DCEU, but it is an encouraging new installment in this larger universe. – Ross Bonaime, Collider

Black Adam feels like the first project in years to take from multiple parts of this universe while also focusing on setting up something big for its future. – Gregg Katzman, CBR

Though we’ve prayed DC would move on, there are more than echoes of the Snyderverse here. – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

A strong entry into the DCEU. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

As much as Black Adam is a darker take on Shazam, it also repeats the missteps of lesser DC movies. – Fred Topel, United Press International

It’s not awful, especially when compared to many of the other DCEU films, but it’s far from the game-changer it claims to be. – Matt Rodriguez, Shakefire


Does it feel like any other movies?

The film plays like 2018’s Venom in multiple ways, focusing on brutal action sequences and a mixed tone of dark moments and humor. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

The movie is essentially Shane on steroids, set in the Middle East instead of the Old West. – Peter Debruge, Variety

One movie that’s clearly a model for Black Adam is Terminator 2: Judgment Day. – Chris Bumbray, JoBlo’s Movie Network


Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam (2022)

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

How is The Rock as Black Adam?

The Rock delivers one of his best performances. He put his heart and soul into this role. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

An absolutely terrific performance by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, [the movie allows] him to flex his trademark muscular showmanship and combine that with character-driven appeal. – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Johnson keeps up his enchanting screen presence as he lands old-fashioned one-liners and brutal action all with complete passion. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

Johnson also breathes just enough emotion and empathy into the character. – Gregg Katzman, CBR

Johnson is grandiose as Black Adam, leaving his charismatic movie star stamp in every scene. This is perfect casting from more than a physical standpoint. – Jeff Nelson, Showbiz Cheat Sheet

No matter what one might think about this Black Adam movie as a whole, The Rock grabs your attention and keeps it no matter what he’s doing. Johnson is the man. – Todd McCarthy, Deadline Hollywood Daily

His charisma and brooding stares can only take the film so far. – Matt Rodriguez, Shakefire

Black Adam is perfect for Johnson’s action-figure frame. He just deserves a better first superhero outing than this. – Brian Truitt, USA Today

The problem isn’t that Johnson can’t act — he definitely can! — the problem is that he doesn’t want to. – David Ehrlich, IndieWire


What about the Justice Society?

The Justice Society of America nearly steal the movie right from underneath [Johnson] as the film gives them a satisfactory introduction, leaving us wanting more from all of them by the end. – Matt Neglia, Next Best Picture

Aldis Hodge and Pierce Brosnan’s portrayals of Hawkman and Doctor Fate are both equally brilliant. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

Brosnan is a natural in the role of Fate and it’s a wonder how no one tapped on his talents sooner for a superhero role. Hodge is just as great in the film. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

Pierce Brosnan [is] the standout, even if his character reads like a second-rate Doctor Strange. – Peter Debruge, Variety

Brosnan steals every scene he’s a part of, and the actor is brimming with charisma. – Ross Bonaime, Collider

On the whole, members of the JSA are dealt short shrift, leaving [them] severely underdeveloped. – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Noah Centineo and Quintessa Swindell’s Atom Smasher and Cyclone feel like they stumbled in from another movie. – Chris Bumbray, JoBlo’s Movie Network


Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher in Black Adam (2022)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

How is the action?

Black Adam features a lot more action than most DC movies. – Peter Debruge, Variety

The visual spectacle just keeps coming at you for two hours, and the effects are all so stupendous that you could begin to take it for granted. – Todd McCarthy, Deadline Hollywood Daily

This movie is packed with action. When we say that, we mean it is pretty much non-stop action for the entire movie. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Every fight sequence packs a punch, and the film gets extra creative when utilizing Doctor Fate’s powers. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

Collet-Serra manages to make these action scenes exciting in everything from Adam wiping out large armies to a hand-on-hand fight through an apartment with Hawkman. – Ross Bonaime, Collider

There is no wit, no thrill, and no slickness to the action. – Witney Seibold, Slashfilm


Does the film have a worthy villain?

The villain doesn’t do much of anything except provide us with a pretty cool battle, so we will take it — reluctantly. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Unfortunately, there isn’t much depth to the big bad, and he’s ultimately there to offer a ton of action in the final act. – Gregg Katzman, CBR

It’s just a shame that the main villain isn’t stronger here because it does overshadow some of the bombastic action on display. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

The single most forgettable villain in comic book movie history. – David Ehrlich, IndieWire


Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam in Black Adam (2022)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

How is the script?

The screenplay is so action-orientated that it almost completely leaves out the necessary room for characters to breathe. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

The script of Black Adam is arguably the weakest part of the film. Character arcs can feel paper-thin and predictable. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

The character development is shallow. – Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

The script does little to help non-DC-scholars here, briefly alluding to nanobots and relics and the Justice Society of America as if other movies had introduced them already. – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter


Does the movie get political?

The picture’s overarching themes – dealing with colonialism and our desperate need for heroes to speak out against tyranny during bleak times – are affecting and effectively crafted. – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

There’s enough complexity in the post-colonial politics of Kahndaq to engage adults. – Peter Debruge, Variety

It’s an interesting setup: American “heroes” coming to a foreign country to stop the local hero from protecting the citizens. But if you’re hoping Black Adam will get into the complexities of that, this is not that movie. – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

Moviegoers may have trouble finding escapist pleasure here, given the knotty global issues the movie raises but doesn’t fully process. – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter


Will we leave feeling hopeful for the DCEU?

Black Adam will help DC fans restore their faith in the DCEU. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Black Adam might not change things single-handedly, but it certainly feels like the start of a new era of DC movies. – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

What it sets up for the future of the DCEU is exciting and not to be overlooked. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

The film’s whole purpose is to give Black Adam a suitably grand introduction on the assumption that he’ll be pitted against a more deserving adversary soon enough. – Peter Debruge, Variety

Perhaps this is a new way forward for the DCEU, but do we really need them to do exactly what the MCU is doing? – Chris Bumbray, JoBlo’s Movie Network


Black Adam opens everywhere on October 21, 2022.


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DWAYNE JOHNSON as Black Adam

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

This week’s news from Warner Bros. Discovery has fans worried about their favorite shows and movies, from DC titles to Max Originals. The studio cancelled the close-to-completion Batgirl movie. Also going on the shelf is Scoob! Holiday Haunt. Wonder Twins, which was to star KJ Apa and Isabel May, will not be produced, and six other Max Original movies have been removed from the service, including two films starring Anne Hathaway, the 2020 remake of The Witches and Locked Down, which co-starred Chiwetel Ejiofor; An American Pickle, starring Seth Rogen; Superintelligence, starring Melissa McCarthy; and Moonshot, starring Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor.

On Thursday, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and more executives addressed concerns over those decisions in the company’s Q2 earnings call and reassured investors of their dedication to Warner Bros. Pictures and HBO Max projects.

“We’re going to focus on quality. We’re not going to release any film before it’s ready. We’re not going to release a film to make a quarter,” Zaslav said.


1. DC WILL GET ITS OWN KEVIN FEIGE

Poster for The Batman (2022)

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

Zaslav confirmed his strategy to keep DC Comics as the source of  theatrical movie intellectual property. Zaslav hinted at applying the same strategy Marvel has, with Kevin Feige in charge of the whole MCU, though he did not name the DC equivalent yet.

“We’re going to focus with a team with a 10-year plan just focusing on DC,” Zaslav said. “Very similar to the structure that Alan Horn and Bob Iger put together with Kevin Feige at Disney. DC is something we think we can make better and we’re focused on it now.”

Unfortunately, movies like Batgirl and Wonder Twins slip through the cracks between the previous strategy and new vision.

“The other thing is we’re going to focus very hard on quality,” Zaslav said. “We’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it. That’s it. Particularly with DC, where we think we want to pivot and we want to elevate and we want to focus. The objective is to grow the DC brand, to grow the DC characters, but also our job is to protect the DC brand. That’s what we’re going to do.”


2. MOVIES ALL START WITH THEATRICAL RELEASES

HBO Max made the controversial decision to release its 2021 film slate simultaneously on HBO Max. It was a way to both grow the new streaming service, and it was a decision made when the reopening of theaters post-pandemic was still uncertain. Zaslav all but called it a mistake. He said movies are more valuable to streaming services, and other formats, when they’ve played theaters first.

“We will fully embrace theatrical,” Zaslav said. “As we believe it creates interest and demand, provides a great marketing tailwind, and generates word of mouth buzz as films transition to streaming and beyond. When you’re in theaters, the value of the content and overall viewing experience is elevated. Then when the same content moves to PVOD and then streaming it is elevated again. As films move from one window to the next, their overall value is elevated, elevated, elevated. We saw this clearly demonstrated with The Batman and Elvis.”


3. HBO ORIGINALS ARE SAFE

House of the Dragon stars Matt Smith

(Photo by HBO)

Zaslav still believes in the HBO originals. Whether for HBO or HBO Max, Zaslav has renewed head of content Casey Bloys’ contract for five years and hopes to extend beyond. The only specific show Zaslav mentioned was this month’s Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, but it bodes well for other HBO and Max hits like Hacks and Westworld.

“It’s not how much, it’s how good,” Zaslav said. “The majority of the people on Casey’s team have been locked up. Casey is here for the next five years, we hope longer. He’s truly a unicorn. His ability to relate to talent, to make content better, his leadership, you see it in what’s been coming out of HBO and how it’s affecting the culture, the energy and what people are talking about. We want it to be broader.”


4. HBO MAX AND DISCOVERY+ ARE MERGING

HBO Max and Discovery+ logos

(Photo by Warner Bros. Discovery)

Warner Bros. Discovery currently has two streaming services, HBO Max and Discovery+. Next year, they will join forces like a streaming Voltron. The new service could have a new name, but it will combine originals and libraries from both, as well as CNN content, including originals from the short-lived CNN+. Already, HBO Max will have some Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia shows in October, and Discovery+ some CNN originals beginning Aug. 19.

Look out Netflix! In about a year, viewers will be able to get their Ghost Adventures and Deadliest Catch in the same place as Game of Thrones and Mare of Easttown. Peacemaker and Westworld will cohabitate with American Pickers and Guy Fieri.

Company executives have also heard your complaints about the HBO Max app. The combined app they’re developing intends to fix some of those tech issues by utilizing the Discovery+ platform. When the time comes, they will offer subscription options for the combined service.

“We will have a migration plan that will allow some element, particularly you can imagine the lower-priced subscribers for some period of time to grandfather into the new product, or migrate as many as possible up to the new product,” CEO and President of Global Streaming and Games J.B. Perrette said. “That is all part of the transition plan to optimize the number of people we retain. There will be a transition plan that maximizes essentially retention.”

Warner Bros. Discovery’s goal is to launch the combined service next summer in the U.S., Latin America in fall 2023, Europe in 2024, Asia-Pacific in mid 2024, and additional markets later that year.


5. AN AD-SUPPORTED SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE IS COMING

Guy Fieri on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

(Photo by Food Network)

In addition to combining HBO Max and Discovery+, Warner Bros. Discovery is looking at more economical offerings. For now, their focus is on creating an ad-lite version of HBO Max. For next year, they are exploring a free-subscription option completely supported by ads; however, the ad-supported version won’t give viewers access to the premium originals. You will still have to pay for that.

It could still be worth it, though; Warner Bros. has a library of shows that aren’t currently on any streaming service. A free version of HBO Max could be a place to offer those, Zaslav said.

“Should we just use that to develop our own ‘best of class’ free platform?” Zaslav said. “Do we sell a lot of that?”

Plans for the free service are still in development, and pricing on the ad-lite service are still under development too.


6. WARNER BROS. DISCOVERY WILL KEEP MAKING BROADCAST AND LICENSED TELEVISION

Ted Lasso

(Photo by Apple TV+)

While the DC films and streaming service have been the focus this week, Zaslav also reminded investors that Warner Bros. Discovery remains a studio about producing shows to license, too. He named Ted Lasso and Abbott Elementary as Warner Bros. shows licensed to Apple TV+ and ABC, respectively. He also cited Warner Bros.’s history of providing networks with hit shows.

“We would look in awe at Warner Bros. Television as really the greatest, largest, and highest quality production operation,” Zaslav said. “When we were at NBC, it was ‘Must-see TV.’ That’s the heritage of this company. We want to sell to third parties. It’s a very profitable business for us. We think it could be more profitable.”


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At the 2020 DC FanDome, Dwayne Johnson claimed “the hierarchy of power in the DC is about to change” while talking up his upcoming film, Black Adam. As it happens, the actor has been making proclamations about the character since at least 2014, when he was meant to play him in the film that eventually became Shazam! In 2017, Johnson and Black Adam were spun off into their own project and, for the next several years, a nebulous “next summer” was penciled in for production.

But every comic book character gets their day in the fullness of time and Black Adam’s “next summer” has finally arrived, leading to a release set for this Fall. And now that Warner Bros. has released a teaser trailer for the film, we thought it would be a good time to collect everything we know about it to see how it fits into the DC film universe and whether or not Black Adam can pose a threat to the established DC superheroes and their status quo.


“The World Needed A Hero. It Got Black Adam”

Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam (2022)

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

Black Adam appeared in a single 1945 issue of the original Fawcett Comics’ The Marvel Family as the Wizard Shazam’s former and failed apprentice. Seeing promise in the young Egyptian warrior named Teth-Adam, the Wizard granted him all the powers he eventually gave Billy Batson. But when the power corrupted the then “Mighty Adam,” who used his abilities to kill the sitting Pharaoh and assume the throne, the Wizard dubbed him “Black Adam” and cast him out into space some 5000 light years from Earth. Finally returning five millennia later, Black Adam extended his anger to Billy and the rest of the Marvel Family. But that first story ended with a certain finality; the character ages rapidly to death when he is tricked into saying “Shazam” and relinquishing his powers.

He became a much bigger deal when Fawcett’s Marvel Family — eventually renamed the Shazam Family — became firmly part of the DC Universe in the 1970s. Writers like Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway would take his single appearance and build on it to include a deeper history in the region, a long-lost family, and a position as Captain Marvel’s Shazam’s archfoe.

Along the way, he also became a great anti-hero. In the pages of the late 1990s/early 2000s JSA comic book, his methods would be constantly questioned, but his goals proved to be noble. And for a time, he also lead the nation of Kahndaq; granted, that rule would also be questioned by other nations and superheroes alike.

We mention all of this history as the film will convert a lot of it into a unified tale, charting Teth-Adam’s journey thousands of years ago and his emergence in the modern age. It will also feature a Justice Society of America both ready to oppose his actions and, oddly enough, listen to his message. At the same time, as Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan) tells him in the trailer, he will be presented with a choice to save the world or destroy it. But when an anger spread across thousands of years is combined with the power of Shazam, can it be quelled enough to be heroic once again?

That is the internal struggle Teth-Adam faces, of course, and it appears he will do just that even as he tussles with insurgents, well-armed militaries, and superheroes. Interestingly enough, the question of heroes killing to save the day is even present in the trailer.

Also, the Intergang crime syndicate will reportedly appear in the film. If true, it is an interesting choice, as  they have strong ties to Darkseid, the alpha-predator glimpsed on the other side of the Boom Tube in Zack Snyder’s Justice League and the principle foe in Ava DuVernay’s cancelled New Gods adaptation.


Where In The Multiverse Does It Take Place?

Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam (2022)

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

For the moment, we’re assuming it takes place on the same Earth as previous DC films like Shazam!, The Suicide Squad, and Justice League (either version). Of course, with DC-inspired movies, film-to-film continuity is always up for debate. The Batman, for instance, does not occur in the same reality as Justice League or Shazam! Nevertheless, we’re willing to believe Black Adam was made with the intention of continuing the reality first outlined in Man of Steel – indeed, Johnson’s own comments across both DC FanDome events suggest a showdown with Superman is something he wants to do. And considering he has the powers of Shazam, Black Adam would be a genuinely formidable adversary in such a contest. At the same time, though, the trailer revealed a different looking world from the previous DC film entries.

Presuming the film is in the more constant DC movie reality, the introduction of the Justice Society further builds out the world and its history. Debuting in 1941, the first superhero team comprised DC heroes like Green Lantern, The Flash, Dr. Fate, Hawkman, the Atom and more as they united to curb the Nazi threat in the U.S. and, eventually, take part in the European Theater. As a consequence, the JSA always has its roots in World War II and we doubt that will be different here. Although, as the team is also comprised of legacy character in subsequent iterations, we imagine this version of the team will reveal almost a century’s worth of legacy, if even just in passing. Also, we imagine there will be a good reason why they are dealing with Black Adam instead of the Justice League.

From the trailer, it is easy to assume the modern day sections will take place primarily in Kahndaq — or, perhaps, an unnamed Middle Eastern country with ties to Egypt. Sadly, it appears the region is utterly destabilized.


The People Of Black Adam

Aldis Hodge as Hawkman in Black Adam (2022)

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

As mentioned before, Dwayne Johnson stars as Teth-Adam – aka, Black Adam. We presume much of his DC Comics origin will remain, although Johnson said during the 2020 DC FanDome presentation that Adam’s journey will take him from slave to the throne, a point reiterated in the trailer. Also, it is worth noting the Wizard’s (Djimon Honsou) own mention of Teth-Adam’s failure in Shazam! when he first encounters Billy (Asher Angel). We imagine Black Adam will expand on those fleeting moments. Curiously, though, Honsou appears to be completely absent from this movie.

In the modern part of the film, Black Adam will face Justice Society members Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell). The latter two are more recent members of the team who can claim original JSAers The Atom and The Red Tornado as relatives. Hawkman and Dr. Fate, meanwhile, appear to be their Golden Age selves. Whether or not this means they were active during the DC films’ WWII is yet to be determined. One thing we can be pretty sure of: Atom Smasher will be receptive to Black Adam’s words and ideas. Back in the comics, he made a similar choice when Teth-Adam offered him a chance to make a difference in the world.

Sarah Shahi also appears in the film as Adriana Tomaz. Although the studio describes her as an archeologist, comic book fans will recognize her as the reincarnation of Teth-Adam’s long lost wife and, eventually, the superhero known as Isis. The comic book character has some rather twisty origins, though, which means older TV viewers will remember her as a different Isis (Joanna Cameron) from The Secrets of Isis Saturday morning television show – in which she occasionally encountered Shazam – while avid Legends of Tomorrow watchers will recall her connection to Zari Tarazi (Tala Ashe). We doubt those connections will come up in the film, but with a Multiverse just off-screen, anything is possible. Presumably, the film version of the character will also acquire powers. But will she be willing join Black Adam on his crusade?

Other actors set to appear include Marwan Kenzari, James Cusati-Moyer, Bodhi Sabongui, Mohammed Amer, and Uli Latukefu.


Behind The Lightning

Director Jaume Collet-Serra at the world premiere of Disney's Jungle Cruise (2021)

(Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

Since the film is something of a passion project for Johnson, he brought in some favorite collaborators to help him finally realize the film. Director Jaume Collet-Serra worked with the actor on the 2021 Jungle Cruise film. His filmography includes such films as the 2005 House of Wax remake, the Liam Neeson films Unknown and The Commuter, and the Blake Lively-starring The Shallows.

Adam Sztykiel is also a Johnson collaborator, having written the actor’s foray into video game films, 2018’s Rampage. His credits also include Due Date and Alvin and the Chimpmunks: The Road Chip. He was also slated to make his first foray into the DC Universe as a director with Wonder Twins – sadly, that project was cancelled last month.

Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani subsequently rewrote the script. The pair are new to Johnson’s troop and fairly new to features with only one film under their belts: 2021’s The Mauritanian.

Other crew include director of photography Lawrence Sher, editors John Lee and Michael L. Sale, and production designer Tom Meyer. Executive producers include Johnson, Danny Garcia, Hiram Garcia, and Beau Flynn.


A Long-Awaited Date

Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam (2022)

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

After ten or so years of talking about it in one form or another, Black Adam will finally come to theaters on October 21. From there, though, we expect Teth-Adam will make his presence known around the ‘verse – perhaps first in a stinger scene at the end of December’s Shazam: Fury of the Gods. He has to make his presence known to Billy at some point, right?


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The Batman took a long time to take shape, but fans are finally starting to get the full picture of director Matt Reeves’ take on the character. And, soon, the full extent of The Batman will be known to all, as the film is less than a month away from release.

But at 2021’s DC FanDome event, fans of the oft-rebooted movie hero got a nice glimpse of what to expect from the film thanks to a new trailer. In it, the Riddler (Paul Dano) is taken into custody by the Gotham City Police. But that seems to have little effect on his bigger plan, which involves the Batman (Robert Pattinson), Selina Kyle (Zoe Kravitz), and local mobster Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell). Its mix of Batman ’89 theatrics and Batman Begins realism may yet prove to be the right mix for this next iteration of the Caped Crusader.”

One year earlier, at 2020’s DC FanDome, Reeves revealed the movie will take place in year two of Batman’s crime-fighting career — an assertion backed up in the trailer by the reveal of a Batsignal — a period in which he is adjusting to his new life and Gotham is adjusting to him. An HBO Max series tentatively titled Gotham P.D. will focus on Batman’s year one, and follow corrupt cops in the city’s police department.

Let’s take a look at more of what we know about the movie from earlier reveals as well as the history of how the project came together.

[Updated on October 16, 2021]


How The Batman Became Untangled from the DCEU

Warner Bros. Pictures

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

Plans for the film began in 2014, when Warner Bros. had a massive, Marvel-style DC film universe in mind. An important pillar of that concept was Ben Affleck behind the cowl of the Dark Knight and in the director’s chair for a film called The Batman. It was to tie in to the character as he played it in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League and would follow the events of both films. Affleck teased the arrival of the DC Comics villain Deathstroke to his tale by posting a costume test with actor Joe Manganiello under the mask. The actor was later set to play the character in the film and made a brief appearance in the Justice League stinger scene. Some reports suggest the film would have taken place inside Arkham Asylum.

But then things began to unravel. Despite commercial success, Batman v Superman was perceived as a creative misfire even as cameras began to roll on Justice League – leading to a rethink of the film’s plot. Warner Bros. asked Affleck to re-write his script for The Batman as the shape of the film universe changed alongside Justice League. In January of 2017, he had stepped down as director with Matt Reeves soon taking over. He also eventually handed script duties over to Reeves and Mattson Tomlin, leaving many to wonder if Affleck would even star in the picture.

Almost a full year of speculation followed until Affleck, then dealing with a number of personal problems, set the record straight in January of 2019, announcing his complete departure from the project. And with that, the original vision for The Batman gave way to Reeves’ new take.


The New Players: Robert Pattinson, Paul Dano, Zoe Kravitz, and More

Dee Cercone/Everett Collection

(Photo by Dee Cercone/Everett Collection)

Even before Affleck’s departure was confirmed, many began to speculate about the seventh person to wear the cowl in a theatrically released, live-action film. Rumors began to circle around The Lighthouse star Robert Pattinson, who emerged as the favorite and eventually took the role in May of 2019.

Over the course of the following months, a cast list began to emerge, including Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman), Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon, and Paul Dano as the Riddler, whose civilian identity in the film, “Edward Nashton,” is a one of his known aliases in the pages of DC comics. Over the Fall of 2019, Colin Farrell signed on as Oswald Cobblepot and Andy Serkis also stepped up to take over as Alfred Pennyworth from Jeremy Irons, who had played the character for Affleck’s Batman. Other cast members include John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Peter Sarsgaard as District Attorney Gil Colson, Con O’Neill as Chief Macheknize Bock, Alex Ferns as police commissioner Peter Savage, and Jayme Lawson as Bella Reál. Teen Wolf’s Max Carver and Charlie Carver also joined the cast, leading some to suggest they may play Batman rogues Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Lastly, Eternals’ Barry Keoghan is listed among the cast as playing Officer Stanley Merkel; in DC Comics lore, Merkel was Jim Gordon’s first partner, though that may not be the role he plays here.

Behind the camera, Reeves’ crew includes director of photography Greig Fraser, editors William Hoy and Tyler Nelson, production designer James Chinlund and costume designer Jacqueline Durran. Reeves is producing the film alongside Dylan Clark while Simon Emanuel, Walter Hamada, Chantal Nong, and Michael Uslan serve as executive producers. Michael Giacchino scored the film, making both the Batman and Riddler themes available to fans during the early days of 2022.

At DC FanDome 2020, Reeves teased that, just as Batman is still finding himself in the movie, so too are the “rogues gallery” of villains we meet. As seen in the trailer, when we first encounter Selina Kyle, she’s not Catwoman; ditto Farrell’s Oswald Cobblepot, who’s destined to be crime kingpin, the Penguin.

From that list of cast and crew, a sense of The Batman began to emerge… as did a potential source of its story.


The Long Halloween: A Serial Killer Stalks Batman and Gotham

DC Comics

(Photo by DC Comics)

Though Reeves referred to the plot as an “original story” from the moment he began answering questions about the film, the number of villains and supporting characters in the cast left many to wonder if it might be taking inspiration from Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

Set after the events of the seminal Batman: Year One storyline, it sees Batman attempting to learn the identity of a serial killer known as Holiday. It also accomplishes a few other things, like chronicling the year mobsters lost control of Gotham City to the costumed supervillains. The 13-issue miniseries was followed up by Batman: Dark Victory and Catwoman: When in Rome, which saw Loeb and Sale return to some of The Long Halloween’s ideas, including the continuing deterioration of Gotham’s organized crime families.

But the key to The Long Halloween was its expansive cast and Batman encountering a mystery he could not easily crack.

Early on, Reeves said he wanted to emphasize Batman as the world’s greatest detective – an element of the character generally downplayed in the more action-oriented Batman and Dark Knight film cycles – while also playing up the noirish elements inherent in the concept. Reeves said at DC FanDome 2020 that noirs like Chinatown have been a big inspiration for his approach to the material. Additionally, the costume test video of Pattinson in the batsuit and the Batmobile pictures clearly illustrate Batman during an early part of of his career, making the case for The Long Halloween as a primary source stronger.

Warner Bros.

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

It would not be the first time, though, the book was called upon as a source of inspiration or, indeed, the first time a Batman film used one of the better-known Batman stories in its development. The Dark Knight used one or two elements from the story while also grabbing from The Killing Joke. The Dark Knight Rises also pulled from the “No Man’s Land” story. But this should not suggest The Batman is a straight adaptation of The Long Halloween, as someone key to that story is missing from the film: Harvey Dent.

The Long Halloween is also a Two-Face origin story that sees him promoted to Gotham City DA near the start of the story and, well, somewhere else by its conclusion. In lieu of Harvey, Sarsgaard plays Gil Colson, an original character for the film. Curiously, before Sarsgaard’s role was confirmed, some suggested he might be playing Harvey Dent, while yet others noted the character’s name bares a resemblance to that of a corrupt Gotham Police officer who helped Two-Face in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. For the moment, we’re inclined to believe Sarsgaard is, in fact, playing a wholly new character with no ties to Gotham’s most famous lawyer.

This suspicion also extends to Lawson’s Bella Reál, another new character said to be running for mayor in the film. As with DA Colson, we’re willing to accept this as the truth until presented with evidence that she is really Barbara Gordon or Poison Ivy.

Making these obscure ties less likely, though, is the trailer released during the 2021 edition of DC FanDome. Based on the story hooks teased in the newer preview, the mystery plaguing the Batman is engineered solely by the Riddler, making him the key villain in a Batman film for the first time since 1995’s Batman Forever., in which he was portrayed by Jim Carrey. Granted, he shared his murderous plot in that film with Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones). Nevertheless, it seems more likely The Batman will take thematic ideas from The Long Halloween and leave most of its plot within its pages.


The Look Of The Batman

Robert Pattinson in The Batman

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

As with Joker, Warner Bros. made the choice to debut The Batman’s key costume in a short video before any paparazzi had a chance to shoots pictures of it on location. Seen through darkness and red light, the suit seems to employ a more bare-bones, off-the-shelf aesthetic. The body armor continues Batman ‘89’s basic design choice, but a cowl made of fabric sets it apart from all other cinematic Batmen. Some have also speculated the bat symbol is made of the gun Joe Chill used to kill the Waynes. It’s all pretty interesting even if the video makes it look a little too much like Daredevil’s costume. Subsequent set pics also offered a better look at the cowl, which may be inspired by Silver Age comic book artists like Dick Sprang and Carmine Infantino.

At DC FanDome 2020, Reeves said that the fact this is only year two of Batman’s career heavily influenced the design of the costume: Wayne built it himself, he’s making adjustments, you can see the gashes from his scuffles on the suit.

In March of 2020, Reeves unveiled the first look at the Batmobile. Eschewing the more outlandish design conventions established in Batman ’89, this car is, in fact, a muscle car with some obvious modifications. Long-time readers of Batman comics may even recognize the broad strokes of the design as the one Batman used through most of the 1980s and into the 1990s. The new Batmobile design continues the notion that Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne merely modified existing gear instead of inventing Bat-gadgets from whole cloth and, if nothing else, is an interesting departure from the previous Batman film cycles, particularly the tankish Tumbler and Justice League Batmobile.

Ahead of the DC FanDome event in 2020, Reeves revealed even more in a Twitter post debuting the film’s logo and FanDome-specific artwork:


Its Place In The DC Film Universe

Niko Tavernise/© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. TM & © DC Comics

(Photo by Niko Tavernise/© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. TM & © DC Comics)

Despite all the tell-tale markings of a reboot, The Batman’s place in the loose continuity of Warner Bros’s DC film slate is still up for debate. During the early phases of development, Reeves suggested it could take place out of continuity like Joker, but quickly backpedaled to say it will have some ties and maybe even a cameo or two. At the same time, recasting Jim Gordon, who was played by J.K. Simmons in Justice League, with Wright also suggests the film is in a world all its own. But then again, the DC Universe is a place where world-changing events create convenient retcons. Pattinson could simply replace Affleck’s Batman in the new DC film reality where Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) co-exists with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and the Suicide Squad of 2021. Is all depends on whether or not Reeves would be interested in utilizing any of those ideas or, indeed, if Pattinson would want to bring his Batman to play with the other DC film heroes.

The film will be released at the beginning of a full roster for the DC film universe, which includes The Flash, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Black Adam. We wouldn’t put it past Warner Bros. to try to connect them all to The Batman, but we won’t be disappointed if they remain separate. In the meantime, though, the principal cast is expected to return for at least two sequels to The Batman.


The Batman is currently scheduled for release on March 4, 2022.

Thumbnail image by Warner Bros. Pictures

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Saturday’s DC FanDome promises fresh looks at some of the biggest DC titles in film and television. New trailers include Doctor Who season 13 and The Shrink Next Door, which stars Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell. Learn how to make the Squid Game candy — you know, just in case you’re planning your own party. All that and more of the week’s biggest TV and streaming news.


TOP STORY

DC FanDome TV Highlights: Peacemaker, DMZHarley Quinn, Titans, Sweet Tooth, Doom Patrol, Batwoman, Stargirl, Supergirl and More

Watch DC FanDome now in the video above.

DC FanDome returns on Saturday, October 15, at 10 a.m. PT with news, video teasers, and first-look images at upcoming DC Comics and filmed entertainment. Films on the docket include the biggest titles to come, including The Batman, Black Adam, The Flash, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Shazam: Fury of the Gods, and DC League of Super-Pets.


John Cena as Peacemaker

(Photo by © & TM WBEI & DC)

On the TV front, the one-day streaming event features DC heroes and —whatever we’re deciding to call Peacemaker. The Suicide Squad spin-off, created by the movie’s director, James Gunn, and featuring John Cena reprising his movie role, premieres on HBO Max in January, and will be one of the main spotlights of the fan event, with a new teaser trailer scheduled for release. Fingers crossed that includes a preview of the series’ opening credits, which, no spoiling, but is an opener you will never fast forward through.

On the animation front, we also can’t wait for news about season 3 of HBO Max’s Harley Quinn, with the all-star cast of voice talent that includes Kaley Cuoco as Harley, as well as Lake Bell, Tony Hale, Ron Funches, J.B. Smoove, Jason Alexander, and Alan Tudyk. When last we left the delightfully potty-mouthed and hilarious gang, Harley and Ivy rode off into the sunset after sharing their feelings for each other. But that was before the series had its season 3 renewal, so we’re guessing there could be more drama mixed in with the show’s trademark humor in the new episodes. But we need a trailer to prove it.

Among the other TV series, live-action and animated, in the line-up of the free, global, virtual Oct. 16 (beginning at 10 AM PT) fan event: Batwoman, Doom Patrol, Naomi, Legends of Tomorrow, Stargirl, Supergirl, The Flash, Sweet Tooth, Titans, and Superman & Lois for live-action previews, and Aquaman: King of Atlantis, Batman: Caped Crusader, the adorable Batwheels series for the youngest Batfans, DC Super Hero Girls, DMZ, Teen Titans Go!, and Young Justice: Phantoms for the animated series previews.


NEW TRAILERS: The Shrink Next Door: When Manipulative Dr. Paul Rudd Met Naïve Patient Will Ferrell

The Shrink Next Door is a limited series, inspired by true events and based on the podcast of the same name, about the decades-long manipulation and exploitation by psychiatrist Dr. Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf (Paul Rudd) and his longtime patient Martin “Marty” Markowitz (Will Ferrell). Dr. Ike is accompanied by his unsuspecting wife Bonnie (Casey Wilson) and though Marty may be defenseless against Dr. Ike’s enticing offerings, his hard-headed sister Phyllis (Kathryn Hahn) is not. The eight-episode series premieres Nov. 12. (Apple TV+)

More trailers and teasers released this week:
• The Beatles: Get Back is a three-part series directed by Peter Jackson featuring never-seen, restored footage from January 1969, including The Beatles’ last performance as a group, the writing and recording of iconic songs from Abbey Road and Let It Be. Premieres Nov. 25, 26, and 27. (Disney+)
Doctor Who season 13, “Doctor Who: Flux,” trailer includes a preview of returning monsters — Sontarans, Weeping Angels, Cybermen, and the Ood — as well as a range of new monsters, one of whom is named Karvanista. The new season will be
• Bruised is a drama about a mixed martial arts fighter (Halle Berry) who reclaims her power, in and out of the ring, when everyone has counted her out. The movie is also Berry’s directorial debut. Premieres Dec. 24 (Netflix)
• American Veteran is a four-part series that explores the breadth and variety of the veteran experience, from WWII until now, and features interviews with more than 40 veterans from diverse backgrounds and with diverse experiences. Premieres Oct. 26 (PBS)
• Mayor of Kingstown is a drama series about the McLusky family, power brokers in Kingstown, Michigan, where the business of the local jail system is the only thriving industry. The series stars Jeremy Renner, Kyle Chandler, Dianne Wiest, and is created by Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan and Hugh Dillon. Premieres Nov. 14. (Paramount+)



• Star Trek: Discovery season 4 finds Captain Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery facing a striking new danger, while some old school Trek aliens get a fresh take. Premieres Nov. 18. (Paramount+)
• Curb Your Enthusiasm returns for season 11. Premieres Oct. 24. (HBO)
• Narcos: Mexico season 3, the series’ final season, is set in the ’90s and examines the war that breaks out after Felix Gallardo’s arrest, and as the drug business becomes global. Premieres Nov. 5 (Netflix)
• Dickinson season 3 is the final season for the Peabody Award-winning comedy, starring Hailee Steinfeld as a rebellious young Emily Dickinson. Premieres Nov. 5. (Apple TV+)
• Colin in Black and White is a limited series created by Ava DuVernay and Colin Kaepernick that tells the football star’s coming-of-age story, including tackling the obstacles of race, class, and culture as the Black adopted child of a white family. Stars Kaepernick as narrator, Jaden Michael, Mary-Louise Parker, and Nick Offerman. Premieres Oct. 29. (Netflix)
• Home Sweet Home Alone is a remake of Home Alone, about another mischievous boy who was accidentally left home alone. Script by Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell, stars Ellie Kemper, Rob Delaney, Archie Yates, Aisling Bea, Kenan Thompson, Tim Simons, Pete Holmes, Devin Ratray, Ally Maki, and Chris Parnell. Premieres Nov. 12. (Disney+)

For all the latest TV and streaming trailers subscribe to the Rotten Tomatoes TV YouTube channel.


CASTING: Former Billions Star Damian Lewis Already Has His Next Job: A Spy Among Friends Limited Series

Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce

(Photo by Amanda Edwards (Lewis)/courtesy Spectrum Originals and BritBox UK)

Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce are teaming up to play a pair of spies who are longtime friends in a limited series adaptation of the bestselling book A Spy Among Friends, where the twist is: one of the friends betrays the other. Emmy and Golden Globe winner Lewis, who left his lead role on Showtime’s Billions at the end of that show’s recent fifth season, will also serve as an executive producer on the six-part Spectrum Originals series,  the true story of Nicholas Elliott (Lewis) and Kim Philby (Emmy winner Pearce).

Yep, it’s true: NCIS star Mark Harmon has also quit his hit drama, after 18 seasons playing Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

The Crown Emmy nominee Emma Corrin will star in the FX limited series Retreat, playing an amateur investigator in the middle of a murder mystery at a secluded retreat. The OA creators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij created the series, which they will write, direct, and executive produce. (Deadline)

Interview With the Vampire has cast newcomer Kalyne Coleman, who will play Grace, the sister of Louis (Jacob Anderson) in the upcoming AMC series. (Variety)

Original Head of the Class star Robin Givens has joined the cast of HBO Max’s upcoming reboot of the 1986-91 ABC comedy, where she’ll reprise her role as Darlene Merriman, who is now the mom of one of the gifted kids whose teacher wants them to study a little less, experience life a little more. (EW.com)

Hulu has cast Melanie Lynskey in the limited series Candy, about the Texas woman (Jessica Biel) who kills her friend and romantic rival with an ax. Lynskey will play Betty Gore, Candy Montgomery’s ax victim. (Lily Rabe plays Gore in Love and Death, HBO Max’s competing Candy story, in which Elizabeth Olsen plays Candy).

That ‘70s Show stars Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp have signed on to once again play Red and Kitty Forman, this time in That ‘90s Show, a Netflix sequel to the Fox sitcom, now set in Wisconsin 1995 and revolving around the daughter of original series characters Eric and Donna, who’s visiting Red and Kitty for the summer. No other cast members from That ‘70s Show, which ran from 1998-2006, have yet signed on for the spin-off, which was also created by That ‘70s Show’s Bonnie and Terry Turner.


PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: Tales of the Walking Dead Anthology Series Announced

The Walking Dead - Season 10, Episode 16

(Photo by Mark Hill/AMC)

The fourth AMC series spin-off of The Walking Dead – an anthology series called Tales of the Walking Dead – will debut in summer 2022. Each hour-long episode will focus on a new or existing TWD character, with TWD and Fear the Walking Dead writer Channing Powell serving as the spin-off’s showrunner. Tales follows FTWD, Walking Dead: World Beyond, and the upcoming Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride Daryl and Carol drama as TWD spin-offs, while Andrew Lincoln will star in a TWD spin-off movie that will finally clue us in on what happened to Rick Grimes when he flew off in that helicopter with Anne/Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh, a new member of the World Beyond Season 2 cast).

Ted Lasso Emmy winners Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence are teaming up with Jason Segel to write the Apple TV+ comedy Shrinking, about a grieving therapist who decides to no longer follow the rules, and starts telling his clients exactly what he thinks, training and ethics aside. As a result, their lives, and his, start to change. Segel will star in the 10-episode series, and will write and produce with Goldstein and Lawrence.

Lupin star Omar Sy has signed a multiyear deal with Netflix to create, executive produce, and star in feature films for Netflix. He will next star in the action comedy movie Tour de Force, a 2022 Netflix release.

FX has ordered the comedy series The Bear, starring Jeremy Allen White (Shameless) as a chef who moves home to Chicago to run his family’s restaurant. The series will also star Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Ayo Edebiri, Lionel Boyce, Abby Elliott, Liza Colón-Zayas, and Edwin Gibson, and Matty Matheson.


Yvonne Orji

(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/2021 MTV Movie and TV Awards/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS, ©Fox Searchlight, © Columbia, © Marvel / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Amazon is planning a second installment of its year-end special Yearly Departed, with Insecure star Yvonne Orji hosting a lineup of female comedians bidding adieu to another all-too-eventful year. An exact December release date and guest list will be announced later, but topics to be covered will includeHot Vaxx Summer, Hermit Life, Ignoring the Climate Crisis, and Zoom.”

Orji will also host My Mom, Your Dad, a dating game for single parents, who are set up by their college-aged kids. The HBO Max reality series was created by The Office creator Greg Daniels and his daughter, Haley, and will find the two ‘rents moving into a house together, unaware their children are living down the street, watching them via hidden cameras, and controlling some of their interactions. Sounds … creepy?

Some new ways for you to spend your TV-related dollars: a trip to the Peppa Pig theme park that will open in Winter Haven, Florida, next February; a slew of Netflix series merch at Walmart, from The Witcher statues to Cobra Kai Johnny Lawrence posters to Queer Eye office furniture; and the books featured in the new Netflix Book Club, hosted by Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba and featuring books adapted into series on the streaming service.

There will be no Golden Globes telecast on NBC in 2022, but the Hollywood Foreign Press Association does still plan to award statues for the best TV and movie performances of 2021 a source tells TheWrap.com.

HBO Max has ordered Atlas of the Heart, an unscripted series starring bestselling author and professor Dr. Brené Brown, that will “take viewers on an interactive journey through the range of emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human.” The series is named after Brown’s upcoming book, which will be released on Nov. 20.

Amazon has ordered a pilot for Once Upon a Time in Aztlan, comedian George Lopez’s first drama series. Lopez will star in and executive produce the hour-long series, about a Chicano family in the Los Angeles suburbs “as they come to terms with the falsehoods of the American dream and their ability to defy expectations,” reports Variety.

After the Oct. 17 Season 3 premiere of Succession, HBO will debut the official Succession companion podcast, with special guests like the show’s cast members, hosted by fintech journalist Kara Swisher, at HBO Max.

On Nov, 7, MSNBC will air Four Seasons Total Documentary, about the small Philadelphia landscaping company that was pulled into bumbling Rudy Giuliani’s infamous 2020 election results press conference, Variety reports the documentary is less about Giuliani, and more about “a small business in Philadelphia that was unexpectedly thrust into the national spotlight when it agreed to host a political event in the middle of the presidential election.”


How to Make the Squid Game Honeycomb Candies

Wondering how to make those honeycomb candies (known as Dalgona) that played a pivotal role in Squid Game? The video above shares the scoop. Netflix announced that the South Korean thriller has become, by the way, the streaming service’s most successful original series ever (yes, even more popular than Bridgerton), as it has been viewed by 111 million accounts since it premiered on Sept. 17.


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In one of our creepiest showdowns yet, we’re pitting two pioneering anthology series against each other: Black Mirror vs. The Twilight Zone. (And yes, we’re looking at all iterations of the Zone.) Which series performs better when it comes to the Tomatometer and Audience Score? Which gave us more iconic moments? (Both delivered big time when it came to iconic porcine moments, right?!). And which had the greatest cultural impact? Join Rotten Tomatoes Contributing Editor Mark Ellis as he travels to another dimension, and into the just-recognizable near future, to see which series takes the creepster crown in the latest edition of Vs.

As always, if you don’t agree with our choice of winner, let us have it in the comments.

Who is superhero cinema’s ultimate genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist? The wise-cracking tech head who took down Thanos? Or the reclusive, brooding, vengeful detective who looks as good in a tux as he does zipping between the buildings of Gotham? In our latest episode of Vs., Rotten Tomatoes Contributing Editor Mark Ellis is pitting the MCU’s Iron Man against DC’s Dark Knight, comparing their box office pull, Tomatometer and Audience Scores, and the quality and inventiveness of their gadgets, all to declare who is the superior super-powered scion.

As always, if you don’t agree with our choice of winner, let us have it in the comments.

The last time we polled our social media fans about the films they were most looking forward to, it was back in February, when we weren’t entirely sure how things were going to pan out after widespread stay-at-home orders went into effect. Well, here we are, halfway through 2020, and the traditional Summer Movie Season hasn’t really happened yet.

At one time, even as recently as a week or two ago, we all thought we might see the theaters spring back to life this month with the debut of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, followed quickly by Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan, but both of those films ultimately got pushed back, so what are we left with? A smattering of streaming-exclusive movies and VOD premieres. With that in mind, we asked our fans on social media to find out which titles on streaming and VOD they were most looking forward to seeing, so read on for the full list!


1. The Old Guard (2020) 80%

#1 pick by our Facebook, and Twitter fans; #4 pick by our Instagram fans
Premieres on Netflix on July 10

The runaway winner on two of our social media platforms (folks on the ‘Gram weren’t as impressed, apparently) was this action flick based on a comic book and starring Charlize Theron. The story revolves around a group of immortal soldiers who make up a sort of covert ops unit that has operated in the shadows for centuries, and they’re led by Theron’s “Andy.” This Netflix original movie is director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s first film since 2014’s Certified Fresh Beyond the Lights, and it’s gotten pretty decent reviews, so it’s an easy call for anyone looking for some blockbuster action.


2. Greyhound (2020) 79%

#2 pick by our Facebook and Twitter fans, #5 pick by our Instagram fans
Premieres on Apple TV+ on July 10

There was actually a three-way tie for second place this month between three vastly different movies, so let’s start with the Tom Hanks-powered World War II naval thriller. Inspired by true events, the film chronicles the efforts of a newly appointed Commander of a U.S. destroyer warship, Ernest Krause (Hanks), who leads a convoy of 37 Allied ships to safety while being pursued by a fleet of German U-boats in the early days of World War II. The film co-stars Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, and Elisabeth Shue, among others, and it’s gotten praise for its propulsive storytelling. This was set to debut in theaters on June 12 before the coronavirus shutdowns occurred, and now it’ll debut on Apple TV+.


3. Palm Springs (2020) 94%

#3 pick by our Facebook, Instagram,  and Twitter fans
Premiering on Hulu on July 10

Next up in our three-way tie is this romantic comedy starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti that takes the idea behind Groundhog Day to absurd extremes. Samberg plays Nyles, a regular dude who is dragged to a wedding in Palm Springs, only to get caught in a time loop that forces him to relive the same day over and over again. The twist? One of the other guests at the wedding, Milioti’s Sarah, inadvertently gets caught in the loop with him, and together they try to make the most of their infinite — or is it? — time. The film is already Certified Fresh at 98%, and it set the record for the highest sale at Sundance by a very intentional 69 cents. The company who shelled out that money was Neon, who has a special relationship with Hulu, and that’s where the film will premiere on July 10.


4. Hamilton (2020) 98%

#1 pick by our Instagram fans, #4 pick by our Facebook and Twitter fans
Premiering on Disney+ on July 3

If you’ve paid any attention to pop culture over the past five years or so, you’re already well familiar with Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s wildly popular and successful stage musical based on the life of United States founding father Alexander Hamilton and delivered in a combination of soulful ballads and rap lyrics. And if you’ve heard of Hamilton, you’re likely also aware that tickets to the production are exorbitantly expensive and exceedingly difficult to score. Thankfully, the folks at Disney, who originally thought to release a feature-film version of the musical in theaters, have decided to release the thing on Disney+ instead, so now everyone can watch it with the best seats in the house, literally.


5. Psych 2: Lassie Come Home (2020) 85%

#2 pick by our Instagram fans, #5 pick by our Facebook and Twitter fans
Premiering on Peacock on July 15

Lastly, we have something of a cult favorite in Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, the second feature-length film based on the popular TV series starring James Roday as pretend psychic Shawn Spencer and Dulé Hill as his partner Gus. The new film, which will air on NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock, sees Shawn and Gus return to Santa Barbara after Lassie (Timothy Omundson) suffers a brutal attack on the job, hoping to unravel a new, twisted mystery. Longtime fans of the series should be pleased to see a lot of familiar faces and wacky antics again.


Thumnail image by Aimee Spinks/NETFLIX

With movie theaters shuttered for the time being and prospective audiences presumably self-quarantining at home, people looking for entertainment to consume have never had more time on their hands to just sit and binge a bunch of television. With that in mind, we polled our fans on social media to find out what new shows everyone was most looking forward to in the month of July, whether it was a brand new series or a popular one returning with a new season. It’s probably no surprise that three of the top five are Netflix originals, considering the sheer volume of the streaming giant’s output, but we also got an Amazon original and a series on TNT. Read on to find out the full list!


1. The Umbrella Academy: Season 2 (2020) 91%

#1 pick by our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter fans
Premieres on Netflix on July 31

Netflix’s adaptation of the comic book series created by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way enjoyed a successful first season, earning a Certified Fresh 75% on the Tomatometer and an even more impressive 86% Audience Score. For those who haven’t had a chance to check out the show just yet, we won’t discuss any spoilers from Season 1 here, but suffice it to say that the way it ended left enough fans anxious to find out where the show might go in Season 2 to propel it straight to the top of all of our social media polls. The only bad news is that we’ll have to wait until the tail end of the month before we get to see it.


2. Cursed: Season 1 (2020) 65%

#2 pick by our Facebook and Twitter fans
Premieres on Netflix on July 17

Another offering from Netflix, this fantasy series reimagines the classic legend of King Arthur by telling the origin story of the young woman who would eventually become the fabled Lady of the Lake. Based on the novel of the same name co-written by Frank Miller, it stars Kathering Langford (who also appeared in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why) as Nimue, who travels with a young Arthur (Devon Terrell) to seek out Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård) and help confront the evil King Uther Pendragon. This one came in just under The Umbrella Academy in both our Facebook and Twitter polls.


3. The Alienist: Angel of Darkness: Angel of Darkness (2020) 86%

#2 pick by our Instagram fans, #3 pick by our Twitter fans, #5 pick by our Facebook fans
Premieres on TNT on July 19

Originally created as a limited series based on the novel of the same name by Caleb Carr, The Alienist surprised a lot of people by scoring a number of awards nominations and subsequently announcing that it would return for another go. The second season, dubbed Angel of Darkness, adapts the second novel in the series and sees the return of stars Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning as their characters reunite to track down a missing infant, only to uncover a more sinister threat. A lot of people are happy they’re coming back for another investigation, and there are hopes that the third and upcoming fourth novels in the series will ensure further seasons of the dark, period thriller.


4. Hanna: Season 2 (2020) 93%

#3 pick by our Facebook fans, #4 pick by our Instagram fans, #5 pick by our Twitter fans
Premieres on Amazon Prime on July 3

The first season of Amazon’s Hanna expanded on the ideas of its source material, the Joe Wright-directed 2011 film of the same name, and delivered something entirely its own, and while the reviews weren’t over the moon, the audience response was strong. Fittingly, Season 2 looks to expand that world even further, and fans who have been waiting to find out where Hanna (Esme Creed-Miles) goes next and how she will evolve will be pleased to know that, according to the critics, it’s even better than Season 1.


5. Warrior Nun: Season 1 (2020) 69%

#4 pick by our Facebook and Twitter fans
Premieres on Netflix on July 2

The third Netflix series to make it into the top five this month is another fantasy, albeit one based on modern (ancient?) religion. Loosely based on a comic book series first published in the mid-’90s, Warrior Nun centers on a young woman who is gifted with immense power and compelled to join a secret order of — you guessed it — warrior nuns who battle against supernatural evil. The series has generated interest from curious and cautiously optimistic viewers looking for another fantasy fix, and reviews indicate it’s not perfect but still worth checking out.


Thumnail image by NETFLIX

As we inch closer to the beginning of the summer movie season, we are starting to see a few more big-name properties show up on the release calendar, and March features not only a hotly anticipated sequel to a surprise horror hit, but also a new entry from Pixar and the latest live-action remake of an animated Disney classic. Beyond those titles, we also have a comic book adaptation starring Vin Diesel and a new interpretation of a Jane Austen novel just to round things out. See below for the most anticipated movies opening in March.


1. A Quiet Place Part II (2021) 91%

2,769 Want-to-See Votes
#1 pick by our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter fans
Opens March 20

Director John Krasinski had a hit on his hands with 2018’s A Quiet Place, in which he starred alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt as a married couple with two children (after a tragic and horrifying opening scene) who live their lives in complete silence in an attempt to avoid detection by the bloodthirsty monsters who navigate by sound that have taken over the world. This month, we get the sequel, which finds Blunt’s Evelyn Abbott traveling with son Marcus (Noah Jupe), daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and her newborn infant until they come across other survivors and discover there’s more to worry about than just the monsters. This film made it to the top of all of our social media polls and racked up the second-most Want-to-See votes among all March releases.


2. Mulan (2020) 73%

3,650 Want-to-See Votes
#2 pick by our Facebook and Twitter fans, #3 pick by our Instagram fans
Opens March 27

Disney released three live-action remakes of their classic animated films in 2019 — namely DumboAladdin, and The Lion King — and while none of them exactly set critics’ hearts aflutter, the latter two especially made big splashes at the box office. With that context in mind, March brings us their latest effort, Mulan, starring Liu Yufei as the titular heroine who defies her father’s wishes and joins the Imperial Chinese Army disguised as a man to represent her family. The supporting cast includes such renowned actors as Jet Li, Donnie Yen, and Gong Li, and fans on our social media accounts were excited enough about the movie to vote it into second place on Facebook and Twitter, and third place on Instagram. It also racked up the most Want-to-See votes of any March release on RT.


3. Onward (2020) 88%

1,252 Want-to-See Votes
#2 pick by our Instagram fans, #4 pick by our Facebook and Twitter fans
Opens March 6

Part of Mulan‘s appeal is undeniably the nostalgia factor for adults who remember seeing the animated original more than 20 years ago, but Disney offshoot Pixar is also coming out with a new animated film that’s ostensibly aimed at younger audiences but plays on some mature themes. MCU stars Chris Pratt and Tom Holland voice two elf brothers who live in a suburban fantasy world populated by trash unicorns and pet dragons where technology has pushed magic into obsolescence. When the two of them receive a magical gift from their deceased father that will allow them to resurrect him for 24 hours, and it only summons his lower half, they embark on a journey to find a way to bring back the rest of him before time runs out. This one made it into the top five of all of our social polls and garnered the third-most Want-to-See votes on RT, and on top of all that, it’s already Certified Fresh.


4. Bloodshot (2020) 31%

1,099 Want-to-See Votes
#3 pick by our Facebook and Twitter fans
Opens March 13

The vast majority of superhero movies made these days belong to either the MCU or the DCEU, but the landscape is slowly changing as other players join the fray. Enter Bloodshot, a murdered soldier who is resurrected by scientists and given superhuman abilities thanks to nanotechnology. The Valiant Comics anti-hero is played by Vin Diesel here, and reports have stated that the film is intended to be the first in its own cinematic universe. We’ll have to wait and see how that goes after the film is released, but for now, moviegoers are looking forward to seeing the big-screen adaptation of the comic, as it ranked third in our Facebook and Twitter polls.


5. EMMA. (2020) 86%

1,391 Want-to-See Votes
#5 pick by our Facebook fans
Opens Wide March 6

The last film on this month’s list actually opened in limited release back on February 21, but it’s expanding wide in the first week of March, thanks to a positive reception. Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Jane Austen’s eponymous matchmaker, who discovers that maybe she’s not as good at bringing people together as she thought she was, all while her own romance bubbles up and takes her by surprise. Director Autumn de Wilde’s debut feature is already Certified Fresh, and critics say it’s a whimsical adaptation that takes some time to get going but blossoms into a delightful treat. The film made it to fifth place in our Facebook poll and earned the fourth-most Want-to-See votes on RT.


Thumnail image by Paramount Pictures

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This week at the movies, we’ve got a flock of fearsome females (Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), starring Margot Robbie and Ewan McGregor). What are the critics saying?


Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) 79%

Talk to anyone who saw 2016’s Suicide Squad, and they’re likely to tell you the best part about the movie was Margot Robbie’s performance as Joker’s best girl, Harley Quinn. Warner Bros. clearly knew this, too, considering the studio announced a Harley Quinn spinoff even before Suicide Squad was released. Four years later, audiences finally get to see Birds of Prey, and the praise for it so far has been effusive. Working from a script by Christina Hodson, director Cathy Yan jumps back and forth in time to explain how Harley and “Mistah J” broke up, how she gets pulled into the orbit of nightclub owner-cum-sadistic crime boss Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), and how her story intertwines with the women who would form her ragtag crew (Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, and Ella Jay Basco). Some were reasonably concerned we might have another Suicide Squad on our hands, but critics say it’s all as flamboyant, irreverent, unhinged, action-packed, and gloriously fun as one should expect from a Harley Quinn movie. That said, it does earn its R rating, with plenty of colorful language and bone-crushing violence (thanks, in part, to John Wick director Chad Stahelski, who helped choreograph the action), so it may not be the most ideal girl-power flick for young women. But anyone hoping for a loopy carnival ride of an adventure starring one of Hollywood’s most dynamic actors will likely leave the theater satisfied.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Cane River (1982) , a revival of the 1982 romance set in Louisiana about a forbidden love affair between a Creole man and a Black woman, is at 100%
  • Come to Daddy (2019) , starring Elijah Wood in a psychological horror comedy about a man who attempts to reconnect with his estranged father at a remote cabin, only to face his dark past, is Certified Fresh at 92%.
  • And Then We Danced (2019) , about a dancer vying for a spot in the National Georgian Ensemble whose life is upended by the arrival of an accomplished rival, is at 86%.
  • The Lodge (2019) , starring Riley Keough in a horror film about a woman who loses her grip on reality when she becomes trapped in a remote cabin with the vindictive children of her boyfriend, is Certified Fresh at 76%.
  • Two/One (2019) , a drama about two men living on opposite sides of the world whose lives parallel each other, is at 60%.
  • Horse Girl (2020) , starring Alison Brie in Netflix’s dark sci-fi comedy about a woman struggling to differentiate between her surreal visions and reality, is at 56%.
  • Waiting for Anya (2020) , a drama about the efforts of a teenage boy and an older widow to help smuggle Jewish children to Spain during World War II, is at 56%.

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The success of Wonder Woman proved women-helmed, women-led superhero movies could be immensely successful, and now Warner Bros. and DC continue to lead in that arena with Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey, with Margot Robbie reprising her Suicide Squad role as Gotham City antihero Harley Quinn. The first reviews of the comic book movie are on the positive side, emphasizing the ensemble cast (including the villains), the action aided by John Wick director Chad Stahelski, and the general fun had by all involved, especially the audience.

Here’s what critics are saying about Birds of Prey:


Where does it rank in the DC Universe?

Rights so many of the DCEU’s wrongs, trading CGI for carefully choreographed fight scenes and breathing new life into a stagnant genre.
– Hannah Woodhead, Little White Lies

Birds of Prey looks like what you’d imagine Suicide Squad could have been under a clearer vision.
– Angie Han, Mashable

[Features] perhaps one of the most fun third acts in a DC film so far.
– James Whitbrook, io9

It’s the perfect spiritual successor to Joker in terms of the current state of the DCEU.
– Molly Freeman, ScreenRant

This is not a perfect film, nor is it the DCEU’s best. But it is immensely enjoyable.
– Kirsten Acuna, Insider


Is it just for DC fans?

No, [but] you’ll have a deeper understanding of [Harley] and DC characters like Black Mask, Zsasz, and Black Canary if you’ve watched animated DC cartoons, played popular games like Arkham City, and watched the CW’s Arrow.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

Birds of Prey stands on its own more than most comic book movies. References to the Joker and Batman are few and far between.
Kristen Lopez, Fansided

A superhero movie that might actually be more enjoyable for viewers who haven’t read a single comic.
Susana Polo, Polygon

[It’s] a spinoff/sequel that requires no knowledge of its mediocre predecessor, Suicide Squad. Thank goodness.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, The Daily Dot


Warner Bros. Pictures

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

What about the comparisons to Deadpool?

[It’s] DC’s R-rated answer to Deadpool in terms of rampant cursing, in-universe commentary and clever pop-culture riffs.
Brian Truitt, USA Today

Comparisons are going to be made between BoP and Fox’s R-rated Deadpool, which also has a fourth-wall-breaking antihero. Any similarities are only surface level.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

It’s going for the sparky nihilist defiance… [but] Birds of Prey could have used more of the intricate cleverness of Deadpool.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Those hoping for a Deadpool-like fusion of mayhem and wit should lower their expectations.
John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter


Does Robbie continue to shine as Harley?

Robbie reminds you why Harley is the role she was born to play.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

The movie is a stunning showcase for Margot Robbie, who commands the screen and gives her damaged protagonist all the dimension she deserves.
Laura Prudom, IGN

Robbie’s mayhem-fueled portrait of a mobster moll run amok is precisely tuned. She captures this unapologetic, dynamic complex woman with delirious verve and vigor.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Robbie’s shining performance cuts through the murk like a neon sign in a dark alleyway.
Angie Han, Mashable


What about the rest of the ensemble?

Birds of Prey is a true ensemble in the sense that it doesn’t work because one person or one part is excellent, but because they all are.
Molly Freeman, ScreenRant

The main heroine ensemble actors all breathe a wonderful amount of life into little-known characters overdue for mainstream attention.
Susana Polo, Polygon

The actresses who come together to form Harley’s posse… have presence to spare, but you wish they’d been given more to do.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Unfortunately, the Birds of Prey are the ones who get shortchanged by the ambitious scope… you can’t help but wish [the movie] leaned a little harder into the team-up aspect of the title.
Laura Prudom, IGN


Warner Bros. Pictures

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

Does anyone stand out?

Huntress is the least developed of all the lead characters… but in her few appearances, Winstead steals the show.
Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

Fans will undoubtedly fall in love with Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Huntress.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

Winstead’s self-serious, mafia-bred, crossbow-toting Huntress appears to be ripped out of another movie entirely.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire

The scene-stealer is Black Canary… Smollett-Bell gives her character fire and a voice, literally, that has power.
Kristen Lopez, Fansided

In her debut feature film role Ella Jay Basco is a force to be reckoned with. With impeccable comedic timing, the young actress holds her own.
Britany Murphy, Geeks of Color


What about the villains?

The film also benefits from two first-rate villains… worthy opponents to Quinn, delighting in violence for the sake of violence but crucially grounded in reality.
Hannah Woodhead, Little White Lies

In terms of DCEU films, McGregor’s Sionis and Messina’s Zsasz are my favorite villains…[with] some of the best villain moments seen in a comic book film to-date.
Britany Murphy, Geeks of Color

It’s McGregor who shines the brightest in Birds of Prey… he skillfully slips between the personas to create an effective counterpart to each of the heroes.
Molly Freeman, ScreenRant

He’s the best villain in the DCEU right now… for what it’s worth, that’s not too high of a bar.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

Victor’s obsessive desire to please his boss and Roman’s unchecked narcissism combine to create a dynamic duo who are pure nightmare fuel.
Laura Prudom, IGN

Villains Sionis and Zsasz are left aching for a bit more oomph, or gravitas, behind their wickedness… Their unhinged nature could stand to be dialed up further.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Ewan McGregor’s Roman Sionis is likely to be divisive… He’s an extravagantly blatant example of queer-coded villainhood, to the point where it’s not really coded at all.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, The Daily Dot


Warner Bros. Pictures

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

How is Christina Hodson’s script?

Hodson has made sure internal and external character stakes are cogent. She utilizes familiar story elements, but remixes them into a refreshed product.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Hodson’s script is packed with the kind of small actions and moments of recognition that only a film made by women would ever think to include.
Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

Hodson uses Harley’s omniscient, if unreliable, narrator to great effect in order to immerse viewers in this world and introduce the various key players.
Molly Freeman, ScreenRant

Slight at best, convoluted at worst, but Birds of Prey rips through its hardboiled neo-noir story with such gleeful abandon that you barely notice the tired Macguffin narrative.
Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

The first hour of Birds of Prey is a bit confusing… Even if you’re a big DC fan, you may find yourself struggling to understand the point of the film.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

The movie would have been so much better had it simplified its story by half.
Alex Abad-Santos, Vox

If you think of how the narrative is being shown and just who it’s coming from, it works well… but I could see that it might not necessarily translate to the audience as a whole.
Britany Murphy, Geeks of Color


Does director Cathy Yan rise to the occasion?

Yan steps up to the plate without a trace of the nerves you might expect of a first-time big-budget director.
Helen O’Hara, Time Out

Yan may be a newcomer to the big-budget blockbuster, but she brings an assured confidence to each stylistic choice.
Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

Directing her first studio feature, Cathy Yan keeps it all hurtling along with impeccable ferocity. Her action scenes have a deftly detonating visual spaciousness.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Birds of Prey barely holds together plot-wise… That Yan directs the movie with a pinball comic energy, in scenes of action and character interaction, makes a world of difference.
Scott Mendelson, Forbes

She has a gift for kinetic fight scenes, though there are only so many creative-kill scenarios before the death toll becomes numbing.
Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

Yan’s stylish direction and keen sense of comedic timing keep things lively even when the story starts to strain under the weight of so many competing storylines.
Laura Prudom, IGN


Claudette Barius/©Warner Bros.

(Photo by Claudette Barius/©Warner Bros.)

Does she deliver on the action?

Yan’s camera [holds] on wide shots to show off the acrobatic stunts of her stars. It’s one of the best displays of fight sequences in a superhero movie to date.
Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

Boasts some of the most inventive fight sequences ever seen in a comic book movie… The smackdowns have a tangible, bone-crunching quality that sets them apart from the overly CGIed slugfests found in many other superhero movies lately.
Laura Prudom, IGN

The movie’s fight scenes are like highlight reels in themselves, mashing together visual artistry with bone-crunching savagery.
Alex Abad-Santos, Vox

Birds of Prey’s clearly shot and inventively staged action sequences feel like the first superhero movie response to John Wick’s success.
Susana Polo, Polygon

It’s not quite John Wick, but crisp camerawork and playful choreography place Birds of Prey comfortably above the muddy CG action of an Avengers: Endgame or, God forbid, a Suicide Squad.
Angie Han, Mashable


Does it do right by women in comic book movies?

Rather than the paint-by-numbers girl power of Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey presents flawed, multi-faceted women as more than an afterthought in male-driven narratives.
Hannah Woodhead, Little White Lies

The film is itself a liberation from male-led and male-created superhero comic book movies.
Molly Freeman, ScreenRant

Not only does Cathy Yan’s female-fronted, feminist feature capture one woman’s resilience… it symbolically represents that we women can overcome our worst starts.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

All the daily joys and hurdles of a woman’s experience are deftly woven into the larger-than-life fabric of the comic-book film… this isn’t the kind of boardroom-designed, slogan-spouting style of feminism we’re used to from Hollywood.
Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

Does the movie’s pop-feminist message need to be as consistently, cartoonishly violent as it is? Almost definitely not. But in a world gone mad, the catharsis of Prey’s twisted sisterhood doesn’t just read as pandemonium for its own sake; it’s actually pretty damn sweet.
Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

If there’s one thing Hollywood should learn from the experience, it’s this: Sometimes girls just want to have fun, whether they’re in superhero movies or watching them.
Susana Polo, Polygon

The perfect Galentine’s outing.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider


Warner Bros. Pictures

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

Will audiences want more?

Birds of Prey provides a perfect setup for a host of other intriguing spinoffs in the DC cinematic universe — can we request Poison Ivy next?
Laura Prudom, IGN

You’ll be ready for a sequel with the group or more of Robbie’s take on Harley the moment the film’s over.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

Birds of Prey left me wanting [a sequel], which is about the most anyone can hope for in a big-screen comics adaptation.
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

Show[s] us just how cool Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey can be, so we’re left wanting to get back in line for their next movie.
Angie Han, Mashable

Nothing in Birds of Prey suggests [these characters] ever merit further attention, far out in this suburb of Gotham with Batman nowhere to be found.
John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter


Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is in theaters on February 7.

#1
Adjusted Score: 106912%
Critics Consensus: With a fresh perspective, some new friends, and loads of fast-paced action, Birds of Prey captures the colorfully anarchic spirit of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn.
Synopsis: It's open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her... [More]
Directed By: Cathy Yan

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