(Photo by Warner Brothers /courtesy Everett Collection)

All Batman Movies Ranked

Batman celebrates its 35th anniversary!

A Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader, ol’ Boogaloo Bats. There is a Batman for all seasons. But whatever you call him, he’s known far and wide as a comic book hero who’s managed to keep relevant in entertainment for decades, re-invented time and time again to answer a nation’s distress Bat-signal all. It was camp colors and biffbangpow for the 1960s (the Batman TV show). The ’80s found a taste for blockbuster art deco madness (Tim Burton’s Batman). The ’90s got the best of it (Mask of the Phantasm) and the worst (Batman & Robin). The world of the 2000s demanded realism and it got Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. Recently, he played nice with the Justice League. But now, Robert Pattinson dons the cowl in 2022’s long-awaited The Batman.

Holy review aggregates! Now we’ve gathered all the theatrical Batman movies in one list (including the one night stand of The Killing Joke), ranked by Tomatometer! (And see all things Batsy on film and television with our Batman franchise page.) Alex Vo

#1

The Dark Knight (2008)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 108623%
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

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 107447%
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

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 105650%
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

#4

The Batman (2022)
86%

#4
Adjusted Score: 115760%
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

#5

Batman Begins (2005)
85%

#5
Adjusted Score: 96266%
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

#6
Adjusted Score: 88391%
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]
Directed By: Eric Radomski, Bruce Timm

#7

Batman Returns (1992)
82%

#7
Adjusted Score: 90385%
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

#8

Batman (1989)
77%

#8
Adjusted Score: 90328%
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

#9

Batman (1966)
81%

#9
Adjusted Score: 85079%
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

#10
Adjusted Score: 86976%
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

#11

Batman Forever (1995)
41%

#11
Adjusted Score: 46024%
Critics Consensus: Loud, excessively busy, and often boring, Batman Forever nonetheless has the charisma of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones to offer mild relief.
Synopsis: Batman (Val Kilmer) faces off against two foes: the schizophrenic, horribly scarred former District Attorney Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face (Tommy... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#12

Justice League (2017)
40%

#12
Adjusted Score: 63127%
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

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 36356%
Critics Consensus: This stilted retelling of the Joker's origin adds little to its iconic source material, further diminished by some questionable story additions that will have fans demanding justice for Barbara Gordon.
Synopsis: Batman (Kevin Conroy) must save Commissioner Gordon (Ray Wise) from the Joker's (Mark Hamill) twisted quest to drive him insane.... [More]
Directed By: Sam Liu

#14
Adjusted Score: 50585%
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

#15

Batman & Robin (1997)
12%

#15
Adjusted Score: 18566%
Critics Consensus: Joel Schumacher's tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that's too jokey to care much for.
Synopsis: This superhero adventure finds Batman (George Clooney) and his partner, Robin (Chris O'Donnell), attempting to the foil the sinister schemes... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

(Photo by Disney/courtesy Everett Collection)

The 100 Best Superhero Movies of All Time

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: 119437%
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%

#2
Adjusted Score: 105543%
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%

#3
Adjusted Score: 126112%
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
Adjusted Score: 117414%
Critics Consensus: Just as visually dazzling and action-packed as its predecessor, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse thrills from start to cliffhanger conclusion.
Synopsis: Miles Morales returns for the next chapter of the Oscar®-winning Spider-Verse saga, an epic adventure that will transport Brooklyn's full-time,... [More]

#5
Adjusted Score: 109307%
Critics Consensus: With its unique visual style and a story that captures the essence of the franchise's appeal, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is an animated treat for the whole family.
Synopsis: After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Rowe

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 123994%
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

#7

Logan (2017)
93%

#7
Adjusted Score: 117123%
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

#8

The Dark Knight (2008)
94%

#8
Adjusted Score: 108623%
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

#9

Iron Man (2008)
94%

#9
Adjusted Score: 105696%
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

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 102226%
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

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 97980%
Critics Consensus: Quentin Dupieux still isn't for everyone -- but if you're on his loopy wavelength, Smoking Causes Coughing causes laughter.
Synopsis: A wildly inventive new comedy from Quentin Dupieux (MANDIBLES, RUBBER), SMOKING CAUSES COUGHING follows the misadventures of a team of... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Dupieux

#12

Wonder Woman (2017)
93%

#12
Adjusted Score: 119992%
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

#13

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
93%

#13
Adjusted Score: 117767%
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

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 115370%
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

#15

Incredibles 2 (2018)
93%

#15
Adjusted Score: 114616%
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

#16

Spider-Man 2 (2004)
93%

#16
Adjusted Score: 102489%
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

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 114424%
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

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 108473%
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

#19

RoboCop (1987)
92%

#19
Adjusted Score: 100075%
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

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 108979%
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

#21
Adjusted Score: 97968%
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]

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 115535%
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

#23
Adjusted Score: 111124%
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

#24

Shazam! (2019)
90%

#24
Adjusted Score: 112352%
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

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 109826%
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

#26
Adjusted Score: 106109%
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

#27
Adjusted Score: 104982%
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

#28

Spider-Man (2002)
90%

#28
Adjusted Score: 98688%
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

#29

Big Hero 6 (2014)
90%

#29
Adjusted Score: 100820%
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

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 107447%
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

#31

Doctor Strange (2016)
89%

#31
Adjusted Score: 107922%
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

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 112190%
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

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 105650%
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

#34
Adjusted Score: 93964%
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

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 98187%
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

#36
Adjusted Score: 96210%
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

#37

The Batman (2022)
86%

#37
Adjusted Score: 115760%
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

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 112710%
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

#39
Adjusted Score: 108888%
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

#40

Deadpool (2016)
85%

#40
Adjusted Score: 101822%
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

#41

Batman Begins (2005)
85%

#41
Adjusted Score: 96266%
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

#42

X2 (2003)
85%

#42
Adjusted Score: 93918%
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

#43

Deadpool 2 (2018)
84%

#43
Adjusted Score: 107433%
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

#44
Adjusted Score: 109312%
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

#45

The Crow (1994)
86%

#45
Adjusted Score: 90921%
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

#46

Darkman (1990)
83%

#46
Adjusted Score: 88104%
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

#47

Superman II (1980)
83%

#47
Adjusted Score: 89057%
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

#48

Ant-Man (2015)
83%

#48
Adjusted Score: 99822%
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

#49

X-Men (2000)
82%

#49
Adjusted Score: 89050%
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

#50

Hellboy (2004)
81%

#50
Adjusted Score: 87763%
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

#51
Adjusted Score: 88391%
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]
Directed By: Eric Radomski, Bruce Timm

#52

Batman Returns (1992)
82%

#52
Adjusted Score: 90385%
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

#53

Fast Color (2018)
82%

#53
Adjusted Score: 86215%
Critics Consensus: A grounded superhero story with more on its mind than punching bad guys, Fast Color leaps over uneven execution with a singular Gugu Mbatha-Raw performance.
Synopsis: Hunted by mysterious forces, a young woman who has supernatural abilities must go on the run when her powers are... [More]
Directed By: Julia Hart

#54

The Mask (1994)
80%

#54
Adjusted Score: 83587%
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: Chuck Russell

#55
Adjusted Score: 91173%
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

#56

Dredd (2012)
80%

#56
Adjusted Score: 87768%
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

#57

Captain Marvel (2019)
79%

#57
Adjusted Score: 108776%
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

#58

Black Widow (2021)
79%

#58
Adjusted Score: 102939%
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

#59

Iron Man 3 (2013)
79%

#59
Adjusted Score: 94639%
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

#60

Blue Beetle (2023)
77%

#60
Adjusted Score: 92638%
Critics Consensus: Led by Xolo Maridueña's magnetic performance in the title role, Blue Beetle is a refreshingly family-focused superhero movie with plenty of humor and heart.
Synopsis: Recent college grad Jaime Reyes returns home full of aspirations for his future, only to find that home is not... [More]
Directed By: Angel Manuel Soto

#61
Adjusted Score: 105479%
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

#62

Thor (2011)
77%

#62
Adjusted Score: 89055%
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

#63

Kick-Ass (2010)
77%

#63
Adjusted Score: 88022%
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

#64
#64
Adjusted Score: 94752%
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

#65

Batman (1989)
77%

#65
Adjusted Score: 90328%
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

#66

Superman Returns (2006)
74%

#66
Adjusted Score: 85227%
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

#67

V for Vendetta (2006)
73%

#67
Adjusted Score: 83815%
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

#68

Iron Man 2 (2010)
72%

#68
Adjusted Score: 84681%
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

#69
#69
Adjusted Score: 87535%
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

#70

Batman (1966)
81%

#70
Adjusted Score: 85079%
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

#71

Sky High (2005)
73%

#71
Adjusted Score: 77564%
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

#72

Megamind (2010)
73%

#72
Adjusted Score: 80164%
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

#73

Defendor (2009)
72%

#73
Adjusted Score: 72114%
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

#74
#74
Adjusted Score: 74741%
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

#75
Adjusted Score: 86976%
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

#76

The Wolverine (2013)
71%

#76
Adjusted Score: 83120%
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

#77
#77
Adjusted Score: 72164%
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]

#78

Unbreakable (2000)
70%

#78
Adjusted Score: 77004%
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

#79
#79
Adjusted Score: 76805%
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

#80

The Rocketeer (1991)
67%

#80
Adjusted Score: 72574%
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

#81
#81
Adjusted Score: 80578%
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

#82

Aquaman (2018)
65%

#82
Adjusted Score: 88257%
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

#83

Watchmen (2009)
65%

#83
Adjusted Score: 77857%
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

#84
#84
Adjusted Score: 67007%
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

#85

The Flash (2023)
63%

#85
Adjusted Score: 85535%
Critics Consensus: The Flash is funny, fittingly fast-paced, and overall ranks as one of the best DC movies in recent years.
Synopsis: Worlds collide in "The Flash" when Barry uses his superpowers to travel back in time in order to change the... [More]
Directed By: Andy Muschietti

#86
#86
Adjusted Score: 88246%
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

#87

Spider-Man 3 (2007)
63%

#87
Adjusted Score: 73699%
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

#88

Hulk (2003)
63%

#88
Adjusted Score: 71520%
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

#89

The Marvels (2023)
62%

#89
Adjusted Score: 83265%
Critics Consensus: Funny, refreshingly brief, and elevated by the chemistry of its three leads, The Marvels is easy to enjoy in the moment despite its cluttered story and jumbled tonal shifts.
Synopsis: Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel has reclaimed her identity from the tyrannical Kree and taken revenge on the Supreme Intelligence.... [More]
Directed By: Nia DaCosta

#90

Mystery Men (1999)
60%

#90
Adjusted Score: 65017%
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

#91

Swamp Thing (1982)
60%

#91
Adjusted Score: 63537%
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

#92
Adjusted Score: 24925%
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

#93
#93
Adjusted Score: 83784%
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

#94

Blade (1998)
59%

#94
Adjusted Score: 65770%
Critics Consensus: Though some may find the plot a bit lacking, Blade's action is fierce, plentiful, and appropriately stylish for a comic book adaptation.
Synopsis: A half-mortal, half-immortal is out to avenge his mother's death and rid the world of vampires. The modern-day technologically advanced... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Norrington

#95
Adjusted Score: 71254%
Critics Consensus: A sequel aimed squarely at fans of the original's odd couple chemistry, Venom: Let There Be Carnage eagerly embraces the franchise's sillier side.
Synopsis: Tom Hardy returns to the big screen as the lethal protector Venom, one of MARVEL's greatest and most complex characters.... [More]
Directed By: Andy Serkis

#96

Blade II (2002)
57%

#96
Adjusted Score: 61836%
Critics Consensus: Though Blade II offers more of what worked in the original, its plot and character development appear to have been left on the cutting room floor.
Synopsis: Exploding from the pages of Marvel Comics comes the thrilling follow-up to the blockbuster "Blade." Half Man ... half vampire,... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#97

Brightburn (2019)
57%

#97
Adjusted Score: 67599%
Critics Consensus: Although Brightburn doesn't fully deliver on the pitch-black promise of its setup, it's still enough to offer a diverting subversion of the superhero genre.
Synopsis: After a difficult struggle with fertility, Tori Breyer's dreams of motherhood come true with the arrival of a mysterious baby... [More]
Directed By: David Yarovesky

#98
#98
Adjusted Score: 66991%
Critics Consensus: X-Men: The Last Stand provides plenty of mutant action for fans of the franchise, even if it does so at the expense of its predecessors' deeper character moments.
Synopsis: The discovery of a cure for mutations leads to a turning point for Mutants (Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen,... [More]
Directed By: Brett Ratner

#99

Man of Steel (2013)
56%

#99
Adjusted Score: 72243%
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

#100
#100
Adjusted Score: 66184%
Critics Consensus: While the cast is outstanding and the special effects are top-notch, the latest installment of the Spidey saga suffers from an unfocused narrative and an overabundance of characters.
Synopsis: Confident in his powers as Spider-Man, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) embraces his new role as a hero and spends time... [More]
Directed By: Marc Webb

The Dark Knight returns again in The Batman, a fresh take on the titular DC Comics character, this one with Robert Pattinson making his debut as the Caped Crusader. Directed by Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) and co-starring Zoë Kravitz, Colin Farrell, and Paul Dano as the respective Batman villains Selina Kyle (otherwise known as Catwoman), the Penguin, and the Riddler, the movie promises gritty, grounded superhero fare crossed with a crime thriller. Does it work? Let’s find out with a breakdown of the first reviews of the first live-action solo Batman movie in a decade.

Here’s what critics are saying about The Batman:


Is this the Batman movie we’ve been waiting 83 years for?

The Batman is the closest thing to a comic book accurate version of the characters we’ve seen on the big screen thus far. – David Gonzalez, Reel Talk, Inc.

Never has the Dark Knight been portrayed in such a thoroughly authentic and exciting way. – Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

The Batman is a unique commemoration of the Batman mythology and its stylistic and tonal shifts across its 80-year history. – Jake Cole, Slant Magazine

One of the best DC films of all time… The Batman is a breath of fresh air… a masterpiece. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

It’s more of the same, and not nearly as good as what came before… or even particularly good in its own right. – Evan Dossey, Midwest Film Journal


How does it compare specifically to other Batman movies?

The Batman is immersed in dark undertones, not unlike Batman: The Animated Series. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

Reeves presents the most robust version of Gotham we’ve seen since Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman. – Peter Debruge, Variety

Reeves has made the best Batman film since The Dark Knight. – Ross Bonaime, Collider

If The Dark Knight is Batman’s Heat, this is Batman’s Se7en. – Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews


Robert Pattinson in The Batman

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

What about comic book movies in general?

Not only is it a match for the strongest of those outings, it’s also up there with the best comic-book movies overall. It’s that good. – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

The Batman deserves every cinephile’s attention and discussion as it cements its place as one of the essential comic book films of the last 20 years. – David Gonzalez, Reel Talk, Inc.

Among the best of the genre, even if — or more aptly, because — what makes the film so great is its willingness to dismantle and interrogate the very concept of superheroes. – Peter Debruge, Variety

Sits alongside greats like The Dark Knight, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home as one of the best superhero movies ever made. – Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

The Batman feels… like something superhero filmmaking hasn’t been in a long time: a full-on cinematic meal. – Jeffrey Zhang, Strange Harbors

The Batman should tell audiences that other superhero movies are possible, and yet more, they can be had outside the formulaic tentpoles filling theaters today. – Robert Daniels, The Playlist


How is Robert Pattinson in the title role?

Pattinson’s performance will likely divide viewers, but his Batman is an angry, simmering character perfectly suited to the story being told. – Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

He quickly enters the pantheon of all-time great Batmans, and that’s not a hot take. But an accurate one. – David Gonzalez, Reel Talk, Inc.

He delivers the best live-action Batman since Michael Keaton. – Kirsten Acuna, Insider

His work here is every bit as transformative and groundbreaking as what we saw from Joaquin Phoenix in Joker. – Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

As Bruce Wayne, Pattinson is a revelation. – Jake Cole, Slant Magazine

He looked too “grunge” as Bruce Wayne. He seems like a teenager as opposed to a full-grown adult with money and power at his disposal. – Allison Rose, FlickDirect


Robert Pattinson in The Batman

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Which villain stands out?

Colin Farrell undoubtedly steals the show as The Penguin… the best take on Oswald Cobblepot we’ve seen on screen. – Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

Kravitz is a stand-out with her ‘40s style femme-fatale lilt and her ability to embody slinky and smart in equal measure. – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Kravitz is the best live-action Selina Kyle to date. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

There is no denying that Kravitz is the best version of the character thus far. – David Gonzalez, Reel Talk, Inc.

The highlight on the supporting character front is Dano’s Riddler, who manages to be far creepier and more unsettling than comic book movie villains typically manage. – Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

Paul Dano [is] utterly petrifying every second he’s on-screen. – Don Shanahan, Every Movie Has a Lesson

Suggesting an Oscar nod for Dano’s Zodiac-style Riddler won’t be out of the question. – Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews


Do any of them come close to Heath Ledger’s Joker, though?

Paul Dano makes the Riddler as terrifying as he is magnetic… It’s a performance every bit as good as Heath Ledger’s in The Dark Knight, and it’ll haunt your nightmares. – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

Pattinson and a typically superb Dano share an interrogation scene to rival Bale and Ledger’s in The Dark Knight. – Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews

He’ll inevitably be compared to Heath Ledger’s Joker… but this is a different kind of madness that Dano nails — it’s less outward-facing and maniacal and more terrifying in its intensity. – Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

While Dano never reaches the level of Ledger, it’s pretty clear to any viewer that this may go down as the second-best villain in any Batman film. – David Gonzalez, Reel Talk, Inc.

Ever since Heath Ledger won an Oscar for playing the Joker in The Dark Knight, every actor treats Batman villains like they’re King Freakin’ Lear. His final monologue is grossly overplayed… It’s annoying. – Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post


Paul Dano as the Riddler in The Batman

(Photo by Jonathan Olley/©Warner Bros.)

How is the action?

Exhilarating. – Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant

Reeves brings a sharp perspective to these characters. Particularly through the fight choreography. – Robert Daniels, The Playlist

Perhaps most thrilling is the appearance of the Batmobile… The show-stopping street pursuit sequence uses the car in thrilling ways and keeps character drive continually at the forefront. It’s phenomenal. – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

A car chase between the hero and the Penguin [is] an incomprehensible mess. – Jake Cole, Slant Magazine


Is this a more realistic portrayal of Batman?

You thought Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman was realistic? Matt Reeves says Hold my Batarang… This is a Batman story told with a commitment to reality which instantly distinguishes it from all other films featuring the character. And it works incredibly well. – Germain Lussier, io9.com

A refreshingly grounded approach that even Christopher Nolan’s ostensibly realistic trilogy of movies lacked. – Jake Cole, Slant Magazine

The most grounded feature we’ve seen with Batman since, well, the serials of the ‘40s. – Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

As a “grounded” movie, [it] tries to unpack the privilege of Bruce Wayne but ends up with a story that basically features him teaming up with cops who grow to trust him as one of their own. – Evan Dossey, Midwest Film Journal


Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, Robert Pattinson as Batman in The Batman

(Photo by Jonathan Olley/©Warner Bros.)

Does it work as a detective film?

The best detective story to date — yes, including animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness

The Batman presents easily the most investigative work this character has been granted in live-action form since the Adam West-led 1960s television show. – Don Shanahan, Every Movie Has a Lesson

It finally makes “the world’s greatest detective” deserving of the title. – Kirsten Acuna, Insider

It’s more of a detective procedural than a superhero movie. Law and Order blended with horror featuring costumed vigilantes. – Germain Lussier, io9.com

By mostly keeping you with Bats, it elevates the detective angle and adds an intrigue that keeps you gripped throughout the near-three hour runtime. – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

Reeves lays it out relatively elegantly, such that audiences can follow the many twists of Batman’s investigation. – Peter Debruge, Variety


How does the movie look?

Stunning. The Batman is a dark movie. A very dark movie. And so when there’s light, it almost paints the frame, creating exquisite shots and sequences throughout. – Germain Lussier, io9.com

The cinematography by Greig Fraser is phenomenal. The way in which The Batman works with shadow and light makes for a gorgeous aesthetic that complements the seedy underbelly of Gotham with Batman’s journey. – Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant

Cinematographer Greig Fraser has taken a cue from the movies of David Fincher to deliver a world of rainy nights and overcast days where shadows and smoke coil through the city’s alleyways and streets. – Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

Reeves does craft some piercing images… a fiery highway chase and a fight by strobe light all make for thrilling imagery. – Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post


Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle and Robert Pattinson as Batman in The Batman

(Photo by Jonathan Olley/©Warner Bros.)

What about the score?

The score is sublime, and there’s not a single scene in the movie that doesn’t benefit from the composer’s work in some way. – Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

Michael Giacchino’s haunting score perfectly captures the noir vibe. – Matt Rodriguez, Shakefire

Michael Giacchino’s operatic score lives on the edge of unsettling. – Robert Daniels, The Playlist

The musical score by Michael Giacchino is simultaneously beautiful and haunting. – Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant

The music in this film felt like a supporting character… absolutely incredible. I’m almost certain this score will earn some award accolades down the road. – Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds


Are there any major issues?

One could fairly knock The Batman for refusing to have fun. – Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews

The script does get a bit too talky at times as excessive exposition takes hold. – Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

It also contends with a few other bumps along its relatively smoothly-paved road, like having its characters summarize for the audience what they should already know during bulky exposition dumps. – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

The Batman is trying to be an entire trilogy in one film in case the studio takes Batman in yet another direction. – Jake Cole, Slant Magazine


Robert Pattinson in The Batman

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Is it too long?

Pacing is never an issue (though the run time is long, it feels positively brisk). – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

While [Reeves] could have cut off about 20 minutes of footage, the movie doesn’t tend to drag as the plot keeps the viewer engaged throughout the almost three-hour running time. – Allison Rose, FlickDirect

Its three hour runtime flies by, although its third act feels a little overstuffed with what could be considered three ending points. – Matt Rodriguez, Shakefire

There’s a temptation to have wished The Batman was shorter, more honed in on one character… The noir elements aren’t wholly pulled through, often slipping due to the elongated runtime. – Robert Daniels, The Playlist


Does it still make us optimistic for Batman’s cinematic future?

The Batman reminding us just how incredible these stories can be is welcomed, and the future looks bright for our new Dark Knight. – Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

It’s good to be excited again about the future of Batman. – Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

It’ll leave you desperate for another visit to this impeccably-crafted world. – Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

The ending leaves you craving for more. – Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds

I cannot wait to see where [Reeves] takes the franchise from here. – Matt Rodriguez, Shakefire


The Batman is in theaters on March 4, 2022.

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Writer-director Matt Reeves’ gritty new take on the World’s Greatest Detective is easily one of the most highly anticipated films of the year, and much to the delight of fans everywhere, it’s finally here. The film picks up with a younger Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) in just his second year as The Batman, following him as he attempts to apprehend a serial killer who calls himself the Riddler, only to discover a conspiracy with unexpected implications. Ahead of the film’s release, RT correspondent Naz Perez sat down with Reeves, Pattinson, and co-stars Zoë Kravitz (Selina Kyle), Paul Dano (The Riddler), Jeffrey Wright (Lt. James Gordon), Colin Farrell (The Penguin), and John Turturro (Carmine Falcone) to talk about the choices they made in the film. Reeves explains the revolutionary VR technology that helped him craft the cinematography, including the already iconic upside-down camera shot from the trailers, and Pattinson and Kravitz discuss their sizzling chemistry and what makes this Bruce Wayne so brutal. Dano and Wright offer insights into Riddler’s laugh and Gordon’s implicit trust in Batman, while Farrell and Turturro explain how old recordings and classic comics informed their characters. Check out the full interview and catch The Batman when it hits theaters on March 4, 2022.

The Batman opens in theaters on March 4, 2022. 


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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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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.

In the summer of 1989, Batman was everywhere, with its revamped emblem plastered on billboards, T-shirts and bumper stickers, in the windows of toy and comics stores — and hell, even on the drinks at Taco Bell. Likewise, seemingly everyone wanted to see it: Tim Burton’s dark reboot boasted a box-office gross of more than $411 million, making about 11 times its $35 million budget, and earning a cool $100 mil in just 11 days. The PG-13 pic’s appeal was massive, piquing the interest of kiddos (look at that cool new Batmobile!), comic-book nerds, everyday Joes, and even cineastes interested to see how its young director would follow up his goofy (Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure) and gothically gonzo (Beetlejuice) comedies.

Yet, despite being Certified Fresh at 71%, Batman is critically bested by its sequel, Batman Returns (78%), its campy ’60s predecessor, Batman: The Movie (78%), The Lego Batman Movie (90%) and, you guessed it, every installment in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. (It did manage to top Joel Schumacher’s twofer, so… there’s that.) What’s more, Burton himself confessed to Empire in 1992: “I liked parts of it, but the whole movie is mainly boring to me. It’s okay, but it was more of a cultural phenomenon than a great movie.”

Let’s agree to disagree. An occasionally messy masterpiece? Sure. But as Batman enters its dirty thirties, here is why we think it still dazzles — and what future franchises can glean from its success.


You Don’t Need a Huge Star in the Lead

Strictly speaking, Michael Keaton was a star at this point, as the stand-up-turned-actor had held leads in comedies like Mr. Mom and Johnny Dangerously, flexed dramatic chops in Clean and Sober, and wowed in unhinged glory as titular role in Burton’s previous effort, Beetlejuice. But was he near the level of stardom of, say, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, or Kevin Costner, who were all considered to don the Batsuit? Hardly. In fact, fans of the beloved character were so miffed by Keaton’s casting that droves of complaints were mailed to Warner Bros. The seemingly odd choice — he hardly had the build of a superhero, let alone the action-star demeanor some at the studio envisioned — paid off, with Keaton grounding billionaire Bruce Wayne with an everydude charisma and shifting into low-voiced seriousness as Batman, a move informed by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (and later used by Christian Bale).

Yet Keaton wasn’t the film’s top billing — that distinction belonged to Jack Nicholson, who took home a tidy $6 million payday, as well as an estimated $60 million bite of the box-office, and whose contract included demands like not having to shoot during Lakers home games. And in many ways, Nicholson’s villain is very much the star of this show, with the actor zig-zagging around Gotham as a candy-colored Pop-Art terrorist, delivering tasteless zingers (“This town needs an enema!”) and reveling in that psychotic laugh.


Audiences Respond to Darker, More Adult Comic-Book Fare

Back before franchises being grim or deep or serious or important was pretty much de rigueur, Batman was something of a shock — a popcorny shock, but a shock nonetheless. Compared to the frothy 1960s TV show that bore its name — most moviegoers were likely not familiar with the edgier Batman comics and graphic novels of the 1980s — Batman was a decidedly bleak onscreen left-turn. In creating Gotham City, designers Nigel Phelps and Anton Furst, collaborating with Burton, concocted a cityscape that screamed seedy New York, with trash-strewn streets billowing with portentous steam and intimidating skyscrapers stacked atop each other, like in an Andreas Feininger photograph. The characters, too, reeked of urban decay, with sickly-looking corrupt cops (William Hootkins’s Eckhardt), prostitutes, spiky-haired punks, a maimed muse (played by Jerry Hall) and an un-kiddie-friendly scene where a young Wayne watches his parents bite the dust.


Outside-the-Box Directors Should Tackle Mainstream Material

Michael Germana/Everett Collection

(Photo by Michael Germana/Everett Collection)

We shudder to think what would have become of Batman without Burton behind the helm. (For one thing, Keaton would have definitely been nixed, as producers were much keener on a stereotypically macho lead.) Part of the joy of watching it three decades later is how it comes off like the creation of an art-school kid with a blockbuster canvas. There’s a stirring opening-title sequence, nods to the Batman of the ’60s and some still-nifty action sequences, for sure. But it’s the director’s gothic fingerprints — the shoutout to Francis Bacon’s grisly painting Figure with Meat, the mood of Alan Moore’s graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke, which the director called “the first comic that I ever loved” — that stick with you after the closing credits. Now, years later, Hollywood happily gives huge superhero movies to exciting directors outside the blockbusterverse.


Music Matters

Earlier this month, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Mark Ronson explained that he was the youngest intern ever at Rolling Stone, when, at age 12, he’d alert the art department about the best-selling albums. Topping the charts during his tenure? Prince’s Batman soundtrack, which held that spot for a whopping six consecutive weeks. That’s how big of a deal it was. Onscreen, Prince’s “Partyman” and “Trust” add some funky levity and spectacle to scenes where the Joker literally gasses Gothamites to death. (Originally, the project was supposed to be a collaboration between Prince, handling Joker’s bits, and Michael Jackson, doing romantic numbers.) And that wasn’t all: The film inspired another entire soundtrack composed solely of Danny Elfman’s rousing score.


But So Does Merch

In fact, Batman raked in more than $500 million in merchandise sales — that’s higher than its blazing box-office gross — with cereals, pinball machines, piggy banks, toy cars, and a trillion other things. Three years later, Batman Returns would double down, tossing in pre-release commercials for the likes of McDonald’s and Diet Coke, living up to the credo, to misquote Nicholson’s Joker, to “make art until someone buys.”


Batman was released on June 23, 1989.


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#1

Batman (1989)
77%

#1
Adjusted Score: 90328%
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

News from Westeros and Deadwood from HBO, 90210 reunion event news, Star Trek plots a new course on Nickelodeon, and more of the biggest TV news from this week.


TOP STORY

Goodbye, Westeros

Game of Thrones, Episode 66 (season 7, episode 6), debut 8/20/17: Vladimir Furdik. photo: courtesy of HBO

While HBO is well into production on one of the Game of Thrones prequel scripts it commissioned last year, one of the potential spin-off series is dead. Game of Thrones writer and co-executive producer Bryan Cogman, who has written 11 episodes of the series (including Sunday’s “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”), confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that his spin-off is no longer in the works.

“I was developing one of the successor shows with George [R.R. Martin]. George has worked with a bunch of the writers, including Jane [Goldman], whose show is being done [as a pilot]. My prequel show is not happening and will not happen. HBO decided to go a different way,” he told the publication

“It is a goodbye. I am done with Westeros,” he added. “It’s wonderfully bittersweet. I’ll certainly miss it, but I’m excited to go out on my own and try to be in the captain’s chair of my own projects, armed with everything I’ve learned. I’ve learned more than I could possibly imagine from eight seasons of this thing. It’s been wonderful to look back and watch some of the old episodes, and see some of our old friends at the premiere recently, and to know that we’ve done something good. We’ve done good work that people enjoy. That’s all an entertainer can ever hope for. I’m eager to start the next chapter, but a part of my heart will always live with Game of Thrones.”


Shannen Dougherty Joins Beverly Hills, 90210 Event Series

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18:  Actress Shannen Doherty attends Paramount Network Launch Party at Sunset Tower on January 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

(Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Former Beverly Hills, 90210 good girl-gone-bad Brenda Walsh will appear in Fox’s six-episode event series BH90210, the network announced on Friday. Shannen Doherty, who played Brenda in the teen drama, joins her former co-stars – Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green and Tori Spelling – in the irreverent new series airing this summer.

“This time when the cast gets back together, it will come with a big twist: the seven former teen idols will be playing heightened versions of themselves,” Fox said in an announcement.

The series description promises drama inspired by the actors’ own real lives and relationships with each other:

“Having gone their separate ways since the original series ended 19 years ago, Shannen, Jason, Jennie, Ian, Gabrielle, Brian and Tori reunite when one of them suggests it’s time to get a Beverly Hills, 90210 reboot up and running. But getting it going may make for an even more delicious soap than the reboot itself. What will happen when first loves, old romances, friends, and frenemies come back together, as this iconic cast – whom the whole world watched grow up together – attempts to continue from where they left off?”

BH90210 will be produced by CBS Television Studios and Fox Entertainment.

Doherty will executive-produce alongside Chris Alberghini, Mike Chessler, Patrick Sean Smith, Gabrielle Carteris, Jennie Garth, Brian Austin Green, Jason Priestley, Tori Spelling and Ian Ziering. The series was conceived by Alberghini, Chessler, Spelling and Garth.


New Trailers, C—suckers

HBO has finally released the first trailer for its long- (long-, long-, long-) anticipated Deadwood continuation, titled Deadwood: The Movie. The feature-length film, which debuts May 31, will star the series’ entire original cast (Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, and more) and picks up 10 years after the series finale. It also includes the series’ trademark penchant for blue language, but you’ll have to wait approximately 40 seconds for the first c—sucker to drop. Deadwood ran for three seasons from 2004-2006, and the stars and creator David Milch have spent the intervening 13 years fielding questions from reporters and fans about a follow-up. In just one month (and change), that follow-up film will finally be here.

Other new trailers this week include:

  • a full-length peek at DC Universe’s Swamp Thing — see it here
  • an extended look at Hulu’s George Clooney–produced adaptation of Catch-22 — see it here
  • and another look at Epix’s Batman pre-prequel about the caped crusader’s butler, Pennyworth. — see it here.

Star Trek Boldly Goes Where No Kid Has Gone Before

"Such Sweet Sorrow" -- Ep#213 -- Pictured (l-r): Anthony Rapp as Stamets; Doug Jones as Saru; Shazad Latif as Tyler; Ethan Peck as Spock; Ronnie Rowe as Bryce; Oyin Oladejo as Owosekun; Patrick Kwok-Choon as Rhys; Mary Wiseman as Tilly of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS 2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS)

The Star Trek universe is getting even bigger: Nickelodeon announced that it is developing an original CG-animated Star Trek series for the network. The series focuses on “a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning, and salvation,” and comes from Kevin and Dan Hageman (Trollhunters, Ninjago).

The animated series joins current Star Trek projects that include CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery, short-form series Star Trek: Short Treks, an untitled series featuring Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Jean-Luc Picard, a potential spin-off starring Michelle Yeoh and based on top-secret Star Trek intelligence agency Section 31, and an animated comedy series targeted at mature audiences called Star Trek: Lower Decks.


The Netflix Shuffle

Stranger Things SEASON Season 2 PHOTO CREDIT Courtesy Netflix PICTURED Noah Schnapp, FInn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb Mclaughlin COPYRIGHT Courtesy Netflix

Tired of sitting in front of the TV only to scroll through Netflix’s seemingly endless options until you decide to just go to bed instead of watching anything at all? Netflix wants to help. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company is testing out a new “shuffle” feature that would play a random episode of television (like, say, an episode of The Office or Friends) for the indecisive.

“We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app,” a Netflix spokeswoman told THR in a statement. “These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent.”


Game of Thrones Vet Enters a Brave New World, More Casting News

Harry Lloyd in Counterpart (Starz)

Former Game of Thrones star Harry Lloyd, who just wrapped two seasons on Starz’ stellar spy drama Counterpart, will star alongside Alden Ehrenreich in USA Network’s adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic novel Brave New World. Lloyd Will play Bernard Marx, a citizen of utopian society New London, who vacations outside the safe New World to the Savage Lands and barely escape a violent rebellion. Upon return, life is not the same.

Joss Whedon’s newest leading lady will be familiar to Outlander fans. Laura Donnelly, who played Jenny Fraser on the Starz drama, will play the lead in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator’s newest TV project, HBO’s The Nevers. According to Deadline, she’ll play Amelia True, a reckless, impulsive, and emotionally damaged hero and menace to stuffy Victorian society. The sci-fi series follows a gang of Victorian women with unusual abilities and a world-changing mission, and was written by Whedon, Jane Espenson, and Doug Petrie, and will be directed by Whedon, who will also serve as showrunner.

Rosemarie DeWitt will star alongside Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington in Hulu’s upcoming adaptation of the bestseller Little Fires Everywhere. She’ll play Linda, the BFF of Witherspoon’s character, who takes in an infant who was abandoned at a local fire station. But when the baby’s birth mother, a Chinese immigrant who’s in the country illegally, returns, Linda begins to stress over the possibility of losing her daughter.

Shazam! star Zachary Levi will host the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards, which will air Monday, June 17 at 9 p.m. on MTV. And finally, The Masked Singer winner T-Pain has a new gig on Fox: Performing at the 2019 Miss USA competition on May 2, which will air live from Reno and will be hosted by Vanessa and Nick Lachey.


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When Gotham debuted in 2014, many were skeptical about a Batman show without Batman. Those already disinclined to enjoy it saw little appeal in its early episodes, which combined Burton-esque visuals and Batman Begins‘ color palette into a Law & Order-style police procedural. But the show weathered that storm — and its first year — to become a dependable slice of comic book television. With the series taking its final bow tonight, and introducing the Batman to its world at long last, we thought we’d take a look back at how the series found its footing and five of things it did right in the process.


It Found A Remarkable Cast

GOTHAM: L-R: Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot / Penguin, Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma / The Riddler, Donal Logue as Detective Harvey Bullock, Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Chris Chalk as Lucius Fox, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle / the future Catwoman, Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth and Erin Richards as Barbara Kean. Season 5 of GOTHAM premieres Thursday, Jan. 3 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: JUSTIN STEPHENS / FOX

(Photo by Justin Stephens/Fox)

Even in its roughest days, the series could boast Robin Lord Taylor, Cory Michael Smith, and a host of other actors as reasons to keep watching. Taylor, in particular, made the series’ conception of Oswald Cobblepot as a pathetic “umbrella boy” into something more than a stereotypical comic book villain. Through the years, Oswald evolved into a power player with a strange and wonderful love for his city. But Taylor always kept a little bit of the beaten-down Oswald around, allowing the scripts to make him both a menace and a joke — sometimes within the same scene.

Even its choices for guest characters proved the show could be a magnet for great talent. Alexander Siddig and B.D. Wong proved to be great additions as Ra’s Al Ghul and Hugo Strange. That’s not to mention Crystal Reed as the scheming Sofia Falcone, Jessica Lucas’ long-term stay as Tabitha Galavan, and Anthony Carrigan’s take on Victor Zsasz: a darkly comic and compelling interpretation of the often-one note Batman serial killer.

Oh, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Jada Pinkett Smith’s contributions to the show as Fish Mooney or Drew Powell as Butch Gilzean, a man who bounced from mob boss to mob boss before becoming a compelling take on DC Comics’s Solomon Grundy.

But all of those criminals and villains were able to soar thanks to the show’s backbone: a cast of heroes led by Ben McKenzie. Without the (mostly) upright Jim Gordon, Gotham would’ve floundered as it tried to find itself. And from the moment he was announced, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock proved to be the casting choice even the most skeptical fan could point to and say “they got that one right.” Sean Pertwee’s Alfred soon proved to be one of the most compassionate versions of the butler ever filmed, David Mazouz carved out a place for the young Bruce Wayne, and it is hard to think of Camren Bicondova’s Selina Kyle as anything less than a heroic presence — even if the character tried to break out of that perception.

Without the core ensemble and the choicest of guest performers, the show could never have pulled off its pivot from Batman-themed procedural to the Gotham its viewers came to love.


It Embraced Mania

(Photo by FOX)

It became clear toward the middle of the first season that the show was most comfortable embracing the mania of its Batman characters. Oswald’s shouting, Fish Mooney going big to balance out the contained John Doman as Carmine Falcone, and even that early idea about the Red Hood infecting its wearer with a homicidal megalomania suggested where the series would go in its subsequent years. By season 3, Gotham gleefully embraced its wilder impulses.

Ed’s (Smith) battle with his Riddler persona accelerated. Oswald relished his newfound leadership role in the city’s underworld, and characters like Theo Galavan (James Frain) debuted. The plots rose to match the archness of the characters. Arkham became a key location as the Order of St. Dumas, The Court of Owls, and the League of Shadows all made their plays for the city. And in each storyline, characters would reach for the rafters and do things other shows — even superhero shows — could never pull off for fear of the camp edge.

Let’s consider Butch’s evolution as an example: Solomon Grundy is one of those characters you just don’t expect to see in live action. Arrow flirted with the character in its early days by featuring a version of Cyrus Gold — Grundy’s human name — but soon left it behind for a greater focus on Deathstroke (Manu Bennett). But Gotham delivered the often put-upon and generally loyal Butch into a place where his transformation makes sense. The runoff from Indian Hill serves as well as the mystical energies in Gotham’s Slaughter Swamp. In doing so, it gave Butch an in-world justification for a quasi-zombie resurrection. It led to some pretty arch things, like Tabitha pummeling the sense back into Butch. But it also continued the unexpected thread between the two of them and fueled more of the show’s operatic energy when Oswald finally put him down.

Then there’s the Valeskas. Though the series toyed with our expectations in regards to Jerome’s (Cameron Monaghan) destiny from carny to killer, he proved to be a delightfully unhinged prototype Joker. The arrival of his brother Jeremiah (also Monaghan) only reinforced the need for characters and performances as large and sometimes silly as the ones employed on Gotham. Once the producers knew this was the right note, it all felt consistent.


It Revitalized Barbara Kean

GOTHAM: Erin Richards in the "They Did What?" episode of GOTHAM airing Thursday, April 18 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2019 Fox Media LLC Cr: Barbara Nitke/FOX

(Photo by Barbara Nitke/FOX)

If you only had the first handful of episodes of Gotham to go on, you’d expect Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) to be the first character cut from the show — yeah, even sooner than Rene Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Crispus Allen (Andrew Stewart Jones). But the series performed a magic trick with the character, breathing a wild, wonderful life into her.

Introduced as Jim’s buttoned-down, high society love interest, Barbara diverged from Jim’s world diverged soon after he proposed to her. After Jason Skolimiski (Milo Ventimiglia), a serial killer known as the Ogre, brainwashed her into killing her own parents, a long-buried madness awoke in Barbara. That change to the character would sustain her for the next four seasons.

She re-emerged in the second season as an unhinged x-factor, a potential proto-Harley Quinn in Theo Galavan’s Maniax (a quasi-Suicide Squad). She eventually found a stronger ally in Theo’s sister Tabitha (even though she killed Barbara that one time) and Selina. Ra’s Al Ghul resurrected her and chose her as his successor for a time, but it all went badly. That misadventure still ended with Barbara killing the Demon and ordering the deaths of every male League member. She became a territorial leader during No Man’s Land and still managed to fulfill a role given to her from comic book lore: becoming Batgirl’s mother.

Through it all, the character brought a certain camp energy to the show, making her a delight to watch. Ra’s Al Ghul may have been correct in his assessment — no one in Gotham City likes her — but we loved her. We loved her enough, in fact, that we always wanted to see her get her comeuppance, but also sighed with relief every time she stayed the hand of death itself.


It Made Leslie Thompkins A Marquee Character

GOTHAM: L-R: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue and Morena Baccarin in the “The Trial of Jim Gordon” episode of GOTHAM airing Thursday, March 7 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2019 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX

(Photo by Jeff Neumann/FOX)

First debuting in 1976’s Detective Comics #457, Dr. Leslie Thompkins was introduced as a family friend who comforted young Bruce on the night his parents were murdered and as a defender of the less-fortunate kids living near Crime Alley. Across the decades, she would become one of Batman’s confidants, but almost always a special guest character. She might matter for a storyline — like the time she faked Stephanie Brown’s death to prove a point to Batman — but she generally drifted back to Crime Alley (or Africa), out of sight and out of mind from the reader.

But Leslie proved to be a character ripe for the Gotham treatment. First appearing as a guest character (played by Morena Baccarin) halfway through the first season, the almost immediate flirtation with Jim Gordon — and their ability to work well on cases together — proved too irresistible for the producers to ignore. She was a regular character from the second season onward, even when sensibility or death itself would suggest it was time to leave Gotham. And where Barbara’s path through town was a straight line, Lee’s (as the series would dub her) path proved to be a rubber band.

At first as caring and altruistic as her comic book counterpart’s initial appearances, an arrogant streak emerged when she married into the Falcone crime family. Things only got worse when Jim killed her husband, Mario, in self-defense. But in infecting herself with the Alice Tetch Virus, she learned a truth that led her out of Gotham a second time (she first left after Jim was sentenced to life in prison and she miscarried their child). She soon returned to run a clinic in the Narrows (more shades of her comic book counterpart), where she eventually became its benevolent leader and started a relationships with Ed. It led to their deaths, but they both got better thanks to Nyssa Al Ghul (Jaime Murray) and her plans for the No Man’s Land Gotham. In the end, she married Jim.

The series took the handful of ideas about Leslie Thompkins spread across 30 years of comics and made them a fantastic, soapy saga of one woman denying her heart. Sure, a lot of people had to die before she would accept Jim’s marriage proposal, but this is Gotham after all, where crime lords get to have happy endings.

It is also the sort of show in which Lee could wheel an in-labor Barbara down a disused hospital corridor while Barbara shoots a bunch of goons in the face, leading to the two characters finally bonding after almost five full years of tension.


It Tested The Nobility of Jim Gordon

GOTHAM: Ben McKenzie in the ÒA Dark Knight: One Bad DayÓ episode of GOTHAM airing Thursday, May 10 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

(Photo by FOX)

In designing a Batman show without Batman, Gotham looked to Jim Gordon to fill the hero role. And on television, heroes get their convictions tested on the regular. Where Batman can out-muscle and out-think any threat to his worldview, Jim can only take those punches and weather those storms.

And boy, did Gotham test him. From a green detective on a police force rife with corruption to commission of a city in need of some serious rebuilding, the show kept finding new ways to sweep Jim’s legs, shoot him in the shoulder, and encase him in darkness, like that time Lee buried him to make him take the Tetch Virus.

But through it all, Jim always found his way back to his moral center. Sure, he made bad deals with people like Sofia Falcone and Oswald, but those decisions would prove to Jim that he could never take the convenient path. Consider just how few concession he gave during No Man’s Land: Even with resources dwindling and rival warlords chomping at the Green Zone, Jim managed to stay true to his ideals. He also managed not to kill Ed when he was revealed as the person who blew up Haven. Would Jim have had that strength without all the previous experiences, kidnappings, back-door deals, and Oswald’s attempts to be his friend? It may not have all gone smoothly, but Jim managed to save the city from tearing itself apart without the Batman.

In fact, he proved you can do a Batman show without Batman. Despite the Dark Knight being the hero Gotham deserves, Jim proved one mostly good cop can hold the line as well. It makes sense. He was the first supporting character creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane introduced into Batman’s world and has had the same 80 years to develop. But Gotham allowed him to take a journey as harrowing and as dark as any his future friend would embark upon, and he is now a richer character for it.

Nonetheless, as the series finale airs tonight, let’s see what the Batman can do in his single Gotham appearance.

The Gotham series finale airs Thursday, April 25 at 8pm. on Fox.


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Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, Batman: The Animated Series, Mike Colter as Luke Cage (Courtesy Everett Collection; Fox; Netflix)

100 BEST SUPERHERO TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME

Thanks to an unprecedented explosion of superhero content on television and streaming platforms today, it may seem like the Age of Heroes began with Arrow and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But the phenomenon of costumed heroes on TV began almost as soon as television itself with 1949’s The Lone Ranger series – the first legitimate ABC hit series. Since then, the heroes have taken on many forms in animated and live-action arenas. They have been campy and deadly serious. Sometimes, like Spider-Man, they don very familiar designs and, sometimes, like Jessica Jones, they toss off the affectations for a less conspicuous jacket or hoodie.

As you might expect, series based on Marvel and DC Comics properties dominate this TV subgenre overall, though not all of their titles appear on this list. There are 64 television programs based on comic books published by DC; three of them, however, are not based on superheroes. Marvel, meanwhile, is the source of 50 programs in the TVsphere. Surprisingly, only 5 of those are based on the X-Men — the same number of superhero shows produced by Greg Berlanti currently on the air. Spider-Man, meanwhile, lends his name to 12 television shows, 3 of which were live action. Superman and Batman also appear in the title of a surprising number of shows, while Wonder Woman fronts just one show. And, as it happens, only 14 American superhero shows feature a female lead – although some might argue that Medusa (Serinda Swan) was the real lead of Marvel’s Inhumans, bringing the tally up to 15. Out of the 100 Best superhero shows, 22 are original creations not sourced from comic books.

To create our list of the greatest superhero TV shows, we considered series’ Tomatometer scores, of course, plus the rankings of a number of reputable “best of” lists, and applied some editorial discretion, asking ourselves which shows have acquired cult status over time. You won’t find every comic book–based character that has ever been adapted for the small screen — shows like Lucifer, Constantine, and Preacher fall under horror-fantasy, for instance — but you will find the best superheroes on TV.

Did we miss your favorite? Tell us in the comments!

#100
Synopsis: "Big Hero 6 The Series" takes place after the events of the film "Big Hero 6" and continues the adventures... [More]

Astro Boy (1963)
--

#99
Synopsis: Astro Boy battles evil.... [More]

The Flash (1990)
71%

#98
Synopsis: An accident gives a police chemist superhuman speed.... [More]
Directed By: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo

Powers (2015)
48%

#97
Synopsis: Homicide detectives Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim investigate cases involving superhuman powers, but their efforts are fraught with trouble due... [More]

Synopsis: An alien poses as a student to sharpen his telepathic skills.... [More]

Blade: The Series (2006)
50%

#95
Synopsis: Krista Starr returns from Iraq to learn that her twin brother, Zack, has died under mysterious circumstances. Krista soon meets... [More]

#94
Synopsis: In this reboot of the classic Cartoon Network series, the Powerpuff Girls return to protect Townsville from villains who want... [More]

Beware the Batman (2013)
82%

#93
Synopsis: This take on the classic comic book franchise mixes familiar characters with new villains not previously seen in animated form.... [More]
Directed By: Sam Register

NightMan (1997)
--

#92
Synopsis: After being struck by lightning, a San Francisco musician can tune into others' evil thoughts.... [More]

Shazam! (1974)
--

#91
Synopsis: Teenager Billy Batson and his adult companion, Mentor, travel in an RV, helping people in need.... [More]

Automan (1983)
83%

#90
Synopsis: A police computer expert creates his alter ego.... [More]

Spider-Woman (1979)
--

#89
Synopsis: A girl bitten by a spider receives superhuman powers from her father's experimental spider serum.... [More]

Street Hawk (1985)
--

#88
Synopsis: Jesse Mach, a former motorcycle cop who was injured in the line of duty, is recruited for a top-secret government... [More]

Mutant X (2001)
--

#87
Synopsis: The syndicated ensemble action drama chronicles the adventures of a group of human mutants - led by the mysterious Adam... [More]
Directed By: Jay Firestone, Adam Haight

Synopsis: After almost losing his life in a plane crash that killed his father, teenage prodigy Tony Stark, heir to the... [More]

()
--

#85

Manimal (1983)
22%

#84
Synopsis: A man who can change himself into any animal helps police solve crimes.... [More]

#83
Synopsis: Spider-Man, whose real name is Peter Parker when not fighting crime, is an iconic comic book character that has been... [More]

Synopsis: This animated series that follows the adventures of popular DC Comics character Green Lantern features Earth's Green Lantern, Hal Jordan,... [More]

Swamp Thing (1990)
--

#81
Synopsis: The adventures of Alec Holland, a man mutated into a muck monster by the evil Dr. Anton Arcane.... [More]

#80
Synopsis: Flash Gordon, the Phantom, Mandrake the Magician and Lothar, with help from their children, join forces to protect Earth from... [More]

#79
Synopsis: Spider-Man fights to free an alternate Earth from an evil ruler known as the High Evolutionary.... [More]

Bionic Six (1987)
--

#78
Synopsis: Professor Dr. Amadeus Sharp creates a new form of technology that makes bionic humans.... [More]

M.A.N.T.I.S. (1994)
45%

#77
Synopsis: A paraplegic develops a suit which gives him the ability to fight crime.... [More]

Misfits of Science (1985)
50%

#76
Synopsis: Teens with abnormal physical abilities fight crime.... [More]

My Secret Identity (1988)
--

#75
Synopsis: After being exposed to radiation, a teen has superpowers.... [More]
Directed By: Martin Keltz

No Ordinary Family (2010)
71%

#74
Synopsis: Michael Chiklis ("The Shield") plays Jim Powell, the patriarch of an ordinary family that decides to take a vacation for... [More]

Alphas (2011)
81%

#73
Synopsis: Alphas are ordinary citizens with amazing abilities (including superhuman physical and mental abilities) who operate within the Department of Defense.... [More]

Heroes (2006)
52%

#72
Synopsis: Ordinary people around the world discover they have super powers. Their lives intertwine as they work together to prevent a... [More]

The Batman (2004)
--

#71
Synopsis: This animated adventure series of Bruce Wayne -- billionaire by day, crime fighter by night -- starts as Wayne balances... [More]

Teen Titans Go! (2013)
--

#70
Synopsis: This follow-up to the popular "Teen Titans" series takes a more comedic look at the superheroes, showing what life is... [More]

Synopsis: Comic-book superheroes -- including Hulk, Iron Man and Thor -- join forces to become the Avengers as they fight villains... [More]

#68
Synopsis: Marvel's iconic heroes and villains are on display in a superstylized animated series, as they battle one another for possession... [More]

The Cape (2011)
41%

#67
Synopsis: Vince Faraday is an honest cop on a corrupt police force. Framed for a series of murders, Faraday must leave... [More]

X-Men: Evolution (2000)
--

#66
Synopsis: A group of people discover that they have extraordinary powers and must decide whether to use them for good or... [More]

Danny Phantom (2004)
--

#65
Synopsis: Danny Fenton was once your typical kid until he accidentally blew up his parents' laboratory and became ghost-hunting superhero Danny... [More]

Fantastic Four (1967)
--

#64
Synopsis: Four scientists gain super powers after being struck by cosmic rays.... [More]
Starring:

Witchblade (2001)
40%

#63
Synopsis: Sara, a New York detective armed with an ancient supernatural weapon, gets a new partner.... [More]

#62
Synopsis: The animated adventures of a mysterious being who uses his dark powers against the forces of evil.... [More]

Synopsis: Another incarnation of the Superman legend, this series puts a 1990s spin on the standard story. This time, the focus... [More]
Directed By: Robert Singer

#60
Synopsis: Sent back in time from the 31st century to protect the United Planets, a team of teenage super heroes accidentally... [More]
Directed By: Sander Schwartz

Synopsis: When he holds up the magical Sword of Power and utters the words "By the power of Grayskull," Prince Adam... [More]
Directed By: Lou Scheimer

Synopsis: Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and newcomer Falcon are members of the Avengers featured in this animated series. Iron Man... [More]

Teen Titans (2003)
92%

#57
Synopsis: Leading the Teen Titans to protect Earth is Robin, formerly Batman's sidekick. He has no special powers, just a utility... [More]

Future Man (2017)
91%

#56
Synopsis: Janitor Josh Futturman leads a pretty boring life, spending much of his time playing video games when he's not working.... [More]

#55
Synopsis: This animated series based on the blockbuster film of the same name follows the newly formed team that has found... [More]

#54
Synopsis: G-Force, a five-member superhero team, fights to defend Earth and its space colonies from the threat of the planet Spectra.... [More]

The Gifted (2017)
79%

#53
Synopsis: Produced in association with Marvel Television, and set in the "X-Men" universe, family adventure series "The Gifted" is about an... [More]

#52
Synopsis: Four of Marvel's biggest heroes are each working individually but have one common goal in mind -- to save New... [More]

#51
Synopsis: Stories spotlight Marvel comic book characters Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, The Mighty Thor and The Sub-Mariner.... [More]
Starring:

Ben 10 (2005)
--

#50
Synopsis: Ben Tennyson, a 10-year-old boy, discovers a magical device that can turn him into 10 different alien heroes, each with... [More]

Krypton (2018)
80%

#49
Synopsis: Years before the destruction of the legendary Man of Steel's home planet, Superman's grandfather, Seg-El, fights to redeem his family's... [More]

Synopsis: The web-slinger teams up with Ice-Man and newcomer Firestar to battle both new and familiar enemies in this animated adaptation... [More]

Static Shock (2000)
--

#47
Synopsis: Accidental exposure to an experimental mutagen leaves geeky high school student Virgil with super powers. Able to control electromagnetic forces,... [More]

#46
Synopsis: Teenager Peter Parker tries to juggle his two new worlds -- he must learn how to use his new powers... [More]
Directed By: Victor Cook

Cloak and Dagger (2018)
87%

#45
Synopsis: The collapse of an oil rig in New Orleans owned by the company Roxxon causes two teenagers to become unlikely... [More]

#44
Synopsis: Superhero adventures in outer space; a young man treks through a lost world inhabited by dinosaurs.... [More]
Starring:

Sailor Moon (1992)
--

#43
Synopsis: A trouble-prone schoolgirl receives the ability to transform into a powerful heroine and assembles a team of friends and allies... [More]
Directed By: Junichi Sato

Synopsis: Superman battles evil while trying to conceal his alter ego, Clark Kent.... [More]

Marvel's Runaways (2017)
84%

#41
Synopsis: There are times when pretty much every teenager thinks his or her parents are evil -- but what if it... [More]

Spider-Man (1981)
100%

#40
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Don Jurwich

Superman (1952)
--

#39
Synopsis: It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a syndicated TV adaptation of the beloved DC Comics superhero! You know the... [More]

#38
Synopsis: After exacting revenge on the people responsible for the deaths of his wife and children, Frank Castle uncovers a conspiracy... [More]
Directed By: Steve Lightfoot

#37
Synopsis: "Arrow" and "The Flash" have some new superhero company in the CW's lineup with the addition of "DC's Legends of... [More]

Synopsis: The caped crusader teams up with several other DC Comics heroes for new adventures based on the comic book series... [More]

The Green Hornet (1966)
--

#35
Synopsis: Newspaper editor Britt Reid has a secret that only a couple of close confidantes know -- when crime strikes, he... [More]
Directed By: William Dozier

Synopsis: Mutant heroes live in New York sewers and train in martial arts to protect the city from crime.... [More]
Directed By: Mark Freedman, Fred Wolf

#33
Synopsis: While on a road trip through a desert, mild-mannered high-school teacher Ralph Hinkley (temporarily changed to Ralph Hanley for part... [More]

Chuck (2007)
90%

#32
Synopsis: Computer geek Chuck Bartowski opens an e-mail that has been encoded, subliminally, with vital government secrets, triggering a massive download... [More]
Directed By: Josh Schwartz, McG

Misfits (2009)
92%

#31
Synopsis: Five juvenile offenders with nothing in common find themselves working together on a community service project, and their differing personalities... [More]

Samurai Jack (2001)
93%

#30
Synopsis: After being sent into the future by evil wizard Aku, young samurai Jack makes a quest to return to the... [More]
Starring: Phil LaMarr
Directed By: Genndy Tartakovsky

The Maxx (2016)
100%

#29
Synopsis: Based on Sam Keith's popular comic book.... [More]

#28
Synopsis: Accidentally created in a lab by Professor Utonium, superpowered sisters Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup regularly save Townsville from evildoers such... [More]
Directed By: Craig McCracken

The Tick (2001)
88%

#27
Synopsis: This live-action version of the cartoon series of the same name follows the adventures of the 7-foot, 400-pound superhero with... [More]

The Middleman (2008)
100%

#26
Synopsis: Struggling female artist Wendy Watson, recruited by a secret agency, struggles to wrap her head around her bizarre new job... [More]

The Tick (2016)
95%

#25
Synopsis: In a world where superheroes and villains have been real for decades, Arthur, an unassuming accountant with no superpowers, becomes... [More]

Super Friends (1973)
--

#24
Synopsis: The Justice League of America battles crime.... [More]

Batman (1966)
72%

#23
Synopsis: Eccentric Gotham City tycoon Bruce Wayne dons tights to fight crime as Batman, aided by pal Dick Ward as equally... [More]
Directed By: William Dozier

Wonder Woman (1976)
100%

#22
Synopsis: Diana Prince, a true Amazonian with special powers, fights bad guys in a skintight outfit. In classic "wham, bam" comic-book... [More]

Smallville (2001)
78%

#21
Synopsis: An interpretation of the Superman story features young Clark Kent coming to grips with his emerging superpowers. In the 10th... [More]

Batman Beyond (1999)
100%

#20
Synopsis: A new Dark Knight protects the Gotham of the future.... [More]

Spider-Man (1994)
--

#19
Synopsis: A superhero with spider-like skills fights villains.... [More]

Gotham (2014)
77%

#18
Synopsis: James Gordon is a rising detective in the dangerously corrupt Gotham City, where his late father was a successful district... [More]

Black Lightning (2018)
92%

#17
Synopsis: CW and Greg Berlanti expand the footprint of their DC Comics universe with this exploration of the intersection between family... [More]

#16
Synopsis: Dr. Bruce Banner attempts to cure himself of his transformation into the Hulk.... [More]

Synopsis: The worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division) employs an elite team of agents... [More]

Legion (2017)
91%

#14
Synopsis: David Haller is a troubled young man who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child. Shuffled from one psychiatric institution... [More]

#13
Synopsis: Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell, reprising her role from the "Captain America" films) is an unstoppable secret agent for the Strategic... [More]

Marvel's Luke Cage (2016)
87%

#12
Synopsis: This gritty, action-packed drama follows the evolution of Luke Cage (Mike Colter), a man with super strength and unbreakable skin... [More]

The Tick (1994)
100%

#11
Synopsis: People dressed in tights and capes set out to save the world.... [More]

Marvel's Daredevil (2015)
92%

#10
Synopsis: The first in a planned series of shows detailing the Marvel universe, "Daredevil" follows Matt Murdock, attorney by day and... [More]

Supergirl (2015)
88%

#9
Synopsis: At 12 years old, Kara Zor-El escapes doom on planet Krypton to find protection on Earth with the Danver family,... [More]

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--

#8

Justice League (2001)
95%

#7
Synopsis: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and other superheroes join forces to battle crime and otherworldly threats, keeping a watchful... [More]
Starring:

Young Justice (2010)
--

#6
Synopsis: The lives of teenage heroes as members of a covert operation team: Young Justice.... [More]

X-Men (1992)
83%

#5
Synopsis: Professor Charles Xavier and his band of courageous mutants strike back against corrupt and bigoted government agencies as well as... [More]

Arrow (2012)
86%

#4
Synopsis: When presumed-dead billionaire playboy Oliver Queen returns home to Starling City after five years stranded on a remote island in... [More]

#3
Synopsis: A chronicle of the life of one of the darker Marvel characters, the mysterious Jessica Jones. When a tragedy puts... [More]

The Flash (2014)
89%

#2
Synopsis: At 11, Barry Allen's life changed completely when his mother died in a freak accident and his innocent father was... [More]

Synopsis: Gotham City's Caped Crusader, Bruce Wayne, is sometimes moody; Robin's alter ego, Dick Grayson is mature.... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Altieri

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

(Photo by ©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection)

The Dark Knight, released 10 years ago on July 18, 2008, is a landmark superhero movie: It nabbed awards, deified Christopher Nolan, and is one of the best reviewed superhero flicks ever – 94% on the Tomatometer.

The movie is part of a rarefied group in the comic-book movie subgenre when it comes to accolades: it earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for Heath Ledger. But unlike its fellows in that regard – Al Pacino in 1990’s Dick Tracy and William Hurt in 2005’s A History of Violence – Ledger actually won the category for his startling portrayal of Batman’s archenemy, the Joker. And, as it happens, The Dark Knight’s exclusion from the Best Picture category is often cited as one of the reasons for a change in the Academy’s procedures, allowing up to 10 films to be nominated in subsequent years.

Yes, it was that good.

Clearly, The Dark Knight did things differently from its superhero brethren and pretty much any other film based on a comic-book character that had come before. But what did it do, exactly, that made it stand out so much back then, and stand up so well today? Let’s take a look back to 10 years ago and examine five things The Dark Knight did differently.


1. It Redefined the Joker In The Popular Consciousness

Heath Ledger’s award-wining performance as the Joker was such a change in the character’s status, it is sometimes hard to remember what the character was like when played on screen by Jack Nicholson and Caesar Romero. Ledger locked himself away with a diary and a handful of Batman comics to prepare for the film, and emerged with a leaner, nameless criminal genius dedicated to chaos and lacking in almost all the theatrics of his predecessors. While still made up as a clown, his scars and make-up reflect more internal damage than an ill-fated encounter with a chemical bath. Instead of circus-themed deathtraps or parade floats, the Dark Knight‘s Joker preferred knives, bombs and an outdated camcorder. He is more terrifying as a consequence. Comic-book fans instantly recognized this interpretation – various writers and artists often portrayed him in this force-of-nature fashion – but to moviegoers, he was a revelation.

Ledger’s Joker would become such a definitive take, Jared Leto could only push the character into a more visually extreme place in Suicide Squad, an interpretation that owed much to Ledger’s take. And while 10 years of this take might seem reason enough for another radical reinterpretation of the Clown Prince of Crime, it is doubtful audiences would accept anything but the pure strain of chaos Ledger brought to the part. Joaquin, you’re up.


2. It Utilized The Scope of IMAX Effectively

The IMAX film format, which runs horizontally through its camera, can capture roughly three times the information of a traditional 35mm camera, which runs vertically through the camera. Because the cameras were large and the available shooting time per roll of film was quite limited (30 seconds-to-2 minutes versus 35mm’s 15-20 minutes), IMAX tended to be used for science documentaries displayed on IMAX’s specially designed screens.

Director Christopher Nolan’s long-stated desire to shoot a film in the large-film format finally came to fruition when he and cinematographer Wally Pfister utilized IMAX cameras in a number of the The Dark Knight’s key scenes. The 10-minute bank heist which opens the film was shot entirely in the format and remains breathtaking. The impact may be lost on home video, but on even the faux-IMAX screens of 2008 multiplexes, the clarity of the helicopter shot passing over Chicago (doubling for Gotham City) is striking. The bright sunlight makes a sharp visual departure from the muted light of Batman Begins and the subsequent shots of the bank robbers completing their assigned tasks just feels different from previous Batman films and other comic book movies of the time. All of it, of course, ends up in service of the Joker’s proper introduction at the end of the sequence.

Subsequent Gotham City master shots and the later nighttime chase are all master classes in using the large format for commercial action films. Nolan would continue to favor the format in his subsequent films, but it never again had the impact it has here.


3. It Refined Its Predecessor’s So Serious Tone

The previous Batman cycle did away with the public’s memory of Adam West’s Batman, but it still had a cartoonish edge under the supervision of Tim Burton. That edge turned into full-bore self-parody when Burton was replaced by director Joel Schumacher. His neon-colored, merchandise-pushing recreation of West-era camp in Batman and Robin forced Warner Bros. to “rest” the character for nearly a decade.

Nolan, like the few filmmakers who attempted to develop a “Batman 5” before him, pitched a stripped-down, naturalistic take on the character. And while Batman Begins is certainly less a caricature of the character and his world than even the 1989 Batman, it was only a proof-of-concept for the way Nolan and his creative partners would further strip away the artifice in The Dark Knight. Gone were the set-bound feel of the Narrows and the artificial brown palette in favor of a far more naturalistic atmosphere borrowed from the production’s time in Chicago. While still exaggerated comic book characters, Batman (Christian Bale) and the Joker feel less removed from the viewers’ reality than ever before. Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon is about as haggard a cop as you’re likely to find in any crime movie of the era. In fact, the film as a whole feels less like a superhero movie than a crime thriller which just happens to feature a guy who plays dress-up.

At the same time, the film maintains the spirit of the characters: Batman disappears from view while Jim Gordon finishes his thoughts and Joker’s “magic trick” with the pencil comes off as one of the most in-character moments ever committed to the screen. The results show these characters to be so malleable that they can remain true even when placed in the most naturalistic Gotham either will likely ever visit.


4. It Sent Its Fans on Scavenger Hunts

Why So Serious? Poster

(Photo by © Warner Bros.)

While other films like A.I.: Artificial Intelligence utilized Alternate Reality Game ad campaigns, few employed the tactic as well as The Dark Knight. The “Why So Serious?” game opened with an ibelieveinharveydent.com website in support of the character’s bid for Gotham City District Attorney. It encouraged fans to sign up for updates from the candidate. Eventually, the website was “vandalized” by the Joker as fans who signed up for updates received an email from the character that led to a puzzle game. When the puzzle was solved, it revealed the first publicity shot of Ledger as the Joker. Well done, Warner Bros.

At the 2007 Comic-Con International: San Diego, the focus moved to the Joker and a new website: whysoserious.com. It sent fans at Comic-Con on a scavenger hunt to unlock a new Joker photo and the film’s teaser trailer. Subsequent scavenger hunts saw fans finding cakes, taking photos of themselves as Joker, and receiving tickets to a special screening of The Dark Knight’s opening IMAX sequence. Following Ledger’s untimely death on January 22, 2008, the game pivoted back to Harvey Dent, offering fans the chance to show their support for the character as “I Believe In Harvey Dent” campaign buses toured the country.

While the promotions targeted larger cities and once-a-year events like Comic-Con, it was still thrilling to keep up with those engaged in the scavenger hunt. Twitter, then relatively new, made the constant updates from those finding the cakes – and then cellular phones inside the cakes – a far more communal event.

Film marketing would move away from Alternate Reality as Twitter’s ultimate ubiquity made it possible for Deadpool to talk to his fans “directly” via the social media platform. “Why So Serious?” was a singular advertising campaign for a singular film experience.


5. It Lent Itself To Serious Discourse

OK, let’s get academic. To some commentators, The Dark Knight is the first real examination of the American psyche following the events of 9/11. In stripping away many of Batman’s gadgets and broader facets, viewers were left to confront his interrogation tactics and his use of widespread wire-tapping. To a nation still debating the PATRIOT Act, the emergence of ICE, and revelations of waterboarding, Batman’s methods suddenly felt very raw. Some argued the film supported then-president George W. Bush’s approval of torture as a means of gathering intelligence during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while others argued Batman’s choice to destroy his surveillance apparatus at the end of the film rebuked the unprecedented access to private information Congress gave law enforcement agencies when it passed the PATRIOT Act.

The other Batman films certainly touched on the cultural zeitgeists of their day, but only The Dark Knight confronted those issues in such a meaningful and elegant way. Or, at least, built up its world enough for those interpretations to carry serious weight and support arguments about American attitudes toward civil liberties and torture at the time. In this respect, The Dark Knight transcends its pulpy, summer action movie roots, and becomes a very different sort of film.

The Dark Knight was released in theaters July 18, 2008

To go by his words and deeds, Avengers: Infinity War’s Thanos (Josh Brolin) may be the most consummate and powerful foe the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet unleashed. To hear him tell it, his attempt to give the universe balance by obtaining the Infinity Stones is a merciful and humane action. Perhaps more than any other Marvel villain, he is a hero in his own mind with goals he perceives as altruistic.

But will his Infinity War appearance make him one of the great film supervillains of all time? And what makes for greatness when it comes to villainy? Is it a grand plan executed with aplomb? An iconic look or an immediately quotable motto? Or is it a knack for banter with the hero? As more and more people see Infinity War, Thanos’s merits as one of the great villains will be debated, but let’s take a look at 20 of the big screen’s greatest superhero foes he will have to contend with to get that honor.


20. The Joker (Cesar Romero)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

The big screen’s first Joker was also television’s original Crown Prince of Crime. Romero memorably gave the character his psychotic laugh and off-kilter sense of humor. In the film, he also succeeds at being a cabin boy to a senile admiral. Armed with his repertoire and a “dehydration” gun, the Joker — along with the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), Catwoman (Lee Meriwether) and the Riddler (Frank Gorshin) — creates plenty of trouble for the Dynamic Duo.

Film Appearances: Batman: The Movie (1966), though he previously appeared in the Batman TV series.

Tomatometer: 80%

North American Box Office: $1.7 million

Destruction Factor: Turns the “United World” Security Council to a fine powder.

Memorable Line: “I’m afraid they’ll find our humor very, very dry!”

Powers: Puns and gag weapons.

Cosplay Cred: Few are ever willing to grow a Romero mustache for the perfect Joker ’66 look.


19. Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton)

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

As a deep-cover spy, Neville Sinclair was the toast of Hollywood with the ability to bed any woman and earn the trust of any man. But his attempt to secure Howard Hughes’s (Terry O’Quinn) experimental rocket pack fills him with a particular mania that serves to be his undoing. Also: his sophisticated movie star image is the perfect counterpoint to the unkempt style of the Rocketeer (Billy Campbell).

Film Appearances: The Rocketeer (1991)

Tomatometer: 62%

US Box Office: $46.7 million

Destruction Factor: Assists in the destruction of a dirigible, the rocket pack itself, and a portion of the “Hollywoodland” sign.

Memorable Line: “It wasn’t lies, Jenny. It vas acting.”

Powers: A strong resemblance to Errol Flynn and Timothy Dalton.

Cosplay Cred: Sadly, none.


18. The Phantasm (Dana Delany)

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

The Phantasm is one of the most personal villains the animated Batman (Kevin Conroy) ever faced. In costume, the Phantasm speaks with the voice of Stacy Keach and strikes terror into Gotham’s organized crime families. But in reality, she is Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany), the only woman who could ever pull Bruce Wayne away from his life as a vigilante. Sadly, the dissolution of their relationship leads them both to don masks and face the City’s worst criminals.

Film Appearances: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Tomatometer: 82%

US Box Office: $5.6 million

Destruction Factor: Batman’s heart.

Memorable Line: “Your Angel of Death awaits.”

Powers: Combat training and smoke bombs.

Cosplay Cred: Rare, but it’s memorable when you spot a Phantasm cosplay in the wild.


17. Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson)

Though he seems to be a mentor, Elijah Price is really the architect of all of David Dunn’s (Bruce Willis) problems. (Sorry: Spoiler.) Though he is the only person to recognize the presence of superpowers in the world, years of abuse and neglect — to say nothing of his brittle bones — lead him to one conclusion: be the supervillain the world needs to find the hero it requires.

Film Appearances: Unbreakable (2000), thought M. Night Shyamalan is currently working on a follow-up for 2019 called, appropriately, Glass.

Tomatometer: 68%

Worldwide Box Office: $248.1 million

Destruction Factor: Derails a train to prove David is indestructible, among other acts of terrorism.

Memorable Line: “They called me Mr. Glass!”

Powers: A terrifying intellect.

Cosplay Cred: A surprisingly rare occurrence at comic cons.


16. Mystique (Rebecca Romijn)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

As both spy and confidant to Magneto (Ian McKellen), Mystique relies on her top martial arts skills and mutant ability to blend into any environment. But she is also the most visible example of Magneto’s crusade. Though she can choose to appear as anyone she wishes, Mystique’s natural blue serpentine appearance inspires fear in the world. The character was so memorable in the initial X-Men film series that the current cycle revolves around her, now played by Jennifer Lawrence.

Film Appearances: The X-Men franchise.

Tomatometer: X-Men: 81% (Certified Fresh), X2: X-Men United: 85% (Certified Fresh), X-Men: The Last Stand: 58%

Worldwide Box Office: X-Men: $296.3 million, X2: X-Men United: $407.7 million, X-Men: The Last Stand: $459.3 million

Destruction Factor: Though she has been known to blow stuff up now and again, that isn’t really her style. Instead she sows confusion and wreaks havoc by manipulating her foes.

Memorable Line: “You know, people like you are the reason I was afraid to go to school as a child.”

Powers: Shape-shifting.

Cosplay Cred: An extremely tough look to pull off at comic cons.


15. “Bad” Superman (Christopher Reeve)

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

When Superman is overcome by the toxic effects of Gus Gorman’s (Richard Pryor) counterfeit Kryptonite, he turns into a self-centered jerk who would rather make time with a pretty lady than save a bunch of bus passengers on a disintegrating bridge. Reeve’s attempt to channel an all-id Superman does feel more “bad” than evil, but it provides a fun opportunity for Reeve to play against himself and presents the first on-screen exploration of an idea — “What if Superman were evil?” — that would become a major theme driving the narrative behind movies like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.

Film Appearances: Superman III (1983)

Tomatometer: 26%

US Box Office: $60 million

Destruction Factor: Straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa ruined the Italian economy.

Memorable Line: “You always wanted to fly, Kent!”

Powers: All the powers of a Superman, but he’d rather drink Johnny Walker Red.

Cosplay Cred: Not nearly as common as it should be.


14. Joker (Jack Nicholson)

The merger of Nicholson’s persona with the Joker is one of Batman’s great strengths, but the performance is more nuanced than many gave it credit for at the time. Once he falls into the Axis Chemicals acid and adopts his clown persona, Nicholson loses some of his iconic cool to dig into the louder, broader aspects of Gotham’s #1 villain (e.g. the Smilex commercial). A consummate foe for the Batman of the late 1980s.

Film Appearances: Batman (1989)

Tomatometer: 72%

Worldwide Box Office: $411.3 million

Destruction Factor: Kills his boss, fries a business rival, and poisons Gotham City.

Memorable Line: “Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

Powers: Knowledge of chemistry and a flair for the theatrical.

Cosplay Cred: A fairly rare sight as other takes on the Joker became more popular.


13. Syndrome (Jason Lee)

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

The ultimate sycophant, Syndrome (née Buddy Pine) was a precursor of the sort of fan culture that eats itself for some perceived lack of purity. His jealousy of the supers leads to a lot of strife for the Parr Family and an America burnt out on superheroes. Nonetheless, his actions also lead to a possible return of heroes, despite an attempt to even the playing field.

Film Appearances: The Incredibles (2004)

Tomatometer: 97% (Certified Fresh)

Worldwide Box Office: $633 million

Destruction Factor: His robots leave a path of destruction through the metro area the Parrs call home.

Memorable Line: “And when everyone’s super, no one will be.”

Powers: Zero point energy manipulation via technology.

Cosplay Cred: Virtually nonexistent, though memorably spotted on occasion.


12. Ultron (James Spader)

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

As the personification of Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) id, Ultron’s attempts to secure the planet make clear Tony’s greatest failing: he cannot see the human cost in any of his endeavors. Powered by the Mind Stone, Ultron makes a final, ugly calculation in regards to humanity and sets out to destroy it. Also, since he’s based on Tony’s brain patterns, he quips. A lot.

Film Appearances: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Tomatometer: 75% (Certified Fresh)

Worldwide Box Office: $1.41 billion

Destruction Factor: Raises – and razes – the entire nation of Sokovia; the ramifications of which are still being felt throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Memorable Line: “When the dust settles, the only thing living in this world will be metal.”

Powers: All the powers of an Iron Man, multiplied by the ability to self-replicate infinitely.

Cosplay Cred: Extremely rare, though a few Ultrons appeared at cons after the film’s release.


11. Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer)

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

While DC Comics’ favorite cat burglar skirts the line between villain and ne’er-do-well, Catwoman’s initial involvement in a plot to disgrace Batman (Michael Keaton) earns her a spot on the list. Pfeiffer’s performance defined the character for a long time – even if she was partly inspired by the TV Catwomen of the 1960s – as she fought Batman and her own turmoil. In the end, her Catwoman chose her own way and never appeared in a film again. Not that anyone has ever been able to forget her.

Film Appearances: Batman Returns (1992)

Tomatometer: 81% (Certified Fresh)

Worldwide Box Office: $266.8 million

Destruction Factor: She blows up Schreck’s Department Store in an early show of strength.

Memorable Line: “Meow.”

Powers: Nine lives and a filing system that is unstoppable.

Cosplay Cred: Though the film is over 25 years old, this Catwoman costume is still popular.


10. The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)

(Photo by Zade Rosenthal/Walt Disney Studios)

Yes, yes, he isn’t a villain by choice, as he’s very much a weapon of Hydra in the film, but Bucky Barnes is very effective at playing the part. His Soviet brainwashing is so effective that, when activated, almost no emotional appeal will work on him. Well, at least until his old friend Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans), finally breaks through. And, really, Bucky’s relationship with Steve is part of what makes him so compelling.

Film Appearances: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016), though Sebastian Stan first played Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).

Tomatometer: Captain America: The Winter Soldier: 89% (Certified Fresh), Captain America: Civil War: 91% (Certified Fresh)

Worldwide Box Office: Captain America: The Winter Soldier: $714.3 million, Captain America: Civil War: $1.15 billion

Destruction Factor: Assists in bringing down S.H.I.E.L.D. and its helicarrier fleet.

Memorable Line: “Who the hell is Bucky?”

Powers: Heightened strength and agility, a cybernetic vibranium arm.

Cosplay Cred: A beloved fixture of con-going cosplayers.


9. Vulture (Michael Keaton)

(Photo by Sony Pictures)

Despite a strong work ethic and good management skills, Adrian Toomes turned to crime when Tony Stark and government officials bulldozed over his contract to clean up Manhattan following the Battle of New York. Granted, the swiftness with which he became a black market weapons manufacturer suggests all he ever needed was a gentle shove to embrace villainy. But the opening scene of Spider-Man: Homecoming made him immediately understandable and compelling as a villain; and even sympathetic once his relationship to Spider-Man’s (Tom Holland) world is revealed.

Film Appearances: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Tomatometer: 92% (Certified Fresh)

Worldwide Box Office: $880.1 million

Destruction Factor: Rips a ferry in half, crashes a Stark Industries jet, and blasts Logan Marshall-Green out of the MCU.

Memorable Line: “The rich, the powerful, like Stark, they don’t care about us! The world’s changed boys. Time we change too!”

Powers: A flying rig based on crashed Chitauri tech.

Cosplay Cred: Surprisingly rare costume in spite of a great adaptation of the comic book Vulture’s look.


8. Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman)

Excusing some of the camp value to Hackman’s Luthor – particularly in the sequel – he exudes the key quality of Superman’s archfoe: egotism. Luthor, a real estate swindler in these films, only decides to fight Superman because his ego dictates it. Consequently, Superman cannot really appeal to his emotions; none are present as he plans to remake the West Coast in his image.

Film Appearances: Superman (1978), Superman II (1981)

Tomatometer: Superman: 93%, Superman II: 87%

Worldwide Box Office: Superman: $300 million, Superman II: $156.9 million

Destruction Factor: Nearly sank California into the Pacific.

Memorable Line: “There’s a strong streak of good in you, Superman. But then, nobody’s perfect… almost nobody.”

Powers: He is the greatest criminal mind of his time. He also owns a hefty Kryptonite necklace that he uses to weaken Superman.

Cosplay Cred: Between Hackman’s refusal to go bald and the appalling 1970s fashions, he is a truly rare cosplay sight.


7. Zemo (Daniel Bruhl)

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Currently, the Avengers’ greatest foe is not a flamboyant god or a maniacal robot, but a sad, quiet man with a detailed plan and working knowledge of governmental procedures. Zemo destabilizes the world for a very personal and, ultimately, small goal: hurt the Avengers the way they hurt him. He also succeeds, leaving Captain America a fugitive and Tony Stark so isolated that he has to pal around with a spider-themed teenager hero.

Film Appearances: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Tomatometer: 91% (Certified Fresh)

Worldwide Box Office: $1.15 billion

Destruction Factor: With some smoke, a few explosions, and a very inconvenient truth, he brings down the Avengers. He also murders a few people along the way.

Memorable Line: “An empire toppled by its enemies can rise again, but one which crumbles from within? That’s dead… forever.”

Powers: Determination.

Cosplay Cred: Despite his comic book counterpart’s incredible fashion sense, the Marvel Cinematic Universe version inspires few to dress up.


6. Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina)

(Photo by Columbia Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)

One of the most sympathetic villains on the list, Molina’s Doc Ock was as much a victim of his passions as he was a willing accomplice in a plan to destroy Spider-Man. The cruelty that emerges in him came from his cybernetic implants; a crucial detail that becomes clear when he finally reasserts control and realizes he was trying to kill his friend Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire). Also, the warmth with which he welcomes Peter — a guy in desperate need of a positive male role model — makes his turn all the more tragic.

Film Appearances: Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Tomatometer: 93% (Certified Fresh)

Worldwide Box Office: $783.8 million

Destruction Factor: His lab is completely destroyed during an experiment. He also leaves his mark on New York skyscrapers and the subway lines.

Memorable Line: “I will not die a monster.”

Powers: Super-tough robotic appendages.

Cosplay Cred: Popular in the wake of the film’s release, but has since faded.


5. General Zod (Terence Stamp)

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

Thanks to Stamp, Zod is as much a staple in Superman’s rogues gallery as Lex Luthor. Seemingly reserved, Zod can lash out without hesitation. Despite the air of refinement Stamp gives the character, he is just another petty dictator — a point underscored when he takes control of the White House (and, by implication, the world) only to suffer from conqueror’s boredom. Superman’s return late in the film comes as a relief to Zod, as debasing the son of Jor-El gives him something to do.

Film Appearances: Superman (1978), Superman II (1981)

Tomatometer: 87%

Worldwide Box Office: Superman: $300 million, Superman II: $156.9 million

Destruction Factor: He and his cohorts reshape Mount Rushmore and pummel the West Wing. They also make insurance premiums rise in Metropolis again.

Memorable Line: “Come to me, son of Jor-El! Kneel before Zod!”

Powers: All the powers of a Superman plus advanced military training.

Cosplay Cred: Zod’s look is just a little too disco for most cosplayers.


4. Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan)

(Photo by © Marvel and © Walt Disney Pictures)

The secret shame of Wakanda, Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) presents a legitimate concern to King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and his subjects, even if his methods are woefully misguided: Should Wakanda reveal itself to the outside world and help those who live with the legacy of the African slave trade? The character’s heady subtext is backed by Jordan’s gifted abilities as a performer.

Film Appearances: Black Panther (2018)

Tomatometer: 96% (Certified Fresh)

Worldwide Box Office (To Date): $1.34 billion

Destruction Factor: Destroys all but one of the heart-shaped herbs, which is far more devastating than any property damage he caused in the film.

Memorable Line: “Nah, just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from ships. ‘Cause they knew death was better than bondage.”

Powers: Thanks to the heart-shaped herb, all the powers of Black Panther; Navy SEAL training.

Cosplay Cred: Few could wait for a comic convention to dress in Killmonger’s now-iconic London look. Cosplayers dressed in his subsequent battle suit, which looks suspiciously like Vegeta’s from Dragonball Z, shortly after.


3. Magneto (Ian McKellen)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

Erik Magnus Lehnsherr is one of the most compelling antagonists in comics and film for one simple reason: he’s pretty much right. His methods may be unquestionably cruel to conventional humans, but he recognizes two sapient species cannot share the planet. Violence, subjugation, and pain are inevitable. And when his point of view is given McKellen’s voice, it becomes incredibly persuasive. The more optimistic philosophy of the X-Men looks naïve and childish in comparison.

Film Appearances: The X-Men Franchise

Tomatometer: X-Men: 81% (Certified Fresh), X2: X-Men United: 85% (Certified Fresh), X-Men: The Last Stand: 58%, X-Men: Days of Future Past: 90%

Worldwide Box Office: X-Men: $296.3 million, X2: X-Men United: $407.7 million, X-Men: The Last Stand: $459.4 million, X-Men: Days of Future Past: $747.9 million

Destruction Factor: He moves the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz, turns Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison) into a water creature, and renders a sick burn unto Rogue (Anna Paquin) about the white stripe in her hair.

Memorable Line: “Let’s just say God works too slowly.”

Powers: The ability to manipulate all metal.

Cosplay Cred: His initial low-key look is rarely imitated these days.


2. Loki (Tom Hiddleston)

(Photo by Zade Rosenthal/Walt Disney Studios)

The power of persuasion is also a major weapon in the arsenal of the God of Lies. Loki is charismatic, witty, exciting, and a sharp dresser. He’s that bad boy who looks redeemable even as he opens a wormhole to let the Chitauri invade Earth. But then he has a good explanation for his bad choices: he was raised by the god who kidnapped him from his real family. And he means to do good, so shouldn’t that be enough? It’s no wonder Loki returns to the MCU time and again; his brand of villainy looks like it can be reasoned with. Even if he betrays Thor again, again, and again.

Film Appearances: Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Thor: Ragnarok (2017), though he’s less a villain than a trickster — and even a bit of a hero — in the latter two.

Tomatometer: Thor: 77%, The Avengers: 92%, Thor: The Dark World: 66%, Thor: Ragnarok: 92%

Worldwide Box Office: Thor: $449.3 million, The Avengers: 1.52 million, Thor: The Dark World: $644.6 million, Thor: Ragnarok: $853.5 million

Destruction Factor: He seizes the throne of Asgard and almost murders Thor, then later precipitates the Battle of New York, which alerts the world to the presence of superpowered beings.

Memorable Line: “You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.”

Powers: God-level abilities and a snake-oil salesman’s tongue.

Cosplay Cred: A perennial favorite, though his formal tux from Avengers was more popular in the wake of the film’s release.


1. Joker (Heath Ledger)

(Photo by )

In an age when origins are required, Ledger’s Joker arrived on the scene without a name, place of birth, or a particular ambition. As Alfred (Michael Caine) put it, he just wants to see the world burn, and he even tells Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) as much late in the film. His complete lack of backstory and motivation makes him the most unpredictable, dangerous supervillain on this list, and the purity of his cruelty makes him the most fascinating.

Film Appearances: The Dark Knight (2008)

Tomatometer: 94%

Worldwide Box Office: $1 billion

Destruction Factor: Took out most of Gotham’s entrenched mafia, destroyed Harvey Dent, and made the Batman Gotham’s Number One criminal.

Memorable Line:Why so serious?

Powers: None

Cosplay Cred: Thanks to the alterations to the classic Joker look, Ledger’s Joker costume remains popular at cons and at Halloween.

Titans: Alan Richtson and Minka Kelly as Hawk and Dove (Steve Wilkie / ©2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

If you thought there was more comic book–inspired television than you could watch in a given week, 2018 will provide even more new series and a number of returning shows to completely cover your TV viewing hours with superpowers, super-angst, and even a few new concepts. There is even a mystery to be uncovered as New Warriors was expected to debut on Freeform this year, but the series will no longer air on that channel if it airs at all.

Nonetheless, there are still plenty of 2018 shows to be excited about. Here are the ones we are looking forward to.


(Photo by Colin Bentley/The CW)

Supergirl: Season 3 (2017) 78%

Returning: January 15, 8 p.m., The CW

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: The winter finale left Kara (Melissa Benoist) at her most vulnerable after Reign (Odette Annable) beat the living daylights out of her. When the series returns, Supergirl will be in a coma while Mon-El (Chris Wood) awakens Brainiac 5 (Jesse Rath) from his hypersleep chamber to help Kara. And once Kara recovers, the fireworks will come fast as she tries to stop Reign and gets to know Brainy, a favorite of Legion of Superheroes fans and Kara’s comic book counterpart.


(Photo by Cate Cameron/The CW)

The Flash: Season 4 (2017) 80%

Returning: January 16, 8 p.m., The CW

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: In the first part of the fourth season, Clifford DeVoe (Neil Sandilands) turned out to be a formidable foe for Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). When the series returns, The Thinker’s next scheme — putting Barry on trial for DeVoe’s supposed murderer — will force The Flash to consider revealing his true identity, putting the rest of the team in jeopardy. And if that’s not bad enough, hobbling Barry is only a tiny part of DeVoe’s overarching scheme.

 


(Photo by J Squared Photography/The CW)

Black Lightning: Season 1 (2018) 96%

Premiere Date: January 16, 9 p.m., The CW

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Unlike the other CW superhero series, Black Lighting will begin with the title character (Cress Williams) retired from the heroing business. And unlike Barry or Arrow‘s Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), Jefferson Pierce will be a mature man who knows what he’s doing when circumstances force him to adopt the Black Lightning identity once more. Williams looks to be a strong lead amongst a predominately African-American cast, which also includes China Anne McClain and Nafessa Williams as his daughters Jennifer and Anissa, and Marvin “Krondon” Jones III as Tobias Whale, Black Lightning’s principle enemy. Also, his lightning powers look pretty cool.


(Photo by Marc Hom/The CW)

Riverdale: Season 2 (2017) 88%

Returning: January 17, 8 p.m., The CW

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Though we’re still unsure if the Black Hood’s identity was another dodge in larger mystery or just a really lackluster conclusion, the closing of Southside High and the return of Jughead (Cole Sprouse) to his old high school will surely ignite plenty of sparks as he runs afoul of Mr. Weatherbee (Peter Bryant). Meanwhile the Lodges’ (Marisol Nichols and Mark Consuelos) plans for the Southside will heat up with daughter Veronica (Camila Mendes) playing along. Or is she? Also, her friendship with Betty (Lili Reinhart) will hit the skids, potentially leading to the show dramatizing one of the oldest rivalries in comics. Newcomer KJ Apa completes the fabulous teen foursome as Archie in the Archie Comics–based series.


(Photo by David Giesbrecht/Netflix)

Marvel's Jessica Jones: Season 2 (2018) 82%

Returning: March 8, Netflix

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Krysten Ritter proved to be the best of the leads in, arguably, the best of Marvel and Netflix’s collaborations. Seeing her in the role of bitter private eye Jessica Jones made Marvel’s The Defenders a lot more enjoyable, and it’ll be good to have her back starring in her own series again as Jessica learns more about her mysterious past and powers. We also can’t wait to see what trouble Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) gets into, especially if it leads to her adopting a certain heroic identity of her own.


(Photo by Steffan Hill/Syfy)

Krypton: Season 1 (2018) 60%

Premiere Date: March 21, Syfy

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: While a Superman prequel series may seem like one the least likely concepts to make it to air, Krypton has a few things going for it. For one: the setting — two generations prior to Kal-El’s escape from the doomed world — is largely uncharted territory. As it begins, Superman’s grandfather Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) attempts to restore the House of El to its former glory while heeding the warnings of timelost Earthling Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos), who has no problem telling Seg about Krypton’s impending destruction. Add a Brainiac (Blake Ritson) into the mix, and you have the beginnings of an interesting tale. And as Legion taught us last year, quality drama can emerge from mere scraps of comic book lore.


(Photo by FX)

Legion: Season 2 (2018) 91%

Returning: Early spring 2018, FX

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: After a stellar, mind-bending first season, we were left with more questions than answers. Not that we expect Legion to answer a single one as the Summerland group search for the abducted David Haller (Dan Stevens) and rediscover the trail of Oliver Bird (Jermaine Clement) and Lenny/Amahl Farouk (Aubrey Plaza and a number of other people). And if the show can create more amazing moments like Lenny’s dance — one of our favorite moments in 2017 — and the “Bolero” sequence, it can definitely continue to avoid answering any of its mysteries.


(Photo by Netflix)

Marvel's Luke Cage: Season 2 (2018) 85%

Returning: 2018, Netflix

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: The second season of Luke Cage will feature something fans have wanted since he left Jessica Jones’ corner of New York for Harlem: Heroes for Hire. Well, it may not be a fully formed version of Luke’s (Mike Colter) most important comic book superhero team, but part of the season will see Luke and Danny Rand (Finn Jones) working together and becoming better friends. And, really, Luke is the best person to bring the Iron Fist down a peg with some goodhearted trash talk and his ability to (mostly) endure what Danny can dish out. Also, Misty Knight (Simone Missick) gets a robot arm, which will no doubt take the fairly grounded Cage into interesting new directions.


(Photo by Netflix)

Marvel's Daredevil: Season 3 (2018) 97%

Returning: 2018, Netflix

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Vincent D’Onofrio has not be shy in revealing his return as Matt Murdoch’s (Charlie Cox) primary opponent Wilson Fisk. We’re pretty much in agreement with his enthusiasm. Reportedly, the third season will take its cues from the “Born Again” comic book story line by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, which sees Matt’s life systematically destroyed by the Kingpin, who has learned Daredevil’s public identity. Matt is also reunited with his mother Maggie in that story, but the end of The Defenders suggests their television reunion will happen sooner rather than later.


(Photo by Michelle Faye/Syfy)

Wynonna Earp 92%

Returning: 2018, Syfy

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) will also be reunited with her mother in the upcoming third season; though the final moments of the second season finale suggest they have been in contact for some time as events in Purgatory lead to the demon Bulshar’s escape from his century of imprisonment. Meanwhile, Dolls (Shamier Anderson) and Haught (Katherine Barrell) have a secret of their own, as the curse of the Ghost River Triangle continues to keep human and Revenant alike in eternal torment.


(Photo by Freeform)

Cloak and Dagger: Season 1 (2018) 89%

Premiere Date: 2018, Freeform

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: While Marvel’s Runaways proved there is plenty of ground to cover with superhero teen angst, Cloak & Dagger promises to be the first conscious attempt at a superhero love story. Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph star as Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson, a pair of teenagers whose tentative first steps toward becoming a couple get interrupted when they discover they have mutant powers that work better in tandem with one another; although, it is unclear if the characters will be mutants in the series — their comic book counterparts were initially unaware they had the x-gene. It also remains to be seen how the pull to help people and fight superpowered adversaries will effect their emerging love affair. If nothing else, the show may prove you can tell superhero stories without relying on the team dynamics of The CW shows or the grittiness of the Netflix Marvel programs.


(Photo by Netflix)

The Umbrella Academy

Premiere Date: 2018, Netflix

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s Umbrella Academy was a surprise when it debuted on comic book shelves in 2007. The atmosphere might remind you of Hellboy or Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, but the tale of a dysfunctional superhero family — who range in concept and powers from Gerry Anderson–style space explorers to dark vigilantes — was loving rendered by Ba. Netflix’s adaptation of the series will be headlined by Ellen Page as Vanya Hargreeves, the one member of the family without superpowers. Black SailsTom Hopper and The Mortal Instruments: City of BonesRobert Sheehan will also star as members of the Hargreeves family — one with the body of a Martian Gorilla and one with the ability to speak to the dead, respectively.


(Photo by 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Titans

Premiere Date: Late 2018, DC Streaming Service

Why We’re Looking Forward To It: The Teen Titans are a perennial favorite supergroup whose popularity even rivaled the X-Men in the early 1980s. Their animated adventures thrilled a generation and even the current Teen Titans Go! continues to create fans of Dick Grayson, Raven, Starfire, Cyborg, and Beast Boy. Their first live-action outing is being developed by Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter of the various CW superhero dramas — so you have some idea of how the show will feel when it launches with the DC Entertainment streaming service later this year. If the early costume photos of actors Brenton Thwaites (Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, Gods of Egypt) as Robin and Alan Richtson and Minka Kelly (Friday Night LightsThe Path) as the superhero duo Hawk and Dove are any indication, it may be one of the most faithful comic book television adaptations yet.

San Diego Comic-Con 2017 may be over, but it delivered some fine trailers, teasers, and sneak peeks for us to chew on. Here are some of the delectable things we saw during the annual convention, which ran from July 20-23.

MOVIES | TV


Bright (2017)


Jigsaw (2017)


Justice League (2017)


Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)


The LEGO NINJAGO Movie (2017)


Pacific Rim Uprising (2018)


Ready Player One (2018)


Thor: Ragnarok (2017)


Triple Threat (2019)


Check out all of the TV TRAILERS on the next page!