My countdown to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice continues with my final five picks for the best DC films. And if you missed Part 1, click here.
5: The Dark Knight Rises
While some Nolanites holdfast, The Dark Knight Rises has undeniably fallen from grace. But that is not to say it is a bad film. It is stunningly directed and contains many of the best action sequences of the trilogy, even if the plot is a total mess and lacking in the thematic weight it so desperately believes it contains. Even though the movie is very enjoyable, hence the placing on this list, and I was crazy about it after watching it in theaters, after every repeat viewing the movie gets worse and worse to the point that I almost want to consider it a guilty pleasure. At the time of my first viewing, I even considered it better than The Dark Knight, yet every time I watch it, I find something else not to like. Despite those problems, The Dark Knight Rises is still a very fun movie.
"You'll believe a man can fly," that was the tagline in 1978, and Christopher Reeve made an entire generation believe man can fly! The film is almost like an epic following Clark Kent on his journey to becoming Superman. Christopher Reeve defined Superman and Clark Kent, playing each part differently almost to the point that you can believe how Clark's co-workers would not notice the similarities between the two. Reeve and Margot Kidder's brilliant performances and chemistry almost make up for the awfully campy performance of Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, which clashes with the seriousness of Reeve. However, Reeve's take on Superman is legendary and still holds up well today, even if it is campy.
For me, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the best work of animation the west has ever produced, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. Based on Batman: The Animated Series, Mask of the Phantasm features the fantastic voice cast of the best Batman, Kevin Conroy, and Mark Hamil's brilliant take on the Joker. Unlike other adaptations of Batman, Mask of the Phantasm highlights the detective and mystery aspects of Caped Crusader to excellent effect. Also, the film’s romance is, by far, the best of any Batman movie. Overall, Mask of the Phantasm is well crafted Batman tale that goes deeper into the character than most other film versions.
After Batman and Robin killed DC's films for nearly a decade, Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins kick-started the Batman franchise in the right direction with a serious take on the character. While Christian Bale starred in the film, the supporting cast is the real star of the film. Gary Oldman's James Gordon proves to be a brilliant casting choice and Liam Neeson plays an exceptional villain. The film might not be perfect by any means, but it finally gave audiences a serious, high quality live-action film.
Could there be any other? The Dark Knight is, by far, the best film that DC has produced. Nothing even comes close. Heath Ledger’s Oscar winning performance is legendary. He steals every single scene he is in. Everyone knows that The Dark Knight is a brilliant film and is almost universally adored. Christian Bale isn’t bad as Batman, but we all know that the movie is great because of Ledger’s performance. It's The Dark Knight, what more can be said?
What are your favorites? Please comment below and let me know!
Honorable Mentions: Batman: Under the Red Hood, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Red II, Red
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