Ever since DC Comics started putting their iconic characters onto the big screen, there has been a string of great films to watch. From Batman (1989) and Superman: The Movie (1978), to Shazam (2019) and Teen Titans GO! to the Movies (2018), DC has brought some excellent heroes to life, to excite, delight, and entertain!
Some of these films you will be more than familiar with, and probably watch again and again. But it’s possible there are some you’ve not heard of, or you’ve simply not checked out yet because they’ve not been on your radar.
No sweat – there’s plenty of time to take a look at the best movies that DC has to offer, you simply need a guide. And that’s where this post comes in handy.
Below you will find a run through of all the best DC movies. Covering live-action and animated features, this list highlights all the DC movies you really need to watch!
Superman: The Movie (1978)
First up, Christopher Reeve puts on the iconic red and blue tights for an epic adventure of hope and heroism in Superman: The Movie. The film is one of the best-loved comic book movies of all time, includes a stand-out performance from Reeve, as well as a rousing theme song from John Williams.
Not only do DC Comics movies not get much better than this, but comic book movies in general don’t either. Superman: The Movie set the template for super hero cinema, and is still as entertaining now as it was back in ’78.
Superman II (1980)
And how do you follow something as impressive as Superman: The Movie? Why, with Superman II of course!
Set shortly after the events of the first film, this super sequel – which many put on par with its predecessor – sees Superman come face-to-face with three Kryptonian criminals who pose a terrible threat to humanity.
V for Vendetta (2006)
Up next is V for Vendetta – a dystopian political action-thriller, from The Wachowskis. The movie – based on the DC/Vertigo graphic novel of the same name – follows the story of a masked freedom-fighter who attempts to kick-start a revolution in a fascist-controlled version of the UK.
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is an animated movie from director Sam Liu. Set in a Victorian-era Gotham City, the movie revolves around Batman’s attempts to apprehend a serial killer by the name of Jack the Ripper.
The New Original Wonder Woman (1975)
This next entry might come as a bit of a surprise to modern audiences, as The New Original Wonder Woman is perhaps better known these days as the first episode of the 1970s television series, Wonder Woman. However, back in 1975 The New Original Wonder Woman was initially conceived as a stand-alone feature-length TV movie starring Lynda Carter as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman.
Because the movie was so successful, it led to the three-season television series and the rest is history. But for those who have never watched the Wonder Woman series, and who only have time for movies, you should check out this absolute gem, which retells Diana’s story from the very beginning.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)
In animated movie, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Barry Allen (aka The Flash) finds himself in an alternate version of the world he knows. The Justice League no long exist, the Atlanteans and the Amazonians are at war, and Thomas Wayne is Batman!
Justice League: Doom (2012)
Another superb animated offering featuring the Justice League, which this time around sees all the core members come under attack from their greatest enemies. However, unlike usual, the League find themselves overpowered, as their foes appear to know their greatest weaknesses.
In this fun fantasy romp, young Billy Batson transforms himself into a super hero when he utters the magic word, Shazam! But super heroics are not all they are cracked up to be, especially when they attract super villains.
Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Mark Strong star in this cracking adventure filled with heart. David F. Sandberg directs.
DC League of Super-Pets (2022)
Move over Superman and Batman, it’s time for Krypto and Ace to take charge in this family animated movie which focuses on super pets. The movie features the vocal talents of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, is filled with laughs, and is perfect for the whole family.
The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Yet more animation with this next film – the super-witty adventure caper, The Lego Batman Movie. Conceived as a sort-of spin-off from 2014’s The Lego Movie, this film follows Batman, Robin, Batgirl and Alfred as they take on a huge collection of famous foes!
This one needs little introduction, other than to say it was a HUGE hit back in 1989, and incredibly influential. Most comic book movies made after 1989 took some inspiration from this film (if they weren’t already taking inspiration from Superman: The Movie that is), and if you’ve still not watched Batman, then what the heck have you been doing?!
As for the film, Michael Keaton takes on the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, while Jack Nicholson is Jack Napier/The Joker. Tim Burton directs.
The Suicide Squad (2021)
In 2016, David Ayer released the action-comedy, Suicide Squad. The film was not a big hit with critics.
Fast forward a few years, and keen to take another stab at things, Warner Bros./DC Entertainment released a loose sequel in the shape of 2021’s The Suicide Squad (note the inclusion of the word ‘The’ in the title).
Directed by James Gunn, The Suicide Squad jettisoned the stuff that didn’t work the first time around, kept all the stuff that did (namely, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn), and brought plenty of laughs to the screen. The end result was a villain team-up movie, with various bad guys working together to take on a B-movie foe, while entertaining audiences in the process.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
Back to animation for this next movie, the truly excellent noir-thriller, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. The movie – set during the events of Batman: The Animated Series – tells a stand-alone tale involving a mysterious new enemy who appears to be bumping off mobsters in Gotham City.
Released theatrically in the US, where it bombed, the movie was rediscovered on home video where it became a huge hit. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is often cited as ‘one of the best Batman movies ever produced’, and it more than deserves this title.
Batman Begins (2005)
Another Batman movie, and another stone-cold classic. In Batman Begins the Caped Crusader is taken back to basics, as audiences learn how he becomes Gotham’s masked crime-fighter.
Christian Bale takes on the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, while Christopher Nolan directs. Batman Begins is a slick action movie, backed by a fantastic cast.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Picking up a short time after the events of Batman Begins, Batman is now an established vigilante, and Gotham’s shadowy protector. But life gets a little more complicated as a new foe comes to Gotham City, and he’s intent on bringing chaos to the streets.
Christian Bale reprises the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, Christopher Nolan returns to the director’s chair, and the cast expands with the inclusion of Heath Ledger as The Joker and Aaron Eckhart as Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent. Sequels don’t get much better than this one.
Continuing the Bat-theme with yet another movie featuring the Caped Crusader, only this time around things are a lot more colourful, and a heck of a lot brighter! The movie is Batman – a spin-off of the 1960s television series of the same name – with the title character this time played by Adam West.
Camp, hilarious, and rollicking good fun, Batman is a whirlwind of pop nonsense. The film sees Batman and Robin (Burt Ward) take on four fiendish fiends in the shape of The Joker, Catwoman, The Riddler, and The Penguin!
In this dark, twisted psychological thriller from director Todd Phillips, the origin of The Joker is retold, with Joaquin Phoenix taking on the role. Here, Joker starts out as failed clown and stand-up comic, Arthur Fleck, who suffers from a rare condition, as well as mental illness.
Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)
Back to animation for this next movie, the brilliant animated sci-fi adventure, Green Lantern: First Flight. Nathan Fillion voices Hal Jordan, in a fun story centred around the origin of one of the most iconic Green Lantern’s in the universe.
Batman: The Long Halloween – Part One (2021)
Yet more Batman, and this time around it is the first in a double-bill, based on Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s marvellous noir thriller, The Long Halloween. The story centres around a year-long mystery involving a killer who murders their victims around public holidays.
Batman: The Long Halloween – Part Two (2021)
Picking up directly after Part One, this second helping of Batman: The Long Halloween continues the story, before bringing it to an end. The Holiday Killer is unmasked, and Batman finds himself contending with various villains.
Man of Steel (2013)
In Man of Steel, the Superman mythology is given a reboot for a whole new generation, with Henry Cavill taking on the part of Clark Kent/Superman. Directed by Zack Snyder, Man of Steel looks at Clark’s early years in Smallville, as well as his rise to become Superman, in a world that is somewhat mistrustful of outsiders.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
Set in a futuristic Gotham City, Bruce Wayne has long given up the role of the City’s saviour and now mentors new Batman, Terry McGinnis. But Bruce’s past comes back to haunt him when an old enemy resurfaces from beyond the grave.
Created as a feature-length spin-off from the critically acclaimed animated show, Batman Beyond, Return of the Joker is an exquisite slice of Bat-storytelling. The film offers some genuine surprises, is loaded with plenty of action, and is topped off by a great voice cast including Will Friedle, Kevin Conroy, and Mark Hamill.
Wonder Woman (2017)
Gal Gadot takes on the role of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman for this live-action period piece, which focuses on the origin of Wonder Woman. Set during World War I, the movie depicts Wondy’s first adventure outside of Themyscira, as well as her first meeting with Steve Trevor.
Batman Returns (1992)
Michael Keaton returns to the role of Batman for this Christmas-set ‘90s sequel to Tim Burton’s Batman. This time around he faces three fearsome foes in the form of Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer), The Penguin (Danny DeVito), and Max Shreck (Christopher Walken).
Batman Forever (1995)
Val Kilmer steps into the Bat-suit for this next Batman movie, taking over the role from Michael Keaton, while Joel Schumacher directs. In Batman Forever, Batman teams up with Robin (Chris O’Donnell), while squaring off against double trouble from The Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones).
Superman: Doomsday (2007)
Based on the best-selling DC storyline, The Death of Superman, Superman: Doomsday is an animated action movie, which depicts Superman’s demise at the hands of the deadly Doomsday. Adam Baldwin voices Superman, while James Marsters provides vocal duties for Lex Luthor.
Wonder Woman (2009)
Another origin tale for Wonder Woman, only this time told via the use of animation. The majority of the movie takes place on Themyscira, with Diana learning about herself, her fellow amazons, and the world around her.
Directed by Zack Snyder, and based on the seemingly unfilmable comic of the same name, Watchmen is a dark, disturbing action-thriller, about a group of super heroes who uncover an insidious plot. The movie features performances from Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, and Patrick Wilson amongst others.
The Dark Knight Returns – Part One (2012)
Based on the critically acclaimed (and highly influential) graphic novel of the same name, The Dark Knight Returns – Part One is the first instalment in a two-part animated movie set during the latter days of Batman’s career. In the movie, Batman has to contend with threats, old and new, as he faces the realisation his time as the Dark Knight is edging ever nearer to the end.
The Dark Knight Returns – Part Two (2013)
Picking up after the events of Part One, The Dark Knight Returns – Part Two is the concluding chapter in this animated story. As with its predecessor, the movie offers superb animation and an excellent voice cast, with Peter Weller as Bruce Wayne/Batman.
The Flash (1990)
A slight cheat on this next one, because its status as a ‘movie’ was short-lived, but it’s still worth a mention (and a watch) regardless. The ‘movie’ in question here is the feature-length pilot episode to the 1990 television show, The Flash, which starred John Wesley Shipp.
The reason this pilot episode is classed as a ‘movie’ is because outside of the US the pilot episode was released on VHS as a standalone film. As such, many viewers overseas got their first taste of The Flash as movie, rather than a television series, when they rented this title from a video store!
As for the story itself, The Flash sees Shipp take on the role of Barry Allen – a forensic science whiz, who is accidentally transformed into a super hero! Over the course of 90 minutes, Allen learns what it means to be a hero, while tackling a deadly gang that has a stranglehold over Central City.
The Death of Superman (2018)
Although 2007’s animated offering, Superman: Doomsday already tackled the Death of Superman storyline, this second stab at the classic story sticks a lot closer to the original source material. And as with the original tale, Superman finds himself in a fight for survival against a deadly creature terrorising Metropolis.
Reign of the Supermen (2019)
Picking up after the events of The Death of Superman, this animated sequel continues the story, with the citizens of Metropolis in mourning for their fallen hero. But there’s little time for tears, thanks to the arrival of a new bunch of super heroes who all claim to be a newly resurrected Superman!
Batman: Hush (2019)
Based on the best-selling comic book storyline of the same name, Batman: Hush is an animated offering which introduces a new villain in the form of the mysterious Hush. The movie makes some changes to the original story, but follows a similar format, incorporating many of Batman’s most famous foes along the way.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020)
In this epic animated movie, the League find themselves up against the might of Darkseid! Various iconic characters appear, including Superman, John Constantine, The Flash, and Zatanna.
The Batman (2022)
Another Batman movie, and yet another new actor wearing the cowl. For this outing, Robert Pattinson plays the part of Bruce Wayne/Batman, in a dark, sombre, detective story featuring The Riddler and The Penguin.
Teen Titans GO! To the Movies (2018)
In this outrageous animated family film, the Teen Titans step away from their popular animated series (Teen Titans GO!) to make the leap to the big screen. Colourful chaos ensues, as well as lots of mad-cap hilarity!
A History of Violence (2005)
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, David Cronenberg directs this action thriller starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, and Ed Harris. The film follows the story of a diner owner who becomes threatened by a gangster.
Batman vs. Two-Face (2017)
Back to the 1960s for this next animated offering, which is a sort-of spin-off from the Adam West Batman show. West voices Batman one final time, while William Shatner takes on the role of Two-Face – a villain who never appeared in the ‘60s show!
Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
And finally, in Under the Red Hood, a mysterious vigilante arrives in Gotham City, causing great concern for Batman. But is this masked character a new enemy, or someone from Batman’s troubled past?
Bruce Greenwood takes on the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, while Jensen Ackles voices the Red Hood. The movie also includes roles for John DiMaggio, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Isaacs, and Wade Williams.
OK, so those are the best DC movies you need to watch – so be sure to check them out. And to save you having to scroll back up the post, here is a list of all the movies in one handy place.
- Superman: The Movie (1978)
- Superman II (1980)
- V for Vendetta (2006)
- Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)
- The New Original Wonder Woman (1975)
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)
- Justice League: Doom (2012)
- Shazam! (2019)
- DC League of Super-Pets (2022)
- The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
- Batman (1989)
- The Suicide Squad (2021)
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
- Batman Begins (2005)
- The Dark Knight (2008)
- Batman (1966)
- Joker (2019)
- Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)
- Batman: The Long Halloween – Part One (2021)
- Batman: The Long Halloween – Part Two (2021)
- Man of Steel (2013)
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
- Wonder Woman (2017)
- Batman Returns (1992)
- Batman Forever (1995)
- Superman: Doomsday (2007)
- Wonder Woman (2009)
- Watchmen (2009)
- The Dark Knight Returns – Part One (2012)
- The Dark Knight Returns – Part Two (2013)
- The Flash (1990)
- The Death of Superman (2018)
- Reign of the Supermen (2019)
- Batman: Hush (2019)
- Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020)
- The Batman (2022)
- Teen Titans GO! To the Movies (2018)
- A History of Violence (2005)
- Batman vs. Two-Face (2017)
- Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
Thank you for dropping by I’ll Get Drive-Thru to read this post about the best DC Comics movies. For more posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.
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