It seems like the war on RottenTomatoes.com is on and sadly, it doesn’t seem to be going away. Due to bad reviews, some believe that critics are paid to trash talk DC comic book movies and praise Marvel. As a result, there’s even a petition to have the site taken off of the internet. Okay, given this information, let’s just clear the air. First of all, critics are not paid to purposely trash talk DC comic book films. Also, even if they were, RottenTomatoes.com has nothing to do with this. The site itself is just a collection of all the reviews on the internet that calculates the percentages of good and bad reviews. And even if RottenTomatoes.com was conspiring against DC, how does this benefit them? The site is owned by Warner Bros., the company that released all the DC comic book films. Sweet Jesus, people are dumb.
However, despite the obvious stupidity at play here, I can’t deny that there are times where I don’t agree with the majority of critics. I understand the frustration. That being said, I don’t need RottenTomatoes.com to validate my opinions. For that matter, neither do any of you. Who cares what a website or other critics think? If you love a movie, then love that movie. You don’t need me or anyone else to make up your mind for you. Therefore, I decided to take a look back at some DC comic book adaptations that I believe are unfairly condemned. Now, to qualify for this list, the film has to have a failing score of RottenTomatoes.com. So don’t expect to see Ghost World or Watchmen on here (both are awesome by the way). Also, I’ll give an honorable mention to The Killing Joke. Don’t you laugh at me, I liked it.
Here are The Top 5 Underrated DC Comic Book Films.
#5: MAN OF STEEL
Man of Steel was a film met with immense controversy upon its release. Many fans and critics found it too dark and dour a story for the hopeful hero. As a result, it led to many mixed reviews and the consensus for it was more or less split down the middle. The film is either universally loved or universally hated as the start of the DC Cinematic Universe. Personally, I absolutely loved this film and still do to this day. I thought the actors playing the roles were great. Michael Shannon in particular is wonderful in the role of General Zod and Henry Cavill did fine at playing Superman. The action was great. The visuals were breathtaking. The story is a ton of fun to see play out. I really don’t understand most of the negativity towards this film.
Many people complained about all the death and destruction in the film. Look, people, I don’t care whose protecting the planet. If hostile aliens invade earth, there’s going to be a lot of death and destruction. As for the destruction, Superman caused… did anyone take into account that it was his first day on the job? He is inexperienced, he is going to make mistakes and newsflash, he is not going to be able to save everybody. Not to mention, to say that he caused more destruction than the aliens is absolute nonsense. As for Superman killing Zod? What was he gonna do? Throw him in space jail? Man Of Steel offered a more realistic take on the character while also exploring his more alien roots. It’s an awesome comic book movie and an even better sci-fi movie. Man Of Steel isn’t a Christopher Reeve Superman film. Get over it.
#4: BATMAN FOREVER
Yes, I am defending a Joel Schumacher Batman film and I’m not gonna apologize for it. This was the first Batman film I ever saw and I got a big soft spot for it. You may hate me at your leisure because I honestly don’t believe Batman Forever to be as bad as most people say. In fact, I think it’s quite good. Yes, Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) looks ridiculous and his makeup is beyond lazy. I also get that Gotham looks like a neon light-bright play-set this time around. Trust me, I understand the criticisms toward Batman Forever. However, while the film takes a more kid-friendly approach with its style, it sure doesn’t go that route with its story.
We have a hero dealing with duality and personal demons. A sidekick tries to cope with the guilt of not being able to save his parents. We have two psychotic madmen on the loose. One is an obsessed maniac who is trying to murder Bruce Wayne. The other is a deformed criminal who is trying to murder Batman. Are those really the things that come to mind when you think “Kid-Friendly”? If so, get help. Before The Dark Knight Rises came out, Batman Forever was the only live-action Batman film to actually delve into the psychology of Batman. Much of this movie is dedicated to actually giving us insight on Batman’s character and the duality of Batman & Bruce Wayne. This is in perfect contrast to Two-Face who deals with duality himself.
Val Kilmer as Batman is no Michael Keaton but he does well in the role regardless. The film also manages to do Robin (Chris O’ Donnell) a great deal of justice. Yeah, he was whiny in Batman & Robin but he’s nothing like that here. Chris O’ Donnell fit the role well and I will also give props that his suit looked pretty awesome. Well, awesome compared to the bullseye he wore in the comics. Lastly, I don’t care how much you hate this movie, Jim Carrey was the perfect Riddler. He’s intelligent, psychotic and hilarious; all traits I expect from The Riddler. So, honestly, Batman Forever is one DC comic book adaptation that I feel deserves a second chance. It’s a great deal better than most people give it credit for.
This a lesser known DC comic book adaptation. Yet, to this day, I still hear people talking about how much they hate it. Its reputation didn’t get any better when the apparent “superior” adaptation of the Hellblazer comic series made its way to television. People consider the canceled “Constantine” television series to be the definitive version of the character and as a result, has dismissed this film entirely. “Keanu Reeves is an awful John Constantine,” they say. “The film doesn’t get the character like the show does,” they say. “Matt Ryan is the only Constantine that matters,” they say. Okay, you want to compare Reeves and Ryan? Very well. Matt Ryan has blond hair and British accent while Keanu Reeves does not.
Other than that, THEY ARE THE EXACT SAME CHARACTER!!!
Reeves smokes, he’s funny, he’s rude to people, sports an “I don’t care” attitude constantly and toys with demons when he exorcises them back to hell. He plays in this movie literally the exact same character that Matt Ryan played in the show, minus blond hair and a British accent. Those are the only two differences. I’m sorry but if you people are going to complain when a white British man plays Khan Noonien Singh, I’m not gonna complain when a white American actor plays John Constantine. Give Reeves some credit, at least he acted his part. Now that that’s out of the way and all the DC comic book fanboys are pissed at me, this movie is awesome.
The action and the visuals are just spectacular. The scene of Reeves walking through hell is brilliantly crafted. Constantine also gives the title character a great deal of weight. He deals with having cancer, knowing that because of his past actions no good deed on earth can grant him entry into heaven. Keanu Reeves throws everything he’s got at making this character work, despite not being blond or British like his comic book counterpart. I’ll actually say that this was one of his more fun performances. Side performances from Rachel Weisz and Tilda Swinton are also great. Constantine is a mystery with intrigue, twists and turns that you shouldn’t skip over just because you like the show more. The movie is perfectly fine in its own right and deserves some respect.
#2: SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
After so many years of fans begging for a Sin City sequel, Frank Miller, and Robert Rodriguez finally came back together to give us Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. The only problem was that despite everyone asking for it… hardly anyone actually went to see it. As a result, the film was a box office bomb for DC. Despite what most of the critics said about the film, I saw the film opening night. I loved the film then and I still love it now. While not as good as the first Sin City, this sequel/prequel is visually stunning, thoroughly entertaining and offers great insight into its characters, both new and old. The film manages to expand on its own universe like a good sequel should, detailing new stories and interesting characters. Watching this film, you can see all the love and attention that went into it.
Robert Rodriguez did a beautiful job once again at capturing Frank Miller’s thoroughly black and white artistry on screen. It’s obvious how much he respects the style and respects Miller. Eva Green as Ava (The Dame To Kill For) was brilliant. She was so seductive and menacing, she made me want to kill for her. Now that’s talent. Jessica Alba (Nancy Callahan) gets a lot more to do this time around and is far more interesting than she ever was in the first film. Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, and Josh Brolin are great supporting players and Rourke in particular is every bit as good as he was the last time. On a side note, it was also funny seeing an Angels In The Outfield reunion with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Christopher Lloyd sharing a scene together.
From the action to the characters to the stunning visual style, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is a ride through the madness that I’d be happy to take several times more in the future.
#1: SUICIDE SQUAD
Did I do this entire list of underrated DC comic book adaptations just so I could talk about how much I loved Suicide Squad? Perhaps. New question; Do I Care?
Suicide Squad is getting almost universally lambasted by the critics. You can read my fellow reviewer, Matthew Goudreau’s review for the film here. The reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice may have started the hatred toward RottenTomatoes.com. However, the reviews for Suicide Squad only elevated the conflict. Now, Suicide Squad is not a perfect movie by any means. It does take a touch too long to get going. It has a few things that feel unneeded. On top this, I’m not a fan of The Joker in this film. However, despite those flaws, Suicide Squad is just a fun time at the movies. As far as DC comic book adaptations go, this represents one of the better ones in recent years.
It has great humor, fun characters and the back and forth between the actors is a blast to watch. The entire cast played off of each other perfectly. Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jay Hernandez, Cara Delevingne, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis and even Jai Courtney are all fantastic in their roles. Yes, I can’t believe I’m saying this but Jai Courtney was actually good in something. I’ll go as far as to say he’s one of the film’s best characters. It’s a miracle! hallelujah! Will Smith brings his old-school charm and charisma to Deadshot in a way that only he can. Margot Robbie is a brilliant Harley Quinn, demonstrating Harley’s psychotic, yet fragile mind, perfectly. The best though was El Diablo. He gets the most backstory, the best character arc and he’s the character you can feel for the most.
Regardless, it was just fun to see all of these characters together on the big screen, most of them for the first time. The team dynamic between these characters grows throughout their mission in a way that I personally feel was organic. Honestly, I can understand some of the criticisms toward the movie. Suicide Squad is not perfect and The Joker sucked. But I don’t understand the near universal hatred of it. I understand it for Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. That film was an absolute mess. People say that Suicide Squad is a mess when it’s a pretty straight forward and easy to follow movie. The storyline is fun, the action is awesome, the humor is great, most of the characters are beautifully represented and the soundtrack is near perfect.
Suicide Squad just rocks.
Do you think I missed a few? Do you think I’m an idiot for putting any of these films on the list? Please let me know and be sure to stick around for more reviews and articles right here at TheNerdStash.com.
A graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing, Adam is a Writer and Film Critic, looking to make his mark on the world. When he isn’t at the movies, writing for The Nerd Stash, playing Duck Hunt (respect the classics) or delivering pizzas to his neighbors, he is back at school earning his Masters Degree in Film Production.