The World's Finest Superheroes team up—or at least go head-to-head—for the first time on the big screen this weekend. Both Batman and Superman have had plenty of big screen incarnations, however, so we're pitting them all against one another in a winner take all battle to see who's got the better big screen track record?
We here at Double Viking offered up this challenge to the staff, and this is how they responded. Everyone was given fifty points and a list of all the Batman and Superman movies from 1966's Batman to 2013's Man of Steel. They were free to allot their points how they chose, and here is the official ranking. At the very bottom of the post, you can see each film's individual scores and how they were achieved.
14. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (0)
Not one single point was allotted to this Cannon Films classic, and for good reason. While it's a shame to sully the memory of Christopher Reeve's mostly fantastic run as the Man of Steel, this film is total garbage and totally deserves to be dead last on this list.
13. Superman III (3)
I knew this would be low, but I didn't think it would be this low—and this from a guy who didn't allot it any points. Yeah, this one's terrible too, and a downright embarrassment in Richard Pryor's career. It did, however, give us one of my favorite running jokes in Office Space, as well as this glorious moment that we wouldn't have otherwise.
12. Batman Forever (7)
Call it one of my proudest days as a geek when I discovered that people in this world besides myself think that this 1995 monstrosity is truly the worst Batman movie of all time. Jim Carrey turns The Riddler into a clown, Tommy Lee Jones couldn't give less of a shit, and everyone else is phoning it in... except Chris O'Donnell. Man, that dude was jacked to be a way-too-old Robin. Honestly, the only good thing that came out of this movie was my favorite episode of We Hate Movies where they rip it to shreds... Click here to listen
11. Man of Steel (11)
This one was pretty satisfying too. I don't hate this film, it's just not my thing. This wasn't the Superman film I wanted or needed, but some people really liked it. That's fine. We're allowed to disagree. I will admit, however, that I'm happy to see more people than myself feel the same way as me.
10. Batman 1966 (15)
Eight-year old me is thrilled that this made the Top 10, but I don't think anyone's going to call this a good movie. It's not even competently made. It does have a lot of fun stuff happening in it, not least of which is the famous "Somedays you just can't get rid of a bomb" scene, but it's mostly just remembered for representing the worst of the pre-Dennis O'Neil/Neal Adams Batman.
9. Batman & Robin (16)
I'm not sure how this happened... Actually, I know exactly how it happened, and so will you when you see the individual rankings below. I will say this about Batman & Robin: It's awful, but it's totally watchable. If you watch it through this veil of "What would a comic book movie directed by John Waters" look like, it's a hell of a fun time to rag on with some friends.
8. Superman Returns (21)
Now here's a film I find wholly underrated. It was an interesting decision for Bryan Singer to abandon his X-Men trilogy before the third entry to go an create the third entry in Richard Donner's Superman trilogy, and of course in hindsight it didn't pay off, but if viewed as Superman III, it's actually quite a good film. It does, at the very least, bring proper closure to the Donner trilogy, which isn't a huge deal for most people, but those of us who grew up with those films are the ones who tend to love and defend this film the most.
7. Superman II (24)
Superman II is a doozy. The whole sordid backstory on this film's production has been chronicled elsewhere and in greater detail than I could hope to do here, but it makes this mess of a movie make more sense. For the record, I like Superman II a lot, but after seeing the Donner Cut released in 2006, I realized that there was a much better movie in there that Donner could have made had the Salkinds let him.
6. Superman 1978 (28)
Wow, not a single Superman movie in the Top 5. Does that say more about the lack of quality Superman films or the abundance of quality Batman films? I'll leave that to you to decide. Anyway, this film—which came out the year before I was born—featured one of the all-time great advertising taglines ever: "You'll believe a man can fly." It was so effective to audiences at that time, and seeing a comic book origin film was actually a novel concept back then. While the special effects certainly don't hold up, Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, and Ned Beatty are all spectacular in this film. Plus, I believe it's the only Superman movie with a shot of Superman's dick.
5. Batman 1989 (33)
Being ten years old the summer this movie came out meant that it hit me right in that sweet spot that was ready for a different kind of comic book movie. Say what you will about its faithfulness to the source material—i.e. it doesn't really have any fidelity to it whatsoever—this is blockbuster filmmaking at its finest. Tim Burton established himself as one of the most unique voices on the scene, Jack Nicholson is fantastic as The Joker, and Michael Keaton silenced all the haters with a revitalizing new take on Bruce Wayne and Batman. Best of all, the film still holds up.
4. The Dark Knight Rises (44)
I've made my grievances with this film known elsewhere, so I won't dredge them up again here, but I get why this film is ranked as high as it is. It's an elegantly made, top of the line, no expense spared film that can be exhausting at times, but also knows how to balance chaos with character. As a conclusion to the story Christopher Nolan started in Batman Begins, it's spectacular. Best of all, it devotes itself to tying up loose ends, while still leaving the door cracked open for the future, something that virtually no other third film in a series has managed to do. It's got its problems, but they're almost impossible to dwell on while watching the film.
3. Batman Returns (47)
For me, this was the gold standard for Batman movies until The Dark Knight came out, and even still I hold it in very high regard. I wish Burton had gotten the chance to complete his trilogy, but that his attempt netted us this dark and violent film is almost worth it in the end. A great film to watch at Christmas time, and one where the digital age had yet to creep in, giving the practical effects and makeup an eeriness they wouldn't have had if the film were made today. In my opinion, this is still one of the greats.
2. Batman Begins (54)
It's hard to argue that this film ushered in a new age of comic book movies as serious entertainment. While Singer's X-Men films and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films showed us all how much fun it could be to be a superhero, Batman Begins really tapped into that primal instinct that wants us to be satisfied intellectually as well while watching men in costumes punch each other. This is probably the most influential comic book origin film there is, and it brilliantly raised the bar for the art form.
1. The Dark Knight (97)
Was there any doubt about this one? The Dark Knight is revered for a reason: It kicks ass. It remains among the best action/suspense films of the last decade, let alone comic book films. Nolan adopted Michael Mann's style, but he keeps his camera at an appropriate aesthetic distance for the subject matter, and in turn gave us the comic book movie we never knew we wanted. The Dark Knight's burden is that it must carry the torch for DC and Warner Brothers as the best possible outcome for any of their films: A critical and commercial smash that remains atop lists like this for a reason. It's just that good.
Batman v Superman Ballots
Batman (1966) 0, 0, 1, 0, 10, 0, 0, 4
Batman (1989) 7, 4, 7, 5, 0, 0, 5, 5
Batman Returns 3, 6, 2, 10, 12, 4, 5, 4
Batman Forever 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 4, 0, 2
Batman & Robin 0, 0, 0, 0, 10, 5, 0, 1
Batman Begins 10, 7, 6, 10, 0, 11, 5, 5
The Dark Knight 15, 12, 13, 20, 8, 11, 10, 8
The Dark Knight Rises 10, 6, 4, 5, 0, 9, 5, 5
Superman (1978) 0, 5, 6, 0, 0, 0, 9, 7
Superman II 0, 5, 5, 0, 0, 0, 9, 5
Superman III 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 2, 0, 0
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
Superman Returns 0, 5, 1, 0, 10, 2, 2, 1
Man of Steel 5, 0, 3, 0, 0, 2, 0, 1