Joel Schmacher

(Photo by Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection.)

All Joel Schumacher Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

Your typical journeyman director deep in the studio system will make movies across plenty of genres, on-time and under-budget, foster some lasting professional relationships, and never make a name for themselves beyond to the most ardent, specific film buffs. Yes, Joel Schumacher worked across multiple genres without a thematic throughline, with studios and actors quick to praise his behind-the-scenes professionalism, but the director also brought enough verve and dynamic color to his films that Schumacher’s name, at his creative peak, did become a kind of brand. A calling card of big Hollywood entertainment with style to separate from the rest. This began in earnest in 1987 with the Brat Pack-adjacent The Lost Boys, the stylish horror/comedy that pulled vampires out of cliff-nested castles and into teen parties and suburbia, a popular concept still seen in the likes of True Blood and Twilight. Having made Kiefer Sutherland a star, Schumacher worked with him again on his next film, Flatliners.

Schumacher entered his most commercially viable period in the ’90s, starting with 1993’s Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas on a particularly bad Los Angeles day, in a film that has been latched onto as a manifesto of urban rage still discussed and referenced now. Schumacher took the reins for 1995’s Batman Forever after Tim Burton and Michael Keaton left the blockbuster franchise. Some inspired casting (Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne, Jim Carrey as The Riddler, and Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face), plenty of wild art direction, a brash soundtrack, and just a touch of camp turned the movie into pop-culture phenomenon. A year later, Schumacher released A Time To Kill at a time when anything Grisham, Crichton, and Clancy was being adapted and making a mint at the box office. (Schumacher had previously turned Grisham’s The Client into a movie.)

Then came the disastrous Batman & Robin, which killed the franchise for nearly a decade. Schumacher took full ownership for the movie’s failure, claiming that he had steered too far towards what marketing and merchandising wanted out of a Batman joint. A public bomb of this proportion could’ve been a career-ender, but his workmanship and a steady line of stars willing to collaborate time and again meant the next Schumacher film was never far off. He worked twice with Colin Farrell, first in 2000’s Tigerland, which introduced the actor to American audiences, and then in 2003’s Phone Booth, which made Farrell a star. Sutherland, back in the saddle, played the villain. Schumacher can be credited with helping launch Gerard Butler’s career in full, when he cast him as lead in 2005’s The Phantom of the Opera. In 2007, Schumacher worked again with Carrey for psychological thriller The Number 23. His final film was 2011’s Trespass, reuniting him with 8MM‘s Nicolas Cage and Batman Forever‘s Nicole Kidman.

We celebrate his life and career with our guide to every Joel Schumacher film, by Tomatometer.

#1

The Client (1994)
78%

#1
Adjusted Score: 79930%
Critics Consensus: The Client may not reinvent the tenets of the legal drama, but Joel Schumacher's sturdy directorial hand and a high-caliber cast bring John Grisham's page-turner to life with engrossing suspense.
Synopsis: Fast-paced thriller, based on the John Grisham bestseller, about a boy whose life is endangered after he stumbles across vital... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#2

Tigerland (2000)
77%

#2
Adjusted Score: 77083%
Critics Consensus: A great cast and the gritty feel of the film help elevate Tigerland above the familiarity of the subject matter.
Synopsis: 1971. A nation stands divided over the escalating war in Vietnam. Thousands of young Americans lie dead on foreign soil.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#3

The Lost Boys (1987)
77%

#3
Adjusted Score: 81626%
Critics Consensus: Flawed but eminently watchable, Joel Schumacher's teen vampire thriller blends horror, humor, and plenty of visual style with standout performances from a cast full of young 1980s stars.
Synopsis: Teenage brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) move with their mother (Dianne Wiest) to a small town in... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#4

Falling Down (1993)
73%

#4
Adjusted Score: 77428%
Critics Consensus: Falling Down's popcorn-friendly take on its complex themes proves disquieting -- and ultimately fitting for a bleakly entertaining picture of one man's angry break with reality.
Synopsis: A middle-aged man dealing with both unemployment and divorce, William Foster (Michael Douglas) is having a bad day. When his... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#5

Phone Booth (2002)
72%

#5
Adjusted Score: 77128%
Critics Consensus: Quick pacing and Farrell's performance help make Phone Booth a tense nail-biter.
Synopsis: A phone call can change your life, but for one man it can also end it. Set entirely within and... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#6

A Time to Kill (1996)
68%

#6
Adjusted Score: 70005%
Critics Consensus: Overlong and superficial, A Time to Kill nonetheless succeeds on the strength of its skillful craftsmanship and top-notch performances.
Synopsis: Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) is a heartbroken black father who avenges his daughter's brutal rape by shooting the... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#7

Veronica Guerin (2003)
53%

#7
Adjusted Score: 56576%
Critics Consensus: Cate Blanchett gives another great performance in a movie that doesn't shed much light on its title character.
Synopsis: In this true story, Veronica Guerin (Cate Blanchett) is an investigative reporter for an Irish newspaper. As the drug trade... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#8

Cousins (1989)
50%

#8
Adjusted Score: 38807%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this American remake of the popular French romantic comedy "Cousin Cousine," Larry (Ted Danson) and Maria (Isabella Rossellini) meet... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#9

Flatliners (1990)
48%

#9
Adjusted Score: 50003%
Critics Consensus: While it boasts an impressive cast, striking visuals, and an effective mood, Flatliners never quite jolts its story to life.
Synopsis: Seeking answers about the afterlife, Chicago medical student Nelson (Kiefer Sutherland) persuades his fellow pupils to help him end his... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#10

St. Elmo's Fire (1985)
43%

#10
Adjusted Score: 46290%
Critics Consensus: St. Elmo's Fire is almost peak Brat Pack: it's got the cast, the fashion, and the music, but the characters are too frequently unlikable.
Synopsis: A group of recent college graduates embark on a series of misadventures in the real world. There's Kirby (Emilio Estevez),... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#11

Flawless (1999)
41%

#11
Adjusted Score: 42879%
Critics Consensus: Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman's Flawless performances live up to this dramedy's title; unfortunately, they're outweighed by the misguided picture surrounding them.
Synopsis: A former security guard, Walt Koontz (Robert De Niro), experiences a severe stroke, and must begin physical therapy after leaving... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#12

Town Creek (2009)
43%

#12
Adjusted Score: 12480%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Two brothers become entangled in a sinister Nazi's occult experiment at an American farmhouse.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#13

Batman Forever (1995)
38%

#13
Adjusted Score: 42282%
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

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 38069%
Critics Consensus: The music of the night has hit something of a sour note: Critics are calling the screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular musical histrionic, boring, and lacking in both romance and danger. Still, some have praised the film for its sheer spectacle.
Synopsis: From his hideout beneath a 19th century Paris opera house, the brooding Phantom (Gerard Butler) schemes to get closer to... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#15

Dying Young (1991)
23%

#15
Adjusted Score: 25494%
Critics Consensus: Dying's easy; it's making audiences care about the romance at the heart of this inert drama that proves difficult.
Synopsis: Answering an ad for an "attractive female" to care for a sick young man, Hilary (Julia Roberts) becomes the caretaker... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#16
Adjusted Score: 19125%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Pat Kramer (Lily Tomlin) leads the typical "American Dream" lifestyle, with husband Vance (Charles Grodin) making the money while she... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#17

8MM (1999)
23%

#17
Adjusted Score: 25322%
Critics Consensus: Its sadistic violence is unappealing and is lacking in suspense and mystery.
Synopsis: Private detective Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) lives a normal life with his wife (Catherine Keener) and young daughter, until he... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#18

D.C. Cab (1983)
22%

#18
Adjusted Score: 20971%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Aspiring taxi driver Albert Hockenberry (Adam Baldwin) arrives in Washington, D.C., to work for a service run by family friend... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#19

Batman & Robin (1997)
12%

#19
Adjusted Score: 17028%
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

#20

Bad Company (2002)
10%

#20
Adjusted Score: 14119%
Critics Consensus: Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins fail to generate the sparks necessary to save the movie from a generic and utterly predictable script.
Synopsis: CIA operative Kevin Pope (Chris Rock) is suave, brilliant and right on the verge of completing a top secret mission... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#21

Trespass (2011)
11%

#21
Adjusted Score: 12270%
Critics Consensus: Another claustrophobic thriller that Joel Schumacher can churn out in his sleep, Trespass is nasty and aggressive, more unpleasant than entertaining.
Synopsis: Fast-talking diamond dealer Kyle Miller (Nicolas Cage) and his wife, Sarah (Nicole Kidman), live the good life in a beautiful... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#22

The Number 23 (2007)
8%

#22
Adjusted Score: 15096%
Critics Consensus: Jim Carrey has been sharp in a number of non-comedic roles, but this lurid, overheated, and self-serious potboiler is not one of them. The Number 23 is clumsy, unengaging, and mostly confusing.
Synopsis: A man's (Jim Carrey) discovery of an obscure book about the number 23 leads him on a descent into darkness.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#23

Twelve (2010)
3%

#23
Adjusted Score: 3273%
Critics Consensus: As pretentious as it is hopelessly clichéd, this Twelve is closer to zero.
Synopsis: A high-school dropout (Chace Crawford) sells drugs to his wealthy former classmates.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

(Photo by 20th Century Fox. Thumbnail: Netflix/courtesy Everett Collection.)

The Worst Superhero Movies of All Time

Great leaping tomatoes! It’s the worst superhero movies ever, an infamous league of Rotten films that scored less than 30% on the Tomatometer!

First off, to keep this list spandex-tight, not only did we include superhero movies below 30%, but each had to have at least 20 reviews, guaranteeing enough critics witnessed of these erratic efforts, franchise non-starters, and would-be blockbusters.

After looking through the list, if you’re wondering why you didn’t see the 1990 Captain America movie, a bunch of those sequels to The Crow, or Dolph Lundgren’s The Punisher, they were cut out by not accumulating at least 20 critics reviews. But, don’t worry, still plenty of room for Frank in this castle of decrepitude, as the other two Punisher movies, the Thomas Jane one and War Zone, are represented. In fact, they both even currently have the same score at 29%, just squeezing into the list. And while most Audience Scores are in the same realm as its movie’s Tomatometer, there’s a divergence on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Dark Phoenix: Both Rotten movies according to the critics, but which settled above 60% on the Audience Score.

Nic Cage appears twice on this list because they made two Ghost Rider movies. Ryan Reynolds also shows up twice but in two separate franchises, mucking it up in both houses of Marvel and DC via Blade: Trinity and Green Lantern. And because who doesn’t like a comic book showdown, in the battle of Marvel vs DC over who’s made the most worst superhero movies, Marvel is “triumphant” with 10 listings, and DC at 9. We didn’t count The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the movie so bad it made Sean Connery quit acting, because though it was at the time produced at an imprint of an imprint of DC Comics (it’s imprint-ception, people), the comic was always wholly owned by its creator Alan Moore.

Of course, let’s not count out other labels making special appearances, like 2000 A.D. (Judge Dredd) or Image (Spawn). Then there’s the magic that happens when when Hollywood executives come together to create something that didn’t come from a comic book, with sparkling results like Tim Allen’s Zoom, an adaptation of TV cartoon Underdog, and the toy-based Max Steel.

One last thing: For movies with the same Tomatometer scores, whichever had more reviews was placed higher. Now, come take a flying leap as we rank the worst superhero movies of all time!

(And see a movie here you love and think ‘Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong’? Send us a note and we might cover your movie in our new podcast. Hit us up at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.)

#30
Adjusted Score: 56047%
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

#29

Ghost Rider (2007)
26%

#29
Adjusted Score: 31751%
Critics Consensus: Ghost Rider is a sour mix of morose, glum histrionics amidst jokey puns and hammy dialogue.
Synopsis: Years ago, motorcycle stuntman Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) sold his soul to save the life of a loved one. Now,... [More]
Directed By: Mark Steven Johnson

#28

Green Lantern (2011)
26%

#28
Adjusted Score: 34641%
Critics Consensus: Noisy, overproduced, and thinly written, Green Lantern squanders an impressive budget and decades of comics mythology.
Synopsis: Sworn to preserve intergalactic order, the Green Lantern Corps has existed for centuries. Its newest recruit, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds),... [More]
Directed By: Martin Campbell

#27

Suicide Squad (2016)
26%

#27
Adjusted Score: 50737%
Critics Consensus: Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and a little more humor than previous DCEU efforts, but they aren't enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing.
Synopsis: Figuring they're all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret... [More]
Directed By: David Ayer

#26

Blade: Trinity (2004)
25%

#26
Adjusted Score: 30942%
Critics Consensus: Louder, campier, and more incoherent than its predecessors, Blade: Trinity seems content to emphasize style over substance and rehash familiar themes.
Synopsis: The war between humans and vampires continues, but the humans' best hope, human-vampire hybrid warrior Blade (Wesley Snipes), has been... [More]
Directed By: David S. Goyer

#25

Bulletproof Monk (2003)
23%

#25
Adjusted Score: 27186%
Critics Consensus: Venerable action star Chow Yun-Fat is the only saving grace in this silly action flick that more often than not resembles a commercial in style.
Synopsis: For 60 years, a mysterious monk with no name (Chow Yun-Fat) has zigzagged the globe to protect an ancient scroll... [More]
Directed By: Paul Hunter

#24
Adjusted Score: 23102%
Critics Consensus: It's a case of one sequel too many for the heroes in a half shell, with a tired time-travel plot gimmick failing to save the franchise from rapidly diminishing returns.
Synopsis: Reporter April O'Neil (Paige Turco) purchases an ancient Japanese scepter that can cause those simultaneously holding it in different centuries... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gillard

#23

Dark Phoenix (2019)
22%

#23
Adjusted Score: 45015%
Critics Consensus: Dark Phoenix ends an era of the X-Men franchise by taking a second stab at adapting a classic comics arc -- with deeply disappointing results.
Synopsis: The X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe when one of their own, Jean Grey, starts to spiral out... [More]
Directed By: Simon Kinberg

#22

Judge Dredd (1995)
22%

#22
Adjusted Score: 24272%
Critics Consensus: Judge Dredd wants to be both a legitimate violent action flick and a parody of one, but director Danny Cannon fails to find the necessary balance to make it work.
Synopsis: In the crime-plagued future, the only thing standing between order and chaos is Judge Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone). His duty:... [More]
Directed By: Danny Cannon

#21

Thunder Force (2021)
21%

#21
Adjusted Score: 28087%
Critics Consensus: It's got a few chuckles, but Thunder Force is largely a superhero comedy that's neither exciting nor funny -- and an egregious waste of its co-stars' talents.
Synopsis: Two childhood best friends reunite as an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo when one invents a formula that gives ordinary people... [More]
Directed By: Ben Falcone

#20
Adjusted Score: 26659%
Critics Consensus: Neither entertaining enough to recommend nor remarkably awful, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may bear the distinction of being the dullest movie ever made about talking bipedal reptiles.
Synopsis: Spawned from a lab experiment gone awry, teenage terrapins Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael live in the sewers beneath New... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman

#19
Adjusted Score: 21365%
Critics Consensus: With a weak script, uneven CG work, and a Nic Cage performance so predictably loony it's no longer amusing, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance aims to be trashy fun but ends up as plain trash.
Synopsis: Now hiding out in Eastern Europe, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still struggling with the curse of the Ghost Rider... [More]

#18

Spawn (1997)
17%

#18
Adjusted Score: 19439%
Critics Consensus: Spawn is an overbearing, over-violent film that adds little to the comic book adaptation genre.
Synopsis: Covert government assassin Al Simmons (Michael Jai White) is killed after being double-crossed by his boss, Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen).... [More]
Directed By: Mark A.Z. Dippé

#17
Adjusted Score: 23265%
Critics Consensus: Just ordinary. LXG is a great premise ruined by poor execution.
Synopsis: A team of extraordinary figures culled from great adventure literature (including Alan Quatermain, vampiress Mina Harker from Dracula, the Invisible... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Norrington

#16

Underdog (2007)
16%

#16
Adjusted Score: 17350%
Critics Consensus: Underdog is a mostly forgettable adaptation that relies far too heavily on recycled material and sloppy production.
Synopsis: After a lab accident gives him extraordinary powers, including the ability to speak, a canine (Jason Lee) declares himself the... [More]
Directed By: Frederik Du Chau

#15
Adjusted Score: 15495%
Critics Consensus: No no, Power Rangers.
Synopsis: The young superheroes square off against an evil villainess who plots to free a fiery monster from its volcano cage.... [More]
Directed By: Shuki Levy, David Winning

#14

The Spirit (2008)
14%

#14
Adjusted Score: 17156%
Critics Consensus: Though its visuals are unique, The Spirit's plot is almost incomprehensible, the dialogue is ludicrously mannered, and the characters are unmemorable.
Synopsis: Apparently murdered cop Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) returns as the Spirit, dedicated to protecting Central City from crime. His archenemy,... [More]
Directed By: Frank Miller

#13

Howard the Duck (1986)
14%

#13
Adjusted Score: 15687%
Critics Consensus: While it has its moments, Howard the Duck suffers from an uneven tone and mediocre performances.
Synopsis: In this film based on the comic book character, Howard the Duck is suddenly beamed from Duckworld, a planet of... [More]
Directed By: Willard Huyck

#12

Steel (1997)
12%

#12
Adjusted Score: 11944%
Critics Consensus: Steel is a badly-acted movie that indulges not only in superhero cliches, but also the sappy TV-movie-of-the-week ones.
Synopsis: Former Army scientists (Shaquille O'Neal, Annabeth Gish), one in a steel suit, team up in Los Angeles against another (Judd... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Johnson

#11

Batman & Robin (1997)
12%

#11
Adjusted Score: 17028%
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

#10

Jonah Hex (2010)
12%

#10
Adjusted Score: 16503%
Critics Consensus: Josh Brolin gives it his best shot, but he can't keep the short, unfocused Jonah Hex from collapsing on the screen.
Synopsis: Having cheated death, gunslinger and bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) has one foot in the natural world and one... [More]
Directed By: Jimmy Hayward

#9
Adjusted Score: 13609%
Critics Consensus: The Superman series bottoms out here: the action is boring, the special effects look cheaper, and none of the actors appear interested in where the plot's going.
Synopsis: Seeing the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a nuclear arms race that could lead to Earth's destruction,... [More]
Directed By: Sidney J. Furie

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 12508%
Critics Consensus: The Crow: City of Angels is a sloppy pretender that captures neither the mood nor energy of the original.
Synopsis: After mechanic Ashe (Vincent Perez) and his son (Eric Acosta) witness a murder, they are captured and killed by drug... [More]
Directed By: Tim Pope

#7

Elektra (2005)
11%

#7
Adjusted Score: 16419%
Critics Consensus: Jennifer Garner inhabits her role with earnest gusto, but Elektra's tone deaf script is too self-serious and bereft of intelligent dialogue to provide engaging thrills.
Synopsis: Assassin-for-hire Elektra (Jennifer Garner) works for a mysterious international organization known as the Hand, for which she kills her targets... [More]
Directed By: Rob Bowman

#6

Supergirl (1984)
9%

#6
Adjusted Score: 10233%
Critics Consensus: The effects are cheesy and Supergirl's wide-eyed, cheery heroine simply isn't interesting to watch for an hour and a half.
Synopsis: Kara (Helen Slater) of Argo City poses as Clark Kent's cousin, Linda Lee, to recover the Omegahedron from a witch... [More]
Directed By: Jeannot Szwarc

#5

Catwoman (2004)
9%

#5
Adjusted Score: 15185%
Critics Consensus: Halle Berry is the lone bright spot, but even she can't save this laughable action thriller.
Synopsis: "Catwoman" is the story of shy, sensitive artist Patience Philips (Halle Berry), a woman who can't seem to stop apologizing... [More]
Directed By: Pitof

#4

Fantastic Four (2015)
9%

#4
Adjusted Score: 18685%
Critics Consensus: Dull and downbeat, this Fantastic Four proves a woefully misguided attempt to translate a classic comic series without the humor, joy, or colorful thrills that made it great.
Synopsis: Transported to an alternate universe, four young outsiders gain superhuman powers as they alter their physical form in shocking ways.... [More]
Directed By: Josh Trank

#3

Son of the Mask (2005)
6%

#3
Adjusted Score: 8693%
Critics Consensus: Overly frantic, painfully unfunny, and sorely missing the presence of Jim Carrey.
Synopsis: A cartoonist and family man, Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy) lives a peaceful existence with his wife, Tonya (Traylor Howard), as... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Guterman

#2

Zoom (2006)
4%

#2
Adjusted Score: 6239%
Critics Consensus: Lacking the punch and good cheer of The Incredibles and Sky High, Zoom is a dull and laugh-free affair.
Synopsis: Capt. Zoom, or Jack (Tim Allen), as he is now known, has long since given up his career of fighting... [More]
Directed By: Peter Hewitt

#1

Max Steel (2016)
0%

#1
Adjusted Score: 396%
Critics Consensus: Bereft of characterization or even satisfying rock 'em sock 'em, Max Steel feels like futzing with an action figure without any childhood imagination.
Synopsis: Teenager Max McGrath (Ben Winchell) discovers that his body can generate the most powerful energy in the universe. Steel (Josh... [More]
Directed By: Stewart Hendler

(Photo by Fox. Thumbnail: WB/courtesy Everett Collection)

Every ’90s Blockbuster Movie Ranked

Thirty years on, the 1990s has solidified its stature as one of the magical decades in filmmaking, much like how we view the ’30s and the ’70s. Precisely, this Gen X-decade pulled together the Hollywood studio power of the ’30s and the groundbreaking creativity of the ’70s, crocheting commercialism and art into the movie behemoths we speak of in legend as the ’90s blockbuster — which we’ve now ranked all by Tomatometer!

First off, in putting together this list, we didn’t want no scrubs: We defined the ’90s blockbuster as any film that made over $100 million at the box office — movies that had people literally lining up around the block to spend their easy-earned cash. (The economy was booming after all.) This, of course, ushers in all those films synonymous with ’90s blockbusterism, including Jurassic Park, Speed, Twister, Independence Day, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Phantom Menace, Armageddon, Wild wild West, and Batmans with three different guys.

But the ’90s blockbuster was more than just fast buses, exploding White Houses, and bat nipples. Audiences opened up wallets and handbags (they’re European!) on brazen independent films (Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, The Blair Witch Project), big comedies (Sister Act, The Nutty Professor, The Waterboy, Dumb & Dumber, The Birdcage), and romances both funny and dramatic (Pretty Woman, Shakespeare in Love, Jerry Maguire, Ghost).

It was the era of the Disney renaissance (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King), special-effects breakthroughs (Toy Story, Total Recall, The Matrix), and where the most popular movies of the year could reasonably expect a Best Picture statue come next February (Unforgiven, Titanic, Dances With Wolves). A scintillating ’90s blockbuster can transport us to that moment before cinematic universes, before CGI overload, and before ubiquitous cell phones and Internet; today, Lloyd Christmas can just DM Mary Samsonite and say “Hey, I have your briefcase :)” if he weren’t still illiterate.

Now, relive the rush of the decade without the searing sting of slap bracelets, or shotgunning Fruitopia, with our guide to every ’90s blockbuster ranked by Tomatometer!

#128

Batman & Robin (1997)
12%

#128
Adjusted Score: 17028%
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

#127

Godzilla (1998)
15%

#127
Adjusted Score: 19109%
Critics Consensus: Without compelling characters or heart, Godzilla stomps on everything that made the original (or any monster movie worth its salt) a classic.
Synopsis: During a nuclear test, the French government inadvertently mutates a lizard nest; years later, a giant lizard makes its way... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#126

Wild Wild West (1999)
17%

#126
Adjusted Score: 21787%
Critics Consensus: Bombastic, manic, and largely laugh-free, Wild Wild West is a bizarre misfire in which greater care was lavished upon the special effects than on the script.
Synopsis: When President Ulysses S. Grant (Kevin Kline) learns that diabolical inventor Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) is planning to assassinate... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

#125

The Flintstones (1994)
20%

#125
Adjusted Score: 22563%
Critics Consensus: The Flintstones wastes beloved source material and imaginative production design on a tepid script that plunks Bedrock's favorite family into a cynical story awash with lame puns.
Synopsis: Big-hearted, dim-witted factory worker Fred Flintstone (John Goodman) lends money to his friend Barney Rubble (Rick Moranis) so that he... [More]
Directed By: Brian Levant

#124
#124
Adjusted Score: 22136%
Critics Consensus: A game Julia Roberts gives it her all, but Sleeping with the Enemy is one stalker thriller that's unlikely to inspire many obsessions of its own.
Synopsis: After faking her death in order to flee from her violent husband, Martin (Patrick Bergin), Laura Burney (Julia Roberts) leaves... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Ruben

#123
#123
Adjusted Score: 24580%
Critics Consensus: Contrived performances and over-the-top sequences offer little real drama.
Synopsis: When the body of Army Capt. Elizabeth Campbell (Leslie Stefanson) is found on a Georgia military base, two investigators, Warrant... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#122

Patch Adams (1998)
22%

#122
Adjusted Score: 24462%
Critics Consensus: Syrupy performances and directing make this dramedy all too obvious.
Synopsis: After struggling with depression in a mental hospital, Hunter "Patch" Adams (Robin Williams) decides he wants to become a doctor.... [More]
Directed By: Tom Shadyac

#121
Adjusted Score: 26175%
Critics Consensus: Nature Calls in this Ace Ventura sequel, and it's answered by the law of diminishing returns.
Synopsis: Legendary pet detective Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) returns for another adventure when he's coerced out of retirement while on a... [More]
Directed By: Steve Oedekerk

#120

Double Jeopardy (1999)
27%

#120
Adjusted Score: 29426%
Critics Consensus: A talented cast fails to save this unremarkable thriller.
Synopsis: Framed for the murder of her husband, Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd) survives the long years in prison with two burning... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Beresford

#119

Hook (1991)
29%

#119
Adjusted Score: 32913%
Critics Consensus: The look of Hook is lively indeed but Steven Spielberg directs on autopilot here, giving in too quickly to his sentimental, syrupy qualities.
Synopsis: When his young children are abducted by his old nemesis, Capt. Hook (Dustin Hoffman), middle-aged lawyer Peter Banning (Robin Williams)... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#118

The Bodyguard (1992)
34%

#118
Adjusted Score: 37555%
Critics Consensus: The Bodyguard is a cheesy, melodramatic potboiler with occasional moments of electricity from Whitney Houston.
Synopsis: Best-selling pop diva Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston) has a stalker whose obsession has risen to the level of disturbing threats.... [More]
Directed By: Mick Jackson

#117

The Waterboy (1998)
34%

#117
Adjusted Score: 37915%
Critics Consensus: This is an insult to its genre with low humor and cheap gags.
Synopsis: Raised by his overprotective mother, Helen (Kathy Bates), Bobby Boucher Jr. (Adam Sandler) is the water boy for a successful... [More]
Directed By: Frank Coraci

#116
Adjusted Score: 39523%
Critics Consensus: A change of venue -- and more sentimentality and violence -- can't obscure the fact that Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a less inspired facsimile of its predecessor.
Synopsis: After snarky youth Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) loses track of his father at the airport, he mistakenly gets on a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#115
#115
Adjusted Score: 37556%
Critics Consensus: Lurid but acted with gusto, Indecent Proposal has difficulty keeping it up beyond its initial titillating premise.
Synopsis: David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana Murphy (Demi Moore) are a loving couple with a bright future. David is a talented... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Lyne

#114

Armageddon (1998)
38%

#114
Adjusted Score: 44955%
Critics Consensus: Lovely to look at but about as intelligent as the asteroid that serves as the movie's antagonist, Armageddon slickly sums up the cinematic legacies of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay.
Synopsis: When an asteroid threatens to collide with Earth, NASA honcho Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) determines the only way to... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#113

Eraser (1996)
39%

#113
Adjusted Score: 41651%
Critics Consensus: Eraser's shoot-'em-up action might show off some cutting edge weaponry, but its rote story is embarrassingly obsolete.
Synopsis: John "The Eraser" Kruger is the top gun in the US Marshall Witness Protection scheme; he erases their past and... [More]
Directed By: Charles Russell

#112

Batman Forever (1995)
38%

#112
Adjusted Score: 42282%
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

#111

Big Daddy (1999)
39%

#111
Adjusted Score: 42837%
Critics Consensus: Adam Sandler acquits himself admirably, but his charm isn't enough to make up for Big Daddy's jarring shifts between crude humor and mawkish sentimentality.
Synopsis: Thirty-two-year-old Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) has spent his whole life avoiding responsibility. But when his girlfriend dumps him for an... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Dugan

#110
Adjusted Score: 43699%
Critics Consensus: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is exactly as advertised: one-liners, brawls, and general silliness. Good for the young at heart, irritating for everyone else.
Synopsis: In New York, mysterious radioactive ooze has mutated four sewer turtles into talking, upright-walking, crime-fighting ninjas. The intrepid heroes --... [More]
Directed By: Steve Barron

#109

101 Dalmatians (1996)
41%

#109
Adjusted Score: 41649%
Critics Consensus: Neat performance from Glenn Close aside, 101 Dalmatians is a bland, pointless remake.
Synopsis: Fashion designer Anita and computer-game writer Roger meet, fall in love and marry along with their dalmatians Perdita and Pongo.... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#108

Dr. Dolittle (1998)
42%

#108
Adjusted Score: 44363%
Critics Consensus: Doctor Dolittle finds some mirth in the novelty of wisecracking critters, but this family feature's treacly tone is made queasy by a reliance on scatological gags that undercut the intended warmth.
Synopsis: After a fender bender, Dr. John Dolittle (Eddie Murphy) gets back his childhood ability to converse with animals. But the... [More]
Directed By: Betty Thomas

#107

Deep Impact (1998)
45%

#107
Adjusted Score: 46597%
Critics Consensus: A tidal wave of melodrama sinks Deep Impact's chance at being the memorable disaster flick it aspires to be.
Synopsis: A comet is hurtling toward Earth and could mean the end of all human life. The U.S. government keeps the... [More]
Directed By: Mimi Leder

#106

Runaway Bride (1999)
46%

#106
Adjusted Score: 48476%
Critics Consensus: Cliche story with lack of chemistry between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.
Synopsis: Having already left three grooms at the altar, Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts) is branded "the runaway bride" by jaded city... [More]
Directed By: Garry Marshall

#105
#105
Adjusted Score: 53226%
Critics Consensus: First Wives Club is headlined by a trio of comedic dynamos, but the script lets them down with tepid plotting and a fatal lack of satirical bite.
Synopsis: Despondent over the marriage of her ex-husband to a younger woman, a middle-aged divorcée plunges to her death from her... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Wilson

#104

Phenomenon (1996)
50%

#104
Adjusted Score: 51577%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On his birthday, mechanic George Malley (John Travolta) sees a flash of light and proceeds to exhibit extraordinary mental abilities.... [More]
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

#103

Casper (1995)
51%

#103
Adjusted Score: 53185%
Critics Consensus: A meandering, mindless family movie that frequently resorts to special effects and transparent sappiness.
Synopsis: Casper (voiced by Malachi Pearson) is a kind young ghost who peacefully haunts a mansion in Maine. When specialist James... [More]
Directed By: Brad Silberling

#102
Adjusted Score: 55019%
Critics Consensus: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves brings a wonderfully villainous Alan Rickman to this oft-adapted tale, but he's robbed by big-budget bombast and a muddled screenplay.
Synopsis: Nobleman crusader Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costner) breaks out of a Jerusalem prison with the help of Moorish fellow prisoner... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Reynolds

#101
Adjusted Score: 62039%
Critics Consensus: Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy -- albeit visually dazzling -- start.
Synopsis: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ; Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#100
Adjusted Score: 55632%
Critics Consensus: Provides lots of laughs with Myers at the healm; as funny or funnier than the original.
Synopsis: In his second screen adventure, British super spy Austin Powers must return to 1969, as arch-nemesis Dr. Evil has ventured... [More]
Directed By: Jay Roach

#99
#99
Adjusted Score: 57462%
Critics Consensus: Plagued by mediocre writing, uneven acting, and a fairly by-the-numbers plot, The World Is Not Enough is partially saved by some entertaining and truly Bond-worthy action sequences.
Synopsis: Bond (Pierce Brosnan) must race to defuse an international power struggle with the world's oil supply hanging in the balance.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#98

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
53%

#98
Adjusted Score: 55398%
Critics Consensus: Jet Li's arrival breathes fresh life into a tired franchise formula -- but not enough to put Lethal Weapon 4 on equal footing with its predecessors.
Synopsis: Detective Riggs (Mel Gibson) tries to settle down with his pregnant girlfriend, Lorna (Rene Russo), while his partner, Murtaugh (Danny... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#97
Adjusted Score: 56832%
Critics Consensus: The Lost World demonstrates how far CG effects have come in the four years since Jurassic Park; unfortunately, it also proves how difficult it can be to put together a truly compelling sequel.
Synopsis: John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) summons chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to his home with some startling information -- while... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#96
#96
Adjusted Score: 56137%
Critics Consensus: Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are a compelling team in the overlong Pelican Brief, a pulpy thriller that doesn't quite justify the intellectual remove of Alan J. Pakula's direction.
Synopsis: Taut thriller about a young law student whose legal brief about the assassination of two Supreme Court justices causes her... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#95

Basic Instinct (1992)
55%

#95
Adjusted Score: 60687%
Critics Consensus: Unevenly echoing the work of Alfred Hitchcock, Basic Instinct contains a star-making performance from Sharon Stone but is ultimately undone by its problematic, overly lurid plot.
Synopsis: The mysterious Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a beautiful crime novelist, becomes a suspect when she is linked to the brutal... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#94

Jumanji (1995)
55%

#94
Adjusted Score: 56952%
Critics Consensus: A feast for the eyes with a somewhat malnourished plot, Jumanji is an underachieving adventure that still offers a decent amount of fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: A magical board game unleashes a world of adventure on siblings Peter (Bradley Pierce) and Judy Shepherd (Kirsten Dunst). While... [More]
Directed By: Joe Johnston

#93

Pocahontas (1995)
55%

#93
Adjusted Score: 58350%
Critics Consensus: Pocahontas means well, and has moments of startling beauty, but it's largely a bland, uninspired effort, with uneven plotting and an unfortunate lack of fun.
Synopsis: This is the Disney animated tale of the romance between a young American Indian woman named Pocahontas (Irene Bedard) and... [More]

#92
#92
Adjusted Score: 56232%
Critics Consensus: George of the Jungle is faithful to its source material -- which, unfortunately, makes it a less-than-compelling feature film.
Synopsis: George (Brendan Fraser) has raised himself since since he was a baby and a plane crash stranded him in an... [More]
Directed By: Sam Weisman

#91

Con Air (1997)
56%

#91
Adjusted Score: 59935%
Critics Consensus: Con Air won't win any awards for believability - and all involved seem cheerfully aware of it, making some of this blockbuster action outing's biggest flaws fairly easy to forgive.
Synopsis: Just-paroled army ranger Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) is headed back to his wife (Monica Potter), but must fly home aboard... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 60729%
Critics Consensus: A competent, if sometimes by-the-numbers entry to the 007 franchise, Tomorrow Never Dies may not boast the most original plot but its action sequences are genuinely thrilling.
Synopsis: Media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) wants his news empire to reach every country on the globe, but the Chinese... [More]
Directed By: Roger Spottiswoode

#89
#89
Adjusted Score: 60298%
Critics Consensus: Charming characters; loads of fun for kids and adults.
Synopsis: This animated comedy finds Tommy Pickles (E.G. Daily) trying to return his baby brother to the hospital after being warned... [More]

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 63903%
Critics Consensus: Die Hard with a Vengeance benefits from Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson's barbed interplay, but clatters to a bombastic finish in a vain effort to cover for an overall lack of fresh ideas.
Synopsis: Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is now divorced, alcoholic and jobless after getting fired for his reckless behavior and bad... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#87

Twister (1996)
61%

#87
Adjusted Score: 63725%
Critics Consensus: A high-concept blockbuster that emphasizes special effects over three-dimensional characters, Twister's visceral thrills are often offset by the film's generic plot.
Synopsis: During the approach of the most powerful storm in decades, university professor Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) and an underfunded... [More]
Directed By: Jan de Bont

#86

Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
60%

#86
Adjusted Score: 63652%
Critics Consensus: Murtaugh and Riggs remain an appealing partnership, but Lethal Weapon 3 struggles to give them a worthy new adventure as it cranks up the camp along with the mean-spiritedness.
Synopsis: Veteran police detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is only days away from retiring when he and his tough partner, Martin... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#85

The Mummy (1999)
61%

#85
Adjusted Score: 65193%
Critics Consensus: It's difficult to make a persuasive argument for The Mummy as any kind of meaningful cinematic achievement, but it's undeniably fun to watch.
Synopsis: The Mummy is a rousing, suspenseful and horrifying epic about an expedition of treasure-seeking explorers in the Sahara Desert in... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Sommers

#84

Rush Hour (1998)
61%

#84
Adjusted Score: 63786%
Critics Consensus: A kick-ass addition to the cop-buddy film genre.
Synopsis: When a Chinese diplomat's daughter is kidnapped in Los Angeles, he calls in Hong Kong Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan)... [More]
Directed By: Brett Ratner

#83

American Pie (1999)
61%

#83
Adjusted Score: 66639%
Critics Consensus: So embarrassing it's believable, American Pie succeeds in bringing back the teen movie genre.
Synopsis: A riotous and raunchy exploration of the most eagerly anticipated -- and most humiliating -- rite of adulthood, known as... [More]
Directed By: Paul Weitz

#82
Adjusted Score: 67434%
Critics Consensus: Despite lacking some of the book's subtler shadings, and suffering from some clumsy casting, Interview with a Vampire benefits from Neil Jordan's atmospheric direction and a surfeit of gothic thrills.
Synopsis: Born as an 18th-century lord, Louis is now a bicentennial vampire, telling his story to an eager biographer. Suicidal after... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#81

Dick Tracy (1990)
63%

#81
Adjusted Score: 65696%
Critics Consensus: Dick Tracy is stylish, unique, and an undeniable technical triumph, but it ultimately struggles to rise above its two-dimensional artificiality.
Synopsis: Hard-boiled detective Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty) is searching for evidence that proves Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice is the city's most... [More]
Directed By: Warren Beatty

#80
#80
Adjusted Score: 69438%
Critics Consensus: Full of special effects, Brian DePalma's update of Mission: Impossible has a lot of sweeping spectacle, but the plot is sometimes convoluted.
Synopsis: When U.S. government operative Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his mentor, Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), go on a covert assignment... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#79
#79
Adjusted Score: 65940%
Critics Consensus: The Nutty Professor falls back on juvenile humor eagerly and often, but Eddie Murphy's consistently funny work in dual roles means more for audiences to love.
Synopsis: Brilliant and obese scientist Sherman Klump (Eddie Murphy) invents a miraculous weight-loss solution. After a date with chemistry student Carla... [More]
Directed By: Tom Shadyac

#78
#78
Adjusted Score: 68391%
Critics Consensus: The movie is peppered with amusing sight gags and one-liners, but the disjointed script doesn't cohere into a successful whole.
Synopsis: When a man (Christopher Lloyd) claiming to be Fester, the missing brother of Gomez Addams (Raul Julia), arrives at the... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

#77

Pretty Woman (1990)
65%

#77
Adjusted Score: 69175%
Critics Consensus: Pretty Woman may be a yuppie fantasy, but the film's slick comedy, soundtrack, and casting can overcome misgivings.
Synopsis: In this modern update on Cinderella, a prostitute and a wealthy businessman fall hard for one another, forming an unlikely... [More]
Directed By: Garry Marshall

#76

The Rock (1996)
68%

#76
Adjusted Score: 71940%
Critics Consensus: For visceral thrills, it can't be beat. Just don't expect The Rock to engage your brain.
Synopsis: FBI chemical warfare expert Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) is sent on an urgent mission with a former British spy, John... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#75

Contact (1997)
66%

#75
Adjusted Score: 70084%
Critics Consensus: Contact elucidates stirring scientific concepts and theological inquiry at the expense of satisfying storytelling, making for a brainy blockbuster that engages with its ideas, if not its characters.
Synopsis: In this Zemeckis-directed adaptation of the Carl Sagan novel, Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) races to interpret a possible message... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#74

Maverick (1994)
66%

#74
Adjusted Score: 69197%
Critics Consensus: It isn't terribly deep, but it's witty and undeniably charming, and the cast is obviously having fun.
Synopsis: This film update of the "Maverick" TV series finds the title cardsharp (Mel Gibson) hoping to join a poker contest... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#73

A Time to Kill (1996)
68%

#73
Adjusted Score: 70005%
Critics Consensus: Overlong and superficial, A Time to Kill nonetheless succeeds on the strength of its skillful craftsmanship and top-notch performances.
Synopsis: Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) is a heartbroken black father who avenges his daughter's brutal rape by shooting the... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#72

Stuart Little (1999)
67%

#72
Adjusted Score: 70988%
Critics Consensus: Critics say Stuart Little is charming with kids and adults for its humor and visual effects.
Synopsis: When the Littles go to an orphanage to adopt a new family member, a charming young mouse named Stuart is... [More]
Directed By: Rob Minkoff

#71

Independence Day (1996)
68%

#71
Adjusted Score: 71584%
Critics Consensus: The plot is thin and so is character development, but as a thrilling, spectacle-filled summer movie, Independence Day delivers.
Synopsis: In the epic adventure film "Independence Day," strange phenomena surface around the globe. The skies ignite. Terror races through the... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#70

Home Alone (1990)
68%

#70
Adjusted Score: 71393%
Critics Consensus: Home Alone uneven but frequently funny premise stretched unreasonably thin is buoyed by Macaulay Culkin's cute performance and strong supporting stars.
Synopsis: When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#69

Dumb & Dumber (1994)
68%

#69
Adjusted Score: 70196%
Critics Consensus: A relentlessly stupid comedy elevated by its main actors: Jim Carrey goes bonkers and Jeff Daniels carries himself admirably in an against-type performance.
Synopsis: Imbecilic best friends Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) stumble across a suitcase full of money left... [More]

#68

Analyze This (1999)
69%

#68
Adjusted Score: 73505%
Critics Consensus: Analyze This is a satisfying comedy with great performances by De Niro and Crystal.
Synopsis: When doctors tell a mob boss (Robert De Niro) that he is suffering from anxiety attacks, he seeks the help... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#67

Sleepy Hollow (1999)
69%

#67
Adjusted Score: 74380%
Critics Consensus: It isn't Tim Burton's best work, but Sleepy Hollow entertains with its stunning visuals and creepy atmosphere.
Synopsis: Set in 1799, "Sleepy Hollow" is based on Washington Irving's classic tale "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Faithful to the... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#66

Die Hard 2 (1990)
69%

#66
Adjusted Score: 72566%
Critics Consensus: It lacks the fresh thrills of its predecessor, but Die Hard 2 still works as an over-the-top -- and reasonably taut -- big-budget sequel, with plenty of set pieces to paper over the plot deficiencies.
Synopsis: A year after his heroics in L.A, detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is mixed up in another terrorist plot, this... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#65

You've Got Mail (1998)
70%

#65
Adjusted Score: 73756%
Critics Consensus: Great chemistry between the leads made this a warm and charming delight.
Synopsis: Struggling boutique bookseller Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) hates Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), the owner of a corporate Foxbooks chain store... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron

#64
Adjusted Score: 74009%
Critics Consensus: Disney's take on the Victor Hugo classic is dramatically uneven, but its strong visuals, dark themes, and message of tolerance make for a more-sophisticated-than-average children's film.
Synopsis: An animated Disney adventure follows disfigured Quasimodo (Tom Hulce), the bell-ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, who bides his time locked... [More]
Directed By: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

#63

Forrest Gump (1994)
71%

#63
Adjusted Score: 78314%
Critics Consensus: Forrest Gump may be an overly sentimental film with a somewhat problematic message, but its sweetness and charm are usually enough to approximate true depth and grace.
Synopsis: Slow-witted Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) has never thought of himself as disadvantaged, and thanks to his supportive mother (Sally Field),... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#62

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
72%

#62
Adjusted Score: 75137%
Critics Consensus: On paper, Mrs. Doubtfire might seem excessively broad or sentimental, but Robin Williams shines so brightly in the title role that the end result is difficult to resist.
Synopsis: Troubled that he has little access to his children, divorced Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) hatches an elaborate plan. With help... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#61

True Lies (1994)
70%

#61
Adjusted Score: 72197%
Critics Consensus: If it doesn't reach the heights of director James Cameron's and star Arnold Schwarzenegger's previous collaborations, True Lies still packs enough action and humor into its sometimes absurd plot to entertain.
Synopsis: Secretly a spy but thought by his family to be a dull salesman, Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is tracking down... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 76562%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining, topical thriller that finds director Tony Scott on solid form and Will Smith confirming his action headliner status.
Synopsis: Corrupt National Security Agency official Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight) has a congressman assassinated to assure the passage of expansive new... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#59

The Santa Clause (1994)
72%

#59
Adjusted Score: 75593%
Critics Consensus: The Santa Clause is utterly undemanding, but it's firmly rooted in the sort of good old-fashioned holiday spirit missing from too many modern yuletide films.
Synopsis: Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) has custody of his son (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a... [More]
Directed By: John Pasquin

#58
#58
Adjusted Score: 76486%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a charming performance from Julia Roberts and a subversive spin on the genre, My Best Friend's Wedding is a refreshingly entertaining romantic comedy.
Synopsis: Childhood friends Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) and Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney) had a deal to marry each other if they... [More]
Directed By: P.J. Hogan

#57

Sister Act (1992)
74%

#57
Adjusted Score: 75616%
Critics Consensus: Looking for a sweet musical comedy about a witness to a crime hiding out from killers in a convent? There's nun better than Sister Act.
Synopsis: When lively lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) sees her mobster beau, Vince LaRocca (Harvey Keitel), commit murder, she... [More]
Directed By: Emile Ardolino

#56

Ghost (1990)
75%

#56
Adjusted Score: 79523%
Critics Consensus: Ghost offers viewers a poignant romance while blending elements of comedy, horror, and mystery, all adding up to one of the more enduringly watchable hits of its era.
Synopsis: Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) is a banker, Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) is an artist, and the two are madly in... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Zucker

#55

Ransom (1996)
75%

#55
Adjusted Score: 79154%
Critics Consensus: Directed with propulsive intensity by Ron Howard, Ransom is a fiery thriller packed with hot-blooded performances and jolting twists.
Synopsis: Through a life of hard work, airline owner Tom Mullen (Mel Gibson) has amassed a great deal of wealth. When... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#54

The Firm (1993)
75%

#54
Adjusted Score: 79525%
Critics Consensus: The Firm is a big studio thriller that amusingly tears apart the last of 1980s boardroom culture and the false securities it represented.
Synopsis: A young lawyer joins a small but prestigious law firm only to find out that most of their clients are... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 79816%
Critics Consensus: Sleepless in Seattle is a cute classic with a very light touch and real chemistry between the two leads -- even when spending an entire movie apart.
Synopsis: After the death of his wife, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) moves to Seattle with his son, Jonah (Ross Mallinger). When... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron

#52

The Mask (1994)
79%

#52
Adjusted Score: 82197%
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: Charles Russell

#51

The Green Mile (1999)
78%

#51
Adjusted Score: 83890%
Critics Consensus: Though The Green Mile is long, critics say it's an absorbing, emotionally powerful experience.
Synopsis: Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) walked the mile with a variety of cons. He had never encountered someone like John Coffey... [More]
Directed By: Frank Darabont

#50

Air Force One (1997)
78%

#50
Adjusted Score: 80411%
Critics Consensus: This late-period Harrison Ford actioner is full of palpable, if not entirely seamless, thrills.
Synopsis: After making a speech in Moscow vowing to never negotiate with terrorists, President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) boards Air Force... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#49

GoldenEye (1995)
79%

#49
Adjusted Score: 84370%
Critics Consensus: The first and best Pierce Brosnan Bond film, GoldenEye brings the series into a more modern context, and the result is a 007 entry that's high-tech, action-packed, and urbane.
Synopsis: When a powerful satellite system falls into the hands of Alec Trevelyan, AKA Agent 006 (Sean Bean), a former ally-turned-enemy,... [More]
Directed By: Martin Campbell

#48

Wayne's World (1992)
79%

#48
Adjusted Score: 85623%
Critics Consensus: An oddball comedy that revels in its silliness and memorable catch phrases, Wayne's World is also fondly regarded because of its endearing characters.
Synopsis: A big screen spin-off of the "Saturday Night Live" skit. Rob Lowe plays a producer that wants to take the... [More]
Directed By: Penelope Spheeris

#47

Scream (1996)
79%

#47
Adjusted Score: 83871%
Critics Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
Synopsis: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 85172%
Critics Consensus: Sentimental and light, but still thoroughly charming, A League of Their Own is buoyed by solid performances from a wonderful cast.
Synopsis: As America's stock of athletic young men is depleted during World War II, a professional all-female baseball league springs up... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 83756%
Critics Consensus: The Prince of Egypt's stunning visuals and first-rate voice cast more than compensate for the fact that it's better crafted than it is emotionally involving.
Synopsis: In this animated retelling of the Book of Exodus, Egyptian Prince Moses (Val Kilmer), upon discovering his roots as a... [More]

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 82563%
Critics Consensus: Perfecting the formula established in earlier installments, Clear and Present Danger reunites its predecessor's creative core to solidly entertaining effect.
Synopsis: Agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) becomes acting deputy director of the CIA when Admiral Greer (James Earl Jones) is diagnosed... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#43

Batman Returns (1992)
80%

#43
Adjusted Score: 87238%
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

#42

The Birdcage (1996)
81%

#42
Adjusted Score: 83794%
Critics Consensus: Mike Nichols wrangles agreeably amusing performances from Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in this fun, if not quite essential, remake of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles.
Synopsis: In this remake of the classic French farce "La Cage aux Folles," engaged couple Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) and Barbara... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#41

Seven (1995)
82%

#41
Adjusted Score: 86447%
Critics Consensus: A brutal, relentlessly grimy shocker with taut performances, slick gore effects, and a haunting finale.
Synopsis: When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#40

Scream 2 (1997)
81%

#40
Adjusted Score: 86056%
Critics Consensus: As with the first film, Scream 2 is a gleeful takedown of scary movie conventions that manages to poke fun at terrible horror sequels without falling victim to the same fate.
Synopsis: Sydney (Neve Campbell) and tabloid reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) survived the events of the first "Scream," but their nightmare... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#39

Liar Liar (1997)
82%

#39
Adjusted Score: 85636%
Critics Consensus: Despite its thin plot, Liar Liar is elevated by Jim Carrey's exuberant brand of physical humor, and the result is a laugh riot that helped to broaden the comedian's appeal.
Synopsis: Conniving attorney Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey) is an ace in the courtroom, but his dishonesty and devotion to work ruin... [More]
Directed By: Tom Shadyac

#38

Total Recall (1990)
82%

#38
Adjusted Score: 87436%
Critics Consensus: Under Paul Verhoeven's frenetic direction, Total Recall is a fast-paced rush of violence, gore, and humor that never slacks.
Synopsis: Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a bored construction worker in the year 2084 who dreams of visiting the colonized Mars.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 86306%
Critics Consensus: While it's fueled in part by outdated stereotypes, Driving Miss Daisy takes audiences on a heartwarming journey with a pair of outstanding actors.
Synopsis: Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy), an elderly Jewish widow living in Atlanta, is determined to maintain her independence. However, when she... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Beresford

#36

Notting Hill (1999)
83%

#36
Adjusted Score: 87296%
Critics Consensus: A rom-com with the right ingredients, Notting Hill proves there's nothing like a love story well told -- especially when Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts are your leads.
Synopsis: William Thacker (Hugh Grant) is a London bookstore owner whose humdrum existence is thrown into romantic turmoil when famous American... [More]
Directed By: Roger Michell

#35
Adjusted Score: 87433%
Critics Consensus: There's Something About Mary proves that unrelentingly, unabashedly peurile humor doesn't necessarily come at the expense of a film's heart.
Synopsis: Ted's (Ben Stiller) dream prom date with Mary (Cameron Diaz) never happens due to an embarrassing injury at her home.... [More]

#34

Jerry Maguire (1996)
84%

#34
Adjusted Score: 89300%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by dazzling performances from Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Renée Zellweger, as well as Cameron Crowe's tender direction, Jerry Maguire meshes romance and sports with panache.
Synopsis: When slick sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has a crisis of conscience, he pens a heartfelt company-wide memo that... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#33

A Few Good Men (1992)
83%

#33
Adjusted Score: 88395%
Critics Consensus: An old-fashioned courtroom drama with a contemporary edge, A Few Good Men succeeds on the strength of its stars, with Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and especially Jack Nicholson delivering powerful performances that more than compensate for the predictable plot.
Synopsis: Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is a military lawyer defending two U.S. Marines charged with killing a fellow Marine at... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 87614%
Critics Consensus: Dances with Wolves suffers from a simplistic view of the culture it attempts to honor, but the end result remains a stirring western whose noble intentions are often matched by its epic grandeur.
Synopsis: A Civil War soldier develops a relationship with a band of Lakota Indians. Attracted by the simplicity of their lifestyle,... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Costner

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 89981%
Critics Consensus: James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson, doing what they do best, combine smart dialogue and flawless acting to squeeze fresh entertainment value out of the romantic-comedy genre.
Synopsis: Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is an obsessive-compulsive writer of romantic fiction who's rude to everyone he meets, including his gay... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#30

The Sixth Sense (1999)
86%

#30
Adjusted Score: 93232%
Critics Consensus: M Night Shayamalan's The Sixth Sense is a twisty ghost story with all the style of a classical Hollywood picture, but all the chills of a modern horror flick.
Synopsis: Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is haunted by a dark secret: he is visited by ghosts. Cole is frightened... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 93484%
Critics Consensus: Full of creepy campfire scares, mock-doc The Blair Witch Project keeps audiences in the dark about its titular villain, proving once more that imagination can be as scary as anything onscreen.
Synopsis: Found video footage tells the tale of three film students (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams) who've traveled to... [More]

#28

Mulan (1998)
86%

#28
Adjusted Score: 90110%
Critics Consensus: Exploring themes of family duty and honor, Mulan breaks new ground as a Disney film, while still bringing vibrant animation and sprightly characters to the screen.
Synopsis: Fearful that her ailing father will be drafted into the Chinese military, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) takes his spot -- though,... [More]
Directed By: Barry Cook, Tony Bancroft

#27

American Beauty (1999)
87%

#27
Adjusted Score: 94772%
Critics Consensus: Flawlessly cast and brimming with dark, acid wit, American Beauty is a smart, provocative high point of late '90s mainstream Hollywood film.
Synopsis: Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is a gainfully employed suburban husband and father. Fed up with his boring, stagnant existence, he... [More]
Directed By: Sam Mendes

#26

The Matrix (1999)
88%

#26
Adjusted Score: 95178%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the Wachowskis' imaginative vision, The Matrix is a smartly crafted combination of spectacular action and groundbreaking special effects.
Synopsis: Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can... [More]

#25

Tarzan (1999)
89%

#25
Adjusted Score: 92402%
Critics Consensus: Disney's Tarzan takes the well-known story to a new level with spirited animation, a brisk pace, and some thrilling action set-pieces..
Synopsis: In this Disney animated tale, the orphaned Tarzan (Tony Goldwyn) grows up in the remote African wilderness, raised by the... [More]
Directed By: Chris Buck, Kevin Lima

#24

Titanic (1997)
89%

#24
Adjusted Score: 101430%
Critics Consensus: A mostly unqualified triumph for James Cameron, who offers a dizzying blend of spectacular visuals and old-fashioned melodrama.
Synopsis: James Cameron's "Titanic" is an epic, action-packed romance set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic; the pride... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 92350%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly cast and packed with suspense, The Hunt for Red October is an old-fashioned submarine thriller with plenty of firepower to spare.
Synopsis: Based on the popular Tom Clancy novel, this suspenseful movie tracks Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) as he... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#22

City Slickers (1991)
91%

#22
Adjusted Score: 92853%
Critics Consensus: With a supremely talented cast and just enough midlife drama to add weight to its wildly silly overtones, City Slickers uses universal themes to earn big laughs.
Synopsis: Every year, three friends take a vacation away from their wives. This year, henpecked Phil (Daniel Stern), newly married Ed... [More]
Directed By: Ron Underwood

#21

Jurassic Park (1993)
92%

#21
Adjusted Score: 102600%
Critics Consensus: Jurassic Park is a spectacle of special effects and life-like animatronics, with some of Spielberg's best sequences of sustained awe and sheer terror since Jaws.
Synopsis: In Steven Spielberg's massive blockbuster, paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#20

A Bug's Life (1998)
92%

#20
Adjusted Score: 96756%
Critics Consensus: A Bug's Life is a rousing adventure that blends animated thrills with witty dialogue and memorable characters - and another smashing early success for Pixar.
Synopsis: Flik (Dave Foley) is an inventive ant who's always messing things up for his colony. His latest mishap was destroying... [More]

#19

Men in Black (1997)
92%

#19
Adjusted Score: 97654%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a smart script, spectacular set pieces, and charismatic performances from its leads, Men in Black is an entirely satisfying summer blockbuster hit.
Synopsis: They are the best-kept secret in the universe. Working for a highly funded yet unofficial government agency, Kay (Tommy Lee... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

#18

Face/Off (1997)
92%

#18
Adjusted Score: 96505%
Critics Consensus: John Travolta and Nicolas Cage play cat-and-mouse (and literally play each other) against a beautifully stylized backdrop of typically elegant, over-the-top John Woo violence.
Synopsis: Obsessed with bringing terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) to justice, FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) tracks down Troy, who... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 100119%
Critics Consensus: Endlessly witty, visually rapturous, and sweetly romantic, Shakespeare in Love is a delightful romantic comedy that succeeds on nearly every level.
Synopsis: "Shakespeare in Love" is a romantic comedy for the 1990s set in the 1590s. It imaginatively unfolds the witty, sexy... [More]
Directed By: John Madden

#16

Pulp Fiction (1994)
92%

#16
Adjusted Score: 98552%
Critics Consensus: One of the most influential films of the 1990s, Pulp Fiction is a delirious post-modern mix of neo-noir thrills, pitch-black humor, and pop-culture touchstones.
Synopsis: Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are hitmen with a penchant for philosophical discussions. In this... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#15

The Lion King (1994)
93%

#15
Adjusted Score: 101779%
Critics Consensus: Emotionally stirring, richly drawn, and beautifully animated, The Lion King is a pride within Disney's pantheon of classic family films.
Synopsis: This Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), the heir of his father,... [More]
Directed By: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff

#14
Adjusted Score: 98521%
Critics Consensus: T2 features thrilling action sequences and eye-popping visual effects, but what takes this sci-fi/ action landmark to the next level is the depth of the human (and cyborg) characters.
Synopsis: In this sequel set eleven years after "The Terminator," young John Connor (Edward Furlong), the key to civilization's victory over... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 101378%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by another winning performance from Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg's unflinchingly realistic war film virtually redefines the genre.
Synopsis: Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 103577%
Critics Consensus: Enchanting, sweepingly romantic, and featuring plenty of wonderful musical numbers, Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney's most elegant animated offerings.
Synopsis: An arrogant young prince (Robby Benson) and his castle's servants fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, who turns... [More]
Directed By: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

#11

Speed (1994)
94%

#11
Adjusted Score: 98622%
Critics Consensus: A terrific popcorn thriller, Speed is taut, tense, and energetic, with outstanding performances from Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, and Sandra Bullock.
Synopsis: Los Angeles police officer Jack (Keanu Reeves) angers retired bomb squad member Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) by foiling his attempt... [More]
Directed By: Jan de Bont

#10

Aladdin (1992)
95%

#10
Adjusted Score: 100274%
Critics Consensus: A highly entertaining entry in Disney's renaissance era," Aladdin is beautifully drawn, with near-classic songs and a cast of scene-stealing characters.
Synopsis: When street rat Aladdin frees a genie from a lamp, he finds his wishes granted. However, he soon finds that... [More]
Directed By: Ron Clements, John Musker

#9

The Truman Show (1998)
95%

#9
Adjusted Score: 101732%
Critics Consensus: A funny, tender, and thought-provoking film, The Truman Show is all the more noteworthy for its remarkably prescient vision of runaway celebrity culture and a nation with an insatiable thirst for the private details of ordinary lives.
Synopsis: He doesn't know it, but everything in Truman Burbank's (Jim Carrey) life is part of a massive TV set. Executive... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 100882%
Critics Consensus: A straightforward thriller of the highest order, In the Line of Fire benefits from Wolfgang Peterson's taut direction and charismatic performances from Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich.
Synopsis: A Secret Service agent is taunted by calls from a would-be killer who has detailed information about the agent -... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#7

The Fugitive (1993)
96%

#7
Adjusted Score: 102754%
Critics Consensus: Exhilarating and intense, this high-impact chase thriller is a model of taut and efficient formula filmmaking, and it features Harrison Ford at his frantic best.
Synopsis: Wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) escapes from the law in an attempt to find her... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Davis

#6

Apollo 13 (1995)
96%

#6
Adjusted Score: 101224%
Critics Consensus: In recreating the troubled space mission, Apollo 13 pulls no punches: it's a masterfully told drama from director Ron Howard, bolstered by an ensemble of solid performances.
Synopsis: This Hollywood drama is based on the events of the Apollo 13 lunar mission, astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 104402%
Critics Consensus: Director Jonathan Demme's smart, taut thriller teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Synopsis: Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#4

Unforgiven (1992)
96%

#4
Adjusted Score: 105273%
Critics Consensus: As both director and star, Clint Eastwood strips away decades of Hollywood varnish applied to the Wild West, and emerges with a series of harshly eloquent statements about the nature of violence.
Synopsis: When prostitute Delilah Fitzgerald (Anna Thomson) is disfigured by a pair of cowboys in Big Whiskey, Wyoming, her fellow brothel... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 101368%
Critics Consensus: It follows a predictable narrative arc, but Good Will Hunting adds enough quirks to the journey -- and is loaded with enough powerful performances -- that it remains an entertaining, emotionally rich drama.
Synopsis: Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#2

Toy Story (1995)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 106146%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining as it is innovative, Toy Story reinvigorated animation while heralding the arrival of Pixar as a family-friendly force to be reckoned with.
Synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks), a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy named Andy (John Morris), sees his position... [More]
Directed By: John Lasseter

#1

Toy Story 2 (1999)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107741%
Critics Consensus: The rare sequel that arguably improves on its predecessor, Toy Story 2 uses inventive storytelling, gorgeous animation, and a talented cast to deliver another rich moviegoing experience for all ages.
Synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks) is stolen from his home by toy dealer Al McWhiggin (Wayne Knight), leaving Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen)... [More]

(Photo by DreamWorks Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)

All George Clooney Movies Ranked

Having the #1 TV show to fall back on when starting a movie career was a good thing for George Clooney, especially when he was alternately starring in groovy, off-beat genre flicks (From Dusk till Dawn, Out of Sight) and helping destroy a comic book franchise (Batman & Robin). But by 1999, Clooney was ready to cut the cord on ER, paving the way for immediate movie breakthroughs in comedy (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), blockbusters (Ocean’s Eleven), and even as a director himself, with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which we’re including on this list because he also stars.

As seen beginning with Confessions, the cross-section of politics and media would be a driving concern for Clooney’s acting choices, such as Syriana, Michael Clayton, The Ides of March, Money Monster, and Good Night, and Good Luck. Yet he also switches to the broad buffoon with ease, especially with the Coen brothers, as in O Brother, Burn After Reading, and Hail, Caesar!. Somewhere in between this Bawdy George and Serious George, you’ll find material that has drawn Clooney some of his highest marks: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up In the Air, and The Descendants, the latter two for which he was Best Actor Oscar-nominated.

Up until directing himself in 2020’s The Midnight Sky, Clooney hadn’t appeared in a narrative feature since 2016. Meanwhile, he got top billing in Grizzly II: Revenge, a film shot in 1983 that wasn’t completed and released until 2021. Will the movie finally restore Clooney’s rightful original career path as horror movie maven? We’ll just have to wait an see — until then, we’re looking back on all George Clooney movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#36
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The insane Dr. Gangrene develops a new strain of violent vegetable in this sequel to the 1977 cult classic.... [More]
Directed By: John De Bello

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 8271%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: All hell breaks loose when a 15-ft grizzly bear, reacting to the slaughter of her cub by poachers, seeks revenge... [More]
Directed By: Andre Szots

#34

Batman & Robin (1997)
12%

#34
Adjusted Score: 17028%
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

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 40936%
Critics Consensus: Its intentions are noble and its cast is impressive, but neither can compensate for The Monuments Men's stiffly nostalgic tone and curiously slack narrative.
Synopsis: During World War II, the Nazis steal countless pieces of art and hide them away. Some over-the-hill art scholars, historians,... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#32

The Good German (2006)
34%

#32
Adjusted Score: 39241%
Critics Consensus: Though Steven Soderbergh succeeds in emulating the glossy look of 1940s noirs, The Good German ultimately ends up as a self-conscious exercise in style that forgets to develop compelling characters.
Synopsis: Jake Geismar (George Clooney), an Army correspondent, helps his former lover, Lena Brandt (Cate Blanchett), comb post-World War II Berlin... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 50982%
Critics Consensus: While the special effects are well done and quite impressive, this film suffers from any actual drama or characterization. The end result is a film that offers nifty eye-candy and nothing else.
Synopsis: Based on a true story, the film tells of the courageous men and women who risk their lives every working... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#30

Tomorrowland (2015)
50%

#30
Adjusted Score: 61476%
Critics Consensus: Ambitious and visually stunning, Tomorrowland is unfortunately weighted down by uneven storytelling.
Synopsis: Whenever Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) touches a lapel pin with the letter T on it, she finds herself transported to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#29

The Midnight Sky (2020)
50%

#29
Adjusted Score: 67215%
Critics Consensus: The Midnight Sky lacks the dramatic heft to match its narrative scale, but its flaws are often balanced by thoughtful themes and a poignant performance from director-star George Clooney.
Synopsis: A lone scientist in the Arctic races to contact a crew of astronauts returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#28
Adjusted Score: 58922%
Critics Consensus: Though The Men Who Stare at Goats is a mostly entertaining, farcical glimpse of men at war, some may find its satire and dark humor less than edgy.
Synopsis: Struggling reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) gets the scoop of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), who... [More]
Directed By: Grant Heslov

#27

One Fine Day (1996)
51%

#27
Adjusted Score: 52506%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Melanie Parker (Michelle Pfeiffer) is an architect who needs to give a very important presentation. Jack Taylor (George Clooney) is... [More]
Directed By: Michael Hoffman

#26

Leatherheads (2008)
52%

#26
Adjusted Score: 57622%
Critics Consensus: Despite a good premise and strong cast, this pro football romcom is half screwball and half fumble.
Synopsis: Dodge Connolly (George Clooney), captain of a 1920s football team, wants to give the sagging sport a boost and capture... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#25

Ocean's Twelve (2004)
54%

#25
Adjusted Score: 60689%
Critics Consensus: While some have found the latest star-studded heist flick to be a fun, glossy star vehicle, others declare it's lazy, self-satisfied and illogical.
Synopsis: After successfully robbing five casinos in one night, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his crew of thieves have big problems.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 56540%
Critics Consensus: Contains some funny moments, but it's still a very lightweight comedy.
Synopsis: Five hapless misfits from the hard-luck streets of Cleveland band together to try and pull off the greatest job they've... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#23

Money Monster (2016)
59%

#23
Adjusted Score: 77023%
Critics Consensus: Money Monster's strong cast and solidly written story ride a timely wave of socioeconomic anger that's powerful enough to overcome an occasionally muddled approach to its worthy themes.
Synopsis: Lee Gates is a Wall Street guru who picks hot stocks as host of the television show "Money Monster." Suddenly,... [More]
Directed By: Jodie Foster

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 64581%
Critics Consensus: A pulpy crime drama/vampire film hybrid, From Dusk Till Dawn is an uneven but often deliriously enjoyable B-movie.
Synopsis: On the run from a bank robbery that left several police officers dead, Seth Gecko (George Clooney) and his paranoid,... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#21

The American (2010)
66%

#21
Adjusted Score: 73593%
Critics Consensus: As beautifully shot as it is emotionally restrained, The American is an unusually divisive spy thriller -- and one that rests on an unusually subdued performance from George Clooney.
Synopsis: When an assignment in Sweden ends badly, master assassin Jack (George Clooney) retreats to the Italian countryside with the intention... [More]
Directed By: Anton Corbijn

#20

Solaris (2002)
66%

#20
Adjusted Score: 72962%
Critics Consensus: Slow-moving, cerebral, and ambiguous, Solaris is not a movie for everyone, but it offers intriguing issues to ponder.
Synopsis: Based on the classic science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem, "Solaris" centers on a psychologist (George Clooney) sent to investigate... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#19

Ocean's Thirteen (2007)
69%

#19
Adjusted Score: 77666%
Critics Consensus: Ocean's Thirteen reverts to the formula of the first installment, and the result is another slick and entertaining heist film.
Synopsis: Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his gang hatch an ambitious plot for revenge after ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Al... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#18

Syriana (2005)
73%

#18
Adjusted Score: 79849%
Critics Consensus: Ambitious, complicated, intellectual, and demanding of its audience, Syriana is both a gripping geopolitical thriller and wake-up call to the complacent.
Synopsis: The Middle Eastern oil industry is the backdrop of this tense drama, which weaves together numerous story lines. Bennett Holiday... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Gaghan

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 81382%
Critics Consensus: Though more mainstream than other Coen films, there are still funny oddball touches, and Clooney and Zeta-Jones sizzle like old-time movie stars.
Synopsis: Miles Massey (George Clooney) is an exceptional divorce lawyer who specializes in saving cheating husbands from having to pay expensive... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 88209%
Critics Consensus: With Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers have crafted another clever comedy/thriller with an outlandish plot and memorable characters.
Synopsis: When a disc containing memoirs of a former CIA analyst (John Malkovich) falls into the hands of Linda Litzke (Frances... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#15
Adjusted Score: 82824%
Critics Consensus: Though not as good as Coen brothers' classics such as Blood Simple, the delightfully loopy O Brother, Where Art Thou? is still a lot of fun.
Synopsis: Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) is having difficulty adjusting to his hard-labor sentence in Mississippi. He scams his way off... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#14
Adjusted Score: 83261%
Critics Consensus: Rockwell is spot-on as Barris, and Clooney directs with entertaining style and flair.
Synopsis: Game show television producer Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) is at the height of his career. His creation, "The Dating Game,"... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 85726%
Critics Consensus: The Thin Red Line is a daringly philosophical World War II film with an enormous cast of eager stars.
Synopsis: In 1942, Private Witt (Jim Caviezel) is a U.S. Army absconder living peacefully with the locals of a small South... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 92727%
Critics Consensus: While not exactly exposing revelatory truths, The Ides of March is supremely well-acted drama that moves at a measured, confident clip.
Synopsis: As Ohio's Democratic primary nears, charming Gov. Mike Morris (George Clooney) seems a shoo-in for the nomination over his opponent,... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#11

Ocean's Eleven (2001)
83%

#11
Adjusted Score: 90209%
Critics Consensus: As fast-paced, witty, and entertaining as it is star-studded and coolly stylish, Ocean's Eleven offers a well-seasoned serving of popcorn entertainment.
Synopsis: Dapper Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is a man of action. Less than 24 hours into his parole from a New... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#10

Hail, Caesar! (2016)
85%

#10
Adjusted Score: 108008%
Critics Consensus: Packed with period detail and perfectly cast, Hail, Caesar! finds the Coen brothers delivering an agreeably lightweight love letter to post-war Hollywood.
Synopsis: In the early 1950s, Eddie Mannix is busy at work trying to solve all the problems of the actors and... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#9

The Descendants (2011)
87%

#9
Adjusted Score: 96589%
Critics Consensus: Funny, moving, and beautifully acted, The Descendants captures the unpredictable messiness of life with eloquence and uncommon grace.
Synopsis: Native islander Matt King (George Clooney) lives with his family in Hawaii. Their world shatters when a tragic accident leaves... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Payne

#8

Up in the Air (2009)
90%

#8
Adjusted Score: 102108%
Critics Consensus: Led by charismatic performances by its three leads, director Jason Reitman delivers a smart blend of humor and emotion with just enough edge for mainstream audiences.
Synopsis: An idea from a young, new co-worker (Anna Kendrick) would put an end to the constant travel of corporate downsizer... [More]
Directed By: Jason Reitman

#7

Michael Clayton (2007)
91%

#7
Adjusted Score: 98809%
Critics Consensus: Michael Clayton is one of the most sharply scripted films of 2007, with an engrossing premise and faultless acting. Director Tony Gilroy succeeds not only in capturing the audience's attention, but holding it until the credits roll.
Synopsis: Former prosecutor Michael Clayton (George Clooney) works as a "fixer" at the corporate law firm of Kenner, Bach and Ledeen,... [More]
Directed By: Tony Gilroy

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 102151%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#5
Adjusted Score: 102101%
Critics Consensus: A passionate and concise cinematic civics lesson, Good Night, And Good Luck has plenty to say about today's political and cultural climate, and its ensemble cast is stellar.
Synopsis: When Senator Joseph McCarthy begins his foolhardy campaign to root out Communists in America, CBS News impresario Edward R. Murrow... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#4

Out of Sight (1998)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 97885%
Critics Consensus: Steven Soderbergh's intelligently crafted adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel is witty, sexy, suprisingly entertaining, and a star-making turn for George Clooney.
Synopsis: Meet Jack Foley (George Clooney), the most successful bank robber in the country. On the day he busts out of... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#3

Three Kings (1999)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 98635%
Critics Consensus: Three Kings successfully blends elements of action, drama, and comedy into a thoughtful, exciting movie on the Gulf War.
Synopsis: Just after the end of the Gulf War, four American soldiers decide to steal a cache of Saddam Hussein's hidden... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#2

Gravity (2013)
96%

#2
Adjusted Score: 109985%
Critics Consensus: Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity is an eerie, tense sci-fi thriller that's masterfully directed and visually stunning.
Synopsis: Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission. Her commander is veteran astronaut Matt... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#1

Fail Safe (2000)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 22155%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During the 1960s, a computer error in Nebraska unwittingly sets off a perilous chain of events leading to a Cold... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Frears

(Photo by Warner Bros/Everett Collection)

All Batman Movies Ranked

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. These days he’s playing nice with the Justice League, while awaiting transformation as Robert Pattinson slips on the cowl for 2021’s 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.)

#14

Batman & Robin (1997)
12%

#14
Adjusted Score: 17028%
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

#13
Adjusted Score: 56047%
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

#12

Batman Forever (1995)
38%

#12
Adjusted Score: 42282%
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

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 40727%
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

#10

Justice League (2017)
40%

#10
Adjusted Score: 69877%
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

#9

Batman (1989)
71%

#9
Adjusted Score: 77470%
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

#8
Adjusted Score: 86825%
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

#7

Batman (1966)
79%

#7
Adjusted Score: 81680%
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

#6

Batman Returns (1992)
80%

#6
Adjusted Score: 87238%
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

#5
Adjusted Score: 86105%
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: ... [More]
Directed By: Eric Radomski

#4

Batman Begins (2005)
84%

#4
Adjusted Score: 95916%
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

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 103502%
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

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 112598%
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

#1

The Dark Knight (2008)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107468%
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

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.

Warner Bros. Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, and Netflix

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, and Netflix)

“Know Your Critic” is a column in which we interview Tomatometer-approved critics about their screening and reviewing habits, pet peeves, and personal favorites.

Amélie is the film Carlos Aguilar has seen more than any other – and he never would’ve seen it, if not for a critic who endorsed the film on television when he was a kid.

“When it first was released, I was still living in Mexico City and I was very young, maybe 11 or 12,” he told Rotten Tomatoes in an interview. Horacio Villalobos was a film critic on TV at the time, and Aguilar watched his program “religiously.”

“He talked about this French movie that he really loved and that was only playing in a few theaters in Mexico City. It was because he recommended it very passionately that my mom took me to see Amélie,” Aguilar said. “It wouldn’t have been on my radar if that critic hadn’t recommended it.”

Now, Aguilar is a film critic and writer himself, with work published in the Los Angeles Times, TheWrap, and Remezcla. His reviews appear on Rotten Tomatoes alongside those of critics he admires – such as Justin Chang of the LA Times, Eric Kohn of IndieWire, and Claudia Puig, President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. He admires both their writing and their commitment to supporting up-and-coming critics.

“That’s usually what connects great writers – they tend to be also great people outside of the writing,” Aguilar said.” They want more diverse voices to be part of the conversation. It’s not only about them, but about bringing in others and growing the field.”

Carlos Aguilar is a freelance critic and film writer based in Los Angeles, CA.


What’s your favorite childhood film?

I was always very much an animation, Disney kid. I remember loving The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast and those classic Disney films. Those were the ones that I watched as a kid. Now, I know that they’re considered bad, but the Batman movies from the ’90s – I think it was Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. I was big on those movies. Re-watching them now, it’s cringe-y – but back when I was a kid, I loved those movies.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about critics?

That we like to antagonize the general public. I feel like audiences sometimes feel like there are movies “for” critics and movies “for” audiences, which is completely a lie because critics are themselves part of the audience.

Sometimes the figure of the critic has been seen as an intellectual, unapproachable and pretentious person that only likes a certain type of movie. That’s what some people in the audience see as a critic. They feel like if a critic likes a certain type of movie, that that’s not what the audience would like – that divide between the audience and the critic is the big misconception.

There’s critics that like all types of film and not all critics like the same type of thing or agree on the same thing or disagree on the same things. The misconception is that people believe that the critics are looking for the films that audiences are not going to like and that we want to go against the grain or against popular taste.

What’s your favorite classic film?

There’s a Mexican film called Macario from 1960. It’s black and white and it was the first movie from Mexico that was nominated for the Oscar for best foreign language film. We have this beautiful cinematographer, Gabriel Figueroa, who’s one of Mexico’s most beloved, admired cinematographers from that era. It’s like if I can describe it in simple terms, it’s like A Christmas Carol that’s set in Mexican colonial times on the eve of Day of the Dead.


Sony Pictures Classics

(Photo by Sony Pictures Classics)

What’s Rotten thing you love?

Pedro Almodóvar’s I’m So Excited – in Spanish it’s Los Amantes Pasajeros. It’s generally considered one of his worst, at least in recent years. But I remember watching it and finding it hilarious and engaging.

I don’t want to say that the reason is entirely because there’s things that get lost in translation, but… There’s a lot of phrases there that are just hilarious and I also admire that it’s a movie that takes place entirely on a plane… it’s over the top and it’s raunchy. The things that you love in an Almodóvar, but in a more absurd way.

It doesn’t always work, and perhaps there’s many reasons why people don’t find it an artistic accomplishment, but I always have fun quoting lines from it or re-watching it.

What do you consider required viewing?

I think I’m going to say Krzysztof Kieślowski’s The Decalogue, which is this 10-part series of 1-hour films or episodes that were made for Polish television in the late 1980s. Each of them deals in a very abstract way with one of the 10 Commandments…

Just the fact that he was able to create 10 stand-alone pieces of cinema that somehow relate to each other in ways that are not obvious and that have this moral ambiguity… All of them are very subdued and written in a way that doesn’t have easy answers. It’s not black and white.

You saw 40 films at Sundance this year. What is your personal record for the most movies you’ve watched in a day?

I definitely don’t recommend it, but at Sundance I saw five films in a row one day this year. To me, that’s a test of endurance. But also, for you to watch that many films consecutively at a festival, the stars have to align. The times have to be right – you have to be at the right place, the shuttles have to be on time.


What are you most proud of in your career so far?

Honestly, that I’m still doing it. It’s not a flashy, glamorous profession as some may think, especially if you’re a freelancer like myself. It’s always a constant battle to get work, to get access, to make a living writing.

In my particular case, being an immigrant, being a DACA recipient, oftentimes people in my circumstances or from my background don’t see themselves in careers like film criticism – which is so far-fetched, so unreachable to work in a field that is often seen to be reserved for a certain type of person with a certain type of education. For me to be here, to have a voice in this industry, I feel like I’m very proud that somehow… if someone can feel that if I’m doing it, they can also be doing it. I feel like that’s always a victory.

Do you have any advice for critics who are still finding their voice?

I think that opening up yourself to watching movies that you assume you’re not going to like is a good way to see what your taste is, see what it is that you really react to. What are the things that you find yourself not liking or liking about a certain movie? I feel like that really opens up your cinematic taste buds. It just gives you a wider palette of the things you’ve seen.

Is there an up-and-coming critic that you want people to check out?

Yeah, there is a young Latina critic. Her name is Kristen Huizar. She won the LAFCA Ruth Batchelor Scholarship, which is a scholarship that the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) gives to young critics from underrepresented backgrounds. She’s in LA and she’s an artist and a writer and reviews films and talks about films from a unique perspective as a Latina woman in LA… I think she mentions often that she uses public transportation, and doesn’t have the LA experience that often gets represented on screen or in the writing.


Netflix

(Photo by Netflix)

How has the digital landscape influenced your criticism?

It’s definitely the only way that many of us can write today. Most outlets only exist digitally today and because of that, when we get to write something for print, it’s become a big event or a landmark to get something in print because that’s so rare. I do feel that without the digital publishing and digital outlets, most of us wouldn’t be writing today – especially people from underrepresented backgrounds.

What’s the hardest review you’ve ever written?

I wrote this review-essay for IndieWire on how Roma was an interesting experience for me because I’m someone that was born in Mexico City, but left young and hasn’t been able to return in over half my life.

It was my own memories and seeing the city that my mom left, seeing when she was young. Also, thinking about the fact that I haven’t been there in so long that it’s probably a different city today. It was a strange exercise in seeing the same city where I grew up in from a different perspective and being reminded of the people that you leave behind, the memories that you carry with you. That was challenging to write, to relate those emotions to the film and to express that through that lens.

Is there someone in your life who isn’t a critic whose opinion you admire?

My mom’s opinion when it comes to movies or art in general really matters to me. I remember when I was a kid, she would be very interested in watching Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman and a lot of international cinema. My mother has a grade-school education. She didn’t go to college. She didn’t even finish high school, but she was always very interested in culture and the arts.

To me, she’s always been an example of the fact that just because you’re not an intellectual or someone that went to a private school or has a degree, doesn’t mean that you cannot be inspired or moved by all types of films.


Carlos Aguilar is a film critic and writer based in Los Angeles. Find him on Twitter: @Carlos_Film.

Along with the numerous and various incarnations of Batman in film and television, comes an Alfred. Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler keeps both Wayne Manor and the Batcave in order and generally has Batman’s back. This summer, however, Alfred Pennyworth becomes the star of the show in upcoming Epix drama Pennyworth.

A new teaser just dropped Friday for the 10-episode, hour-long series, in which Jack Bannon plays Alfred Pennyworth in his 20s, as he returns to London after serving in the SAS. Alfred wants to start his own security business, but then young billionaire Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) hires him to be his private bodyguard. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Gotham creators Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon created Pennyworth, which also stars Emma Corrin as Esme, Paloma Faith as Bet Sykes, Hainsley Lloyd Bennet as Bazza, Ryan Fletcher as Dave Boy, Jason Flemyng as Lord Harwood, and Polly Walker as Peggy Sykes.

In honor of Alfred getting his own series, we looked at all the movie and TV Alfreds from the classic ’60s Batman series to the films with Michael Caine and Jeremy Irons and even recent animated-movie incarnations. Heller, Cannon, and Bannon spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about Pennyworth to help us compare their vision of Alfred Pennyworth to the greats.

Pennyworth debuts on Epix this summer.


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.


 

DC Universe, the DC Entertainment streaming service, launches this week with a good deal of material. Its first original television show, Titans, does not debut until next month, but there is plenty to enjoy in the meantime as the service brings together movies, television shows, and animated series based on DC Comics characters — most notably the original Batman feature film cycle, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight in honor of Batman Day on Saturday.

The platform also features a surprising amount of the source material — you can download the comics and read them as you please. But just how lost in DC lore can one get on DC Universe? Let’s take a look at the initial offerings and just how deep into the comics multiverse DC Universe goes.


1. Batman: The Animated Series Is Gloriously Remastered

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

If you were a child in the early 1990s – or a teenager for that matter – the debut episode of Batman: The Animated Series was something of a revelation. Titled “On Leather Wings,” it set a new darker tone for Batman cartoons. Though initial publicity mentioned Robin would appear, he was nowhere to be seen here. Instead, an almost solitary Batman faces down his first opponent, Manbat, and the Gotham City Police Department in a moody episode that’s painted in darkness. The minute-long intro sequence lacked text or lyrics to explain the premise; instead, Shirley Walker’s reworking of Danny Elfman’s Batman theme plays over one the best title sequences in American animation. During a time when afternoon cartoons featured the pop-culture anarchy of The Animaniacs and the later seasons of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the difference was striking.

On DC Universe, the series is organized by airdate – Robin makes an early appearance in episode two and disappears again for a time – which gives the show, which we recently dubbed the best superhero series ever, added context on the platform. As an example, “On Leather Wings,” aired as a special on Sept. 6, 1992, and the next episode would not debut until November, indicating Fox saw it as something different, if only for a moment. But from November 1992 on, episodes kept redefining characters like Poison Ivy and Catwoman. The first Mr. Freeze episode, “Heart of Ice,” was a revelation thanks to a completely serious treatment of the character and the definitive Freeze performance from actor Michael Ansara. Other great episodes from the early part of the run include the two-part “Two-Face,” in which District Attorney Harvey Dent becomes the notorious Batman foe, “Beware the Gray Ghost,” in which Batman ’66 actor Adam West lends his voice to Batman’s childhood hero, and “The Man Who Killed Batman.”

“On Leather Wings” and the rest of the initial Animated Series arrives in a remastered edition highlighting the rich visual darkness and serious tone of the early episodes. Though it would eventually become a brighter show both in subject matter and technique, the impact of “On Leather Wings” has not dulled.


2. The Wide Breadth of DC animated series

(Photo by Courtesy the Everett Collection)

Beyond Batman: TAS, DC Universe features a great number of animated series based on DC Comics characters (though Beware the Batman!, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and the current Teen Titans GO! are notably absent). From the Max Fleischer Superman theatrical shorts of the 1940s to 2013’s Young Justice Season 2 finale, much of the wide and wild world of DC animation rests in one convenient place. Here are some highlights:

Super Friends: “ A History of Doom.” Three aliens from another universe come to a destroyed Earth and learn the origins of the Legion of Doom and their part in the planet’s destruction. While the series featured episodes with wilder visuals and better endings, this episode’s opening moments of apocalyptic landscapes and a dying Superman presage DC Comic’s eventual affair with Crisis events and killing off characters by 15 years.

Justice League Unlimited:  “For The Man Who Has Everything.” This adaptation of a classic comic book story by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons features the added bonus of voice talents like Kevin Conroy as Batman, George Newbern as Superman, Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman, and Eric Roberts as the villainous Mongul. As in the original comic-book story, Mongul’s darkly ironic birthday present for the Man of Steel gives him the thing he wants most – a life on Krypton – even as his friends face impossible odds fighting the villain.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold: “Evil Under The Sea!” While Jason Momoa will redefine Aquaman in his upcoming feature film, The Brave and The Bold offered one of the most thrilling takes on the character ever presented on screen: an underwater adventurer modeled on the 1960s Hercules films whose larger-than-life tales grate against Batman’s (Diedrich Bader) sensibilities. As voiced by John DiMaggio, this Arthur Curry’s boisterous love of life just might see him deposed by his jealous brother if the King of the Seas and Batman can’t work together.

Animated films like Green Lantern: First Flight and the 2009 Wonder Woman also back up the cartoon offerings with strong production values and great voice acting.


3. A Truly Deep Collection of Comics

DC Universe classic comics ipad screenshot (DC Universe)

(Photo by DC Universe)

As promised in early announcements for the service, DC Universe features a large collection of DC Comics titles from its earliest days to its most recent relaunch. The first appearances of the Trinity – Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman – are available for all to enjoy. Deeper cuts like the earliest Hawk and Dove series from the 1960s and Prez – the company’s strange attempt to appeal to the late ’60s counterculture – share equal footing with well-known event comics like Flashpoint. Some of the titles, like Hawk and Dove, Doom Patrol, and The New Teen Titans, are there to give subscribers background on the upcoming Titans series. Others, like the Legion of Superheroes early run in Adventures Comics, are just there to delight newcomers to the characters and long-time fans alike.

Some 81 issues of Batman represent various eras from the first issue to its 650th. Classic stories by Bill Finger & Bob Kane and Denny O’Neil & Neal Adams, and more modern tales like “A Death in the Family” and “Knightfall,” represent the breadth of Batman as a comic-book character. If you want a better idea of the Silver Age Justice League, the first 76 issues of Justice League of America are available, too. Also, the first appearances of Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Flash Barry Allen are available in a handful of issues from DC’s 1960s Showcase series.

If you’ve never read a Golden Age comic book, try one of the first 10 issues of Action Comics – you’ll learn that Superman only appeared on three of those covers. Batman’s early appearances in Detective Comics are also available, as are the first appearances of Aquaman and Green Arrow in More Fun Comics and the Justice Society of America in All Star Comics.


4. Lois & Clark And The Live-Action Shows

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

While history may have dulled the impact of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, DC Universe allows subscribers to re-examine and re-appraise the series. The show was developed by producer Deborah Joy Levine, whose initial intent was to recast the famous pair as a bickering couple in the vein of ABC’s Moonlighting. That direction is crystal clear in the pilot episode, which establishes the dynamic and a winning Lois Lane (Teri Hatcher) as quickly as it undermines some of its goals by having Lois’s sister tell her she’s “too smart” for most guys.

Backing up Hatcher is Dean Cain. As in the comics of the day, an emphasis was placed on Cain’s performance as Clark Kent, who ends up being far wittier and more subversive than his famous alter ego. In fact, while Cain may play Superman a little too straight, his Clark is a pleasure to watch as he spars with Hatcher’s Lois.

Of course, the frisson between the two was inspired in part by the original Adventures of Superman, the 1950s television series starring George Reeves as Clark Kent/Superman and Phyllis Coates (later Noel Neil) as Lois Lane. Though the verbal barbs between the two were less frequent – and, indeed, Reeves’ Clark rarely gave back what he got – his knowing wink said all he needed to say. It was every bit as important as the actor’s ability to convince viewers he could fly. Six seasons of the series are available on DC Universe, spanning TV’s black-and-white era and its slow adoption of color. For many, this series represents their first real extended look at Superman, though it avoided the character’s most famous antagonist in favor of miscellaneous gangsters and mad scientists, an inadvertent throwback to the hero’s earliest Golden Age adventure. The series also featured, arguably, the best TV Jimmy Olsen in the form of actor Jack Larson.

Besides the two Adventures of Superman series, DC Universe also offers a number of shorter-lived series like CBS’s The Flash, Fox’s Human Target from 2010, The WB’s Birds of Prey, and the single season of Constantine. In terms of more successful series, it also has the three seasons of Wonder Woman and all four seasons of The Adventures of Superboy.


5. Secret Origins, Specials and Shorts

(Photo by © 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, TM & Copyright / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

One element of the service not getting much attention is its array of short features from Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block, a handful of specials culled from home-video releases, and a few curios from DC television lore. The highlight of the specials collection has to be Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics. While always putting the company in its best light, the feature-length documentary written and directed by Mac Carter is, in some ways, a prelude to DC Universe itself. Thanks to interviews from comic-book creators like Mark Waid, Grant Morrison, Bob Kane, and even some rare archival material from Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, it paints the media dominance of Superman and Batman as an inevitability.

Other specials include Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of Batman, Look, Up In The Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman, and the absolutely strange 1970s television special, Legends of the Superheroes. Though it features Batman66’s Adam West and Burt Ward back in their iconic roles, the attempt to camp up heroes like Hawkman and Black Canary fails in a way that must be seen to be believed.

The DC Nation shorts represent an earlier attempt to diversify the brand by taking characters like Shazam and Shade the Changing Man and presenting them in quick, but highly stylized, cartoon form. Teen Titans GO! emerged from the concept, but the Shazam short “Stamina” may be the best of the bunch. The Sailor Moon-inspired Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld is also worth the quick watch.


Titans stars Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson (Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

(Photo by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Though DC Universe opens with no new television content, the archival material available will keep any fan of DC’s rich media history busy until Titans debuts in October.

Visit DCUniverse.com to learn more and sign up for a subscription ($7.99 per month or $74.99 annually). The service will be available in the U.S. on Saturday, September 14, on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Android TV, and Roku, as well as the web and mobile web.

While there would’ve been a certain amusement in watching a surly, 75-year-old Harrison Ford pretending to meet Lando for the first time and winning the Millennium Falcon, Disney went with the age-correct Alden Ehrenreich for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Though a few were up-in-blasters over casting someone besides Ford in the Han Solo role, that fervor has died down now that the reviews are out claiming the movie to be moderately neat-o. And that makes it the right time to look at 24 more movie characters replaced and recast with new actors, and how that turned out on the Tomatometer.

With Justice League hitting theaters this Friday, we explore DC’s long history at the movies by ranking their 29 theatrical superhero films best to worst by Tomatometer!

As Wonder Woman gets added to the heap of superhero movies from DC and Warner Bros. throughout the years, here’s your chance to rank them as you see fit from the list below, which featuring each theatrical movie’s Tomatometer score, audience rating, and critics consensus!

The Masked Manhunter. The Caped Crusader. Bats. You know who we’re talking about, film fans, and chances are you were anticipating The LEGO Batman Movie ever since Warner Bros. announced Will Arnett’s version of the character would be getting his own spinoff. In honor of this momentous occasion, we decided to take a (mostly) fond look back at the Bat in all of his cinematic guises, from the worst to the best, and now that The LEGO Batman Movie has premiered, you can find out where it ranks with the others. With the Bat-signal blazing, it’s time for Total Recall!


12. Batman & Robin (1997) 12%

BatmanAndRobin

One of the least-loved blockbusters of recent years, Batman & Robin brought the Batman 1.0 franchise to a screeching halt. Unlike the earlier installments, which returned the Caped Crusader to his brooding noir roots, Batman & Robin was a veritable camp-o-rama, closer in spirit to the 1960s TV series. Utilizing punny dialogue to a jaw-dropping degree were villains Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze (“Ice to see you!”) and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy (“My garden needs tending”). Even George Clooney made little impression as Batman, and his sidekicks (Chris O’Donnell as Robin, Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl) failed to drum up much audience or critical enthusiasm. As a result, a planned fifth sequel, Batman Triumphant, which would have pitted our heroes against the Scarecrow, never materialized, so it was left to Christopher Nolan to resurrect the series. “Fans of the movie series will be shocked at the shortage of original thought put into this project,” wrote John Paul Powell of Jam! Movies.

Watch Trailer


11. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) 29%

The established rules of superhero films require at least one blockbuster battle by the final act — the catastrophic damage from which is typically largely forgotten by the time the curtain rises on the inevitable sequel. Credit Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, then, for trying to take a more thoughtful approach, and using the aftershocks from Man of Steel‘s climactic orgy of violence to establish the titular conflict between two iconic superheroes. Unfortunately, director Zack Snyder was also tasked with setting up a slew of future films in the burgeoning DC Extended Universe, and the result was a sequel that juggles an unwieldy array of characters and storylines while trying to grapple with serious questions — and in spite of Batman v Superman‘s super-sized running time, many critics felt the whole thing was even more of a muddled mess than the much-maligned Man of Steel. Still, the CG-enhanced action was enough for some scribes, including Andrew O’Hehir of Salon, who admitted the movie was “kind of dopey” but shrugged, “It largely kept me entertained for two and a half hours, which is not nothing.”

Watch Trailer


10. Batman Forever (1995) 38%

BatmanForever

One can draw a fairly direct line from the 1966 Batman to Joel Schumacher’s mid-series reboot: Garish colors. Some tongue-in-cheek dialogue. The presence of Robin to draw in the young’uns. This may not be a great Batman movie, but it is a successful one — drawing in a legion of new viewers while shifting the series away from the twisted mindscape of Tim Burton (whose movies weren’t totally representative of the comics anyway). And if you were at the right age, there was nothing more fun in 1995 than this (except perhaps getting a PlayStation). It’s “a free-form playground for its various masquerading stars,” wrote Janet Maslin for The New York Times.

Watch Trailer


9. Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) 39%

Batman’s film history is fairly distinguished in its own right at this point, but he’ll always have his roots in the comics — and one of his most widely acclaimed stories, the 1988 Alan Moore graphic novel The Killing Joke, got its big-screen due with this 2016 animated effort. Aside from the acclaimed source material, in which the Joker puts Commissioner Gordon and his family through a particularly grueling ordeal, Killing had a lot going for it, including years of pent-up fan demand and the return of Mark Hamill as the Joker’s voice. Unfortunately, it didn’t add up to one of the better entries in the Batman filmography; critics were split more or less evenly over whether it did its inspiration justice — or whether its story was ultimately too misogynistic to deserve the treatment. “Alan Moore probably wouldn’t appreciate us saying it, but The Killing Joke story itself feels made for the screen,” observed SciFiNow’s Steve Wright. “It’s hard to truly critique something when it takes its cues from a truly excellent comic-book storyline.”

Watch Trailer


8. Batman (1989) 71%

Batman1989

One of the most hyped movies in Hollywood history, and one of the finest examples of movie tie-ins and cross-promotion (so successful it made t-shirt bootleggers filthy rich), Batman is also one of the weirdest event pictures of all time. Director Tim Burton jettisoned the plots (if not the dark tone) of Bob Kane’s original comics, and came up with set designs reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and freakish, brooding characters similar to… well, a Tim Burton movie. Particularly compelling is Jack Nicholson as the Joker, who gleefully relishes his plan to kill the citizens of Gotham City with lethal gas. Michael Keaton makes for a subdued Dark Knight, a hero who dispenses vigilante justice while living a morose existence in Wayne Manor. A precursor to more complex comic book adaptations, Batman made piles of money, and the bat-logo was ubiquitous in the summer of 1989. “Burton brings back film noir elements to the new Batman, elevating it to a dark, demented opera,” wrote Jeffrey Anderson of Combustible Celluloid.

Watch Trailer


7. Batman (1966) 79%

BatmanTheMovie

For a Batman interpretation frequently derided for its campiness, Batman: The Movie has a surprisingly high number of quotable lines and memorable scenes. Remember how the dynamic duo deduce that all their archenemies — Penguin, Catwoman, the Riddler, and the Joker — are working together to take over the world? Or the insane logic Robin consistently applies to Riddler’s questions, only to be right every time? But the best bit has to be the one involving bat ladders, shark repellent Bat-spray, and a high seas encounter with an exploding Megalodon. “Holy Cornball Camp, Batman!” exclaims Scott Weinberg of eFilmCritic.com, “This movie’s a hoot!”

Watch Trailer


6. Batman Returns (1992) 80%

BatmanReturns

Tim Burton has said he always sympathized with monsters, and so, for his sequel to Batman, he gave audiences not one, but two empathetic, pitiable villains. The Penguin (Danny DeVito) is a deformed orphan who leads an army of aquatic, flightless birds from the bowels of Gotham City. The Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) is a frumpy secretary who is killed by her boss (Christopher Walken) after she learns of his evil schemes but is brought back to life by a group of cats. Teaming up against Batman, the pair plan an assault on the city above. Batman Returns is so cold and dark it makes the first installment look like Amelie by comparison, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; it still made a killing at the box office, and was Burton’s favorite of the two Batman movies he helmed. “Of all the Batman pictures, this is the most striking, atmospheric and effective,” wrote David Keyes of Cinemaphile.org.

Watch Trailer


5. Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (1993) 84%

MaskOfThePhantasm

Before the Nolan Batman movies, Mask of the Phantasm offered the most articulate exploration of the Bruce Wayne character. While the movie takes the action that made The Animated Series such great afternoon fun and expands it (but avoiding cheap, empty thrills that having a big budget can afford you), it also showers loving detail on a pivotal romance in Bruce’s life and an affecting scene of Bruce begging for release at his parents’ gravestone. It’s the rare movie that shows its protagonist for what he is: essentially insane. “[Mask of the Phantasm] managed to soar above the theatrical Batman adaptation,” states Kevin Carr of 7M Pictures, “And would remain the best Bat Movie to hit the big screens until Batman Begins shook things up in 2005.”

Watch Trailer


4. Batman Begins (2005) 84%

BatmanBegins2

With his lack of superpowers and a vast fortune at his disposal, Batman was always the most plausible of heroes. With Batman Begins, director Christopher Nolan shucked off the direction of the previous big-screen incarnations and boiled the Batman mythos down to its essence, resulting in one of the most realistic superhero movies ever. Thankfully, Nolan didn’t skimp on action-packed pyrotechnics, and as the suitably suave and tortured Bruce Wayne, Christian Bale added a greater emotional heft to the Caped Crusader (he was also ably abetted by the likes of Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, and Gary Oldman). Batman Begins signaled a bold new beginning for the franchise, and was a huge hit with audiences and pundits alike. “It’s a wake-up call to the people who keep giving us cute capers about men in tights,” wrote Kyle Smith of the New York Post. “It wipes the smirk off the face of the superhero movie.”

Watch Trailer


3. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 87%

DarkKnightRises

After two critically acclaimed and commercially successful Batman films, it was up to Christopher Nolan to deliver the final chapter in similarly rousing fashion. And while it would have been difficult for anyone to replicate the phenomenal success of 2008’s The Dark Knight, Nolan came pretty close, picking up eight years after TDK and focusing on a half-broken Bruce Wayne who sees a chance for redemption when a new enemy disrupts the economy and takes the entire city hostage. Reliable supporting players Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman reprised their roles, while Nolan filled out the rest of the cast with similarly high profile talent like Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Anne Hathaway, who slipped into Catwoman’s black leather as Selina Kyle. Thoughtful, explosive, and grounded in Nolan’s dark Gotham reality, the resulting film served as a satisfying conclusion to one of the most successful blockbuster franchises in recent memory. As the Boston Globe’s Ty Burr enthused, “This is what a superhero movie is supposed to look like.”

Watch Trailer


2. The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) 90%

We’ve grown accustomed in recent years to the idea of Batman as a perpetually dour figure whose good works are only accomplished through his inability to shed a crippling survivor’s guilt and thirst for vengeance, but during his long decades as a cornerstone of the DC media empire, he’s been through a lot of incarnations, some goofier than others — all of which is why Will Arnett’s doofus Dark Knight in The LEGO Movie was a nod to the character’s colorfully complex history as well as a refreshing surprise. Spinoffs are obviously far from a sure bet on the big screen, but Arnett’s scene-stealing LEGO Movie turn laid a solid foundation for a standalone adventure — and it paid deliriously entertaining dividends with The LEGO Batman Movie, which delivered on that promise and then some. “Basically,” argued the Globe and Mail’s Barry Hertz, “it’s a standard-issue Batman narrative — arguably better than 50 percent of history’s other Batman films — that just happens to take place in a Lego-fied world.”

Watch Trailer


1. The Dark Knight (2008) 94%

DarkKnight

Having already brought an end to the candy-colored, Schumacher-wrought nightmare that gripped the Batman franchise in the late 1990s, Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale had fans primed for a successful second act — but even after the smashing success of Batman Begins, few could have guessed just how popular The Dark Knight would be in the summer of 2008. A sprawling superhero epic that somehow managed to make room for jaw-dropping visuals, a compelling storyline, and stellar performances, Knight climbed out from under months of intense speculation — not to mention the shadow cast by Heath Ledger’s shocking death — with a worldwide gross in excess of $1 billion, a towering stack of positive reviews, and a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Ledger. Richard Roeper joined the chorus of near-universal critical praise, calling it “a rich, complex, visually thrilling piece of pop entertainment, as strong as any superhero epic we’ve ever seen.”

Watch Trailer


Lastly, vote for your favorite movie Batman in the poll below!

[socialpoll id=”2418350″]

Holy online polls, Batman! Will Arnett voices a snarkier, slightly more self-obsessed version of the Caped Crusader in this week’s Lego Batman Movie, which got us thinking: Who played the Dark Knight the best? Whether you’re into the campy hijinks of Adam West, the unhinged antics of Michael Keaton, the super-serious pathos of Ben Affleck, or one of the other memorable actors to play — or voice — the role, see if your favorite is the same as everyone else’s by voting below!


[socialpoll id=”2418350″]

 

DC’s Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad weren’t received as disappointments so much as they were greeted as unforgivable insults to the general public. They inspired a lot of wailing, complaining, rending of garments, and insane over-reactions.

A moviegoing audience pathologically obsessed with superheroes responded to these movies with a world-wide gasp of shock and disappointment. It was as if they imagined that if they just tried hard enough, they could will different, better versions of Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad into existence, and then they wouldn’t have to feel silly about being so emotionally invested in the box office and critical consensus of movies about weirdos in crazy costumes.

One segment of the public began weeping uncontrollably while screeching, “No! A silly superhero/super-villain team-up movie I was looking forward to wasn’t as good as I thought it could/should/would be! We can’t let such an abomination stand. We demand justice! We demand revenge!” Another antithetical yet curiously similar group, meanwhile, hollered, “No! A silly superhero/super-villain team up movie isn’t being treated by critics with the hushed reverence it’s due! That’s not fair! We demand justice! We demand revenge!”

Yes, the strange, overheated overreaction to Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad’s negative reviews is silly and ridiculous. But unlike the 1966 film version of Batman, it’s not silly and ridiculous in a fun, self-aware, campy fashion. No, the hallmark of these online complainers is that they take themselves way too seriously, whereas the defining feature of Adam West’s 1960s Batman is that it does not take itself seriously at all.

In its 1960s incarnation, Batman never stopped winking at audiences to let them know that it was in on the joke. The show and its spin-off movie reveled in artificiality. They set out to make a live-action superhero extravaganza that was more cartoonish than actual cartoons and more of a comic book than actual comic books.

The 1960s Batman was as much a parody of its source material as a straight adaptation.

Like the recent film versions of 21 Jump Street, the 1960s Batman was as much a parody of its source material as a straight adaptation. Unlike the Batman reboots that followed, the show and movies did not aim for realism or grit. The show didn’t just acknowledge the absurdity of a rich middle-aged man dressing up in a silly costume to fight evildoers in equally silly costumes, it ratcheted up that absurdity to delirious satirical levels.

I suspect the makers of the 1966 Batman film would have found the notion that subsequent filmmakers would treat the character as a tormented figure of infinite darkness who inhabits a gloomy world full of moral ambiguity both preposterous and a huge joke. As played by Adam West in the role that made him a trash-culture icon, Batman is less the living personification of the psychological costs of vengeance and humanity’s dark side than a clean-cut, wholesome do-gooder beloved by everybody other than the cartoonish criminals.

The 1966 Batman pits West’s Bruce Wayne/Batman and Burt Ward’s Dick Grayson/Robin against a felonious foursome of the TV show’s most popular and prolific villains. There’s Catwoman (Lee Meriwether, who is great but will never be able to compete with Eartha Kitt’s even greater interpretation of the role), a conniving super-villain who attempts to seduce Bruce Wayne in her alter-ego as a beautiful Russian. Batman may be the world’s greatest detective, but he’s somehow not sharp enough to figure out that his new Russian crush bears a distinct resemblance to one of his greatest (and certainly sexiest) foes.

Then there’s the gloriously redundant twosome of the Joker (Cesar Romero) and the Riddler (Frank Gorshin). True, jokes and riddles are different, but by including both of these gentlemen in the same story, it becomes clear that the show returned to the “mirthful supervillain” well at least once too often. The film clumsily and amusingly acknowledges this weird redundancy by having characters state repeatedly that Batman and Robin must wrestle with crazy hybrids like “a riddle in the form of a joke” as well as “joking riddles.” Finally, we have Burgess Meredith as the Penguin, who is old, short, and weak but smart enough to rent a submarine — where part of the film takes place — under the clever pseudonym P.N. Guin.

This not-so-fabulous foursome has joined forces to steal a miraculous invention able to “dehydrate” and then “re-hydrate” human beings. They plan to blackmail the nations of the world with this ridiculous contraption, which is really nothing more than a MacGuffin. But four villains means four times the frenzied over-acting. The Riddler, Penguin, and Joker all have a tendency to shout their comic book banter while mugging deliriously in ways that make them seem more hyper than scary. The four “super” villains here don’t seem capable of hurting Batman’s feelings, let alone cause him physical harm. By contrast, Nolan’s Batman films had terrifying villains: Scarecrow, the Joker, and Bane all seemed capable of killing Batman.

The four “super” villains here don’t seem capable of hurting Batman’s feelings, let alone cause him physical harm.

On television, Batman defined camp better than anyone this side of Susan Sontag. That extends to this faithful adaptation, but in addition to the film’s refreshing acknowledgment of its inherent ridiculousness, there are some sharp, memorable gags that score big laughs. Early in the film, for example, Batman and Robin are out in their Bat-Copter when Batman rappels down via rope ladder and spends what feels like a solid fifteen minutes engaged in a one-sided boxing match with a rubber shark so hilariously phony it suggests that “punching the shark” should join “jumping the shark” as a pop-culture cliche. One of the film’s other signature set-pieces finds Batman/Bruce Wayne desperate to get rid of a wonderfully fake-looking bomb but unable to find a place to toss it where it won’t cause major harm. An overwhelmed Batman then issues one of the film’s signature pieces of dialogue: “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”

Batman is also full of inspired running jokes, and one of my favorites is its obsession with sticking a “Bat” into the name of everything, even if it just makes things confusing. When preparing to battle the aforementioned pesky shark, for example, Batman makes sure to specifically request “shark-repellent bat-spray” from Robin. This is, of course, a shark repellent spray used by the Batman, but it’s confusingly worded enough that it sounds like it might be a shark repellent that also repels bats, or possibly Batman, or Batmen in general. Regardless, it’s all very silly.

In another standout scene that similarly belongs in an old Looney Tunes cartoon, Batman and Robin are scaling a wall — something they did all the time in the TV show, which frequently felt incredibly, deliberately fake — and Robin expresses shock and horror that some ne’er-do-wells drink so excessively they see things that aren’t there. Batman explains that they’re in a tough neighborhood full of “rumpots” and, as if on cue, one such rumpot pokes his head out his window just long enough to see what he naturally assumes is an alcohol-induced hallucination of a pair of men in outrageous tights scaling his building.

Batman is a product of the go-go mid-1960s. It’s got an unmistakable groovy bachelor pad vibe. West’s Batman is the only one who seems to prefer the millionaire bachelor side of his persona to the one who dresses up like an angel of vengeance to beat up bad guys. Christian Bale acted as if Bruce Wayne was in physical pain every time he was in a tuxedo at a fancy party, but West’s Batman seems like he could probably let go of the whole “crime fighting” thing without much concern. There are no stakes here, no real danger, just a bunch of silly heroes in Halloween costumes battling equally silly villains in Halloween costumes.

West’s Batman is the only one who seems to prefer the millionaire bachelor side of his persona to the one who dresses up like an angel of vengeance.

When Batman squares off against the film’s quartet of All-Star Super-Villains in an amusingly amateurish battle royale late in the film, it becomes apparent just how hilariously unthreatening his foes really are. The Joker, Riddler and Penguin all come off as frail men in their fifties who would probably lose a physical altercation with a toddler. They’re almost impressively unimpressive in their old, sad, weak physicality.

In an attempt to make it more of a fair fight, Catwoman tosses a cat to Batman, who then must physically battle his geriatric foes without dropping the cat. It’s a brilliant sight gag, and it’s also far more impressive than anything in Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. Let’s see Christian Bale’s Batman spend five fighting minutes fighting Bane without dropping an enormous tabby.

I loved the Batman TV show as a kid, and I responded just as strongly to it as an adult. That’s because the show operates on multiple levels. The black and white morality, goofy banter, crazy sound effects rendered both visually and sonically, outsized villains, and cool gadgets all appeal to kids and emotionally stunted adults. But the film’s winking, ironic tone, self-reflectiveness, meta elements, and breezy, campy humor make it just as appealing to grown-ups.

While there’s no reason a trifle like this needs to be any longer than 85 minutes (it could stand to trim 20 minutes or so), Batman holds up surprisingly well as an entertaining, hilarious lark. It’s also a much different film than the Batman movies that would follow. True, Joel Schumacher tried to channel some of the show’s campy spirit with Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, but there’s a difference between being in on the joke, as West’s Batman clearly is, and being the joke itself, like Batman & Robin. The 1960s Batman was a smart, hip show playing at being silly and dumb, but Schumacher’s films are genuinely stupid.

Obviously, no one wants a return to the Schumacher era of Batman, but I think the gloomy Guses behind the new DC Universe films would be smart to take another look at this particular incarnation. There are elements of it DC might want to consider employing in subsequent films involving Bruce Wayne and his costumed alter-ego, such as being “fun” and “enjoyable” rather than a dreary, mournful slog.


Original Certification: N/A
Tomatometer: 80 percent
Re-Certification: Fresh


Nathan Rabin if a freelance writer, columnist, the first head writer of The A.V. Club and the author of four books, most recently Weird Al: The Book (with “Weird Al” Yankovic) and You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me.

Follow Nathan on Twitter: @NathanRabin

Tag Cloud

007 Disney Martial Arts Mudbound Sneak Peek parents Red Carpet toronto A24 Comic-Con@Home 2021 IFC a nightmare on elm street ID docuseries Superheroe adenture Trophy Talk japan binge heist movie Epix Mystery Acorn TV asian-american 99% sag awards ABC MTV 72 Emmy Awards nfl period drama Alien Grammys Writers Guild of America kaiju nbcuniversal Calendar lord of the rings Fox News Comic Book quibi Holiday Musical cars new york mob Exclusive Video new star wars movies mockumentary Women's History Month DGA kids CNN australia The Walking Dead sequels Action Shondaland NYCC TIFF Crackle HBO Max transformers Reality Competition Reality boxoffice twilight RT History gangster RT21 ghosts HBO Go serial killer stand-up comedy toy story SXSW Fantasy Disney+ Disney Plus monster movies Superheroes Baby Yoda free movies PBS ITV Oscars popular Trivia hollywood jamie lee curtis feel good Nat Geo New York Comic Con women Cosplay OWN TNT TBS Opinion based on movie critics Pop Paramount festival criterion Photos WGN 2015 saw blockbusters 2021 harry potter latino werewolf versus action-comedy cinemax Walt Disney Pictures Turner Classic Movies Tags: Comedy Set visit dexter social media AMC Academy Awards 90s Pirates stop motion name the review Mindy Kaling BBC America DC Universe kong Song of Ice and Fire reboot mcc VOD Cannes Freeform American Society of Cinematographers The Arrangement cats YouTube Premium Sony Pictures Rocketman Rock all-time TCA franchise Nominations Wes Anderson Valentine's Day Teen dark cancelled TV series Spectrum Originals Apple TV+ game show sitcom Video Games Toys FX 21st Century Fox YA Interview superhero Image Comics sports dceu vs. police drama LGBT black book adaptation cults fresh golden globes science fiction GoT blaxploitation dc razzies TV renewals crossover christmas movies Instagram Live Food Network biopic spider-verse anime Thanksgiving zombie game of thrones Comedy Central scary Britbox Hollywood Foreign Press Association Character Guide Shudder spy thriller Musicals witnail strong female leads halloween scary movies japanese El Rey Marvel halloween tv GIFs Hear Us Out deadpool war NBC TCA 2017 video trailers high school target fast and furious Showtime zombies Universal Pictures Rom-Com E! DC Comics cooking rt labs justice league historical drama comics CBS Spike President ratings Sci-Fi young adult mission: impossible vampires Family anthology genre political drama Best and Worst slasher archives critic resources Star Wars superman miniseries south america godzilla Disney Plus leaderboard natural history rotten movies we love films Infographic movie Paramount Network Lifetime Christmas movies true crime sopranos MCU Horror IFC Films