(Photo by Warner Bros/courtesy Everett Collection)

All DC Comics Movies Ranked

Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. These are some of the staple titans of DC Comics the world has come to adore over the past 80 years, especially as they made the leap from page panel to silver screen and TV in the ’50s and ’60s. (And well before those upstart punks Marvel Comics to boot!) You’ll find them all in in our guide to every DC Comics movie ranked by Tomatometer, along with other significant greats like Swamp Thing, Green Lantern, and Shazam.

But the world of comic book publishing is nothing if not vast, a constellation of multiverses, retcons, annuals, and imprints. Moving beyond the strictly superhero element of DC Comics, this guide will also feature the adapated works from DC imprints Vertigo (V for Vendetta, The Losers), Paradox Press (Road to Perdition, A History of Violence), and WildStorm (Red, Red 2).

We’ve limited the movies to theatrical releases only, which does keep out the home animated fare that’s been giving DC adaptations a good name whenever the DCEU stumbled. But to that end, you will find The Killing Joke and Return of the Caped Crusaders here, both of which got a one-day theatrical release.

Great leaping catfish! This introduction is now over! Hurry, to Rotten Tomatoes and the list of every DC movie ranked by Tomatometer!

#47

Supergirl (1984)
9%

#47
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

#46

Catwoman (2004)
9%

#46
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

#45
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

#44

Steel (1997)
12%

#44
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

#43

Batman & Robin (1997)
12%

#43
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

#42

Jonah Hex (2010)
12%

#42
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

#41

The Kitchen (2019)
23%

#41
Adjusted Score: 37103%
Critics Consensus: With three talented leads struggling to prop up a sagging story, The Kitchen is a jumbled crime thriller in urgent need of some heavy-duty renovation.
Synopsis: Between 8th Ave. and the Hudson River, the Irish mafia runs 20 blocks of a tough New York City neighborhood... [More]
Directed By: Andrea Berloff

#40

Green Lantern (2011)
26%

#40
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

#39

Suicide Squad (2016)
26%

#39
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

#38
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

#37

Superman III (1983)
29%

#37
Adjusted Score: 30620%
Critics Consensus: When not overusing sight gags, slapstick, and Richard Pryor, Superman III resorts to plot points rehashed from the previous Superman flicks.
Synopsis: Computer programmer Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) is hired by financial tycoon Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn) to seize control of a... [More]
Directed By: Richard Lester

#36

Batman Forever (1995)
38%

#36
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

#35
#35
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

#34

Justice League (2017)
40%

#34
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

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 38419%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A mad scientist's (Louis Jourdan) vegetarian stepdaughter (Heather Locklear) falls in love with one of his leafy failures.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Wynorski

#32

Red 2 (2013)
44%

#32
Adjusted Score: 49895%
Critics Consensus: While it's still hard to argue with its impeccable cast or the fun they often seem to be having, Red 2 replaces much of the goofy fun of its predecessor with empty, over-the-top bombast.
Synopsis: Former CIA black-ops agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) and his old partner, Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), are caught in the... [More]
Directed By: Dean Parisot

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 38904%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Batman and Nightwing join forces with Harley Quinn to stop a global threat brought about by Poison Ivy and the... [More]
Directed By: Sam Liu

#30

Constantine (2005)
46%

#30
Adjusted Score: 55279%
Critics Consensus: Despite solid production values and an intriguing premise, Constantine lacks the focus of another spiritual shoot-em-up: The Matrix.
Synopsis: As a suicide survivor, demon hunter John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) has literally been to hell and back -- and he... [More]
Directed By: Francis Lawrence

#29

The Losers (2010)
48%

#29
Adjusted Score: 54141%
Critics Consensus: The Losers is loud, fast, and unrelentingly violent -- but it's also funny and well-acted, which will make all the difference for some action fans.
Synopsis: On a mission deep in the Bolivian jungle, a team of elite commandos (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans) finds itself... [More]
Directed By: Sylvain White

#28

Man of Steel (2013)
56%

#28
Adjusted Score: 70179%
Critics Consensus: Man of Steel's exhilarating action and spectacle can't fully overcome its detours into generic blockbuster territory.
Synopsis: With the imminent destruction of Krypton, their home planet, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife seek to preserve their race... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 89342%
Critics Consensus: Wonder Woman 1984 struggles with sequel overload, but still offers enough vibrant escapism to satisfy fans of the franchise and its classic central character.
Synopsis: Diana Prince lives quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s -- an era of excess driven by the pursuit... [More]
Directed By: Patty Jenkins

#26

Swamp Thing (1982)
62%

#26
Adjusted Score: 63957%
Critics Consensus: Unabashedly campy -- often to its detriment -- Swamp Thing is not without its charms, among them Adrienne Barbeau as the damsel in distress.
Synopsis: On the verge of a breakthrough in his quest to wipe out world hunger, altruistic botanist Dr. Alec Holland (Ray... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#25

Watchmen (2009)
65%

#25
Adjusted Score: 77195%
Critics Consensus: Gritty and visually striking, Watchmen is a faithful adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel, but its complex narrative structure may make it difficult for it to appeal to viewers not already familiar with the source material.
Synopsis: In an alternate 1985 America, costumed superheroes are part of everyday life. When one of his former comrades is murdered,... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#24

Aquaman (2018)
65%

#24
Adjusted Score: 90343%
Critics Consensus: Aquaman swims with its entertainingly ludicrous tide, offering up CGI superhero spectacle that delivers energetic action with an emphasis on good old-fashioned fun.
Synopsis: Once home to the most advanced civilization on Earth, the city of Atlantis is now an underwater kingdom ruled by... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#23

Joker (2019)
68%

#23
Adjusted Score: 105605%
Critics Consensus: Joker gives its infamous central character a chillingly plausible origin story that serves as a brilliant showcase for its star -- and a dark evolution for comics-inspired cinema.
Synopsis: Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur... [More]
Directed By: Todd Phillips

#22

Batman (1989)
71%

#22
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

#21
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

#20

Red (2010)
72%

#20
Adjusted Score: 78999%
Critics Consensus: It may not be the killer thrill ride you'd expect from an action movie with a cast of this caliber, but Red still thoroughly outshines most of its big-budget counterparts with its wit and style.
Synopsis: After surviving an assault from a squad of hit men, retired CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) reassembles his old... [More]
Directed By: Robert Schwentke

#19

V for Vendetta (2006)
73%

#19
Adjusted Score: 84195%
Critics Consensus: Visually stunning and thought-provoking, V For Vendetta's political pronouncements may rile some, but its story and impressive set pieces will nevertheless entertain.
Synopsis: Following world war, London is a police state occupied by a fascist government, and a vigilante known only as V... [More]
Directed By: James McTeigue

#18

Superman Returns (2006)
75%

#18
Adjusted Score: 85719%
Critics Consensus: Bryan Singer's reverent and visually decadent adaptation gives the Man of Steel welcome emotional complexity. The result: a satisfying stick-to-your-ribs adaptation.
Synopsis: While Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) plots to destroy him once and for all, the Man of Steel (Brandon Routh) returns... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#17

Batman (1966)
79%

#17
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

#16
Adjusted Score: 108918%
Critics Consensus: With a fresh perspective, some new friends, and loads of fast-paced action, Birds of Prey captures the colorfully anarchic spirit of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn.
Synopsis: It's open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her... [More]
Directed By: Cathy Yan

#15

Batman Returns (1992)
80%

#15
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

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 87148%
Critics Consensus: Somber, stately, and beautifully mounted, Sam Mendes' Road to Perdition is a well-crafted mob movie that explores the ties between fathers and sons.
Synopsis: Mike Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is an enforcer for powerful Depression-era Midwestern mobster John Rooney (Paul Newman). Rooney's son, Connor (Daniel... [More]
Directed By: Sam Mendes

#13
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

#12

Batman Begins (2005)
84%

#12
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

#11

Superman II (1980)
85%

#11
Adjusted Score: 88565%
Critics Consensus: The humor occasionally stumbles into slapstick territory, and the special effects are dated, but Superman II meets, if not exceeds, the standard set by its predecessor.
Synopsis: Superman (Christopher Reeve) foils the plot of terrorists by hurtling their nuclear device into outer space, but the bomb's shock... [More]
Directed By: Richard Lester

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 95698%
Critics Consensus: A History of Violence raises compelling and thoughtful questions about the nature of violence, while representing a return to form for director David Cronenberg in one of his more uncharacteristic pieces.
Synopsis: When a pair of petty criminals attempt to rob his small-town diner, Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) quickly and easily kills... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#9
#9
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

#8
#8
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

#7

Shazam! (2019)
90%

#7
Adjusted Score: 115116%
Critics Consensus: An effortlessly entertaining blend of humor and heart, Shazam! is a superhero movie that never forgets the genre's real power: joyous wish fulfillment.
Synopsis: We all have a superhero inside of us -- it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out.... [More]
Directed By: David F. Sandberg

#6
Adjusted Score: 97545%
Critics Consensus: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies distills the enduring appeal of its colorful characters into a charmingly light-hearted adventure whose wacky humor fuels its infectious fun -- and belies a surprising level of intelligence.
Synopsis: It seems that all the major superheroes out there are starring in their own movies -- all but the Teen... [More]

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 110304%
Critics Consensus: Enlivened by writer-director James Gunn's singularly skewed vision, The Suicide Squad marks a funny, fast-paced rebound that plays to the source material's violent, anarchic strengths.
Synopsis: Welcome to hell--a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#4

Wonder Woman (2017)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 128059%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot's charismatic performance, Wonder Woman succeeds in spectacular fashion.
Synopsis: Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior.... [More]
Directed By: Patty Jenkins

#3
Adjusted Score: 94197%
Critics Consensus: Adam West's groovy interpretation of the The Caped Crusader returns in a new medium, popping in the realm of animation with the irascible energy of an exclamation-accented onomatopoeia.
Synopsis: Batman and Robin have their hands full when Penguin, The Joker, Riddler and Catwoman combine their nefarious talents to threaten... [More]
Directed By: Rick Morales

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 101333%
Critics Consensus: Superman deftly blends humor and gravitas, taking advantage of the perfectly cast Christopher Reeve to craft a loving, nostalgic tribute to an American pop culture icon.
Synopsis: Just before the destruction of the planet Krypton, scientist Jor-El (Marlon Brando) sends his infant son Kal-El on a spaceship... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#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

(Photo by Warner Bros./ courtesy Everett Collection)

All 8 Zack Snyder Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

Director Zack Snyder was among the frontlines in the battle to bring back the zombie, his 2004 Certified Fresh remake of Dawn of the Dead nestling in snugly with the likes of Shaun of the Dead and Land of the Dead. But it was with his second feature that he developed a signature style: 300, combining a comic-book palette with unflinching machismo and fetishistic style. The adaptation of the Frank Miller comic was a pop-culture phenomenon, and helped establish the gritty Warner Bros. look on comic-book movies that started with V for Vendetta and was furthered by The Dark Knight.

There was no stopping Snyder now, as he next tackled Watchmen, once thought a graphic novel too dense and troubling for film. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and Sucker Punch were stepping stones into the world most know Snyder for: As the creative guide behind Superman movies, and the DC Extended Universe beyond. Man of Steel was a big enough box office hit for the studio, and if audiences had some qualms about the direction of the character, their curiosity was nonetheless piqued for the next movie.

That would, of course, end up being the biggest title bout of comicdom: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Ben Affleck put on the suit, the first to do so after Christian Bale in his Dark Knight trilogy run, and went mano-a-mano with Henry Cavill. A single word may have put this quarrel between two mama’s boys to bed, which opened the path to the next movie referred to in BvS‘s subtitle. Justice League arrived, pulling in Gal Gadot, who would go on to make the Certified Fresh Wonder Woman, and introducing the new movie versions of The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Justice League‘s disappointing Tomatometer and box office have made “Release the Snyder cut!” a clarion call for the online hordes, referring to the supposed three-hour version of the movie that existed  before studio executives and meddling forced it down to its current 120-minute runtime.

Snyder has since lessened his presence within the DCEU (he’s still a producer on Wonder Woman 1984), and is returning to where it all began with Army of the Dead, an upcoming Netflix movie starring Dave Bautista about mercenaries who pull off a heist in Vegas during a zombie outbreak. And now, we’re pulling a heist ourselves as we sneak into the past and bringing up every Zack Snyder movie ranked by Tomatometer!

#8

Sucker Punch (2011)
22%

#8
Adjusted Score: 30467%
Critics Consensus: It's technically impressive and loaded with eye-catching images, but without characters or a plot to support them, all of Sucker Punch's visual thrills are for naught.
Synopsis: Locked away, a young woman named Babydoll (Emily Browning) retreats to a fantasy world where she is free to go... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#7
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

#6

Justice League (2017)
40%

#6
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

#5
Adjusted Score: 55653%
Critics Consensus: Legend of the Guardians' dark tone and dazzling visuals are to be admired, even if they're ultimately let down by a story that never lives up to its full potential.
Synopsis: A father owl's tales of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole enthrall his son Soren, but an older son scoffs at the... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#4

Man of Steel (2013)
56%

#4
Adjusted Score: 70179%
Critics Consensus: Man of Steel's exhilarating action and spectacle can't fully overcome its detours into generic blockbuster territory.
Synopsis: With the imminent destruction of Krypton, their home planet, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife seek to preserve their race... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#3

300 (2006)
61%

#3
Adjusted Score: 71299%
Critics Consensus: A simple-minded but visually exciting experience, full of blood, violence, and ready-made movie quotes.
Synopsis: In 480 B.C. a state of war exists between Persia, led by King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Greece. At the... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#2

Watchmen (2009)
65%

#2
Adjusted Score: 77195%
Critics Consensus: Gritty and visually striking, Watchmen is a faithful adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel, but its complex narrative structure may make it difficult for it to appeal to viewers not already familiar with the source material.
Synopsis: In an alternate 1985 America, costumed superheroes are part of everyday life. When one of his former comrades is murdered,... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#1

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
76%

#1
Adjusted Score: 82020%
Critics Consensus: A kinetic, violent and surprisingly worthy remake of George Romero's horror classic that pays homage to the original while working on its own terms.
Synopsis: When her husband is attacked by a zombified neighbor, Ana (Sarah Polley) manages to escape, only to realize her entire... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

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After all the puzzlement, wonder, and possible curses, HBO’s Watchmen is finally out in our world. Exquisitely produced and full of the sort of heady content the prestige cable channel favors, it is easy to see how people will be commenting on its cops-vs.-white supremacists A-plot for the next nine weeks.

But as these ideas are only just percolating in the first episode, fans of the original graphic novel have another viewpoint to grapple with: how Watchmen builds on the tangential world of the original 1986 comic book maxiseries by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins. As it is now clear this is a story set in that same world with the potential to become a direct sequel, it is fair to examine how executive producer Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers) and his team used the iconography devised by the comic book’s creative team to put their treatise on race relations in the Watchmen context.

Let’s take a look at what the season premiere revealed about the program’s world so far and how it draws from the comic book to establish its reality.


Points of Departure

Watchmen season 1, Regina King - photo: Mark Hill/HBO

(Photo by Mark Hill/HBO)

Any good piece of fiction set in an alternate reality must address the point in history where its world diverges from our own, as Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, for example, communicates easily. The point at which Watchmen diverges is a little more subtle, as it is not based in a historical event but a movement in fictional storytelling. Considering Moore and his collaborators were working for DC Comics, we’ll use June of 1938 – the publication date of Superman’s first appearance in Action Comics #1 – as the rough moment at which Watchmen‘s world and our own diverge. If the Watchmen comic book is an examination of a world in which costumed heroes had a real effect on U.S. history, then it is reasonable to assume they first debuted during that pre-war summer.

While the point of departure is not addressed in the episode itself, it is worth making that assumption as the episode’s opening scene – a depiction of the Tulsa Race Riot – takes place in 1921, a good decade and change prior to the arrival of masked crusaders. Opening on that tragedy, and the racial motivations behind it, is very much a statement of intent from Lindelof. The Watchmen comic contains a wide number of themes, but race is only partially addressed. In the television series, it is the foundation of its major plotline. In using a real historical event, in which the most affluent black community in the U.S. at the time was leveled, and setting the series in the same city, Watchmen reminds the audience that both our reality and it share an abiding wound despite very different outcomes for Watchmen‘s World War II and Vietnam War — as well as other conflicts altered thanks to the mere existence of Dr. Manhattan and the other Minute Men.

Since the riot took place prior to our presumed point of departure, the legacy of those events simmer under the other, more fantastical events of the Watchmen world. The program’s opening moments – a silent film detailing the exploits of real life U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves – suggests the world of Watchmen may have other points of departure predating 1938.


Rorschach’s Mask As a Symbol of White Supremacy

Watchmen season 1 teaser trailer 1 screenshot (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

Back in Watchmen, it is easy to see Rorschach’s journal as a manifesto more aligned with extremist ideologies. Of course, nothing is truly black and white in that story – which is, in many ways, the whole point – so it is doubly interesting to see his iconography so closely related with the Seventh Kavalry, the unambiguous bad guys of the Tulsa storyline. For readers of the original comic, the journey his mask makes following his death could be one of the most interesting elements of the series’ fictional history.


Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read Watchmen, the following contains spoilers.


Watchmen season 1, Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson. photo: Mark Hill/HBO

(Photo by Mark Hill/HBO)

In the comic book, Rorschach is the first of the still-active Minute Men to learn of the Comedian’s death, and his investigation brings the others together and eventually leads them to the culprit, Adrian Veidt. But, again, nothing is black and white, so his reasoning for the murder (and the subsequent annihilation of New York) is something most of the characters find they can live with: He intends to scare the world into an age of peace and prosperity. The only one among them who cannot accept murder on this scale as the price of peace is Rorschach himself. And it costs him his life.

That reversal is one of the great literary tricks of the original comic book series. Just about every major character has a moment where they are the protagonist and the antagonist, and, as it happens, a reader can find themselves agreeing with Veidt because this is just a story and it is all quite academic (see also: Thanos’ grim calculus in Avengers: Infinity War). For those readers, Rorschach becomes the bad guy in the story’s final pages and, on some readings, you can even see his acceptance of death as a heroic play to stop himself from spoiling Veidt’s golden age.

We glimpse that world of peace for a page or two before Rorschach’s journal, which he sent to a conservative-leaning magazine called New Frontiersman, seemingly undoes everything Veidt tried to achieve. At least, we hope subsequent episodes will offer concrete details as to why the paradise the heroes agreed to did not stick. But at the moment, we can infer that the magazine published Rorschach’s journal and made Veidt the enemy of the world (note the newspaper reporting Veidt’s death as “confirmed”). It also, presumably, made Rorschach himself something of a hero among New Frontiersman‘s readership and, across the decades, he became a central figure of white separatist movements as he was white himself and espoused a certain type of moral purity often popular among extremists — the very one the Seventh Kavalry quote from his journal in their video to the Tulsa police.

Rorschach would not necessarily have aligned with the Seventh K during his lifetime — though, we admit, he espoused a lot of their ideas — making it a curious legacy for the character. Again, nothing is black and white in the Watchmen comic, but passing decades have a habit of flattening notable people to a handful of key details and the nuance of Rorschach’s life disappears as he becomes part of the Seventh Kavalry’s mythology. The only thing black-and-white about the representation is the character’s mask, which here has transformed into that group’s most powerful symbol.


Squid Storms

Jeremy Irons in Watchmen. photo: Colin Hutton/HBO

(Photo by Colin Hutton/HBO)

The squid looms large in Watchmen history and is the key omission from the 2009 film adaptation. Veidt’s ultimate plan was to unleash an allegedly alien squid on Manhattan, killing all around it and scaring the nations of the world into peace. The creature was the product of the finest minds Veidt could corral – and at least one comic book creator. Until the publication of Rorscach’s journal, the plan worked – as evidenced in the comic’s second-to-last page – but the series introduces unintended consequences, which the book had no interesting in addressing.

Watchmen’s debut episode suggests squid storms occur regularly. Much smaller versions of the original creature rain from the sky and are hazardous enough for cities to invest in warning sirens (a newspaper tells us deaths do sometimes occur during these storms). The way Angela Abar (Regina King) deals with the mess the storm leaves on her car shows they are also an annoyance. It may be the program’s best usage of the time gap between the original comic book series and the modern television show, as time has turned Veidt’s attempted legacy into an occasional moment of inclement weather.

Of course, the Lord of a Country Estate’s (Jeremy Irons) squid-themed anniversary cake suggests Adrian Veidt may have another legacy in the works for the world.

One has to wonder if that new legacy will tempt Dr. Manhattan back from Mars. When we last saw him in the comic book, he was unwilling to tell Veidt if the terror he unleashed on New York was worth it in the end. Instead, Manhattan merely says “Nothing ever ends.” He also mentions leaving Earth’s corner of the universe for some place else, but as the first episode reveals, he may have spent the last few decades making sandcastles on the red planet. Will he finally have an answer to Veidt’s question?


Police-Issue Archies

Watchmen, season 1 Regina King. Andrew Howard. Photo: Mark Hill.

(Photo by Mark Hill)

With all that background world building in place, the first episode of Watchmen devotes most of its run-time to its real premise: in 2019 of the Watchmen world, cops dress like superheroes to protect their identities. Angela is known as Sister Night, a Tulsa PD detective who works with Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson), Red Scare (Andrew Howard), and the curiously-named Pirate Jenny (Jessica Camacho). They are all distinctive (though rank-and-file offers remain in customary police blues augmented with Watchmen yellow half-masks), suggesting detectives on the Tulsa police force have a major say in their costumes. It also suggests Red Scare did not put a lot of money or effort into his persona.

But will all the eye-catching looks, it may have been easy to miss the coffee cup Angela drank from while talking to police chief Judd Crawford (Don Johnson). It had an owl-design which will tip off any and all Watchmen readers that Dan Dreiberg, aka Night Owl II, may have had something to do with Tulsa’s implementation of masks in law enforcement. When we last see him in the comic book, he is one of the few to seemingly thrive in the paradise Veidt tried to create. Is it possible he survived the tumult after Rorschach’s journal went public to become this world’s version of a tech giant?


RELATED: What Critics Are Saying About Watchmen


The fact the police use a vehicle very similar to his flying Owlship suggests he or his decedents are profiting from the current climate. Although, it may just be evidence of Crawford’s abiding love for all things Nite Owl — he also had a copy of Nite Owl I’s autobiography on his desk.

But should it turn out that Dan supports or supported police departments after 1986, it also reflects one of the major differences between Watchmen’s world and our own: the lack of the internet. Though not a major idea in this first episode, we hope the lack of a near-instantaneous global communication tool factors in as the series progresses.

Or, maybe, the Internet is Veidt’s next attempt at a legacy. Will the Watchmen world be able to handle it?

Watchmen airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.



Watchmen: Season 1 (2019)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Bold and bristling, Watchmen isn't always easy viewing, but by adding new layers of cultural context and a host of complex characters it expertly builds on its source material to create an impressive identity of its own.

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Long before Zack Snyder’s big-screen stab at Watchmen, prevailing wisdom was that writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons’ epic, genre-defining graphic novel was impossible to adapt for the screen. The 2009 feature film treatment did little to counter the argument — the movie has a 64% score on the Tomatometer.

Damon Lindelof’s upcoming HBO effort might have better luck. The new series is not an exact adaptation, but a sequel in series format, and it is still under particular scrutiny going into its October 20 premiere.

Fortunately, the creator has a secret weapon up his sleeve: namely, a pair of Oscar-winning leads in Regina King and Jeremy Irons.

Set 30 years and change after the events of the original source material (which Lindelof considers canon and does not stray from), this Watchmen follows — among other things — the rise of a white supremacist terrorist group called the Seventh Cavalry and the masked police force in Tulsa, Oklahoma, tasked with finding them out and taking them down. King stars as detective Angela Abar (aka Sister Knight), while Irons’ character, on the other hand, has been sealed tight in secrecy. Many theories and leaks suggest that he’s playing an aged Ozymandias from the original novels, but how he fits into the plots of Sister Knight and the Seventh Calvary remains unclear. One thing is certain: Both roles give the inimitable acting talents a lot to play with.


Jeremy Irons in Watchmen. photo: Colin Hutton/HBO

(Photo by Colin Hutton/HBO)

The two joined Lindelof, series director Nicole Kassell, and castmates including Jean Smart, Hong Chau, and Tim Blake Nelson on stage at New York Comic Con on October 4, where they teased what’s to come in the much-anticipated, 10-episode first season, and King and Irons shared exactly how the creator of Lost and The Leftovers courted them for his latest buzzy project.

“Damon took me to lunch,” Irons said in his iconic drawl, admitting that he didn’t fully understand what he was getting himself into. “[He] talked for an hour and a half, very quickly, with enormous enthusiasm, showing me that he had an imagination of an enormous wit. And I ate, and I understood about, I don’t know, 10 percent of what he was saying…. So I ate well, and at the end, I thanked him for his time and I left.”

While the content of the graphic novel and the world that Lindelof was creating here was lost on Irons (“He was talking about this graphic novel/comic book world of which I knew nothing because I live in England and I’m over 45. Somehow that whole world had passed me by!”), the actor was left “fascinated” by the man pitching him from across the table.

“He gave me bits of the script, which I had read, and it amused me hugely,” Irons continued, “but mainly all I thought was: That man who I just had lunch with has such energy and enthusiasm, I don’t know what he’s going to do, and I don’t know what he’s going to make, but if he thinks that I can be of some help in this story, then I’m on board.”


Watchmen keyart Regina King (HBO)

King, an Emmy nominee for her work with Lindelof on season 2 of The Leftovers, was similarly wooed, but not until he broke one of his own filmmaking rules to hire her. Prior to King, the creator had adamantly never worked with actors on more than one project.

“It was a dumb rule!” he exclaimed to the NYCC audience.

“I’m glad I didn’t know about rule, because I would’ve thought that it was a joke,” King chimed in before recounting how she received a letter and script from Lindelof to her personal address. “It came directly to my house and it had the loveliest letter that said this is his next project, it’s dear to him, and he couldn’t see anyone else to be on this train with.”

Talk about an opening line — King admitted that from that moment, she didn’t “even really care what I’m about to read, I’m in it!” But what really sold her was Lindelof’s inclusion of a sealed envelope midway through the script that instructed: “Regina: Don’t open this until you get to this page. Don’t cheat!” So upon getting to the envelope in the script (it was tucked between the first pages of Sister Knight’s introduction), she opened it. “I opened it up and it was an artist’s rendering of my face as Sister Knight,” King said to a round of applause from her audience.

“It would’ve been very awkward if you had said no,” Lindelof said. “Very, very awkward.”

King’s first thoughts on reading the script? She related: “I had never read anything like this. I had never seen this world, I had never seen this woman before. So complex… How could I not say yes? Just tell me where I have to show up.”

Watchmen premieres Sunday, October 20 at 9 p.m. on HBO.


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One of the more surprising series joining the comic book TV show universe is HBO’s Watchmen, an ambitious project that seems like the concept’s best destiny. The 2009 feature film version, which was directed by Zack Snyder and received only a 64% Tomatometer score, was the end result of a protracted development process that saw filmmakers like Terry Gilliam suggest the material was better suited to a high-end television miniseries. But what fans of the comic book will get when it debuts Oct. 20 is something much stranger and more daring than a simple adaptation. Take a look at what we what know about the program so far.


The Source Material

WATCHMEN, Rorschach, as drawn by co-creator Dave Gibbons, 2009. ©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

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

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ landmark 12-issue series debuted in 1985 to immediate acclaim. Based on the Charlton Comics characters DC Comics acquired in 1983, Moore and Gibbons envisioned a world in which costumed heroes surfaced in the 1930s and changed the course of history. True historical events like the Vietnam War and the Nixon presidency were drastically altered by costume vigilantes and the one genuine super-powered being in their midst.

The story itself is set after the various mystery men have all retired, died, or found themselves on the wrong side of the law. Some, like Adrian Veidt parlayed their notoriety into corporate success. Others, like the masked Rorschach, still try to hold back the tide of anarchy in a world completely and utterly tired of their shenanigans. Meanwhile, the one genuine superhero, Dr. Manhattan, finds himself less and less concerned with humanity’s petty squabbles as his consciousness continues to expand into cosmic realms.

And as the tale begins, one of their number – the Comedian – is found dead. Rorschach sets out to learn the truth behind the murder and uncovers a vast and seemingly sinister plot.

The events detailed in the book are, according to executive producer Damon Lindelof, 100 percent canon and the official past of the television series.

“We’re not going to mess with it,” he told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “One of the rules that we had as storytellers, writers, and even once we got into the production of the show was that everything that happened in those 12 issues could not be messed with. We were married to it and so there’s no rebooting happening.”


The Premise

Watchmen season 1 teaser trailer 1 screenshot (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

The canonicity of the original Watchmen comic book series matters because the television series takes place decades after those events. As Lindelof revealed in a letter to fans last year, the series will be something of a sequel (though he avoided using that word) set in contemporary times. Rorschach uncovered the truth behind the Comedian’s death, Adrian Veidt executed his plan, and Dr. Manhattan disappeared 34 years ago.

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Day 140.

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But as Lindelof told reporters in August, “It is definitely not supposed to be a world that you recognize. We’re using alternate history, science fiction, [and] popular fiction to Trojan Horse themes that are prevalent in the real world in a fictional one.”

The essence of Watchmen, both the comic book and the television series, at least in his view, is to use the superhero tropes to examine “institutions and culture and politics and the things that inform our society, and that’s the rich mix that makes the show the show.”

So what is it actually about? To start with, it’s about white supremacy. A group known as the Seventh Calvary adopts the Rorschach mask and begins targeting police officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma. To protect themselves, the police are forced to take on masks of their own. To the producer, the issues of race and policing felt like “the equivalent of the nuclear standoff between the Russians and the United States” in 2019.


Regina King portrait Watchmen season 1 (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

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Of course, with protagonist Angela Abar (Regina King) – a wife, mother of three, and lead detective in Tulsa Police Force – taking part in masked law enforcement, the issue of institutionalized white supremacy may not seem as clear-cut as it otherwise might be, but Lindelof said “those contradictions … were things that we were very aware of in the storytelling, and tried to square to the best of our ability, but there are no easy answers.”

As in the Watchmen comic, complex social issues cannot be solved with a faked alien invasion.

“There’s no defeating white supremacy,” Lindelof added. “It’s not going anywhere, but it felt like it was pretty formidable foe.”

The series will also examine what it means to wear a mask. As executive producer and episode director Nicole Kassell put it in a recent featurette, Watchmen “explores the complexity of who you are when you wear a mask, who you are when you’re not wearing a mask.” With characters directly stating opinions like “masks save lives” and “masks make men cruel,” it is tempting to see the costume accessory as a metaphor for the gun control debate. But looking back at the Watchmen comic, we’re tempted to say the mask — and the anonymity it offers — is more a metaphor for the use of force itself regardless of the tools involved.

But as Irons says in the featurette, “Like all good stories, the truth unwraps itself slowly,” so our understanding of the program may be very different by the end of its first season.”

Other details we know include the lack of an internet in Watchmen’s 2019 and the president who shut down the entire concept: Robert Redford. As Lindelof explained, the Nixon of Watchmen remained in office until his death. Vice President Gerald Ford replaced him, but lost to Redford in 1992. The former actor remains in power in 2019. While the notion contains a satirical jab – just as Nixon’s life-long presidency did in the comic book – Lindelof said he plans to use the Redford presidency to explore another powerful idea: a well-intentioned liberal who stayed in power too long.


The Cast

Besides King, the cast includes Don JohnsonTim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Adelaide ClemensAndrew Howard, Jeremy Irons, Tom Mison, Frances FisherJacob Ming-Trent, and Yahya Abdul-Mahteen II.

Other cast members include Jean Smart, Sara Vickers, Hong Chau, Dustin Ingram, and James Wolk, as well as child actors Dylan Schombing, Lily Rose Smith, and Adelynn Spoon.

In November 2018, word broke that Iron would be playing Adrian Veidt, confirming Lindelof’s intent to include at least one familiar character from the comic book. In the teaser, he can be seen mediating on a desk, recalling the Veidt of the comic book. In that story, he was the ultimate perpetrator of the conspiracy the Comedian and Rorschach uncovered. But in defiance of all comic book bad guys, his monstrous plan would ultimately better the world. Well, at least for a time. Rorschach sent his journal detailing Veidt’s crime to an extreme right-wing publication – no doubt the reason he becomes a hero among the Seventh Cavalry – its publication seemingly prevented Veidt’s utopia from surviving the Nixon Administration.

Meanwhile, Clemens will play Pirate Jenny, a clear reference to the Tales of the Black Freighter comic strip inside Watchmen, which is itself a reference back to the song “Pirate Jenny” from The Threepenny Opera. Smart is playing FBI Agent Angela Blake, who in a former life was the hero known as Silk Spectre. Also, as evidenced from the Comic-Con trailer, Dr. Manhattan will be returning to Earth, though it is still unclear who is playing him.


Watchmen season 1 teaser trailer 1 screenshot (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

Also, the earlier teaser suggested a new mirror-masked Rorschach will be on the scene. This appears to be Nelson’s character Looking Glass, whose name underscores the anonymity he tries to utilize. In fact, that theme of obscured identity is strong across the television series as the police, militia members, and potential vigilantes alike use masks to hide themselves from opponents and the public at large. Clearly, privacy is on Lindelof’s mind. And in a 2019 where both Apple and Facebook trade on their ability to keep user information safe (but don’t always succeed), it serves as a good underlying panic in the same way the original comic book traded on the fear of nuclear annihilation.


The Reznor/Ross Sound

Watchmen season 1 teaser trailer 1 screenshot (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

Proving the series will be very different from other superhero shows, the musical score will be provided by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of The Social Network and Gone Girl. Unlike the often rousing themes of superhero films or even the pulse-pounding tracks of The Flash or Arrow during its action scenes, Reznor and Ross are known for quieter, deliberate work. Fitting for a show that will no doubt eschew the usual superhero fights for something more graphic, harrowing, and pointed. Of course, they are capable of the bigger sweep as well, but one look at the teaser indicates bombastic music will be used in a more ironic way than, say, Avengers: Endgame.


The Original Writer Is Not Involved

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 6: Portrait of English comic book writer Alan Moore, taken on September 6, 2013. Moore is often considered the finest writer in the comics medium, and is best known for his graphic novels Watchmen and V For Vendetta. (Photo by Kevin Nixon/SFX Magazine via Getty Images)

Unlike many comic book adaptations these days, Watchmen will not feature input or even the approval of writer Moore. The notoriously cantankerous author had a bad run with Hollywood thanks to projects like V for Vendetta and League of Extraordinary Gentleman, leading to him refusing credit on subsequent films and even the money owed to him from those adaptations and sending the profit participation off to artists like Watchmen’s Dave Gibbons.

Lindelof told TCA reporters that he tried to reach out to Moore, but was met with the ire the author reserves for all Hollywood types trying to adapt his work. But as the original comic book itself appropriated older ideas from the Charlton Comics, Lindelof felt he was right to follow in Moore’s footsteps and appropriate Watchmen for himself.

“I do feel like the spirit of Alan Moore is a punk rock spirit, a rebellious spirit, and that if you told Alan Moore in 1984 or ’85 or ’86, ‘You’re not allowed to do this because Superman’s creator or Swamp Thing’s creator doesn’t want you to do it,’ he would say, ‘F— you, I’m doing it anyway,’” he explained. “I’m channeling the spirit of Alan Moore to tell Alan Moore, ‘F– you, I’m doing it anyway.’”


Release Date

Don Johnson in Watchmen season 1 teaser trailer 1 screenshot (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

The nine-episode series will debut at 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 20. Considering the sort of passion Watchmen inspires from its fans – look at any discussion thread about Snyder’s film version or DC’s decision to make Watchmen prequel comics in 2010 – it is likely the series will become one of the most talked about comic book–based projects of 2019.

Watchmen will premiere Oct. 20, 2019 on HBO.

Updated Sept. 3 with release date.


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Fifty Shades of Grey

(Photo by @ Focus Features)

Looking for some truly erotic cinematic experiences? Try our list of 150 Erotic Movies, ranked worst to best. Here, we’re celebrating the bad stuff – the misguided, unintentionally hilarious, and unbelievably awkward; the movie sex scenes that tried to get us hot under the collar but just left us scratching our heads. From earnest attempts at kink to moments of classic camp, these are the most unintentionally unsexy sex scenes in the movies. Happy Valentine’s Day!


The Matrix Reloaded (2003) 73%

10. The Zion Rave Party

So, Zion is da club? With the lights and heat turned up? If this is what life outside of the Matrix looks like, take us back (that steak looked so good). In this scene from the first Matrix sequel, the exceptionally attractive citizens of Zion dance and gyrate while Trinity and Neo make tender, candlelit love in a kind of rock pod bed. It’s a celebration of being human that frankly had us – for a few moments anyway – favoring the 0s and 1s.


Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) 25%

9. Ana’s Introduction to the Red Room

No, Ana, not like his X-box and stuff… We could have chosen a number of scenes from the critically-lashed Fifty Shades series, but this one, which sets the franchise’s tone, felt like the greatest offender. Or perhaps it did not quite offend enough. The ladies did love those low-slung Christian Grey jeans, though, and numbers don’t lie. The scene may not have worked for us at RT, but America was digging Shades‘ vibes to the tune of almost $170 million at the box office.



The Room (2003) 23%

8. The Scene So Nice You See It Twice

Like the rest of the film, The Room’s big sex scene is so bad it’s great – but it’s definitely not sexy. In the scene — which, we should mention, is set to a Skinemax-caliber love song — Tommy showers Lisa’s naked body with petals and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of human anatomy by aiming for her… bellybutton, we think? And just in case you missed it all the first time, Mr. Wiseau actually reuses the footage in a subsequent sex scene, because we clearly haven’t seen enough of his gyrating posterior.


Munich (2005) 78%

7. Flashback Love 

Steven Spielberg was not trying to make a “sexy” scene with this, one of the few off-key moments in the otherwise great (and Certified Fresh) Munich. He was trying to be profound – we think. And yet the decision to intercut footage from the 1972 Munich Olympics hostage crisis and massacre with shots of Avner (Eric Bana) and his wife Daphna (Ayelet Zurer) very sweatily going at it misfires hugely.


The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012) 49%

6. Bella and Edward at Home

With Fifty Shades on the list, it’s only fair to include a scene from the franchise that inspired it. We’re going with Bella and Edward’s tastefully lit romp in their new home – mostly for packing in so many bad-movie-sex clichés into so few minutes. There are the beautiful shots of closing eyes and arching necks, a close-up of a (beautiful) bed sheet being tightly gripped, that (beautiful) Feist song giving everything a sense of drama, and it all ends with them chilling in front of a roaring fire. (Minus points for the absence of a bearskin rug; bonus points for featuring literal sparks flying off of Bella’s face at one point.)  



Moonraker (1979) 60%

5. Bond Goes Zero Gravity

We’re not going to lie: We chuckled during this one, a lot; there is enough very dated double entendre in this single scene to fuel another three Austin Powers sequels. (“I think he’s attempting re-entry, sir!”). There is something spectacularly unsexy about fornication without gravitation, though, no matter how hard the straining violins and soft lighting try to tell us otherwise. If the physical impossibility of it all wasn’t bad enough, a room full of folks are watching on back at mission control.


Gigli (2003) 6%

4. “It’s Turkey Time”

It takes a lot to make a scene between official Very Hot People and onetime real-life couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez unsexy, so we’re giving writer-director Martin Brest extra points for this one. The immortal line, “It’s turkey time, gobble, gobble,” uttered by J-Lo in an effort to seduce Affleck, is enough to have us canceling Thanksgiving forever. Or at least for 2003.


The Counselor (2013) 34%

3. The Yellow Ferrari

In The Counselor, Javier Bardem’s Reiner tells The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) that he’d “Like to forget about Malkina f—-ing my car.” So would we. Five years on, we’re still not sure what possessed writer Cormac McCarthy and Ridley Scott to come up with the idea of Cameron Diaz straddling a Ferrari’s windshield until climax, let alone what possessed them to write the scene, shoot it, set it to music, and not edit it out of the final movie. Perhaps this movie needs that rarest of things: a Ridley Scott directors’ cut that would make it shorter.


Showgirls (1995) 22%

2. Nomi, Zach, and the Pool 

Apologies to our employer, because the sites you have to hit up to watch this scene in full are… well, we will be scrubbing our browser history for eons. And don’t bother seeking it out yourself. Far from being particularly sensual or erotic, this scene featuring Kyle MacLachlan’s Zach and Elizabeth Berkley’s Nomi making wild, splashy love in a pool is mostly just confounding. How is she doing that? And why are they doing this? And why am I laughing at everything they’re doing together?


Watchmen (2009) 65%

1. “Hallelujah”

As anyone who has ever watched a televised talent competition will tell you, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has been subjected to its fair share of abuse over the years. Nowhere, though, has the song been more thoroughly beaten up than in this scene from Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, an otherwise fascinating superhero flick that has its hardcore defenders. What was a powerful moment in the graphic novel is laughable here, as Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) and Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman) trade grunty-faces in their steampunk binoculars-looking sex pod all while the booming voice of Cohen… booms. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the pod shoots flames at the moment of climax.


Disagree, passionately? Let us know in the comments, and share your favorite so-bad-they’re-good movie sex scenes. 

Seven Seconds SEASON Season 1 EPISODE 7 PHOTO CREDIT Cara Howe / Netflix PICTURED Regina King

(Photo by Cara Howe / Netflix)

Regina King is no stranger to drama. She won two Emmys for American Crime and was part of the ensembles of Southland and The Leftovers. Her latest show, Seven Seconds, may be her most harrowing work yet — at least until she appears in Damon Lindelof’s HBO adaptation of Watchmen.

On Seven Seconds, King plays Latrice Butler, a mother whose son Brenton (Daykwon Gaines) is injured in a hit-and-run by a police officer (Beau Knapp). With Netflix vying for Emmy consideration for their dramatic series, King spoke with Rotten Tomatoes by phone about why  Seven Seconds was her toughest role yet.

But first, King shared her near-total conversion from on-the-air television. Find out what’s on her DVR and streaming queues, and the one thing she makes an exception for on live TV.


WHAT IS APPOINTMENT VIEWING FOR YOU?

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 03: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives against Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 3, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

I am totally converted. I do not do any appointment TV unless it’s a playoff game or a game final.


WHAT SHOWS ARE ON YOUR DVR?

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story -- Pictured: Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan. CR: Pari Dukovic/FX

(Photo by Pari Dukovic/FX)

Here’s the interesting thing: Netflix has changed the game in a really big way, so you don’t have to backup your DVR as much as I guess I did maybe eight years ago. Right now what I have not caught up with on my DVR — I haven’t caught up on all my Unsungs. I love those shows. You learn something about artists that grew up with you or your parents were listening to on the record player. You just learn so many things that you didn’t know. For the artists that were grown up when I was a kid, I just looked at them as artists, not as peers — like Special Ed, I’m really looking forward to seeing the Special Ed Unsung and looking forward to seeing the Digable Planets Unsung. I can’t wait for that. So I have those two to watch and whatever other ones that I haven’t seen this season. And MTume I’m really looking forward to seeing too. They were the group that Biggie Smalls sampled [in “Juicy”].

Oh, I know what’s on my DVR that I have not watched yet: [American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni] Versace. That is all queued up and ready for me to watch all of them. I have not seen one, so that’s going to be one of those over-at-four-o’-clock-in-the-morning nights.


WHAT IS IN YOUR STREAMING QUEUE?

Ibiza (Aleksandar Letic)

(Photo by Aleksandar Letic)

So much. I want to see Ibiza. That’s on my radar to watch. I haven’t seen the last two Dave Chappelles, so that’s on there, and Chris Rock’s Tamborine is one that I want to see. Obviously, I’m in this space where I want to see comedies and things that will make me laugh. I’ve been doing TV lately that is so heavy that something light, comedies are the things I’m looking forward to. Another Netflix show I like is Atypical. I’ve only watched three episodes, and I haven’t finished that one. That’s a really good show. It’s funny and it has a little emotional weight to it which I dig. My son turned me onto it. There’s another one my son turned me onto that I’ve watched just the first two episodes which I thought was genius, it’s a cartoon called Big Mouth. I thought that was just awesome.


WHAT’S COMING SOON THAT YOU CAN’T WAIT FOR?

POSE -- "Pilot" -- Season 1, Episode 1 (Aired Sunday, June 3, 9:00 p.m. e/p) Pictured: Indya Moore as Angel. (JoJo Whilden/FX)

(Photo by JoJo Whilden/FX)

I cannot wait for the new season of Power. It’s starting any day now, and I’m also excited about that new show Pose.


Seven Seconds Season 1 EPISODE5 PHOTO CREDIT JoJo Whilden / Netflix PICTURED Regina King

(Photo by JoJo Whilden / Netflix)

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: I’m sure you’d hoped for a fourth season of American Crime, but when there wasn’t, was it nice to find another show that really had something to say?

Regina King: Yes, absolutely. When I came onto Seven Seconds, I only came on for a season. This story is a one-off story. It was never something for me that was supposed to continue. That story was a story that I felt needed to be told. Some people may feel like it’s a told-again story, but unfortunately, this is who we are as an American culture. It’s unfortunate, but for me, the storytelling that is not scared of holding a mirror up is fascinating for me as an artist.


Seven Seconds SEASON Season 1 EPISODE 5 PHOTO CREDIT JoJo Whilden / Netflix PICTURED Russell Hornsby, Regina King

(Photo by JoJo Whilden / Netflix)

RT: Is there a specific episode you’re submitting for Emmy consideration as an example of your most powerful work?

King: Oh my gosh, I have not gone back to watch the shows, because it was so emotional that I can’t go back to watch. It’s already hard for me to watch myself, because as an actor, the times I’ve watched things that I’ve done, I always feel like, “I wish I would’ve made this choice. Oh, I know I did a better take than that. Why didn’t they use that?” I find myself in this space of shoulda/woulda/coulda and that really is ridiculous. That’s just crazy thinking, but because I do that, I tend to not watch things that I’ve done, unless it’s just something that’s really specific to the press tour, and I need to really know it very well. This one, even if it was specific to the press tour, it was such an emotional place to live for six months that I just can’t go back there. I just can’t.


WATCHMEN, Rorschach, as drawn by co-creator Dave Gibbons, 2009. ©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection)

RT: Is Watchmen going to be that emotional for you?

King: Damon Lindelof is so brilliant. It is going to be emotional in another way, but I don’t think in that way. Because I’m a mother — I’m a mother of a son — I know what it feels like just when your son goes out to a party. If they’re five minutes after curfew, I’m looking at the clock nervous. That alone, I think a lot of parents can relate to that. That’s why [Seven Seconds] was such a raw place for me to be, but Watchmen is going to have some emotion for some different reasons that I can’t say because Damon is so brilliant. He is doing some things in this show that, if it has been done before, I haven’t seen it.

RT: They haven’t said who you’re playing yet, but what is it like to play a new character in the Watchmen world?

King: Well, I start on Monday, so so far we have just been going through all the wardrobe design and all the different things that come along with developing who the woman I’m playing is. I am being very careful, because I am not messing up anything. I’m still so honored that Damon is calling on me again. I just want to show up and show out.

RT: Does reading the comic book help when it’s a new take on Watchmen?

King: I am not reading it. Damon’s asking for me to wait and read it after we finish the first season.


Seven Seconds is now streaming on Netflix. Lindelof is shooting the Watchmen pilot for HBO.

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!

This week on streaming video, we’ve got an Oscar-nominated drama, an animated treat, a couple of fascinating documentaries, and a darkly comic thriller on Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as some beloved classics, some prime television, and a few new films on FandangoNOW. Read on for the full list.


New on Netflix

 

Night Will Fall (2014) 100%

This documentary chronicles the making of another, one called German Concentration Camps Factual Survey that was commissioned by the British government — with help from Alfred Hitchcock — in 1945 and sat incomplete on the shelf for almost 70 years.

Available now on: Netflix


Ernest & Célestine (2014) 98%

This French-Belgian animated treat takes place in a world full of anthropomorphized bears who prey on mice, where an orphan mouse meets a hungry bear and the two form an unlikely bond.

Available now on: Netflix


I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017) 89%

Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood star in this Netflix original film about a woman who teams up with her martial arts-obsessed neighbor to seek vengeance when her house is burglarized.

Available now on: Netflix


Kill Command (2016) 75%

This sci-fi action film takes place on an isolated island where a squad of futuristic marines embark on a routine training mission that turns out to be more than they expected.

Available now on: Netflix


The Lovers and the Despot (2016) 79%

This documentary tells the stranger-than-fiction story of a South Korean film star and her director husband, who were both kidnapped by Kim Jong-il and forced to produce 17 films for him before they escaped.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

My Mother (2015) 84%

This French-Italian drama centers on a film director dealing with an ill mother at home and on-set problems with a testy American actor (played by John Turturro).

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Captain Fantastic (2016) 83%

Viggo Mortensen was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his work in this drama as a father of six navigating civilization again after raising his family deep in the woods.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on FandangoNOW

 

The Public Enemy (1931) 100%

James Cagney and Jean Harlow star in this classic gangster flick about the rise and fall of prohibition-era mobster Tom Powers.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


House Party (1990) 93%

This quintessential ’90s flick stars the hip-hop duo Kid ‘n Play and Martin Lawrence in a comedy about a pair of aspiring rappers who try to pull of an epic party to show off their skills.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Fences (2016) 92%

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis star in Washington’s adaptation of the August Wilson play about a garbage collector and former Negro Leagues baseball star in 1950s Pittsburgh who takes out his frustrations on his family. Davis took home a Best Supporting Actress Oscar on Sunday for her performance.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Strike Back 85%

This Cinemax action series stars Sullivan Stapleton as an ex-Delta Force operative who teams up with British intelligence to capture an international criminal.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Banshee 90%

Antony Starr and Ivana Milicevic star in Cinemax’s gritty, sexy drama about an ex-con who assumes the role of town sheriff when the real sheriff is killed before anyone meets him.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


The Girl With All the Gifts (2016) 85%

Sennia Nanua, Gemma Arterton, and Paddy Considine star in this horror drama that explores the moral quandary posed by sentient child zombies.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Quarry 78%

Logan Marshall-Green stars in this Cinemax period crime drama about a Vietnam vet who returns home to Memphis, TN and gradually slips into a life of crime due to a rough repatriation.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Ali (2001) 68%

– Director’s Cut

Will Smith, Jon Voight, and Jamie Foxx star in Michael Mann’s profile of the legendary world champion boxer. The director’s cut available on FandangoNOW includes an additional eight minutes of footage.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Dumb & Dumber (1994) 68%

Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey play Harry and Lloyd, a couple of dimwits who drive across the country to return what they think is a misplaced briefcase to a woman Lloyd has fallen in love with.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Watchmen (2009) 65%

– Ultimate Cut

It’s the mid-1980s in an alternate universe US, where superheroes exist but are prevented from using their powers. When a new threat arises, former allies come together to ensure it fails. This Ultimate Cut of the film includes the animated Tales of the Black Freighter short spliced into the film.

Available now on: FandangoNOW

Comic book movies are all the rage these days, and every year we see more of them hitting theaters than before. Whether you’re into quirky indie comics (Ghost World, American Splendor), superhero action titles (The Dark Knight, The Avengers), graphic novels (300, Persepolis), or even manga (Oldboy), there’s probably a big screen adaptation on this list for you. Read on to find out what’s available to watch online (whether through full purchase, rental, or streaming subscriptions) right now.


Batman Begins
84%

In the origin story of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, Christian Bale stars as Bruce Wayne, orphaned billionaire who dons the cape and cowl to uncover a conspiracy to poison Gotham City’s water supply.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


The Dark Knight
94%

Batman faces a treacherous new villain in The Joker (Heath Ledger), who terrorizes Gotham City and forces Batman to make tough decisions to keep the peace.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


The Dark Knight Rises
87%

Gotham City has enjoyed eight years of peace following the events of The Dark Knight, but a broken Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) must become the Batman once again when Bane (Tom Hardy) takes the entire city hostage.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Iron Man
94%

When wealthy military industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is taken hostage by terrorists and ordered to build a new weapon, he instead invents an armored suit and decides to dedicate his life to fighting evil.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


Iron Man 2
72%

Now known to the world as Iron Man, Tony Stark must deal with a rival arms manufacturer and becomes the target of a vengeful man with ties to his past.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Thor
77%

In the distant realm of Asgard, a powerful warrior named Thor (Chris Hemsworth) breaks a centuries-old truce, earning him exile to Earth. Once among humans, Thor must protect his new friends from an evil adversary who has followed him from Asgard.

Available now on: Amazon, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Vudu


Captain America: The First Avenger
80%

Scrawny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers for a super-soldier program prior to WWII and leads American forces against Nazi collaborator Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and his nefarious HYDRA army.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu, Netflix


The Incredible Hulk
67%

After a military experiment gone wrong leaves his biology drastically altered, scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) flees the US to search for a cure and fights to keep his blood out of military hands.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Marvel’s The Avengers
91%

When a mystical object is stolen from a remote research facility, the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. assemble Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk to retrieve it and prevent a large-scale alien invasion.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu


Persepolis
96%

Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical tale recounts the childhood of an outspoken Iranian girl growing up during the Islamic revolution.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


American Splendor
94%

A stylish indie biopic that blends live action and animated elements in an adaptation of underground comic writer Harvey Pekar’s autobiographical comics of the same name.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


A History of Violence
87%

When small town man Tom Small (Viggo Mortensen) commits an act of heroism that gets him on the local news, a mysterious stranger (Ed Harris) recognizes him and shows up, daring to reveal secrets from a past Tom claims never existed.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Road to Perdition
81%

Tom Hanks plays Depression-era hitman Michael Sullivan, whose son witnesses an execution at the hands of his father. When Connor (Daniel Craig), the son of his employer, kills his wife and younger son in an attempt to keep the family quiet, Sullivan sets out on a path of revenge.

Available now on: Amazon


Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
82%

Young slacker Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) falls for his dream girl, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), but if he wants to be with her, he’ll have to defeat her seven evil exes in battle first.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Spider-Man
90%

In the first of Sam Raimi’s three Spider-Man films, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is bitten by a radioactive spider and inherits superhuman powers, which he uses to stop Norman Osborn, the megalomaniacal Green Goblin.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Spider-Man 2
93%

Peter Parker is now a college student and dating Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), but he finds adversaries in the disturbed Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Harry Osborn (James Franco) — Peter’s best friend and the son of Green Goblin.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Spider-Man 3
63%

This time out, Spider-Man squares off against Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and the alien symbiote Venom (Topher Grace), the latter of which presents a particularly personal struggle for Peter.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


The Amazing Spider-Man
72%

Marc Webb’s reboot of the franchise stars Andrew Garfield as a wisecracking Peter Parker, who is bitten by a radioactive spider and discovers secrets about his past that lead to the birth of his first adversary, the Lizard (Rhys Ifans).

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Sin City
77%

Based on Frank Miller’s comic series, Robert Rodriguez’s neo-noir is a stylish, violent crime thriller following multiple storylines of pulpy fiction.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Hellboy
81%

Guillermo del Toro brings to life Mike Mignola’s antihero Hellboy (Ron Perlman), a demon-turned-good who teams with other paranormal heroes to defeat Rasputin, the Russian mystic who summoned Hellboy for the Nazis sixty years prior.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Hellboy II: The Golden Army
86%

Ron Perlman reprises his title role in this sequel, which finds Hellboy fighting to keep an otherworldy tyrant from wiping out humanity.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


X-Men
82%

Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, and more provide the star power for this pioneering entry in the franchise about superpowered mutants with contradictory philosophies about achieving acceptance in the human world.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


X2: X-Men United
85%

As Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his X-Men continuing to fight for the mutant cause, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) sets out to uncover secrets about his dark past.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


X-Men: The Last Stand
57%

As Magneto (Ian McKellen) prepares for an all out assault on humankind, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) rallies his troops to meet their forces head-on in a massive mutant battle.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


X-Men: First Class
86%

Director Matthew Vaughn takes us back to the 1960s, when a young Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) first meet, begin to gather mutants to their respective cause, and discover they hold very different ideas about the future.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Click to Page 2 to see the availability of Kick-Ass, Dredd, 300, and the Superman, early Batman and Men in Black franchises, plus more!


Superman: The Movie
94%

As Planet Krypton verges on annihilation, a lone infant escapes into space, only to land on Earth and live out his dual life as both Clark Kent (Christopher Reeve) and the powerful Superman.

Available now on: Amazon


Superman II
85%

Superman saves Paris from a nuclear attack, but he simultaneously awakens a trio of powerful Kryptonian criminals in Earth’s orbit who then attempt to take over Earth.

Available now on: Amazon


Superman Returns
75%

This 2006 film picks up where Superman II left off, as Clark Kent/Superman (Brandon Routh) returns after years of absence only to find that the world is getting along fine without him… and his former enemy Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) is up to his old tricks.

Available now on: Amazon


Ghost World
93%

Based on the Daniel Clowes graphic novel, this coming-of-age comedy focuses on recent high school grads Enid and Rebeca (Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson), who spend their summer navigating relationships and trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

Available now on: Amazon


Oldboy
81%

In this South Korean thriller, a man (Choi Min-sik) is kidnapped and held captive for 15 years by an anonymous party for undisclosed reasons; when he is finally set free, he begins to unravel the dark mystery behind his imprisonment.

Available now on: Amazon, Netflix


Men in Black
92%

New York cop James Edwards (Will Smith) is recruited for a top secret government agency tasked with policing earth’s resident aliens; with his partner Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), the two help stop a “Bug” (Vincent D’Onofrio) bent on the destruction of a hidden universe.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Men in Black II
39%

Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) has retired and had his memory wiped, but when a shapeshifting villain (Lara Flynn Boyle) takes control of the MIB offices, Agent J (Will Smith) must team up with him again to bring her to justice.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Men in Black 3
68%

After an unexplained anomaly wipes all traces of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) from the present, Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to partner up with a young K (Josh Brolin) and set things right.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Kick-Ass
76%

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) wonders why there aren’t any real superheroes in the world, so he buys a goofy outfit and tries his hand at vigilante justice. When he inadvertently upsets a crime boss (Mark Strong), he teams up with a few fellow heroes to take him down.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Dredd
79%

In a dystopic near future, “judges” dispense justice at their discretion. Dredd (Karl Urban) and a rookie partner (Olivia Thirlby) get their first assignment: take down a highrise populated by gangsters and ruled by a ruthless drug lord named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


V for Vendetta
73%

This adaptation of the Alan Moore graphic novel, set in an alternate England, stars Natalie Portman as a young woman who joins with a mysterious masked man, skilled in speech and combat, who seeks to overthrow the totalitarian government.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Batman: The Movie (1966)
79%

Adam West and Burt Ward star in this campy classic, which finds the Caped Crusader (West) and Robin (Ward) chasing down a gang of their most famous adversaries after they’ve dehydrated the UN.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Batman (1989)
71%

Tim Burton’s take on Batman stars Michael Keaton in the title role as he attempts to thwart the Joker’s (Jack Nicholson) plan to poison consumer products used by the citizens of Gotham City.

Available now on: Amazon


Batman Returns
80%

Tim Burton follows up the 1989 hit with a much darker film, in which Batman (Michael Keaton) must deal with Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the Penguin (Danny DeVito).

Available now on: Amazon


Batman Forever
38%

Val Kilmer takes up the cape and cowl for Joel Schumacher’s decidedly campier sequel; Robin (Chris O’Donnell) enters the picture to lend Batman a hand against the Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones).

Available now on: Amazon


Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
84%

A companion to the 1990s animated series, Mask of the Phantasm pits Batman against the Phantom, who frames Batman for the murder of a crime lord and uncovers a dangerous link to someone from his past.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


300
61%

Zack Snyder directs a violent and stylish adaptation of Frank Miller’s fictionalized retelling of the legendary battle of Thermopylae, where, as legend has it, a small army of Spartans held off the entire Persian army.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Red
72%

In this action-comedy, Bruce Willis heads up a squad of retired CIA agents who fight back then they’re targeted by their former agency for their knowledge of clandestine operations.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Barbarella
74%

Jane Fonda stars as the title heroine in this sci-fi cult favorite about a government rep from Earth who searches the galaxy for a missing scientist and explores her sexuality with a number of intergalactic suitors.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu, Netflix


Watchmen
65%

It’s the mid-1980s in an alternate universe US, where superheroes exist but are prevented from using their powers. When a new threat arises, former allies come together to ensure it fails.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Blade
57%

Wesley Snipes stars as the titular vampire hunter, who sets out to stop Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), a vampire with ambitions of “turning” every human in the world.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Blade II
57%

Guillermo del Toro helms this sequel, which finds Blade (Wesley Snipes) joining forces with his nemesis Damaskinos (Thomas Kretschmann) to fight a super-race of vampires.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Heavy Metal
61%

Based on stories from the eponymous sci-fi comic magazine, Heavy Metal tells a handful of loosely connected stories through eye-popping animation.

Available now on: Amazon


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie
41%

Four turtles exposed to radiation grow up learning martial arts from a mutated rat sensei and do battle with a ruthless crime lord known as Shredder.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze
35%

The Turtles are back to take down Shredder, who has obtained some of the same radioactive ooze that transformed the Turtles and uses it to create new warriors to do his bidding.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Peter G. Travers knows his digital effects: he’s worked on the first Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and the Matrix, and most recently supervised many of the key effects sequences on Watchmen. We spoke to Travers about the movie’s most difficult visual challenge –creating a realistic Dr. Manhattan — and talked about the future of synthetic characters more human than human. (Correct: he also worked on Blade Runner: The Final Cut.)

What was the biggest challenge of the visual effects on Watchmen?

Well the main one was Doc [Dr. Manhattan]. That was the biggest challenge, but we knew that up front. So we certainly dedicated a lot of time to making that work. A lot of it’s just about providing an environment where you can create good CG — when you have CG that you’re uncomfortable with, it’s typically because the environment is not right. With Doc we knew really early on that that’s the thing we needed to focus on, so before we started shooting a lot of planning went into how we were going to shoot Doc; and all of that just tremendously paid off in the end. Without that, if all we were being handed were plates with nobody in the scene, it wouldn’t have looked nearly as good.

Because Billy was actually in the scenes, on set.

In almost every single shot — like, about 99 per cent of the shots. There were a few shots where he was gigantic where we had to make it up — Billy couldn’t scale himself, which was fortunate for him [laughs]. But almost every shot — and any interaction. That was the trick of the whole thing. There’s something in that you’re getting the actor Billy to act within the environment; you’re getting the actors to react to him. The real trick with all of it is the light suit we developed for Billy, so that he could cast light into the scene and that light would change as he moved. He literally had 2000 LEDs sewn on to his suit. It kind of started as a motion-capture suit, and then Company Global Effects sewed in the LEDs from helmet to gloves to the rest of the body to the soles of the shoe.


So the light would reflect on the rest of the scene?

Yes. In particular, there are some key moments, like the love scene with Silk Spectre when he replicates himself, where you can actually see when his hand is moving across her face. It’s like with anything with light in the scene — even if you’re not physically seeing the light source, you’re seeing what the light source is doing.

There were early — probably silly — rumours that Manhattan’s underwear was added. Did you have any concerns with the nudity of the character?

Well, it’s the way it was written by Alan Moore, in that the character’s losing his touch with humanity. At first he wears a kind of body suit and then it turns into shorts, and by the end he’s walking around completely naked. It’s like, if a character’s losing his touch with humanity, would he even care about wearing clothes? It’s a tough thing for an American audience to deal with. In America, we’re completely fine with people’s heads getting blown off, but the minute we see naked genitalia we have a problem with that. So it was a tough call, I think, whether people would embrace it or not — but the whole thing was that it was important to the character; to say, “If Superman had really existed, what would he really be like?”

Did you consult with Dave Gibbons on the visuals?

Yeah, he was there on set, but not every day. I guess it’s a little unfortunate that Alan Moore rejected it because I think Zack actually did a really good job of replicating the comic book. Zack really got what the story was about, so it’s surprising that Alan Moore kind of rejected the whole thing — but I think he got burned on other movies.


Looking over your CV — you’ve worked on Spawn, the first Harry Potter, The Two Towers, Matrix Reloaded — what do you think has been the major change in CG during that period?

The major change is that we need to do a lot more for less. I think budgets have gotten a lot tighter than what they were, and in a way we have made it harder on ourselves by coming up with these advancements and always succeeding and I guess it’s almost treated like, “Oh it’ll be fixed in post and you guys will make it work”. But I can see that the one thing for Watchmen that was kind of a reminder to me was that the set up makes or breaks the CGI in the film. If you don’t get what you need from the environment — whether it’s a big effect or a character — it’s not gonna work.

It’s like with Dr. Manhattan. To me, the digital human, there’s a lot of technology out there that’s been there for a little while, but it’s gluing it all together and giving yourself an opportunity to put it all together to make it work. There’s so many different aspects to Dr. Manhattan: we put peach fuzz on him, we had to put hair all over his body and in most shots you wouldn’t see it — ’cause I’m talking about the little tiny hairs, like even on a man’s cheek. When you light someone in a movie you light them in this kind of three-quarter back-light and you get this bright rim on them. Well that rim on a person’s skin is activated by a person’s hairs that the light is reaching, even though the skin isn’t getting the light. So we’re like, “Let’s put it on Doc and see what it does” — and after doing some before and afters with him being absolutely hairless and then with a little bit of peach fuzz, it was like, well, the peach fuzz makes him look that much more real.

Next: resurrecting The Crow, cloning John Wayne and locking lips with Harrison Ford — the future of digital actors.


How far do you think CG can go now — with Dr. Manhattan and stuff like Benjamin Button, is there a point where we can have digitally-replicated actors who’ll go on performing long after the actor is gone?

I think there will be. It’ll come down to the need. Honestly, one of the first needs that came up, that most people forget about, was The Crow. When Brandon Lee died I was at DreamQuest, when they had to finish the shot. I didn’t work on the movie but I remember them going, “Oh god what do we do?!” and they patched some other shot together. That was just basic compositing, but nevertheless, the need arose. So that’s the thing. If at a certain point there is a demand out there where people think they’re gonna really wanna see another John Wayne movie, then we might make a John Wayne. And imagine the Hollywood studios had their actors locked in time, and they had it as an asset; meaning, they can make a movie with the young John Wayne opposite a Clark Gable opposite a Tom Cruise, you know, from different times, merging them together. Could it happen? It’s a question of whether or not the audience would embrace it, because it comes from the need or the desire to see it. If the audience is curious to see what kind of movie that would be like, then Hollywood will make it.


But you gotta be careful that you have the money to do it. You don’t wanna short change it — you don’t wanna have a crappy version of John Wayne out there. And the other thing — getting back to Dr. Manhattan — Dr. Manhattan was essentially an extension of Billy Crudup. Now, you take Billy out of that, or you try to make Watchmen 2 50 years from now when you don’t have Billy doing it, well, we’re not gonna have a direct reference as to how he moves. And I can tell you that in each and every shot, the ones that are the most successful are the ones that are closest to his performance. Like an eye twitch that we never would have thought of putting it in there, but Billy did it — and every time we added some subtle thing, in a way we weren’t expecting, it added to the realism.

So that’s gonna be the trick with synthetic humans — what do you get as references? Especially if it’s a posthumous thing. If an actor died a long time ago, you’re gonna have problems trying to perfect it. If I was to do John Wayne, I’d get someone who looks a lot like John Wayne and have someone impersonate John Wayne and then you’d go in and make it the John Wayne.

Like in Superman Returns with Marlon Brando, didn’t someone else perform his lips?

Yes. And that’s kind of the methodology, you know. When we did the remake stuff for Blade Runner there was one shot in there—

With Harrison Ford’s son doing the mouth double?

Yes. That’s the process. That’s intelligent solutions. Why not get Harrison Ford’s son, who looks similar? It’s not perfect, but it’s similar, and that gives you so much more of a head start for whatever you’re doing, and you can post-augment it.


Getting back to budgets, are budgets getting to a point where they’re too high to justify?

I think the cost per shot is getting lower — the demands are getting higher for the dollars being spent. Buit you’re right: there’s a diminishing returns point. Like, I don’t even know what the budget of Avatar is, but I remember before Titanic came out everyone was saying, “My god, how much are they spending on that movie, they’re never gonna make their money back” — and it happened to make its money back. But you don’t know if you can bank on that every time. That’s the thing: your risk is so high when your budget is running so high. You better be damned sure that you’re gonna make it all back on opening weekend.

Watchmen is out now on DVD.

Dave Gibbons

Dave Gibbons’ revered work in the comic book world stretches back to the 1970s, when he contributed to cult British publications 2000 A.D. and Dan Dare, before illustrating both DC and Marvel series in the early ’80s and collaborating with writer Alan Moore on the seminal Watchmen — the graphic novel that upended the genre. As the film adaptation of Watchmen arrives on DVD, we asked this inherently cinematic artist to name his five favorite films. On the spot. “I wish I had time to prepare this,” he protests. “Okay, this is absolutely off the cuff… ”

 

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964,
100% Tomatometer)



Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
I generally like very visually striking films. I love a lot of Stanley Kubrick’s films. I would have to say Dr. Strangelove, which of course has got resonance in Watchmen. It’s a favorite movie of mine.

Apocalypse Now (1979,
98% Tomatometer)



Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now is a favorite movie of mine. Again, there are kind of Watchmen resonances there.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997,
78% Tomatometer)



Grosse Pointe Blank

For a slightly off beat one, you know sometimes you see a movie and you think, ‘That’s a really good movie — why did I never ever hear of that?’ A movie called Grosse Pointe Blank, which is an incredible movie.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991,
97% Tomatometer)



Terminator 2: Judgment Day

I really actually liked this one. There’s a thing with genre movies and science fiction movies that number two is the charmed; two seems to be the best. I loved Terminator 2. I think of all those kinds of movies, that has to be my favorite ‘blowing big shit up’ kind of movie. How many is that so far?

The Reader (2008, 62% Tomatometer)



The Reader

So I have to think of one more? Okay, I’ll say that on the plane coming here I saw The Reader and I thought that was an amazing film, a very affecting film dealing with an almost overfamiliar subject but in an almost novel and emotional way. That’s my current favorite movie.

Read RT’s full interview with Dave Gibbons, in which he looks back on his experience with Watchmen and shares his thoughts on the film.

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