ByGrant Hermanns, writer at Creators.co
I know way too much about movies, my mind is like a walking IMDB, only not perfect. Don't forget to hit up my Twitter: @grantheftautho
Grant Hermanns

We've all heard the age-old debate: "Who's the better Batman?" or the straight-up idea of "F**k Brandon Routh, worst Superman ever."

(Michael Keaton voice) No way, dude, I'm Batman.
(Michael Keaton voice) No way, dude, I'm Batman.

But with DC progressing into more darker tones than previous adaptations, it's hard to compare the different people taking on the role of The Caped Crusader, or the Amazon demigodess.

However, we are all fans, and we all have different opinions.

Kidding. (Or am I?)
Kidding. (Or am I?)

So, let's take a moment to look back into the vault of time and revisit some of those older (and purposely forgotten) adaptations of our favorite DC comic book characters:

Arthur Curry/Aquaman

The deep-sea fighting hero has yet to truly have big exposure in the film and television world, but has made numerous minor appearances, and is scheduled to make his feature film debut in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice with Jason Momoa wielding the triton for the big screen. The aquatic character has also appeared in the CW superhero series, Smallville, in which he was portrayed by Alan Ritchson, and was later portrayed by Justin Hartley in a TV pilot that wasn't picked up by The CW.

Poll

Who do you think is the better-suited protector of the sea?

Bruce Wayne/Batman

We've all heard and seen his story come to life. A young boy sees his parents gunned down in front of him in a mugging gone wrong, and uses his rage and fear as he grows up to become the Batman, the vigilante who disposes of criminals in his hometown of Gotham. The character's origin story and subsequent crime-fighting career has been portrayed numerous times, going all the way back to 1943, in which Lewis Wilson first donned the suit, and was followed by everyone's favorite B-movie hero, Adam West.

West remained in the suit for the movie and subsequent TV shows from 1966-68, and the character would not see a live-action adaptation for 20 years, when Michael Keaton brought the hero back to the big screen. After one sequel in the suit, Keaton would be replaced by two one-and-done performances from Val Kilmer and George Clooney. After the widely disastrous Clooney film, Batman & Robin, the "World's Greatest Detective" would not see the big screen again until 2005, when Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale would deliver audiences the most successful adaptation of the character yet with the Dark Knight trilogy, which ended in 2012. Wayne's next big-screen appearance will be seen in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and young Bruce can currently be seen on Fox's Gotham portrayed by David Mazouz.

Poll

Who do you think is the better-suited protector of the sea?

Selina Kyle/Catwoman

Catwoman is a rare example of a Batman villain who actually got their own movie in 2004 starring Halle Berry, however it completely changed both the motives and backstory of the character, instead turning her into more of a vigilante in the form of Patience Phillips. Before this, however, the character did see more faithful portrayals thanks to Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt in the Adam West Batman film and TV series, as well as Michelle Pfeifer in Tim Burton's second Keaton film, Batman Returns. The character would remain dormant in the live-action scene after the Berry bomb, but would reappear on the big screen in Nolan's conclusion, The Dark Knight Rises, portrayed by Anne Hathaway. Following Hathaway's portrayal, a young Selina Kyle can be seen on Fox's Gotham, portrayed by Camren Bicondova.

Poll

Who do you think is the better-suited protector of the sea?

Clark Kent/Superman

The Man of Steel is seen as one of the most honorable superheroes in history, never killing an enemy, unless it is the absolute worst circumstances. The flying hero often confused for a bird or a plane first saw a live-action portrayal in 1948 with actor Kirk Alyn donning the red-and-blue suit. After two films, the role would be succeeded from 1951-58 by George Reeves, followed by an unaired TV pilot depicting a young Kent played by Johnny Rockwell.

Rather than a straight adventure, Superman's next return to the screen would be the musical, It's a BIrd...It's a Plane...It's Superman based on the Broadway musical. After the poor reception, the hero would see a redemption on the big screen in 1978's Superman: The Movie starring Christopher Reeve as adult Kent/Superman, as well as Jeff East as teenage Kent. After the wide success, the franchise would see three sequels before the next phase into the adaptation chain, Superboy (AKA The Adventures of Superboy), which lasted four seasons and saw two different actors portray Clark, John Haymes Newton and Gerard Christopher.

The show would be followed by another successful series in the 90s, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, with Dean Cain portraying the titular hero and Teri Hatcher portraying the title love interest. Clark Kent would see another return to television for the better part of the new millennium in Smallville, with Tom Welling portraying the Kryptonian from his teenage years to his early adulthood and rise to heroic fame.

After 19 years of absence from the big screen, the hero would finally return in 2006's Superman Returns which, while critically a success, wasn't the box office smash Warner Bros. had hoped for, and an entry that audiences found overlong and dull, citing star Brandon Routh as an uninteresting Superman.

The man who can clear a building in one leap would remain dormant for another seven years until the recent Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill which, while less of a critical success than some previous adaptations, was still a box office hit and saw more audiences in favor of the new adaptation in comparison to the previous film. Cavill is currently set to portray the Man of Steel for another three movies, including this month's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Poll

Who do you think is the better-suited protector of the sea?

Oliver Queen/Green Arrow

Green Arrow is one of the few DC heroes yet to see a big-screen debut, although still has found plenty of success on the small screen. Queen first made his small-screen debut in 2006 in the series Smallville portrayed by Justin Hartley and became a major role in the series all the way to the end, even marrying important character Chloe Sullivan in the final season. The Emerald Archer would not remain dormant for too long, helping to revive The CW's superhero programming with the current show, Arrow, which has taken a slightly different direction than the comics, but still remains fairly true to the character, and is currently the only other actor to portray a live-action version of The Battling Bowman.

Poll

Who do you think is the better-suited protector of the sea?

Barry Allen/The Flash

The Flash is another DC comics character who hasn't seen any big-screen time, but has found a lot of success on the small screen. The red speedster first made his debut in the 1979 TV special, Legends of the Superheroes, in which Rod Haase portrayed the hero. The fast meta-human would get his own TV show 11 years later, with John Wesley Shipp playing the titular character, but was cancelled after one season. The characters saw a return to the small screen in the failed Justice League of America pilot played by Kenny Johnston, and would not see another camera until his three-episode appearance on Smallville, portrayed by Kyle Gallner.

Following a five-year hiatus in trying to get a Flash series produced, The CW finally found major success by first introducing the character in their first superhero show, Arrow, and spun him off into the current hit, The Flash, with Grant Gustin portraying the forensic analyst and vigilante superhero. Coincidentally, John Wesley Shipp, previous Flash from the first TV show, portrays Allen's father in the current show. The Flash will finally make his big-screen debut in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, with Ezra Miller donning the suit.

Poll

Who do you think is the better-suited protector of the sea?

Kara Zor-El/Supergirl

Superman's older cousin (unfortunately seen as younger, due to a mid-trip problem on her way to Earth) has seen three live-action portrayals, two on the small screen and one big-screen adaptation. Kara first was seen in theaters in 1984 with Helen Slater portraying the titular role, but though the filmmakers hoped for a sequel, the film bombed in both the box office and in the reviews, crushing their dreams.

The Kryptonian cousin would then see a shot at redemption in her debut in Smallville, with Laura Vandervoort portraying for 15 episodes of the show, being a major role in season 7, but becoming a recurring guest star in the following seasons. After the success of Arrow and The Flash, CBS developed a series revolving around Supergirl's origin story and adulthood dealing with living in the shadow of her cousin. Melissa Benoist is currently portraying the young heroine on the CBS show, and Grant Gustin's Flash is set to cross over in the upcoming season.

Poll

Who do you think is the better-suited protector of the sea?

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman

The Amazonian demigodess is yet another DC character who has seen more success on the small screen than the silver screen, but hasn't seen any true screen time in close to 40 years. She first appeared in a failed pilot starring Linda Harrison as the shield-wielding hero and Ellie Wood Walker as her alter ego Diana Prince, but would be followed by a TV film starring Cathy Lee Crosby, which would also see problems in faithfulness. However, ABC would immediately picked up another Wonder Woman pilot starring Lynda Carter, which led to the successful TV series that lasted for four years (1975-79) and helped launch Carter's acting career.

The Princess of Themyscira would be attempted to be adapted multiple times in the years following Carter's end, but would never see the light of day, coming close in 2011 when Adrianne Palicki donned the red blue and gold suit for NBC, only to not have her pilot picked up.

Wonder Woman is going to get her first chance at big-screen stardom in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, her own solo film in 2017, as well as being in the upcoming Justice League Part One in the same year, all being played by Gal Gadot.

Poll

Who do you think is the better-suited protector of the sea?

Hal Jordan/Green Lantern

Green Lantern is one of the most infamous characters in comic book adaptation history for having been in two failed TV specials/pilots, minor reference in other comic book shows, and arguably one of the worst superhero movies in history. The first portrayal was in the comedic adaptation, Legends of the Superheroes, with Howard Murphy donning the green and black suit. He would be succeeded by Matthew Settle taking on the hero role, only as the alter ego Guy Gardner rather than Hal Jordan in the Justice League of America TV pilot. After brief mentions of the character in an episode of Smallville, Hal Jordan would finally make his big-screen debut in 2011 with a solo film and Ryan Reynolds as the star, resulting in one of the most made-fun-of adaptations in history, the star himself even poking fun at the character in his latest adaptation, Deadpool.

Arrow star Stephen Amell has stated in interviews that he hopes to have the character show up in the show's future, and the character is also set to appear in an upcoming Green Lantern Corps in 2020, as well as Justice League Part Two.

Poll

Who do you think is the better-suited protector of the sea?

John Constantine

Constantine's original look was based on Sting.
Constantine's original look was based on Sting.

The occult detective has only had two adaptations of the character, one on the big screen and one on television, and while both did well with fans (the film in the box office, the show in reviews), neither really saw future fruitions. Keanu Reeves first portrayed the Hellblazer in the 2005 film adaptation, which changed various things from the comics, throwing off some fans, it was still a box office success that many thought would be followed with a sequel, and while there've been rumors of Guillermo del Toro using the character for an upcoming Justice League Dark adaptation, nothing concrete has been confirmed. (Personally, Keanu Constantine was awesome, and I would love a sequel.)

After nearly ten years of missing in action, NBC finally saw the potential in the character and gave him his own TV series starring Matt Ryan as the supernatural detective/con man. Unfortunately, it was in a tough Friday night 10 p.m. time slot (when no one is watching TV), and was cancelled due to poor ratings, despite getting great reviews from both critics and audiences. In response to fan backlash for the cancellation, the character was crossed over into The CW's Arrow, where a couple sly jabs were thrown at NBC and the show's cancellation.

Other than a potential Justice League Dark movie, there is no current news about future screen time for the character.

Poll

Who do you think is the better-suited protector of the sea?

Do you have a favorite DC Comics character? Are you looking forward to any upcoming DC movies? Comment below or create your own post!

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