ByGrant Hermanns, writer at Creators.co
I know way too much about movies, my mind is like a walking IMDB, only not perfect. I also have a blog at https://themovievaultgranthermanns
Grant Hermanns

We've all heard the age-old debate on who the better Batman is, or the candid exclamation, "Fuck Brandon Routh, he's the worst Superman ever."

But with DC continuing its journey into progressively darker films, it's hard to compare all the different people taking on the role of the Caped Crusader, or the Amazon demigodess, Wonder Woman.

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

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

Arthur Curry/Aquaman

The deep sea fighting hero has yet to truly gain big exposure in the film and television world. He has made numerous minor appearances and finally made his feature film debut in the recent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with Jason Momoa wielding the triton on 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 wore it best?

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 to '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 delivered audiences the most successful adaptation of the character yet with the Dark Knight trilogy, which ended in 2012. Wayne's next big-screen appearance is in the recently released Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and young Bruce can currently be seen on Fox's Gotham, portrayed by David Mazouz.

Poll

Who wore it best?

Selina Kyle/Catwoman

Catwoman is a rare example of a Batman villain who actually got their own movie (in 2004's Halle Berry-starring film). However, it completely changed both the motives and backstory of the character, 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 Pfeiffer's in Tim Burton's second Keaton film, Batman Returns. The character would remain dormant in the live-action scene after the Berry bomb, but reappeared on the big screen in Nolan's trilogy 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 wore it best?

Clark Kent/Superman

The Man of Steel is seen as one of the most honorable superheroes in history, never killing an enemy unless there is no other way. 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 passed on from 1951 to '58 to George Reeves, followed by an unaired TV pilot depicting a young Kent played by Johnny Rockwell.

Rather than a straight up adventure, Superman's next return to the screen was 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, and Jeff East as teenage Kent. After the wide success, the franchise saw three sequels before the next phase in the adaptation chain, Superboy (a.k.a. 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 finally returned 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 over-long 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 last month's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Poll

Who wore it best?

Oliver Queen/Green Arrow

Green Arrow is one of the few DC heroes yet to get a big-screen debut, although he 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 though, 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. Stephen Amell is currently the only other actor to portray a live-action version of the Battling Bowman.

Poll

Who wore it best?

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; however, the show was cancelled after one season. The character 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, before giving him a starring role in the current hit show The Flash, with Grant Gustin portraying the forensic analyst and vigilante superhero. Coincidentally, John Wesley Shipp, the previous Flash from the first TV show, portrays Allen's father in the current show. The Flash finally made his big-screen debut in the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with Ezra Miller donning the suit.

Poll

Who wore it best?

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 playing the titular role. Although the filmmakers hoped for a sequel, the film bombed in both the box office and in the reviews, crushing their dreams.

The Kryptonian cousin then had a shot at redemption in her debut in Smallville, with Laura Vandervoort portraying her for 15 episodes of the show. She had a major role in Season 7 and became 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 recently crossed over in this freshman season.

Poll

Who wore it best?

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. However, this was followed by a TV film starring Cathy Lee Crosby, which had problems being faithful to the comics. However, ABC 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.

New attempts to adapt the Princess of Themyscira occurred in the years following Carter's end, but they never see the light of day. The closest they came was in 2011, when Adrianne Palicki donned the red, blue, and gold suit for NBC, only to not have her pilot picked up.

Wonder Woman got her first chance at big-screen stardom in last month's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and will continue her big screen career with her own solo film starring Gal Gadot in 2017. She will also appear in the upcoming Justice League Part One in the same year.

Poll

Who wore it best?

Hal Jordan/Green Lantern

Green Lantern is one of the most infamous characters in comic book adaptation history for having had 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 was succeeded by Matthew Settle 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 finally made his big-screen debut in 2011 with a solo film starring Ryan Reynolds, resulting in one of the most made fun of adaptations in history. The star himself even poking fun at the character in his latest comic book 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, in addition to Justice League Part Two.

Poll

Who wore it best?

John Constantine

The occult detective has only seen two adaptations of his 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 made way for future follow-ups. Keanu Reeves's first portrayed the Hellblazer in the 2005 film adaptation — which changed various things from the comics, throwing off some fans — was still a box office success that many thought would be followed by a sequel. 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, I think Keanu's Constantine was awesome, and I would love to see a sequel.)

After nearly 10 years of being 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 it 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 of 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 wore it best?

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

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