The Underworld franchise would be a guilty pleasure of mine if I believed in guilty pleasures. However, I don’t believe in guilty pleasures and feel if you like something, you should never feel guilty about it. So, with that said, the Underworld franchise is a lot of fun and who honestly doesn’t love vampires with guns fighting werewolves? This past week, the fifth movie in the installment, Underworld: Blood Wars, came out to continue the story of Selene, the former Death Dealer who has enemies on both sides of the war.
With the new Underworld movie out, here is a look at my ranking of Underworld movies, from worst to first.
5. Underworld: Awakening (2012)
Easily, the worst movie in the franchise is Underworld: Awakening. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth watching, just that it has a lot of problems. Selene and Michael were captured in the prologue of this movie, and when it officially starts, someone helps her escape. When she starts to see through the eyes of someone and believes it is Michael, she sets off to find him. However, it isn’t Michael but is instead a young girl named Eve who is Selene’s daughter and a hybrid.
What makes this movie not work is that the entire setup is that the human population of the world has discovered the existence of vampires and Lycans (because of the death of Corvinus in Underworld: Evolution, who spent his life cleaning up the existence of the monsters to protect their existence). Because it wasn’t vampires vs. werewolves, it really felt lackluster until a twist towards the end. The big problem is that the twist came and the movie ended very quickly after that with little to no tension. This is the only movie where I didn’t feel any fear for the safety of the heroes.
Plus, there was no explanation why they were no longer in Europe (although it makes sense they would send them to America when they captured them).
4. Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)
I liked Underworld: Blood Wars, and honestly Awakening was the only movie I didn’t care for. However, I had a major problem with the way this movie dealt with Michael. In the first two movies, much was done to show how special Michael was and then he was important to find in the fourth movie. However, here he was just dismissed like he meant nothing, outside of a major plot point for the villain of this movie.
Speaking of the villain, I really liked Marius because he was so much like Lucian but did enough to show how Lucian was – at heart – a good person/werewolf, while Marius was a disciplinarian and was actually a total bad guy in this movie. I feel it tried to do a little too much, especially with a secondary villain in Semira. While I didn’t like the way Michael was dealt with, I do like David – the “last pure blood.” Most of all, I loved the vampires fighting werewolves again.
Underworld: Blood Wars also called back a lot of the original movie with references to Viktor and the elders, and I appreciated that.
3. Underworld: Evolution (2006)
Ask me on any given day, and this might flip-flop with Rise of the Lycans. This is an immediate follow-up to the first movie and starts off immediately after the first one ended. Selene just killed Viktor and Marcus rose from his tomb to exact vengeance on the vampires in his coven that ruined everything and to wreck havoc on the world. Marcus, the first vampire, also headed out to find and rescue his brother William, the first werewolf, and it is up to Selen and Michael to stop them.
What I loved most about Underworld: Evolution was the world building. I loved learning about the first immortal Corvinus, about much of the history of the wars, and why humans didn’t know about vampires and werewolves despite having gunfights in public places. Then, there was the final battle with Selene and Michael taking on Marcus and William with a host of Corvinus’ soldiers mixed in. This battle was awesome.
2. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)
I know a lot of people dismissed Rise of the Lycans because it didn’t involve Selene. I don’t mind because I liked Lucian more than Selene in that first movie. Michael Sheen is amazing in this role as the leader of the werewolves and we see here why he was a good and loyal leader despite all the killing going on around him. This was truly a Romeo & Juliet story with Lucian falling in love with Sonja, Viktor’s daughter, and their love causing the start of the war.
What drags this movie down are the special effects, which are far below the level of any other movie in the franchise. Honestly, the werewolves in this movie looked terrible. However, this has one of the best stories of the entire Underworld franchise.
1. Underworld (2003)
The first is still the best. There is little setup here because the entire movie starts with Selene and her fellow Death Dealers heading into a giant gun battle with werewolves in a subway tunnel. Honestly, who went into the movie expecting werewolves and vampires fighting and expected to see giant gun battles? This just kicked off a thrill ride that had some minor problems but was still an enjoyable experience.
The highlight was easily Michael Sheen as Lucian, a fantastic character as the leader of the werewolves who ended up being more of a sympathetic character than any vampire in Selene’s coven. As for Selene, I still insist that she was too naïve and makes too many stupid decisions throughout the franchise. If she is supposed to be one of the best Death Dealers, she should have had a lot more common sense than she does. Instead, she allows things to happen to her instead of leading the plot with her own actions.
However, that is a minor complaint. This is only slightly about story – which was solid when it comes to the setup and backstory leading to these events – and is mostly about gun fights, werewolves transforming and biting people’s heads off, and just fantastic action from start to finish. I will still watch Underworld to this day anytime it is on and enjoy it as much as I did when I first saw it years ago.