Ranking the Franchise: The Crow

In 1994,  director Alex Proyas’ film The Crow was released and became a huge hit with fans. It became an even greater topic of discussion after news broke of the accidental death of star Brandon Lee while on set. But the movie would go on to be a cult favorite and help lead to the production of three sequels. The Crow also led to a television series, numerous toys and collectibles, and a great soundtrack. Still to this day, a remake is in the works with Jason Momoa rumored to star in it. But in this blog, I wanted to take a look at the four films of the franchise and rank them in order of how I like them.

1. The Crow (1994)

The original film in the series, The Crow, starred Brandon Lee as the film’s main character Eric Draven. Draven and his fiancée Shelly are brutally murdered by a group of thugs on Devil’s Night in Detroit. But one year later, with the help of the crow, Eric returns from the dead and is given a chance to exact revenge on those that murdered him and Shelly.

The original film is based on the graphic novel of the same name by James O’Barr. O’Barr decided to write the book after the death of his own fiancée and helped bring his work to the big screen. The movie starred Lee in his final performance after he was killed on set because of a live round being stuck in a gun. His performance in The Crow will always be remembered and helped to make this movie a cult favorite. This, along with a stellar cast that included Ernie Hudson and a great soundtrack, made The Crow the best film of the franchise.

2. The Crow: Salvation (2000)

The Crow: Salvation is the third film in the series and focuses on Alex Corvis (Eric Mabius), a man wrongfully convicted of brutally killing his girlfriend. He has one clue as to who actually killed her but no one believes him. He is then sentenced to death and killed in the electric chair. But the crow helps him return to avenge their deaths and kill those responsible for his girlfriend’s death.

Starring Mabius, Kirsten Dunst, Fred Ward, and Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, The Crow: Salvation is the second best in franchise to me. The story was a little different than the first two films and it rejuvenated what I thought was a franchise that was quickly getting stale. While it, or any of the sequels, are not close to being as good as the original, this film has to be my second favorite.

3. The Crow: City of Angels (1996)

My third favorite of the franchise is The Crow: City of Angels. The first sequel follows a very similar pattern to the original with Ashe Corven, played by Vincent Perez, and his son killed by a group of thugs. Then, a year later, Corven returns with the crow and exacts revenge on those thugs. This time set in Los Angeles, Corven takes aim at the gang one by one until he can finally rest in piece.

This movie seemed too much like the original with a few minor tweaks. But too much of it was too similar and it felt like more like an inferior remake than a decent follow-up. It was still a decent movie, but the acting failed to make it stand out for me. 

4. The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005)

The absolute worst movie in the franchise is The Crow: Wicked Prayer. This movie stars Edward Furlong as Jimmy Cuervo as an ex-con who is killed along with his girlfriend by a local group of satanists. Cuervo then returns from the dead and brings to hunt down the group which ends with him facing the leader of he group who looks to become an immortal demon.

Everything about this third sequel was terrible. Furlong was by far the worst actor to portray The Crow. The group of satanists, portrayed by David Boreanaz, Tara Reid, Tito Ortiz, and others, were the worst bad guys of the whole franchise. And then Dennis Hopper even makes an appearance and it has to be one of the lowest points of his career. The Crow: Wicked Prayer was just an all around awful film and was rightfully the last nail in the coffin of the series.

Daryl Karpinski, Jr.