Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Every Underworld Movie Ranked Worst To Best

Underworld isn't the typical vampire vs. werewolf saga.

For one thing, tight leather, unlimited ammo, and creatures called Lycans are major factors in these films. Many viewers come for the action and stay for the mythology of the Underworld universe (or vice versa). While the five installments in the franchise (plus one animated short) are nowhere near as critically acclaimed as other mythological stories such as Game of Thrones, this series has seen a lot of success at the box office.

Other than the first Underworld movie, ranking the films that follow are always up for debate. Some fans enjoy the new-age explosions and graphics in the later films while others love the folklore that's pumped into the third installment of the franchise, Rise of the Lycans. One aspect we can all agree on: Selene (played by Kate Beckinsale) is a blue-eyed vampire badass.

While everyone has different tastes — some people enjoy a typical vampire movie with fangs, endless nights, and immortal creatures, while others prefer Matrix-like fighting styles, explosions, and never-ending twists — these are our picks for every Underworld movie ranked worst to best.

Underworld: Awakening

In a departure from the first three installments, humans play a larger role in Awakening as the story turns to the wider world's effort to eradicate vampires and Lycans. This movie sort of has a Resident Evil vibe, presenting vampires and Lycans as more of a disease than a gift of immortality and strength.

Released nine years after the original installment, Underworld: Awakening benefits from more modern special effects that help the action appear more realistic, although the series never seems to pinpoint what it wants its ever-evolving Lycans to look like.

Without giving too much away, Selene awakens from a lengthy cryogenic freeze in this fast-paced sequel, finding herself among a fantastic new ensemble cast that includes Michael Ealy as a human detective and Charles Dance as a high-ranking vampire. With that said, if you like vampire movies for the simplicity of the mythology — i.e. vampires hunt at night and sleep during the day — Awakening might not be for you, as one crazy event happens after another.

Unfortunately, these events can feel a bit overwhelming, especially if you're a fan of the world-building established in earlier installments. In fact, Underworld: Awakening has a different stylistic feel to it altogether, almost like it's part of a different franchise or reboot with some of the same characters.

Underworld: Blood Wars

In Underworld: Blood Wars, Selene is on the run. She has nothing to lose and feels like an outcast as she's burned all of her vampire bridges over the years. Blood Wars sees a new Lycan leader named Marius — an evolved and more powerful Lycan at that. Unfortunately for Selene, she's not only battling Lycans in this film, she also has beef with her own kind (until she doesn't).

In a case of art meeting life, Selene spends Blood Wars fed up with her lot in the Underworld story, and it isn't hard to understand why; at this point she's been fighting for centuries. Beckinsale, meanwhile, appears to be sick and tired of making Underworld movies.

In Blood Wars, all sides are searching for Selene and her daughter Eve, a hybrid of Immortal, Vampire, and Lycan. Like many latter installments in lengthy franchises, this sequel can feel narratively overstuffed — as there are countless twists, one after the other and all one-upping the ones that came before. However, Blood Wars does at least get back to what makes this franchise so popular with fans — its vampire and werewolf lore.

Underworld: Evolution

Underworld left viewers with plenty of questions. Evolution, the first sequel, addresses some of them by diving into the background of the Underworld universe while moving the story forward. Most notably, Evolution delves into the story of brothers William Corvinus, the first werewolf and ancestor of Lycans, and Marcus Corvinus, the progenitor of the vampire species. But Selene, of course, is still the main focus.

Underworld: Evolution picks up right where the first installment left off and, likely in part because it has the same director, feels like it's in the same universe as the first movie, unlike the fourth and fifth installments. It also does an admirable job of not changing the formula too much, while at the same time bringing viewers to previously unexplored corners of the vampire-Lycan universe. Above all, Evolution gives Underworld fans the satisfaction of a sequel that feels like a direct continuation of the original film.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Rise of the Lycans isn't a sequel to the first or second movies — it doesn't even really feature Selene, although she's technically in the movie. Plenty of fans probably prefer other movies in the franchise, but this installment definitely has its charms.

Despite its substantial departures from the narrative focus fans were used to, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans still enriches the overarching saga — a prequel, it revolves around Lucian and how he led the Lycans to power. Unlike its progressively more complicated successors, Rise of the Lycans is also a relatively straightforward story that doesn't bog viewers down in crazy plot twists; instead, it focuses on the roots of the Underworld mythology, detailing the characters and events that lead up to the war between vampires and Lycans.

Rise of the Lycans takes one sequence from Underworld — vampire elder Viktor killing his vampire daughter Sonja for falling in love with Lucian and betraying her coven — and makes an entire movie out of it. For the most part, it's entertaining, if a bit repetitive.


It's no surprise that the original Underworld is the best movie of the franchise — very rarely are sequels better than the original, after all (although it is possible). Underworld launches the vampires vs. werewolves saga that's carried the franchise ever since, and it does so with all the high-octane action and stylishly filmed battles that fans have come to expect from each subsequent installment. and whole new vampire lore through the eyes of Selene. Part Matrix-style action movie with tight leather clothing and a darkly eerie vibe, part vampire thriller, Underworld ushers audiences into a  world full of monsters, gothic architecture, and endless nights.

Making her first appearance as the character that's come to define her career, Kate Beckinsale plays main protagonist Selene with twice as much steely determination as anyone has a right to expect from an actor playing a vampire born in the 14th century who has spent centuries dispensing bloody justice to the werewolves she wrongly believes murdered her family.

Freed from the world-building burdens suffered by later chapters in the series, Underworld is able to focus on the stuff that really matters — namely, Selene tracking down and subsequently falling in love with a human who's been infected with the Lycan virus, then learning the truth of her family's murder, turning on her clan, and using her unique blood to save her lover's life, making him the world's first vampire/werewolf hybrid in the bargain. Needless to say, Underworld arrived brimming with the potential to spawn a successful franchise — and that's exactly what it did.