In this day and age there are no movies more anticipated then the superhero movies. They make all of the big bucks, have all of the cool toys, get the fun video games, and keep audiences coming back for more. I can honestly say that as much as I love a great movie, a great super hero movie is one I’m more likely to watch again. Truthfully, I will probably watch just a good super hero movie more times in the theater than I will a piece of awards bait that I know is 10 times better.
We just had our first outstanding super hero film of 2014 (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) cross the $200 million mark and we still have 3 more to go this summer (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Guardians of the Galaxy). So, I thought that I would take the time to remember the best of the super hero films. There are so man bad ones (Elektra), extremely disappointing ones (Spider-Man 3), and just plain mediocre ones (Green Lantern) that it’s nice to remember the ones that really stand out.
Here is my list if the absolute best super hero films ever made.
25. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Who would have thought that a musical like romantic comedy would make an awesome superhero flick? It’s crazy! Well, Edgar Wright did, and he got it so right. Fights double for the musical numbers in this clever film.
24. Blade 2
Not particularly brilliant, but this is my favorite of all the Guillermo Del Toro superhero films. Blade (played by Wesley Snipes) is such a bad ass and the action sequences in this vampire flick are to die for.
23. Kick Ass
Billed as the real life superhero flick, what makes this movie work so well is the break out performance of Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl. She is such a bad ass that she could take on any of the coolest heroes. Boy, I’d like to see that.
22. Captain America: The First Avenger
I absolutely couldn’t stand Cap when I was a kid. I thought he was so cheesy. Yet, this movie won me over by mixing elements of old classics like Indy and The Rocketeer into a brand new package. This movie only gets better every time I watch it.
One of the biggest superhero surprises ever. This movie about a group of kids who find powers used found footage in the best way I’ve ever seen and also gave us compelling characters to follow. Most importantly though, it introduced us to Dane Dehaan and how good he can be.
This is James McCavoy’s first step into comic book hero land and he kicks major ass in it. Not to mention the fact that Angelina Jolie absolutely kills it ass his sexy trainer. Bullet bending rules.
19. The Incredibles
This animated film takes all of the things we know from old hero stories and flips them on themselves. Although many other films have done it more realistically, this animated Pixar film did it in a fun way that was more than just kid accessible.
This reboot is a far superior retelling of the Spider-Man origins and is surprisingly filled with lots of awesome swinging sequences. Andrew Garfield is a great Spider-Man and his chemistry with Emma Stone is some of the best I’ve seen recently on screen.
17. V for Vendetta
This film not only has some fine action sequences, but it also makes some brilliant political points on things like homosexuality. Natalie Portman’s time in prison is as captivating as anything you will ever see on screen.
16. Superman 2
The original General Zod threatens to destroy Earth for the first time in this Richard Donner classic.
M. Night Shymalan back when you could look forward to one of his movies. Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson are fantastic in this tale of a surprise hero. This really is the most realistic hero tale ever.
14. The Rocketeer
One of my favorite movies growing up. This is a classic swashbuckler and a film that was said to be too close to Indy back when it first came out. I count that as a good thing.
Considered the greatest comic of all time, this adaptation is completely faithful to its source material. It’s dark, brooding, and asks many difficult questions. I’ve watched this several times and still can’t stop rooting for the conservative Rorschach. I’m a bad liberal bad guy.
12. Iron Man
The movie that kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe is also one of their best. It introduces Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) as an arrogant prick, but redeems him through captivity. The first half is better than the second, but only by a little.
11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This years Cap film is awesome! It’s a great action flick, awesome puzzle, and clever comedy all wrapped up for your viewing pleasure. Seen it 3 times and may go again.
10. X-Men First Class
This movie cleverly traces the origins of some of the most fascinating X-Men characters and puts them aside real life events. This film feels genuine and well thought out. It also helps to have great actors like Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender fill your bill.
The movie that started the superhero craze up. Before this movie superheroes were a niche thing. After it was released summer movies would never be the same. Jack Nicholson was so good as the Joker that nobody ever thought he could be topped.
8. Superman: The Movie
This was another of my favorite films growing up. When I watch it now it feels a bit dated, but John Williams score and Christopher Reeve’s performance pull me back in every time.
7. Man of Steel
Many felt it deviated too much from the Christopher Reeve version, but this film was exactly what I had always wanted from Superman. Filled with breathtaking action, a pace right out of the Chris Nolan play book, and a score by Hans Zimmer that I’m still listening to, Man of Steel is a movie I can’t stop watching.
6. X2: X-Men United
Still the best of the X-Men films, this movie forces the X-Men to come together for a bigger thing than themselves. Sounds like a certain movie coming out this summer, but that movie has the sentinels in it. Ahh, I’m excited.
5. Spider-Man 2
Easily the best of the original series, this movie has Spidey in conflict with whether or not he wants to be Spider-Man. Alfred Molina also fills out the role of Doc Oc in the finest fashion of any villain yet. Everything about this film works so well that I just want to watch it again right now.
4. Batman Begins
The first of Chris Nolan’s brilliant trilogy tells Batman’s origins so fantastically that we don’t even see him in the suit for over an hour and we are perfectly fine with it. Christian Bale also proves that he is the best Batman yet. It’s going to be hard for someone to top his dark and soulful performance.
3. The Avengers
This superhero film is the most fun you will ever have watching one of these comic book films (until maybe the DC team up movie). Combining all the franchises of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in to one movie turned out to be a great idea and Joss Whedon was just the guy to do it. The action is epic and the character insight is better than any other film in the series. Many see this as the example of how superhero films should be done.
2. The Dark Knight Rises
If I am completely honest I would have to say that this is my personal favorite of the trilogy, but it’s also the most flawed. Yet, I like this movie so much that even the flaws have become endearing to me. The whole thing just flows so well and is filled with so many outstanding scenes that it’s hard to pick a favorite. It also ends in the finest way of any trilogy I have ever seen. Masterpiece.
1. The Dark Knight
Hardly anyone that I know would deny that this film is the best superhero film ever made. Unlike most comic book films, this movie is put together like a great crime drama. I would more closely compare it to movies like The Godfather or Heat before I would compare it to anything else. It’s a film that created a mold which has changed most other blockbusters since it and made genre filmmaking into something that can be as relevant to the times as any bit of Oscar bait around. Winner of 2 Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Heath Ledger’s brilliant turn as the Joker, The Dark Knight is the best superhero film ever made.