Ever since Richard Donner directed Superman in 1978, Superhero movies have always been big. While Marvel didn’t really hit it big until the late 90’s with Bryan Singer’s X-Men, DC was there with the Supes and Batman movies. Now, more than thirty years after Donner’s Superman there are tons of superhero movies. But what are the ten best?
We’ve done this list in the past, but since then some amazing superhero movies have come out and earned a place on this list and knocked some others completely off it. Here are the new 10 Best Superhero Movies.
The reasons why Whedon’s Avengers is the best comic book movie ever made are so many, we could list them in their own list. It perfectly captures the fun and epic scale of comic books, while giving each character their own arc. No one is really ignored in the story, and the movie pays off nearly five years of build up that Marvel did with the “Phase 1″ movies. The Avengers completely raised the bar for comic book movies.
Richard Donner’s 1979 version of Superman remains the de-facto standard to which all Superhero movies must live up to. It made great effort to honor the character and its origin, while crafting a movie larger than the simple comic origins of what has become such an iconic character. For thirty years this was the best Superhero movie ever made, and while many have come close to matching it, nothing managed to top it until Joss Whedon put the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on the big screen.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
For me, Mark Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man is tied on this list with Donner’s Superman. His movie is paced similarly to Donner’s take on Kal-El with a slow burn of the origin that gives you time to understand who Peter Parker is. Unlike Raimi who rushed through his movies like it was some prime time sitcom clip show, Webb gives us the best version of the Spider-Man ever with an Uncle Ben you’re sad to see die, a nerdy and uncomfortable Peter, a scarily perfect Gwen Stacy, and mechanical webshooters. James Horner also gave Spider-Man a heroic theme that is perfect, especially when compared to the white noise that was the Elfman score.
The Dark Knight (2008)
This was a tough one to choose from; especially considering Donner’s original Superman is the movie just about every director who makes a comic book movie references as to what they aspire towards. But 2008’s The Dark Knight (the sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins) doesn’t quite make the top spot due to Ledger’s take on the Joker. Sure he won an Oscar for it, but it’s not nearly the best Joker ever (Mark Hamill’s take still has that honor) and Nicholson’s was much closer to the actual character.
The real Joker isn’t an angry, angst-ridden, killer. He kills people for fun, because he thinks it’s art, and he really enjoys what he does. When Nicholson’s Joker kills Grissom in Burton’s Batman; he doesn’t just shoot him. He shoots him, starts laughing and dancing, and then shoots him some more. Ledger was way off the character in his take.
The Incredibles (2004)
The best Fantastic Four movie ever made. ‘Nuff said.
The original X-Men was a pretty good superhero movie that paved the way for Spider-Man, the new Batmans, and the current crop of Marvel movies. But the sequel improved on it in every way by bringing in cool characters like Nightcrawler and setting up the Phoenix Saga movie we always wanted to see, but never got.
Perhaps the best Shyamalan movie too, Unbreakable is a fantastic superhero film dripping with comic goodness. It’s too bad we may never see a sequel to it, as it’d be great to see a couple more movies with Dunn vs. Mr. Glass.
Batman Begins (2005)
Nolan’s first Batman may not have the wide appeal as its sequel, but it’s a solid film version of Batman that combines elements of Frank Miller’s Year One and various other stories to give us the origin of Batman along with a few villains that you would never expect to see used in a Batman movie. It’s also a little shorter than The Dark Knight and feels like it has a bit more focus.
Iron Man (2008)
The first Marvel Studios production and their first entry into the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”, Iron Man had absolutely perfect casting with Robert Downey Jr. as Stark and put forth a great adaptation of the source comic. It’s also just a fun and funny movie, which is why it did really well in the summer of 2008 even in light of The Dark Knight.
Batman Returns (1991)
Burton’s second Batman is the best of the bunch in the series that ran from 1989-1997. More a Tim Burton movie than a Batman movie, the story may be a bit light, but the chemistry between Batman/Bruce Wayne and Catwoman/Selina Kyle really makes up for it. And who else on this planet could’ve played The Penguin besides Danny DeVito?