|"See, I'm not a monster, I'm just ahead of the curve."|
The 2015 Superhero Season is Over
And 2016 looks to be even better
As the ultimate fanboy it is time for my annual review and reshuffling of my top ten list of superhero movies.
This annual project is not getting any easier. The newer movies have been improving by light years in acting, plots and special effects.
We have come along way from the ancient days of Superman and the Mole Men. The modern superhero fills the screen with incredible drama and special effects that are off the charts.
Since 1951 there have been about 135 Superhero films. Some of them have been steaming piles while others are Shakespearean in their quality.
The superhero has always been with us. The mythical adventures of Hercules are among the most famous tales. The hero feeds some inner need to excel, to risk all to save others. And then there are the supervillains. You cannot have a Superman without a Lex Luthor.
One thing for sure, we are in a new Golden Age of Superhero driven Science Fiction.
2015 - This last year had only three new additions to the list.
- The Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Fantastic Four
The Avengers sequel was an enjoyable offering and grossed over $1.4 Billion, but was weaker than the original. Ant-Man was surprisingly entertaining, clever and funny grossing $518 million worldwide. The retread of Fantastic Four was a mixed bag. It was appealing in many ways but lacked a certain "crispness" you might say. It was a box office disappointment doing only $167 million worldwide.
Bottom Line, none of the new movies come close to cracking my updated top ten list.
#1 The Dark Knight (2008)
Heath Ledger. What a loss to the movie industry. Anyone who watched The Dark Knight in theaters was blown away by Ledger's Joker. At one time I thought Jack Nickolson's Joker could never be topped. How wrong I was.
The movie is a close to perfection as a film is able to be from acting to the script to effects. My only complaint is the killing off of Harvey Two Face. Bad move. Two Face would have been the perfect villain for Batman 3.
#2 Watchmen (2009)
I, like most movie goers, was unfamiliar with the original graphic novel. But no more.
Watchmen is the thinking man's Superhero movie. The even longer director's cut proves what a classic film it is. Plots and sub plots, vigilante justice, lesbianism, alternate universes, nuclear war, insanity, rape, does time exist? Does time even matter? With each viewing the movie goes deeper and deeper.
The only way to watch the film is the blu ray director's cut from Zack Snyder.
#3 The Avengers (2012)
Moving up two places to #3.
Favorites of mine since childhood. I waited a long time to see this come to the big screen. Director and writer Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) showed a big screen talent that should have been put to use years ago. Wonderful film from start to finish. There is a good chance that with repeated viewings the Avengers will rise higher on the top ten list. Worldwide The Avengers broke all records with $1.5 Billion in ticket sales.
#4 Ironman (2008)
Moving down one space.
Robert Downey is a national treasure. He brought Tony Stark to life in a way I never thought possible. Iron Man is a perfect blend of humor, drama and superhero action. Marvel Studios updated the Tony Stark legend to the new modern era. The great Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow are a pleasure to watch on the screen. This is one of rare movies you can watch over and over again.
#5 Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Moving down one space.
Thor 2 builds on the excellent first film. The movie is very much a story about two brothers, a story about brothers competing for the love of their father. So it's small, confined and human at the same time it's this blown-out, intergalactic world. The science fiction element to Thor is there. But there are the big waterfalls, mountains,the Viking influence and Norse mythology.
Chris Hemsworth was born to play Thor. He has that inner power that shins through. Natalie Portman is a class act in every film she appears in. Anthony Hopkins is a wonderful Odin. And what can you really say about Tom Hiddleston? He is Loki. Evil sure, but he knows how to get things done.
Alan Moore on the Superhero
|The first superhero movie came out in 1951.|
#6 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Chris Evans takes Captain America far from World War II story lines and into the contemporary NSA / Sci Fi Big Brother police state.
Cap does it all with the stunning Scarlett Johansson at his side and Samuel L. Jackson fighting the good fight.
An unbelievably well done movie. Far, far better than I ever expected.
#7 Batman (1989)
"Batman... Batman... Can somebody tell me what kind of a world we live in, where a man dressed up as a 'bat' gets all of my press? This town needs an enema!" ---The Joker
Those of us who had been subjected to the pure crap of the girly-man Superman films were blown out of our theater seats by Tim Burton's Batman. Jack Nicholson's Joker was a psycho crazy bastard we never knew existed.
This movie took the superhero genre to a place we never dreamed it could be. Suddenly the comic art form had become serious drama.
The public agreed. The movie raked in a staggering $411,000,000 in 1989 dollars.
The Batman sequels that followed dived deeper and deeper into a steaming pile of useless crap. Those movies are now unwatchable. But in 1989 Tim Burton broke the mold for everyone else to follow.
#8 Spider-Man (2002)
The first of the Spider-Man films was an incredible event to see in the theater. Again, near perfection in balancing comedy, drama, action and special effects.
The bean counters in Hollywood also woke up. Spider-Man pulled in $821,000,000. Just shy of one billion dollars.
#9 Hellboy (2004)
In any top ten list when you start getting to the end you get angry. There are so many fine films. How can they be left off? Such is life. But you gotta love Hellboy. Fantastic humor, great action, good plot. Ron Perlman is always a pleasure to watch in any role.
#10 X-2: X-Men United (2003)
In danger of slipping out of the top ten.
The best of the X-Men films. Everything comes together: a perfect cast, script, special effects and action. I do not know of a comic fan who was not glued to his seat in wonder while watching Nightcrawler's attack on the White House.
Also Ran - The Almost Top Ten
--- X-Men: Days of Future Past
--- Superman (1978)
--- Daredevil (Director's cut)
--- Fantastic Four