|The first superhero movie in 1951.|
The 2017 Superhero Season is Over
And 2018 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 140 plus 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.
The question always is, "What is a superhero?" Bad ass as he might be a Jack Reacher character does not qualify. There needs to be elements of science fiction (aliens), mutated humans, mystical characters (Dr. Strange, Blade) and/or scientifically enhanced humans (Iron Man, Captain America.)
This last year had nine new additions to the list.
- Underworld: Blood Wars
- Power Rangers
- Ghost in the Shell
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- Wonder Woman
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Justice League
I would say the breakout film of 2017 was without doubt Wonder Woman.
Where the movie will land on the list over the long run is hard to tell. In re-watching films my opinion changes over time.
Coming up in 2018: Black Panther, Avengers Infinity War, X-Men Dark Phoenix, Deadpool 2 and more.
My Updated 2017 List
"Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!"
#1 The Dark Knight (2008)
Heath Ledger. Period. Subject closed.
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 as 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.
"You see, Doctor, God didn't kill that little girl. Fate didn't butcher her and destiny didn't feed her to those dogs. If God saw what any of us did that night he didn't seem to mind. From then on I knew... God doesn't make the world this way. We do"
#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)
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.
It is hard to find a part of the movie that is not good. Wonderful film from start to finish.
#4 Ironman (2008)
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 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Moved up one spot from 2015 and holding steady.
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. As close to perfection as you can get.
Coming in 2018
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Fan made video
#6 Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Moving down one space from 2015 but holding steady.
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.
"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!"
#7 Batman (1989)
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 later 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 Man of Steel (2013)
A new top ten entry in 2016.
My dislike of all things Kevin Costner clouded my judgement of this movie. But with the wonders of DVDs I can now skip all the Costner parts.
Director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) does an outstanding update of the Superman myth. The back story of Clark growing to manhood and love story of Superman and Lois Lane are very well done. The special effects battle scenes with General Zod's forces are exceptional.
#10 The Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
A new top ten entry in 2016.
I am going out on a limb putting Guardians on the top ten list, but this movie connects with me in a way many others have failed to do.
The film is a great blend of action and comedy. You can see how Marvel Studios is trying to fit Guardians into the greater story of the infinity stones that have appeared in The Avengers, Dr. Strange and Thor.
Bubbling Under - The Almost Top Ten
--- X-2: X-Men United
--- X-Men Origins: Wolverine
--- X-Men: Days of Future Past
--- Superman (1978)
--- Daredevil (Director's cut)
--- Wonder Woman
--- Fantastic Four
--- Suicide Squad
| "I'm 67 years old. Every day, the future looks a little bit darker. But the past... even the grimy parts of it... keeps on getting brighter."|