|The first superhero movie in 1951.
The 2019 Superhero Season is Over
And 2020 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 150 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.
|Adventures of Captain Marvel, Republic Pictures, 1941
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 eight new additions to the list.
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Men in Black: International
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
It is all subjective, but none of the 2019 entries hit a home run.
That is not to say these films were not entertaining. But I would say they were mostly solid popcorn flicks - something to watch for fun.
Large parts of Avengers: Endgame were disappointing. Repetitive story lines, a somewhat forced feel and way, way too many characters. As the ultimate X-Men fan I have to say Dark Phoenix was my favorite film of the year. The film's low box office reflects more the start of audience fatigue.
My Updated 2019 List
Top 10 Superhero Movies
of All Time
of All Time
"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.
Not even in the face of Armageddon."
#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 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Moved up one spot from 2018.
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.
#5 Batman (1989)
Moving up from #6 to #5.
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.
#6 X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Moving up from #8 to #6.
Repeated viewings have shown to me what a classic this movie is.
Based on the 1981 Marvel Comic series the story deals with a future where robot Sentinels rule a dystopian United States, and mutants are hunted and placed in internment camps. Having conquered North America and hunted all mutants and other superhumans, the Sentinels are turning their attention to the rest of the world.
The time travel story lines are over the top good along with action and quality acting.
#7 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.
#8 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.
#9 Man of Steel (2013)
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)
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 -
Almost in The Top Ten
--- Thor: The Dark World
--- X-2: X-Men United
--- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
--- X-Men Origins: Wolverine
--- 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."