The Definitive Rankings of All-Time
(for what I’ve seen, and in my personal taste)
This is it America. I’ve figured it out—the most definite ranking of Superhero films ever. It beats Rotten Tomatoes, or any movie expert ever! I don’t know if it’s because I’m like the Superhero Pope, with a direct link to God’s taste in Superhero movies, or if I was just born with an innate ability to discern what’s good from bad, but I did it.
Course, the list is subject to my personal taste, and limited to the movies I’ve seen. So maybe I haven’t figured out exactly which Superhero movies are the perfect one to make the top ten list, but I’ve figured out the top 10 for me—that’s worth something right?
Money lenders: “Sorry Mr. Williams, but you can’t pay student loans with unpaid articles written for a blog.”
Ah well. Hopefully some people will enjoy the article
Here it is: the Definitive Top Ten Superhero Movies ever.
But first (so annoying, just get to the list!!!!)
· “Superman” 1978. No superhero list would be complete without mentioning Christopher Reeve flying around the earth and turning back time.
· “Spider-Man 2” A great sequel, complete with a satisfying romantic storyline, and a signature superhero moment (remember that train scene, and the passing Spiderman’s mask?)
· “X-Men”. It’s the first ensemble movie that won over Americans. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are perfect, but other than magneto, the villains are cheesy (and the graphics compared for today are horrendous. But the tail of Logan/Wolverine learning to embrace a family he’s never had is extremely heartwarming. “X-Men” gave people a reason to love Wolverine, and of course, to drool over Hugh Jackman.
· Captain America: Civil War: My third favorite Marvel movie is extremely successful at creating a storyline of politics that resonates with people today. Plus it features one of the best superhero actors out there in Sebastian Stan.
10 “Spider-Man 3”
HA. Totally joking. This movie was awful, just purely awful (think random jazz scene).
“Deadpool” is the to superhero movies what “Archer” is to cartoons—raunchy, hilarious, and not afraid to cross socialized lines. Ryan Reynolds brings a certain charisma that’s hard to imagine any other actor pulling off. The 4th wall breaks are well done. The actions sequences full of that classic Marvel comedy. You know you’re doing something right when Patrick Stewart publically says he’d come back to be Professor X in a Deadpool sequel. The movie was refreshing, but it doesn’t rank higher because it lacks the substance of other superhero movies.
9. The Avengers
I wanted to not put this on the list. The movie has become so overhyped, but upon a rewatch it’s hard to ignore just how good it is. Mark Ruffalo is the best part of this movie. His acting brings a needed calmness to a movie filled with charismatic egomaniacs, like Tony Start and Thor. The movie is well structured, and is the definition for a Marvel movie, in both humor and action. But “The Avengers” fails, like many first iterations of a “get together” to have much substance, when much of the film is spent introducing characters to each other.
8. Wonder Woman
In opposite form of Avengers, I really want to put “Wonder Woman” higher. Gal Gadot’s acting is immaculate, and Chris Pine brings a sense of both fun and the weight of war to his role. The movie’s first act does a good job of pushing through the origin story as quickly as possible, getting through the clichés of the making of a superhero. It’s the second act where “Wonder Woman” becomes a great film. In this hour long act, “Wonder Woman” is a WWI film that happens to have a superhero in it. This is the mark of a great superhero film, when it is really something else—much like how Star Wars is really a Western film with spaceships. But where Wonder Woman falls short is in the third act. Ares (David Thewlis) just seems to pop out of nowhere. While the storyline of Ares is there, the fact that (spoilers) Thewlis character is Ares happens under a weak transition, and the battle between him and Wonder Woman, while visually stimulating, is rather cliché.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy
Chris Pratt is probably the best Chris in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s creative in his portrayal of the beloved Star Lord, and has major chemistry with Zoe Saldana’s Gamora. He acts well with CGI characters, and his comedic timing is excellent.
“Guardians of the Galaxy”, like “Wonder Woman”, is not really a superhero movie, but a space adventure that happens to have superheroes in it. It manages to be an origin story with substance, following a storyline of misfits learning to become good people. Plus, our heartstrings get tugged on when Groot sacrifices himself.
Tim Burton’s “Batman” should be considered an instant classic. Unfortunately, many don’t understand the film at the level it should be understood. The movie hinges on the general attitude of US citizens during that era towards evil. The idea of infiltration, brought about by the joker, and lone gunman, perpetrated by the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, help to create a chilling movie.
The acting of Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, is great. The showdown between the Joker and Batman is classically comic book without too much fan service being involved. Plus, the imagination of what Gotham looks like, and the costuming is just so Burton, bringing out a rich world.
5. Iron Man
“Iron Man” is so fun. Robert Downey Jr. is so good. The Marvel Universe gets a great start with “Iron Man.” What’s funny is that the villain isn’t that great, he’s just a greedy businessman—and we’ve heard that story a ton of times. We get to see a truly talented man, but pompous ass in Tony Start, go through an awful experience and turn around for the better. This cathartic story, plus the charisma of Downey Jr. gave us a movie that a lot of people could enjoy.
It was the perfect sendoff for Hugh Jackman. It was also a very well written movie. It’s also the best movie with oodles of fan service without it dripping over the surface. Certain images straight out of the comics were well framed fro the movie.
Viewers pull for Logan to save his daughter, to protect Professor X, to save himself. The writers created a place where retro hairstyles could become a thing without being a distraction. The movie brings Logan’s character full circle—ending the way it started, by protecting a girl from harm, and putting himself in harms way. It’s a bitter sweet ending, but a wonderful storyline for Hugh Jackman to have left the franchise on.
It seems everything was right in the world when the x-men movies focus exclusively on Wolverine (well, maybe not, both “X-Men Origins” and “The Wolverine” were bad). The mystery of where Logan came from, mixed with the message of species survival and one mans revenge on all mutants, created a movie that is still to this day special. The build up in this film, leading to a Dickian climax, where everyone ends up in the same place, is perhaps the best climax of any superhero movie out there.
“X2” is the best movie of the entire X-Men universe, which is a mostly good movie franchise. It’s a middle movie that improves upon the original and leaves us needing to see the third of the triology. The ending is heartbreaking, and the motif of TH White used by both Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen is one of the subtle things ever used in a superhero movie.
It’s always about a girl. The Spider-Man franchise (the first one anyway) devoted itself to being a romance movie that happened to have Spider-Man in it. It’s why it was so well received by men and women, and why other Spiderman movies haven’t touched the first two films, where the most important thing was Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s relationship.
This Peter Parker was lovable, awkward, but so kind. It gave us the motto “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” Also, Willem Dafoe gave us an unforgettable performance as the Green Goblin. Mark my words, no Green Goblin will ever be as good as Willem Dafoe
1. Dark Knight
This is the ultimate superhero movie. It creates the perfect film embodiement about what Batman is about, but it challenges our hero in a way that not even the audience could understand. Absolutely the darkest mainstream movie, “Dark Knight” is filled with beautiful cinematography, and graphic character choices.
There are so many memorable moments from this film—Batman flipping the truck, Alfred burning the letter, the creation of Two-Face, and of course, the pencil trick. Heath Ledger gave a performance for the ages—not one that will be repeated or overtaken any time soon. Plus, this movie is the only superhero movie to get major consideration for the Oscar Best Picture.
J. Sam Williams is the Creator and Editor in Chief of immix. He's been published in The Sporting Bay, The Sportster, Sidelines Mag, the Principia Pilot, Lunch Ticket and immix. He received his BA in Sociology from Principia Pilot, and his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University of Los Angeles. He currently lives in Sacramento with his Wife and two cats.