Hello, hello! Apologies for my absence on Friday, my friends. You see, I went to the first evening showing of Avengers: Age of Ultron on Thursday, and I didn’t have time to get something together for the next day. You’ll be hearing about AoU this week, but for now I wanted to do a little something else. For a long time, I thought it would be fun to do a list of my top ten favorite superhero movies. Now seemed like an excellent time to do it. So I began a top 10 list…and it somehow morphed into a top 20. I couldn’t help it. I have too many favorites. Because of its obnoxious length, I’ve decided to split this list into two parts. Ready for Part 1?
Honorable Mention: Hellboy (2004)
I couldn’t resist squeezing this one into the list—even if it’s not officially in the top 20. Because Guillermo del Toro + Ron Perlman + one of the most bizarre superheroes ever = a surprising amount of fun. I remember seeing trailers for Hellboy and seriously doubting everything about it. Then I caught it on TV, and I suddenly found myself quite liking the big, bright red devil. He has much more of a sense of humor than your average superhero, not to mention considerable sass. Also, his girlfriend can set herself on fire. Also, one of his best buds is an amphibian man. Also, the visuals rock. Also, John Hurt is in this. I could go on, but the point is, Hellboy is so strange that it shouldn’t work, yet it totally does. I’ve heard Hellboy 2 is even better. I need to see that…
#20: Spider-Man (2002)
Those of you who’ve seen me lament Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker might be surprised to see this one here. Here’s the thing: I still quite like this movie. When Maguire is in the suit, I actually think he’s pretty okay. Plus, Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin is my jam—one of my favorite supervillains, in fact (just see this list). Ultimately, I have fun with this film when I watch it, and I appreciate it especially for the fact that it introduced Spider-Man to the movie world. Plus, along with another film I’ll mention later, it pretty much ushered in the modern era of superhero films. Kudos, Spidey.
#19: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Two Spider-Man films back-to-back? What madness is this?! I realize the entire world probably did a collective “Huh?” when we found out Spider-Man was being rebooted a mere five years after the atrocity of Spider-Man 3, but I will always appreciate this film for washing away the bitter memory of emo Peter Parker dancing on a table. Andrew Garfield’s interpretation is sweet, sassy, and much less awkward. For me, he’s more how I envision the character. The Lizard may not be as great a villain as some of the ones during Maguire’s run, but he did give us Stan Lee’s best cameo yet (see this list), so there’s that.
#18: Batman (1989)
Prepare yourself—this is the first of many Batman films to come on this list. Again, this is a film I respect a great deal simply because it paved the way for so much. Batman: The Animated Series. The Dark Knight Trilogy. The Arkham games. Heck, even the Lego Batman games. Who knows if we’d have any of this without Tim Burton’s dark yet wacky interpretation of the Caped Crusader? Michael Keaton’s Batman is, of course, great, but Jack Nicholson’s Joker set the bar extremely high for all supervillains to follow. This may be the lowest Bat-film on my list, but it’s easy to see why so many consider it their number one.
#17: Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Surprise, surprise! As much as I love Andrew Garfield, this is actually my favorite of the Spider-Man films. It just does a lot of things right. It amps up the emotion, offers Spidey a choice, and, more importantly, brings in Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus—easily one of the best movie supervillains ever (see the supervillain list I link to above). Plus, come on, that train scene? Cheesy to the max, but also really, really cool. Probably one of my top moments in a superhero movie. If only Maguire could’ve ended on this instead of Spider-Man 3…
#16: X-Men: First Class (2011)
As far as reboots go, the X-Men franchise, I feel, handled the concept with more finesse than the Spider-Man franchise did. Because First Class doesn’t try to reintroduce us to our beloved mutants in the present. Rather, it goes all the way back to the ‘60s, letting us meet younger versions of the characters. It’s a much gentler way to reboot things since we know they’re going to grow up into the familiar faces we know. Plus, when you stack a cast with James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender, things are obviously going to work out okay. With a sharp script and exciting new direction, First Class is basically a ton of fun.
#15: Batman Returns (1992)
Three words: Michelle Freaking Pfeiffer. As fond as I am of Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman, Pfeiffer kind of blows her out of the water in Batman Returns (which you can read about here). She clearly has a blast as the semi-villain, full-on badass in this film, and Danny Devito’s grumbling, squawking Penguin is right up there with her. They are zany, likable characters, and Keaton’s tough, solemn Batman is an excellent foil. For me, this is Burton’s best Batman film. I could watch it over and over again.
#14: Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Y’know, a lot of people don’t seem to have love for Thor: The Dark World, but I really like it. Honestly, I think it’s largely to do with the fact that this is a Thor-and-Loki-centric film. I love the complicated relationship these two characters have—the bromance that is constantly tested by Loki’s treacherous ways. Tom Hiddleston absolutely eats up his role as the god of mischief, a character who is as lighthearted and witty as he is angry and vulnerable. He shows a lot of sides to the character, and that’s great to see in this film. Plus, Chris Hemworth was basically born to play Thor, and he seems more comfortable in his role here than ever before. The Dark World is just good ol’ sci-fi/fantasy fun. Works for me.
#13: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Okay, since I haven’t had a chance to review this yet, I really don’t want to say too much yet. Some of you might be surprised to find it this low on my list. Fact is, I really liked it, but…well, for me, it just didn’t pack quite as much of a punch as the first Avengers. Even so, there’s a lot to admire about it. We’ll discuss the details later this week when I review it, but for now let’s leave it at this: Vision, Ultron, Wanda, and the focus on Hawkeye all get a thumbs up from this nerd. Oh, and the humor. Mustn’t forget that stellar Whedon humor.
#12: X-Men (2000)
Remember when I mentioned Spider-Man and another film ushering in the modern era of superhero films? This is definitely that other film. X-Men introduces us to a lot of characters, but it balances our time with them, giving each one a chance to shine. And why wouldn’t you want to give the likes of Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman the chance to shine as kickass mutants? The characters are great, the powers are incredibly cool, and the story is surprisingly strong—much more than you’d expect out of this type of flick. X-Men wowed the world in a way that no superhero film had since Batman. It very well may be the film that began my nerdy love of superheroes. Clearly, I owe it a lot.
#11: Big Hero 6 (2014)
Animated films count, right?? Well, I’m counting it on my list. Big Hero 6 was a very clever move on Marvel’s part. I mean, they’ve clearly won over the adult world. The next obvious step was the realm of the kiddies. This film is a brilliant mix of Disney feels and Marvel fun, and it has given birth to one of the greatest robots ever: Baymax. He fist bumped his way into our hearts, and we will never be the same…That actually sounded pretty violent, didn’t it? Baymax isn’t violent—only extremely lovable. I promise.
That’s it for now! Come back tomorrow for part 2, superfriends! 🙂
OH! And I almost forgot–MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!!!