Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Best Superhero Movies

So my husband and I finally got around to seeing the Avengers movie.  I enjoyed it.  The character interactions were fun with lots of good humor, and the story was fast paced, with lots of action (but not too much action) and a nice overall story arc.

I think this movie worked well because of all the individual movies building up to it.  It helped that a lot of the characterization had already been done coming into it, and I’m a bit curious about how well the movie worked for someone who hadn’t seen Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. 

I wish Black Widow and Hawk Eye had a movie together.  I liked their characters, and it sounded like they had an interesting history with each other that would’ve made a good story.

The Avengers movie (along with previews for the latest Batman movie and the Spiderman reboot) got me thinking about all the superhero movies I’ve seen.  My husband loves superheroes, so I’ve seen every one of them.  For the most part, I like them too (could have done without Hellboy and Sin City).  So here is my list for the top five favorite superhero movies of all time (note:  I've chosen one movie from each series otherwise my list would be dominated by some of the more awesome series).

5.  Batman Returns (1992). Batman is probably my favorite superhero (I’ve never read the comics, but I’ve seen a lot of the cartoons, and all the movies, unless there are some really old movies I don’t know about).  This is the one I liked the most from the first Batman series started in 1989.  I remember complaints that this movie was too dark, but I really like it although I’m kind of a Tim Burton fan in general.  I really liked Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal of Catwoman and the interaction between Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne as well as Catwoman and Batman.  I thought they did a great job.  I was always hoping they’d bring her back for another Batman movie, but then the whole franchise took a lighter turn, which I think was the death of it.  But I really liked this movie.

4.  Spiderman (2002).  Spiderman is an interesting hero to me because he is younger and a little more self-doubting than the others.  I like the mixture of vulnerability and super powers; it makes Peter Parker an interesting character.  Also it is nice to see a superhero struggle with day to day life of trying to hold down a job while saving the world.  A nice change of pace from the normal billionaire-type superheroes.  I thought Toby McGuire did a great job as Spiderman/Peter parker, although I’m looking forward to the reboot.  Like I said, I find Spiderman to be a very intriguing character, so I’d like to see a different spin on him.

3.  Iron Man (2008).  This movie surprised me.  I had never heard of Iron Man before this movie came out, and when my husband explained who he was, I have to say, I wasn’t very excited about it.  But the movie blew me away.  I loved Tony Stark’s character.  There is something awesome about an unapologetic narcissistic character who tells it like he sees it.  And I loved how at the end, Tony outs himself, surprising and awesome.  But the interactions between Tony and Pepper are really where the heart of the story is, and proof that Tony does have a vulnerable side.  Loved this movie, maybe it should have been number two.  Close call.

2.  X-Men (2000). I really enjoy stories with great ensembles, and X-Men definitely hit the mark here.  Wolverine, Jean Grey, Mystique, Xavier, Magneto, Rogue, just great characters all around.  But what really makes this stand out for me is the relationship between Magneto and Xavier.  I always love it when the bad guy has some sort of personal relationship with the good guy, and the fact that Xavier and Magneto had been such great friends, and even though they were now on different sides, it was very clear that they still cared about each other, made the whole story more compelling.  I loved the second X-Men movie in this series as well, but the third wasn’t quite as good as the other two.  I wish Bryan Singer had directed the third.  I think he really knew how to make it work.

1.  Batman Begins (2005).  I already stated how Batman is probably my favorite superhero.  I’m not really sure why, maybe I like the dark, mysterious, brooding type.  I like that this movie was a little more serious than the 1989 Batman series, less cartoony.  What makes this movie really stand out was the amazing job developing Bruce Wayne’s character, and the journey he took to become Batman.  The movie was more focused on Batman than the villain, and the main conflict (The League of Shadow’s plan to destroy Gotham) was tied to Batman’s training.   Overall, it was an amazing character driven story with lots of great action and interesting characters (loved Alfred and Lucius Fox), and great acting.  Just an awesome movie all around.  It is hands down my favorite superhero movie so far. 

Yeah, The Avengers didn’t make the list, but it still was a great movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet, and you love the superhero genre, go see it.  

So what is your favorite superhero movie?



  1. Batman Returns? Really? Of all the Batman movies, new or old, it was the worst of the lot! Batman Begins was good but mainly because it set up the best superhero movie (and one of the best movies period) of all time: The Dark Knight.

    1. Do I need to remind you of Batman and Robin? :) That movie was so campy. I refuse to believe that it was better than Batman Returns. It has been many years since I saw Batman Returns, but I remember really liking it. To each their own.

      But I did love The Dark Knight. I liked Batman Begins better, but The Dark Knight would be my number 2 except I only wanted to choose one movie from each franchise. Heath Ledger did an amazing job as The Joker.

    2. Batman and Robin was great! I was like a comic book, full of color and fun. Batman returns was dark without being deep (like Batman Begins or The Dark Knight is). Have you seen the trailers for the new one? They look pretty sweet!

      And yes, Heath Ledger was incredible as the Joker.

    3. LOL, I guess we just have to disagree on that one. :)

      Yes I've seen the previews, and I'm super excited for Dark Knight Rises. I have to see it opening weekend.

  2. Batman is good, but I think I prefer the lighter/snarky/quick witted stuff. So for me, Spiderman and Iron Man win out.
    Interesting thing to analyze. Thanks for the great post.

    1. Yeah, I do tend to lead towards darker stuff. :)

  3. Both Iron Man movies make my list, though The Dark Knight is number one. Avengers was probably number two. (I suppose I'm reserving the last spot in the top five for the third Iron Man, haha.) If you ever find yourself hankering to read the Batman comics, the Year One storyline is my favorite.

    I've never seen any of the Hulk movies, but I've been a comic book lover for most of my life, so I don't think I count. I did enjoy Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of Bruce Banner. He's a great actor, and Banner is a great character, so it worked. I wish Black Widow and Hawkeye had their own movie, too. Who knows, maybe they will.

    Does anyone else get an icky feeling in the pit of their stomach when the commercial comes on for The Dark Knight Rises? I've got this sneaking suspicion that Christopher Nolan is going to kill Batman off. It's something about the way Catwoman says "You don't owe these people anymore. You've given them everything," to which Batman replies, "Not everything. Not yet."
    The whole trailer makes me nervous.

    1. I liked both of the Iron Man movies too, but I only chose one because I didn't want Iron Man movies and the newer Batman series to dominate my list. :)

      My husband used to read a lot of comic books. He says most people would be surprised about the vocabulary and depth to them. Maybe I'll try reading one someday if I can ever dig myself out of my TBR pile.

      I also loved Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. Kind of wish he did the original movie. And yes, there is something very foreboding about The Dark Knight Rises. I really hope they don't kill my Batman.

  4. What? You didn't add Suburban Commando? :P

    The problem with superhero movies, is that when they're done wrong (and it's easy to do wrong) it gets SO bad. Like Thor. That movie was plotted out as a love story gone bad, then written for people who don't like love stories gone wrong. The brilliant Natalie Portman couldn't even save it. So bad.

    I agree emphatically with your top three, and the order you put them in. I think Captain America beats Spiderman though.

    I won't say anything about number 5.

    1. How did I ever miss Suburban Commando? :)

      I agree with your assessment of superhero movies. They are either really good or really bad.

      Guess I'm alone in my love for Batman Returns. :)

  5. True, Hellboy wasn't that great. But did you check out Hellboy 2? Now that movie was something else entirely. A cross between Pan's Labyrinth and Harry Potter (but adult characters) and the main villain was most impressive and tragic at the same time.

    Ironman was interesting and I've yet to see the second one but I've come to think that Robert Downey Jr. can only play the cynical, narcissistic characters. Sherlock Holmes, Tony Stark, Robert Merivel (from the movie Restoration), more or less the same person, just different accents.

    As far as Batman goes, the new Dark Knight series is great. The second movie was a bit long and there were so many twists and turns that by the end I was as tired as from the LOTR movies.

    Speaking of X men, have you seen the latest movie (X men First Class)? To me it was better than the previous three movies (not to mention the Wolverine fiasco). This movie is both funny and tragic.

    1. I never saw the second Hellboy movie. The first one turned me off to the whole franchise. Maybe I'll give it a try.

      I had the same complaint of Dark Knight. I think they tried to pack too much into the movie. I still loved it, but I think it could have been better with a little more focus.

      I did see X-Men First Class. I liked it, but it wasn't my favorite X-Men movie. I liked the others more, but I have issues with Prequels in general. IMO, they rarely work.

  6. I like the Avengers, Iron man, Captain America, Thor, and would love to see the Black Widow and Hawk Eye in a movie by themselves. I also love Spiderman and X men and agree the First Class was equal to the other X men movies. I like Batman and Batman Returns, but I like the new movies better. I dislike Superman as a hero. I hate Clark Kent and he really isn't the cool as Superman either. He is just a nerd and a jock. I might like him if he would get over Ms. Lane. I hate hate hate her in any of the movies.

    1. I'm kind of surprised no one has chastised me for not including Superman, but I agree with you that Lois Lane ruins every movie for me. She is just so unlikable.

  7. The Dark Knight was too much for me--I have a low tolerance for horror (sorry Sabrina!) and I blame the darkness of the movie for Heath Ledger's untimely death. But man, I LOVE Batman Begins. It's definitely my favorite. It's been so long since I've seen The older Batman movies. I think I'll go add them to my netflix queue.


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