There have been so many superhero movies released in the last decade or so that the question often pops up, what exactly are the best superhero movies to date? With spring finally in the air, and summer quickly rolling in after, top-notch blockbuster films are soon to be shining on the silver screen. Many of which include new superhero movies to either please or disappoint us. Next month is “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Soon after will follow “The Amazing Spider-man 2″, and “X-Men: Days of Future’s Past.” Marvel gets the last word in with their final movie release of the summer in the form of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
So superhero movies, not exactly a commodity we’re likely to run out of any time soon. With so much volume, there’s going to be some less than pleasing product on hand. Bearing that in mind, what are the best superhero movies out there right now? What are newer fans missing out on? What superhero movies do older fans feel don’t get the recognition they deserve? What are the best superhero movies to date?
[tps_header]1. Iron Man (2008), Directed by Jon Favreau[/tps_header]
“Iron Man” kicked started what is now one of the most profitable franchises to date. The story is focused, while still being fantastical. “Iron Man” is everything an origin story should be. Creating a likable hero, a sympathetic line of reasoning for why they became a hero, with a colorful cast of supporting characters. Whether you love or hate the following sequels, the original film is just pure good storytelling. “Iron Man” helped set the foundations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by developing realistic parameters for which superheroes could exist within. This is the movie that created a whole new dynamic to the superhero movie genre.
[tps_header]2. X-Men 2 (2003), Directed by Bryan Singer[/tps_header]
Let’s face it; the X-Men franchise is a mess and a half. As far as superhero movies go, X-men don’t typically cut it. Even so, ” X-Men 2” is the one movie that shines a head above the rest. It’s the only X-Men movie, to date, that made fans believe that the potential of the franchise could be achieved. It was the closest we’ll probably ever get to seeing the Phoenix in all her glory. “X-Men 2” was also the first and last movie that was able to make Wolverine interesting, which is an accomplishment in itself.
[tps_header]3. The Amazing Spider-man (2012), Directed by Marc Webb[/tps_header]
“The Amazing Spider-man” gets a bit of a bad rep because it came out so soon after the disaster that was “Spider-man 3.” The movie couldn’t be further from the original trilogy. The original Spider-man movies by Sam Rami consisted of a series of decent plot points and good moments. But “The Amazing Spider-man” is a superhero movie with good storytelling and better characters. Sally Field, Andrew Garfield, and Emma Stone as Aunt May, Peter Parker, and Gwen Stacey? Is there any question which is the better Spider-man movie? Let alone the better superhero movie?
[tps_header]4. Superman/Batman Apocalypse (2010), Directed by Lauren Montgomery[/tps_header]
As far as superhero movies go, animated films never get the attention they deserve. Which is a shame because “Apocalypse” delivers some of the best action scenes of any superhero movie to date. Wonder Woman and Big Barda taking on Darkseid’s Furies is twenty times better than watching Superman and General Zod smash their way through Metropolis. The movie may have Superman and Batman’s names in the title, but the story is really about Kara Zor El. With the Summer Glau voicing her, what more could you want from a superhero movie?
[tps_header]5. Chronicle (2012), Directed by Josh Tank[/tps_header]
“Chronicle” may be the only indie superhero movie on the list, but it earns its spot. More than able to stand up against the big names, “Chronicle” proves you don’t have to be well known to create a creative superhero story. Also that you don’t have to be ultra gritty to tell a realistic superhero story.
[tps_header]6. The Dark Knight (2008), Directed by Christopher Nolan[/tps_header]
While Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy ranged from okay to horrible, the height of the series was undoubtedly “The Dark Knight.” The strength of the series has always come from the villains rather than its protagonist. What better villain to face off against than The Joker? Heath Leger gave an Oscar worthy performance as the legendary villain. His character alone makes this movie worthy of a place on any top ten superhero movie list.
[tps_header]7.Superman 2 (1981), Directed by Richard Lester and Richard Donner[/tps_header]
You really can’t include a list about the best superhero movies to date without giving a shout-out to Superman. Particularly “Superman 2” which took Superman to new heights and still ages well today. While later ventures in the franchise fell flat (it’s better not to speak of Superman 3 or 4), “Superman 2” sets a bar for Superman movies period. It’s a superhero movie that’s all heart. It’s a movie that highlights the best in Superman, something other similar based movies still can’t seem to quite grasp.
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[tps_header]8. Blade II, Directed (2002) by Guillermo Del Toro[/tps_header]
Why Blade always gets forgotten when people talk about superhero movies is incomprehensible. Especially when “Blade II” is so good. Made before vampire movies and TV shows were a dime a dozen, Blade employs the now cliched ridden lore with still interesting and creative spins. The action is still top-notch even for being almost 11 years old. While the plot might be a little ridiculous, the main attraction is the action and the characters that inhabit a world of realistic modern day vampires. Plus the ending is a kick in the guts without being an inorganic forced mess like a bad episode of “The Walking Dead.”
[tps_header]9. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000), Directed by Curt Geda[/tps_header]
If you grew up watching the ever iconic “Batman: The Animated Series” and other shows within Bruce Timm and Dwayne McDuffie’s DC Animated Universe, then chances are you’ve at least heard of “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.” The movie does what few Batman movies actually do, which is provide an interesting and emotionally moving Batman story. While Ledger is to date the best live action Joker we’ve all ever seen, nothing quite compares to hearing Mark Hamill crackle out that laugh. The Joker here is at his best: scary, cruel, and hitting a much older, vulnerable Bruce Wayne where it hurts. Some people may scoff at “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” at being placed as one of the top superhero movies to date, but just because its animated doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack one heck of a punch.
[tps_header]10. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012). Directed by Joss Whedon[/tps_header]
Marvel’s “The Avengers” set a new bar for superhero movies. By taking all their separate superhero movies and smashing them together under the careful direction of Joss Whedon, somehow Marvel made it work. The Avengers isn’t the most thought provoking or character driven picture on the list. What it is, however, is the first of its kind. “The Avengers” was the climax of the MCU. The movie was a live showcase of everything they had begun working towards since “Iron Man” was released in 2008. It was the baby Marvel had been so carefully preparing for since that ending cut scene with Nick Fury. Nothing like this had every been done before, with most superhero movies being self-contained, Marvel created an entire universe of movies. Even if “The Avengers” isn’t the best superhero movie to some fans, no one can deny its place in superhero movie history.