The Top 10 Best Superhero Movies
August 12, 2012 115 Comments
So, I think we can all agree that Hollywood has gone superhero crazy in recent years, a no brainer commercially ever since, in my opinion, the late great Christopher Reeve wrapped a red cape around his broad shoulders in Richard Donners Superman. An apt film title considering the heroic nature that surrounded Reeve, a real life superman.
Comic book superheroes have captured the imagination of generations of comic book fans and movie enthusiasts the world over. The essence of the hero transcends across cultures and countries upholding the belief that perhaps, out there somewhere is a hero waiting to save us all.
Unfortunately, our world is populated with a wealth of super villains. Be they villains of finance, genocidal maniacs or terrorists, no amount of charity and good will or peacekeeping in war torn countries has managed to rub out the menace that perpetually, since the dawn of man, hinders our progress as a species. No one hero has risen to the top to make a stand with an iron fist placing a smack-down on the scum of this planet. Therefore we retire to the cinema to cheer on heroes of our own imagination ever hopeful that maybe one day, a hero will rise and set the planet straight.
Till that day however we sit and we watch as the world burns chucking our cash at the multiplexes that tease us with hope and entertain us with special effects. Nerds like me make lists.
This therefore is a list of the best and the worst superhero movies. A look at some comic book screen gems and some comic book screen stinkers. Love them or hate them, here they are at The FilmFellas…
Part One. The Best top 10.
“Your the best, ahaaa, and nothing in the world will keep you down…”
10. Film: Unbreakable. (2000)
Opinion: M. Night Shyamalan kicks off the top ten of the best despite sourcing this film from his own idea. It’s not based on a comic book, it is an original. An idea that kinda sums up the flowery prologue to this blog, therefore it is a justifiable entry in this list.
First off, it has great casting, essential ingredients to ensure a worthwhile watch. Bruce Willis is the hero and Sam Jackson is the villain, see, perfect casting. Secondly the story is thrilling in its evolution and despite it being made without the aid of elaborate special effects and overly dramatic action set pieces, the essence of the hero is well communicated throughout. It’s also a great film in its own right, a tad bit slow admittedly but a real good watch, “The kids used to call me Mr Glass.” That shit sends shivers down my spine and pumps goose pimples out at a rate of knots, there had to be someone at the other end of the scale, he kept looking and he found him. Genius.
Coolness: Bruce Willis as the Unbreakable David Dunne, Sam Jackson as Mr Glass.
Best Scene: The ending…It is after all a Shyamalan film.
Film Fact: Of all the films that Shyamalan has made, this one is his personal fave.
9. Film: Blade. (Marvel Comics: 1998)
Opinion: Wesley Snipes as the half breed vampire hunter always hits the spot. The comic books were bloody average but the movie was just superb. Blood from floor to ceiling, carnage of epic proportions, the opening scene where he is in the club bathed in blood with a wicked tune over the top while he goes through vampires like a hot knife through butter, poetry. Vampires as a mythology inspire fear and dread, unless your watching Twilight, then it’s just shit, but with Blade in the neighbourhood, who fuckin cares? Blade, the solution. Action was awesome, some great lines and despite Blade Trinity, a worthy entrant to the list. Would you want Blade on your team? Damn straight you would, no fear and a sword. Awesome.
Coolness: Wesley Snipes, in one of his best roles as Blade and of course his sword, that’s one hell of a weapon.
Vampire carnage. Blades hairdo.
Best Scene: The opener in the club.
Film Fact: LL Cool J was originally considered for the part of Blade.
8. Film: V for Vendetta. (Vertigo/DC Comics: 2005)
Opinion: “But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace sobriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona…
Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by- gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. [carves “V” into poster on wall] The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. [giggles] Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.
Coolness: Hugo Weaving. This guy managed to portray emotion, feeling and all that other stuff with a mask on.
This film is populated with great ideas, a powerful message and lines so brilliant at times it is like listening to a symphony orchestra belting out Mozart.
Best Scene: The letter.
Film Fact:The scene where V tips over black and red dominoes to form a giant letter V, involved 22,000 dominoes. It took 4 professional domino dudes 200 hours to set up.
7. Film: Ironman. (Marvel Comics: 2008)
Opinion: Robert Downey Junior and Jon Favreau combine to make not only a real awesome superhero film but also a damn good movie. Action and thrills abound as Ironman blasts out of a terrorist cave to send the crooks of earth a message…I got more money than you, more skills and I have a suit that will wipe the floor with the lotta ya. Cease and desist or I will tear you a new asshole. I loved it. So did everyone else I know. Solid number 7.
Coolness: Robert Downey Junior owns the role of Tony Stark, genius billionaire playboy. The suit…obviously.
Best Scene: Ironman leaves the cave where he is held captive. Very very cool.
Film Fact: Directors who were considered for this film included, Quentin Taratino (in 1999), Joss Whedon (in 2001) and Nick Cassevetes (in 2004).
6. Film: X-Men: First Class. (Marvel Comics: 2011)
Opinion: After a series of hits and misses within the X-Men franchise, along came this, the film that the X-Men deserved. Intelligent, thought provoking and action packed, X- Men First Class redeems the rushed offerings that came before it. This film is high on my list because as much as it sets up the hero, it sets up the villain to great effect as well. The origin of Magneto, the best of all the super villains and most justifiably so as well, is what drives this film for me. The opening scene with Kevin Bacon was thrilling and unnerving and set a tone that most super hero films stray away from. The subject material was sensitive but the delivery was exceptional and as a result, X-Men First Class is literally First Class.
Coolness: A superb script + Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy = a really totally fricken awesome film directed by Matthew Vaughn. January Jones as Emma Frost.
Best Scene: Kevin Bacon getting the best out of a young Magneto after having his mother executed in front of him.
Film Fact: “X-Men” specialists were hired to help the cast understand their roles.
5. Film: Batman. (DC Comics: 1989)
Opinion: Only Tim Burton could have created the visceral and imaginative world of the 80’s Batman comics. A solid task for any film maker at the time, only he could have pulled it off and he did. Michael Keaton as Batman a worthy shout despite fierce opposition from everyone involved, but Jack Nicholson as the Joker, a master-class. Whatever Nicholson is in, it’s gold. Whether you liked the film or not, you cant deny the genius of Jack in this movie. I also loved the soundtrack, perfectly suited and booted. Ladies and gentlemen all pay homage to the pint sized supremo, Prince. A mash up of eccentric talent, that’s Batman.
Coolness: The Batmobile and zany action set pieces.
Batman score by Danny Elfman and Prince’s Batdance, good times.
Best Scene: The Joker in the Museum.
Film fact: Willem Dafoe, David Bowie, John Lithgow, Tim Curry, and James Woods, were considered for the role of the Joker.
4. Film: The Dark Knight. (DC Comics: 2008)
Opinion: It was a real tough choice for 4th spot, it really was. I settled with this one because it is better than Batman Begins and in my opinion the best of all of the Batman films to date. This is because technically it is astounding. Visuals and sound effects, excellently realised with inventive and plausible action set pieces. The stuff you see in this film is convincing. None though are more convincing than Heath Ledgers performance as the Joker. A different Joker to Jack Nicholson, a more realistic Joker and possibly Heath Ledgers finest role as an actor. Prior to this film, action spectacles such as this within the arena of the comic book genre tended to rely heavily on the fact that reality is suspended within the realm of the superhero, however, what Nolan has crafted in this series of films, utilising attention to detail and realism, is a believable superhero. Batman in this sense has therefore been resurrected from the atrocities that are Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. Nolan did that and I for one am grateful.
Coolness: Heath Ledger. The Batmobile. Morgan Freeman.
Best Scene: Batman captures Lau. Just wow.
Film Fact: Off-duty Chicago police officers along with officers from Elyria OH; Hammond IN; Buffalo Grove, IL and Joliet, IL played the Gotham City police officer extras. Realism. Nice.
3. Film: Spider-Man. (Marvel Comics: 2002)
Opinion: This is my personal favourite of all of the superhero films to date. This film might not be one of the best in uber technical terms, despite the technical wizardry involved to make Spidey a reality, it ain’t a Nolan movie. However, in terms of capturing the essence of the Spider-Man comic books, this one nailed it. Spider-Man is not particularly edgy, he is more child friendly, a sentiment echoed in the series when Parker chats to a young lad about where Spider-Man has gone. Kids love a superhero and he was my childhood favourite. The action is immense, stuff with the Green Goblin, swinging in between buildings and the burning building scene in particular are epic. It has Kirsten Dunsts nipples in it as well, which is nice. For all of these reasons and more, Spider-Man makes my number three.
Coolness: Spidey himself…Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-r7qymfa0Q
Kirsten Dunsts nipples.
Best Scene: Spidey enters a burning building only to be met by the Green Goblin who tries to kill him.
2. Film: Avengers Assemble. (Marvel Comics: 2012)
Opinion: An ensemble of some of Marvels finest, under the expert eye of Joss Whedon. A fancy script punctuated with moments of genius comedy. A decent Hulk. This is Avengers Assemble. As far as thrill rides go, you will be hard pressed to find anything as thrilling as this, they pulled out all the stops and delivered a superb comic book hero gang bang. It was a big task, but, watching this, Whedon knew exactly how to craft a truly memorable cinematic experience. The action is awesome, lines, awesome and it has Robert Downey Junior in it as well, awesome. This dude never ceases to amaze me, pure talent. He understands the character so well that because of him, this film is underpinned by an assured confidence that really drives the Avengers forward. The casting was spot on though for all of the characters. As mentioned above, finally a cool Hulk, the real deal, no more fannying about, HULK SMASH. Nice one Whedon, you are the man, we all simply can not wait for another.
Coolness: Lots and lots of action, well paced and hilarious in parts.
Best Scene: Puny God!
Film Fact: Lou Ferrigno, the original Hulk, is the voice of the Hulk in this, in fact, if the Hulk is in it, he has had a hand in it. Cool.
1. Film: Watchmen. (DC Comics: 2009)
Opinion: Alan Moore, is a Legend. Responsible for another of this lists entries, V for Vendetta, he created and wrote arguably one of the finest comic books ever conceived. It is an adult comic book sure, however, it is a powerful piece of literature as well as a fantastic work of visual art, courtesy of illustrator Dave Gibbons and colourist, John Higgins. When it was revealed that 300 director Zack Snyder was going to make it into a film, I wondered whether he would do a good enough job for the master Alan Moore, who I understand has never bothered to watch it citing a movie would not get it all in. Well, having read the comic and watched the film, Zack ended up doing a pretty damn good job. There were changes made, naturally, Moores work is so expansive, capturing it all would be a near impossibility, however that said, the film was wonderfully rendered and managed to maintain most of the umpf that the comic books contained. The casting and the writing was also spot on. Truly memorable characters, fo sho. It is a fully rounded piece of cinematic gold, a masterpiece among comic book adaptations and simply, in my opinion, the finest superhero film ever made.
Coolness: This film, from beginning to end is cool. End of.
Best Scene: All of them.
Film Fact: The first trailer for the film, which premièred before The Dark Knight sparked so much interest that it sent the graphic novel back onto the best-seller list. Barnes and Noble Bookstores reported selling out of the novel nationwide. (US)
First off, this list is not exhaustive. Making the list was hardly going to be a definitive task, I mean, I have left out some gems I am sure. For example, Kick Ass was one that I considered placing in the top ten but, as the heroes in it, arent really “super” in the same sense as say, Spider-Man is for example, I had to omit it from this list. The Christopher Reeve Superman films were also a difficult ommission, but, since the technical ability to craft them to the same standard as say Watchmen, did not exist at the time and since comic book adaptations rely heavily on complex visuals, it had to be ommited from this top ten. However, the first one at least would be in a top 20.