Top Ten Superhero Movies (Spring 2008 Edition)


Look! Up in the sky! It’s a blog! It’s an ordered list! It’s the Top Ten Superhero Movies as ranked by me!

Batman: The Movie (1966)10. Batman: The Movie (1966). The Dark Knight makes three separate appearances on this list and this is arguably the least dark of his incarnations; in fact, I’ve previously referred to the relative darkness of the Adam West version of Gotham’s nocturnal vigilante 1Actually, Adam West and Burt Ward do most of their crimefighting in broad daylight. as “a skim milk vanilla latté with a shot of raspberry syrup”. Batman: The Movie is classic, campy fun that still makes me chuckle, 2“Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!” but this movie proves that superheroes don’t have to be dark and gritty to be enjoyable.
Superman: The Movie (1978)

9. Superman: The Movie (1978). Superman movies trouble me. Christopher Reeve was a fantastic Man of Steel, 3Brandon Routh did a find job of imitating Christopher Reeve in Superman Returns, but that was just about the only thing worthwhile in the entire movie. but I’ve never really been a fan of the “funny” Lex Luthor. Why pit the most powerful man on the planet against a clown with delusions of grandeur? How about a villain who actually has a menacing presence on the screen? 4Sorry, Nuclear Man, you’re about as menacing as Gunther Gebel-Williams with a head cold.

Most people I know would probably rank Superman II higher than the original, what with Terence Stamp and all that business about kneeling before Zod. In truth, the first two movies kind of blend together for me and I don’t really consider them separate entities.
Batman (1989)

8. Batman (1989). The first movie I ever stood in line for on opening day, Tim Burton’s Batman pretty much revived the superhero genre. Michael Keaton was surprisingly good in the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, but it is Jack Nicholson who stole the show as the maniacal Joker. Unfortunately, this set a bad precedent for bringing in big-name actors to portray the villains and The Shumachery that followed damn near marched the genre off a cliff in a rubber-nippled batsuit.

Spider-Man (2002)

7. Spider-Man (2002). All hail Sam Raimi for bringing the web-slinger to the big screen! Now please, stop making superhero movies. Though Spider-Man 2 had a better villain and better action sequences, the overabundance of whining and preaching knocks it down several pegs in terms of sheer enjoyment. We will not speak of Spider-Man 3. Is that understood? We will not speak of it.

The Incredibles (2004)

6. The Incredibles (2004). Here’s a special beast: a well-made superhero movie that was not adapted from a comic book. Actually, The Incredibles has roots in a whole slew of comic books, especially Fantastic Four (the movie adaptation of which only wishes it could be The Incredibles). For sheer imaginitive use of superpowers, no movie has yet matched this one.

X-Men (2000)

5. X-Men (2000). In 1997, Joel Schumacher drove what I thought might be the final nail into the coffin of not only the Batman movie franchise, but into the entire superhero movie genre. Then along game Bryan Singer, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart to revive it. Sure, Halle Berry, James Marsden and a bunch of other folks were along for the ride, but let’s face it, X-Men fans only cared about two things: getting Captain Jean-Luc Picard into Professor Xavier’s wheelchair and finding the right guy to wield Logan’s adamantium potato peelers. Ian McKellan as Magneto was icing on the cake. As for the other X-Mean…yeah, whatever, we got Patrick Stewart, baby!

Unfortunately, Bryan Singer went on to murderize Superman Returns while Brett Ratner came in to do the same to X-Men: The Last Stand.

X2: X-Men United (2003)4. X2: X-Men United (2003). Why does the sequel rank higher than the original? Two reasons: Brian Cox and BAMF! Brian Cox plays an excellent bad guy; the perfect antagonist to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. ‘Nuff said on that. Now on to the other thing: Nightcrawler’s teleportation attack on the White House was simply stunning. I spent the following five minutes trying to reattach my lower jaw and to this day I’m still not sure what happened immediately after that scene.
Batman Begins (2005)

3. Batman Begins (2005). Holy franchise resurrection, Batman! Director Christopher Nolan rolled the stone away from the tomb and we found that George Clooney was gone—replaced with the American Psycho himself, Christian Bale. The retelling of Bruce Wayne’s transformation into the Dark Knight Detective is the grittiest silver screen version of the Batman to date, and the Gotham-under-siege storyline lays a solid foundation for a resuscitated series.

Hellboy (2004)2. Hellboy (2004). How much do I love this movie? Let me put it this way: I wish I had not one but two wombs so I could have both Guillermo del Toro’s and Ron Perlman’s babies. That is all.
Iron Man (2008)

1. Iron Man (2008). The latest is, indeed, the greatest. Jon Favreau is clearly an Iron Man fan, because he got everything right: casting, story, special effects, pacing, beards; it’s all brilliant. Iron Man is the first movie I’ve seen in quite a while that had me wanting to stay in the theater and watch it again after the end credits had rolled. Speaking of end credits, if you haven’t seen Iron Man yet (and you should), be sure to stick around for an extra piece of geekery after they roll.

As the self-appointed Arbiter of Superhero Movie Worthiness, I declare that this list is truth absolute 5Until my whim changes and I update it. and its accuracy is above question. However, if you should wish to offer your opinions on the topic—whether they rightly align with my own or not—you are encouraged to do so in the comments.

1 Actually, Adam West and Burt Ward do most of their crimefighting in broad daylight.
2 “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”
3 Brandon Routh did a find job of imitating Christopher Reeve in Superman Returns, but that was just about the only thing worthwhile in the entire movie.
4 Sorry, Nuclear Man, you’re about as menacing as Gunther Gebel-Williams with a head cold.
5 Until my whim changes and I update it.

22 responses to “Top Ten Superhero Movies (Spring 2008 Edition)”

  1. Maplewing Avatar

    I love Iron Man and The Incredibles! They’re my two favorite movies, so obviously I think they should be moved up. (Especially Iron Man)

  2. Kris Avatar

    Maplewing — Well, Iron Man already has top ranking, so it can’t go anywhere.

  3. Spidey Avatar

    All good entries. Except the Batman ones. Crybaby. Guess what? Your parents are STILL dead. Jerk.

    What about Blade? All three were entertaining to me, but the first was a very good movie.

  4. Greg Avatar

    /agree. Except I’d put the first XMen movie as #2.

  5. Kris Avatar

    Spidey — Blade had the second worst one-liner delivered by a superhero in the history of ever: “Some [melonfarmers] are always tryin’ to ice skate uphill.” For that reason and that reason alone (also, I forgot about it), Blade doesn’t make the cut.

    Worst one-liner delivered by a superhero in the history of ever? “You know what happens to a toad when it’s hit by lightning?” Ugh. I can’t even bring myself to finish it. But X-Men had Patrick Stewart as Professor X, so I forgive them. Sort of.

    Also, I don’t recall the Adam West Batman ever crying about his dead parents. Just sayin’.

    Greg — Really? Above X2? What is it about the original that makes it better than the sequel in your opinion?

  6. Greg Avatar

    Seeing those characters so perfectly cast for the first time was amazing. Yeah – I know they were still there in the second. I also really liked Ray Park as Toad.

  7. Kris Avatar

    Greg — Adding Nightcrawler and Stryker in X2 made it that much better for me. I also appreciated the glimpses at Shadowcat and Colossus (both favorites of mine). Oh, and Magneto’s prison break was excellent. Like The Empire Strikes Back did for Darth Vader, X2 showed just how much of a badass Magneto really was. I’m also convinced that Snowbird from Alpha Flight made a cameo as the wolf Logan met in Canada.

  8. Dave Avatar

    So what about Mystery Men? 😉

  9. Kris Avatar

    Dave — I should have given Mystery Men an honorable mention, at the very least. As the Sphinx might have said, “When you begin to define a list, you will soon discover that the list defines you.”

  10. Technohippybiker Avatar

    I agree with your top three! Wow, we’ve come to draw this time Johnson…. Although I’m not sure that any of those movies are static in their position. The top spots probably switch around depending on the day.

    And I was going to mention that Blade gets a #3 & 1/2 in my list, so I’m glad I read your other comments.

  11. Kris Avatar

    Technohippybiker — We’re allowed to agree with one another on occasion, I think. My main issue with the entire Blade franchise (apart from the stupid one-liner) is the vague sense I get that Wesley Snipes is really uncomfortable with the fangs. Oh, and the fact that Whistler won’t stay dead.

  12. Slowhand Avatar

    Yeah, I agree with Dave. Up with Mystery Men!! The Spleen!!!!

  13. Kris Avatar

    Slowhand — “When you start to agree with Dave, you will soon see that Dave agrees with you.”

  14. Ron Avatar

    All good choices… especially Ironman (much better than I figured and Downey’s going to make a cameo as Stark in the upcoming Hulk). I’m betting The Dark Knight might change up the lineup after July?

  15. Kris Avatar

    Ron — Anything is possible, I suppose.

    On the matter of cameos, Captain America’s shield apparently made an appearance on Tony Stark’s workbench, which I find intriguing.

  16. kuto Avatar

    So far Iron man is the best superhero movie I have seen.
    I like superman and batman but iron is very entertaining..with all the high tech and genius

  17. Kris Avatar

    @kuto – Agreed. Of the -man movies (Bat, Iron, Spider, Super), Iron Man is definitely the most entertaining in my book.

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  19. Slowhand Avatar

    Hmm. Now that I think of it, does Hellboy qualify as a superhero?

    If so, he has to be on the list and pretty high up on it to boot.

  20. Kris Avatar

    @Slowhand – It’s complicated. He’s definitely a supernatural hero and that’s good enough for me.

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