[The Social Opportunist] Top Ten – Superhero Movies (Part #1)

Written by Phil May 05, 2012

So apparently the upcoming release of The Avengers is having a huge influence on me because I decided to continue my recent trend of posting about superhero movies. I took a look back into the corners of my mind, contemplated for a bit and finally compiled my list of the top ten best superhero movies of all time!

While many of the movies on this list will be traditional superhero movies that we’ve all seen over and over again, I think there are a few on here that might be surprises to some people. I think that the term “superhero” is becoming so narrowly defined these days (i.e. the character can only be a superhero if they were adapted from a comic book or a video game). And though that is true for most of the top superhero movies in the vault, there are a few gems out there that should be recognized for what they are! To me, superheros were those movie characters that I looked up to when I was a little kid going to Gateway 6 or who my friends and I would pretend to be as we played on the playground. I think as long as a so-called “superhero” movie brings you right back to that place, no matter how cheesy or ridiculous it might be, then it’s a success in my books! Also, I don’t know if this is ironic or what, but there will be absolutely no Superman movies on this list because, well, you know…

But alas, here are numbers 10 through 6…

10. Spiderman (2002)

Spiderman (2002)

I know that a lot of people enjoyed the recent Spiderman trilogy featuring Tobey Maguire (Spiderman) and Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane), but to me the first instalment of that series was the only one of the three I enjoyed at all. It was fresh enough to be entertaining and provided enough backstory for just about anyone to enjoy! Who could forget that moment when Uncle Ben dies in Peter’s arms or the upside-down kiss between Spiderman and Mary Jane, which has been spoofed on everything from The O.C. to God knows what? This movie was cheesy, but had just the right amount of cheese to be an effective superhero movie. And who couldn’t help but get behind and cheer on Maguire’s Peter Parker, who gave dorks around the world hope that they too could get the girl. As for the sequels, they seemed to lack the same charm that made the first Spiderman so good. Hopefully the remake (yes, the remake of a movie released within the past decade) regains some of this appeal.

9. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

This is one of those movies that people overlook when they think of superhero movies. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie was the perfect extension to one of the best and most entertaining children’s shows of all time. You might say to yourself that the Power Rangers are not superheros, but that is just not true! They do pretty much everything that Batman or Iron Man can do, and they are arguably just as epic. This movie was one of the best to act out on the playground and could easily keep you busy for hours on end. To me, Ivan Ooze is still one of the scariest and most repulsive villains ever and deserves to get a little more recognition for that. And the fact that they were able to retain the same cast from the television series was just the icing on the cake really. I think I went to see about four or five times before it even started to feel like it was getting old. If you haven’t seen this movie, get on it!

8. Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins deserves to be on this list simply because it introduced us to: a) Christian Bale as the caped crusader himself, b) a slew of new gadgets and a slick, new Batmobile, and c) an extensive and detailed backstory to the character of Batman, the likes of which is unheard of in superhero movies. It was safe to say that, as a Batman movie, this was going to be an entertaining ride, given that I can’t think of another superhero that is as popular as he is. But really I had no idea the extent to which I was going to enjoy this movie. The previous Batman films, while awesome, were arguably cartoonish and extra-cheesy in nature. Batman Begins did to this series what Casino Royale did to the James Bond franchise. It took it down a more serious and dramatic road that, while probably shocking to audiences at first, grew on them into something they respected and admired. This movie launched one of what should be the best superhero trilogies of all time. And who doesn’t love Liam Neeson in pretty much any movie, let alone as the bad guy?

7. Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man and Batman are similar characters in the sense that they’re both billionaire playboys who have no super powers but, as a privilege of their immense wealth, can fulfill their childhood fantasies and be superheros just because they want to be. However, what Iron Man taught me (which I’m sure I’m going to get flack for) is that Tony Stark is about 110 per cent cooler than Bruce Wayne. While Bruce Wayne is tormented by his inner demons and a philosophical debate over right and wrong, Tony Stark is busy building cool machines that are more powerful than most military weapons and using them to take on some huge opponents. Stark is unfazed by moral scruples and just continues living his life as a womanizing, sarcastic billionaire. Iron Man was entertaining from beginning to end and Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of the arrogant Stark is one of the best superhero performances I’ve ever seen in any of these movies.

6. Batman Forever (1995)

Batman Forever (1995)

When I talk about cheesy and ridiculous superhero movies, the first example that pops into my mind is Batman Forever. I think this was probably the first Batman movie I ever saw, and I can safety say that it stuck with me. However, that might mainly be because my sister and I went crazy trying to collect the Batman Forever-inspired Pogs from McDonalds. Many people like to disregard this movie in favour of the new Batman trilogy, but I think that’s a bad idea. Despite its baffoonish nature, I was still petrified by Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face and Jim Carrey’s The Riddler (especially the end scene where Edward Nygma is locked away in Arkham Asylum). It’s hard to argue that Val Kilmer was a great Batman, but in my opinion it was everything else in this movie that made it great! Like I always say, people need to look beyond their predispositions and just watch a movie for what it is. Just because the superhero himself is subpar does mean it’s not a superhero movie.

Come back soon for “Top Ten – Superhero Movies (Part #2)” to see the top 5 choices or visit The Social Opportunist!

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