[The Social Opportunist] Top Ten – Superhero Movies (Part #2)

Written by Phil May 07, 2012

This cake must taste delicious! Which layer do you think would taste best though?

My week has literally been jammed packed with superheros. Not only did I spend an entire day watching Thor (review) and Captain America (review), but just about everyone has been talking about this weekend’s release of The Avengers. Everyone who went to go see it on opening day said that it was worth the price of admission. I’m definitely more willing to take the advice of my friends and family (even a perfect stranger) than that of a professional critic. Not to pass judgment, but professional movie critics tend to lack the innate ability to look past their predispositions and just watch a movie for the sake of watching it. We, as “civilians,” are more likely to enjoy movies for exactly what they are, whether a cinematic masterpiece or a ridiculous piece of cheese. If my friend tells me that The Avengers was an amazing movie, then that’s where I’ll be next weekend. In the meantime, I’ll keep myself busy by reminiscing about the superhero movies below.

Click here to visit Part 1 of this list. Just to remind everyone of numbers 6-10 before getting into the “best of the best:”

10. Spiderman

9. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie

8. Batman Begins

7. Iron Man

6. Batman Forever

Now for my top five superhero movies of all time! Enjoy!

5.  The Incredibles (2004)

The Incredibles (2004)

This would be another example of a superhero movie that people seem to separate from the traditional category. But in my opinion, the Incredibles, or the Parr family, as they are more commonly known, are some of the funniest and most intriguing superheros of all time. They are their own version of a modern-day superhero team, like The Avengers or the X-Men. Does anyone ever really complain when superheros get together and use their powers to defeat the resident villain of the week? On top of that they’re a family, which makes them appealing and loveable in a whole other way. Baby Jack Jack has got to be the best character in this entire movie, with his shapeshifting mischief. But that’s not to take anything aware from the rest of the characters, who are just as entertaining. I’m hoping and praying that The Incredibles is given a sequel because, in a land of remakes and sequels that just don’t need to be made, this is the one that actually deserves it.

4. X-Men (2000)

X-Men (2000)

X-Men was a movie that I was insanely excited to see because, unlike many of these other superhero movies, I was actively watching the animated television series. I have to say that this is one superhero franchise that the filmmakers got right, in everything from the stories they chose to tell to the mutants they decided to include to the actors they cast to play the film’s major characters. I with never be able to picture Wolverine, Storm, or Professor Xavier with without picturing Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Patrick Stewart respectively. And Ian McKellan as Magneto was probably the most memorable performances of them all (and is currently one of my all-time favourite villain performances). Now there was a villain that you loved just as much as you hated! Basically, this movie had some of the coolest superheros to work with and they made perfect use of every one in their arsenal. X-Men spawned a slew of follow-up sequels that were equally as successful and cemented its place as a zenith in the superhero movie universe.

3. Mystery Men (1999)

Mystery Men (1999)

I think that this addition will be the one that divides readers the most. Mystery Men was a movie that came out just about the time I started going to the movies on a regular basis. Maybe it was the fact that I still was a child (and therefore easily impressed), but there was something endearing about this movie, with its unconventional superheros, that really appealed to me. You might laugh at the fact that someone felt the need to cast Ben Stiller or Janeane Garofalo as superheros, or the fact that Garofalo’s “superpower” is a magic bowling bowl with the skull of her dead father inside. However, to me anyways, this movie was less about the ridiculousness of its superheroes and more about the lesson it was using these characters to teach people. After this movie, you didn’t have to be the brightest, or the strongest, or the fastest to be a superhero. You could be the underdog and still save the day! Couple that lesson with a collection of well-placed laughs and Mystery Men was a great film!

2. X-Men: First Class (2011)

X-Men: First Class (2011)

The original X-Men was great, but X-Men: First Class was better. I was worried that this movie might end up being a letdown, given that it was a prequel with a completely new cast in roles that had already been effectively performed by other actors. However, just as with the original, X-Men: First Class found the perfect actors to portray some of the greatest superheroes known to man. Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, January Jones as Emma Frost; the list truly goes on! These actors brought new life to a franchise that was stammering a little bit after its third instalment back in 2006. In addition, superhero backstories usually end up providing much more appeal than a simple beginning-to-end storyline. Seeing the backstories of characters like Professor X and Mystique in great detail allowed audiences to connect so much deeper to the characters, even to Erik Lehnsherr, who we all know turns into the villain Magneto. And despite the fact that X-Men: First Class was telling a story from the Cold War-era (I loved the historical connection), I felt like I was watching some fresh and new.

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And my number one superhero movie of all time is…

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1. The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight (2008)

There really should be no surprise with this choice. Not only is Christain Bale arguably the best Batman to date, but The Dark Knight introduced us to the greatness that was Heath Ledger as The Joker. Usually, the typical superhero tale tells of how good unquestionably triumphs over evil, however in this movie, that wasn’t so cut and dry. Never have I believed that the superhero might not succeed in the end and a large part of that is because of Ledger. His performance, for which he posthumously received an Academy Award, was so maniacal, unsettling and hilarious that I can’t imagine another actor in his spot. He put up such a good fight as villain in The Dark Knight that he created a metaphorical roller coaster for audiences now unsure of how the whole thing would end up. It is extremely saddening that he won’t be around to participate in The Dark Knight Rises, but I’m glad that we at least got to see him here. Overall, The Dark Knight gave us a hero that was emotionally and morally conflicted and dealt with issues far greater than any before him, making this Batman movie more than just your conventional superhero story.

Well, there you have it folks! Those were my top ten superhero movies of all time, listed just for you! With summer starting soon and the blockbusters lining up for release, make sure you get out there and watch your favourite childhood superheros hit the big screen. You know that excited feeling you get when you watch a movie trailer? Maybe it’s the music or the quick images, but you always find yourself pumped up to see the movie! That’s how the majority of superhero movies make you feel. The excitement is unmatched, so don’t miss out!

Check out this and other posts on The Social Opportunist!

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