Aaahhh. The superhero genre. The dominating force of movies for the past fifteen-ish years. There's a lot of superhero movies, and I've seen a lot of them, so I had to make some hard cuts here, but I'm pretty satisfied with my final list. This was a fun one to do, because I talk about the MCU so much, but I don't really talk about DC or the X-Men as much. So, yeah. Here are my ten favorite superhero movies of all time.
Logan is great. Talk about doing something different with the superhero genre. This is the saga capper for Wolverine, a character we'd been following for seventeen years at that point, and it decides to do an intricate, R-rated action drama with stakes, deep characters, an urgent story, and a somber, heavy tone. This movie is one hundred percent a masterpiece. Quality-wise, it'd be top five, maybe even top three on this list. I don't find it particularly re-watchable, but I absolutely respect the filmmaking here. This film is fantastic and cements Wolverine as one of the best comic-to-screen adaptations of characters.
9. Batman Begins
Batman Begins is the quintessential superhero origin story. It borrows heavily from Batman: Year One (which a highly suggest you read), and that very much works in its favor. Christopher Nolan knew how to craft a realistic version of Gotham City with characters you're invested in and conflict that matters. Batman Begins essentially acts as a character study of Bruce Wayne and what causes him to go down this path to becoming the Batman. The rich themes of fear and overcoming that mesh perfectly with a story where Scarecrow is one of the primary villains. It can be slow at times. Rachel isn't the most captivating love interest. But this movie is great.
8. X-Men: First Class
First Class is, in my opinion, the best X-Men movie. It uses the established lore of the original X-Men trilogy to show these characters at a very different time in life. The friendship between Magneto and Professor X is one of the best parts of the movie. Matthew Vaughn brings a slick 60s spy aesthetic that really elevates this movie. Sebastian Shaw is one of the best villains in the franchise. All in all, I find this movie to be incredibly entertaining while balancing a lot of great characters and being a perfect prequel to the X-Men franchise.
7. Spider-Man: No Way Home
With about eight months to have sat on it, No Way Home was just special. This movie is a gift to Marvel lovers and Spider-Man fans. With five villains and a lot of revolving plotlines, you'd think this movie would be overstuffed...but no. It balances all five of its villains very well and gives Spider-Man the origin that he's been building towards for three movies. There is nothing that can describe how happy I was when I first saw Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire walk through those Doctor Strange portals. This movie works as a Spider-Man movie. It works as an MCU movie. And it works as one of the best blockbusters of the past ten years.
6. Black Panther
Speaking of the best blockbusters of the past ten years, Black Panther is the only superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture. And, while The Dark Knight should've been the first, Black Panther does deserve that honor. This movie is just an incredible feat when it comes to the superhero genre. I feel like Black Panther is like The Lion King, but for superhero movies. It's mature. It's thematically poignant. It's about family and what it means to be king. Beyond its maturity, though, Black Panther is also really fun. Although the third act is overblown, the action in the rest of the movie is great. Killmonger is a top tier Marvel villain. This movie is just amazing, and it looks like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever may match its amazingness.
5. The Incredibles
In an era dominated by Marvel and DC, it's easy to forget that The Incredibles is actually one of the best superhero movies out there. This film works as a superhero movie and a family movie, which is a balance that none of the Fantastic Four movies have been able to achieve. Our main characters are compelling and interesting, but what really rounds out The Incredibles is the great supporting cast, whether it's Frozone or Edna or Jack-Jack. This movie is one of Pixar's best. It's one of the best animated movies of all time. And it's one of the best superhero movies of all time.
4. Avengers: Endgame
How on Earth do you payoff twenty-two films in a satisfying way? I don't know, but Joe and Anthony Russo certainly did. Endgame is, obviously, one of the most talked-about films of all time, but no one has ever really stepped back and just looked at how impressive this movie is. Twenty-two movies. Ten years. Hundreds of characters. All of it, and I mean all of it, pays off in jaw-dropping fashion with this movie. The climax of Endgame is unparalleled. It's one of the most amazing third acts I've ever seen. Words cannot describe my admiration for this movie. Part of me is still in awe at how well they pulled it off. This film is fantastic.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
In the beginning stages of the MCU, it felt like Kevin Feige was throwing a bunch of noodles on the wall and seeing what sticks. Winter Soldier stuck. It's still sticking to this day. Instead of making a big CGI-fest, the Russo brothers made a political thriller inside the world of the MCU. The action is some of the best I've ever seen in a movie. The characters and plot are more complicated than your usual MCU affair. I find the villain to be criminally underrated. I adore this movie. I think it will go down as one of the best action movies of all time as well as one of the best superhero movies of all time.
2. Avengers: Infinity War
This was it. This was the event that ten years of storytelling had been building towards...and they absolutely nailed it. Not only is Infinity War a great Avengers movie. It's a great Thanos movie. This is the film that really introduced us to the Mad Titan...and, oh boy, is he great. By giving him the spotlight, it developed his character to a point where you sympathize with him decimating half of the universe. You also have some great action and character moments in here. All of this is given an exclamation point with the snap, which is one of the most shocking and heart-breaking endings to a film ever. Infinity War is the best MCU movie, and, with the current state of the MCU, I don't think anything is going to top it.
1. The Dark Knight
If you've read my blog before, you knew this was number one as soon as you clicked on this post. The Dark Knight is my favorite movie. It's the best. Batman and the Joker are two of the greatest fictional characters of all time, and bringing their conflict to the big screen in true, blockbuster fashion is just unlike anything else. The tension is stupidly high. The stakes are through the roof. This movie feels grounded and realistic while also feeling epic and dangerous. The themes and layered story are just flawless. The characters are just the greatest. From Batman to Joker to Two-Face to Alfred to Rachel to Gordon...I could write a twenty-page essay on why this movie is truly perfect. I love it to death. Nothing will ever beat it.