Top Ten Superhero Movies

by: Matthew J.R. Kohler

For the last forty years, audiences have been captivated by men and women in capes.  Here is the ten best superheroes movies, live action and animated.

10.) X-Men (2000)

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X-Men will always be one of my favorite superhero movies.  It was the first one I saw in theaters, and the first attempt to make superhero movies cool.  One of my favorite things about this movie is the cast. This movie did an excellent job getting actors that fit the part, hell most of them have been playing the roles for fourteen years.

09.) Batman (1989)

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This movie did everything a superhero movie fan could ask for.  The costumes, the characters, the universe, and the music were perfect.  I think people underestimate this movie now because we have big superhero movies come out, but none will create such a great look like this one.  Question, Does The Avengers have anything as iconic as this movie?

08.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

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This movie did an amazing job at combining the humor of the television show, and the dark tone of the comics.  The things that make this film enjoyable every time I watch it is the hidden jokes between the characters, Casey Jones being Casey Jones, the Shredder’s long awaited appearance, and that they took the movie seriously.  It is hard to say that about most films nowadays, but this film brought the essence of the Turtles to life.

07.) X-Men: First Class (2011)

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What do you do after you make two insanely bad movies?  You go back to the drawing board.  X-Men: First Class was just that, and it did an insane job not only with the cast of Magneto, Professor X, and Kevin Bacon’s character, but it delves into the story between the relationship of Magneto and Professor X.  This made for an impactful moment at the end.  Although all of this is a plus, I must say that I cannot stand Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.  She just plays herself more than Mystique, which is not the point of her character.

06.) Swamp Thing (1982)

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Swamp Thing was much more a horror film than anything else, but that is what makes it such a unique superhero movie.  The thing that makes this movie exciting, it takes a while before the audience gets to see Swamp Thing. The filmmakers wanted to give the audience a slow burn, and they did just that.  When he finally appeared, it was nonstop action!

05.) The Incredibles (2004)

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Pixar’s family friendly version of Watchmen, the story goes into all the superheroes being killed off, or arrested for being vigilantes. It is up to this family to stop them.  The Incredibles has the energy and charisma that a lot of superhero movies do not have.  Sometimes, we forget that superhero movies should be fun as well as dramatic.  And like some of the ones on this list, The Incredibles brought that, and much more, to the table with twists and turns along the way.

04.) The Crow (1994)

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The original Dark Knight, the movie was dark, grounded, and went into a whole new direction.  Starring the late Brandon Lee in his iconic role, The Crow has amazing action, intense characters, awesome universe, and has some of the best quotes in superhero movies such as,  “Victims, aren’t we all.”  The Crow is not only an iconic character amongst nerd culture, but also in horror culture.  The film was able to reach out to many different groups of people without trying to be a movie for everyone, something that most movies cannot do today.

03.) Spider-Man (2002)

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This is the movie that insured superhero movies were going to be around for awhile. Spider-Man did something that I had never seen before, it was a true comic book movie.  From the stereotypical dialogue, to the big moments from the comic books, this movie hit its mark.  It also did something most movies don’t want to do – – be different than the source material.  Like most films on this list, in order to withstand the test of time, and to continue to be great, you need to do something that is different.  Burton’s Batman has killing and 1950s look, Swamp Thing has the horror feel, the Turtles has the comedic drama blend, and X-Men’ is deeply a grounded movie. Spider-Man did just that.  If you don’t believe me, watch it again, because Sam Raimi knew what he was doing, and he created a whole universe around Spider-Man.  That is what keeps this movie going.

02.) Robocop (1987)

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What does gritty really mean?  Probably the definition is Robocop.  The 1987 futuristic sci-fi delves into the heart of the corruption of corporations in Detroit.  From CEOs not caring about human life, to having someone doing cocaine in every other scene, the movie showed the true side of how business people act.  Then, there is Alex J. Murphy aka Robocop, who is the definition of awesome.  Not only do we seem him mentally break down as he comes to grip with everyone moving on (including his family) after his death, but we see a man transform into a machine, and then transform mentally back to human.  The other thing that keeps this movie going for me is how great the effects are in this movie (Warning, this is violent as hell).

01.) Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1994)

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If you have read my other article about most underrated movies, then you now know I am obsessed with this film.  Batman: Mask of Phantasm does many great things that no other movie on this list did.  In 75 minutes, we get to see the beginning, the middle, and the fall of Batman, The Joker, and Bruce’s love.  And once again, the characters are perfect.  Both Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill do an excellent job at redefining their already famous roles.  On top of that, the universe that was already set up by Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns was amplified in this movie.  If you haven’t seen this film, it is one of the best movies ever created. It is a must-see.  Even if you have seen it, watch it again, which is what I am going to do right now.

Here is one of my favorite scenes from the movie (Spoilers)

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