Ranking the best superhero movies of all time
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129 posts in this topic

12 hours ago, fantastic_four said:

I haven't seen Constantine yet.  :blush:  Are you sure I should?  Looked mediocre.

It has its moments but I found it ultimately disappointing.

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6 minutes ago, bane said:

It has its moments but I found it ultimately disappointing.

I enjoyed it, though I recognized how much of the character backstory was deviated from in this movie. The portrayal of demons attempting to invade the living side was extremely well done, like that exorcism performed in the beginning. The movie has all of that attitude, atmosphere and drive from the Hellblazer stories. To include the war between Lucifer and Constantine leading to that really sharp ending.

But you do have to treat it like an Elseworld story, in that 'What if John Constantine was born in the Bayou' and his influences were more Cajun than Cockney.

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1 minute ago, Bosco685 said:

I enjoyed it, though I recognized how much of the character backstory was deviated from in this movie. The portrayal of demons attempting to invade the living side was extremely well done, like that exorcism performed in the beginning. The movie has all of that attitude, atmosphere and drive from the Hellblazer stories. To include the war between Lucifer and Constantine leading to that really sharp ending.

But you do have to treat it like an Elseworld story, in that 'What if John Constantine was born in the Bayou' and his influences were more Cajun than Cockney.

I have never read a Hellblazer comic or knew anything about the character, I took the movie on its own merits. I found it to be somewhat mediocre with a typical Keane Reeves performance.

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What timing.

Quote

10. Darkman
9. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
8. The Rocketeer
7. Daredevil (Director's Cut)
6. Judge Dredd
5. Blade
4. Mystery Men
3. The Punisher (2004)
2. Constantine
1. Road to Perdition

 

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15 minutes ago, bane said:

I have never read a Hellblazer comic or knew anything about the character, I took the movie on its own merits. I found it to be somewhat mediocre with a typical Keane Reeves performance.

Totally understand. I enjoyed it more than you did, though.

:foryou:

Edited by Bosco685
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Time to update this list after another year's worth of movies.  Aside from working the new ones from the past year in, I bumped Winter Soldier up two spots because I believe I was overly biased towards First Class due to the Magneto origin, I decided Dark Knight Rises isn't as good as Black Panther and swapped their spots, and I worked the Matrix films in simply because I forgot about them a year ago.  I had a really hard time deciding between Civil War and Infinity War, but I ultimately gave the nod to Infinity War due to the scintillating depiction of Thanos and their ability to effectively cast him as a absolutely believable hero of his own tale as savior of the universe.  I NEVER liked that character anywhere near as much as I did in that film.  "The Mad Titan" always did seem crazy in the comics, but I'm still not sure the film version isn't the true hero of that tale.  I'm still surprised I like Iron Man and the Avengers films as much as I do, I never liked the comics as much.  I'm guessing "Into the Spider-Verse" may make my list, but I haven't seen it yet.  :blush:  Venom entered my personal list because it's a great depiction of a character I love, but it's definitely not good enough to make any objectively-determined list like this.

One thing that jumps out at me is I forget just how many great superhero films there are now.  My kids are 3, so by the time they're old enough to actually start seeing these films the number of options we're going to have will be enormous.  :whee:

  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Spider-Man 2
  3. Batman Begins
  4. Logan
  5. Iron Man
  6. Avengers 
  7. Avengers: Infinity War
  8. Captain America: Civil War
  9. Black Panther
  10. The Dark Knight Rises
  11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  12. The Matrix
  13. X-Men: First Class
  14. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  15. Superman
  16. Thor: Ragnarok
  17. Deadpool
  18. The Incredibles
  19. Spider-Man
  20. Watchmen
  21. Captain Marvel
  22. Wonder Woman
  23. Batman Returns
  24. Superman II
  25. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  26. Guardians of the Galaxy
  27. Batman
  28. The Matrix Reloaded
  29. Deadpool 2
  30. Unbreakable
Edited by fantastic_four
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It's a good list, as there ARE so many good superhero movies now. I tried to start ranking my favorites, but it's more like a list of I LIKE all of these and one day I may feel stronger about Deadpool 2 to watch than I do The Matrix Reloaded. It's hard for me to make a definitive declaration that this IS better than that. By... one spot!

But yeah... a lot of great stuff. Just off the top of my head, even a great list like that missed out on:

Kick-Azz, Scott Pilgrim, Mystery Men, Blade, Man of Steel, Antman, Venom (ugh), Aquaman, TMNT, Hellboy and as you mention Into the Spider-Verse. Not saying those should be on your list or everyone's list, or even anyone's list, but agreeing that - yeah, there are a LOT of good superhero movies now!

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13 minutes ago, Chuck Gower said:

I tried to start ranking my favorites, but it's more like a list of I LIKE all of these and one day I may feel stronger about Deadpool 2 to watch than I do The Matrix Reloaded. It's hard for me to make a definitive declaration that this IS better than that. By... one spot!

Yea, I do it by just comparing any given film to another and deciding if it's better.  If it isn't, it goes up and you do it to the next film on your list, otherwise it goes down and you do it to the next one down.  But like you say, on any given day they might shift.  I decided between those two examples by putting Deadpool 2 lower simply because I freaking LOVE the Juggernaut scenes, but he's one of my favorite villains, period, so I'm biased towards him, therefore I give Matrix Reloaded a bump to make an effort to be objective.  Deadpool 2 is far higher on my personal list than where I inserted it on my objective list...I've re-watched that Juggernaut vs. Colossus scene like 20 times now.  :banana:

But also Matrix Reloaded gets a nod just for having what may be THE best action sequence of all time.  If you start at the Smiths vs. Neo scene and continue through the Merovingian scenes on to the highway fight scene, it's a half-hour of what might be the best and most stylistic action of any half-hour of any film, ever.  The film overall is rather mediocre and barely worthy of any top list of anything, but that sequence I just described is absolutely scintillating.

Edited by fantastic_four
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14 minutes ago, Chuck Gower said:

Kick-Azz, Scott Pilgrim, Mystery Men, Blade, Man of Steel, Antman, Venom (ugh), Aquaman, TMNT, Hellboy and as you mention Into the Spider-Verse. Not saying those should be on your list or everyone's list, or even anyone's list, but agreeing that - yeah, there are a LOT of good superhero movies now!

There is a thread that at one point quite a few folks were documenting all the comic book-based TV shows and movies over the years.

Complete list of comic book live movies, TV shows, streaming

The depth of material that has been published was so extensive even then (Sep-2016). Updating that list to capture everything that has been released since then would be quite the chore.

Even when you consider non-superhero films like The Crow (1994), Edge of Tomorrow, Oblivion and A History of Violence as comic book productions. But I would say Dredd and The Shadow (1994) would qualify as superhero films, and would be in my top 50.

Edited by Bosco685
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1 hour ago, fantastic_four said:
  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Spider-Man 2
  3. Batman Begins
  4. Logan
  5. Iron Man
  6. Avengers 
  7. Avengers: Infinity War
  8. Captain America: Civil War
  9. Black Panther
  10. The Dark Knight Rises
  11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  12. The Matrix
  13. X-Men: First Class
  14. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  15. Superman
  16. Thor: Ragnarok
  17. Deadpool
  18. The Incredibles
  19. Spider-Man
  20. Watchmen
  21. Captain Marvel
  22. Wonder Woman
  23. Batman Returns
  24. Superman II
  25. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  26. Guardians of the Galaxy
  27. Batman
  28. The Matrix Reloaded
  29. Deadpool 2
  30. Unbreakable

You don't have any truly awful movies on here, but the lack of Man of Steel makes me sad. It's criminally underrated.

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24 minutes ago, TwoPiece said:

You don't have any truly awful movies on here, but the lack of Man of Steel makes me sad. It's criminally underrated.

It's higher on my own personal list.  Aside from the Christopher Nolan films it's my favorite DC film, it's just not my favorite for the right objective reasons.  Superman 2 was my favorite DC film ever for decades and was only surpassed when Nolan started doing Batman films, and Man of Steel is the version of Superman 2 that I wanted for decades before it was made.  I love it because the fight scenes are by far the best Superman fight scenes, ever, by a wide, wide margin.  But while I love fighting scenes and they're the main reason I've always read comics, why I love watching superhero films, and why my sig line is packed full of pictures of me having action figures fight each other, that's not high on an objective list of the elements that make for a great film.

I'm a huge Snyder fan personally.  300 is DEFINITELY in my personal action film top ten, yet I simultaneously and vividly understand what's absurd about the film.  Doesn't matter to me because I can look past those absurd elements, but when trying to objectively identify the best of the best, I don't ignore the mediocre or absurd, and the mediocre elements of Man of Steel rule it out of my objective list of the best superhero films.

Edited by fantastic_four
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I last updated this in early 2019, so now that people are starting to go to theaters again it's time to work the new films into the list and give the whole thing some thought, so I've been doing that for quite a bit since I saw No Way Home on Friday.  Mostly kept it the same but worked Endgame, Joker, Far From Home, and No Way Home in.  I also moved Infinity War ahead of the 2012 Avengers film.

The new addition I feel the worst about is Joker for multiple reasons, and I suspect I could easily move it up OR down ten spots upon further analysis of the film.  One reason I'm torn on that film is that it's not exactly a superhero movie since there's no real hero anywhere in it, at least one who actively fills that role during the film.  Bruce is in it, but he's a kid.  I had a particularly hard time ranking it because I really don't like the film and have only seen it once, but I do recognize that Joaquin was amazing in it.  I almost put it in the top ten, but there's one reason I didn't--the cultural significance of the film as a portrait of mental illness is SERIOUSLY eroded by the unreliability of Joker as a narrator.  What's real in that film?  It could range from complete fantasy to pretty close to the way things happened.  All we know for sure is that Fleck definitely isn't tell the whole truth so I don't know what to believe about the details of his life, the ways he dealt with his life, or ways he suffered.

I may also adjust No Way Home's position after re-watching it and Spider-Man 2 over the coming weeks--but I doubt it.  There's nothing universal to heroism in it the way there is in Iron Man, Logan, Batman Begins, or Spider-Man 2 that I've identified yet, but maybe I'll see more after more viewings.  And it doesn't even touch Dark Knight as a masterpiece, but that's fine, NOTHING touches the perfection of that film.  I'm not totally sure No Way Home is actually better than Infinity War and could bump Infinity War above it--which is high praise for No Way Home coming from me given that I've seen Infinity War 10+ times and it's absolutely one of my favorite films--but Infinity War has more flaws than I've found so far in No Way Home, so for now I think No Way Home is better.

I gave quite a bit of thought to Black Widow, Shang-Chi, and The Suicide Squad, but I don't think any of them crack this list.  Those three DEFINITELY aren't in the top 30, but if I ever think the list below out to 40 I suspect Black Widow and The Suicide Squad would fit in the 35 to 40 range.

  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Spider-Man 2
  3. Batman Begins
  4. Logan
  5. Iron Man
  6. Spider-Man: No Way Home
  7. Avengers: Infinity War
  8. Avengers 
  9. Captain America: Civil War
  10. Avengers: Endgame
  11. Black Panther
  12. The Dark Knight Rises
  13. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  14. The Matrix
  15. Joker
  16. X-Men: First Class
  17. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  18. Superman
  19. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  20. Thor: Ragnarok
  21. Deadpool
  22. The Incredibles
  23. Spider-Man
  24. Watchmen
  25. Captain Marvel
  26. Wonder Woman
  27. Batman Returns
  28. Superman II
  29. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  30. Guardians of the Galaxy
  31. Batman
  32. The Matrix Reloaded
  33. Deadpool 2
  34. Unbreakable

 

Edited by fantastic_four
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I've still never made a list of my personal favorite superhero films.  The lists I post in this thread are the ones that are the best and not necessarily ones I even like.  Snyder's JL was definitely a big improvement to the first, but it's not an objectively great superhero film.

Daredevil and Man of Steel are probably in my personal top 10--definitely my top 20--but that doesn't mean I think they're great films.  They're both full of fatal flaws, but I don't care, I like them anyway.  And there's no way Joker would ever make my personal list, but I can still mostly see that it's a really good film featuring a TERRIFIC performance by Phoenix.

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On 12/20/2021 at 11:40 AM, fantastic_four said:

I've still never made a list of my personal favorite superhero films.  The lists I post in this thread are the ones that are the best and not necessarily ones I even like.  Snyder's JL was definitely a big improvement to the first, but it's not an objectively great superhero film.

Daredevil and Man of Steel are probably in my personal top 10--definitely my top 20--but that doesn't mean I think they're great films.  They're both full of fatal flaws, but I don't care, I like them anyway.  And there's no way Joker would ever make my personal list, but I can still mostly see that it's a really good film featuring a TERRIFIC performance by Phoenix.

I disagree!

You need to take into consideration all the time finally applied to Cyborg, Barry and even in the case of Ryan Choi (The Atom) with the brief buildups. How you would say 'objectively' it was not a great superhero film unfortunately conveys your objective influences leading to such a subjective viewpoint.

But everyone has their favorites and not-so-favorites. And that is okay.

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On 12/20/2021 at 11:47 AM, Bosco685 said:

How you would say 'objectively' it was not a great superhero film

The critics summed it up nicely, so I won't repeat what they've already said.

Subjectively I'm a HUGE Snyder fan.  It's not just Man of Steel I love, I like everything he does.  300 is my favorite film of his, but as is the case with all of Snyder's films he's style first, substance later (if at all)--and that's A-OK with me, I LOVE his style.

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On 12/20/2021 at 12:09 PM, fantastic_four said:

The critics summed it up nicely, so I won't repeat what they've already said.

Subjectively I'm a HUGE Snyder fan.  It's not just Man of Steel I love, I like everything he does.  300 is my favorite film of his, but as is the case with all of Snyder's films he's style first, substance later (if at all)--and that's A-OK with me, I LOVE his style.

'The critics summed it up nicely'? Come on, man! :baiting:

Who cares what the critics said if what you enjoy you enjoy? Even you have noted before not to listen to critics.

HBO Max wanted to fill streaming time, so he gave them the full 4 hours. Could it have been cut down to 3 to 3.5 hours? Of course it could. But what we received was light years ahead of the 2017 film. And especially once it started coming out all the major changes Joss Whedon applied. To say not much of an improvement would be wearing blinders or purposely ignoring the differences. Kind of like Scott Mendelson did on Fortune because he was upset Zack Snyder corrected him on a detail. Which then is not even-handed reviewing of a film when hurt feelings influences final analysis.

snydercut_mendelson.PNG.1cdec925f0a9d4eab6cc377ed214c04c.PNG

That's why you have to judge these things for yourself.

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On 12/20/2021 at 12:21 PM, Bosco685 said:

That's why you have to judge these things for yourself.

If you can't already tell I do that there's nothing really to discuss.  (shrug)  Which is generally true with you, anyway, given your penchant for ad hominems.

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