Over the Holidays, I had time to watch some of the movies yet again in delicious Dolby Surround and BluRay brilliance. I watched Guardians of the Galaxy, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ironman, Ironman 2, and a few others.
The thing about a subjective list is that it is, well, subjective 🙂 As I watch these great movies over and over I find that some continue to impress and others start to lose some of that post screening “buzz”. Great movies are measured over time. Star Wars, A New Hope, Gone With the Wind, and Casablanca are timeless masterpieces that continue to deliver the goods, decades after their release.
On this list of Super Hero films the one that really stands out the most is Tim Burton’s 1989 ‘Batman’. The thirtieth anniversary of that film is lurking on the near horizon and it still manages to remain comfortably within the top five on this list of 71 movies. Batman debuted on this list (1994 was the first appearance of the list and Batman was the first #1) at number one and remained firmly in that number one spot until 2005 when it was ‘dethroned’ by Christopher Nolan’s take on “The Batman” with Batman Begins. It was not until the Avengers in 2012 that Batman was dropped out of the number one spot, and it took a second screening of the Avengers to pull that off. The Avengers debuted at #2 and a month later managed to climb to #1.
My Batman fan boy status not withstanding, Chris Nolan’s second effort, ‘The Dark Knight’, debuted at number 2 on the list in 2008 behind its predecessor. I was overwhelmed initially with Heath Ledger’s brilliant performance as the Joker. The second screening and a subsequent review of Burton’s Batman dropped Dark Knight down to #3 where it remained for quite some time. I know Batman films sweeping the podium, subjective, remember, it’s a subjective list. However my recent look at that movie resulted in a drop down to #6. Ledger’s Joker is still delicious, although I prefer a more traditional “old school” Joker, this Joker was so well acted that it will always be a great movie. The rest of the film however is just not nearly as good as Batman Begins.
Ironman, 2008 has been comfortably in the top ten for its entire existence. I watched it again recently after a long time, and it still holds up.
The real movie to watch is Guardians of the Galaxy. This 2014 movie debuted in the top 10 at #9 but climbs every time I watch it. As a true Super Hero, comic book movie it may never topple Batman, Batman Begins, or Avengers but in many ways it is a better movie than all of them. Guardians is just so damn FUN! The soundtrack is amazing and the original score is as epic as Star Wars. Look at this movie climbing its way into the top five to #4! Despite being released two years later than Avengers, I have watched this movie more often. The debut review of that film is here.
Another notable fall from the stars, is Avengers, Age of Ultron. This is still a great film but just doesn’t call to me like the original. Subsequent screenings lose that post movie buzz I had the first time. Ranking 11th of seventy-one is no slouch, my friends especially when the top 40 are all really good movies.
Some have teased me about my placing the Incredibles so high on this list. They are not “real” comic book super heroes and it wanders close to parody at times. But every time I watch that movie I confirm my dedication to its top ten status. It is Pixar on its “A” game and that alone puts it in fine company. It is funny for both adults and children and its characters are outstanding and well-developed. The dialog is nothing short of brilliant. Oh, and that toe tappin’ jazz score is outta-this-world!
Similarly I have the Disney super hero quasi-spoof film “Sky High” ranked pretty well. This was also a very fun movie that never takes itself too seriously. Besides, Kurt Russell is an effing boss, isn’t he? And seriously, Bruce Campbell’s Coach Boomer was awesome! “Sidekick”!
X-men First Class has also managed to creep up the list. That was a really well done film. It debuted in 2011 at #14 but now finds itself at #9. These new X-men films are really well produced and acted.
2016 will mark the debut of the third installment of the x-men prequel films. About 2016, starting in February, the first in a series of anticipated comic book movie releases begins. Ryan Reynolds jumps from DC comics Green Lantern to Marvel’s Deadpool. Lantern was universally panned but I thought it was OK. Reynolds will have to overcome his own image from Lantern, but I think he has the chops to pull off a great Deadpool, and Marvel has the chops to pull off another great movie. Captain America, Civil War opens in May followed by X-Men Apocalypse, and Batman vs. Superman, Dawn of Justice. Another awesome year, methinks 🙂
The biggest movie for me will be Batman vs. Superman. There is a thousand ways for Warner Brothers to screw the pooch on this, I hope they avoid them. Wonder Woman will be played by the lovely Israelie actress, Gal Gadot. I think she is too skinny for the Amazon princess, but she is legitimately tall at 5’10” and has a pretty good look in the suit overall from what I have seen. Wonder Woman is the greatest of the Heroines in the comic universe and I only hope Warner can do with a legendary character what Marvel has done with Black Widow and Scarlett Johansson. She looks great in the trailers thus far. We shall see!