The modern box-office is oversaturated with comic book adaptations. It seems as though there’s a new superhero movie released each and every week. At this rate, it’s difficult to mull through the bad ones to find the noteworthy entries in the genre. Here are the 5 best comic book movies:
#5: Superman: The Movie (1978)
As the first-ever feature-length superhero movie, Superman: The Movie set the tone for the genre in ways that continue to influence films almost 40 years since its release. The film could have been dismissed as childish given that it was the first of its kind, but a stellar cast of seasoned Hollywood actors Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando made sure the film was well-received by audiences of all ages. Christopher Reeve was an continues to be the quintessential Superman – and it’s unlikely anyone will be able to overthrow his iconic status.
#4: X2: X-Men United (2003)
If Brian Singer’s first X-Men movie reinvigorated the genre, then X2 perfected it. At a time when comic book movies were few and far between, X2 stood out not only as a huge improvement on the first film, but of superhero movies in general. We get an even bigger cast of characters in this second installment, and the new faces add a lot of versatility and depth to an already star-studded cast. It’s a shame they couldn’t match the success of X2 in the series’ third installment, which turned out to be a critical disaster.
#3: Spider-Man 2 (2004)
The second film in the Spider-Man trilogy is the best by a long shot. Having dealt with Spider-Man’s origin story in the first film, the sequel allowed for the audience to really get to know Peter Parker as Spider-Man rather than watching him become the web-slinger. The freedom to tell a complete story without the expositional baggage of an origin makes for one of the most exhilarating and heart-breaking superhero movies of all-time. Much like X2, Spider-Man 2 improves on everything the fans loved in the first film, and make you wonder what went wrong when making the third film in the franchise.
#2: The Avengers (2012)
While it’s widely accepted a no-brainer now, fans were hesitant to fully buy-in to Marvel’s idea of having a cinematic universe. They were missing too many key characters: how can you have a Marvel universe without the rights to Spider-Man or the X-Men? Well, writer-director Joss Whedon managed to not only match, but greatly surpass fan expectations with an incredibly unique take on the characters Marvel did have the rights to. It’s hard to believe anyone ever doubted the success of the MCU.
#1: The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight is more than just a Batman movie, and far more than your average superhero movie. It’s a great movie – period. Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker is timeless and as close to perfect as anyone can achieve. Christian Bale is also very good, reprising the role as Batman/Bruce Wayne. The acting talent is world-class, from Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, along with Gary Oldman and Michael Caine returning to the franchise – but really, it’s Heath Ledger’s movie, and he steals the show every moment he’s on-screen.