Friday, May 3, 2013

Ranking Every Modern Superhero Movie

I just came across a list of The Best Superhero Movies Ever I wrote at the end of 2011 where I ranked every superhero movie I'd ever seen (ie, all of them). It just includes movies from 2000 onward, because I mean how do you compare anything to the first two Superman movies? Unfortunately, this also leaves out the likes of the original Punisher and Blade movies, but they get representation by their more recent additions here.

A lot has changed with the release of The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, and, of course, The Avengers, so I thought I'd revisit the list. I also added in Iron Man 3, which I saw just last night.

New additions are in blue.

After recently re-watching Superman Returns, Ang Lee's Hulk, and Watchmen, I advanced them up the list a bit because they are still coherent movies with strong narratives, but they fell victim to their lackluster tone and misused themes. Green Lantern was originally the Worst Ever second only to the unwatchable Punisher: War Zone, but after viewing GL again I realized that it wasn't quite that bad and advanced it up some, but not much.

As for the movies that went down, Captain America swapped places with Thor and went down a notch. Thor didn't have as much heart at Captain America, but I enjoyed its humor and marrying of science and magic quite a bit. Captain America was such a good movie until he actually became Captain America, turning the movie into a montage of awkward action hero scenes, letting him join Wolverine in the not-so-illustrious club of Marvel heroes who have walked away from an explosion in slow motion without looking.

In all of this, I realized how much I didn't like Kick-Ass. I enjoyed the humor at the start, but its overt violence without consequence became more crass than anything by the end.

Movies that went up are green, down are red.

It's also worth noting that I haven't seen The Spirit, Jonah Hex, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and probably a few others, but given their critical reception, I'm sure they'd wind up being neighbors on this list with the likes of Catwoman and Elektra.

And in case you're wondering why Spider-Man 2 beats The Dark Knight, it's because of two key reasons.

One, SM2 is paced better. There's never a wasted moment in SM2 all the way up to the end. You can say the same for TDK right up until the end when it gets two awkward climaxes, neither of which are wholly satisfying.

And two, SM2 is thrilling. All of the encounters with Doc Ock are breathtaking fights that could only happen between those two characters. They fight up and down a wall; inside, outside, and on top of a high-speeding train; and in the wreckage of a tragically failed science experiment. TDK had its fair share of cool moments, but they don't give me chills every time like SM2 does.

TDK does have the Joker, who is certainly the best super villain ever filmed, but Doc Ock is no slouch and fills the villain role perfectly.

And with that, the revised list:

  1. Spider-Man 2
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. X2: X-Men United
  4. Blade 2
  5. Iron Man
  6. X-Men: First Class
  7. Sin City
  8. Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
  9. The Avengers
  10. Batman Begins
  11. The Dark Knight Rises
  12. Iron Man 3
  13. Spider-Man
  14. X-Men
  15. Thor
  16. Captain America: The First Avenger
  17. Daredevil
  18. Hellboy
  19. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  20. Hulk
  21. The Punisher
  22. Watchmen
  23. The Incredible Hulk
  24. Iron Man 2
  25. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
  26. The Amazing Spider-Man
  27. Superman Returns
  28. Kick-Ass
  29. X-Men: The Last Stand
  30. Blade: Trinity
  31. Spider-Man 3
  32. Fantastic Four
  33. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  34. Green Lantern
  35. Elektra
  36. Ghost Rider
  37. Catwoman
  38. Punisher: War Zone

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