Instead of tacking on a MCU ranking in my Thor: Ragnarok review or list of good DCEU movies, I decided to bring back another Top Ten list. Sorry if my thoughts seem scattered, I wasn’t judging all movies on a set of list of standards. My list most likely has a few things that will upset any hardcore fans, but it’s MY list … so you can leave your opinions in the comments.
10) X-Men: First Class
Many superheroes have undergone reboots in both print and movies, so the X-Men weren’t the first but they definitely needed it after X-Men: The Last Stand. Not only do we get Magneto hunting down Nazis, a womanizing Xavier, and another Summers brother; but we also get Kevin Bacon back on the big screen. The highlight is the chemistry between Fassbender and McAvoy, which is electric. It is my favorite of the rebooted trilogy and by far has the highest rewatchability.
While it is the most critically accepted X-Men movie, I had my issues with it … or at least the potential I believed it to have. The one thing it had in spades is a fresh take on the superhero story, something I believed Thor: Ragnarok completely over promised and under delivered. While I am sucker for a western, a genre mashup that is part western is even better. Since another part of the genre was superhero, there was almost a staggering lack of super powerson display. So when anyone used them it was phenomenal, whether it was the claws / regeneration / or Xavier’s paralysis thing. X-23 and Professor X both completely stole the show from Logan, and hopefully X-23 will get to continue with her merry band of mutants down the road.
8) X2: X-Men United
Way back in the early 2000s, comic book fans should have been grateful for X-Men since the offerings were very sparse. Despite its several faults and lack of color, it did help establish X2. The Nightcrawler opening where he attacks the President is astounding and sets the tone for what to expect. We also got to see the only decent Wolverine performance aside from Logan, which had a 14 year gap. Between his beserker rage in the mansion and his fight against Lady Deathstrike are worth watching it alone.
Back when found footage horror movies were popping up left and right, Chronicle came out with a fresh take. Instead of horror, they did a superhero movie which also happened to explain how and why the filming made sense. The characters get super powers from an alien which end up being psychokinesis. The creative fights and plot separate it from the bigger budgeted movies in a great way. It also helped make Michael B. Jordon and Dane DeHaan big(ger) names in the process.
6) Spider-Man 2
Before there were superhero movies every other day, Spider-Man helped show they could be profitable and break opening weekend records. Before The Dark Knight came out, Spider-Man 2 was widely accepted as most everyone’s favorite superhero movie. Which is not surprising considering there was plenty of action, humor, a great villain, memorable scenes, and no emo Peter Parkers dancing. The responsibility to be a superhero and the weight that carries is front and center, which is often missed.
5) Spider-Man: Homecoming
If you have ever wanted to see a Spider-Man movie where there aren’t skyscrapers every five feet, this is for you. The scene where he is chasing a van through the suburbs and doesn’t have anything to swing on is hilarious. Tom Holland captures the essence of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man whereas his predecessors could only get one aspect correct. We also get one of the better villains in the MCU with the Vulture. Sure there are a few issues, but the energy and charm this movie exhibits is off the charts.
4) Captain America: Civil War
After the disappointment of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and Marvel’s track record of poor sequels, I did my best to taper my expectations. After finding out that the story wouldn’t be the same as the comics, I got more hesitant. Then the movie came out … and it was amazing. The big airport fight was supposed to be the highlight, but the two twists made the movie. The reason pitting Stark against Rogers is a great sucker punch and then the climactic fight after an unexpected turn is exactly what superhero movies needed. As far as the best fight, the final fight set piece is much better than the airport scene and makes much more sense.
3) The Incredibles
Most people will say that Toy Story is their favorite Pixar movie, but mine is The Incredibles. The villain might be the best supervillain out of any movie and have the best master plan as well. The family dynamic helps propel the movie forward and get all those Pixar feels. Because of that it is also the best Fantastic Four movie to date. We will be getting a sequel sometime next year, hopefully it lives up to the greatness of the original.
2) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
There first Captain America movie might be my least favorite MCU film, it was a horrible origin story and failed to give his character justice. After Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, and Thor: The Dark World I was very concerned that Marvel couldn’t handle a sequel. Then Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out, and it blew all expectations out of the water. It showcased Cap’s true skills as a tactician and warrior in some phenomenally choreographed fight scenes. Throw in an equally matched villain in the Winter Soldier and the Cold War spy theme, and you have one of the best action movies … let alone one of the best superhero movies.
1) The Dark Knight
As no surprise, my number one pick is The Dark Knight. It not only has a permanent top spot on most top # superhero movie lists, but a lot of top movie lists in general. I was one of the first people to hesitate when Heath Ledger was named as the Joker, but that first trailer was enough to convince me. If the trailers alone weren’t enough anyone, the opening scene was not only enough to signify this was going to be a new and fantastic Joker; but was also one of the best heist scenes of all time. There were so many memorable scenes, quotes, and performances that it would be idiotic not to have this at the top of any superhero movie list.