BETHANY'S TOP TEN SUPERHERO MOVIES
This past weekend Wonder Woman was released in theaters and you better believe Charlie and I were there to see it. In many of the reviews I read I noticed people had the same idea. They were saying Wonder Woman was the best DC movie since The Dark Knight and by far the best of the DC Extended Universe (which doesn’t include the Christian Bale Batman movies). But simply comparing Wonder Woman to other DC superhero movies doesn’t seem wrong. I believe Wonder Woman is on par with many of Marvel’s best superhero movies too.
With that in mind I decided to make my top ten list of traditional superhero movies, meaning it won’t include animated movies like Big Hero 6 or nontraditional superheroes like in Unbreakable and Kick Ass.
Keep in mind, these movies are all incredible and choosing between some of them was very difficult. This list is based solely on my opinion of the stories and how they make me feel. If I were to base it strictly on quality of the movie it would be a very different list.
10. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
This is hard for me, because I expected this to be possibly my favorite movie of all time. I know that I set myself up for failure with such high expectations, but it seemed each movie was going to top the one before it. Winter Soldier was incredible and how could I not love a movie where my two favorite Marvel Superheroes fight? I knew it would break my heart when Cap’ tells Tony, “he’s my friend” and Tony replies, “so was I.” Then when the movie came out I was disappointed. I’ve written an article about it and you should check it out if you’d like to know more about my disappointments. I watched it again recently and it was better than I remembered. It was funny as always, the action was great and it had some awesome moments. Black Panther was introduced, Steve kisses Sharon and Bucky meets Sam. Sam and Bucky are my favorite thing about that movie. Their petty jealousy and fighting like kids to prove their Steve’s BEST best friend is hilarious. I also like how even though they don’t like each other, they clearly do like each other and have their own type of friendship.
9. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
An unpopular opinion, I know. Captain America Civil War did much better in the box office than the first one and most people prefer it, but I love a good origin story. Also, I LOVE seeing Steve when he isn’t big and strong. I love how badly he wants to make a difference in the world. My favorite moment is when the drill sergeant yells grenade and everyone ducks for cover, but Steve jumps on it. I honestly want to cry right now just thinking about it. That was an incredible selfless act and to save men who had been terrible to him. He clearly was born to be a hero, he just wasn’t given the write body for it. So, they created one for him. Not to mention I love Peggy Carter being a badass woman in a time when women weren’t allowed to fight. Also, I love the old timey feel. I love the funny Captain America theater production and the transatlantic accents everyone uses. I love the overly patriotic-ness of it all. It is a funny, emotional, beautifully told story.
8. BATMAN BEGINS
I have always loved this movie and maybe that is because it was the first GREAT superhero movie I ever saw. I had seen Spider Man, and that movie was fun and good, but this was a whole new level of awesome. It didn’t feel like a cheesy kid’s movie. It was dark and gritty, just the thing you should expect to see in Gotham City. (Hey, that rhymes!) Christian Bale embodied Bruce Wayne, which I never thought he could. I remember saying, his face is too round to be Bruce Wayne. Anyone can be Batman, just put on the suit, but not anyone can be Bruce Wayne. Well, Christian Bale acted the hell out of it and won me over. This wasn’t just a superhero movie, it was an action movie, it was a crime drama. There are parts of this movie where I was legitimately scared. Not, worried for the main character scared, but griping the arms of the theater chair scared. To be clear though, dark and brooding is perfect for batman, but this iteration of Batman also had comedic relief. It wasn’t silly comedy like Marvel movies, it was subtler than that, but so important. Bruce Wayne was funny! Like when a business man says, “You’re supposed to be dead,” and Bruce replies, “Sorry to disappoint.” Or when Bruce’s house is burning and he gets caught under a fallen beam. Alfred says, “what’s the point in all of those pushups if you aren’t able to lift a bloody log.” Laughter and character development is what is lacking in Zach Snyder’s dark brooding Superman and Batman movies.
7. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
I think most people would say they prefer the first Guardians movie to the second, simply because it was unexpected. Everybody went in to the theater having no idea how this movie would turn out. It did not disappoint. From the opening credits scene with Chris Pratt dancing around all the way to the “We are Groot” line it was an incredible movie. It takes a lot of time to introduce the characters which is probably why I prefer the second one. They get to start right in the action. But Peter Quill did get to be funnier in the first one since he has the dramatic role in the second one. Oh and I can’t forget to mention the soundtrack. Guardians of the Galaxy made the sound track an integral part of the movie and we are all grateful for that because it made the movie so fun.
6. THE AVENGERS
This movie was revolutionary. For the first time, we got to characters, in the same cinematic universe, from different movies come together for one film. Five years after the first Iron Man Movie we finally got to see the Avengers assemble. I was nervous that it would be impossible to have a movie with so many stars. But Joss Whedon worked his magic as he always does. This movie was so funny. The relationship between the Avengers is great. Each one has a different type of relationship with the others. Thor and Hulk have their smashing each other relationship, Tony and Bruce have their “nobody understands us because our intelligence is on a whole other level” thing and Steve Rogers has the fish out of water thing with all of them. The dialog is truly what makes this movie great. It is SO quotable.
5. THE DARK KNIGHT
What can I say that you don’t already know? Most of the world agrees this is one of the best superhero movies ever made. A near perfect film. I walked away from the theater thinking, “there isn’t one thing I would change about that movie.” And that doesn’t happen for me a lot. It of course wouldn’t have been so special if it weren’t for Heath Ledger giving the performance of his lifetime. Never had we seen a Joker that was so disturbing, yet so funny. He was a mad man, just when you thought he was showing you his humanity, you’d find out he made it all up. Christian Bale also had an excellent performance and I’ve always loved his Batman along with Michael Caine as Alfred. The casting is part of what made this movie so superior to others. That combined with an excellent script and action and suspense makes this a perfect movie.
4. CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER
Every time I think of this movie and remember the big twist at the end I smile. They pulled one over on me, and SHIELD and the world. Suddenly nobody could be trusted. But what makes this movie so high on my list is the fight scenes. Badass moments like the opening scene where Captain America takes out those guys on that boat, and when he holds the helicopter to keep it from flying away. Another great thing was how emotional it was. The relationship between Steve and Bucky was heartbreaking. Can you imagine finding out your best friend who you thought was dead is alive, but he can’t remember you? And of course, you have the classic Captain America who believes in people. You have him talking over the speakers to SHIELD and asking people to do the right thing. Then he refuses to fight Bucky even though he knows he might kill him. It is an incredible movie all around.
3. WONDER WOMAN
I tend to think the movie I’ve seen most recently is the best because all its awesomeness is fresh in my mind, but I genuinely believe Wonder Woman deserves a spot in the top ten and I’m unapologetic about putting her at number three. This movie wasn’t just the first superhero film with a female lead. It was also a beautifully told origin story of a good-hearted warrior goddess who feels compelled to help people. It’s not the fact that she is a woman that makes the movie good, but it does provide us with a hero who is hopeful rather than jaded, altruistic rather than vengeful. Not to mention the movie flowed seamlessly from the paradise world of Themyscira into the filthy war torn Europe. Finally, the fight scenes were incredible, but I won’t spoil those for anyone.
2. IRON MAN
This one has a special place in my heart because it was the first, the one that started it all for Marvel. I went in never knowing the story of Iron Man and I was completely sold by the end of the movie. Robert Downey Jr.’s performance is so good that now in cartoons and other iteration of Iron Man he is made to look and sound like Robert Downey Jr. My favorite thing about it is that it is a redemption story. The bad guy has a life changing experience and decides he wants to create something that will help people, not hurt them. It’s one of the better character arcs I’ve seen in a movie. But even though he’s changed he never loses who he is. He is still a hilarious, snarky genius, but this time he’s on our side.
1. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
I choose this one and not the 1st Guardians movie because the story about Yondu and Peter Quill resonated more with me than the story of the group of misfits finding a place to belong. But the reason it is number one on the list is because of its laugh out loud comedy, beautiful CGI and emotional depth. For me the Guardians movies are obviously the most beautiful off all the superhero movies, they’ve done and incredible job of bringing their world to life. Many of the Marvel superhero movies are witty and sarcastic, but none of them are quite as unapologetically goofy and fun as Guardians. All the dancing and Grooting etc.