The 10 Best Superhero Movies

Ever since Richard Donner directed Superman in 1978, Superhero movies have always been big. While Marvel didn’t really hit it big until the late 90’s with Bryan Singer’s X-Men, DC was there with the Supes and Batman movies. Now, more than thirty years after Donner’s Superman there are tons of superhero movies. But what are the ten best? Here we go…

Superman (1978)

Richard Donner’s 1979 version of Superman remains the de-facto standard to which all Superhero movies must live up to. It made great effort to honor the character and its origin, while crafting a movie larger than the simple comic origins of what has become such an iconic character. This is the best Superhero movie ever made, and while many have come close to matching it, none has topped it…yet.

The Dark Knight (2008)

This was a tough one to choose from; especially considering Donner’s original Superman is the movie just about every director who makes a comic book movie references as to what they aspire towards. But 2008’s The Dark Knight (the sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins) doesn’t quite make the top spot due to Ledger’s take on the Joker. Sure he won an Oscar for it, but it’s not nearly the best Joker ever (Mark Hamill’s take still has that honor) and Nicholson’s was much closer to the actual character.
The real Joker isn’t an angry, angst-ridden, killer. He kills people for fun, because he thinks it’s art, and he really enjoys what he does. When Nicholson’s Joker kills Grissom in Burton’s Batman; he doesn’t just shoot him. He shoots him, starts laughing and dancing, and then shoots him some more. Ledger was way off the character in his take.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man is credited for making superhero movies make it big, but the sequel is the best of the trilogy. The “Go get them, Tiger” at the end is just perfect.

The Incredibles (2004)

The best Fantastic Four movie ever made. ‘Nuff said.

X2 (2003)

The original X-Men was a pretty good superhero movie that paved the way for Spider-Man, the new Batmans, and the current crop of Marvel movies. But the sequel improved on it in every way by bringing in cool characters like Nightcrawler and setting up the Phoenix Saga movie we always wanted to see, but never got.


Perhaps the best Shyamalan movie too, Unbreakable is a fantastic superhero film dripping with comic goodness. It’s too bad we may never see a sequel to it, as it’d be great to see a couple more movies with Dunn vs. Mr. Glass.

Batman Begins (2005)

Nolan’s first Batman may not have the wide appeal as its sequel, but it’s a solid film version of Batman that combines elements of Frank Miller’s Year One and various other stories to give us the origin of Batman along with a few villains that you would never expect to see used in a Batman movie. It’s also a little shorter than The Dark Knight and feels like it has a bit more focus.

Iron Man (2008)

The first Marvel Studios production and their first entry into the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”, Iron Man had absolutely perfect casting with Robert Downey Jr. as Stark and put forth a great adaptation of the source comic. It’s also just a fun and funny movie, which is why it did really well in the summer of 2008 even in light of The Dark Knight.

Batman Returns (1991)

Burton’s second Batman is the best of the bunch in the series that ran from 1989-1997. More a Tim Burton movie than a Batman movie, the story may be a bit light, but the chemistry between Batman/Bruce Wayne and Catwoman/Selina Kyle really makes up for it. And who else on this planet could’ve played The Penguin besides Danny DeVito?

Daredevil: Director’s Cut

What’s this doing here? “Daredevil sucked!”, you say? Wrong. Mark Steven Johnson’s R-rated director’s cut of Daredevil is excellent, and aside from the lack of Stick, a great Daredevil movie. The extended, and more bloody/violent, cut includes an entire subplot (about 45 minutes worth!) where you get to see more of the blind lawyer at work and it feels a lot more like the actual Daredevil comic books.

12 thoughts on “The 10 Best Superhero Movies

  1. ”The real Joker isn’t an angry, angst-ridden, killer. He kills people for fun, because he thinks it’s art, and he really enjoys what he does. When Nicholson’s Joker kills Grissom in Burton’s Batman; he doesn’t just shoot him. He shoots him, starts laughing and dancing, and then shoots him some more. Ledger was way off the character in his take.”

    Except that the Joker in TDK ISN’T an Angst ridden killer. His whole ‘father ave me scars’ or ‘wife gave me scars’ is just nonsense that he made up. Even if it WAS true, the Joker sure doesn’t look angsty. He’s just doing it for kicks.

  2. The Joker (as The Red Hood) went nuts in the chemical bath he took escaping from Batman. That’s the way it was in the comic. Burton/Nicholson got it right. Crazy for crazy’s sake is never as interesting as a motivated loon.

  3. I think it should be noted that what made The Dark Knight the best superhero movie out there (which it is) was Heath Ledger’s Joker. No other actor could have come even remotely close to his act. He gave the performance of a lifetime as the Joker. I honestly can’t think any performance better than this one. He put everything into it. And I can’t fathom how one could see it as “off.” Plus the fact that we’re given absolutely no information about the Joker’s past makes it difficult to find this “anger” you speak of. Perhaps he’s not killing entirely recklessly, but isn’t it better that he does so to prove a point? A point about society, a point that gives the movie content. This movie is complex because of the ideas the Joker and Christopher Nolan poses. The Dark Knight by itself was a good movie, what made it brilliant was Heath Ledger’s Joker. So instead of hating, “let’s put a smile on that face” and appreciate the fine work of art that Heath Ledger left behind in The Dark Knight.

  4. Ok, Ledger was brilliant as the Joker. You cant fault him because he was different from Jack. He took the character and made him his own. And he was brilliant. That was the first strike. Saying Batman Returns was the best of the 89-97 run? No. Burton’s is FAR superior. Strike two.

    But where you REALLY lost me was when you put Daredevil on this list. I’ve seen the Director’s cut. Yes, the added storyline was good…if it was its own movie. All it does it extend the shit that is Daredevil.

    And how is Batman: Mask of the Phantasm not on this? CLASSIC!

  5. Okay first off I think that The Dark Knight should be number 1. Second off you shouldn’t critizice Heath Ledger’s Joker he is the best Joker(but I still think Mark Hamill has the best Joker voice hands down and Jack Nicholsons Joker was closer to the comic but his Joker wasn’t nearly as cool as ledgers). Third off Why the Hell do you have Batman Returns and not the Batman(1989) huh. The original was better.

    Besides that this is a pretty good list.

  6. I really dont understand how you can say Heath Ledgers Joker wasnt true to the comic book character.. its as close and loyal to the character than anything else portrayed in the movies! Jack Nicoleson’s joker was good but his joker was the joker of the 1940s/50s where he was a clown and a thief and abit of a comical style to him, with the flower on his suit shooting out acid and his smling gas. But the joker is so much more than that and thats what Heath brought in TDK. The joker doesnt remember how he started out like he did, weither its because of his dad or himself doing the scars on his face because it was too painful for him to actually remember and he would make up different stories like he did in TDK. Its first protrayed in the comic ” The killing Joke”. Also Heath shows the true killer in the joker, a pure mad psychopath homocidal individual. Yes the joker in “Batman” did have a killer side but not as close as in TDK. Theres so many joker traits in TDK like one of his alias names, Jack White being in it to him being a tactical planning genius. The whole film was about his actions transforming harvey dent into two-face. He wasnt angry he just saw the world like a true joker would. Even his line at the end, “i think we’re destined to do this forever” is such a massive trait from the comics because he cant kill batman because he is the other side of him and vice versa. The writers have much credit for this because they knew what they were doing. And also u forget the part where he kills his own gang mercifully, where he killed gambits thug with a pencil in the eye! ( a typical joker action ) I prefer heaths joker than jacks one. Its more of a modern take, a realistic vision of how the world and the people in it and really mess you up. Plus he looks way cooler in TDK. You dont know his name or anything about him while in “batman” ure told he’s a middle aged oldish man called jack napier who turned out to have killed Bruces parents ( which is unaccurate, Joe Chill killed them ) so really it has the correct and right base of story for him in TDK as well. Its a unique taste and iam always going to think he is the joker untill someone else trys and fills the boots and tops him.

    1. …but, the list you have linked to has so many of the same movies! About major difference is the substitution of Unbreakable for Flash (AHHH AHHH!) Godon. Really tho, we can all agree that the best part of Flash (AHHH AHHH!) is the music by Queen! Some of the movies on the Fanboys list needed to be taken into consideration based on the time era’s that they were released.

  7. hey, asswipe . that chris reeves “superman” is a boring steaming pile. The special effects are amateurish, the plot insipid, and brando, as an elephantine Jor-el gag-inducing.

    re dark night: even if your hallucination about what the joker “should be” had any substance that still doesn’t change the power of ledger’s performance within the structure, form, and content of the film as rendered. criticize the film on its own merits, not your fanboy wet dream of what you think the comic is.

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