There’s no denying that superhero movies are the thing in Hollywood these days. Thanks to their portrayal of fan-favorite characters with decades of mythology and ability to blend multiple genres, they have been going strong for years. It can even be argued that superhero films have joined the ranks of the Western and action movies as one of the most iconic types in the industry’s history. Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Greatest Superhero Movies Ever Made.
It wasn’t too long ago Peter Parker was at the top of the superhero movie food chain, and 2004’s Spider-Man 2 is why. Expanding upon the 2002 original, director Sam Raimi treated moviegoers to an emotional character-driven story about the tough choices we make in life, which showed why Spider-Man is one of the most relatable superheroes. In addition to standout action sequences (like the train), the villain is what made Spider-Man 2 an all-time classic. Alfred Molina injected a sense of scientific ambition in Doc Oc, which gave Octavius a human side, making him one of the more complex characters in the trilogy. His sacrifice was a perfect representation of the series’ overarching themes.
The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is one of the watershed film series of the 21st century, and this middle chapter is what made it so. Treating audiences to an engrossing crime drama that explored the darker side of justice and heroism, the film built upon the “escalation” teased in Batman Begins. The tone and techniques Nolan employed became so revolutionary that Dark Knight spawned countless imitators – including those in other iconic franchises. We’d be remiss to not mention Heath Ledger’s Joker, which raised the bar for movie bad guys thanks to the actor’s unhinged and terrifying performance that won him a posthumous Oscar. Jared Leto has his work cut out for him in Suicide Squad.
Iron Man is a film that could have gone horribly wrong for many reasons, but director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey, Jr. churned out one of the genre’s elite. As one of the few MCU projects “free” from the shared universe building of other films, Iron Man was able to focus solely on its protagonist, played to perfection by the charismatic RDJ. The film also set up the basic template that future MCU releases followed, embracing a tight balance between comedy and drama that made it a captivating and entertaining watch. If only every Marvel movie could have such a rich and interesting arc as this one.
Breaking box office records and earning critical acclaim, Joss Whedon’s massive crossover made fans’ dreams come true and s studio’s gamble pay off. The novelty of seeing so many characters fighting alongside each other for the first time instantly made Avengers an event, and Whedon’s writing made everything matter. Between sharp witty dialogue and the chemistry between actors, the film was able to deliver style and substance in spades. And don’t forget about Tom Hiddleston chewing scenery as the plotting and scheming villain Loki, cementing his status as the MCU’s best evildoer. Changing the game forever, The Avengers had a huge impact on Hollywood in numerous ways.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Once upon a time, this film was a huge risk, but now it’s hard to envision the MCU without the Guardians. James Gunn used his creativity and enthusiasm to create an awe-inspiring space opera populated by great characters (like Star-Lord and Groot) we can’t wait to see again. While the cosmic setting of the film was certainly different than what we’re accustomed to seeing in the genre, Guardians was still grounded by a big sense of heart (mixing tales of friendship with family drama) that made it instantly relatable to casual audiences and die-hards alike. We’re all hooked on a feeling.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Joe and Anthony Russo are going to have a big role to play in Marvel’s Phase 3, and their work on Captain America 2 is why. The film sports some of the most sophisticated and thrilling action sequences to date in the MCU, with the titular villain making a big impression with viewers. He was impossible to stop every time he was on-screen, and his dynamic with Steve Rogers was interesting to watch. But it wasn’t just the action that made this stand out from the crowd. Using their love of 1970s political thrillers as inspiration, the Russos added layers of governmental intrigue and espionage to the proceedings, giving the film real-world sensibilities and smart social commentary.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men: First Class brought the franchise back to respectability, and Days of Future Past became the most successful film in the series yet. With Bryan Singer returning to the director’s chair, fans couldn’t wait to see how he did the iconic comic book storyline justice. An ambitious piece, the film didn’t just operate as a solid time-travel sci-fi story. The action sequences (like the Quicksilver scene) were thrilling and set a