In honor of Comic Con 2013, The Artificial Selection Project has put together a list of the best super hero flicks of all time. Let us know what you think.
5. Iron Man
After a couple disappointments in the form of Spider-man 3 and Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, Marvel needed a boost. Iron Man achieved as much commercial success as it did with critics and fans. Simultaneously resurrecting Robert Downey Jr.’s career and beginning a beautiful chain reaction of well-done and well-recieved Marvel films that eventually culminated in The Avengers (see number 3), Jon Favreau made a real movie with real characters and real emotions.
4. X2: X-Men United
It’s tempting to just write, “The opening sequence with Nightcrawler. That is all.” and leave it at that. I remember sitting in theater on opening day and being completely blown away. They were able to build so powerfully on the foundation of the first film and really open up this new world of mutants vs humans vs mutants. The good guys fighting the bad guys who are humans but some are mutants but then the mutants come together to fight the humans but only the bad humans because the good mutants want to help the good humans and… okay, you get the idea. My run-on sentence aside, X2 is an incredibly well-executed film that balances action, laughs, heart and complex characters.
3. The Avengers
Here I am also tempted to just write, “The Hulk. That is all.” But, of course, there is so much more. Before I move on, let’s just give it up to Joss Whedon for finally getting the Hulk right. Okay, so now I can talk about how he managed to balance the biggest super hero movie of all time and make it seem easy. Almost effortless. The Avengers wouldn’t have been possible without the aforementioned series of Marvel films that preceded it, but those films certainly didn’t serve The Avengers to Whedon on a silver platter. In a time where dark/gritty superhero films are becoming a trend, The Avengers is a bright ray of light, with humor, depth and one of the most epic action sequences in the history of cinema.
2. Spider-man 2
A clear thread through all of the movies on this list is the execution of the characters. There are moments in Spider-man 2 that a truly heart-wrenching. Peter leaving Spider-man for Mary Jane, who is engaged. Octavius killing his wife in the same accident that transforms him into Doc Oc. The tension between Harry and Peter. Sam Raimi crafted what is quite possibly the best film of the latter part of his career, showing his ability to produce visually stunning action sequences and tell a compelling, complex story at same time. It’s hard to pick sides, as every dramatic element unfolds in such a way that the audience can connect with all of the characters. Spider-man 2 utilizes the talents of everyone involved, amazing visual effects, and what is arguably the best love story in super hero history.
1. The Dark Knight
This is, and will probably always be, the greatest super hero movie of all time. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard any arguments to the contrary. Starting with Batman Begins and ending with The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan (with the help of some incredible actors: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman) made what is not only the best super hero trilogy, but one of the best trilogies, period. The Dark Knight features Health Ledger’s incomparable performance as the Joker, another pinnacle in the super hero genre. The Dark Knight is a crime film where all of the moving parts (the score, the cinematography, the story and the actors) are in perfect harmony. It definitely set the bar, earning its title as “The Godfather of super hero movies”.