It can be easy to get lost with the sheer amount of superhero films being pumped out every year (Nearly 12 in the last two years). While many fall into the simply “good” category or maybe even “pretty good”, there are those which are widely considered to be “great”. We hand-picked a few of those superhero films that, for one reason or another, have come to be regarded as the shining standards of the genre and asked you to pick YOUR favorites. Here are the top three superhero films, according to you:
#3. Spider-Man 2
Sam Raimi’s sequel to his 2002 film Spider-Man outdid the original in large part because of the very human story it sought to tell, one in which the hero’s honeymoon phase is over and Peter is forced to wrestle with the reality and challenges that come with his double-life as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and the plain 20-year-old college student Peter Parker. That excellent story at the core of the sequel is bolstered by an equally complex villain in Alfred Molina’s portrayal of the iconic Spidey-villain, Doc Ock.
Surely etched into the minds of Spider-Man 2 fans is the unforgettable scene in which an unconscious and unmasked Spider-Man is lifted up by a group of New Yorkers in a train car he just saved as they all marvel at the fact their hero is “just a kid”. These bystanders rally behind Peter and even put themselves in harm’s way to protect him from Doc Ock just as Peter has put his life on the line for the city of New York countless times. Out of the dozens of superhero films that have followed since Spider-Man 2, few have equalled the emotional weight of that train scene and even fewer have succeeded in making the hero on screen seem quite as vulnerable as ourselves.
The number two spot on this list goes to the recent game-changing Deadpool movie which saw Ryan Reynolds get a second shot at bringing to life the Merc with a Mouth. With no precedent for a superhero film that followed a lead quite as eccentric as Wade Wilson, the announcement of Tim Miller’s Deadpool was met with cautious optimism by fans who believed the only way to tell a proper Deadpool story was with an R-rating. There was a collective sigh of relief across the Internet when Fox gave the thumbs up for an R-rated film and the final product was one of the funniest and most ambitious superhero films in recent memory.
The film was in limbo for years as Ryan Reynolds championed on social media for a chance at a true depiction of Deadpool, gathering a large following of people backing his vision. Reynolds’ endless efforts and dedication to see this project through paid off with a highly praised film by comic fans and critics alike and even landed Deadpool the first ever Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture for a live-action comic book movie. Shameless dick jokes, regenerating baby hands, and some jerk named Francis make Deadpool a unique viewing experience which proved that adult-oriented superhero films can be just as successful as their PG-13 counterparts.
#1. The Dark Knight
What’s left to say about this once-in-a-generation masterpiece? Christopher Nolan was entrusted with a new Batman saga in the aftermath of the Joel Schumacher disasterpieces Batman Forever and Batman & Robin which saw the Caped Crusader forced out of the silver screen for nearly a decade. (Not even Bane did a number on the Bat like Schumacher did.)
Nolan stepped up to the plate and catapulted Batman to new heights with the gritty Batman Begins in 2005 and delivered a grand-slam home run with the follow-up, The Dark Knight. With it’s neo-noir tone and grounded storytelling, TDK gifted audiences with perhaps one of the most twisted and pure-evil villains with Heath Ledger’s chaos-seeking Joker. The unparalleled performance by Ledger rightfully earned him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and left everyone wondering just what could have been in the final installment of the trilogy if he had been alive for one last round with Bat. The Dark Knight set the bar for just how great a superhero film can be executed and is considered by many to be the Gold Standard in comic book film adaptations.
Mario Avalos is a senior at Florida International University, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, along with certificates in Film Studies and Professional and Public Writing.