Let’s just do this.
10. Superman 1 and 2 – I combined these. The first film gave us Marlon Brando, introduced us to Christopher Reeve’s Superman, and had the ridiculous but memorable scene of Superman turning back time. Meanwhile, part 2 had a well written story but not quite the nostalgia.
9. Batman – Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson? Oh, no…I’m talking Adam West and Burt Ward. This movie gave us the best camp, a roster of Batman villains and marvelous actors playing them, and Adam West racing around trying to figure out what to do with a cartoon-ish bomb. Say what you will. It delighted us before Keaton took over.
8. Kick Ass – What really made this movie great for me was not the cussing or violence or even the wacky wonderfulness of Nicholas Cage. It was that it made me want to be a hero. Kick Ass as a hero wasn’t special, he just could put up with a lot of pain. Isn’t that how we describe the strongest people in the real world?
7. Dark Knight – Christopher Nolan + Heath Ledger = a batsh*t load of great scenes. You can bring up Morgan Freeman or Christian Bale all you want, but that move would have been dull without Ledger’s performance. His performance alone propelled that movie into what it was, because Batman begins was nice and neat, but rather dull.
6. The Incredibles – Not every movie needs brooding and heartache. Here we have competent heroes who also project a sense of teamwork and family. I’d have these people adopt me. Yeah, the powers were cool and useful, but it was the way they worked together that gave you goosebumps.
5. The Amazing Spiderman – While I was fine with Sam Raimi and Toby McGuires’ version, this one gave me more of what I wanted. Andrew Garfield had great snarky delivery, but what likeable. His body was more believable for an agile hero. Also, Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy was perfection. Easily, she was one of my favorite girls of the superhero genre.
4. Iron Man 1,2, 3- One good film? Cool. Two good films? High-five. Three good films? Mind blown. I think it is easier to be dark and dramatic and make people think a movie have substance. Yet, Iron Man proves to be fun and meaningful at the same time, especially when we get to the third installment. It’s a rare feet to have at third film almost exceed the original, but they came close.
3. Marvel’s The Avengers – Giving us all it had, this movie combined the success of three other hero movies, while revamping another (The Hulk) and adding a few new ornaments to the tree (Black Widow and Hawkeye). A non-stop, fun-seeking, showcase of a few of Marvel’s best. Joss Whedon was at his peak, delivering a film that managed to treat each member of an ensemble respectfully and equally important.
2. X-2 (X-Men 2) – The original X-men was a movie full of heart with little budget or support from studios. X-Men United (X-3) was a cluster-f*ck of too much budget with no heart. X-2 met firmly in the middle, giving us a passionate and intelligent stab at discrimination while utilizing much needed special effects. It didn’t have the desperation of X-3, trying to skull f*ck our eye sockets with imagery. It also had better wigs for Halle Berry than X-men. X-2 jumped seamlessly back and forth between the characters’ hardships and prepared us for an awesome introduction of The Dark Phoenix. Unfortunately, The awesomeness of Jean Grey would not return…for awhile, anyway. But dying and coming back is kind of her thing.
1. Batman Returns – Go bat-toosie yourself! The best Batman comics…a majority of them…were dark and twisted, but never forgot they were comics. Tim Burton is all about dark, twisted, and cartoony. It’s called Gotham City for crying out loud. Gothic we got with the tortured soul of the Penguin, the mentally broken Catwoman, and of course, Batman. Casting was fantastic; Michelle Pfieffer’s Catwoman was dangerous perfection. From releasing a canary from her mouth to how she used the whip, she nailed that part. Meanwhile, Danny DeVito gave us the disgusting, yet heart-breaking version of the Penguin. Don’t want to leave out Christopher Walken! Finally, Michael Keaton’s return as Batman signaled that he had done what people doubted. He was able to carry the weight of Bruce Wayne and the responsibility of a hero. I choose this Batman because it doesn’t try to be real. A man in a Bat-suit would be the object of many jokes in the real world. In Burton’s film, he is right at home.