The 10 Best Superhero Movies of All-Time

This is arguably the best time to put together such a list: the technology is there, allowing for special effects to help us suspend disbelief, the actors who have been cast to play the parts are as brilliant as they come, and studios are investing more and more money into big budget adaptations of comic books.

I have no doubt that we’ll see more and more superhero movies, some of them quite brilliant and easy to recommend.

That being said, here are the ten best superhero movies of all time.

10. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

First of all, Marvel Studios are brilliant when it comes to casting their superhero leads: Chris Evans as supersoldier Steve Rogers is almost a good a fit as RDJ as Iron Man.

Secondly, we’re talking about a movie set during the Second World War, and everything is on point, from the period-specific sets to the costumes, to the casting of the supporting roles, which include the likes of Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Phillips, and Hugo Weaving as Red Skull.

Oh, and that scene. Brilliant.

9. Deadpool (2016)

Why?

Because this is not your typical superhero movie. Well, Deadpool is not your typical superhero. He’s inappropriate; the kind that makes people spend close to a billion dollars on movie tickets. It’s also got a sequel that actually improves on the original, so that’s also worth noting.

Indeed, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s most certainly someone’s shot of whisky.

Oh, and Ryan Reynolds was born to play this role. It seems as if he had more fun than playing any previous character, so kudos to that.

8. X-Men: First Class (2011)

Michael Fassbender as Magneto.

Enough said.

Yeah, well… there are also the other folks who play equally interesting characters, this sort of 70s James Bond type of vibe, but also the most interesting dynamic between a protagonist and a (future) antagonist that you could ever ask for. It’s not all black and white, it’s rather an awful lot of shades of grey… not fifty though.

7. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

For the same reasons mentioned in the previous entry, but also for this scene:

6. Iron Man 3 (2013)

Yes, RDJ spends most of the movie without his costume, but this is one of the reasons this is the best Iron Man movie ever made, and one of the best superhero movies of all time.

Iron Man 3 has it all: action, laughs, great dialogue, a better villain than previously, and more character development for Tony Stark.

Oh, and did I mention RDJ as Tony Stark, which is undoubtedly as great a fit between an actor and a superhero role as it was for Heath Ledger and the Joker as a villain,

5. Batman Begins (2005)

An accurate title when comparing this movie to the cartoonish Batman of the 90s Schumacher movies, and Christian Bale provides exactly the kind of superhero that this franchise needed.

Billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne training to become Batman, is the most appropriate way to better understand what this tough orphan and his fight against Gotham’s corruption is all about. It’s brutal in ways that not many superhero movies (before or after) ever decided to be.

It’s also not as dark as its glorious sequel, but rather sets the tone nicely for it, which is not something one would generally say about the way sequels fit within a movie series.

4. The Avengers (2012)

Why?

Because this movie marks the exact moment in time when MCU took over the reigns as the best superhero movie franchise ever. For many folks (comic book fans included) this was a sort of A-Ha moment. Every previous movies from the MCU fit together perfectly, and it was at this moment that we all knew Marvel Studios had achieved something truly remarkable.

The Avengers represents the first instance of the superhero team dynamic truly captured and sustained on film.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

This somewhat obscure (to non-comic book fans) team of superheroes offers viewers one of the most thrilling and amusing cinematic experiences of the decade. Self-named Star-Lord, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is a mixture of Han Solo, Mal Reynolds and Captain Kirk. (once again, Marvel Studios are amazing with their casting choices.) Then we have Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a rather unique duo. Drax and Gamora are also worth mentioning.

An entirely different dynamic within the team than we previously experienced with 2012’s The Avengers – while one would wish to be a superhero fighting alongside Thor and the Hulk to save Earth from annihilation, but the Guardians makes us wish we were BFFs with them.

Also, the sequel does not disappoint.

2. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

This may be controversial, especially considering that placing this movie as second means great titles such as X-Men 2, Avengers Infinity War, and Sam Raimi’s excellent Spiderman series don’t get to be featured on this list, but this is the funniest movie I have seen in so, so long…

I know this is a list of superhero movies, and we have a Thor that finally understands the source of his power better than before, while also becoming closer to the Marvel counterpart of Superman that he was meant to be, but this movie is freaking hilarious.

It’s so different from all the other movies of the MCU (which seems to have been this year’s ambition for Marvel Studios to make each title different from an overall standpoint, as they have also done with Black Panther or Ant-Man and the Wasp)

  1. The Dark Knight (2008)

Thanos would have to snap twice to delete this movie from the top of any list of superhero movies.

And it’s not fair, I know. Because The Dark Knight is not only a superhero movie, it’s art. It’s a brilliant movie. The kind of movie one watches obsessively over and over again.

Heath Ledger’s performance as the Clown Prince of Crime is a force of nature — by far the best villain to ever grace the big screen.

If you think about it, Ledger’s performance is so fantastic that we often forget about Christian Bale’s fantastic performance, or Gary Oldman’s, or Aaron Eckhart’s fantastic portrayal of Two-Face.

In my opinion, The Dark Knight is by far the best superhero movie of all time. So good, in fact, that its sequel left a bad aftertaste, and managed to ruin the DCU for a long, long time.

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11 thoughts on “The 10 Best Superhero Movies of All-Time

  1. Gotta disagree with Iron Man 3 and Thor Ragnarok. Tony was bumbling without his suit, and they broken canon. Tony’s answer to EVERYTHING is a new suit or component, LOL. Thor Ragnarok was another canon breaker. Hela was never that powerful, they changed mythology and made her a sister instead of Loki’s daughter, AND lore is also that only the Beyonder or a Celestial could break Mjolnir.

    Good list otherwise.

  2. Awesome list, and I agree with your top two… except the commentary on Dark Knight Rises. I loved the movie and its direction. It couldn’t have been as good as Dark Knight because that one was almost perfect as movies go… I wonder if that was the let down of Rises, and why it gets a bad rap.

  3. I like this list a lot. I’d include Spiderman 2 somewhere, but I love all the films you posted, and it makes me irritated when people complain about Iron Man 3 “breaking canon” and whatnot. I take the movies for what they are — a separate entity from the comics — and that movie both surprised me and made me laugh quite a bit.

  4. My personal favourite is Spider-Man 2 (which was so good I saw it twice in the cinema, something I rarely do), though The Avengers, Thor: Ragnarok and Nolan’s first two Batman films are certainly among my favourites too.

  5. I sooo like like this article, idea and list. Being a total geek, this is right up my alley 🙂 I agree Nolan’s Batman was and will be the best, all 3 of them. The only other DC movie I’ve liked in recent history is Wonder Woman. I am looking forward to Captain Marvel, Dark Phoenix and Avengers End Game. I would have included Infinity War in the list 🙂

    1. Infinity War feels more like an anthology of sorts. It’s rather impossible to understand much unless you watched all the previous movies. For instance, a lot of folks at the cinema when I first watched it were asking around who was Red Skull because they couldn’t remember him.

      1. You are correct, but my choice is based on me seeing all movies and actually being a big fan of the MCU 🙂 So, that’s my personal addition and would not say it’s a must for everyone.

      2. I watched infinity war not knowing anyone but the first Avengers. I didn’t even know that Loki was adopted:D I regret that I didn’t get out of the cinema broken-hearted. Instead, I got out completely confused. 🙂

  6. Great list! My personal favorite mcu movie is Thor: Ragnarok. I’m an mcu fan so I can’t really agree that Batman is the first,but… Everyone has an opinion. Overall, very good list! 🙂

  7. I think Wonder Woman belongs close to the top and its absence is glaring. The scene wear she charges the German front during World War I made my heart leap, something I never experienced in a superhero movie.

    Hard to see not one of any of the Spiderman movies making the list, probably in place of First Class, since you have Days of Future Past higher.

    I wish there was an honorable mention on here for a “classic” and sentimental favorite: Christopher Reeve as Superman, either 1 or 2 would do the trick.

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