10. Iron Man
Setting off Marvel domination on the big screen in 2008, the first Iron Man flick didn’t revolutionize things, but Robert Downey Jr. did steal all of our iron hearts with his hilarious, offbeat, charismatic turn as Tony Stark. 2 sequels and 2 Avengers flicks later, we still dig him.
You didn’t even remember this was really a superhero flick, right? And that’s the greatest thing about it. What starts out as a moody drama slowly reveals itself to be an origin story for David Dunn (played by Bruce Willis), a security guard who discovers he has superpowers after an accident. It’s a shame there was never a sequel.
Another offbeat superhero flick was this “found footage” film that follows three high school seniors who gain telekinetic powers. Starring Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, and Michael B. Jordan in one of his first big screen roles, it was an original take on a well-trodden superhero path.
7. The Incredibles
Pixar is finally getting around to doing a sequel to this incredible flick (I mean, they did 'Cars 2' before this?!). The family of superheroes was so much fun to watch, while also delivering great action, we can’t wait to see the Parr family kick butt again.
6. X-Men United
There have been a LOT of X-Men movies, but nothing has topped the 2003 entry. With all the characters being established in the first X-Men film, they got to show their claws in this first sequel. The film had an epic feel to it and really captured the theme of the mutants being discriminated against.
5. Batman Returns
It was a hard choice choosing between Tim Burton’s first Batman flick in 1989 with Jack Nicholson as the Joker, and this one, but this one is just so unapologetically dark and interesting. Plus, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman? Amazing. People are still wearing that costume on Halloween 23 years later.
Henry Cavill is solid, but you’re never going to top Christopher Reeve in the original 1978 film. Co-starring Margot Kidder as Lois Lane and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, it became the standard that every other superhero movie tried to emulate.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Can we all agree the first Captain America was a bore? Now brought into present day, the Avengers solo series was transformed with this exciting, unpredictable entry with some major help from Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Add in some incredible action, and Robert Redford playing a villain, and you’ve got the best film Marvel has created so far.
2. Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man has had a lot of problems on the big screen. The reboot didn’t bring anything new to the table, and even director Sam Raimi admits that Spider-Man 3 was terrible. But he got it right with the second installment in 2004. It was fun, exciting, but also powerful (I love that subway scene where Peter’s mask comes off). They should have stopped while they were ahead.
1. The Dark Knight
Is there any other choice? Heath Ledger won an Oscar for his scary-good take on The Joker, but it’s really Christopher Nolan’s direction and writing that make this film soar. It goes beyond being a superhero movie and feels more like a crime saga. There’s death, there’s destruction, and a hero that is truly vulnerable.