Saturday, September 20, 2014

The 10 Best Superhero Movies of All Time Blog Relay



Boys and girls, it's finally happened. At long last, I've been bitten by a radioactive spider, overexposed to gamma rays, had my skeleton fused with adamantium, and jettisoned from my home planet as it exploded only to have my parents killed in an alley right in front of my eyes.

Wait, what? That doesn't make any sense.

Sorry, I'm just geeking out because I've finally been tagged in Bubbawheat's "The 10 Best Superhero Movies of All Time Blog Relay." And let me tell you, I've been itching to get my superhuman hands on this thing since the beginning. Now that I've got it, let's do something with it.

Hold up a sec.

There's some rules to contend with that makes this a bit different than the ordinary relay. This list was created with a definite end in mind. Instead of bloggers endlessly replacing one movie at a time, Bubbawheat set it up so that it will end at some point. The quick and dirty is that once a movie makes it through five consecutive rounds it is locked in and cannot be removed from the list. There are some other rules dictating how many movies each blogger is to replace. Suffice it to say that we're at the stage where two movies need to be dropped and two new ones put in their places. If you want the full rundown, just click the link above to his site to check out the rules and see the path of the relay so far.

While you're there, stay a while. Silly me, I didn't even mention the name of his blog. It's Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights and as the name suggests, it's all about superhero movies. Personally, I love the place. I especially like when he writes about some obscure superhero flick that I've never even heard of.

Okay...that's enough brown-nosing. We have a world to save.

Let's start by checking out the list as it stands

The Avengers
(Locked)


The Dark Knight
(Locked)


Spider-Man 2
(Locked)


Iron Man
(Locked)


Unbreakable
(Locked)


The Rocketeer
(Locked)

I'll say just a few quick words about the movies that are locked in. If we were ranking them, and all superhero flicks for that matter, I'd put The Dark Knight number one. No hesitation. And it's not even close. In fact, I might rank the next movie number three. I'm most surprised and most thrilled by the inclusion of Unbreakable. It's certainly unique for the genre. For me, it is the very best movie that M. Night Shyamalan has ever made. And it's not even close. In fact, I might rank...oh, sorry. I also love The Avengers, Spider-Man 2, and Iron Man. I don't know what to feel about The Rocketeer because I've never seen it. The rest of the movies are...



The Incredibles
The Incredibles easily gives me the most intriguing dilemma of the remaining movies. It has made the cut, four times in a row. If I keep it, it gets locked in. I do love it, but would I rank it in my all time top ten of superhero movies? I'd probably have it right on the fringe, somewhere between nine and fifteen. I haven't written that out in a while. Maybe I'll do that after this list gets all locked up. Without question it is superior to some of the other remainders. However, do I sacrifice it in hopes that something I think is more deserving will earn a spot? Hmmm...


Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The newest of the remainders is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I absolutely love this movie. Right now, I'll tell you that it's better than The Avengers which is already locked in. However, that newness scares me. It's only been out a few months. I'd like to think I'll still feel that way in a year or ten, but who knows. How we feel about movies changes all the time, both personally and collectively. After all, Crash received mostly glowing reviews and won Best Picture. Now, it's hard to find a person to own up to even liking it. Except me. I still like it. I wouldn't have given it Best Pic, nor would I have given to Brokeback Mountain, but I digress. Point is, Winter Soldier might be too new to be on this list. (click here for my full review)


Batman (1989)
The movie I have the most personal connection with is Tim Burton's Batman from 1989. For me, it stands up as a great superhero flick. I rank it as the second best of all the movies based on The Caped Crusader, behind The Dark Knight, of course, and ever so slightly ahead of Batman Begins. Jack Nicholson was great as The Joker, and helped the whole thing be a fun affair. However, this was no goofy superhero movie. It took its cues from the darker roots of the character and from what Frank Miller had done in print earlier in the decade. This re-energized Batman as a whole and let Hollywood know that the genre could indeed be lucrative beyond Superman. On the other hand, there is already a Batman movie locked in. This isn't the best, so the question is do we need two on the same list? (click here to see those Batman rankings)

X-Men: First Class
It so happens I just re-watched this a couple weeks ago. Thankfully, it stands up to the praise I gave it when I saw it in the theater. McAvoy and Fassbender are nearly as good together as Prof. Xavier and Magneto as Stewart and McKellen. Just to get an idea of how high that praise is, I think the older gentlemen are the absolute most perfect choices possible for those roles. Aside from that the story is wonderful. The message of self-acceptance, in addition to the Civil Rights metaphor always present in X-Men movies, is spot-on. That said, is it even the best movie in the franchise? I'd argue that it's not. (click here for my full review)


Superman II
The sequel to Superman: The Movie does things much bigger than its predecessor. For starters, the three people pictured are an actual physical threat to The Man of Steel. Supes' seems to always be more intriguing when this is the case. Additionally, Christopher Reeves turns in another great performance as our hero. He's clearly the best Kal-el in cinematic history. Mix in another excellent turn by Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor and shift the focus from telling the origin story to showing Supes in action and the excitement factor is taken up a notch. Then again, having more action and being a bigger spectacle does not necessarily mean that a movie is better. Those things might be hiding some flaws.


Kick-Ass
A lot of us have wondered what a superhero would like in the real world. Kick-Ass answers that question in marvelous fashion. In addition, it perfectly spoofs the entire superhero world. Superman, Spider-Man, and a number of other heroes are targeted and hit. The way it parodies the old Batman TV series, the one that starred Adam West, is just perfect. Best of all, it does all of this while clearly being big fans of the comic books and the movies (and TV shows) that they spawned. On top of all that it was graphically violent and Chloe Grace Moretz absolutely walked away the movie. There's a flip-side to all these positive things, though. Because of its desire to poke fun at the rest of the comic world, it's not as original as it could be. Our hero is essentially Peter Parker deciding to don a costume even though he hadn't been bitten by a spider. Big Daddy and Hit Girl are merely Batman and Robin. Do we really need a movie that pieced itself together with shards of other films? (click here for my full review)

Someone's got to go. What to do?

Well, first I lured this movie into a crystal chamber and depowered it so I can kill it off...


Superman II
I have an interesting relationship with this one. As a kid, I actually went to see this and its predecessor in theaters. I immediately declared this one to be far better. After all, it had more action, it was funny, and it had Terrence Stamp doing a now iconic version of General Zod. I saw it a number of times during the next ten or fifteen years and still thought the same thing. I hadn't watched it all in the last ten or fifteen. Then right before Man of Steel came out, I decided to watch all of the Superman movies and review them for what I called My "Week of Steel." Much to my surprise, Superman II didn't age nearly as well as the original. Probably, a more accurate statement is that I've become a different viewer than I was years ago. I still liked it, but all the cracks in its armor from the Richard Donner fiasco were clearly visible to me. I know lots and lots of you consider this the best Superman movie of them all. For me, it was clear that this is the movie that must go.

Deciding on what else to cut was much tougher. Eventually, I settled on stripping someone of his shield and re-submerging him in ice.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The truth of the matter is that I love this movie. Right now. It hasn't aged enough to earn its stars and stripes. I just can't place something among the greatest of all time anything after just a few months and one viewing. If it holds up to repeated viewings over the next year or two, I'd be more than happy to give it a spot on the list. Right now, I just can't do it.


So what movies do I invite to use their powers for good?

I figured we needed someone to keep the creatures of the night at bay. So I gave our new hero a shot of serum and let him loose in the city...

Blade II
This entry into the Blade canon improved upon the first movie in every way. Director Guillermo del Toro, took the superhero flick and infused with a heavy dose of horror to create the creepiest superhero flick ever made. He also told a great story and, of course, imbued it with his normal visual splendor. Not only does it belong on this list, but it's one of the Best Vampire Movies Since 2000.

Next, I felt bad about stripping The Big Blue Boy Scout of his powers so I restored him, as he was orignally...

Superman: The Movie
Sure, the sequel has more action and possibly a better villain. What it lacks is the pure magical feeling this one gives the viewer. Everything about it is iconic. Christopher Reeves is just perfect. The way scenes are shot are wonderful. Watching our hero grow up feels important. His love story with Lois Lane is expertly portrayed. Finally, the score by John Williams is unbelievably good. In fact, it's probably one of the best scored films of all time. This is truly the class of Superman's cinematic lifetime.


Yes folks, that means that The Incredibles are now...

LOCKED IN

Now that I'm done, I'm going to pass it to a guy who spends lots of time blogging about superhero flicks, so I know he'll do a great job. That lucky blogger is none other than Jeffrey at Jeffrey K. Lyles' Movie Files. He has great power. Now I'm giving him great responsibility.

11 comments:

  1. Can't argue your logic here, you locked in one of my favorites and brought back two of my original choices. Here's hoping they make it through to the end this time. Thanks for taking part!

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    1. Thanks for hosting! And yup, I have my fingers crossed for those two.

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  2. Oh, Christ, Kick Ass is on the list? :/ Glad to see Blade 2 added, very fun movie.

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    1. I take it your not a fan of Kick-Ass, lol. Blade II is indeed very fun.

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  3. I can't argue with Superman over Superman II, but you replaced Captain America with Blade II? That's plain ridiculous right there

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    1. Maybe so, but I think Blade II is amazing. Again, The Winter Soldier feels good right now. I just prefer to let a movie marinate a while before I crown them.

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  4. Blade II is severely underrated. In fact, it's one of my favorite vampire films as well as comic-book action films. It's a film where you take aspects of the first film and then improve it where you have more characters, more stakes, and more humor. This is why I love Guillermo del Toro.

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    1. Thanks for showing it some love! It really is a wonderful movie.

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  5. “Guillermo Del Toro” is a great director of Hollywood. Although all movies are very nice directed by him, yet I am crazy about “Blade ll” the most. Often best superhero movies are based on fictions but this movie seems really realistic.

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  6. Del Toro is wonderful. Blade II is among my graves of his also.

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