Saturday, 24 January 2015

17 Greatest Superhero Flicks Since X-Men

After the release of X-Men in the year 2000, we began to see a turn of superhero movies flooding onto the big-screen, but which are the best?

The Greatest Superhero Movies of the 21st Century
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Since the release of X-Men (2000), we have begun to see some of the best movies ever made for the action genre, which is what triggered us to gather a list of the best superhero movies since the year 2000 when X-Men, one of our favourite superhero movies was released.

We chose X-Men as a starting point for the list, as it was a turning point for superhero movies, as the 90's was bombarded with terrible and cheesy superhero movies, but with X-Men it began to show that there was hope for the superhero comic adaptations onto the big-screen after all.

The first decade of the 21st Century has been a ground-breaking one for superhero movies, as we have seen the Marvel comic adaptations go strength-to-strength opting for a lighter feel, with plenty of humour (bringing the laughs), an edge of romance and of course, lots of action. Whereas the DC Comic adaptations onto the big-screen have opted for a darker, mysterious, but again, plenty of action. 

The Marvel comic adaptations to the big-screen have gone from having weaker, more predictable villains to having darker, more cunning villains, so there has definitely been a turning point for Marvel studios. However, DC Comics adaptations to the big-screen have darker, more devious villains that have a way of scaring the audience just as much as the victims (fictional characters) of their villainous crimes.

No.1 - The Dark Knight

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To kick-off the list there is the ultimate batman movie, The Dark Knight, the second installment in the Dark Knight trilogy, directed by Christopher Nolan. Our choice in putting this at the top of our list is partly due to our shock and awe in that Christopher Nolan has managed to revitalise the batman franchise with his Dark Knight trilogy. The Dark Knight was a dark, gloomy, but somehow heroic flick, taking Batman, the hero of the story and pinning him up against a devious, haunting "Joker" villain.

However, the star of this movie which brought fans flooding into movie theatres was the villain, Joker (played by Heath Ledger), as he was as entertaining as you might expect (or want) a joker to be, but he was also the perfect psychopathic maniac with a taste for chaos, and the Joker's aim was to reek havoc and chaos upon Gotham city in this sinister Batman sequel.

No.2 - The Avengers (aka The Avengers Assemble)

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The ultimate superhero force has arrived and they are as bad-ass as individual superheroes as they are as a bad-ass super-team. Including everyone's favourite Marvel superheroes; Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America and the other less-so superheroes. This is a force not be reckoned with, but certainly a force which demands audiences attention, as it truly is the ultimate superhero movie.

Although, we made a calculated decision to put The Avengers second on the list of the top superhero movies as we feel that although the blend of superheroes in the same movie was a good idea, and the fact that it lacked a real sense of danger and possibility that the superheroes might lose, a little too predictable. Not that this effected the entertainment that the movie provided, hence why it has been ranked second on our list. A must-watch for any true superhero comic movie adaptation fan.

No.3 - Iron Man

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Iron Man was the first Marvel superhero movie from the 21st Century that we really found a hint of perfection from, and the choice to cast Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark was in-genius. Downey Jr. has a charisma that shines through into his character in Iron Man which makes the movie an absolute delight to watch and the story truly played justice to the comic, making Iron Man one of the best superhero movies of all time, not just of the 21st Century (as far).

No.4 - The Incredibles

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Superhero movies have long been created as live-action movies, which no-one can argue as not being good, or even great at times, but when a superhero movie is done in animation it is always going to be interesting. The Incredibles was a fun animated movie produced by Pixar Studios, and who better to create an animated superhero flick that the studio which brought us Toy Story.

What made The Incredibles such a great superhero movie (and a great movie in general) is that they set the movie around a family of superheroes. The dad (the super-strong), the mum (the super-stretchy), the son (the super-fast) and the daughter (the super-invisible) all come together to fight the evil villain, which was an original idea, which worked. The whole movie is non-stop fun and shines the light on real family values and family life, as well as exploiting the superpowers which each of the family members possess throughout the movie.

No.5 -  Batman Begins

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The beginning of the best batman trilogy ever created by DC Comics, which took Batman/Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale) and showed his difficult past and his journey to becoming the superhero that we all know and love.

Christopher Nolan envisioned Gotham city as a dark, gloomy, corrupt city which is run by criminal organisations and every part of the legal system is too corrupt to take hold of the system to bring justice to the city. That is until Bruce Wayne goes on his journey (throughout the movie), training to become a stronger and wiser human being, and when he comes back to Gotham city Bruce Wayne is ready to bring justice to the Gotham, doing so through the face of Batman.

Nolan truly grasped the batman character and all of the elements which made Gotham city what it was and brought it all to the big-screens in a way that brought batman into the 21st Century, with a realistic portrayal (and feel) of what the world that batman lived in would look like, and started the darkest (as of yet) superhero trilogy that we have ever seen, mastering the qualities of a great batman movie.

No.6 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

source: (courtesy of) Marvel Studios
Captain America has finally got a movie to show-off just how powerful and great-of a superhero he really is. We feel that the first Captain America (Captain America: The First Avenger) film didn't quite fit-in with all of the other Marvel "Avengers" superheroes and all of the superpowers that they have. Whereas this sequel focused on the bad-ass elements of Captain America, which assured us that Captain America wasn't the joke of the "Avengers" team, but rather an adequate leader for the gang of unstoppable ("Avengers") superheroes.

But it was the bad guy that really shone in this sequel to Captain America, as The Winter Soldier (bad guy) was a suitable match to take-on Captain America in the battle for dominance. The twist to The Winter Soldier (that we will not give away) was unexpected and breath-taking, bringing emotion to Captain America which made the whole movie that bit better. Although, it had to have been the fact that the movies story took so many twists and turns that made it so darn enjoyable to watch, but it was the brilliantly perfect bad guy which was the icing on the cake for us.

To further our reassurance for the credibility of the Captain America character, the film-makers have made the wise decision in getting rid of Captain America's light coloured costume and shield, replacing them with darker shades of colour, enabling us (the audience) to take Captain America more seriously as a superhero (and it worked tremendously).

No.7 - Thor

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The Marvel superheroes all have an edge of glorified brilliance and Thor's is unlike any other, as he is an immortal (god to humans) prince from his home-world, however, because of his arrogance he is banished from his home-world and sent to earth along with his hammer (which he is unable to wield), taken from his powers and left with the mortal existence of a human being. This transformation causes some hilarious moments,(spoiler alert) my favourite being when Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) is in the hospital and has an outburst attacking the staff, until he his finally injected with a drug to put him to sleep. The funny moments continue throughout the movie, although there is always an element of seriousness which is beautifully balanced with the humour.

A fan favourite character in this movie is the bad guy (villain), Loki, who has ambitions to be king (instead of Thor), which causes plenty of friction between Thor and Loki, which again is funny as it is brotherly fighting making it nearly harmless (most of the time).

No.8 - X2: X-Men United

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The X-Men franchise took a turn for the better with this sequel to X-Men (2000), showing more of Wolverine (a fan favourite character), who acts as a guardian for the younger mutants in this sequel. An entertaining X-Men movie which revealed more of Wolverine's past, as throughout the whole movie, we found that all we wanted to see was more of Wolverine, not caring all that much for the other array of characters.

The amount of action in this sequel is the real selling point, but the story is engaging which helped give the movie more substance, but admittedly (as most would agree), without Wolverine this movie would have been flat-out rubbish. That should be saying something.

No.9 - Watchmen

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Zack Snyder's superhero directorial d├ębut is a smash hit as far as we're concerned, as all of the different cast of superheroes in this movie are so darned interesting (as well as entertaining). It's a complex and dark viewing, but that was what made it such a delight to watch, but being a superhero-nut when it comes to the action genre, this was a must-see, but it must be admitted that Zack Snyder's "300" made this a must-see for me. The gritty adaptation has all of the elements that make a superhero movie great, but there is no telling what's going to happen unless you see the movie all the way through, again, with this element of unpredictability there is no reason (that we can come up with) that should stop you from wanting to see this movie.

No.10 - Iron Man 3

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The first two Iron Man movies were an absolute triumph, and we've all forgiven Marvel studio's for changing director's on this installment as it was just as entertaining as the first two, and from our surprise the story was gripping, the action was plentiful, and Robert Downey Jr. performed at his best. The villain. Trevor Slattery (played by Ben Kingsley) was the best we have so-far seen in an Iron Man movie, which was a highlight for the movie as-far as we are concerned, and the direction of the movie was well done.

No.11 - The Dark Knight Rises

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As a follow-up to The Dark Knight (2008), it was never going to be a walk in the park to create a sequel to such a floor-less superhero movie with a villain (Joker) that couldn't do-no wrong in audiences books. However, Christopher Nolan wasn't afraid, as he tasked Tom Hardy to play the villain, Bane, who was the first villain to be able to match Batman's strength and seemingly defeat Batman. Causing Batman to have to find back his strength, overcoming an amount of obstacles in doing so, to enable him to save Gotham city from the wrath of Bane, who has plans to annihilate Gotham city.

No.12 - Spider-Man 2

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Spider-Man gets a bad wrap for the disaster which was Spider-Man 3, but we believe that Spider-Man 2 was a great superhero movies with a flaw here and there (although, no movie's perfect). The villain, Dr. Otto Octavius was a match for Spider-Man's powers and had the rough-and-tough exterior which an evil villain needs for audiences to take them seriously, which can be seen in the image above.

No.13 - Man of Steel

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At long last, a Superman movie we can take seriously, and who better to direct a serious Superman movie than Zack Snyder (director of "300" and "Watchmen"), who has proven himself to be a bankable director and an action-genius for the movies. The decision to change the title of the movie from the overused Superman to "Man of Steel" was a nice-call for the DC Comics Studio, as it helped give a fresher feel to the Superman character. Henry Cavill played Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman with real distinction and we've known for some time (at Augustus Worth) that Henry Cavill was going to be a big-shot at Hollywood some day. This is one Superman movie you're going to be proud to have in your stack of DVD's, and are sure to want to watch again and again.

No.14 - X-Men: Days of Future Past

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X-Men's getting better with age, and so is the cast of actors playing the superheroes (mutants), and again the star of this cast is Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman). The mix in time was an in-genius idea, bringing the cast from X-Men (2000, older mutants) together with the cast from X-Men: First Class (2011, younger mutants), which gives you double the reason to watch this movie (if you haven't done so already). Plus, Bryan Singer returns to direct the sequel which sees Wolverine sent back in time to change history, to prevent doom for both humans and mutants.

No.15 - The Incredible Hulk

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The good "Hulk" movie, at least that's what we're calling it, as this Hulk movie has made the Hulk character look seriously real, and it's all in the facial expressions which were superbly done. The CGI in this movie is something worth the money it takes to see this movie, as the good character (Hulk) and the bad character (Abomination) have the most epic of battles at the end of the movie. Edward Norton played his role Bruce Banner extremely well, as we all knew he would, allowing the whole movie to run smoothly. The tension between Hulk and General Ross is back, and as expected it leaves Bruce Banner spending a lot of the time turning into the 'green' Hulk monster, which at the end of the day is why we all tuned in to watch the movie.

This may have been a more biased choice for this rank in the list, as we're huge fans of the Hulk character, so of course we loved the movie, hence "The Incredible Hulk" making its way onto the list.

No.16 - Kick-Ass

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No necessarily a superhero movie, but the abilities of Hit-Girl (played by Chloe Grace Moretz) and Big Daddy (played by Nicolas Cage) make it feel as though it is. We were stunned by how good this superhero comedy was, as it felt like the ultimate comedy for superhero fans, but the star of the film, Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass (played by Aaron Johnson) was the main attraction in this movie, as his ability to take a beating was hilarious, which sounds a little twisted when put that way.

(Spoiler alert) The best scene in this movie for us, was when Kick-Ass goes to a drug-dealers apartment to sort out a problem for a friend (girl he likes), and just before he can be hurt by the dealers, Hit-Girl comes in and kills all of the dealers in an epically brutal manor. Simply awesome.

No.17 - The Amazing Spider-Man

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The Spider-Man reboot no-one was expecting, especially as it had only been a decade since the original Spider-Man had been done. But, who's complaining. Spider-Man is played by Andrew Garfield, who does a good job at portraying the life of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, which feels entirely different from Tobey Maguire portrayal of the character, so that was a welcomed surprise. The director, Marc Webb did a good job with the movie, having only ever directed one movie, 500 Days of Summer (in a completely different genre), we would have never matched the director with a superhero movie, but there you go, he did well, announcing himself as the director of now the first, second and third Amazing Spider-Man movies (as-far).

The villain, The Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors, was an interesting idea for a villain, and thankfully the character was played by a great British actor, Rhys Ifans, whose portrayal of the villain was flawless (as far as we are concerned). A good storyline, a good superhero and a good villain, what's there not to like.

Is your favourite superhero movie not on this list? Or, do you completely disagree with the rankings on this list? Let us know in the comments box below. 

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