Alright everyone, it’s time to slide to left, then slide to the right and criss-cross for part two of my top ten superhero movie list. The feedback on part one was a lot of fun and sparked a few very lively debates. Here’s hoping part two really stirs the pot!
5.) Iron Man
The next movie on the list is “Iron Man” and rightly so. Besides having Jon Favreau behind the camera and Robert Downey Jr. hamming it up in front of it, this movie paved the way for the record-breaking “Avengers.” That reason alone warrants the number five spot.
I can remember seeing “Iron Man” for the first time when I was living in Austin. A cool breeze flowed through the evening sky and I quenched my thirst with a large frosty beverage. What does this have to do with the movie you ask? Well, nothing, but I thought I’d help set the mood.
The biggest reason that this movie did so well was because no one knew what to expect from it. Sure, it had Robert Downey Jr. as the lead, but up until then, when was the last anyone heard from him? The character was popular in the comic world but not in the general public and a BALD Jeff Bridges…really? Yes, really! In my opinion, RDJ was born to play this role. He brought such a charisma and snark to the role that you wanted to smack Tony Stark and then hug him afterwards. Bridges was perfect as Obadiah Stane. Granted the character may have been a little over the top, but Bridges makes everything awesome.
“Iron Man” laid the groundwork for a larger world and grounded a comic book character in reality. It’s a shame that this movie was followed up by such a mediocre sequel, but I guess we can’t win them all.
4.) Captain America
That’s right boys and girls, our next movie on the list is 2011’s “Captain America.” Yeah, did you know there was another “Captain America” movie in the 90’s with Matt Salinger? Don’t worry, no one does. What I can say is that Marvel really hit it out of the park with their last piece of the “Avengers” puzzle.
I think why I liked this movie so muchis the same as “Iron Man;” I had low expectations. While I like Chris Evans, I wasn’t sure if he would be able to pull off the straight laced hero, Joe Johnston was directing – yeah, that Joe Johnston – and I was just never a Captain America fan in general. With all of these things combined I was ready to write off the movie and hate it right away. Luckily, Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull was able to chip away the icy sheath over my heart and once trailers started rolling in I began to open my heart to this film and I’m glad I did.
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America was spot on. He was able to perfectly portray (say that three times fast) the character and create someone that you would genuinely like. It was also pretty awesome to see Captain America having no qualms about using a gun. At the beginning of his career he wasn’t considered a superhero. He was a soldier first and foremost.
Hugo Weaving was awesome as usual. He seemed to be having a lot of fun playing up the Red Skull. The only way that could make his character even better would be to have him reappear wearing sunglasses and say “Mr. Rogers.” That would be awesome!
While there were a couple of decent size action sequences, the movie focused more on setting up the central characters. They spent a lot of time building Rogers’ friendship with Bucky Barnes, which made his demise that much more tragic and the romance between Rogers and Peggy Carter was satisfying enough.
“Captain America” definitely deserves its spot in the top five. I have a newfound respect for the character and no longer believe him to be the Marvel version of Superman. Captain America is an extremely complex character and of course he will always be the first Avenger.
3.) The Incredibles
“The Incredibles” is an amazing movie and probably my favorite Pixar movie. Why they feel it is acceptable to give Owen Wilson more work than make a sequel to Brad Bird’s love letter to superheroes is beyond me.
This movie does so many things right that I could go on and on, but I’ll do my best to keep this short and sweet. What’s so great about “The Incredibles” is that it’s such a timeless movie. I will give anyone a dollar if they can watch the movie and tell me exactly what decade it takes place. The beginning interviews feel like something out of the thirties or forties, the décor of the Parr’s house looked very seventies and the technology felt very modern. All of these things are so subtle and help the movie transcend any one period of time. The villains are fantastic and definitely capture to absurdness of classic superhero villains.
Bird was able to craft such engaging characters and hit on some great points that a lot of other superhero films don’t dare. Who asks thescollateral damage they causee people to be superheroes? Granted ‘with great power, comes great responsibility; but are these heroes really held responsible for their actions? Do they really have to save everyone? I loved that these super-powered heroes could stand up to anything ,except the judicial system.
The family aspect of “The Incredibles” was the high point of this movie. You have these two siblings that take bickering to a new level. Putting Mr. Incredible – voiced by the great Craig T. Nelson – through a midlife crisis made him likeable and more human. I think one of my favorite parts of the movie is the jungle scene when the family is finally reunited and beat up some bad guys. Speaking of which, I would be remiss not to mention Jason Lee as the voice of the villain, Syndrome. Jason Lee can do no wrong…except “Underdog” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and the two sequels. He definitely deserves a chocolate covered pretzel for those.
“The Incredibles” is a smart and poignant movie that does a marvelous job of entertaining adults and children alike. I just hope that we’ll get to see everyone’s favorite superhero family on the big screen again.
2.) The Dark Knight
In my opinion “The Dark Knight” is the pinnacle of the modern superhero movie and it was a tough choice to place this movie second on the list. ‘TDK” set such a high bar that it’s one of the reasons I wasn’t a fan of “The Dark Knight Rises,” but that’s a different story for a different day.
I can remember seeing “TDK” for the first time in theatres. I had my eyes glued to the screen for the entire first sequence and I got goosebumps when the Joker uttered his chilling first words, “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stranger.” Heath Ledger didn’t create the Joker but he sure as hell perfected it and the scene where Joker is driving down the streets of Gotham, hanging out of the cop car is eerily beautiful.
The action in this movie was top notch. The truck chase through downtown Gotham was mesmerizing and really ended with a bang. Not only was the semi-truck flipping through the air breathtaking, but seeing Joker play chicken with Batman was awesome. So many things about this movie were so utterly epic: The hospital exploding, the aforementioned bank scene, Lau’s extradition and Batman and Joker’s final battle were just a few moments that helped culminate this movie into a masterpiece.
The overall theme of chaos was great. And while the Joker was of course certifiably insane, he still had a valid point. We can try and control the world around us all we want, but will never do us any good. Chaos is unbiased, fair and inevitable.
I know what you’re probably thinking. If this movies is the ‘pinnacle’ of all superhero movies why isnt’ it number one on the list. Well, check out my reasoning below before you break out the tar and feathers.
1.) The Avengers
Okay, so putting this as my number one pick may be a bit crazy and I’ve prepared myself for the nerd tongue lashings I’m most likely going to receive; but I have my reasons and I’m sticking to them.
My number reason for putting “Avengers” at the top of the list is because this movie is the first of its kind. It’s the culmination of multiple solo movies to create one super hybrid movie unlike any other and it was orchestrated by the king of the nerds himself, Joss Whedon. I know when this movie was announced I was the first to be up in arms. There was no way that this movie would work even with Joss at the helm. How could one movie with so many characters work? Didn’t we learn anything from “Spider-Man 3?”
All I can hope is that Joss can accept my apologies for my blasphemy. I don’t know how I could’ve doubted you. Joss’ talent for orchestrating a large cast is nearly unmatched and he gave us one hell of a movie.
The high point to this movie is the main cast. Each one with their own unique powers and demons and when they’re all together they act like quibbling siblings. It was the interactions between these heroes that made this movie great! Captain America and Iron Man going back and forth with their one-liners was hilarious. Although, I won’t ruin it just in case someone reading hasn’t seen the movie – shame on you if you haven’t by the way – but Hulk and Thor probably have one of the best moments of the movie.
Of course, this movie isn’t all just one-liners. The action is absolutely balls-to-the-walls fun and the end battle was out of this world. I couldn’t contain my giddiness when Captain America takes charge and hands out orders to each member, ending with the iconic “Hulk smash.”
While I do feel that “The Dark Knight” is a superior film with a lot more substance, it never feels like a superhero movie. “The Avengers” if full of awesome action, hilarious humor and has set the bar for future Marvel and superhero movies.
Remember, I would love to hear your comments below. Tell me how awesome I am or how wrong I am. Let’s get a lively debate going. It’s what us nerds are supposed to do!
– Joe D.