Well here they are…
#1. Superman (1978). By far the best and the first of the modern day superhero movies. Without Richard Donner super hero films would never have gotten any respect, let alone any sequels. Even though I was never, nor have ever been a big fan of Margot Kidder, the rest of the cast was exceptional. Christopher Reeve brought both sides of Superman out perfectly. As a fan of the comic books as a kid, this was a dream come true. I remember sitting in the theater with the family watching this (I think we saw it at the Plaza Theater in Butler?).
#2. The Dark Knight (2008). The villain is the best in any movie ever! Heath Ledger portrays the Joker like the psychotic animal he is. He explains the chaos he dishes out with logical precision and intent. And the scary thing is, in most of the dialog he is right! Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman and Michael Caine are great supporting actors for Christian Bale’s Batman, but Ledger’s performance as the Joker stole the show. A well deserved Oscar for that!
#3. The Avengers (2012). Best ensemble cast EVER. Downey, Jackson, Johannsen, Hiddleston, Hemsworth, Ruffalo and Evans. A very entertaining film by Joss Whedon, that brought the different members of the Avengers to the screen. I still say the Tom Hiddleston’s Loki was part 1 of what made this movie. His portrayal was superb. Part 2, obviously was Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk/Banner. The best of any Hulk film (even though I really liked 2008’s The Incredible Hulk) to date. Whedon and Ruffalo hashed out who Banner was and with Downey’s Tony Stark, brought out the hero in the Hulk. My only complaint to this film was no War Machine.
# 4. The Incredibles (2004). Yeah, I know…but it IS a super hero movie. And it IS awesome! Pixar outdid themselves with this one. ‘Nuff said…except perhaps, where is a SEQUEL!???!!
#5. The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Perfect ending to a perfect super hero trilogy. Christopher Nolan has raised the bar in super her films. The entire cast was well put together and the stand-out was Anne Hathaway’s thief Catwoman. A well done film. Period.
# 6. Iron Man(2008). Robert Downey Jr. owns this movie. Like in other hero films when they name the actor to play the lead, RDJ was the perfect and only choice. He brought the good and bad traits to billionaire Tony Stark to life. He IS Iron Man. And without him, The Avengers and the films leading up to it would never have been done so well.
#7 The Incredible Hulk (2008). Edward Norton was a great choice for the scientist on the run, Dr. Bruce Banner. Unlike the horrifying 2003 Ang Lee HULK, this was a successful effort to bring reality and feeling to Banner/Hulk. It also added the ‘super soldier serum’ to the mix for what was Captain America.
#8. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). Absolutely fantastic. It was so hard not to move this one up on the list. A perfect period piece, a perfect origin story with the perfect actor as the villain. With the exception of Ledger’s Joker, Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull was fantastic. Great writing for a great film. I still think off this as a tragedy type story for the fact that Peggy and Steve only shared one kiss. And it was true love.
# 9. X-Men First Class (2011). Another exceptional super hero outing with an ensemble cast. Darker than the Avengers, it still was a great tale on how the X-Men came into being. The casting was fantastic as well, and the story complete. Stand out here is Michael Fassbender’s Erik Lensherr. As a Nazi Hunter he is unparalleled. The scene in Argentina is by far my favorite.
# 10. Superman 2 (1982). Christopher Reeve returned (not really though because they were essentially filmed at the same time) for another go as Krypton’s only son. In the first sequel he battles three baddies from Krypton imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, not released but a energy wave caused by nuclear weapons set off in space by Superman(yeah, really). Now they are coming to planet Hooston(Earth) to take over. And the ever smart Supes outwits them and wins. I remember this when I was a kid, loved it then, still love it.
# 11. Iron Man 2 (2010). Kind of interchangeable with #12. RDJ returns as Stark and with the help of Don Cheadle’s War Machine, they fight Anton Vanko. Brilliantly portrayed by Mickey Rourke. A fall from grace from Stark and redemption with the help of his dead father Howard brings Iron Man 2 to greatness for me.
# 12. Batman Begins (2005). Possibly one of the best reboots in film history. Christopher Nolan makes Bruce Wayne a real possibility. The casting was superb and the story exceptional.
# 13 Batman (1989). When they first said it was going to be made, they announced Jack Nicholson was the Joker and everyone said…Yeah. When Michael Keaton was to be Bruce Wayne, people were hesitant that it was going to be campy and a joke. They were wrong. Keaton and Nicholson not only pulled it out, but gave new life to the super hero film.
# 14. Watchmen (2009). A self enclosed hero world where the world is on the brink. A well done film, even though I thought the graphic novel was better. Stand-outs here are Rorschack, the Comedian, Daniel Drieberg (not as the Nite Owl) and Silk Specter’s leather and spandex outfit. I don’t think a sequel could be done.
# 15. X 2: X-Men United (2003). The first four minutes start this out film with a X-Men comic fan’s dream, Nightcrawler. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was well done. But as a X-Men comic fan, too little of Cyclops. The interaction between Xavier and Magneto is as good as it gets.
# 16. Spiderman 2 (2004). The best outing for Toby Mcguire’s Web Slinger. But not because of him. Doc Oc! Alfred Molina pulls the stand out best performance for the multi-armed villain (?). He brought a ‘I feel for the guy’ emotion to the character.
# 17. Ghost Rider (2007). Didn’t think I was going to like this, but I did. Nicholas Cage puts Johnny Blaze in the right frame for this comic adaptation. And the visual effects of the motorcycle and the flames did it justice.
# 18. Superman Returns (2006). There will be disagreement with me on this, but hear me out. Bryan Singer wanted to bookend the Richard Donner Superman and Superman II films. I believe he accomplished that. And with Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, you couldn’t go wrong. I really loved this film, even after the crappy Superman 3 and 4 films(ugh). This was well done and was also added to by the music by John Ottman. Not quite John Williams, but then, who is?
# 19. V for Vendetta (2005). A graphic novel turned film, well done in every respect. A must see. Hugo Weaving was incredible as V.
#20. Thor (2011). Kenneth Brannagh came through and made Thor believable and entertaining. It was not an ‘action’ film per se, but it did tell the story of how Thor came here and became a trusted member of the Avengers.
X-Men (2000). Great cast and a great set-up for sequels.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007). Only one problem with this film was the lack of a true Galactus.
The Amazing Spiderman (2012). Actually liked this!
Batman Returns (1992). Keaton did a good job and Michelle Pfeiffer’s leather outfit was sexy. And Christopher Walken, come on!!