There is no doubt about the fact that superhero flicks are a love-all game because they appeal to every section of the society and have been around for quite a significant amount of time. While early superhero films were more into entertainment and earning money, with the passage of time they have become more artistic and have experimented on various levels with some flicks giving a darker tone to the generally lighter and enjoyable genre.
I’m not talking about the movies of the 20th century because I don’t feel they appeal much to our current audiences primarily due to the fact that the visual and special effects as well as the costumes have become much better than what they were in the 60s and 70s. Moreover, the genre saw a fall in the 90s only to be revived after Bryan Singer directed X-Men in 2000. After that, inspite of a few lows, the genre and its movies have never failed to entertain the audiences and have even gone through revolutions primarily after Christopher Nolan directed Batman Begins in 2005 and gave the genre a darker as well as artistic blend.
Here we take a look at some of those movies which blew our mind and proved to be worth our money, time and discussions.
Honourable Mentions: –
10. Iron Man (2008)
Show me one person who doesn’t like this movie! It was made around the time when DC Studios was flying high owing to the success of The Dark Knight Trilogy while Marvel wasn’t doing quite well with its flicks (like Fantastic Four Series, X-Men: The Last Stand and The Incredible Hulk) being received poorly by both audiences and critics. The success of Iron Man revived Marvel and since then it hasn’t looked back. Iron Man had everything you wanted in an Iron Man movie and Robert Downey Jr’s presence was a bonus. He created one of the most stylish and loved characters of the superhero genre and Iron Man wouldn’t have been what it is today without him. It isn’t that the film did something big or revolutionary, it rather picked up all the hackneyed elements of the genre and presented them in the most lucrative manner due to which people still love to watch it.
9. X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014)
I won’t deny that there weren’t obvious and silly flaws in the movie but critics didn’t claim it to be the best X-Men film (of that time) just like that. Audiences and critics, both had loved the new X-Men in X-Men: First Class and putting them alongside the actors of the original X-Men trilogy was not only great over paper but spectacular on screen as well. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy put their heart into their characters and delivered quite memorable performances. Overall the flick didn’t put you back on your seat once it started and hence it gets its brownie points for the same.
8. Doctor Strange (2016)
Say whatever you want to about this movie but you cannot deny simply that no other movie has ever been as visually grand as this one and if you have seen this movie in theatres in 3D, you know the experience I’m talking about. The performances of the cast were convincingly good and the punchlines/dialogues were clap-worthy. But nothing matches the grandeur of the visual effects in the movie and the way they were directed. Doctor Strange astonished and wowed the audiences in the similar manner as Christopher Reeve’s Superman had done in 1978 with its visual effects and action scenes. I maybe going out of line but for me, no other movie comes remotely close to this flick in terms of visual grandeur and I guess Scott Derrickson and his technical team deserve a hell lot of appreciation for the same.
7. Watchmen (2009)
If any DC movie other than The Dark Knight Trilogy films has been worth your time, then it has to be Watchmen which is based on a graphic novel series of the same name. I accept that the comic version is arguably one of the best works of literature and the film version comes nowhere close to that (which is a matter of shame), yet I can’t deny the fact that it wasn’t any less spectacular. The story ideation, the dark tone, the violence as well the character build-up was outstanding and hence even with a less popular (yet brilliant) cast, it managed to fare well at the box office. It feels strange at times that it was directed by Zack Snyder, the man behind the debacle of Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice and I won’t be lying if I say that his direction along with the cinematography were one of the highest points of the film. Largely misunderstood by a section of critics and audience, this movie deserves its due credits and appreciation for being different than most usual superhero flicks and yet being magnificent.
6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
I don’t know what most of you think but the first instalment of the Captain America Trilogy ie Captain America: The First Avenger was an extremely insipid and poorly written movie which made the excellence of the second instalment a delightful surprise. Captain America was never a popular superhero in India and consequently Chris Evans wasn’t as revered for his superhero portrayal as Robert Downey Jr is for Iron Man until Anthony and Joe Russo directed him in this flick (The tables turned rather and people were confused whom to support in the sequel). The Winter Soldier did what a superhero flick should do best, ie keep the audience thrilled throughout the run and once the fun started, there were no punctuations. The action sequences were highly entertaining and the plot twists were equally effective making this flick a winner in every aspect.
5. The Dark Knight (2008)
Contrary to what most people and critics think, I seldom considered The Dark Knight as the greatest superhero film of all time let alone of the trilogy itself. The reason is primarily because of the disregard it had for its hero in favour of its villains and I would consider it to be one rare feature which is both well and poorly written. For most of the sequences the film concentrated on a love triangle instead of the crimes in Gotham City which was kind of disengaging. Nevertheless, the film has many great moments, quotes and the performances of the cast along with Nolan’s direction alleviated it from its faults. The love story, though a crack in the wall, was good enough to be liked by the audience and finally the movie gave us one of the most memorable villains of all times “Heath Ledger’s Joker”.
4. Batman Begins (2005)
Batman Begins wasn’t just a superhero movie; it was a game changer. It showed the world how a superhero movie should be made and that the genre is not only about flying or jumping characters or breaking cars or buildings. Nolan gave the genre what it always wanted, an artistic and darker view and his bravado produced great results. Christian Bale gave one of the best portrayals of Batman in cinema history and I consider his performance in this flick as one of the best in the superhero genre. The movie explored the depth and emotions of the characters perfectly and the action sequences added to the grandeur. Batman Begins is arguably one of the best origins story which gets better with every viewing.
3. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
When people went to the theatres to watch this movie, they hardly knew the grandeur they would be witnessing. Russo Brothers did it again and even better than the previous time, Chris Evans gave his all in for this flick and the result was a splendour. No superhero movie has blended drama along with its superhero elements as immaculately as this flick has done and it’s interesting to note that Russo Brothers did that with a magnanimous cast with loads of talent. The only thing wrong with this movie was its title; for me it should have been an Avengers’ movie and surely it was. The good thing about the movie was that every character got its space even though the film was primarily based on Captain America. The Intra-Avengers Duel is definitely one of the most memorable moments in the history of superhero films and Spider-Man’s cameo was a smart choice which gave stellar results. Take the action sequences, the visual effects, the plot, the thrill, the performance and any other element you want to study, Civil War excelled in every aspect and was a high-octane entertainer which made it not just one of the best films of 2016 but also one of the best movies ever produced by Marvel Studios.
2. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
I found in this flick what I felt was missing in its prequel, an unbiased showdown between the hero and the antagonist. I agree that Bane outpowered Batman as he had done in the comics but it didn’t mean that our hero couldn’t give him a tough fight which he did towards the end of the movie. The Dark Knight Rises quite serenely correlates itself with the other two movies of the trilogy which makes the plot sublime. Every character is given its space and every actor gets an opportunity to showcase his/her acting skills. I do not agree with the arguments that Tom Hardy’s Bane was of no match to Ledger’s Joker because we don’t compare apples with oranges. Both the characters had different persona, different aims and different origin stories. None was any weaker or less intimidating or less challenging to Batman than the other. Tom Hardy gave a sterling performance and so did his on-screen nemesis Christian Bale and so did every other actor. The movie has some great moments and some beautiful quotes as well, with my favourite being the montage in which Batman reveals his true identity to Gordon. For me, it’s the best movie made by DC Studios and was my favourite superhero film before the next one.
1. Logan (2017)
James Mangold did everything in Logan what one shouldn’t do in a superhero movie and yet rendered a blinder! What separates Logan from other superhero flicks is that it isn’t one completely at all! If you have seen the movie, you know that the film was run mostly by drama instead of superhero action. Getting deep into the concept of family, love, pain and death, Logan gives you goosebumps several times in its runtime and although it does compromise with the amount of action involved, yet it doesn’t let you down with the quality of the same. The action sequences are more than outstanding and the thrill in them is unparalleled. The dark tone and violence, the occasional quirky humour, the deeper insight of the characters blended with high-octane action sequences make Logan more than just an entertainer. It talks several times about peace and happiness but seldom tries to make you happy. You know what’s going to happen in this flick right from the beginning and yet you are kept hooked onto your seats imagining “what’s next”!
The chemistry of Logan and Xavier is one of the most endearing things I have witnessed in world cinema and is much more powerful than most love stories. The performances of the cast were splendidly riveting; the flick gave us some of the greatest performances in the history of superhero films and forgive me for saying this but I consider Hugh Jackman’s performance in Logan as the greatest performance in a superhero film. Logan is a revolutionary movie in the superhero genre and I hope future movies take inspirations from it as many took from The Dark Knight Trilogy. Experimental in nature, this movie can be categorised into several genres. Be it superhero genre, thriller, action-drama, road-movie, a neo-western, a dystopian movie or loosely a coming-of-age-drama; Logan is a great movie in whatever category you put it in and is, hands down, the greatest superhero movie to have ever been made.
You may wish to see this: Logan Review