The Threeway: Top 3 Superhero Movies

This weekend’s Top 3 is something, that I imagine, we’ll revisit in time. It is also one that I think will have some fun disagreements.

The top 3 superhero movies is an interesting idea. There is no question that superhero films are in the midst of a fantastical rebirth (that can be traced to either “X-Men” or “Iron Man” depending on your viewpoint. But, ever before that, a smattering of great “Superman” films by Richard Donner graced the screen (and let’s not forget the first real superhero juggernaut film in Tim Burton’s “Batman.”)

Spoiler Alert… “The Dark Knight” doesn’t appear on my list. This is really for two reasons:

  1. It is 30 minutes to long. More to the point, you can actually take whole chunks out of that movie and you wouldn’t miss a beat (like anything to do with China). It is horrible bloat that makes the final product suffer.
  2. It is obvious that Nolan would love to make a Batman movie without the pesky Batman. That comes up again in “Dark Knight Rises.” Batman is completely “shoe horned” in to an otherwise great movie. “Dark Knight” may be the greatest Michael Mann movie that Mann didn’t direct. As a crime-thriller, it is great. As a Superhero movie… it isn’t.
  3. (I know I said 2…) I honestly enjoyed “Dark Knight Rises” a lot more. DKR isn’t as good of a film, but it’s a better movie.

So, what are my Top 3…?

Assemble3. “The Avengers” – I hate, hate, hate putting a recent movie on this list. I feel that movies (especially Superhero ones, for some reason) live “in the moment” of the cultural mindset. I’m afraid that upon re-watching this I won’t like it as much. I fear that a viewing at home will render a fantastic cinematic experience moot. I hope not. For now – I love the “Avengers” and it has assembled in the Top 3. It is almost perfect (although, again, it is bloated. Trimming 15 minutes from this would have upped the amazing). The dialogue, the action, the set pieces, the end battle – this is a great comic book movie.

2. “Superman 2” – this has an assist to “Superman” as well. They are interchangeable to me in the terms of this list. I think “Superman” is the best origin story ever filmed (and, honestly, one of the two things I think “Superman Returns” got right was not retelling it). “Superman 2” was the perfect action Superman IIfollow up. I vividly remember being trapped on a month long car trip vacation the summer “Superman 2” opened. Somewhere halfway through it (probably around Virginia) my parents bought me a “Superman 2” movie magazine. I read it constantly the rest of the time time. That memory means more to me now, as I buy my son similar magazines, and I watch him rifle through them. I’ve recently re-watched “Superman II” with my son and it still holds up.

1. “Spider-Man 2” – From start to finish Sam Raimi knocked this out of the park. It is, without a doubt, the most “Character-centric” superhero film ever. Character drives everything in this movie and it does it fantastically. But, that’s only half the equation. If this was just a great character study it wouldn’t have made the list. It is also exciting, fun, thrilling… let’s sum it up with “spectacular” or “amazing” or some other adjective that has appeared as a comic book title with the Spiderman masthead.Spiderman 2

Feel free to disagree below. Maybe you think that I should have throw in “Dark Knight,” or “Iron Man” or “Condorman.” Throw down with some thoughts below.

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2 thoughts on “The Threeway: Top 3 Superhero Movies

  1. The Avengers is the best film, and I rather TASM than Spider-Man 2 (barely). But Spider-Man 2 comes third, with TDK fourth and TDKR fifth.

    • I haven’t had a chance to see TASM yet. I wanted to see it before I wrote this, but timing came down to that or TDKR – so I went the Batman route. I may have to amend the list once I see it. I consider Spider-man 2 pretty transcendent to the genre though. The character focus of it, while keeping a solid pace and action, will be hard to beat.

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