The Threeway: Top 3 Superhero Movies (Janie’s Take)

Okay, my turn.   I understand both Adam & Anthony’s opinions and agree with some of them.  But some…not so much.

Here’s my take on Superhero films (which I fear is going to lead to me receiving some sort of Pollyanna label): I like my heroes to be heroes. There are exceptions to that rule, because I don’t mind my heroes to be a wee bit naughty (a la Tony Stark). But I’m a little sick of the tortured hero.  I get it, we all struggle with the battle of good and evil within each of us.  But with where I am in my life, I want less Dark Knight and more Captain America.

I guess I said that to prepare everyone for why none of the Dark Knight pics made it onto my list. Without further ado, my favorites:

#3: The Fifth Element

Okay, go ahead and scoff, but I’m putting it on the list anyway. Leeloo is perhaps more alien than superhero, but the fact is: she has superhuman strength, is willing to sacrifice herself to fight evil, and she has a costume*. Thus, in my book, she’s a superhero. Add that to Bruce Willis’ antihero and you’ve got a great mix. I loved this movie in 1997. Still do.

Plus, let’s face it, part of my job on this blog is to bring the ladies into the geek conversation as much as possible.  If we want to have a real discussion, let’s talk about the serious lack of female superhero movies. I mean, what do you want me to put on the list, ElectraCatwoman? Barb Wire???

* – if you don’t believe that’s a costume, wait until I wear it for Comic Con 2014

#2 The Incredibles

I know, I know, the mother of four speaks.  But I want to say first that I am not a big animated film fan, so for me to put this on the list should be a statement of how much I like it.  This is storytelling at its very best. It’s gut-bustingly funny, appeals to adults and children, has awesome action, but most importantly has heart. A classic from the moment it hit the screen.

Ummm… and did I mention I loved this movie so much we named our youngest daughter JacJac?

#1 The Avengers

Two words: Joss Whedon.  You’ve either seen it and love it or you don’t have a pulse. ‘Nuff said.

(And every night I say a prayer to the Hollywood gods that they will make a Black Widow/Hawkeye spinoff. In the name of Spielberg, Scorsese, and Hitchcock. Amen.)

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The Threeway: Top 3 Superhero Movies (Anthony’s Take)

Because 10 items is just too damn much for Monday morning.

While I agree with some of what my compatriot says, I have no compunctions about adding new or recent movies to my top lists. Nor do I have some sort of nostalgic hang-up where Christoper Reeves’ Superman brings back memories of hot vinyl backseats and trapped B.O.

However, I will readily admit that my love for various characters, and various portrayals of them, will promote movies to a higher standing than they likely deserve. Then again, we’re talking superhero movies; not “Citizen Kane.” Characters are the tent poles upon which the gauzy veil of plot and logic is draped.

My list after the jump!

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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.