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August 01 2012

Avengers ranked fourth In "Ten Greatest Superhero Movies of All Time". Not bad. But some would rank it higher.

Hard to argue. The genre originator, Pixar, and The Dark Knight are all worthy
I think part of the issue is that comic books have no singular identity, so someone who like the titles that are a mix of comedy, and sci-fi fantasy are gonna put The Avengers or The Incredibles higher than a Burton or Nolan Batman film, while those who want dark and gritty are gonna soak up Batman over Superman or the Avengers' cinematic showings.

I personally loved both The Avengers and Nolan's Bat trilogy to bits because both Joss and Chris Nolan understood what their character(s) need in the way of tone and message when it came to their respective films. And that shows in all of the mentions on the list, especially the top 5: respect and desire to flesh out and explore a character or six in ways that other attempts lost or let loose in the wrong way.

[ edited by BlueEyedBrigadier on 2012-08-02 02:03 ]
Newsrama named it as the #2 best comic book movie ever.

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-best-comic-book-movies-110625-1.html
That... is a pretty great list that is very hard to argue with. I think my only changes would be to move Incredibles down below the Avengers... Slide Spidey 2 below Iron Man and Batman... And maybe trade out Batman Returns for... something else. Batman Begins comes to mind... but, maybe something I'm just not thinking of at the moment.

Oh and I think I'd have to put the top three(now revised to my likings: Dark Knight, Superman, Avengers) as a three way tie for first >.<

Oh, I know with that note, and some help from the other top ten post listed - I'll make tenth be a three way tie between Batman Begins, Scott Pilgrim, and the new Amazing Spiderman movie...

Ok... I guess that's cheating...

[ edited by DreamRose311 on 2012-08-01 22:50 ]
Ugh, here it goes again with TDK being overrated -_-

Avengers is THE definition of a superhero comic book film, to me. Nolan's work on Batman makes those films crime dramas; The Avengers feels like a comic book superhero film.
Hard to argue. The genre originator, Pixar, and The Dark Knight are all worthy.

Hmmm. I re-watched Superman the other day--not having seen it since it first came out(!). Man, did it fail to live up to my memories. The first part, the origin story up to the end of the Smallville years, is actually pretty terrific, and genuinely presages the modern, more adult-skewed superhero story. The second part, though--which is the bulk of the film--is pretty awful. Reeve is great, but Hackman's Lex Luthor is straight out of the Batman TV series--campy, stupid and silly. It's impossible to take him remotely seriously as a villain, and the "Lois is in peril" stuff at the end seems hokey and contrived. And that's just leaving aside the ridiculous time-travel ending.

Superman deserves credit for being an important step in the evolution of a genre, but it really doesn't deserve to be rated higher than The Avengers as a movie.

(Standard Disclaimer: all attempts to provide ranked lists of works of art are absurd and exist only to provoke pointless argument on the internet.)
Can't really say I agree.

The Dark Knight, sure, I'm happy with saying that's in the top three. Not sure if I'd say it's number one. Not because it isn't that good, but I'm generally not a fan of ranking things that are vastly different. I could think of things The Dark Knight could have done better, but it's still a fantastic movie.

The Incredibles? It's really good, but I'm not sure it's top three for me. However, this also is a case of impossible to rank. It's a really solid movie, but how can one say whether it's better or worse than any other really solid movie?

Superman...this is where I really disagree. Not because it's all bad, but because the ending is too far-fetched and unexplained and out of nowhere for the movie to really work. It's a deus ex rectum. Superman spins the world backward to go back in time? Sure, Superman himself is pretty much impossible, but nothing about the presence of Superman suggests that the Earth suddenly works like a gramophone. There's suspension of disbelief and then there's absurdity.

The presence of an X-Men movie that's not First Class is also something I really disagree with. X2 wasn't that good. It was relatively non-disappointing in comparison to X-Men, X3 and Origins:Wolverine, but it threw too many disconnected storylines into one movie and rushed through a lot of them, while also (as all of the X-Men movies, including First Class) getting bloated with unnecessary characters.

I kind of feel similarly about Spider-Man 2 as well. It's not bad, but to me, The Amazing Spider-Man felt more emotionally honest.

But what I most disagree with is the absence of Kick-Ass. How is Kick-Ass not on the list, while both of Tim Burton's Batman movies are? Hell, I'd put Mystery Men and The Specials ahead of a few of the things on this list.

[ edited by GreatMuppetyOdin on 2012-08-01 23:03 ]
Superman spins the world backward to go back in time?

The ending is stupid, yes, but not THAT stupid. He's not spinning the world backward, he's going so fast that he starts to go back in time (thus, subjectively, from his perspective, the world starts to turn in reverse).

Yes, this is still ridiculous--if nothing else because the whole cliff-hanger drama that has lead to Lois's death hangs on the idea that Superman cannot fly fast enough to deal with two widely separated disasters--but it at least has SOME inherent logic.
I'd put Superman II on the list but otherwise it's not too bad.
I suppose I might be the only one who thinks The Amazing Spider-Man belongs in any superhero top 10. That film was fantastic. I'm as big a Joss fan as anyone, and I loved The Avengers to bits, but I honestly thought The Amazing Spider-Man was a better movie. Mind you, those two films are almost impossible to compare, what with the major balancing-act that is The Avengers... The Amazing Spider-Man just had so much heart and character, while also being fun. The Avengers has less time for heart and character and in a way it plays that out very well (SO MUCH LAUGHING), but it's also its biggest weakness in my humble opinion.
Why is there not more of an outlash here? The Incredibles is the NUMBER TWO GREATEST SUPERHERO MOVIE OF ALL TIME?!? What the-?! It's a good movie, sure, but NO. NO. NO.

I think the films on the list are all good picks...it's cool that The Rocketeer was included. That's kind of an obscure and overlooked one. But I definitely don't agree with the order. The Dark Knight was great, of course, but thats the kind of movie I can only watch every so often. The thing that made the Avengers so great for me is I could watch it a couple times in a very short span time and not be ridiculously tired of it. For me, that would make Avengers the best of all time.

However, I understand putting TDK at the top. I don't get The Incredibles. Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Superman II are two important and spectacular superhero films that are better that some of the movies lower on the list (and the first Hellboy is probably as well). Those two or three should have been on there.
Some of their choices I wouldn't even put on a list of good movies much less best superhero movies. Glad to see The Incredibles is getting its props. I can see the argument for it being #1 but I'm going with the Avengers.
Batman Returns? Really? Not sure how you can consider that over films like Hellboy 2, or as Simon mentioned, Superman II. And if you need to stick with Batman, Mask of the Phantasm is still a better movie.
As a parent, I LOVE The Incredibles. The family is essentially the Fantastic Four retooled, the background is the Keene Act, and yet everything feels fresh and original, even though it is just super-hero salad laid over the top of a suburban family.

I also love The Rocketeer. I loved its faithful adaptation of the ethos and feel of the old serials... Gangsters allying with the FBI to fight Nazis on U.S. Soil? Gotta love it. Glad to see it made the list.

I really liked X2. Consider that for all its faults, it did what nothing else had really tried: it did the hero team well. It gave 'em all something non-origin to do. In many ways, X2 paved the way for The Avengers.

All the other movies seem to be appropriate on that list. None of them are completely displaced, and the ones that seem kind of hokey in retrospect are the ones which broke ground for the others... the giants on whose shoulders The Avengers and The Dark Knight stand.
"The Incredibles" is essential. I don't know how there's two Burton Batman flicks and no "The Dark Knight Rises" or "Batman Begins" -- any of the Nolan flicks are better than either of the Burton. I would have to really work to put them in some order, but the ten I would work with are Incredibles, Avengers, Superman, Superman II, Spider-Man 2, the entire Nolan Batman arc, Kick-Ass, and Iron Man. I'd love to shove Rocketeer in there, but I'm not sure which of those 10 I'd leave out for it.
A film like X-Men, which used Anna Paquin's Rogue as the introduction to the world of mutants, deserves to be high on the list for the way it led us into that world. It built up a universe softly, so that by the time she meets Wolverine we're committed to the "reality" of it.

Since Avengers did not have to do that universe building (thanks to Iron Man etc), it must be judged on how imaginative it was with what it already had to use - much like a sequel needs to justify itself even more than an original film does - and it just wasn't that imaginative. Really. The first act was masterful in the way the threat was introduced (the bridge opening up), but after that, it was pretty uninspired: A group of superheroes come together on a flying Destroyer, become pals, and have a showdown in a city.

I'm aware those acts were mandated and were not Joss' invention, so I don't think it should offend to point out that it was conventional, and not even as complex as many comic books. Joss wrote some great dialogue (especially what he wrote for Black Widow), but the story itself was pretty uninspired.

[ edited by will.bueche on 2012-08-02 05:27 ]
I agree that the most recent Spider-Man was terrific. Sadly, I think it will not get a lot of credit, since it follows too closely on the heels of Raimi's excellent Spidey 1 and 2 (I'm pretending 3 didn't happen), and didn't really break any significant new ground.

I also think that Watchmen was a wonderful, albeit underrated and flawed, superhero movie. I think it's certainly better than one or two on this list.

For the most part though, I think it's not a bad list. It's biggest flaw, I think, was not giving the Avengers the number one or at least the number two slot.

For me, The Avengers is very much number one. All due respect to Dark Knight, which was spectacular, but it kinda forgot to be fun. The Avengers has it all. It is the Star Wars of superhero movies.

I just really really hope they can get Joss on board for the sequel.

[ edited by Squishy on 2012-08-02 05:30 ]
They lost me at "Batman Returns" being last.
My basic take is that The Avengers is the best comic book movie ever made and The Dark Knight is the best graphic novel movie ever made. Hope that makes sense.
(But I know I'm in the minority - I also think Superman Returns should be up there, for how it took someone as utterly familiar as Superman (and therefore difficult to make a good sequel from) and managed to make a statement about the nature of mortality and the peace that can come from accepting the continuation of life in others besides yourself. Brilliant. But hated by most filmgoers. Sigh.)
Wow. I have never seen anyone on any site say that the first act of Avengers was the best part of that movie. Forgive me if I am reading you wrong but I never thought I'd see that statement anywhere let alone on this site. Avengers' 3rd act is a beautiful romp that never lets go of your attention until the credits roll. Every scene from the attack on the hellicarrier to the final montage is done well and I'd put that(hour?) against any action movie. Avengers only falters in its opening scene with the stiff acting and uninteresting dialogue(heresy!) but once the film gets going it just can't stop.
Wouldn't the best graphic novel movie actually be Watchmen or Sin City or V for Vendetta? Maybe even History of Violence(I haven't seen it but I hear its good). I always wish Road to Perdition would get more love. Dark Knight is the best adaption of a comic villain.
Watchmen was an abortion of a movie that took an amazing story and destroyed it. Do not give that movie any credit. It was terrible.
WHERE IS HELLBOY??? Seriously, it is my favorite superhero movie ever.

And I will stand up forever for Batman Returns, which is still my favorite Batman movie ever. It's maybe not a great Batman interpretation for the screen, but a great Burton movie about weirdo, outcast misfits and has one of the all-time great performances, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. She and Michael Keaton also have one of the best romantic relationships in all of the genre to boot too.

And I will concur that Watchmen was indeed a horrible adaptation of Moore's graphic novel.
Wow... I like the Hell Boy movies more than half the stuff on that list... I guess I'm in a minority on that one.

ETA: Somehow missed your post, dottikin!

[ edited by QingTing on 2012-08-02 17:24 ]
The Incredibles is an amazing movie and I can't praise it enough.

The Dark Knight and Batman Begins are very good and I still can't decide which one I prefer. Haven't seen the third movie yet.

The Avengers made me grin like an idiot (it's a positive thing!) for the entire movie, but I still need to see it in english. One more month until I get my hands on the Blu Ray _.
In the Batman Returns review: " It could be argued that the entire film is an internal struggle for control of Batman's soul. Every character is a reflection of some piece of his fractured psyche."

I feel like I recently read something very similar about Mal Reynolds and his crew...
What I wonder is, does nobody remember that the great and consuming peril of "Batman Returns" was a bunch of frakking penguins, literal penguins, marching about with cartoonish fireworks strapped to their backs? I'm still at a loss as to how conventional wisdom ever decided that that movie was actually better than Burton's original. I'm trying to take my ten and put them in order, and right now it's mostly whether I think TDK or TDKR is best, and whether whichever one isn't my #1 could also actually be my #3 behind "Avengers".
This list sucks. Squishy said it best above: "The Avengers is the Star Wars of superhero movies."

I'm surprised there aren't more people here saying so. Why are people here reluctant to proclaim that their favorite writer/director made the best Superhero movie ever. Just because you are biased, doesn't mean its not true.

What other movie on this list does EVERYTHING that Avengers does and does it anywhere near as well? Answer: None!
Action - check
Comedy - check
Drama - check
Acting - check
Production values - check

If I could only watch one of those movies ever again, you can be damn sure it would be The Avengers.

[ edited by Penthos on 2012-08-02 19:14 ]
My favourite isn't there - Unbreakable. It does say superhero, not comic book. Still like Tim Burton more than Nolan, Batmanwise.
You did WhatsaSteveadore. In the list of best Whedon characters that is said about Malcom and his crew apparently originally said by Nathan Fillion.
@redeem147 - YES! Unbreakable was great - the most subtle (maybe understated is a better word) superhero movie ever - made it seem like it could be true.

On Batman Returns - yes, the penguins were stupid. However, as Dottikin said, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and the relationship between Catwoman and Batman in that movie more than makes up for the penguins.
That list is not bad, but even if I liked "The Dark Knight" I also think that it's not a true superhero movie. It feels more like a very good thriller to me.

"Superman : the movie" remains number 1 in my eyes, Christopher Reeve gave such strength and beauty to Superman, I've never seen a better superhero on screen since.

"The Avengers" is right below.
"Spider-man 2" is not far behind. And "The Amazing Spider-Man" might be the most useless superhero movie ever, what a disappointment.
Re: Road To Perdition - I Looooooovveeeddd that movie, but had NO CLUE that it was based on a graphic novel!!

Gotta add to the Unbreakable love.

KoC - If you want some help with your decision, The Dark Knight is better, and TDKR can definitely go below the Avengers. And below Batman Begins for me...

Nico-Angel - why did you find Amazing Spider-Man to be useless? (curiosity)

I still don't get the Watchmen hatred... Like I can understand hating it, but as far as an abomination of the comics? I guess my problem was when I read the comics first, the ending had been so hyped up to me that I found it disappointing... *shrug*

I wanted to love Hellboy so bad, I tried watching it four times and fell asleep every single time :o/ I hear the second one is better, but I don't want to watch it without making it through the first...

Oh! and "My basic take is that The Avengers is the best comic book movie ever made and The Dark Knight is the best graphic novel movie ever made. Hope that makes sense." That's a really cool way to put it

[ edited by DreamRose311 on 2012-08-02 17:04 ]
@DreamRose311 : Well I thought that "The Amazing Spider-Man" completely failed to justify the reboot. It didn't bring anything new to the franchise, and I thought the "untold story" was a real scam. Maybe it was a little darker and less kitsch than 2002's Spidey but it lacked the fun factor in my eyes.

Sam Raimi's movies were fun, they had heart and felt like a comic book. Plus I think Tobey Maguire is a much more believable Peter Parker than Andrew Garfield (who I liked in everything else).

That's my opinion.
Oh I definitely agree that it doesn't justify a reboot... the only justification there is that Sony had to reboot to keep hold of the rights, since they weren't going to get Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire back for another one...

I guess I missed out on the "untold story" bit (advertising I assume?), but I kinda liked Andrew Garfield better as PP. Or maybe, it might be more right that I liked the more inventive side of him, with him building the contraptions for shooting web, and him being a bit more math/science smart.

It helps that Emma Stone just...makes everything infinitely awesome...

I think perhaps the perfect Spider Man movie would be some kind of combination of the new one and the Sam Raimi ones.
YOINK -

Agree that AVENGERS is objectively a better film than SUPERMAN, but when compiling such lists, I do think it;s important to provide context. SUPERMAN originated the superhero as we understand them in the comics, and the movie did the same. Is it kinda cheesy and dumb now? Sure. But it also brought the superhero to life on the silver screen in a way which hadn't been done before, and it reflected its source material of the time. As the comics have become more sophisticated, so have the movies, but in 1978, the impact of seeing Christopher Reeve fly, to see that incredibly warm, iconic, noble performance, I would argue that THE AVENGERS (a superior film) didn't have quite the same impact on today's movie goer as SUPERMAN did to the patrons of 1978.
But it also brought the superhero to life on the silver screen in a way which hadn't been done before, and it reflected its source material of the time. As the comics have become more sophisticated, so have the movies, but in 1978, the impact of seeing Christopher Reeve fly, to see that incredibly warm, iconic, noble performance, I would argue that THE AVENGERS (a superior film) didn't have quite the same impact on today's movie goer as SUPERMAN did to the patrons of 1978.

That's a reasonable argument, but then the question is "what are we ranking?" If it's a list of "superhero films that had the greatest impact on how the genre is defined" or "superhero films that had the greatest impact on their contemporary audience" then I can see a pretty good argument (yours, for example) for ranking Superman above Avengers. If it's just "which is the better film," though (with the obvious caveat that any such judgment is subjective) my own personal judgment is that The Avengers leaves Superman in the dust.
But to be fair, the best comic book movie of all time is "Ghost World". It's a fantastic film. Btw has anyone seen the Russian superhero movie "Black Lightning?"
YOINK -

Indeed. That's what makes list tricky. Not only will lists differ, but HOW to make the list will differ too.

When compiling a list of greatest ever sprinters, I would put Jesse Owens right up there. But a journeyman middle-of-the-pack sprinter of today would leave Mr. Owens for dust in a head to head race. A list of fastest men ever will not include Owens, but a list of GREATEST sprinters should. How do you define greatness? I believe the only way to judge greatness is to look at its impact of the time and the tools at its disposal. Because Jesse Owens never had modern sciences for training, and SUPERMAN never had THE AVENGERS' sophisticated audience, source material, or film making techniques, it's not fair to pit them against one another directly.

Objectively, THE AVENGERS is the better movie in every single way (actually, Chris Reeve's Superman is the best judged performance between both movies, for me anyway), but in 30 years, when comic book movies are all the more complex and beautifuly crafted, I will be back on sites like this, reminding everyone of just how much of a feat THE AVENGERS was, and just how much ground was broken by that movie, and it shouldn't be so quickly relegated down the list just because the genre has come so far.
I don't know that I'd call Hellboy a superhero movie. If it is, I put Darkman on the list too.

I can only stand Superman II if it's the Donner cut.
Superman II has the world's greatest hero give up his powers for a girl. For that one choice alone, it could never be a great movie, for me.
Objectively, THE AVENGERS is the better movie in every single way (actually, Chris Reeve's Superman is the best judged performance between both movies, for me anyway), but in 30 years, when comic book movies are all the more complex and beautifuly crafted, I will be back on sites like this, reminding everyone of just how much of a feat THE AVENGERS was, and just how much ground was broken by that movie, and it shouldn't be so quickly relegated down the list just because the genre has come so far.

I'm not sanguine about the inexorable advance of the genre in the way you seem to be. It's not as if people in the 1970s (or 60s, 50s, 40s, 30s, and 20s) were incapable of making films that would last forever as rich and compelling experiences. Comedies haven't inexorably rendered Ball of Fire a tedious historical curiosity, musicals haven't soared indisputably beyond Singing in the Rain, film noir hasn't given us much to compare with The Maltese Falcon or The Big Sleep in the last thirty years etc. etc.

I'm pretty confident that in 30 years time The Avengers will still be a very enjoyable ride. Superman--for me, at least--just isn't.
Well, "comedies" are a much, much broader genre than "comic-book" movies. The last decade or so has seen an explosion, but before that, you're looking at Supes and Bats as the only credible presences. The source material has much yet to be realised, 75 years of stories. That's why I think we are in a period of growth.
Well, "comedies" are a much, much broader genre than "comic-book" movies

Perhaps, but "superhero movies" isn't any more narrow a genre than, say "film noir" or "screwball comedy" or "western" or "sci-fi movie" or what have you. I don't see much evidence that genres, in general, either take a long time to hit their peak (superhero movies seem to be something of an outlier here) or that they tend to improve notably across, say, more than a decade. In fact, it's a safer bet that the movie-going public will lose interest in the entire genre in 30 years (see what happened to Westerns, Film Noir, Musicals etc.) than that they will continue on an ever-increasing trajectory of artistic excellence.

I see Superman as an important step in the painfully slow development of the superhero movie genre from trash to treasure--but I don't see any likelihood that the genre as a whole will continue that upward trajectory. That's not to say that more great superhero movies won't be made (lets hope Joss Whedon gets a chance to direct one of them), but that there's really no reason at this stage not to think that the genre is as "mature" as it is ever going to be.

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