By: Mark Di Stefano
With The Dark Knight Rises coming out this Friday, we at Reel 2 Reality wanted to get into the superhero spirit by giving you our top ten superhero movies from 2000 and above. In the past ten years or so there have been darker themes introduced with some franchises, some have taken a comedic approach to the genre, and some have stayed true to it. Here is my top ten list for best superhero movies:
Rainn Wilson plays a Frank Darbo who, when his wife was kidnapped by a drug kingpin, conjures up the idea that his superhero identity, “The Crimson Bolt,” is the only way to save his wife. The black comedy is very gruesome and dark at points, but it’s a unique spin on what a superhero can mean, even if you’re the only one who believes in it.
9). Batman Begins
The first in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, this film is the origin story of the dark knight. When Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed right in front of his very eyes as a child, he embarks on a journey around the world in the criminal underworld to learn the skills he would eventually need to fight crime in Gotham. The film had less action and thrills then it’s sequels but it was a far better take on the superhero then the ones that came before it.
When a kid gets tired of seeing bad things happen around him, he creates his own superhero named “Kick-Ass” and his only weapons are nunchuks. After he becomes an internet sensation he gets help from other superheros to fight a stronger evil. With a great ensemble cast and great performances from Nicholas Cage and Chloe-Grace Moretz among others, the film garnered a loyal following after its release.
7). X-Men: First Class
The film tells the origin story’s of both Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (a.k.a. Magneto), how their paths crossed and how it led to X-Men. The setting is the 1960’s when Charles and Erik gather mutants to stop a ruthless mutant who’s out to start World War 3. The performances are brilliant across the board, and it makes up for the mistakes of X-Men: The Last Stand.
6). Iron Man
Jon Favreau’s take on billionaire/philanthropist Tony Stark is what kicked off the Marvel movement of films that would later come. Robert Downey Jr.’s take on Stark was narcissistic, sarcastic, a dash of heart, and it all adds up to a memorable performance.
5). Captain America: The First Avenger
The film about America’s first Avenger was a great way to lead into this year’s The Avengers. Chris Evans captured the idealism and patriotism of Steve Rodgers and Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull proved to be his menacing counterpart.
4). Superman Returns
With Brandon Roulth donning the red cape for only one film, it dosen’t mean it’s not memorable. Bryan Singer’s film takes an old school approach to the genre, emulating the Richard Donner “Superman” films of the seventies. While most superhero films nowadays going for darker themes, it’s nice to have one that plays by the books.
The Zach Snyder adaptation of the popular graphic novel didn’t take much liberties, mirroring the plot with the novel. Set in an alternate 1985 where superheros are outlawed, one of the “Watchmen” is found dead. One of them takes it into his own hands to find out why someone is targetting superheroes, only to discover something more sinister. This film doesn’t glorify superheroes at all, some of the characters even regret being ones in the first place. It’s a very grim look on what it means to be a superhero and how even they don’t have it easy.
2) The Dark Knight
The 2008 epic set the bar for superhero movies from then on. When The Joker is on the loose in Gotham, Batman is put to the ultimate test with his limits for what he can’t do can’t seem to stop Joker. Health Ledger’s Oscar winning portrayal of the villain is why people kept coming back to the movies to hear him say “Why So Serious?”
1). The Avengers
If the term “superhero” could be summed up into one film, this would be that film. Joss Whedon’s approach to directing the biggest superhero ensemble of all time met everyone’s expectations and then some. Marvel has outdone themselves with this epic, and it will be interesting to see where they take things in phase 2 of their film releases over the next few years.