ByDarragh O'Connor, writer at
My name is Darragh. Enjoy reading what I think about movies. Follow me on twitter: darraghoco
Darragh O'Connor

There's no denying that superhero movies are the biggest genre in the world right now, and there's no sign of them slowing down. We're currently in phase three of Marvel's rollout of films, and DC's own extended universe is also starting to gain speed. This year saw some gold-standard superhero movies, with awesome risk-taking, groundbreaking diversity and all-round amazing stories. With these triumphs in mind, let's take a closer look at how 2017 could be the best year yet for superheroes.

A Move Forward In The Superhero Genre

'Spider-Man: Homecoming' [Credit: Sony Pictures]
'Spider-Man: Homecoming' [Credit: Sony Pictures]

In recent years, fans have come to expect at least three or four movies a year — but that doesn't mean that each film will be a superhero masterpiece. However, 2017 has been a total breath of fresh air for the genre, and that's down to studio risks and genre combinations.

The first superhero movie of 2017 was the critically-acclaimed The Lego Batman Movie. The film saw two of cinemas biggest genres combine: superheroes and animation. The Lego Batman Movie was not only an amazing successor to 2014's The Lego Movie, but it was also one of the best stand-alone stories ever told. An expert character breakdown of Batman and Bruce Wayne, filled with gorgeous visuals and excellent voice acting — The Lego Batman Movie will go down as an instant classic.

Shortly after the bubbly Lego Batman Movie, we were brought back to reality with James Mangold's Logan. This game-changing superhero film showed us an insightful look at Logan, the man we've known as since 2000. In the film, which is set in the near future, we saw Logan as we've never seen him before — weak, hopeless and uninspired. This is, of course, until Mutant X comes along and gives our hero a reason to fight. Logan's amazing story is amplified thanks to the superhero genre being crossed with the western genre. The film's locations, including beautiful barren landscapes, gave the movie a creative canvas unlike any other. 2017's Logan is arguably one of the best, if not the best, Wolverine story ever told in film.

Now that it's released, Logan seems like a home run in hindsight — but the movie really was a studio risk. We don't often see our heroes die in these films, but Logan went one hundred percent and killed off not one, but two beloved characters: Wolverine and Professor X. This risky decision gave Logan an edge over other superhero movies and has ultimately solidified Logan as one of the best superhero movies ever made.

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' [Credit: Marvel Studios]
'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' [Credit: Marvel Studios]

Shortly after being wowed by Logan, superhero fans looked to Marvel Studios and there much anticipate sequel, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2. After a stellar 2016 with films like Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange, there was immense pressure for the movie to succeed — especially given how much of a colossal hit the first Guardians installment was. Amazingly, the bombastic space-opera managed to fulfill expectations and satisfy the masses in one of the most ambitious and heart-felt films of the year. Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 took tons of risks in a genre that's often criticized for being too safe.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 didn't try to match peoples expectations — it tried to beat them. The soundtrack didn't go for major hits that everybody knew, but rather gave us loads more of unknown gems. The film also followed an extremely dark storylines, an unexpected addition in the reasonably light-hearted franchise. The idea that Star-Lord's father gave his mother cancer is unlike anything we've seen before in Marvel's history. But this risky plot gave the film some genuine emotional weight — much like Logan. However, probably the biggest risk of all was the decision to kill off fan-favorite, Yondu. This move gave fans the sensational father/son arc that has been a core theme throughout Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1 and Vol. 2.

After Guardians, Marvel continued their form into May, when they released the immensely popular Spider-Man: Homecoming. This teenage, superhero story gave fans the Spidey movie they've been waiting years for, and a totally lovable Peter Parker in Tom Holland. Spider-Man: Homecoming gave us a totally fresh superhero movie, mainly thanks to a film that felt like a high school dramedy akin to Clueless or The Breakfast Club.

With this being our first stand-alone Spidey movie in the , Spider-Man: Homecoming marked a huge milestone for fans. For years, fans have been waiting for Spider-Man in his rightful place with the rest of Marvel's mightiest heroes, and in 2017 he finally arrived.

'Thor: Ragnarok' [Credit: Marvel Studios]
'Thor: Ragnarok' [Credit: Marvel Studios]

But Marvel's 2017 hot streak didn't end with Spider-Man: Homecoming, and in October we were also gifted the brilliant Thor: Ragnarok. The third installment in the Thor franchise is by far its best, and furthermore, it's one of Marvel's best! Ragnarok wildly differs to other Marvel movies in terms of the wackiness and more adult-centric humor. It was a big risk for the studio to totally change the tone of Thor as a character, but it's a decision that will surely pay off tremendously.

This banner year for superhero films doesn't only extend to Marvel and 20th Century Fox films. and Warner Bros also exceeded expectation this year when they gave fans the long-awaited Wonder Woman solo movie. The film gave us excellent action scenes, and arguably one of the best fighting sequences in superhero movie history when Diane Price helped soldiers on the battlefield to end all wars. With such a lack of female-led superhero movies, it was amazing to finally see Wonder Woman portrayed so brilliantly and successfully on the big screen.

As we can see, 2017 was a humongous year for superhero films. Wonder Woman finally got her first major motion picture, Spider-Man finally came back to Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 lived up to the hype and our 17 year relationship with Wolverine came to a fitting end. This year will definitely go down in the superhero history books — and that's even before Justice League is released.

Let me know what you think of the superhero schedule in 2017, compared to previous years below!


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