Comic book films have become an unavoidable occurrence in the film industry in the last twenty years. They've grown from ambitious low-budget projects to billion dollar blockbusters in a very short period of time but it has been a long journey.
Before, the films were a rare topic only discussed when someone asked who the best Batman was, where as now, you can't even bring up films in general without discussing one of the Avengers films or DC's upcoming slate.
The genre has been a personal favorite of mine since I was a child going to see the generally disliked Batman and Robin with my dad. Over time we watched the quality of these films get progressively better and better. From the Spider-man and X Men films of the early 2000's to Marvel and DC's recent blockbusters, it's nothing short of amazing to see your favorite genre of film being done correctly and being accepted massively.
With that being said, here are my top ten favorite comic book films of all time in no particular order, based mainly on personal preference and success.
1. Spiderman 2
To this day, I wish this franchise had never ended. Tobey Maguire is the best version of Peter Parker we will ever see. His geeky personality and his charm made him extremely believable as the wall crawler. He's an excellent actor, who created a distinct chemistry with every other actor/actress in the Sam Raimi trilogy. The second film of that trilogy, I consider to be one of the best comic book films ever.
Not only did Sam Raimi's first Spiderman film introduce us to the most memorable Spiderman to date, but it also set a dark tone. It was aware of itself and that's what made it over $780 million dollars worldwide while also being released to positive reviews by critics. The plot of the second film bested the green goblin story arc of the first by introducing us to arguably the best comic book villain to date: Doctor Octopus, played by Alfred Molina.
Villains aren't often given decent backstories. They have grown to have these general character arcs that have become way too familiar. This was not the case for Doctor Octavius. We watch him go from a logical person with an illogical work ethic to this mad man hell bent on finishing what he started.
We're put into the shoes of the villain just as much as we are put into the shoes of Peter Parker. This is what made this film stand out to me. It was a direct hero versus villain story with no filler, every bit of information was needed to create this rivalry that would eventually end in the death of Doctor Octopus.
Maybe, just maybe, if Sam Raimi's universe would have continued we could have seen Doc Oc return, but since it didn't turn out that way, I'll just keep watching Spiderman 2 over and over again.
2. X Men: First Class
Critics did not like this film very much, it received mostly mixed reviews but I don't give a damn. The original X Men trilogy was iconic no doubt about it (Hugh Freaking Jackman), but this is where the characters got the depth and plot that they truly deserved. This is where we meet the best version of Professor Xavier and Erik Lensherr.
We're given their dark backstories and explanations as to why their older counterparts act the way they do. I truly believe that if this film were released before the original trilogy that it would have been received positively and the franchise as a whole would be a lot more consistent (don't get me started on the canon issues in this franchise).
Obviously without James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender this film would not have been nearly as successful. Their on screen chemistry was nothing short of amazing, showing just how talented these two actors really are. Days of Future Past while arguably the better film, would not exist without this film to reboot the franchise. It's success and critical acclaim is truly the result of this film.
As a huge fan of Greek mythology I couldn't wait for the release of this film. I knew about the leading up to the Avengers after Iron Man, so I waited that long. I was not disappointed at all when it was finally released. It is widely considered to be one of the more forgettable entries of the MCU but I think not. Thor brings an aspect to the superhero table that none before him could bring. A demigod banished to Earth after disobeying his father Odin has to live out a normal life as a human and earn the right to regain his super-powered hammer.
The most intriguing part of Thor's comic book arc is it's loyalty to it's Norse Mythology roots. It's basically just a comic book re-imagining of the mythological tale.
The dialect really draws me into the film's atmosphere. It was pretty cool to see characters speaking in old English dialects while watching space aged ships and technology being used all around them.
The film was cast perfectly to boot. Chris Hemsworth is the ideal Thor, Tom Hiddleston is the only Loki, and even Anthony Hopkins brought a memorable Odin to the table. If you ask me Thor is one of the most underrated comic book films of all time.
4. And 5. Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Winter Soldier
I was one of the few people who wasn't sure if Johnny Storm could be a good Steve Rogers, and boy was I proven wrong. Chris Evans has become the ideal Captain America winning over our hearts in The First Avenger, and then winning over our critical minds in The Winter Soldier.
In the first installment Evans had to earn his stripes. He had to work extremely hard to get to the physique that Steve Rogers has. The plot centered around the Red Skull was vintage but new to those not familiar with the Cap comics. I immediately fell in love with the film, not only because of Evans' performance but Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, Sebastian Stan and Hugo Weaving all gave outstanding performances.
The Winter Soldier took the recipe of The First Avenger and doubled down on the action and twists. It brought in a spy thriller tone that was unique for a comic book film. I'm forced to love TWS more than TFS because of that unique addition along with the beautiful combat choreography that was used and the awesome villain played by Sebastian Stan.
It was a huge step in the MCU and ultimately will go down as one of the best films in the universe thanks to the Russo brothers.
6. Iron Man
What can be said about this film that hasn't been said already? Without this film six of my ten favorite comic book films wouldn't even exist. It was the first step for one of the most successful film franchises ever created and for good reason.
Robert Downey Jr was the perfect Tony Stark. Jon Favreau did a hell of a job directing and he created a blueprint for starting a superhero franchise. I don't know a single person or critic with a bad thing to say about the film. Both sequels didn't quite stack up to the original but they were successful financially because this film was basically flawless.
7. The Avengers
The Avengers is the fourth highest grossing film of all time, because it has four times the amount of heroes as the normal comic book movie would supply. Four of Marvel's biggest names joining forces to defeat Loki and the chitauri with the help of Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Nick Fury of course.
The inner nerd in me nearly passed out at just the trailer for this film. I didn't want to leave the theater when i actually saw it and made sure to make my way back several more times to witness it's greatness.
In my opinion it is THE best comic book film of all time by far.
8. Age Of Ultron
I am one of the few people that liked Avengers 2 slightly more than than the first Avengers, even though I still consider the first to be the best. Age of Ultron gave us non-stop action from the very beginning, whereas the first Avengers may have had a little too much dialogue in my opinion.
Ultron was threatening yet entertaining, which is truly all you can ask for. While some would argue that he could have been more destructive, I believe that trying to exterminate the human race is good enough.
This film is the sixth highest grossing film of all time because it took the best elements of its predecessor and expanded on them while adding new elements and characters to differentiate itself, and it worked magnificently!
9. The Dark Knight
The man above is the reason why Doctor Octopus's place as the best comic book villain of all time is arguable. Heath Ledger's Oscar winning performance as the Joker makes The Dark Knight stand out glowingly.
He was menacing, corrupt, and shockingly believable. The return of Christian Bale's Batman is nothing to undermine. He's definitely the most successful batman of all time although some fanboys would say Michael Keaton was the best man to ever put on the suit.
The Dark Knight was the most pleasing of Nolan's trilogy as the other two just couldn't quite stack up against Ledger's performance. That's because The Dark Knight is one of the best comic book films of all time.
10. Guardians Of The Galaxy
Last but certainly not least is this galactic group of law breakers. What GOTG has over all of the other films above is shock and awe. Absolutely no one saw the success of this film coming, even with the star studded cast and electric director attached to it.
The film is also the funniest film of this list, and could possibly be named the funniest comic book film of all time without a doubt. The cast has tons of charisma, the plot is one of a kind. There aren't many bad things you could even say about this film. Many critics and audiences adored it, and I was one of those many.
Did Any Of Your Favorites Make My List!?