After seeing ‘Captain America: Civil War’, the debate has begun to what the best superhero trilogies of all time are. After much deliberation with various members of my inner circle, a ranking was in order. This list may change with ‘X-men: Apocalypse’, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, ‘Woverline’, and ‘Avengers: Infinity Wars’ not out yet. I have very little faith that any of those would push into the top 5 but never say never.
Honorable Mention- Iron Man
“WHAT?!?!? Greg, you monster! How can you leave the pioneer of the entire MCU off the list? The movie that launched Robert Downy Jr to super stardom and started the trend of perfectly casting actors???”
Hear me out. Iron Man proved to be the perfect formula for a superhero origin story. One that has been copied by other movies for similar success. It balanced the action, the emotion, the humor, and the backstory perfectly. It ended with the mic drop moment of Tony revealing his secret identity at a press conference. Iron Man 2 proceeded to teach us what not to do for the sequel. Tony learned nothing, regressed, got cocky, and faced a terrible interpretation of one of his better comic villains. The only thing good about Iron Man two was the proper introduction of SHIELD and Rhoadie suiting up in the War Machine armor. Iron Man remains to this day a giant slap in the face to fans for ruining the Mandarin as the big bad. I demand a redo with Sir Ben Kingsley as the best villain of all time, not a decoy..
Blade was ahead of its time for sure, but still a hit. Blade is a vampire hybrid who can walk in sunlight and protects humans from vampires. The first two movies were amazing. It was gritty, dark, emotional, but still managed some dry humor that was well, humorous. The third movie went heavy on the humor, courtesy of future Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds. The third movie was the weakest in series. It was kind of a “hey let’s make another Blade because it’ll make money” idea by the studio.
To this day, X-men and X2 are still very watchable. It started the modern day superhero movie craze in my book. For being 16 years old, X-men has been able to stand the test of time and made Hugh Jackman synonymous with superhero royality. He currently holds the record for longest amount of time one actor has played a character and number of movies appeared in as said character. Hugh is the only actor to actually bridge the rebooted “First Class” movies without being recast. It is because of him alone, the prequels and originals can exist together as one very muddled timeline. X-men brought us the first modern day superhero team up with its various mutants, X2 topped it by uniting heroes and villains against a threat to all mutant kind. Last Stand one was a mess for about 100 different reasons. The best move was bringing Bryan Singer back into the fold for the newer movies.
Spider-Man is one of the most popular superheroes ever. He is relatable with his constant struggles of his great responsibility that comes with his great power. Spider-Man was a great origin flick that set up plots for the following movies. William Defoe as Green Goblin stole the show as a perfect casting. Spider-Man 2 again cast a perfect villain in Doc Oc and really pushed Peter to the limit. Toby McGuire was starting to get a little diva vibe about him and demanded more face time which lead to Spidey taking off his mask a lot, revealing his “secret identity” to basically everyone in NYC. Spider-Man 3 is the film that could have been the cherry on this franchise's top, but with Toby wanting to be done with the role, they packed 3 movies into 1 creating a mess and bringing in fellow diva Topher Grace as Venom. He and Toby spent more time with their masks off than on in this movie. I will end my case by saying “emo Peter.”
2- Captain America
This was a tough choice to leave at number 2. I almost cheated and went 1a and 1b for this article, but there can only be one! This trilogy had sequels that were far better than the first. Chris Evans was coming off of a failed Fantastic Four franchise and did not fully embrace his character in The First Avenger. It was a slow moving, universe establishing movie. By the time the actual action began, many were left uninterested or asleep. It was a good movie, but very lackluster. Taking plot threads established throughout other MCU movies, The Winter Soldier was beyond redeeming for the franchise. It shattered and remolded the MCU. Chemistry between Black Widow and Capt left people wanting more. Hydra infiltrating SHIELD this whole time actually changed the landscape for the spin off TV show and future movies. Bringing in Falcon was great comic relief for the franchise that had been lacking in the area. Winter Solider was a political thriller that Jack Bauer himself would have been proud of. Yes, that was a 24 reference. Civil War kept the energy going. It lacked the twist and thrills that made Winter Soldier a hit, but held its own with a complex story that pitted the Avengers against each other. It was the perfect cap to the trilogy that left it open ended to the future of the MCU and once again shaped the landscape heading into the next phase.
1- The Dark Knight
Batman had a bad rap after Batman Forever and its follow up, Batnipples and Robin. WB stayed away from the franchise and chose to rely on the strength of the fantastic cartoon success Batman was having. Then Christopher Nolan gave us an incredible reboot with Batman Begins. Taking the Batman and placing him in a gritty world without superpowers. The tortured Bruce Wayne was a captured perfectly by Christian Bale. Liam Neeson played a great bad guy after Bruce’s refusal to kill set him apart from the league that trained him. Then we got the follow up The Dark Knight. Batman at his peak, taking on long time nemesis, Joker. Heath Ledger’s performance stole the show and left a mark on every fans heart as the Joker being done right. His lack of empathy was creepy, his love for anarchy was scary, and the limit was nonexistent for what he would do. The Joker’s plan to tear down the Batman worked and by film’s end what felt like a win, was really a loss. Batman took the rap for Harvey Dent’s murder and went into hiding. The Dark Knight Rises brought in fan favorite criminal Bane. After being a brainless side kick in Batman Forever, we finally got the super intellect true fans knew from the comics. A dangerous combination of brains and braun made him a formidable foe that pulled Bruce Wayne out of retirement. The movie was packed with plotlines, characters, and got messy at times, but we see the Dark Knight come full circle that left fans debating to this day whether Alfred was dreaming or not at the end.
There you have it. I am sure you have opinions and debates. Call me whatever you want. Just post it below. You can also vote for your favorite below!