The Dark Knight Rises & The Avengers:
I couldn’t pick just one for the number five. They might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed these films massively for very different reasons. Whilst Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film was an excellent finale of the franchise, The Avengers was impressive in its scope and more playful in its outlook.
Pixar can do little wrong, and this movie about a superhero family trying to juggle ordinary life with their abilities is no exception. Inordinately charming, this one is up there with the greats for its funny, innovative take on the superhero genre pre-Iron Man, where superhero movies were still stuck in a flat, uninspired rut.
Iron Man was the first superhero film I saw in the cinema and it changed my perspective on the genre entirely. Iron Man was charming, thanks in part to Robert Downey Junior’s solid charisma, and managed to kick-start Marvel Studios’ now monolithic success, setting a lighter tone for superhero films for years to come.
The Dark Knight:
Although some have criticised Nolan’s Batman movies for being too dark, each and every one of them has a well-acted villain coming from an unexpected source. Heath Ledger took the role of the Joker to new heights in a performance that made the movie what it is, winning him an Oscar after his tragic death.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
This movie has everything,: Cold War tensions, touches of a summer blockbuster and even hints of Brokeback Mountain. The supporting cast help lift a sometimes-flat Chris Evans, but a few particularly impressive moments from Sebastian Stan and Robert Redford make the movie.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2:
When a movie has potential, it is all the more irritating when it totally misses the mark. Marc Webb’s reboot of our friendly neighbourhood Spiderman started strong, with a quirky, indie style – but TASM 2 fell entirely flat with an incomprehensible plot line and an underdeveloped villain.
In the dark, dismal age before Netflix original programming, there was Ben Affleck’s Daredevil. The 2003 movie exists to remind us that Ben Affleck in shiny red leather is no one’s idea of a good time. My recommendation? Skip this one and watch the new Netflix series instead. Charlie Cox’s costume is awful, but at least he’s nice to look at.
Ryan Reynolds has managed to once again charm comic book fans with test footage for the new, R-rated Deadpool movie – but post-Green Lantern, it seemed nigh-on impossible that he’d ever play another superhero. The 2011 film flopped hard, lost in the mire of campy, average superhero movies released that year.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
Really, any of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies could be on this list. But the most recent film’s eclectic cast featured Megan Fox. Her hotness can apparently traverse the interspecies boundaries, but it didn’t make this trashy remake any better. And let’s face it, Michael Bay as producer was not going to help.
Batman and Robin:
There are so many camp, terrible superhero movies that it was difficult to pick the worst. But Batman and Robin proved to be the last nail in the coffin of Batman adaptations until Christopher Nolan’s gritty reboot. Suspiciously (and thankfully) absent from Nolan’s franchise: Batnipples.