Thursday, May 3, 2012

Top 25 Superhero Movies

This Friday, Marvel's The Avengers blasts off the four-color panels and into theaters, with The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man hot on its heels.  Ever since X-Men hit theaters in 2000, the superhero movie genre has enjoyed a nice resurgence.  While there have been some groaners (*cough*Green Lantern*cough*), we've also enjoyed mega hits like the Spider-Man franchise and the Batman reboot.  So sit back as The Essential Films counts down the Top 25 Superhero Movies of all time.  Oh, and while we usually only consider theatrical releases, some straight-to-video features have made their way on to this list as well.  Enjoy.

#25 - Kick-Ass (2010)
Three assholes, laying into one guy while everybody else watches? And you wanna know what's wrong with me? Yeah, I'd rather die... so bring it on!
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay:  Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman based on characters created by Mark Millar & John Romita Jr.
Stars:  Aaron Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Nicholas Cage

#24 - Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
I'm not gonna kill him, Abe. But I am gonna kick his ass! 
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Screenplay:  Guillermo del Toro, Mike Mignola based on characters created by Mike Mignola
Stars:  Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, John Alexander, James Dodd

#23 - Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- Do you want to kill Nazis? 
- I don't want to kill anybody. I don't like bullies; I don't care where they're from. 
Director: Joe Johnston
Screenplay:  Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely based on characters created by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
Stars:  Chris Evans, Haley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving

#22 - Watchmen (2009)
We can do so much more. We can save this world... with the right leadership. 

Director: Zack Snyder
Screenplay: David Hayter, Alex Tse based on characters created by Dave Gibbons & Alan Moore
Stars:  Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson

#21 - Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
You know, kids, a lot has changed since your old Uncle Joker's been away. New Gotham, new rules, even a new Batman. But now I'm tanned, I'm rested and I'm ready to give this old town a wedgie again!

Director: Curt Geda
Screenplay:  Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, Bruce W. Timm based on characters created by Bob Kane & Jerry Robinson
Stars:  Will Friedle, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Angie Harmon, Dean Stockwell

#20 - Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
Can't be too careful with all those weirdos around. 

Directors: Eric Radomski, Bruce W. Timm
Screenplay: Alan Burnett, Martin Pasko, Paul Dini, Michael Reaves based on characters created by Bob Kane & Jerry Robinson
Stars:  Kevin Conroy, Dana Delaney, Hart Bochner, Stacey Keach, Abe Vigoda, Efram Zimbalist Jr., Mark Hamill

#19 - V for Vendetta (2006)
- What was done to me was monstrous. 
- And they created a monster. 
Director:  James McTeigue
Screenplay:  The Wachowski Brothers based on the characters created by Alan Moore & David Lloyd
Stars: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Stephen Rea, John Hurt, Stephen Fry

#18 - Superman II/Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (1980/2006)
Come to me, Superman! I defy you! Come and kneel before Zod! Zod! 
Director:  Richard Lester, Richard Donner
Screenplay:  Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman based on characters created by Joe Schuster and Jerry Siegel
Stars: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Terrence Stamp, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty

#17 - Batman Returns (1992)
- A kiss under the mistletoe. You know, mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.
- But a kiss can be even deadlier... if you mean it. 
Director: Tim Burton
Screenplay:  Daniel Waters, Sam Hamm based on characters created by Bob Kane
Stars:  Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Danny Devito, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough

#16 - Thor (2011)
Oh, no... this is Earth... isn't it? 
Director: Kenneth Branaugh
Screenplay:  Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne based on characters created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård

#15 - RoboCop (1987)
Dead or alive, you're coming with me!
Director:  Paul Verhoeven
Screenplay:  Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner
Stars:  Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Don O'Herilhy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith

#14 - Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)
America's champion, Superman, went down in defeat several hours ago. An exhaustive search has found no sign of him. Here at the Cape, the greatest minds in the free world, are now working on a plan to stop this monster before it reaches the coast. We cannot panic.
Director:  Dave Bullock
Screenplay:  Stan Berkowitz based on the graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke
Stars:  David Boreanaz, Miguel Ferrer, Neil Patrick Harris, Keith David, Lucy Lawless

#13 - The Crow (1994)
I knew I knew you, I knew I knew you. But you ain't you. You can't be you. We put you through the window. There ain't no coming back. This is the really real world, there ain't no coming back. We killed you dead, there ain't no coming back! There ain't no coming back! There ain't no coming back!
Director:  Alex Proyas
Screenplay:  David J. Schow, John Shirley based on characters created by James O'Barr
Stars:  Brandon Lee, Rochelle Davis, Ernie Hudson, Michael Wincott, Bai Ling

#12 - X-Men (2000)
- Magneto's right: there is a war coming. Are you sure you're on the right side?
- At least I've chosen a side.
Director: Bryan Singer
Screenplay: Bryan Singer, Tom DeSanto, David Hayter based on characters created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Stars:  Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry

#11 - Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
Now, that was rude. The first boy blunder had some manners. I suppose I'm going to have to teach you a lesson so you can better follow in his footsteps. Nah, I'm just gonna keep beating you with this crowbar. 
Director: Brandon Vietti
Screenplay:  Judd Winick
Stars:  Bruce Greenwood, Jensen Ackles, John Di Maggio, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Isaacs

#10 - Batman (1989)
- Jack, listen... maybe we can cut a deal?
- Jack? Jack is dead, my friend. You can call me... Joker! And as you can see... I'm a lot happier.
Director: Tim Burton
Screenplay: Sam Hamm based on the characters created by Bob Kane
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger, Michael Gough, Robert Wuhl

#9 - X-Men: First Class (2011)
Listen to me very carefully, my friend: Killing will not bring you peace.
- Peace was never an option.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay:  Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Stars: James MacAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence

#8 - Batman Begins (2005)
Gotham's time has come. Like Constantinople or Rome before it the city has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving and must be allowed to die. This is the most important function of the League of Shadows. It is one we've performed for centuries. Gotham... must be destroyed.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay:  David S. Goyer & Christopher Nolan based on characters created by Bob Kane
Stars:  Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman

#7 - Spider-Man (2002)
Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: "With great power comes great responsibility." This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm Spider-man. 
Director: Sam Raimi
Screenplay:  David Koepp based on characters created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
Stars:  Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson

#6 - X2: X-Men United (2003)
You know all those dangerous mutants you hear about in the news? I'm the worst one.
Director: Bryan Singer
Screenplay:  Zak Penn, David Hayter, Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
Stars:  Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellan, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen

#5 - Iron Man (2008)
"Iron Man". That's kind of catchy. It's got a nice ring to it. 
Director: Jon Favreau
Screenplay:  Mark Fergus, Hawk Otsby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway based on characters created by Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby
Stars:  Robert Downey, Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb

#4 - The Incredibles (2004)
Remember the bad guys on the shows you used to watch on Saturday mornings? Well, these guys aren't like those guys. They won't exercise restraint because you are children. They will kill you if they get the chance. Do not give them that chance. 
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Brad Bird
Stars:  Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee

#3 - Superman: The Movie (1978)
I'm here to fight for truth, and justice, and the American way. 
Director: Richard Donner
Screenplay:  Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton
Stars:  Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty

#2 - Spider-Man 2 (2004)
I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams. 
Director: Sam Raimi
Screenplay:  Alvin Sargent based on characters created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
Stars:  Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco, Rosemary Harris

#1 - The Dark Knight (2008)
 Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn. 
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay:  Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan based on characters created by Bob Kane
Stars:  Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman