SPECIAL: The 50 Best Superhero Movies

Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Chris Luckett

Many lists that are predominantly populated by modern movies feel slanted to younger writers/readers who may not have an exposure to films older than they are or a contextual understanding of their importance.

The superhero movie is a unique beast, though. A few genres and sub-genres, like sci-fi, have been greatly helped by the advance of CGI over the last quarter-century. Sci-fi was still capable of brilliance with just ideas alone, though; superhero movies lend themselves so closely to goofiness, parody, or sublime farce that the modern age of computer effects has served largely to legitimize a type of film that often wasn’t taken very seriously before the new millennium, even when they starred icons like Superman or Batman.

All of which is to say in advance not to expect many older superhero movies here. Less than a quarter of the entries on their list would be old enough to vote in most countries. But every single one, older or newer, represents a height of the ever-evolving subgenre of superhero movies (with bonus consideration awarded for influence).


50. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE MOVIE (1990)

Image: New Line Cinema


49. MYSTERY MEN (1999)

Image: Universal Pictures


48. ROBOCOP (1987)

Image: Orion Pictures


47. BIG HERO 6 (2014)

Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


46. THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013)

Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


45. DESPICABLE ME (2010)

Image: Universal Pictures


44. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (2014)

Image: Columbia Pictures


43. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (2011)

Image: Twentieth Century Fox


42. HELLBOY (2004)

Image: Columbia Pictures


41. THE WOLVERINE (2013)

Image: Twentieth Century Fox


40. DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)

Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


39. THE CROW (1994)

Image: Miramax


38. SPIDER-MAN (2002)

Image: Columbia Pictures


37. BATMAN BEGINS (2005)

Image: Warner Bros.


36. ANT-MAN (2015)

Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


35. X-MEN (2000)

Image: Twentieth Century Fox


34. BLACK PANTHER (2018)

Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


33. SUPERMAN (1978)

Image: Warner Bros.


32. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)

Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


31. IRON MAN (2008)

Image: Marvel Studios


30. THOR (2011)

Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


29. DEADPOOL (2016)

Image: Twentieth Century Fox


28. IRON MAN 2 (2010)

Image: Marvel Studios


27. BATMAN (1989)

Image: Warner Bros.


26. THOR: RAGNAROK (2017)

Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


ON THE NEXT PAGE: #25-11

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