Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
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.
Image: Warner Bros.
There’s something about ’90s comedies that, when watched now, seems kind of… quaint. All the demographic-courting PG-13 fare like Wayne’s World, Dumb & Dumber, and Tommy Boy — even more boundary-pushing, R-rated comedies like Clerks. or There’s Something About Mary — still lacks a little of the subversion, intellect, or bravado of the comedies of the new millennium.
Image: Buena Vista Pictures
In the late ‘90s, it was hard to discern why exactly the golden renaissance of Disney, going so strong in 1994 with The Lion King, dissipated so suddenly. With the benefit of hindsight, the biggest reason was the release of the first feature-length computer-animated movie in 1995, Pixar’s Toy Story.
In less than a decade, computer-animated movies had become so advanced and such a box office draw, even Disney shuttered their hand-drawn animation studio down in 2004 and switched to 100% computer-animated fare.
As the cost of computer animation has decreased, more and more computer-animated movies have flooded movie theatres, with fewer being any good, but great ones still exist. Some even outshine that first Pixar feature from 21 years ago. These are the best examples of what modern animation can achieve.
Artwork: Universal Pictures
A charmingly hilarious animated movie came out in 2010 about a villain, voiced by a popular comedian, who learned how much more satisfying life is when you choose love over world domination.
That movie was Megamind.
Despicable Me was also good, but traded sharp comedy and classic timing for toothless action and overly cute children. (It was the Monsters, Inc. to Megamind’s Shrek, if you will.) Even so, it made over $250 million, so audiences are now treated to Despicable Me 2. Continue reading