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Top 10 Superhero Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Summer blockbusters are almost entirely defined by superhero movies nowadays. While these spectacles usually range from awful to mediocre, the great ones keep the obsession going. Join as we count down our Top 10 Favorite Superhero Movies of all time. To keep this list fresh and balanced, we’ve decided to only include the best film from a given series or character.

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Top 10 Superhero Movies

They fight crime with special skills and powers, while also making bold fashion statements. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our Top 10 Favorite Superhero Movies.

To keep this list balanced, we’ve decided only to include the best film from a given series or character.

Number 10: Blade

Starting our list is the vampire flick that expertly blends action, horror and martial arts. “Blade” came before vampires became romantic leads, and portrays them as bloodsucking dwellers of a complex but sexy underworld. Wesley Snipes shines as a human-vampire hybrid, and uses his superhuman strength and wicked haircut to slice some vampire ass.

Number 9: Watchmen

“Watchmen” was years in the making: many high-profile directors could not bring this popular story to the big screen. However, Zack Snyder’s film provides fans with a highly-stylized adaptation of their beloved graphic novels, and does its very best to remain faithful to the source material, even if that means a bit of blue dong.

Number 8: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Okay, this is the entry that’s based almost entirely on nostalgia. The live action adaptation of these wisecracking, pizza-loving superheroes blends the edginess of the comics with the campiness of the cartoon show. Special credit goes to Jim Henson’s studios for bringing our heroes in a half shell to life. T.U.R.T.L.E. Power!

Number 7: Unbreakable

Unlike many of the more iconic superhero films, M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller makes you believe it’s possible for you, too, to have superpowers. Bruce Willis plays the sole survivor of a train accident who slowly discovers his strength, all while trying to bond with his son. This movie is all about subtlety and dialogue, but of course Shyamalan throws in suspense and an unexpected twist for good measure.

Number 6: X-Men 2: X-Men United

Here is one sequel that surpasses the original. “X2” starts with a heart-stopping tear through the White House by Nightcrawler, and doesn’t let up from there with crisscrossing storylines aplenty. The first film introduces us to the “X-Men,” but the follow-up boosts the action, the stakes and the prejudice.

Number 5: The Incredibles

This animated flick brings superhero action to the whole family! Brad Bird’s “The Incredibles” is one of the few successful superhero films to not be based on a comic book. And, it didn’t need to be: this beloved Pixar movie does almost everything to perfection. It’s fun, funny, packed with action and full of heart.

Number 4: Iron Man

“Iron Man” should make it onto this list for Robert Downey Jr.’s zings alone. Fortunately, the film has a lot more to stand on than just one-liners. It’s smart, loyal to the comics and packed with action and sarcasm. Jon Favreau’s movie is proof that superhero flicks don’t need to be full of clichés, and are probably more successful without them.

Number 3: Spider-Man 2

While Sam Raimi’s first “Spider-Man” film sets the pace for the series, it’s the second installment that makes it classic. With a touching love story, hilarious one-liners, heart-stopping action sequences and – of course – a multi-layered, sympathetic and terrifying tentacled bad guy, “Spider-Man 2” has got all the elements of a great superhero movie.

Number 2: Superman

Finishing a very close second is the film that sets the standard for all superhero movies. Stellar performances from Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando make the film believable. And while it can be accused of being campy, “Superman” truly captures the essence of the comic books and commits it to celluloid.

Number 1: The Dark Knight

Taking top honors on our list is the best superhero movie in recent memory. Instead of the campy comic book feel of earlier films, “The Dark Knight” offers viewers realism and grit that helps distinguish it from its peers. The key to any great superhero film is casting, and this is one that benefits from some perfectly-cast roles. Christian Bale’s icy Batman plays perfectly against Aaron Eckhart’s poignant portrayal of Harvey Dent’s downward spiral. Of course we’ll always have a special place in our hearts for Tim Burton’s original “Batman,” but come on: who didn’t love Heath Ledger’s reinvention of the Joker? This movie was oh so serious…

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