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Top 10 Best Superhero Movies of the 2000s

VO: Dan Paradis
Written by Spencer Sher Another entry in our series of the best superhero movies by decade, looking at All DC, Marvel, and other Comic Book based movies an otherwise featuring Batman, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man and More. WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Best Superhero Movies from the 2010s, but what will triumph on the top spot of our list? Will it be Christopher Nolan's crime epic, The Dark Knight, Marvel's MCU goldenboy Iron Man, or will the web slinging Peter Parker take the spot with a Spider-Man entry. Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Special thanks to GreenArrowHunter, Godslayer79, Norris Vaughn, governmentfree, Egill Andrason and DressCodeCentral for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Best+Superhero+Movies+of+the+2000s
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This is the era where Superhero movies finally earned a reputation for quality on the big screen. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Superhero Movies of the 2000s.


#10: “X-Men” (2000)


After the failure that was “Batman & Robin”, many were unsure if the superhero genre would ever recover. Thankfully, Brian Singer introduced movie goers to a group of mutants who changed everything. Bringing to life many favorites from the comic book franchise, this film showed the world that not only could superhero films be successful, they could also be thoughtful and engaging works of art. Bringing in a respectable cast including Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, the first X-Men film is an accomplishment on every level. Man, remember when nobody knew who Hugh Jackman was and we all just called him ‘the guy who played Wolverine’?


#9: “Watchmen” (2009)


When it comes to this flick, people are still pretty divided. Based on the iconic comic-book series by Alan Moore, this adaptation drew its fair share of criticism. Set in the cold war era, the film offers a unique take on the superhero genre – positioning them in an alternate history where silver-age masked superheroes are all either retired or working from the shadows. A dark, sometimes brutal look at a world torn apart and stitched back together, the film is the embodiment of gritty. While it performed well at the box office, it was criticized for its complex narrative, as well as its failure to live up to the source material. Nevertheless, “Watchmen” remains a must-see for superhero fans everywhere.


#8: “Hellboy” (2004)


Back in 2004, in you were looking for a no holds barred superhero flick that wasn’t afraid to poke fun at itself, this was the movie to see. After being brought to earth by the Nazis and rescued by the Allies, a creature known as Hellboy is raised to protect the world from supernatural forces. Sporting a badass stone hand and an oversized revolver, this is one character you don’t want to mess with. The film lives and dies with its protagonist – but thankfully; Ron Pearlman was born to play Hellboy. Brought to life through the mad genius of Guillermo del Toro, “Hellboy” is the real deal.


#7: “Spider-Man” (2002)


Spinning webs through the bustling streets of New York while apprehending bad guys never looked so cool. Beautiful visual effects, a charismatic lead and a downright evil and insane antagonist, this film hit all the right marks. With the fight scenes choreographed to a tee and the slower moments filled with just the right amount of emotion, this superhero flick was oozing confidence. Following its unbelievable box-office success, the film would become the gold standard for which all other superhero films would aspire. Who would have thought getting bitten by a radioactive spider could be so much fun?


#6: “Batman Begins” (2005)


Infusing new life into a character that had had its reputation destroyed during the late '90s, Christopher Nolan crafted an origin story unlike any in the Dark Knights previous cinematic history. After the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne begins an odyssey of self-discovery that culminates in the creation of Batman – a masked vigilante that uses his intellect, immense wealth and indomitable will to save Gotham City. Adding a level of grit and darkness that had been lacking in previous incarnations, this film took a no holds barred approach with the subject matter. Earning accolades and dollars with relative ease, this film would pave the way for a generation of heroes unafraid to step into the shadows.


#5: “X-2” (2003)


The second installment in the X-Men trilogy is often seen as the most complete. Featuring a compelling narrative and some of the best acting of the series, the film was praised by fans and critics alike. After an attempt on the President's life, the X-Men must form an uneasy alliance with Magneto in order to track down the perpetrator – the mutant hating extremist named William Stryker. Whereas the first film introduced audiences to the powers of the X-Men, the sequel turns them into a team you want to root for. Peppered with moments of intense action and heartfelt emotion, the film takes viewers on a roller coaster of thrills before X-Men 3 completely ruined it for everyone.


#4: “The Incredibles” (2004)


Does Pixar ever strike out? Seemingly on a never-ending run of successful and intelligent work, the well-known animation studio knocked this one out of the park. Mounting public backlash forces superheroes into early retirement, but when the villainous Syndrome concocts a plan that threatens the world it’s up to a family of retired “supers” to save the day. The film possesses a level of self-awareness rarely seen in the genre up to that point. Part James Bond spy thriller, part Avengers-style crime-fighting epic; “The Incredibles” has a little something for everyone. Taking home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, this superhero flick even made it onto Empire’s 500 Greatest Films of All Time.

#3: “Iron Man” (2008)


The spark that started the fire, this movie introduced the world to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a big way. A near death experience causes billionaire genius Tony Stark to shed his childish ways and become Iron Man; a superhero that uses a highly advanced weaponized suit to fight evil. In the role that he was born to play, Robert Downey Jr. brings exactly the right amount of sarcastic bravado necessary to convince audiences this is one hero worth the price of admission. Whether you were a fan of the comics or simply gave into the hype, one thing is certain: “Iron Man” is a whole lot of fun.


#2: “Spider-Man 2” (2004)


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. After the success of “Spider-Man” only two years earlier, it came as no surprise to anyone when Sam Raimi returned to helm the sequel. This time around, Peter Parker must try to coexist with his super alter ego while battling Doctor Octopus - a scientist, who after a failed experiment is left insane and fused to a set of mechanical tentacles. Filled with the same frenetic action as the original and delving deeper into the complex character that is the New York City web slinger, this film nearly broke the box office when it was first released. Who can forget the scene of ‘Spidey’ holding back a train with nothing but a couple of webs and powerful face muscles? This film definitely deserves a spot in the pantheon of superhero flicks.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:


“Unbreakable” (2000)


“Superman Returns” (2006)


“The Incredible Hulk” (2008)


#1: “The Dark Knight” (2008)


Was this ever in doubt? The preeminent film in Christopher Nolan’s seminal Batman trilogy takes the top spot for reasons too long to fit into one video. Having established himself amongst the city’s criminal underworld, Batman must now do battle for the soul of Gotham against the ultimate agent of chaos: Health Ledger’s iconic Joker. The film is as close to a living, breathing entity as has ever existed on the silver screen. Unfolding in a flurry of brilliant action sequences, this film is more than just a great superhero movie: it is the superhero movie. Beloved by audiences and critics alike, the film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and topped the list of the highest grossing films of the year.


Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite superhero film of the 2000s? For more entertaining Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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