What makes a good comic book film great? Well, great characters, a well-written story, and some great action. I had to come up with a list of comic book movies that stand the test of time. There are some films that I would’ve liked to add to the list but…anyway please enjoy this list.
15. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
A reboot to the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the reboot takes the series into a new direction. Despite the film’s flaws, it is highly enjoyable due to the characters, an interesting origin story, great visuals, and badass action sequences. And to top it all off, Shredder is completely beast and has never been as intimidating in any previous installment.
Best Moment: The Foot pursue the April, Vern, and the turtles down the side of a mountain who are in a semi-truck. The turtles use their shells to slide down the side while doing combat with the persistent Foot.
14. Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
Watch out, MI6, there is another secret agency in town. The Kingsman are gentlemen, charismatic, and complete beast when it comes to hand-to-hand combat as well as weapons. The plot follows Eggsy who gets recruited into the Kingsman organization. Films like this are great because of the developing arc and training that the characters go through. The two most badass characters are Galahad and Gazelle. Not only is it a great comic book movie but it is a great spy movie.
Best Moment: Eggsy takes on Gazelle in a pretty cool battle, with Gazelle keeping Eggsy on the defensive. What helps makes this scene so epic is the music playing in the background, “Give It Up”.
13. Sin City (2005)
What makes this film so great is not the dark stories, nor the badass neo-noir themed visuals. It is the roster of kickass characters. Miho (Devon Aoki), Det. John Hartigan (Bruce Willis), and Marv (Mickey Rourke) are just a few of the memorable characters. And another thing, the film’s setting feels alive, as if there is this real place filled with crime and corruption.
Best Moment: Watching Miho brutally tear into Jackie Boy and his homies with grace and unnatural precision.
12. X2: X-Men United (2003)
A dangerous force rises up, threatening all mutant-kind, and the X-Men and Brotherhood must band together to stop it. This film definitely what we liked in the first film and kicks it up a notch. We get to see so much mutant action that it’s crazy.
Best Moment: The intro sequence with a mind controlled Nightcrawler infiltrates the White House. The next few minutes are of him teleporting and taking on the Secret Service while attempting to assassinate the president. Great due to the action, a great score, and a creative use of Nightcrawler’s teleporting abilities.
11. Iron Man 3 (2013)
In this third installment of the Iron Man franchise, the genius must go up against the mysterious Mandarin. Though nothing what fans expected, the film does give Tony Stark moments to be a complete badass without his armor. The last battle is absolutely epic with Tony Stark summoning all of his armors to assist in his fight against Aldrich Killian and his army of Extremis soldiers.
Best Moment: Tony Stark and Aldrich Killian go toe-to-toe against each other, Stark utilizing multiple armors while Killian uses his Extremis abilities. Though somewhat comical due to Stark’s humor and Killian’s seriousness, the sequence is completely fast paced and action packed.
10. 300 (2016)
300 follows a group of 300 Spartans who wage a campaign against the Persian army led by King Xerxes. This film definitely has a great look to it as well as some of the best army battles in film history. Not to mention the great use of slow mo that definitely hits the mark with the tons of violence. King Leonidas has definitely gone down in history as one of the most brutal warriors with his really cool lines and mighty roar.
Best Moment: Leonidas gets upset at having his country threatened and wife insulted by Xerxes emissary and after yelling “This is Sparta” kicks him into a slow mo fall into a deep pit.
9. Man of Steel (2013)
Reboot to the Superman franchise, Zack Snyder brings everything great about the Superman franchise and boosts it a hundred fold. This is one of the best superhero films because it doesn’t pull any punches with the chaos and destruction that so many others try to avoid. The fight sequences are completely epic; Kryptonians displaying their god-like abilities.
Best Moment: Of all the great sequences in the film, Superman’s first flight is the best. It’s symbolic as it does show Clark accepting his role as Superman as well as him striving to reach his full potential. Very fast paced and a terrific score by Hans Zimmer. Not to mention at how fast he’s flying.
8. Dredd (2012)
Judgment is coming. Screw Sylvester Stallone and his crappy 1995 crap fest. This is definitely one of those remakes/reboots that needed to happen. Karl Urban completely kills as the hardcore Dredd delivering justice swiftly and brutally. And what makes him so good is the fact that he portrayed the character without having to even take his mask off.
Not only does the film feature some pretty kickass action sequences, it does have a pretty interesting story. Lena Headey plays a great antagonist, Ma-Ma and Olivia Thirlby is a great Judge Anderson. The only atrocity of the film is the fact that the film wasn’t as box office as it should’ve been. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best comic book films of all time.
Best Moment: Dredd and Anderson are making their way up the building, cutting through Ma-Ma’s henchmen, when Ma-Ma decides it’s time for her to intervene. She attacks them with a couple of Vulcan cannons taking out a whole block as well as killing numerous civilians. Messed up…yes…but pretty cool.
7. X-Men: First Class (2012)
This film establishes how one of the greatest comic book rivals of all time was formed. Xavier and Erik team up to build a team of mutants as well as deal with the Hellfire Club, led by Sebastian Shaw, who is bent on world domination. Aside from the terrific performances by McAvoy, Fassbender, Hoult, Lawrence, and especially Bacon, who killed as Shaw.
Best Moment: Sebastian Shaw comes into the FBI (I guess they were FBI) headquarters to recruit the mutants there, and after being assaulted by numerous officers with machine guns and even a rocket launcher. After absorbing all of the attacks, he retaliates by sending out an explosive shockwave that wipes out all of the officers.
6. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
What happens when the Dark Knight challenges the Man of Steel? The story is very personal, to both characters with both fighting their demons and fighting what they believe in. Although a little cluttered with various plots, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a fantastic thrill ride filled with action, emotion, and a brilliant execution of bringing DC’s best together.
Best Moment: Of all the great moments in this film, there is one that stands out above the rest. While Superman is recovering from a nuke blast Batman engages Doomsday in his jet but is shot down by the beast ‘s heat blast. Just as he is cornered and is nearly killed by another heat blast he is saved by Wonder Woman. Then just as Doomsday recovers the three heroes stand united. Epic moment.
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2016)
Sequel to the most amazing team up of all time, the Avengers must stand against a new foe, Ultron, an artificial intelligence with the brilliance of Tony Stark, who’s bent on mankind’s extinction. Everything that makes a sequel great. What stands out most about this film isn’t the great action, great soundtrack, or great direction; but the internal conflicts between the characters and how they overcome them.
Best Moment: During the climax of the film, Ultron makes his final assault on the Avengers joined by the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. We have a grand scene of the Avengers not only holding their own against an army of Ultron drones but also showing their high level of teamwork.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain America, Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Falcon have to contend with Hydra’s takeover of S.H.I.E.L.D. Not only is this a great superhero film but it also works as a spy film. Steve Rogers is a complete beast but the film also does a great job of fleshing out someone who is equal to Captain America; the Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier is cool, is badass, and kicks all kinds of ass.
Best Moment: During a street shootout Steve stops Winter Soldier from killing Natasha. What happens next is a quick paced knife fight between the two which results in a sinister twist. The Winter Soldier is Steve’s former best friend, Bucky.
3. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Spider-Man returns to the big screen as one of the greatest comic book movie sequels. This time around Spider-Man has to deal with his self doubt as well as mad scientist Doc Ock whose experiments threaten to destroy the city. Great film especially a very compelling story with great character development. Some of the most memorable fights in superhero films.
Best Moment: One of the most memorable superhero fights in film, Spider-Man and Doc Ock’s battle take them from a top a building to a monorail train. Not only is it fast paced and action packed, but it also shows how Spider-Man has to fight an enemy as capable and unpredictable as Doc Ock. Also, there is the score by Danny Elfman.
2. The Dark Knight (2008)
One of the best sequels in comic book movies, the Dark Knight finds himself up against the anarchic Joker, who wages a psychological war against Batman. Ledger set the bar high as the Joker, bringing dark humor, brilliance, and true insanity to the character.
Best Moment: The interrogation scene is by far the most stand out scene. Batman interrogates the Joker after having been captured. What makes it so memorable is the clash of wills and words as these two battle their ideologies.
1. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Civil War comes to the Avengers as the group fight among themselves while a sinister force threatens to destroy the group. What makes this film great is although there is a large roster of characters, they all matter. It is a well-written story with great action but even more emotional moments. The falling out between Tony and Steve, especially over Bucky, and T’Challa’s role makes the story compelling.
Best Moment: There are so many great moments in the film, that it is hard to choose. But for this we’ll go with the final battle between Tony against Steve and Bucky. It is brutal, it is emotional; Tony relentlessly pursues Bucky after learning he was responsible for his parents’ death while Steve tries to stop him. A great sequence with a great conclusion although sad.