The 5 Perfect Superhero Films!
This isn't the top 5 MOST perfect superhero films, this is the list of the ONLY 5 (sorted by order of perfection)!
Please note: this list isn’t the 5 MOST perfect Superhero films, this is the list of the ONLY 5 perfect Superhero movies (sorted by perfection). Not to say these films don’t potentially have minor plot holes, these are the films that aren’t CRIPPLED by them (I’m looking at you ‘Dark Knight Rises’). These are films where the pace goes by undetected, where moments of levity don’t induce boredom or face-palming, where the romances don’t feel forced or may not even be included (‘SuperMan: the Movie’ just barely missed this list because of the Lois Lane interior poetry monologue). Bad acting is nowhere to be found in any of these movies, even from minor characters or glorified extras (as in: that bored, monotone fireman mentioning the “poor souls” who died in the apartment building fire in 'Spider-Man 2' like he was complaining that there wasn’t enough mayo on his BLT). Without further adieu, here is the perfect listing of perfect Superhero movies:
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
"Yo girl, lemme' show you the secret of my ooze."
Not only does this first entry into one of the most massive franchises of all time perfectly display the very best of all its characters (with the excusable exception of Donatello trading science for all the pathos that being Corey Feldman entails), it deftly introduces everything without the tedious Superhero origin story set-up, utilizing a montage for their origin that puts the Incredible Hulk’s heartless ADD opening to shame. Its funny, its action packed, its kid friendly and the characters are genuine with real emotional shortcomings and everyday problems. The Turtles each carry their own distinct personalities and Jim Henson’s peeps deserve an Oscar for every scene where Raphael rage weeps (about 1,000 times better than Hugh Jackman’s overly-sensitive-jazz-dance-enthusiast Wolverine ever could). Unfortunately all the live action sequels are awful, and TMNT does work as a follow up, but only in comparison to the truly wretched ‘Secret of the Ooze’ and unnecessary ‘Turtles in Time.’
Best line: “You must be studying the abridged book of Ninja Fighting.” - Raphael
4. The Dark Knight
Plot hole: If Joker had just landed on Batman's balls, this fight would have been OVER.
Batman Begins was a great building block for this fantastic movie, the only film in Nolan’s trilogy where we get a FULLY REALIZED Batman. Heath Ledger’s Joker is arguably the best/ most fun super villain of all time, and he takes Batman to limits of a sanity and endurance threshold which he had never crossed before on the silver screen. The death of Batman’s main squeeze was a pleasant and effective surprise, and Christian Bale’s mournful and emotionally damaged performance added even more depth to the evil and insanity lurking beneath Joker’s powdered makeup and mascara. The mystery surrounding Joker added so much more intrigue into the character as well, cementing him as an impenetrable specter, something more than a man (matched only by Darth Vader in ‘A New Hope,’ and formulaically copied for a vague Bane in ‘Dark Knight Rise.’). Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine all add loads of gravitas in their respective roles, grounding this film in an intense and beautifully acted reality. The subtext and grim ending created a superhero universe that, maybe for the first time in Hollywood, wasn’t black and white. It set up a dream third act of the trilogy that, unfortunately Heath Ledger’s death effectively neutered. Joker’s final comments in the Dark Knight about battling Batman “forever” mean nothing, as do Commissioner Gordon’s goose-bump inducing closing lines, “He's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.” So instead of being that, the Dark Knight Rises gave us a Batman who was only Batman for a year, and some subpar villains (Bane: a henchman who’s an amalgamation of Winnie the Pooh and evil Sean Connery, being led around by Miranda Tate [some boring, doughy french chick who wants to blow up Gotham cause the ghost of her estranged dead father was all like, “Wouldn’t that be awesome?!”]).
Best line: “Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can't savor all the... little emotions. In... you see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?” - Joker
3. The Avengers
"All right guys, lets just hold these action poses until he wakes up... should be any minute now..."
Thank whatever Deity you praise that the previous film incarnations of the iconic Avengers introduced these characters with so much depth and humor, that it seemed impossible for this movie to be bad. And then we got the greatest director imaginable to handle this (arguably next to Spielberg). I say ‘we,’ because this was made FOR AND BY comic fans. Bright, sparkly, canon-accurate super suits? Yup. Wit and humor at every turn? Correct! Getting the chance to see every superhero live up to their most-heroic and bad ass potential? Epic! BlackWidow and Hawkeye were subtle and effective. Loki had his origin story as the plot of Thor, so it was great to see his destructive force utilized to its true potential. Iron Man was hilarious and kudos for this being his first primarily non-improv’d outing. The Chitauri overall were great action-fodder just being powerful enough to pose a threat, but not too powerful that our heroes couldn’t seriously and beautifully smash them (I felt like Cap battling a Chitauri squad in the bank was a cherry on the character cake, showing how and why this World War 2 fox hole grunt was made to lead a team of super-misfits). Also: Best. Hulk. Ever. This was the comic book movie we always felt we deserved and never thought we’d get. There is so much hope for the impending sequel that I can’t help but fathom that it will surely disappoint its limitless expectations.
Best line: “Puny God.” - Hulk
2. the Fly
"Its so damn hot. Milk was a bad choice."
This 1986 remake of the 1958 camp classic is notoriously the first time that director David Cronenberg (recent hater on Superhero films) was able to channel his body modification horror into an outlet that actually made sense. Although I’m sure Cronenberg would argue against the notion, this film is essentially a wildly inventive formulaic super hero origin story. Here’s the plot: Nerd meets girl, nerd has experiment that goes awry and gives him super powers, nerd gets girl, nerd fights biker thugs, nerd saves baby Eric Stolz’s life, nerd melts hands off of villain/ romantic rival in climactic battle, nerd gives up girl because he loves her too much and doesn’t want her to get hurt as a result of his awesome power and the consequences they entail. Sound familiar? Recast that baby and you’ve got Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man.’ He even gives himself a SuperHero moniker: “Brundlefly.” Jeff Goldblum gives his greatest performance as passionate scientist ultimately corrupted by the search for knowledge and power. Geena Davis gives her absolute best as the spunky journalist caught in extremely desperate circumstances. Chris Walas’ award winning effects have never been better or more gruesome. The Fly may in fact be the #1 movie to not eat while watching (okay, I suppose its neck and neck with ‘Human Centipede 2’). The action is well shot and satisfying, and the abrupt ending is emotionally wrenching, forever placing this monster flick as one of the great tragic romances of all time. The sequel is serviceable, but if watched back to back there is a major lapse in quality.
“My teeth have begun to fall out. The medicine cabinet is now the Brundle Museum of Natural History. You wanna see what else is in it?” - Seth Brundle.
"I am gonna' finger-bang you so good."
Its the story of a man who becomes a machine that evolves back into a man. Its gritty, dirty, hardcore political and social commentary the likes of which will most likely never be seen again in a post 9/11 propaganda driven America. Paul Verhoeven came over as an immigrant from the Netherlands, was horrified by our greed is good, everybody has a price culture, and made an iconic all American superhero film that successfully rips us a new anus with its monumentally deprecative subtext. Its graphically vulgar, the violence is brutal to say the least (people melt, explode, and get their genitals shot off), and the humor is dark as midnight on a moonless night (“Let’s give him a hand,” - says Red Forman while Officer Murphy’s hand is turned into gore confetti). Weller’s physicality was overhauled thanks to expert mimes and break-dancers, allowing him to give an unparalleled superhero performance. The film is action packed, funny, sad and uplifting. It transcends the genre in just about every way imaginable. There's not much if anything to criticize, and the deuce ex machina of the genocidal ED 209 being defeated by stairs is more hilarious than convenient. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend watching the sequels or the TV show under any circumstances. All the nuke in the world couldn’t make them entertaining. To be expected though, this was one film franchise that was too good not to be corrupted.
Best line: “Bitches, leave!” - Red Forman from ‘That 70’s Show.’
Agree? Disagree? Please leave your thoughts below. Also, feel free to love, hate or criticize MY superhero film via youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ83SEWw9n8
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