The 50 Best Superhero Movies of all Time

Blockbusters that draw millions to theaters, rake in billions, and spark endless debate among friends and on the Internet: superhero movies have been booming for quite some time, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Here, we present you with a list of our 50 favorite superhero movies:

1. The Dark Knight (2008)

Set a year after the events of Batman Begins (2005), Batman, Lieutenant James Gordon, and District Attorney Harvey Dent successfully begin to haunt the criminals of Gotham – until a mysterious and sadistic villain known only as the Joker appears in the city and creates a new wave of terrorism and chaos. Batman’s battle against the Joker becomes deeply personal and forces him to question everything he has believed in up to this point.

Many are touting The Dark Knight as the best superhero movie of all time, and we didn’t have an easy time deciding either. Brutal and dark, poetic yet entertaining, The Dark Knight is not only a superhero movie but also a thrillingly written crime thriller. Plus, excellent performances from Gary Oldman, Christian Bale, and Heath Ledger, whose tragic death after filming ended, overshadowed the movie.

2. Black Panther (2018)

After his father’s death and Captain America – Civil War events, Crown Prince T’Challa returns to the African nation of Wakanda to take his father’s throne. But with the sudden emergence of a powerful enemy, T’Challa’s position as king and Black Panther is tested. In the process, he becomes embroiled in a conflict that threatens the fate of Wakanda and the entire world. In the face of this danger, the young king must gather allies and unleash the full power of his Black Panther heritage to defeat his enemies and ensure the future of his people.

Black Panther combines the pure joy of the superhero genre and the rich experience of the Marvel Cinematic Universe of past films and has a great cast with Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger, one of the best antagonists of all superhero movies. What makes the film stand out, however, is how director Ryan Coogler illustrates with breathtaking elegance in Black Panther that the genre is open to more complex questions about progress and privilege and need not remain stuck in simplistic good/evil formulas.

3. The Avengers (2012)

After Thor’s brother Loki takes possession of the mysterious Tesseract with its seemingly unlimited energy reserves, Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D, a superhero recruitment drive to save the Earth and deal with the threat Loki and his allies pose. His Avengers team includes Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor, among others.

Whether The Avengers is the best of the Marvel movies – or even the best of the Avengers series itself – is open to debate. What is undeniable is that the film brought together the superhero ensemble of the Avengers team on screen for the first time with great success and charisma, and therefore, will find that this film absolutely deserves a place on this superhero list.

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4. Iron Man (2008)

Super-rich and super-smart Toni Stark, owner of the Stark Industry and inventor, is testing weapons in a troubled area when he is kidnapped by terrorists who want to force him to develop a terrible weapon for them. Instead, he builds himself a high-tech suit of armor and frees himself from captivity. Back in America, Stark used his armor and technology to fight crime from then on.

“I am Iron Man” ends the first self-financed Marvel superhero film with these words. With Iron Man, Marvel made history and kicked off the first phase of films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Robert Downey Jr. was not only praised by critics for his performance but also played himself into the hearts of millions of fans.

5. Logan (2017)

In this last of the Wolverine films, the exhausted Logan takes care of the disoriented and sick Professor X in a remote hideout. His tired attempts to shield himself and the professor from the world are turned on their head when he meets a young mutant girl who looks a lot like him and desperately needs his protection. Logan must take care of the child and fight against the dark forces that want to capture her.

Not an uncontroversial film in the third place, but the melancholic seriousness of the film still convinced us.

6. X-Men (2000)

The film takes the girl Rogue, who meets the mysterious loner Wolverine while fleeing her unusual abilities, into the middle of the conflict between Professor Xavier’s X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants led by Magneto. The vengeful Magneto plans to turn world leaders into mutants at a United Nations summit meeting using a machine he built himself to gain greater acceptance for them. However, he is unaware that this forced mutation inevitably leads to the death of the changed people.

Bryan Singer’s first installation of the long-running X-Men series brought us the dream team of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Professor X and Magneto – reason enough for the film to get a well-deserved spot on this list.

7. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

This delightfully cheerful film brought a breath of fresh air to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2014 and won us right over: loudmouthed space adventurer Peter Quill – Chris Pratt straight out of Parks and Recreation – suddenly finds himself in the crosshairs of dangerous darkies after stealing an Orb, a mysterious metal sphere coveted by Ronan the Accuser, a powerful villain.

Quill must gather an unlikely team around him to avoid his pursuers: the bounty hunters. Rocket – a hyperintelligent raccoon – and the tree-like Groot, as well as the aggressive and enigmatic Gamora and the vengeful Drax the Destroyer. But when these five misfits discover the Orb’s true power and the cosmic threat it poses, Quill and his unwilling crew must team up to save the universe.

8. Shazam (2019)

Who doesn’t secretly dream of having a superhero inside of them and letting them hang out on occasion with lots of muscles, sassy sayings, and tight-fitting costumes? 14-year-old Billy, who has been wandering from foster home to foster home for years, is given the opportunity to live out this dream by chance by an aging wizard: With one word, he can transform into the adult superhero Shazam.

Billy first uses his newfound powers, supported by his foster brother, for all kinds of nonsense. But he must quickly master his superpowers before the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, who has long craved superpowers, gets his hands on Shazam’s magical abilities.

Warm-hearted, funny, and a declaration of love for the whole superhero genre, Shazam is a refreshingly diverse film that’s a lot of fun to watch.

9. Unbreakable (2000)

Long before Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superheroes dances to his tune, he wowed in this film from M. Night Shyamalan as the fragile mastermind. In the film, David Dunn, a security guard, is the only one to survive a serious train accident. He is sought out by Elijah Price, who suffers from brittle bone disease.

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Elijah begins to convince David that he has superpowers. This raises the question of what role falls to Elijah, who is the opposite of David in everything if the latter is to be a superhero – mentor or antagonist…?

Unbreakable is a smart, thoughtful film that takes a loving yet critical look at the superhero genre.

10. Wonder Woman (2017)

Diana, Princess of the Amazons, is being trained as a warrior on a hidden island until she meets an American pilot who tells her about the conflict that will go down in the history books as the First World War. Convinced she can stop the threat, the young woman leaves home for the first time, goes to war, and eventually discovers her full powers.

Wonder Woman is not a perfect superhero movie. Still, it has proven once and for all that women can not only convince as visual accessories of superhero movies but also in the director’s chair – for that alone, it belongs in the top 20.

11. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

As the Avengers and their allies continue to protect Earth from threats while dealing with internal conflicts, a new threat emerges Thanos. His goal is to collect all six Infinity artifacts of unimaginable power and use them to destroy half the population throughout the universe. Everything the Avengers have fought for and against leads up to this moment – and yet the universe’s fate has never been more uncertain.

In the stunning penultimate film in the Avengers series, which brings the superhero team series to a spectacular close with the second installment, Endgame, the characters and storylines of over 10 years of film history and nearly 20 films come together in one voluminous ensemble film – beyond all the criticisms of the film, a tour de force, we think.

12. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers and meeting Tony Stark, young Peter Parker returns to Queens, where the student lives with his Aunt May. Under the watchful eye of his much-admired mentor Stark, Peter tries to return to his normal life while proving himself as a superhero. But his powers are soon tested when the evil Vulture appears and threatens everything Peter holds dear.

Following his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first MCU film dedicated to the popular comic book hero Spidey in the lead role – and, we think, the best Spidey ever!

13. Watchmen (2009)

Set in an alternate reality in the 1980s, superheroes are part of everyday life in America. When one of his former masked colleagues is found murdered, superhero Rorschach uncovers a conspiracy aimed at discrediting and killing all past and present superheroes. While allying himself with the retired superheroes, Rorschach discovers a far-reaching conspiracy that has its origins in their shared past and brings catastrophic consequences for the world’s future.

This extremely dark and satirical superhero film, with its unusually adult themes for the genre, polarized critics and audiences upon its release and belongs on the list of best superhero films for its powerful images alone.

14. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Convinced that mutants pose a threat to humanity, the scientist Dr. Bolivar Trask – Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones – the Sentinels, enormous robots that can detect and locate mutants. Decades later, the Sentinels evolved into highly efficient killing machines, as mutants in the 21. With the X-Men of the twenty-first century now threatened with extinction, Wolverine volunteers to collect the X-Men in the past and help change history to save their future.

Lately, installations like Apocalypse or Dark Phoenix have led to the X-Men franchise being justifiably discredited. Still, the first films of the alternate timeline, like Days of Future Past, shouldn’t be affected by that – if only because of the stellar cast.

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15. Blade (1998)

Half-human, half-vampire, vampire hunter Blade wants to avenge his mother’s death and rid the world of vampires. But the modern, technologically advanced vampires he’s tracking need his special blood type to summon an evil god who plays a key role in their plan to destroy humanity.

Unusually dark for 1990s superhero movies, Blade was a huge success in its time, helping to pave the way for more comic book adaptations to come.

16. Superman (1978)

Shortly before the destruction of the planet Krypton, scientist Jor-El sends his newborn son Kal-El to Earth in a spaceship. There, young Clark grows up in the care of warm-hearted humans Jonathan and Martha Kent on a farm. He discovers his superhuman powers and moves to Metropolis to fight evil. As Superman, he faces off against the vicious Lex Luthor while simultaneously trying to keep his identity a secret as reporter Clark Kent and win the heart of his co-worker Lois Lane.

This superhero movie is a must-see, as director Richard Donner and his cast of Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brandon, and Gene Hackman created a reference point for the genre with this 1978 film.

17. Birdman (2014)

Admittedly, Birdman is not really a superhero movie. But Alejandro Iñárritu’s thoughtful, melancholy 2014 feature is such a beautiful declaration of love for the genre and its actors that we think the film still deserves a spot on this list.

Former cinema superhero Riggan Thomson – a superb Michael Keaton, who could certainly draw on his experience as Tim Burton’s Batman in the role – rehearses an ambitious Broadway production that he hopes will breathe new life into his stagnant acting career and prove to the world that he is a true artist and not just an aging movie star.

As the premiere approaches, Riggan is forced to hire a hungry young actor as a replacement while also coping with his girlfriend, daughter, and ex-wife. All the while, everything is commented on by the cynical voice of Riggan’s old superhero character Birdman, who does everything he can to get Riggan to desist from his enterprise and return to the superhero business…

18. The Incredibles (2004)

In this much-lauded Pixar animated film, married superheroes Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, under their real names Bob and Helen Parr, live a normal life with their children since the government has banned all super-powered activities. Although Mr. Incredible wife and children love him, he longs to return to his adventures. So when he’s called to an island to fight an out-of-control robot, he seizes the opportunity with both hands. But soon after, the superhero himself is in trouble, and it’s up to his family to save him.

In typical Pixar fashion, The Incredibles combines elements of the superhero genre with plenty of humor and heart to create a film that will delight both young and old superhero fans alike.

19. Hellboy (2004)

Near the end of World War II, the Nazis are trying to open a portal to a paranormal dimension to defeat the Allies, after all. However, they are only able to summon a small demon, who is rescued by allied forces and dubbed “Hellboy.” Sixty years later, Hellboy worked as an agent in the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Aided by other colleagues with extraordinary abilities, he must protect America against dark forces.

This delightfully weird film was critically acclaimed but was not a box office hit. We still think it belongs on this list.

20. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos, who wiped out half the universe and killed several Avengers, forces the remaining Avengers to lead a last stand. A worthy conclusion to a 22-film saga.

Exciting, entertaining, and emotionally impactful, Avengers: Endgame does everything it takes to turn Marvel’s epic Infinity saga into a satisfying finale.

21. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

22. CAPTAIN AMERICA 2: The Return of the First Avenger (2014)

23. Thor (2011)

24. Deadpool (2016)

25. Sky High – This high school takes off! (2005)

26. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

27. Iron Man 2 (2010)

28. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

29. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

30. Doctor Strange (2016)

31. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

32. Iron Man 3 (2013)

33. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)

34. Wolverine (2013)

35. Aquaman (2018)

36. Hellboy – The Golden Army (2008)

37. Thor – The Dark Kingdom (2013)

38. Deadpool 2 (2018)

39. Man of Steel (2013)

40. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

41. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

42. Ant-Man (2015)

43. X-Men: First Class (2011)

44. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

45. Batman Returns (1992)

This list could go on and on, but we hope we’ve introduced you to a few films you may not have known about, and we hope you enjoy discovering our favorite superhero movies.

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