With Thor: Love and Thunder hitting cinemas around the world, fans ask themselves whether or not the movie will do justice to the chaotic fun ride that the predecessor Thor: Ragnarok delivered. Also directed by renowned director Taika Waititi, the movie promises a new approach to Thor’s arc and important hints to where the MCU is heading next for Phase 4.
With that in mind, it’s great timing to remember what are the superhero movies that exceeded all expectations and others that established themselves as all-time classics. From MCU films to animated masterpieces, these are the 10 best superhero movies of all time according to Letterboxd.
Spider-Man 2 (2004) – 3.9 / 5
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 is regarded as one of the most iconic superhero movies of all time. Instead of a typical sequel where the hero comes back to save the world again, the movie offers a discussion about what means to be a hero, and how powers are worthless without proper motivation. While the famous sentence “With great power comes great responsibility” was said in the first film, it’s only in Spider-Man 2 that Peter Parker uses the teachings to find out who he is.
Going through a major identity crisis, Peter faces a major burnout and retreats from the Spider-Man duty as pressure stacks from all sides. Meanwhile, the iconic villain Doc Ock threatens New York with a dangerous plan, and the city plea for their local hero to come back.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – 3.9 / 5
The first two Thor movies were quite divisive because they did not manage to find the right tone for the hero. While the first one struggled with the clumsy effort to balance drama and romance, The Dark World ended up being way duller and darker than it should. In Thor: Ragnarok Taika Waititi finally managed to find the hero’s style, providing a wacky, chaotic fun ride through the god’s nest.
Thor is a mighty entity, but his goofiness is important to create contrast and develop a relatable character. In his third film, the hero finds himself imprisoned on the other side of the universe, running against time to find a way back to Asgard and stop the Ragnarok, high-scale destruction bound to decimate his home and civilization.
Avengers: Endgame (2019) – 3.9 / 5
Endgame picks up after the devastating events of Infinity War with direct references to the first Avengers film as the few remaining heroes are gradually gathered to undo Thanos’ actions. In a final attempt to restore order to the universe once and for all they risk everything, regardless of the sacrifices that will get in the way.
Endgame is an epic over three hours long that brings to the surface everything the MCU has been building through the years that preceded it. While the countless fan services might bother some fans, the great majority were astonished by the way things unraveled. Most importantly, the movie delivers a satisfying conclusion to every major character arc while also setting the stage for MCU’s Phase 4.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – 4.0 / 5
Part of what makes Infinity War so compelling is the well-built anxious atmosphere, as each Avenger runs against time in their quests of stopping Thanos from gathering the infinity stones. The movie manages to balance the main characters’ drama and self-discovery journeys with intense action sequences and sets up a memorable payoff as the Avengers’ army faces Thanos’ forces in an epic confrontation.
Infinity War is a movie different from any other in the MCU because it was bold enough to deliver a devastating ending where evil triumphs against the good ones. The final moments are incredibly emotional and heartbreaking, and the sentiment of loss that lingers as the credits roll sticks with the fans for a long time. That’s probably what makes the movie so strong on the first watch, but not quite as so in the next ones.
Logan (2017) – 4.1 / 5
Logan is an emotional farewell to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s iconic Charles Xavier. Set in a post-apocalyptical future, mutants are nearly extinct and a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X. As Logan attempts to retreat from life he led, he crosses paths with a young mutant pursued by dark forces, pushing him right back. into action.
Surprisingly shocking for its R rating, the movie depicts an unrelenting Logan in a final effort to protect those he cares about. His relationship with the young mutant Laura brings about heartwarming feelings as the two form an unexpected, powerful bond. Logan is a merciless superhero movie, presenting a realistically brutal struggle for survival.
The Incredibles (2004) – 4.1 / 5
Quite a bit different from other superhero movies, The Incredibles is a Pixar animation, and the film offers one of the best superhero families to this day. Part of a lot of people’s childhood, the movie follows a family with superpowers trying to lead a quiet suburban life, but when a mysterious assignment points to an evil supervillain, they are forced into action to save the world.
The movie was extremely influential at the time, but it took 14 years for the sequel to be released because the creator did not feel he had a new story worth telling, until 2018. Every character in The Incredibles has their unique abilities and personality, and even the supporting characters like Iceman often steal the scenes for themselves.
The Batman (2022) – 4.1 / 5
The latest entry to Letterboxd’s top 10 is The Batman, a movie no one was sure about what to expect until it finally came out. With a straight-up detective crime thriller narrative, the movie presents a troubled Bruce Wayne and his attempt to make a difference in Gotham’s hopeless scenario. It’s his second year fighting crime undercover as the ruthless Batman, and he uncovers a plot of corruption that connects to his own family and a serial killer known as The Riddler.
Bringing back iconic characters from the hero’s lore in a unique way, The Batman offers a much darker approach to Bruce Wayne, but remains faithful to the characters and stylishly delivers unforgettable action sequences.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) – 4.1 / 5
At the time it was released, Spider-Man: No Way Home felt more like an event than a movie. Millions of people attended the opening week of the film to avoid spoilers and make sure firsthand that the movie suited their expectations. And just like an event or a concert, millions of people cheered, screamed, and cry at the theater with the mix of emotions that No Way Home evokes.
The movie picks up directly after the events of Far From Home, following a distressed Peter Parker facing the consequences of his unmasked identity being leaked to the public. In a desperate attempt to get his normal life back, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help, but when a spell goes wrong, dangerous enemies from other universes begin to appear, threatening the balance of countless worlds. Introducing MCU’s Phase 4 multiverse on the big screen, the movie is both a nostalgic masterpiece and a key entry to what Marvel’s has been planning for the future.
The Dark Knight (2008) – 4.4 / 5
While Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker is a much more realistic version of the villain and Barry Keoghan’s Joker is quite promising, Heath Ledger’s take on the Dark Knight’s archenemy remains unbeatable. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy delivers a multifaceted hero; Batman is fierce, but the face behind the mask is a seemingly egocentric, cocky businessman. What Bruce Wayne is though, is a troubled man fighting against the demons from his past by freeing his city from the evil forces that overwhelm it.
The second installment of the trilogy is the strongest not only because Joker is a truly scary villain, but because he’s the only one that managed to affect Wayne’s psyche manipulatively. In The Dark Knight, the Joker is the one pulling all the strings and Batman almost feels like a supporting character. Nolan’s take on Batman is unanimously regarded as a faithful adaptation, and The Dark Knight certainly provides the best quotes of the trilogy.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – 4.4 / 5
Letterboxd’s highest-rated superhero movie hinted back in 2018 that audiences do love spider-man and multiverses. Combining computer animation with traditional hand-drawn techniques, Into the Spider-Verse is a truly stunning experience in terms of visuals, but thrives just as well when it comes to its strong emotional appeal.
The movie primarily focuses on high-schooler Miles Morales as he tries to balance his newfound superpowers with the school routine. When the legendary villain Kingpin uses a super collider recklessly, he causes a fracture in his world, as villains and heroes from the Spider-Verse begin to appear. In the center of it, it’s up to Miles to gather the other Spider-Man versions to stop a catastrophic tragedy plotted by evil forces.
Next: Every Spider-Man Movie, Ranked By Rewatchability
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