It seems hard to believe that there could even be 25 films in the superhero genre that would be worth putting on a list at this point, much less enough that there are worthy titles I feel were left off, but that's where we are in 2014.
As the reviews started rolling in for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” with many people calling it the best superhero movie ever made, we decided to throw the question out to the entire HitFix staff to ask people to rank their favorite films in the genre. We did this several years ago with the top ten, but at this point, we felt like the roster was deep enough to ask people to vote for their favorite 25.
What surprised me is just how much variety there were in the answers. There are many films that were on my list that didn't make the final tally, and that was true with everyone. What surprised me more were some of the titles that made the list. I may be a big fan of Ang Lee's “Hulk,” but I totally understand why not everyone feels the same way. I was happy to see so much support for it.
At this point, it's becoming clear that there is no single way to approach making a superhero movie. I love the playful tone of the Marvel films, but I also like the intentional absurdity of “Batman Returns” or the ultra-seriousness of “The Dark Knight” or the aggressive weirdness of “Watchmen,” and I think it would be a shame if there was only one tone that we accepted for these movies.
Moving forward, we're no doubt going to see more and more experimentation with form. I'm excited to see what Edgar Wright does with “Ant-Man,” but I hope that's just one step as more and more filmmakers try telling these stories through personal filters. The reasons I love my favorite runs of my favorite comics come down to the ways the storytellers approached the characters. The more people who try new things in superhero films, the more other people will be willing to take risks or try new things.
As always, I'm sure you're going to agree with some titles and disagree with others. By all means, wade in and let's debate it in the comments below.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is in theaters now.