Nov 26, 2019

Best Superhero Movies of the 2010s

In the decades between 2000 and 2020, we saw the superhero movie perfected. The first decade was when we were re-introduced to characters like Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Batman. These characters were already a part of our cultural landscape, but these more complex superhero movies brought them into our modern age. After 2010, these movies were established enough to allow directors and writers to start being more creative with the form. In chronological order, here are the best superhero movies of the last 10 years.

  • Although the X-Men had been operating as a successful movie franchise for years, X-Men: The Last Stand dropped the ball hard.

    In order to wash out the bad taste left by The Last Stand, filmmakers decided to focus on the origin story of the primary heroes instead of continuing with aging stars Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. This involved a brilliant recast, with James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Magneto.

    X-Men: First Class is the first movie of this new generation and follows the pair as they struggle with their differing viewpoints on mutants’ place in the world. The movie revitalized the X-Men franchise. Unfortunately, subsequent movies — namely X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix — put the franchise back on life support.

  • One superhero movie that wasn’t produced by a major studio is Chronicle. This movie follows three teens who unexpectedly develop telekinetic superpowers.

    Chronicle stars a pre-Black Panther Michael B. Jordan, Dane DeHaan, and Alex Russell. Their phenomenal acting in this found footage-style movie makes it so engaging. Critics also loved the script and how it manages to sit right in the middle of the sci-fi and superhero genres.

  • Who knew that hot chick-flick actor Ryan Reynolds would leave the early 2000s and become one of the best superhero anti-heroes of all time?

    The success of Deadpool was in large part due to his ability to poke fun at not only himself but the entire superhero genre. The movie is deeply hilarious and does a great job of working within the constraints put on them by Marvel producers.

    Deadpool 2 was released in 2018. Even with family-friendly Disney having full control now, there are plans to continue the franchise into the 2020s.

  • The Lego Batman Movie was a quick follow-up to 2014’s The Lego Movie. It follows Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) as he struggles to overcome his fears in order to fight the Joker.

    The Lego Batman Movie is a fantastic introduction to superhero movies for children. Plus, it’s a great, light-hearted take on the genre even for adults. Along with A-list comedy actors like Will Arnett and Zach Galifianakis, this movie features the voice talents of celebrities like Mariah Carey, Eddie Izzard, Conan O’Brien, and Billy Dee Williams.

  • Old Man Logan is one of the most beloved Wolverine stories published by Marvel Comics. It follows a Wolverine from an alternate universe where the villains have taken over the world.

    As Hugh Jackman’s swan song as Wolverine, the Australian actor wanted to adapt the beloved story to the big screen.

    Set in 2029, Logan focuses on a much older Wolverine as he tries to protect the extremely unstable Charles Xavier and a young mutant named Laura. While Logan doesn’t follow the source material to the tee, it perfectly captured Old Man Logan’s gritty storytelling.

  • Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman was a groundbreaking superhero movie. It was the first major movie of this genre and scope to be directed by a woman. Furthermore, it was the first female-focused superhero film since 2005’s Elektra.

    Despite the hype — or maybe because of it — Wonder Woman received rave reviews. In a DC Extended Universe that was full of disappointing films, this movie was a beacon of hope for upset fans.

  • Thor: Ragnarok was the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) directed by Taika Waititi. It also marks a major departure in the way that the producers handled the character of Thor and his fellow dwellers of Asgard. The movie was irreverent, funny, and did a fantastic job of playing with the tropes of superhero movies for comedic effect.

    Of all the individual movies in the MCU, Thor: Ragnarok is the most balanced, introducing brand new characters, developed the characters we already know and love, and furthered the overall MCU plot. Plus, Cate Blanchett was probably one of the most elegantly badass villains we’ve seen in the MCU so far.

  • Since it was the first live-action movie focused on a non-white superhero, the hype for 2018’s Black Panther was unbelievable.

    Despite this pressure and scrutiny, director Ryan Coogler offered up an incredible movie. It focused on T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and his struggle to determine the future of Wakanda, a technologically advanced yet secretive African country. Although we were first introduced to T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War, this was our first glimpse at Wakanda and its incredible technology.

    Black Panther marked a major step for the superhero genre and served as an incredible celebration of pan-African culture, music, and the arts.

  • In the last 20 years, we’ve seen a parade of young white actors playing Spider-Man to varying degrees of success. This was the first movie released by Sony — who owns the movie rights to Spider-Man — that featured a person of color taking on the mantle of this superhero.

    In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, we meet Miles Morales, a young teenager who is bitten by a spider and becomes Spider-Man. At least, he is in his own reality.

    In an effort to fix past mistakes, the Kingpin is opening rifts in the multiverse. These rifts allow other Spider-People to enter Miles’ universe. This includes the likes of Peter B. Parker, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Peni Parker, and Spider-Man Noir.

    Named the Best Animated Film by many awards shows, Into the Spider-Verse is a great example of how creative and compelling superhero movies can be.

  • Currently, Avengers: Endgame is the highest-grossing film of all time. Whether it’s the best superhero movie of all time — or even just the 2010s — is a deeply personal choice.

    Endgame is undeniably epic. Critics all over the world agreed that it was a worthy ending for the arc that played out across the 22 movies that came before. Featuring incredible talent from across the MCU, the movie manages to touch all the tropes that make superhero movies amazing without appearing cliched or overdone.

    Endgame is a worthy ending to the first three phases of the MCU — collectively known as the Infinity Saga. Moreover, it sets the stage for a new cast of heroes moving forward into the 2020s.

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