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Unmasked: More Picks of the Best and Worst Superhero Films 

To see the main article, Creative Loafing film critic Matt Brunson's lists of the best and worst superhero films ever made, go here.

Watchmen appears on several of the participants' "10 Best" lists.
  • Watchmen appears on several of the participants' "10 Best" lists.

(Cosplayer and comic convention sales; comic convention retail)


The 10 Best

1. MAN OF STEEL (2013). Yes, it came out recently, but it's a great origin story on how Kal-El became Superman.

2. The Avengers

3. The Dark Knight Rises

4. Batman Begins

5. Watchmen

6. Batman Returns

7. Superman

8. Spider-Man 2

9. Batman (1989)

10. Iron Man


The 5 Worst

1. HULK (2003). The Hulk storyline and comic panels just don't work in movies.

2. Catwoman

3. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

4. Batman & Robin

5. Superman III

(Cosplayer, geek, and she-who-pushes-play in clubs around town)


The 10 Best

1. THE AVENGERS (2012). A movie that has it all: action, humor and heroes great and small. It leaves you feeling absolutely fulfilled at the end.

2. Captain America: The First Avenger

3. The Crow

4. Tank Girl

5. Batman (1989)

6. Watchmen

7. Mystery Men

8. X-Men: First Class

9. Constantine

10. Unbreakable


The 5 Worst


1. BARB WIRE (1996). While the comic isn't bad, the movie version is simply a Pamela Anderson jiggle-fest.

2. Catwoman

3. Condorman

4. Green Lantern

5. My Super Ex-Girlfriend

(Freelance writer for CL and Geeks of Doom)


The 10 Best

1. BATMAN BEGINS (2005). The impact of Christopher Nolan's movie on modern genre filmmaking cannot be understated. It completely changed the way we see comic book superheroes and their live-action adaptations, offering a darker, more dramatic origin story grounded in reality. The success of Batman Begins brought about darker re-imaginings like Casino Royale and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, as well as superhero reboots like The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel.

2. The Avengers

3. The Dark Knight

4. Watchmen

5. The Crow

6. Batman (1989)

7. Spider-Man 2

8. X2

9. Iron Man

10. Superman


The 5 Worst

1. X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009). Ridiculous. Nonsensical. Blasphemous. Gavin Hood's X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the worst superhero movie ever. Adamantium bullets? Taylor Kitsch as Gambit? Wolverine wearing boxing gloves, giving The Blob the rope-a-dope? Will.I.Am? Ryan Reynolds as a mutant amalgam of Cyclops, Darth Maul and Mortal Kombat's Baraka!? This movie exists solely to show how Wolverine got his signature leather jacket and screwed up the X-Men continuity so bad Fox had to make a reboot (X-Men: First Class), and then a new standalone Wolverine film, followed by a new X-Men film (X-Men: Days of Future Past) that uses time travel to retcon the franchise's underwhelming installments out of existence.

2. Catwoman

3. Spider-Man 3

4. Batman & Robin

5. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

(Editor & writer; CL's late, lamented Comic Proportions column)


The 10 Best

1. SUPERMAN (1978). No other superhero film adequately captures the awe and wonder of performing superhuman feats like the very first Superman movie. The special effects don't hold up, but it's amazingly charming and iconic — so much so that every good superhero film borrows from it to some extent.

2. Blade

3. Superman II

4. The Avengers

5. Iron Man

6. The Dark Knight Rises

7. X-Men: First Class

8. Batman (1989)

9. X2

10. The Incredibles


The 5 Worst

1. STEEL (1997). We can never forget this turd of a film, starring "master thespian" Shaquille O'Neil, which ditched every element of the long-running Superman-related hero that was even remotely cool.

2. Catwoman

3. The Punisher (1989)

4. Batman & Robin

5. Green Lantern

(Film critic, Fandango, CinemaBlend, etc.)


The 10 Best

1. BATMAN BEGINS (2005). A streamlined origin story for a timeless hero, Batman Begins constructs a recognizable, lived-in Gotham City and goes to great lengths to introduce the flawed, vulnerable but determined man who would shoulder the responsibility of defending his beloved, broken city. Christopher Nolan and his flawless cast whip up the perfect balance of credible action, suspenseful drama and subtle humor. Also, it has the best ending scene of any superhero movie, ever.

2. Unbreakable

3. X-Men

4. The Avengers

5. The Amazing Spider-Man

6. The Incredibles

7. Superman II

8. Chronicle

9. Captain America: The First Avenger

10. The Rocketeer


The 5 Worst

1. SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007). This disaster is the result of too many cooks jamming ingredients into a successful franchise. Sam Raimi isn't completely to blame, though like his hero, he must accept the "great responsibility" for letting this bloated installment fly so far off the rails. Its sins are plentiful, from too many villains — all poorly miscast — to the hatchet job performed on Venom's origin. But it mainly fails because it forgets who Peter Parker is — a surprise given that Raimi and Tobey Maguire had a decent handle on the character for two previous films. A huge disappointment that flushed away all franchise potential and stopped a lucrative superhero series dead in its tracks.

2. Catwoman

3. Barb Wire

4. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

5. Judge Dredd (1995)

(Freelance writer/editor; CL's Comic Afterthoughts column)


The 10 Best

1. SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004). Sam Raimi's follow-up to his first Spider-Man entry is as good as traditional comic books can be in film translations. Battles atop subways, overlapping narratives and relationships, a now-classic final bout — this is the purest adaptation possible without sacrificing the source material.

2. X2

3. The Dark Knight

4. Watchmen

5. The Avengers

6. Iron Man

7. Superman

8. Blade

9. X-Men

10. The Punisher (2004)


The 5 Worst

1. SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007). Raimi's third entry incites tears every time I happen upon it on cable television at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday. Too many villains, sloppy character arcs, that guy from That '70s Show — this film is, quite simply, a bummer. Even making fun of Peter Parker in his stunt-double-for-Conor-Oberst-circa-2001 stylings during the "dark" part of the story has become hack. Comic book movies have not shaken the Godfather complex: Please, no more threequels.

2. Steel

3. X-Men: The Last Stand

4. Elektra

5. Captain America (1990)


(Arts writer, Charlotte Observer)
The 10 Best


1. BATMAN BEGINS (2005). Christopher Nolan directs meaningful action movies better than anyone. He gave a fresh feel to a familiar origin story, infusing it with psychological depth and complex characters, and he dared to have an ending that's only partly a triumph for the hero. First-rate special effects and fine acting help make this the most memorable superhero movie I know.

2. The Incredibles

3. The Dark Knight

4. X-Men

5. V for Vendetta

6. The Amazing Spider-Man

7. Superman

8. Darkman

9. Blade

10. Watchmen

The 5 Worst


1. THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (2003). A bad film can't be truly unbearable unless it had the possibility to be great. This one took clever source material (the graphic novel of that name) and capable actors (Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Peta Wilson, etc.) and mired them in sloppily shot, sentimental and scarcely comprehensible gibberish. The results are jaw-droppingly stupid.

2. Barb Wire

3. The Phantom (1996)

4. Batman & Robin

5. Catwoman


Combining all the various lists and assigning points based on the films' rankings, these emerged as the overall best and worst.


The 10 Best

1. The Avengers

2. Batman Begins

3. Superman

4. The Dark Knight

5. Watchmen

6. X-Men

7. The Incredibles

8. Spider-Man 2

9. Batman (1989)

10. The Crow


The 5 Worst

1. Catwoman

2. Batman & Robin

3. Barb Wire

4. Spider-Man 3

5. Steel

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