The Top 15 Comic Book Movies Of The Decade
Its the end of a decade, so it's time to look back on what we experienced. There are going to be a lot of lists to recap this decade, from songs to foods, TV shows and memes. But what I'm going to focus on now is movies.
Originally, this was going to be a list of "geek" movies from 2010-2019, but when I started going through ALL of those movies, I realized it was going to be too big of a list. I was mixing in comic book, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and other 'geeky' movies when I put the list together. So instead of making that monster list, I decided to break it down.
This list will examine the COMIC BOOK movies released over the last 10 years.
While making these decisions I took a couple things into consideration. I used IMDB rankings, box office performance, historical importance, and staying power. One of the other things I considered was how much of a "comic book" movie it actually was. For example, 2019's Joker.
Joker will probably win a bunch of awards, or at least get nominations, and will be remembered as a great film. Because it is. But during production, and the early press tours for the film, the creators around it worked to distance themselves from any attachment to comic books. They essentially used the character name for leverage, and created a stand-alone movie. Was it a bad movie? Not at all, it was one of the best of 2019, but I'm just not prepared to slot it with actual comic book movies.
So, now that the rules are set, here's what we have:
#15 - Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)
This was probably the best Spider-Man movie of the decade. No disrespect to the MCU Spider-Man, but this film proved a couple of things. It proved that animated feature films work in the comic book world, and it proved comic book movies can win major awards. The movie won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature, and a total of 40 awards around the globe.
#14 - Justice League (2017)
They finally did it. DC Comics and Warner Brothers have honestly struggled compared to Marvel/Disney and the MCU. Not that DC/WB didn't have some seriously successful films, but I don't think anyone will be comparing the two anytime soon. But years after the MCU gave up the epic Avengers team-up, DC gave us Justice League. It made a ton of money at the box office, and made fans happy, but critics (and some fans) were very vocal about their displeasure. But this was an important step for DC and Warner Brothers. Critics could also find a new appreciation for it if the Snyder Cut is ever released.
#13 - Thor (2011)
It might be hard to remember what the MCU looked like in 2011. We had two Iron Man movies (one wasn't that great) and an underwhelming Incredible Hulk movie. It's hard to remember a time when the MCU was only on Earth. But that's what Thor changed. This movie opened up a lot of new doors for the MCU, and honestly helped rescue the MCU after Iron Man 2.
#12 - Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Welcome to MCU "Phase 3", and say hello to Spider-Man and Black Panther. There have been a couple of massive MCU team-up movies this decade, which has been the strongest part of the MCU. This was one of the biggest moments, this was full of applause-in-the-theater-moments, and they earned all of them.
#11 - X-Men: First Class (2011)
After exploding with massive films in the early 2000s, the X-Men cinematic universe lost its way to close out the first decade of the new millennium. X-Men The Last Stand and X-Men Origins Wolverine were both rough films, and appeared to indicate a potential end to the film franchise. But in 2011, a new breath reinvented the franchise with First Class. However, this franchise seemed to suffer the same fate as the early 2000s run as they closed out the 2010s with the horrific Dark Phoenix film in 2019.
#10 - Logan (2017)
One of the highest rated comic book movies from critics ever. The inspirations drawn from Mark Millar's Old Man Logan comic series gave the movie a strong foundation, and Hugh Jackman brought everything he had to the role. It was nominated for some Academy Awards, becoming the first R-rated comic book movie to get nominations.
#9 - Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
This might have been the point in the MCU where we all realized they can do no wrong. They took some pretty unknown comic book characters, and turned them into Hollywood A-list movie stars. Once we saw what they were able to do here, we knew things were going to get good towards the end of the decade.
#8 - Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Here we go...this is when thing went even higher. We've had teamups, we've had major stars, and now it all comes together. This was beyond a movie, this was a moment. It should probably be higher on the list, but I actually feel like this lost some of it's shine compared to it's sequel. This almost felt like the first half of a bigger movie...probably because it was. But let's be honest, the scene where Captain America steps out of the shadows to save Vision deserves to be Top 10 on its own.
#7 - The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
We really need to appreciate Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan's contributions to the Batman, and greater comic book world. Was it their best Batman film? No. Was it the best of the 2010s? Of course.
#6 - Wonder Woman (2017)
As the highest rated DC Comics movie on this list, Wonder Woman represents the best of the Warner Brothers comic book movie efforts this decade. It was a decade with a lot of promise, characters like Superman, Batman, The Joker, and Aquaman, with actors whole live on the A-list, you might expect more from them. But a relative unknown in Gal Gadot (most known for her appearances in the Fast & Furious franchise) as a character who hadn't made a solo movie appearance yet didn't set up to be as big as something like Suicide Squad or Man of Steel...but here she is. Wonder Woman felt different than the rest of the DC Comics movies, and for good reasons.
#5 - Black Panther (2018)
This was a game changer on a lot of levels. First, it won 3 Academy Awards, 2 Grammy Awards, and 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards. The movie was nominated for more than 200 Awards cross the globe. The movie cross the $1 billion mark at the Box Office, breaking a ton of Box Office records, and finishing as the second highest grossing film of 2018. That's not even taking into account the cultural implications of this film.
#4 - The Avengers (2012)
This was a moment. As a kid growing up on comic books and animated TV shows, I never thought I'd see what splash pages showed me with ink, on the big screen. But there it was. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye...all on my screen. I clearly wasn't alone, as the movie made $1.5 billion at the Box Office. But it also had to be GOOD, and it was. As we saw with Suicide Squad (bringing it up again) you can't just get big name characters, and A-list stars, and make it work. This movie launched the MCU and Disney into territory that no film studio has even seen before.
#3 - Deadpool (2016)
Yes, Deadpool was one of the Top 3 comic book movies of the decade. Even if you have some beef with the character, or the movie, look what it did. This was the movie that no one thought could ever be made, and not only was it made, it was a SMASH. Critics loved it, fans loved it, even comic purists loved it. The only people who seemed upset with it would be upset about anything that stayed true to the comic version of Deadpool, which this movie did very well. Ryan Reynolds was born to play Wade Wilson, and over the years since this movie, its become harder and harder to separate the two.
#2 - Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
Take a deep breath. Yes, after we've let this one rest for a few years, it turns out this movie was WAY ahead of it's time. Based on Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels, Scott Pilgrim brought amazing cinematography to the screen mixed with some of the (what would become) biggest names in comic book movies. The title character was played by Michael Cera, who was probably the biggest name at the time the movie was released, went on to voice Robin in The Lego Batman Movie. Other stars that went on for more comic book movie success include Chris Evans (Captain America), Brandon Routh (was already Superman, then became The Atom in the DC TV universe, before becoming Superman again for TV), Mae Whitman (voice of Batgirl in DC Super Hero Girls and Batman Brave and the Bold, & voice of April O'Neil in the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Aubrey Plaza (Lenny/Shadow King in Legion), and Brie Larson (Captain Marvel).
#1 - Avengers: Endgame (2019)
This is what it was all about. This is what the entire MCU was building to...and what more could we have asked for? We got to see everything built since 2008 come together for one epic film. All of the stars, all of the heroes, all of the emotions...it was a special moment to be a part of. If you got the pleasure of being in a theater with a crowd that "got it", you were in for a treat. In the theater I was in, for my first viewing, we had applause, sobbing, cheering, laughter, and a sense of community. This is why comic book movies are magic.