Saturday, 24 May 2014

10 Superhero Movie Recommendations

(10 Superhero Movie Recommendations From Neamo)

Before you begin reading this top 10, I must impress upon you that I am not a comic book aficionado. I have little to no interest in the sweat drenched pandering of Marvel and it's vague attempts to keep a fifty year old gravy train on the rails, and I won't be quoting source material or advising films based on fan service. In this sense, those of you looking for the Avengers to top this list should stop reading now as aside from a rant it has no place here. Instead, I've picked a collection of superhero films I genuinely enjoy, and while they are in places off brand, I don't feel that detracts from their value.

The Incredibles
(Honorable Mention)
A classically underrated film that deserves at least an honorable mention. Often overlooked in place of the larger Pixar productions, it's only with the announcement of a sequel in the works that people seem to be glancing back fondly, but for me this was already a fond favorite. Snappy dialogue, a warm heart and a great voice cast lend themselves easily to a film that by rights should have garnered more praise. I haven't included it in the running as I'm trying to keep it to the realms of live action, but I had to give it a mention. Please, watch this film.

(10th Place)
Venturing quickly into the realms of controversial choices, we arrive at my 10th place, Hellboy. Unconventional at best, the brooding anti-hero lives in a world of ingrained corruption, elder gods and monsters called forth by the Nazi mystics of yore, our hero being one such creature. With beautiful creature designs, a perfectly cast Ron Pearlman and a taste for witty repartee, this film would be higher on the list if it didn't suffer from pacing problems and a total lack of anything resembling romantic chemistry. A decent offering, though I would advise you avoid it's sequel.

Mystery Men
(9th Place)
My 9th place goes to the eclectic and dysfunctional troop known only as The Mystery Men. I shall go on record as saying I'm not a fan of Ben Stiller, and while he gives a passable performance as the lead main, his brand and branch of comedy remains firmly beyond my grasp. The supporting cast however provide the backbone to this, from the bumbling Hank Azaria to the ever intriguing Geoffrey Rush, who steals the show as the unquestionably alluring Casanova Frankenstein. Over the top, wildly exuberant and often flamboyantly awful, this film knows what it is, and revels in it. A beautiful if at times caustic lampoon of a bygone era of superhero iconography.

The Shadow
(8th Place)
This was a tricky film for me to place, as while it remains unrelentingly cheesy it also delivers a stylish neo-noir take that the genre til that point had seen precious little of. Dark and brooding, our hero appears more villain than vigilante, and the sobriety of his performance lays in stark contrast with the gaudy guile of his exaggerated foe. While the acting is nothing I can really adorn with any form of praise, the film's feel and direction at least help to smooth over the rough edges. Could it have been better? Certainly, but is it worth my 8th place? Without question.

The Rocketeer
(7th Place)
Taking place during the second world war, The Rocketeer is an unusual 7th place I'll grant you, but it's no less valid. During a time of innovation and wartime madness, a stolen jet pack falls into the hands of a man soon to be hunted by Nazi's who will stop at nothing to retrieve it. It sounds intriguing, doesn't it? Well in a peculiar mixture of Iron Man and Indiana Jones, that is exactly what this film is. With a well cast adversary played by Timothy Dalton, a great plot and a generally relaxed and casual attitude to the genre, the real detractor would be the now extremely dated special effects. With that in mind, brace yourselves for a good time, albeit an ugly one.
(6th Place)
Hugh Jackman and Wolverine for me have become interchangeable. I'm not entirely sure I can give it a higher compliment. In my 6th place comes the debut act of a franchise that rose to acclaim, fell to utter disgrace and over the past two iterations has attempted to rise from the ashes like Jean Grey. With a star studded cast featuring the esteemed Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, it's casting remains a true joy to behold. In saying that, the film also sports some of the worst script writing Hally Berry's agents have ever approved (And that's saying something. Seriously.) and while it's hark to the era of spandex is rightly lambasted, it's iconic visuals and performances ease any literary tension. A strong superhero movie that deserves respect, regardless of it's faults, sequels and spin offs.
Iron Man
(5th Place)
Robert Downey Jr is a man of many talents, but for the larger part of his career he was known more for his excessive whore mongering and alcoholism than the acting prowess shown in later years, and much as is the case, life imitates art. My 5th place goes to Iron Man, the film that forced people to give a shit about the Avengers. With great action sequences, a plethora of pop culture references and beautiful special effects, this film was always going to be a contender for one of the higher places. Let down perhaps by a characteristically shoddy end fight, this is a fun romp through a middle aged actors era of hedonism.
The Crow
(4th Place)
And now for something a little more bitter sweet. Brandon Lee was set for stardom, and as my listing this in 4th place will reflect, the man could act. With a vibrant air of the goth culture and it's own rather unique spin on the idea of revenge, The Crow is a film that mixes the excessive flamboyance of camp villainy and pun filled dialogue with a far grittier feel. There are no leotard clad superhero's here to clear the streets or happy endings to bring resolution, just a spirit hungry to avenge his love. While at times the imagery can be a little over the top, the film itself remains a good watch, and a sad reminder of the lead actor's talent, who was accidentally killed on set.

(3rd Place) 
Blade remains the benchmark when all else fades to prove definitively that even in the face of Anne Rice's dreary erotic novella's and Stephenie Meyer's abominations, vampires are cool. Our fanged hero, called the day walker due to his penchant for a sunlit stroll, is a halfbreed and dukes it out with the legions of the undead using a samurai sword and a bag full of sass. The special effects haven't dated well admittedly, but they serve only as garnish to the main course, Wesley Snipes in a trench coat. A 3rd place that will never go out of style.

(2nd Place)
In 2nd place I have Watchmen, a film that keeps a close tie in my heart for first. An easy summation of this movie would be that a psychopath, a warmonger, a genius, a nerd and his girlfriend walk into a bar, and God doesn't care. With a plot that's far too convoluted, and in the same stance too good for me to pick apart in a paragraph, our band of heroes are dysfunctional relics from an era of beloved vigilantes. Lacking real super powers, they were discarded when a man through a horrifying experiment attained super powers, and effectively became a god. I'm not overstating. In the face of that, the film revolves around struggles and loathe in the presence of genuine divinity, and a god who is feeling ennui in the presence of mankind. Wonderful, but depressing.

The Dark Knight
(1st Place)
It had to appear on the list at some point. In 1st place comes the performance, quite literally of a lifetime. That seems like a cold and callous remark of my point, and I apologize if it came over with anything but loving respect, but Heath Ledger's role in the Dark Knight soars above anything else in this film. Crazed and maddened to the point of brilliance, unfortunately if rumors are to be believed it's this same mindset that caused the premature passing of a man who clearly had much more to offer. Does it matter that Christian Bale sounds like he's gargling with a mouth full of marbles? No, as this isn't his film. It seems like ardent flattery, and perhaps it is, but this movie is all about the Joker, and that's exactly as it should be. The rest of the film was okay too.

That's it. It's been a long post and it's been difficult to write, but I'm as happy with it as I can be. Why didn't I include other Marvel recent releases? Well, the Spider-man franchise while entertaining enough hasn't produced an offering I feel I can get fully behind. Thor and Captain America aren't so much film franchises at this point as they are explaining why we should give a shit about Iron Man's friends, and are notably of a lesser quality. Oh, and the Avengers is an over rated cluster fuck. I hope you find this list helpful.


  1. Yessss, knew the Crow would make it in here with you :p

  2. Very nice list. There are a couple on this list I haven't seen, but I aim to correct that oversight in the near future. My favorite? Mystery Men -Kajes


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