Top 10 Live-Action Comic Book Movies From The 2010s
The 2010s seemed to have been a golden age for the superhero genre. With films like The Avengers and Joker, comic book movies have dominated the box office and have proved to be more than just mindless entertainment. With DC Fandom taking place last weekend and so many comic book movies on the horizon for 2021, it seemed appropriate to rank the ten best live-action comic book movies from the 2010s.
10. Thor: Ragnarok (2017): After the mixed reception from the releases of Thor in 2011 and Thor: The Dark World in 2013, many people did not really care for the character of Thor, even when he appeared in The Avengers. However, fans were overjoyed when they saw Thor: Ragnarok directed by Taika Waititi. We watch Thor (Chris Hemsworth) attempt to escape from the zany Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and make it back to his home Asgard in order to stop his long-lost sister (Cate Blanchett) from taking over the world. The film injected a much needed dose of comedy into the franchise and provided incredible action and set pieces right out of a 1980s sci-fi.
9. X-Men: First Class (2011): After the negative reception of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, many people considered the X-Men film series to be a franchise that was no longer worth watching. However in 2011, Matthew Vaughn brought new life into the series by directing X-Men: First Class, an origin story for a young Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) as they form the original X-Men together in order to stop a mutant (Kevin Bacon) from starting nuclear war. The film gave the X-Men characters a fresh start and allowed for several more movies to be made from that franchise.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): When the first trailer for this film was released, it seemed impossible for an idea like this to work. Most common moviegoers had never even heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and did not think that a film starring a group of criminals turned heroes consisting of a D-list space outlaw (Chris Pratt), a former assassin (Zoe Saldana), a warrior who doesn’t understand metaphors (Dave Bautista), a talking raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and a tree that can only say the words “I am Groot.” (Vin Diesel) would ever succeed. However, the film proved many people wrong, showcasing a fun atmosphere, hilarious characters, exciting action, and a script by James Gunn that provides so much charm.
7. Black Panther (2018): While the Marvel Cinematic Universe was already at the top of the food chain within the film industry, no one could have predicted the success that would come from Black Panther directed by Ryan Coogler. The film portrays African culture in a prominent and important way. We follow T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) as he becomes the king of his country Wakanda and faces the consequences of his father‘s actions in the form of Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who vows to seize the throne and claim control over Wakanda’s government. The film was a massive success with critics and audiences, becoming the first superhero movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
6. Wonder Woman (2017): It is not clear if DC will ever catch up with Marvel in terms of a successful cinematic universe. However, when it comes to a successful movie, Wonder Woman easily matches Marvel’s great quality. Serving as an origin story for the character, Wonder Woman shows Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) go on her first epic adventure and meet the love of her life Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). The story mainly revolves around the two going through World War I, attempting to find the true source of the conflict, and ultimately end it. The film does not disappoint as a first movie for the iconic character, as Gadot brings so much charm, passion, kindness and warmth to this role, which is everything that Wonder Woman stands for.
5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018): After ten years of buildup, the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally made good on its promise of bringing in Thanos (Josh Brolin), one of the most iconic villains from the comics. Before the character appeared, several fans waited with anticipation for the character to become the main antagonist for the Avengers, with some even making fun of how long it was taking for the character to appear. When Thanos finally appeared, many of the fears on how the character would hold up after so much buildup were put to rest. In the movie, we follow almost all of the heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as they try to prevent Thanos from claiming all six infinity stones before he can use them to destroy half of life throughout the universe. Both critics and audiences praised the film for its darker story, development for the character of Thanos, and the unbelievably shocking ending which left many audience members stunned.
4. Joker (2019): After Jared Leto’s take on the popular character The Joker in Suicide Squad proved to be underwhelming, DC and Warner Bros. Entertainment decided to make a stand-alone origin film for the iconic villain. Directed by Todd Phillips and serving as a psychological thriller, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill and failed stand-up comedian who descends into madness after suffering from a tragic life in Gotham City. Phoenix takes the audience on a captivating and thrilling experience by portraying a broken man that makes his journey into becoming The Joker through many uncomfortable, tragic and sometimes horrific scenes. The film revived critical acclaim for its writing, Phillips’ direction and especially Phoenix’s performance. The film was nominated for several Academy Awards, with Phoenix winning Best Actor. Joker was also the second comic book movie to be nominated for Best Picture, and the first DC film to achieve that nomination.
3. Avengers: Endgame (2019): One year after Avengers: Infinity War, fans waited with even more anticipation to see the conclusion to the ten year long story arc. The film immediately picks up where it left off, as Thanos has succeeded in wiping out half of humanity with the Infinity Stones. It is up to the remaining Avengers to travel through time and claim the Infinity Stones before Thanos can do so, and bring everyone back to life. The film provides an epic story for the characters as they make it their ultimate goal to bringing their families, friends and all the other innocent people back to life. What it results in is a massive final battle between the Avengers and Thanos, which provides a fitting conclusion for both Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans). Avengers: Endgame proved to be one of the most successful movies for Marvel, as it received critical acclaim and became the highest grossing film of all time, surpassing James Cameron’s film Avatar from 2009.
2. The Avengers (2012): No one could ever predict the success that came from this movie. After five films of buildup with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, this long awaited team-up finally occurred. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) brings together Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to stop Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from unleashing an army of hostile aliens upon New York City. The film provides terrific chemistry with the characters, an epic story for the Avengers, and a thrilling climax in New York City with an amazing amount of action and humor to go along with it. The film received critical acclaim from audiences and critics for pulling off this team-up and setting up a larger universe. Little did fans know that this was only the beginning for these characters, who would entertain audience members for the next eight years.
1. Logan (2017): After the disappointment from X-Men: Apocalypse, the X-Men Film Series was once again on the decline. However, the director of the previous X-Men film The Wolverine James Mangold returned to the franchise to direct Logan. Serving as a swan song for Hugh Jackman’s character Logan/Wolverine, Logan takes place in the year 2029, where the mutant race has mostly been wiped out. An older and broken-down Logan now works as a limousine driver to pay for the medication of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who now suffers from seizures that cause great harm to those near him. When a young mutant girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) comes across Logan, he and Charles are forced to drive the child to a safe haven in North Dakota, in order to protect her from a group of ruthless militants led by a manipulative scientist (Richard E. Grant) and his sadistic right hand man (Boyd Holbrook) who intend to capture and kill her. Logan received universal acclaim from critics and audiences who praised the final performances of Jackman and Stewart, the introduction of Keen’s character, and the R-rating which allowed fans to see an unrestricted Wolverine in action after years of waiting. It was also the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards. Logan is a heartbreaking yet epic final adventure for the character, and one that should be checked out as soon as possible.