Readers' Poll: The 15 Greatest Superhero Movies - Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The 15 Greatest Superhero Movies

From “The Dark Knight” and “Superman 2” to “The Incredibles”

Christopher Reeve Superman

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier made a stunning $95 million this past weekend, which is a new record for the month of April. It was just further evidence that people absolutely love Superhero movies. This was clear in the late 1970s after the huge success of the first Superman movie, but it wasn't until the early 2000s that these things began completely taking over Hollywood. It seems like every summer more and more of them flood the marketplace. We asked our readers to select their favorite ones — click through to see the results. 


Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

4. ‘Watchmen’

The Watchmen from 2009 is a great example of a superhero movie that never reached a big audience outside of comic-book fanboy circles. The late-1980s comic Watchmen comic books by Alan Moore have an enormous cult audience, but for years Hollywood resisted turning them into a movie. The world that Moore created was simply too vast and complex, but superhero movies were so hot by the mid-2000s that Zack Snyder got the green light to make a Watchmen movie. The film earned a 65 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but it barely made back its budget and a sequel remains highly unlikely. 


Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

3. ‘Superman’ (1978)

The modern superhero movie was born in 1978 when Superman first hit theaters. Warner Bros. didn't cheap out in bringing the iconic character to the big screen, hiring Marlon Brando to play Jor-El and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. Godfather writer Mario Puzo even worked on the screenplay. Christopher Reeve was the perfect Superman and the movie got an entire generation of kids — who had their minds blown by Star Wars the previous year — to run out and buy comic books. The 2006 movie Superman Returns tried to recapture the magic of this movie, but it felt flat and lifeless by comparison. 

The Avengers

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

2. ‘The Avengers’

The Avengers is the Laff-A-Lympics of superhero movies. After carefully assembling a bunch of beloved characters in prior movies, Marvel brought them all together in one grandiose, super duper event movie. It was a blockbuster's blockbuster, earning $1.5 billion, and that's not counting action figures, T-shirts and other side deals. They're going to have to sign over Fort Knox to Robert Downey Jr. to keep making these movies, but they'll gladly do it. 

The Dark Knight

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

1. ‘The Dark Knight’

A Batman movie is often only as good as the main villain. In 1997, Batman and Robin was hobbled by Arnold Schwarzenegger making an absolute fool out of himself as Mr. Freeze, while Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman seriously elevated 1992's Batman Returns. None of them can compare to Heath Ledger's Joker in 2008's The Dark Knight. The fact he died so soon after shooting certainly made the character seem more dramatic, but even if he'd lived it's likely he would have won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

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