Top ten superhero movies: what is the greatest film based on a comic-book hero?


top superhero movies

We compare the top ten superhero movies and decide which is the greatest among them. Superman vs Spider-Man vs X-Men vs Avengers vs Batman vs Captain America vs Watchmen vs Hellboy vs Deadpool vs Kick-Ass.

Movies based on comic-books

In the last few years Hollywood has released a growing number of movies based on comic books. The superhero genre has become one of the most successful in the box office over the last decade. Films such as The Avengers, Avengers Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3, The Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, and Captain America: Civil War, have each generated over one billion dollars in theatres and are among the top 25 highest grossing films in history. The Avengers, with over $1.5 billion, is the all time 5th highest grossing film. Being a comic-book geek is no longer a point of social stigma or something to hide among adults: the public love these films. Many of the current film directors and producers grew up reading comic-books. Thanks to tecnological advancement in terms of digital special effects, crating spectacular scenes in which comic-book heroes wield their super-powers is easier than ever.

Many iconic characters of Marvel, DC, Image and Dark Horse Comics have seen their popularity boosted thanks to their transition to the big screen. Some movies have been great economic failures and many comic-books fans and reviewers have complained about some of the poor adaptations. However, there are also many excellent superhero movies which have managed to please not only to those graphic novel readers, but also to people who did not like comics. We debate and vote (see below) which among all superhero films is the all time best.

Complete list of movies based on superheros

Not all superhero movies are equally well known. Here there is a complete list of all live action film adaptations of comic-book heroes (including multi-chapter serials and TV films):

  • 1920sThe Mark of Zorro (1920), Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925)


  • 1930s: The Bold Caballero (1936), Zorro Rides Again (1937), The Spider's Web (1938), Zoro's Fighting Legion (1939)


  • 1940s: The Mark of Zorro, The Shadow, Mysterious Doctor Satan, The Green Hornet (1940), Adventures of Captain Marvel, The Green Hornet Strikes Again (1941), Batman, The Masked Marvel (1943), Captain America (1944), Son of Zorro (1947), Superman (1948), Batman and Robin, Ghost of Zorro (1949),


  • 1950s: Atom Man vs Superman (1950), Superman and the Mole Men (1951), The Sign of Zorro (1958)


  • 1960s: Batman (1966)


  • 1970s: The Mark of Zorro (1974), Abar The First Black Superman, Spider-Man (1977), Dr. Strange, Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, Superman (1978)


  • 1980s: Hero at Large, Superman II (1980), Condorman, Zorro The Gay Blade (1981), Swamp Thing (1982), Superman III (1983), The Toxic Avenger, Supergirl (1984), Howard the Duck (1986), Superman IV (1987), The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988), The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, The Return of Swamp Thing, Batman, The Punisher, The Toxic Avenger Part III (1989)


  • 1990s: The Death of the Incredible Hulk, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Darkman, Captain America (1990), The Guyver, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, The Rocketeer (1991), Batman Returns (1992), Teenage Mutant Turtles III, The Meteor Man (1993), Guyver Dark Hero, The Crow, The Shadow, The Mask, Blankman (1994), Tank Girl, Darkman II, Batman Forever, Judge Dredd, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Black Scorpion (1995), Barb Wire, The Phantom, Darkman III, The Crow: City of Angels (1996), Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, Black Scorpion I, Batman and Robin, Spawn, Steel (1997), Star Kid, The Mask of Zorro, Blade, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998), Mystery Men (1999)


  • 2000s: The Crow: Salvation, X-Men, The Specials, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV, Unbreakable (2000), Blade II, Spider-Man (2002), Daredevil, X2: X-Men United, Hulk, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), Hellboy, The Punisher, Spider-Man 2, Catwoman, Blade: Trinity (2004), Elektra, Constantine, Son of the Mask, Man-Thing, The Crow: Wicked Prayer, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagir in 3-D, Batman Begins, Fantastic Four, Sky High, The Legend of Zorro (2005), V For Vendetta, X-Men: The Last Stand, Superman Returns, Lightspeed, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Special, Zoom (2006), Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Spider-Man 3, Underdog (2007), Jumper, Superhero Movie, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Hancock, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Batman: The Dark Knight, Punisher: War Zone, The Spirit (2008), Push, Watchmen, X-Men Origns: Wolverine, Defendor (2009)


  • 2010s: Kick-Ass, Iron Man 2, Johah Hex, Super (2010), The Green Hornet, Thor, X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, Captain America: The First Avenger, Vs, Power Rangers Samurai: Clash of the Red Rangers The Movie (2011), Chronicle, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, Dredd (2012), Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, The Wolverine, Kick-Ass 2, Super Buddies, Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Fantastic Four, American Hero (2015), Deadpool (2016), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men Apocalypse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Suicide Squad, Doctor Strange (2016)

Watch these videos with the top ten impressive fights in superhero movies and the top 10 worst movies:



Top ten superhero movies

The list of good superhero films list is long, we have shortlisted ten of the best based on their popularity and critics reviews. Help us decide which of these top superhero movies is the all time best. In chronological order these movies are:

  • Superman (1978): this Warner Bros. movie was directed by Richard Donner and its cast included Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and Margott Kidder. It was nominated for three Academy Awards (Best Sound Mixing, Original Score and Best Film Editing) and won the Oscar for Visual Effects.It generated $300 million in the box office.


  • Hellboy (2004): this movies, based on the popular Dark Horse demonic hero created by Mike Mignola, was directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Ron Perlman, Rupert Evans, John Hurt and Selma Blair act in this superhero film distributed by Columbia Pictures. It grossed $99 million worldwide.


  • Spider-Man 2 (2004): the second of the Spider-Man trilogy directed by Sam Raimi is usually considered the best one. The film features Tobey Maguire, Krinsten Dunst and Alfred Molina and distributd by Columbia Pictures, grossed $783 million and won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.


  • The Dark Knight (2008): is the second movie in the Batman trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan and a sequel to Batman Begins. Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman are the main actors in the Dark Knight. The film distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures grossed $1 billion in the box office, recived eight Academy Award Nominations and won two Oscars: Best Sound Editing and Best Supporting Actor for Heath Ledger who played the Joker villain.


  • Watchmen (2009): this movie based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's popular DC Comics limited series was directed by Zack Snyder and features Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Matthew Goode and Patrick Wilson. The film was distributed by Warner Bros. and Paramount and generated $185 million in theatres worldwide.


  • Kick-Ass (2010): this violent and funny movie is based on the superhero black comedy by Mark Millar and John Romita published by Marvel under the Icon brand. It was directed by Matthew Vaughn and features Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Mark Strong. Kick-Ass was distributed by Lionsgate and grossed $96 million worldwide.


  • X-Men: First Class (2011): this British-American film was the fifth in the X-Men series. It was directed by Matthew Vaughn and features James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Oliver Platt and Kevin Bacon. This mutant heroes movie was distributed by 20th Century Fox and grossed $353 million.


  • The Avengers (2012): the film based on the popular Marvel superhero team was directed by Joss Whedon and had a very large cast which included Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner among others. The Avengers was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and grossed $1.5 billion.


  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. It features Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, and Sebastian Stan among others.The film was distributed by Walt Disney Studios and grossed $714 million.


  • Deadpool (2016). This is the eigth installment in Marvel's X-Men film series. The movie, directed by Tim Miller, is based on a kill-happy unorthodox hero. Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Leslie Uggams and Brianna Hilderbrand act in the film. It is distributed by 20th Century Fox and has grossed $763 million.

In your opinion which are the best superhero films? Is superheroes your favorite film genre? Do you think superhero fims captured properly the spirit of the comic-books they are based on? Overall do you prefer DC Comics or Marvel adaptations? 

Top ten superhero movies: what is the greatest? Vote and explain what you like or dislike about these films. If there is another film that you would have shortlised please add it to the comment section below.

If you change your mind, you can change your vote simply by clicking on another option.

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Top ten superhero movies: what is the greatest film based on a comic-book hero?

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