WHO IS THE MOST SU­PER OF ALL HE­ROES?

Why have we gone so crazy for su­per­hero movies in the last 10 years, which are es­sen­tially just the same story re­told in dif­fer­ent ways, writes Dun­can Lay

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

Ev­ery­one has their favourite hero but what is the best movie? We rank the 25 Marvel and DC movies since Iron Man and ask: Which one is the best?

Our ob­ses­sion with su­per­hero movies shows no sign of slow­ing down, with Aqua­man set to make an enor­mous splash at the box of­fice on De­cem­ber 14.

But why do we rush, quick as a flash, to see what is es­sen­tially the same plot, re­told in dif­fer­ent ways? Is it a com­ment on the state of the world to­day, or is that just a Thor point?

We had en­joyed su­per­hero movies be­fore, with Heath Ledger’s The Dark Knight the clear stand­out, while Tobey Maguire’s Spi­der-Man gave us the leg­endary up­side-down kiss.

But there were many other dodgy at­tempts, in­clud­ing sev­eral hideous Fan­tas­tic Four movies, a woe­ful The Green Lantern and a Cat­woman that should have been qui­etly put down.

They seemed to have run out of steam — un­til Marvel’s Iron Man in 2008, which launched the takeover of the movie world. Marvel’s suc­cess was swiftly fol­lowed by DC try­ing to get into the ac­tion.

“We have al­ways been ob­sessed with these sto­ries,” Dr Antony Lam­bert, a se­nior lec­turer in Mac­quarie Univer­sity’s me­dia depart­ment, says. “With­out get­ting too much into re­li­gion, they tie into old myths … they are part of the cul­tural fab­ric.

“That good vs evil, the mo­ral­ity tale, it is em­bed­ded in our sto­ries. They are tales as old as time and they aren’t go­ing any­where.

“The fact a five-year-old and a 55-year-old can watch the same film and both get some­thing from it tells us some­thing about the cen­tral na­ture of hero­ism.”

The evo­lu­tion of these movies, with char­ac­ters such as Loki, who swings be­tween work­ing for the good­ies or be­ing a bad­die, as well as Cap­tain Amer­ica Civil War, where two sets of he­roes fought each other (as they did in Bat­man v Su­per­man) are a fas­ci­nat­ing devel­op­ment, Dr Lam­bert said. “Good and bad is still there but it gets more con­fused,” he says.

But what keeps us com­ing back to what is es­sen­tially the same tale, told in dif­fer­ent ways? “They are ab­so­lutely the same story,” Dr Lam­bert says.

“But you get dragged in. You know the story but these are very fer­tile worlds, you just de­cide which part to fo­cus on and what part of the world needs sav­ing.”

These days there are three main worlds fea­tured in these movies. First there is the Marvel Uni­verse, se­cond the DC Ex­tended Uni­verse and fi­nally the X-Men uni­verse.

For the pur­poses of this list, we’re go­ing to ig­nore the X-Men uni­verse, given its best three movies are all R-rated and its first three had been and gone be­fore 2008’s Iron Man. All you need to know about that is Dead­pool and Lo­gan are bril­liant, X-Men Ori­gins: Wolver­ine is ter­ri­ble and the rest are en­joy­able.

Any­way, given you would need to be an iron man or a won­der woman to sit through them all, we’ve ranked the Marvel and DC films since 2008. And if you dis­agree, go on­line and tell us.

25 SUI­CIDE SQUAD

De­spite Mar­got Rob­bie’s best ef­forts as Har­ley Quinn, this mean me­an­der­ing movie about supe su­pervil­lains forced to save the worl world looked great on pa­per —a — and ter­ri­ble on screen.

24 2 THE IN­CRED­I­BLE HULK

Way bet­ter than Eric Bana’s di­a­bol­i­cal Hulk, this was still pretty dodgy. The best bit was the end c credit scene where Robert D Downey Jr turned up.

23 THOR: T THE DARK DA WORLD

It ha has its mo­ments but when Tom Hid­dle­ston’s Loki had the best of them — and he wasn’t the hero or vil­lain — you know it’s a bit of a mess.

22 MAN OF STEEL

Thank good­ness for Rus­sell Crowe. He stole ev­ery scene he was in. Sadly, he wasn’t in enough of it to res­cue this stodgy blob. Needed more laser-like fo­cus.

21 BAT­MAN V SU­PER­MAN

Ben Af­fleck and Gal Gadot did their best but a bor­ing Su­per­man, a silly story and a ridicu­lous plot twist made an­other great premise fall flat.

20 IRON MAN 2

Great in parts, bor­ing in oth­ers. Robert Downey Jr was fun, as al­ways, but the vil­lains weren’t that in­spir­ing and Tony Stark’s search for a cure

went on for just a bit too long.

19 JUS­TICE LEAGUE

The com­puter-gen­er­ated vil­lain looked cheap and you just knew that once Su­per­man was back on the team, all was go­ing to end well. Still, The Flash (Ezra Miller) was great.

18 AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON

Again, some great scenes that had some not-so-good ones in be­tween. Ex­tra char­ac­ters also meant less time for our favourites. Ul­ti­mately, the end bat­tle wasn’t as good.

17 CAP­TAIN AMER­ICA

A very solid ori­gin story that didn’t have any lows — but just didn’t quite hit the highs of some of the other movies above it.

16 DOC­TOR STRANGE

Plenty of hu­mour, some re­ally trippy spe­cial ef­fects and a vil­lain with freaky eyes. I just felt it dwelt too long on his med­i­cal prob­lems be­fore get­ting to the good stuff.

15 ANT MAN

Packed with laughs, as well as an emo­tional core. Michael Pena nearly steals the show, while Evan­ge­line Lilly over­comes a se­vere hair­cut to de­mand more screen time.

14 ANT MAN AND THE WASP

An­other fun out­ing for these char­ac­ters, which at least gives equal billing to Lilly. The stakes are smaller (lit­er­ally!) than Avengers but it is still a hugely en­joy­able movie.

13 THOR

An ar­ro­gant Chris Hemsworth gets dropped into Earth, where he falls in love and learns rip­pling mus­cles don’t equal a hero. It mixes ac­tion and hu­mour well, although the fi­nal bat­tle is a bit light on ass-kick­ing ac­tion.

12 IRON MAN 3

Robert Downey Jr was fan­tas­tic, as al­ways, and the bat­tles where he re­lies on in­ge­nu­ity and tricks rather than the suit are great. The Man­darin plot twist is also very clever.

11 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2

The gang’s back for an­other fun-filled space ad­ven­ture, this time tak­ing on Chris Pratt’s dad, the God-planet called Ego. It’s ac­tu­ally less in­sane than it sounds. Plus Young Groot steals the show.

10 AVENGERS IN­FIN­ITY WAR

This one is a lit­tle hard to judge, given it is only half a film. There is so much to like but it will ul­ti­mately be classed as ei­ther bril­liant or flawed de­pend­ing on how part two ends the story.

9 CAP­TAIN AMER­ICA: WIN­TER SOL­DIER

A great mix of ac­tion and pol­i­tics, with a ter­rific twist that changes the whole dy­namic of the Marvel movies as Cap­tain Amer­ica’s best buddy comes back from the dead as a bad­die.

8 SPI­DER- MAN: HOME­COM­ING

This is the third Spi­der-Man af­ter the very good Tobey Maguire and the very bad An­drew Garfield. Tom Hol­land takes him younger and makes him even bet­ter.

7 CAP­TAIN AMER­ICA: CIVIL WAR

For a change, good­ies fight good­ies, thanks to the plan of a bad­die. It’s clever, it’s ac­tion­packed and man­ages to make you sup­port both sides at the same time, which is pretty amaz­ing.

6 THOR: RAGNAROK

Thor goes Kiwi and goes fully sick, bro. It’s a re­demp­tion story, a buddy movie and a com­edy, all rolled into one. The only thing keep­ing it out of the top five is Cate Blanchett’s bland vil­lain.

5 IRON MAN

The movie that started it all. Robert Downey Jr is sim­ply bril­liant in a role that he has been play­ing for 10 years now. It’s a su­per­hero ori­gin story that had a tur­bocharger stuck in its heart.

4 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

A real sur­prise hit but a great cast, a fun story and some amaz­ing lines take it to the next level. Per­haps the only su­per­hero movie with a cli­max that in­volves a dance-off.

3 WON­DER WOMAN

The only bril­liant DC movie so far. There’s so much to love about this movie, with the only tiny flaw be­ing how Cap­tain Trevor’s sac­ri­fice was pretty much a re­peat of the end scene of Cap­tain Amer­ica.

2 BLACK PAN­THER

This has eas­ily the most sym­pa­thetic vil­lain in all the su­per­hero movies, as well as amaz­ing ac­tion and plenty of laughs. In some ways a lit­tle pre­dictable but it also has a sur­prise twist.

1 THE AVENGERS

It has it all. Bril­liant char­ac­ters, lots of laughs, drama, tragedy and an end bat­tle that ticks ev­ery box. A high point yet to be bet­tered.

SUI­CIDE SQUAD

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