As the year 2020 approaches, we wanted to look back at the past 10 years of comic book movies that entertained us.
In this article, we’ll be showcasing our 10 Best Comic Book Movies of The Decade from most of the member of The Geeky Juans. That’s right. It’s not just myself and Jude. Today, we’ll be getting contributions from Tips and Von.
Tips was a guest on our retro video game episode while Von appears for the first time as he’s busy with a lot of other things.
Here are the ground rules:
- Any comic book movie released from 2010 to 2019 is considered as part of this decade.
- We accepted any form of comic book. This means the movie could be inspired from manga as well.
- We limited the list to 10 movies each in order to maintain quality.
- We’ll also give honorable mentions and a few dishonorable ones at the end of the article.
- With that, here are our 10 best comic book movies of the decade: 2010-2019.
After a string of critical busts, DC started to hit its stride with hits such as Wonder Woman and the surprise hit Aquaman.
One of the biggest gambles that DC took was Shazam! Formerly known as Captain Marvel, legal issues and DC’s own forgetfulness forced the comic book juggernaut to change the character’s name.
However, a simple name change did not stop DC Comics from producing a warm, loving movie featuring the ultimate shonen story. Kid wants superpowers and actually gets them. Oh, there’s also the message of having family no matter where you come from. I loved that.
Even before the release, there was already a ton of excitement for the Deadpool film. No one had the guts to release a major R-Rated superhero film before Deadpool.
An “accidental” leak convinced FOX Studios Executives to give this movie the green light and it was a breath of fresh air amidst the sea of PG comic book movies.
Yes, we had films like Kick-Ass before this but, it didn’t have the same impact as a character like Deadpool.
8. Guardians of The Galaxy Volume 1
Say what you want about the MCU format of quips and always making serious moments light but, Marvel had balls to use the Guardians of The Galaxy. Prior to the film’s release, my only exposure to the characters was from the Lego Marvel Super Heroes video game.
These characters were virtually unknown to general audiences and Marvel’s gamble paid off by making Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot household names.
Go to any geek convention and there’s a high chance you will see at least one GOTG cosplay. That goes to show you how much of an impact this rag tag of losers on general audiences.
7. Doctor Strange
If there’s one thing I could say about Doctor Strange is the fact that it’s such a visual trip.
Doctor Strange was one of our first hints into a larger universe than the MCU. The film introduced the concept of the multiverse and it left an opening for franchises such as the X-Men and Fantastic Four to appear.
The concept of the multiverse isn’t the only thing that made this film stand out from the rest of the MCU. We also got introduced to the less-explored magical section of the Marvel Universe.
Prior to Doctor Strange, almost all of the MCU films had been focused on realism. The Benedict Cumberbatch-led film showed that there’s more to the MCU than we first thought.
6. Avengers Endgame
Endgame dealt with grief and loss from the first part of the movie. As an audience, we immediately see how the Snap affected everyone.
We got little heartfelt cameos from one of the Russo brothers and even Jim Starlin, the creator of Thanos. Cameos aside, Endgame was a love letter to long-time viewers of the MCU.
Infinity War was able to manage a large roster of actors and give them lines all evenly while Endgame went back to our core of Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye and, Black Widow.
The length of the movie wasn’t even obvious because of how the Russos paced everything. Carol Danvers was absent for a lot of the film but, that’s for another time.
Anyway, moving on. I dare you to give me one scene in the MCU that could beat seeing Captain America say “Avengers Assemble” for the first time was such a moment of relief that you can’t help but cheer as he said it. Ten years worth the wait.
5. Wonder Woman
I love Wonder Woman so much. The movie’s message really hits hard. No matter what kind of difficulties we go through, we should always do what is right.
Many critics were doubtful of Gal Gadot. Her body’s not fit for the role. Diana is supposed to be unbelievably tall and muscular. In the end, the criticisms did not matter.
Gal Gadot proved to the whole world that she is one of, if not, the definitive Wonder Woman. She has grace, strength and, most of all, care for everyone even if it’s her enemy.
I admit that the film played things safe by essentially copying Captain America 1’s format but, DC had to do it with how badly BvS and Man of Steel were received.
Overall, I wish more DC movies would follow the format of Wonder Woman. Have an isolated story with little mentions of the larger universe. We don’t need an overarching storyline like the MCU.
Where to begin with Joker? At first, I was apprehensive about the whole thing because of the behind the scenes statements by the controversial director so I’ll keep this entry short and sweet.
The subject of bullying and revenge is evident in this film but, it does worry me that the film could be taken the wrong way. We’re not supposed to sympathize with Arthur Fleck. He’s a madman.
However, the film makes you think whether or not he actually did any of the actions in the movie. Many of the scenes in the film came from his mind. For all we know, Murray Franklin is still alive and Arthur Fleck was lying the whole time.
Joker changed the way people saw comic book movies so, I hope that means it will be taken more seriously from here.
3. Avengers 1
The impact of the first Avengers film can not be understated. Prior to The Avengers, superhero movies had always been seen as second-rate entertainment. We had Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy as one of the first movies to take the superhero genre to another level.
Marvel Comics took the idea of a superhero movie even further by doing what they always did in the comics and make a crossover. The end result was the first Avengers movie.
After releasing a bunch of unrelated superhero movies, Kevin Feige and the rest of the Marvel Films crew brought us the MCU. The Avengers was the first step in creating a larger universe.
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Hail Hydra. The movie that started the popular meme is on the second spot for good reason. Winter Soldier changed everything we saw in the MCU as a whole. We all thought that SHIELD was the trusted agency for superheroes but, it turns out HYDRA had taken over the organization.
Many viewers were already surprised that Bucky was the Winter Soldier but, HYDRA taking over SHIELD was a major plot twist in the MCU and I loved it!
What made Winter Soldier so good was the fact that I didn’t feel like I was watching an MCU movie. The whole film didn’t become a full-blown Marvel film until we got the Helicarrier scene towards the end.
Overall, Winter Soldier was an excellent comic book movie.
1. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
If there was one comic book film that is truly worthy of an Oscar, it’s Spider-Verse. No other movie has made me laugh, cry and cheer altogether since Endgame. However, this isn’t about Endgame.
What made Spider-Verse so good was the fact that Miles Morales’ race wasn’t turned into a major issue. Yes. He’s half-Latino and Half-Black. We get it. The world is changing we need to understand that it’s normal to have characters who aren’t purely black or white, etc.
Spider-Verse focused on character development. Miles was a hesitant hero. He didn’t know how to fulfill his promise to his universe’s Peter Parker and it took help from another universe’s Peter Parker and a bunch of other Spider-Beings to get him over the hump.
Say what you want about the Avengers Assemble scene from Endgame but, no other movie showed more character development than Miles Morales leaping off a building and swinging confidently as Spider-Man.
To start off the list is the 2019 film adaption of the famed child-turned-hero tale of Billy Batson. Shazam! is personally the best family oriented comic book film of 2019. Comedy, action, and whole lot of sparkles, what more can one asks for.
Logan is a love letter to all the fans of X-Men movies and the hero, Wolverine, played by the one and only Hugh Jackman, as well as a farewell by Hugh as he bids goodbye to the role he considers as the backbone of his career.
I personally see this film as a decade-defining drama primarily because of how much emotion it brought out of me (not all films have that effect on me personally). It genuinely made me feel sad for Logan and at the same time feel proud of Hugh for his performance. You cannot help but wonder how the next Wolverine film could top this timeless gem.
8. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is an animated adaption of Frank Miller’s comic of the same name. It is a two-part film depicting arguably the most iconic tale of Gotham City’s well-known cape crusader.
In this film we see Batman forcefully coming out of his retirement to save his city and defy the odds once more. If one will ask what best explains why Batman is Batman, maybe this is the one film that could fill in the answers.
You cannot really think of a reason to pass on this film, whether you are a Batman fan or comic fan, or just a casual film aficionado who wants to experience a comic book classic.
7. Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 1
Excellent casting, check. A story about space adventure, check. Outstanding CGI effects, check. A rocking soundtrack, big effing check.
GOTG Vol. 1 is just pure entertainment with the perfect dose of comedy and action. Not only did it amaze you with its non-stop thrill of a narrative and not only did it become the highest grossing superhero film of 2014, it has also served as a good example of movie providing excellent leisure and heartfelt message.
Don’t forget this movie gave us the live action debut of Thanos.
6. Wonder Woman
Apart from having the most badass theme in the DCEU, and having a former Miss Universe contender play the iconic role of Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot has also proven her acting chops.
What made this 2017 comic-book about an Amazonian princess so good is the fact that it was the most empowering superhero movie of the year (in my humble opinion).
Personally, the film is best remembered for the message it has imparted, that although, we, humans, are flawed creatures, our genuine desire to fight for the good makes us all beautiful in our own ways. I really wish that next month is June already.
5. Captain America: The First Avenger
This 2011 Marvel Comics movie about the origin of an American icon is a personal favorite of mine among the existing MCU films. The story is a pure narration of heroism, honor, and morality.
Although some people see the film as a prime example of the MCU formula (whatever it is), for me, it was able to provide something that makes it stand out or distinguish itself among all other origin-of-hero-type of films, a movie worthy to be seen more than twice.
Lastly, let’s not forget the lovely Agent Carter (played by Hayley Atwell), not only did she make everyone fall in love, she is without a doubt a fierce commanding figure as well, her portrayal really makes you understand why Cap in Endgame went back and stayed in the past.
Unanimously the most celebrated movie of a comic book villain of recent memory. Few movies can live up to the hype associated to them, and surely Joker is one of them.
Joker best exemplified the telling of one man’s tragedy and descend to madness as a cornerstone of creating a clinical masterpiece.
Media deemed the film too violent and not for the meek minded. That is an undeniable fact. But it cannot also be denied that the agonizing sufferings which the titular character have experienced is just a reflection of everything the society has given him.
Relate it now to our current situations and ask ourselves, are we just afraid to brace the reality?
3. Man of Steel
One if not the most polarizing comic book film of the decade, Man of Steel took an unusual dark tone in retelling the tale of the last son of Krypton. Majority of moviegoers who saw the film treated the depiction of Clark Kent as a disgrace to the character’s glowing or cheerful persona. I beg to disagree.
Zack Snyder’s depiction of the superhero, though bold I might say, appropriately captures the realities a lost individual go through in seeking belongingness. Imbued by impeccable cinematography and by the musical wizardry of Hans Zimmer, Man of Steel compels everyone to look Superman in a modern and realistic approach which has never been done before.
2. The Dark Knight Rises
The conclusion to the epic trilogy, this 2012 comic book-inspired film portrayed Batman’s devotion to his lifelong purpose of eradicating anything that will destroy his beloved city.
Best known for his realism in film making, Nolan masterfully infused philosophy with Batman’s defining elements creating a story that will surely stand the test of time.
1. All-Star Superman
Taking the top of this list is the 2011 animated adaptation of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s classic story of the greatest superhero of all time.
The film depicts the impending demise of Metropolis’ mighty protector orchestrated by his arch nemesis Lex Luthor.
A perfect combination of hope, romance, heartbreak, and love for humanity, the film encapsulated everything that defines the Man of Steel throughout the character’s rich comic history.
10. Civil War
Most fans will point to the airport brawl among the Avengers as the movie’s most fun scene, and with good reason. Personally though, I prefer the fight between Cap and Iron Man. For all his talk of justice and morality, this scene revealed that Cap can be just as selfish as the rest of us.
9. Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 1
Marvel has mostly kicked DC’s butt in terms of movies this decade by simply being more fun and not taking everything too seriously. This movie is a good representation of that approach. Also, it has an awesome soundtrack (“Cherry Bomb” FTW!).
8. The Avengers
This is not the first movie in the current MCU, but it is the first movie that brought all the Avengers together, and it did so in a way that didn’t make all these alpha characters step over each other’s egos.
The message is clear: we are stronger together than we are alone. A fully assembled Avengers team defending Manhattan remains one of the most inspiring scenes of the decade.
7. Man of Steel
Nolan’s Batman trilogy took all of DC down a dark, more serious path. It’s hard to imagine how anyone can do that cinematically with Superman, but Man Of Steel did. Also, props for finally removing Superman’s silly red underwear.
Logan didn’t feel like a superhero movie. It took Wolverine’s signature grittiness and matured it to the point that it felt like a Clint Eastwood movie.
The film excelled across the board in terms of the aspects that define excellent film-making. Logan isn’t just one of the greatest superhero movies ever made; it’s one of the greatest films of this decade.
5. The Dark Knight Rises
This movie rounded out Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and while it’s not the strongest of the three, it’s still a solid addition to the Batman mythos. Tom Hardy as Bane was a bloody coup.
Like Logan, Joker excelled as both an adapation of a comic book character and a piece of cinema. The Joker, of course, has no definite origin story, and has also been a pathological liar on many occasions.
This movie remains faithful to the Joker’s character in that it casts enough doubt on its own storytelling that it makes you question the veracity of everything you just saw.
Joaquin Phoenix gave a mesmerizing, Oscar-worthy performance of The Joker. His portrayal of the character is already a solid contender against Ledger’s for “Best Joker of all time”.
3. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Definitely one of the best movies ever made in terms of animation and CGI. It’s one of the most technically excellent movies ever made. Spider-Verse is also one of the most fun movies of the decade.
The film had shades of Deadpool in that it poked fun at Spider-Man as a cultural element, but it did so without tripping over itself.
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past
First Class was kind of the start of the X-Men franchise’s reboot, but you wouldn’t know it until you saw Days Of Future Past. This movie completed the proverbial passing of the torch from the old cast to the new.
It featured enough scenes of the old cast and the 70’s to trigger nostalgic waterworks. It also featured storytelling that happened simultaneously in both the past and the future. Obviously, the X-Men franchise doesn’t exist in multiple universes, but that’s a discussion for another day.
1. Edge of Tomorrow
This is one of my favorite science fiction movies of all time because it combines aliens, robots and time loops with the blue collar attitude of “try and try until you succeed”.
Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt relive the same time loop over and over again to try and kill the same alien invader (yes, singular).
It will throw so much defeat at you that you will despair, until you finally achieve the sweet release of victory. It’s basically a futuristic Dark Souls, but with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.
10. Guardins of The Galaxy Vol. 1
9. Avengers Endgame
8. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
7. Thor Ragnarok
6. Captain America Civil War
4. Edge of Tomorrow
1. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Now for the movies that almost made the list but, were still ruled out. No write ups on this one, except for Tips. ;D
3. The Lego Batman Movie
2. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
3. Kingsman: The Secret Service
3. Wonder Woman
1. The Dark Knight Rises
This movie combined a post-apocalyptic, dystopian setting with a social commentary about the haves and the have-nots, and it did so masterfully. Every young adult story set in a post-apocalyptic future about the strong oppressing the weak failed to achieve meaningful recognition because Snowpiercer did it first, and did it best.
As with every positive, we also have a negative. Here are our dishonorable comic book movies of the decade.
3. Avengers Age of Ultron
2. Thor: The Dark World
1. Justice League
3. Green Lantern
2. Green Lantern
1. Green Lantern
3. Green Lantern
2. Batman vs Superman
1. Justice League
3. Green Lantern
2. Thor The Dark World
1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Closing the Decade
There you have it. The Geeky Juans’ Comic Book Movies of The Decade. What do you think of our list? Share your thoughts and tell us how you would rank your 10 comic book movies.