Heroes. I love stories of heroes. Stories of those who overcome all the obstacles and odds to save those who cannot save themselves. Like most fans of comics/graphic novels I have been thrilled with the influx of movies that have come out in my lifetime. How lucky we are to see our favorite heroes and villains on the big screen. Here is a list of some of my favorites. Some are movies that do not, strictly speaking, feature “heroes” as the leads but they still fit and I love them so in no real order here we go.
- The Incredibles: Written and directed by Brad Bird this animated movie hit hard with a lot of heart in 2004. After Supers are outlawed what are the former masked fighters supposed to do? Get a job in a cubicle? What if your children have powers and now have to hide them? This family friendly movie features a family dealing with these issues. This movie is full of humor and love.
- Thor: Ragnarok: The great Taika Waititi gave the Thor franchise the lift it desperately needed when he directed this 2017 film. With a tight story line, great cast and a lot of humor this movie is a must see. Thor returns to his home and falls into a wild series of events that will push the god of war. Thor has to navigate new family drama as well as trying to save his home world. This film has the quirky brand of humor that fans love from Taika.
- Captain America: The First Avenger: Steve Rodgers finally got his own movie in 2011. Steve’s story is of a little guy who always tries to fight for what he believes is right. Joe Johnston directed this fantastic film about a hero who is so beloved by many comic fans. All Steve wants to do is join the army and fight in World War Two, however he is repeatedly denied due to his poor health. He finds a way and allies to help him.
- Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman has been an American hero for years. She is part of the triad that also consists of Batman and Superman. Patty Jenkins directed this 2017 movie. Diana is a restless warrior who finds a purpose when an American pilot lands on her island and tells her about the war outside. The film finds the balance of humor and Diana’s warrior ways. I was so happy as a lifelong fan of Wonder Woman to see this movie.
- Shazam!: Superheroes are complicated. Shazam is a great example of this as he is both an ancient wizard and also young Billy Batson. David F. Sandberg was a great director for this 2019 film. Billy is a foster kid who is just looking for his mother. Instead he stumbles into a cosmic war. Tough situations and feelings are dealt with such humor in this movie.
- Batman Returns: So there had to be a Batman movie. Like Wonder Woman Batman is one of America’s oldest heroes. In 1992 Tim Burton directed this campy movie that takes place in Gotham at Christmas. I know a lot of people have written off these earlier films, they aren’t as dark as many of DC’s newer movies. I like that they aren’t as dark though, Bruce’s life is dark enough. He needs a few laughs thrown about. I also love this Catwoman and how they played with her story.
- Deadpool: Oh what can you really even say about Wade Willson? In 2016 a wonderful movie came out in time for Valentine’s Day directed by Tim Miller. It was funny, violent and yes there even was a love story in it. I think it was interesting to have so much of Wade’s story be about his love. For a movie about a mercenary there is a lot of humanity in it. Wade is a beloved character and this movie has all the reasons why; from his dark humor, to the fourth wall breaks to all the wonderful things in between.
- Captain Marvel: Carol is such an interesting character. She is funny, she is dealing with trauma and she loves to fight. She fights for what is right. She fights to break down barriers. Anna Boden directed this great take that was released in 2019. I was really happy with how they treated this story, Carol has a lot of source material to play with. Carol encourages us all to go higher, further and faster.
- Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse: One of the reasons why some people won’t get into comics is because of the multiverse. Comics go through a story line and then there is a reset that happens when new creators take control. Instead of choosing one version of Spiderman to make this movie a story was woven together by taking multiple versions of people who have the powers and use them in their own ways to protect others. Bob Persichetti’s 2018 film gives us an amazing story of a hero’s struggle, complete with multiple styles of animation. The music and the characters of this animated film are just wonderful.
- Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey: This movie has everything. A strong ensemble cast, good dialogue and a tight storyline.Cathy Yan, thankfully, took over this 2020 movie and gave fans the origin story that the Birds of Prey deserved. The story is told from the perspective of the one and only Harley Quinn, who is newly dumped and trying to find herself. What she finds is a lot of trouble and perhaps even a purpose outside of her old life. I walked out of this movie so happy. I didn’t know how badly I needed this story, for it to be told this way and with this cast. I can even forgive them changing the title of the movie to make it easier to process tickets.
Wow this was a lot more difficult then I thought it would be. I thought that my very strong opinions about this genre would make it a little easier.
What are your favorites? Did they make the list? If not then comment below so I have suggestions on what to watch next.
ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!