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100 Essential Superhero Movies

100 Essential Superhero Movies

After running this site for a few years where I have been trying to seek out, watch, and review every superhero and comic book movie that I can find, I decided that I wanted to make a definitive list of superhero movies that captured the essence of the range of superhero movies. Going through the decades and choosing the most influential, the biggest disasters, and simply the best superhero movies out there I hope to try and capture what I like to call the 100 Essential Superhero Movies. If you are a fan of superhero movies at all, these are the first ones that you should seek out. Not all of them are great, but when studying history it pays to not just look at the successes, but to also look at the failures. I’ve updated the list a few times and am currently in the process of going through them one by one with my blogging/podcasting friend Paul Hawkins from Blokebusters Podcast.

100 Essential Superhero Movies version 2014

100 Essential Superhero Movies ranked version 2015

100 Essential Superhero Movies ranked version 2016

Blokebusting the Essentials current list (2016):

#100 – The Wild World of Batwoman
#99 – Supergirl
#98 – Batman & Robin
#97 – The Death of the Incredible Hulk
#96 – Superman III
#95 – Catwoman
#94 – The Punisher (1989)
#93 – Fantastic Four (1994)Fantastic Four
#92 – Howard the Duck
#91 – The Meteor Man
#90 – Batman Forever
#89 – Fant4stic
#88 – Green Lantern
#87 – Spawn
#86 – Swamp Thing
#85 – Hulk
#84 – Ghost Rider
#83 – The Fantastic Four (2005)
#82 – Ultimate Avengers
#81 – The Toxic Avenger
#80 – Superman and the Mole Men
#79 – The Shadow
#78 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2
#77 – Flash Gordon
#76 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Secret of the Ooze
#75 – Constantine
#74 – Mystery Men
#73 – Daredevil
#72 – Planet Hulk
#71 – All Superheroes Must Die
#70 – The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?
#69 – Defendor
#68 – Superman/Doomsday
#67 – Darkman
#66 – Batman: Gotham Knight
#65 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
#64 – Sky High
#63 – The Rocketeerrocketeer
#62 – Hellboy: Blood + Iron
#61 – The Punisher (2004)
#60 – TMNT
#59 – Batman: The Movie
#58 – The Wolverine
#57 – Super
#56 – Hancock
#55 – Green Lantern: First Flight
#54 – The Mask
#53 – Superman Returns
#52 – Iron Man 2
#51 – The Dark Knight Rises
#50 – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
#49 – The Amazing Spider-Man
#48 – Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
#47 – Batman: The Killing Joke
#46 – Doctor Strange
#45 – The Crow
#44 – Hellboy (2004)Hellboy
#43 – Captain America: The First Avenger
#42 – The Incredible Hulk
#41 – Men in Black
#40 – Megamind
#39 – Thor
#38 – Wonder Woman (2009)
#37 – Ant-Man
#36 – Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
#35 – Robocop
#34 – X-Men: First Class
#33 – Spider-Man
#32 – Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
#31 – Kick-Ass
#30 – Blade
#29 – Chronicle
#28 – Man of Steel
#27 – Blade II
#26 – The Dark Knight Returns pt 1 & 2
#25 – Legends of the Knight
#24 – Dredd
#23 – Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
#22 – BatmanBatman
#21 – X-Men
#20 – Big Hero 6
#19 – Captain America: Civil War
#18 – Batman Returns
#17 – Watchmen
#16 – Batman Begins
#15 – X-Men Days of Future Past
#14 – Superman
#13 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
#12 – Unbreakable
#11 – Deadpool
#10 – Batman: Under the Red Hood
#9 – X-2: X-Men United
#8 – Superman II
#7 – Hellboy II: The Golden Army
#6 – Guardians of the Galaxy
#5 – Spider-Man 2
#4 – Iron Man
#3 – The Incredibles
#2 – The Dark Knight
#1 – The Avengers

Removed Movies:

Superman Fleischer Animated Shorts – removed because they are shorts and not a feature film.
Return of Swamp Thing – removed the generally maligned sequel with low quality and not much in common with later superhero movies
Tank Girl – removed because it doesn’t have a close connection to superhero movies and it’s not a great movie.
Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. – removed because it’s an obscure, low quality TV movie.
Iron Giant – removed because it doesn’t share much in common with most superhero movies.
Orgazmo – removed because it’s mostly a comedy about the porn industry with only a small superhero element.
Justice League: Doom – removed in favor of other, more important DC Animated movies.
Iron Man 3 – removed in favor of other, more important MCU movies. Especially as the Mandarin controversy has basically faded into nothing.
Thor: The Dark World – removed in favor of other, more important MCU movies. Especially as Ragnarok wildly changed the tone of the Thor movies with great acclaim.
LEGO Batman: DC Heroes Unite – removed as a lesser known, straight-to-video movie based off a video game.

Foreign films removed because the list now focuses just on American superhero Cinema:
Mr. Freedom – obscure French film
Return of Captain Invincible – obscure Australian musical
Super Infra-Man – the first major Hong Kong superhero movie
Gantz – recent hyper-violent manga adaptation

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  1. Out of 100 of those superhero movies on your list, I haven’t seen 7.

    • Nice! Glad to see you found your way here. Which 7 are you missing? I wouldn’t be surprised if at least some of those came off the list in the near future. Several good & important movies came out in the past couple years.

      • I haven’t seen Legends of the Knight, Defendor, The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, All Superheroes Must Die, Flash Gordon, Superman and the Mole Men, The Toxic Avenger, Swamp Thing, The Death of the Incredible Hulk, and The Wild World of Batwoman. I guess that’s 10 movies. I only did a quick scan, so I must have missed a few.

      • I’d say that of those, the last two are worth skipping but the rest are worth a chance.

  1. Pingback: The Wild Wild World of Batwoman | Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights

  2. Pingback: 100 Essential Superhero Movies – Ranked #100 – 76 | Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights

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