The best superhero movies ever? Journal editor Jim Tortolano has read a comic book or two in his time, and here’s his list.
1. Superman Returns (2006). Brandon Routh channels Christopher Reeve perfectly in this optimistic film about the original superhero.
2. The Dark Knight (2008). Who can forget Health Ledger’s creepy Joker, the kind of guy who could make Hannibal Lector nervous?
3. Spider-Man (2002). Marvel’s most lovable hero, a teen blessed with power and tangled up in adolescent blue. Tobey Maguire nails it.
4. Hellboy (2004). Ronald Perlman is the formidable and cheerfully ugly demon fighting on the right side in this special effects gem.
5. Batman Returns (2003). Christian Bale resurrects the franchises after several bad Bat-films. The re-launch thrilled fanboys, critics and Warner Bros.
6. Mystery Men (1999). This quirky satire on costumed heroes stars Ben Stiller, William Macy and Janeane Garofalo and is a hoot.
7. Superman: The Movie (1978). The first first-class superhero movie. Reeve was great, and the film created a profitable genre.
8. Superman II (1980). A rare sequel that improved on the original. Lots of fights for the guys, a love story for the ladies. Well-done.
9. Iron Man (2008). Silly in a lot of ways, but notable for Robert Downey, Jr.’s performance (mirroring real-life) as a man reborn.
10. Batman (1989). Tim Burton, Jack Nicholson amd Kim Basinger and a nicely intense Michael Keaton bury for good the body of the awful campy “Batman” TV series of the Sixties.