Today: February 21, 2024

For cinemagoers, the summer now means just one thing – superhero movies. And whether you like it or not, this summer’s supers have already arrived.

cinemagoers, the summer now means just one thing – superhero movies. And
whether you like it or not, this summer’s supers have already arrived.

Beginning with Marvel’s banding together of its core heroes Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America in Avengers Assemble, to the reboot of the Spider-Man franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man to, perhaps, the
most eagerly anticipated summer release, Christopher
’s The Dark Knight Rises,
2012 is going to be a spandex marathon.

Such is the studios’ confidence in the superhero genre, that
each of the aforementioned films have a reported production budget of over $220
million, with similar amounts spent on marketing and publicity. The silly
costumes clearly aren’t going anywhere soon. So here is Jack Jones’ selection of some of the best and, of course, some of
the worst superhero films ever made. Argue amongst yourselves at home.

The Best:

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (Main Picture)
After creating the yardstick for all future superhero movies, Richard
Donner had a more troubled experience on the sequel, being replaced by Richard Lester while still in mid
production. After fans pounded away for years to have Donner’s original footage
restored, this almost forgotten masterpiece is now, rightly available for all
to see.

The Dark

Batman Begins was the Batman that film fans had been craving for so long,
particularly after the disaster of Joel
Schumacher’s rubber fetish movies Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. The Dark
was the realisation of the superhero genre as a serious and dramatic
mode of storytelling. Christopher Nolan also showed what could be done with
IMAX. So much so, that his third film in the trilogy is touted to push the
format further than ever before.

Dick Tracy

Taken from the classic 1930s comic strip, American independent hero Warren Beatty brought a pulp style to
this noir homage with a stellar cast – including one of Madonna’s better roles. An underrated classic.

Pilgrim vs. The World

Edgar Wright’s pet project may have under whelmed at the box-office but
has found a cult status on home entertainment. It may have confused some with
its sharp and bizarre humour, but it’s a comic book hero film, written for
geeks about a geek.


Yes it’s got Billy Zane in
it. Yes he’s in a purple jump suit. And yes it’s completely ridiculous. But
it’s in here, so that’s that.

The Worst:

There could be any number of obvious choices in this list – Catwoman, The Spirit or Sly’s Judge
(also due for a remake) – but there are just some super hero films
which were so bad they nearly killed the characters for good. Talk about

X-Men: The
Last Stand

After the standout work of Bryan
gave credibility to a group of some of the sillier comic superheroes
– one character’s powers is making the weather a bit iffy which if you’re from
Barnsley won’t even make you bat an eyelid – Brett Ratner decided to hack the franchise to bits in ways that
only he knows how. Which is loud and very, very boring.


Zack Snyder succeeded in removing all the political or cultural depth
from the acclaimed graphic novel and making everything look rather tacky. Over
two and a half hours of tedium is the only way to describe this mess.

The Shadow

As painful as it is to put this in here, The Shadow put a very expensive
end to an intriguing character. A guilty pleasure for some, Alec Baldwin, took wooden to a whole
new level with a ridiculous rubber nose to boot. Shame.

& Robin

Not even close-ups of George
’s arse in a rubber suit could mask how fatally awful this film was.
Don’t forget Arnie now as Mr. Freeze.


Only marginally better than Shaquille
other bottom-dweller Kazaam,
as one of the worst films ever made, Steel is something of a joy. In a perverse
way of course. They don’t make them like they used to.

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