Editor's note: Every week we ask our co-workers to pick their favorite things from pop culture. This week, we wanted to know which were their favorite superhero movies of all time.
I love absolutely every bit of "Captain America: Civil War" (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures). It has everything I've ever wanted in a superhero movie. And yes, that includes the awesome set pieces and fights, but more importantly the countless great small character moments.
Some of my favorites: Falcon and War Machine's conversation discussing the Sokovian Accords; Hawkeye's admission to Cap that he owed Wanda a debt as reason for coming out of retirement to rescue her, a reference to her brother's sacrifice that saved Hawkeye's life at the end of "Avengers: Age of Ultron"; T'Challa's conversation with his father. Black Widow's reveal of the real reason she traveled to London where Cap was mourning.
I haven't even mentioned the fact that the movie introduces two of my favorite superheroes into the MCU and seamlessly weaves them into the narrative.
But the best thing it does is subvert expectations. Just when you think the movie's climax is headed in one direction, it makes a left turn and decides to embrace a much more emotional (and likely much more satisfying) ending. Overall, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is my favorite MCU movie, but since I don't consider the Guardians superheroes, Civil War is my all-time favorite superhero movie.
I definitely have to go with "Wonder Woman" (Warner Bros. Pictures). When I saw this movie, I couldn't help but think about how different my life would be if I grew up wanting to be a superhero instead of a helpless princess who, as long as she is hot, will be saved by a prince with questionable sexuality.
Little girls are raised with skewed images of women through media and marketing, and "Wonder Woman" shows us that women have the strength to save the world, while simultaneously looking good and kicking ass.(Seriously, all those fight scenes and she didn't even need to fix her hair once?) I hope this is the first of many female superhero movies, because women are strong, wise and deserve to be looked up to.
What can I really say, other than I think "X2: XMen United" (20th Century Fox) is the perfect adaptation of a comic book to a movie because it stays true to its XMen roots, tells a great story and never panders. It doesn't accidentally over-tell any origin stories, has an amazing cast and most importantly, a great story line. If only we could say the same about X3...
I had the same answer in an earlier poll and I'm sticking to my guns: the live-action debut of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (New Line Cinema) is still my favorite. It's one of the most faithful-to-the-source-material comic book/super hero movies of all time. They were the first heroes I can recall from my youth who showed me how important it is to work together and what family really means. Also, Shredder was one of the scariest onscreen super villains of all time.
Bryan VanGelder, studio/production manager
It's a rare feat when a sequel is better than the original movie. It's a more extraordinary feat that "Captain America: Winter Soldier" (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) is one of the best films of a 16-movie series, and that's what it is.
On top of being a phenomenal Marvel Comics Universe movie, Winter Soldier's greatest strength lies in its real-world timeliness by tackling themes of big-brother surveillance, conspiracies at the heart of American government, and leaders who are willing to justify a means to an end to build a "safer world."
I'd go as far as arguing that if you didn't have Chris Evans throwing a shield, it'd still be a fantastic spy thriller.
I've watched "Superman II" (Warner Bros. - United States, Columbia-EMI-Warner - United Kingdom) more times than any other in my life (even "Xanadu"). I adored Chris Reeve and modeled a lot of myself as a kid on his Clark Kent (which, in retrospect might not have been the best idea). Sure, there's some corny stuff in here, like Superman pulling off an expanding Fruit Roll-Up version of his chest emblem to throw at one of the Phantom Zone villains or when said villains talk on the airless moon, but I'll adore it always.
When I first saw that original "Batman" (Warner Bros.), I remember thinking that Michael Keaton was the absolute coolest. Ever. I like my Batman a little dark, and a little campy. He's fun and kicks ass! Added points for a semi-raspy voice. Jack Nicholson as the Joker was genius. So strange in the best way. And Tim Burton was the director? Who better to execute dark-campy?!
Based on the British comic by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett, "Tank Girl" (United Artists) isn't a typical superhero movie. Tank Girl (played by Lori Petty) doesn't have any superpowers but I love that she does have a killer sense of humor, a certain fearlessness facing danger, plenty of attitude and a boyfriend who happens to be a kangaroo-man hybrid. Plus she's not afraid to hop in her tank and plow over any villain (Malcolm McDowell) who dares to get on her bad side. She's like Mad Max, only a better dresser.
In the comics, Tank Girl is always in search of the rare beer -- in the movie, it's water that everyone is after. But in both the comics and the movie, Tank Girl has fun creating havoc in the desert alongside her friends Jet Girl (Naomi Watts), Sub Girl (Ann Cusack), T-Saint (Ice-T), Booga (Jeff Kober) and the rest of the kangaroo gang known as Rippers.
Director Rachel Talalay does a great job giving Tank Girl the kind of moxie on screen that I love her for in the comics. Plus the movie has a fantastic soundtrack that includes Devo, Hole, Bjork, L7, Joan Jett, Veruca Salt, Belly, Portishead, Bush and more.
Remember when superheroes were light-hearted and fun, not grim alcoholics one bad day away from ending it all? There's a sunny, goofy light to Adam West and Burt Ward's 1966 "Batman" (20th Century Fox) movie, and West's recent death only reminds us how much his Bright Knight take on the character is missed. Exploding sharks, world leaders who get turned into powder and mixed together and that bomb that Batman just couldn't get rid of all make this campy classic a comic book come to life. Holy nostalgia, Batman!
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, contributing editor
"No capes!" Disney's "The Incredibles" (Buena Vista Pictures) is one of my favorite superhero flicks. The animated movie mixes classic superhero action with a good dose of humor and family bonding. I'll admit my favorite character in the movie isn't technically a superhero. Edna Mode, voiced by writer director Brad Bird, is a designer who creates amazing supersuits. Her "no capes" montage is my favorite part of the movie.
Being from a somewhat older family who grew up on radio, it was the superheroes of that era who made the first impression on me. The radio shows soon morphed into movie serials and it was these early shorts that I would watch along with my cousins on Saturday mornings decades after they were first released.
Though campy beyond belief, our all-time favorite was "Flash Gordon" (Universal Pictures). Flash would appear later on in a variety of forms. He turned into an astronaut during the 1950s who traveled the universe and reappear in an altered, full-length movie in the 1980s. But it's the original cheesy and cheap-beyond-belief 1930s Buster Crabbe serials that still play back in the movie theater in my mind. But who couldn't love Flash, his "companion" Dale Arden, inventor Dr. Zarkov and of course Ming The Merciless, planet Mongo's evil, devious and cunning ruler.
It was just good, clean fun with a bit of the bizarre, racy and deviant thrown into the mix. And like so much from that era, Betty Boop's sexcapade's or Popeye cussing under his breath, the kids loved em, but it was often the adult undertones that gave these productions their edge.
I'm sure my colleagues will jump on other entries in the MCU canon, but for me nothing can touch "Captain America: The First Avenger" (Paramount Pictures). That movie captures Steve Rogers better than anything else Marvel has done. Hell, it's the best encapsulation of a character ever to happen in a superhero movie.
Joe Johnston's pitch-perfect pulpy style throws back to World War II and a skinny kid from Brooklyn who can't help but do the right thing. Not because he's overcoming inner demons, or needs to dress like a bat to deal with childhood trauma. He's ready to help people unquestioningly because that's what heroes do; they're good people in a world that isn't.
Luke Lancaster, associate editor
Hey, I know it's new and maybe I am still off the high of seeing "Spider-Man: Homecoming" (Sony Pictures Releasing) last weekend, but I really think this superhero movie hit it out of the park.
I'll admit that when I first saw Tom Holland play Spider-Man in "Captain America: Civil War" he felt a bit young to play the part (even if that's true to the story). But once I saw how his character was fleshed out in Homecoming along with a great story, spectacular action sequences, and a great performance from Micheal Keaton as Birdman, I was hooked.
We can only hope that the sequels will be as good as the first one and not completely go off the rails like the Toby McGuire versions did (I'm looking at you Spider-Man 3).
Right as Marvel was reinventing itself with "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk," Christopher Nolan was working on the sequel to his Batman reboot "Batman Begins."
From the opening bank robbery scene to the the semi flipping over, "The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros. Pictures) as an earnest take on Caped Crusader, doesn't miss a beat. To this day it's still one of the most perfect comic book film adaptations even if it takes certain liberties with its subject. Of course Heath Ledger's Oscar winning posthumous performance as the Joker and Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face help as well.