2017 was quite the year for superhero movies with no less than 8 pictures being released by the likes of Fox, Disney & Warner Bros, with the likes of Logan and Thor: Ragnarok taking to the western and comedy genres respectively to redefine the boundaries of what it means to be a superhero film in the modern age, Justice League flying the flag for the tried and tested team-up movie, and The Lego Batman Movie and Captain Underpants even transitioning the superhero film into big budget silver screen animation. With a combined total of $5.1billion earned at the worldwide box office and a whole bunch of awards season buzz for Wonder Woman and Logan, it’s fair to conclude that the quality of 2017’s superhero releases has generally been very high. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to rank each of them from worst to best in this 2017 superhero edition of Ranked.
As always, feel free to disagree with us in the comments!
8. Justice League
Worldwide Box Office: $637million
Starring: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Jeremy Irons, Connie Nielsen, Diane Lane, Billy Crudup, Ciaran Hinds
Described in our review as “one of the largest blends of bad ideas put to screen in 2017”, the first-time-ever big screen team-up of the iconic Justice League was perhaps the most disappointing of any large scale superhero movie ever released. The story flip-flopped, the graphics were comparable to 2nd generation video games, there were 35 minutes of character introductions and the villain was another garbage swirling alien of little threat or importance. The term “garbage fire” comes to mind.
7. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Worldwide Box Office: $125million
Starring: Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele, Kristen Schaal
Does anyone even remember this film being released? It was the latest in Dreamworks’ up and down spate of latest titles, this time being based on popular comic strip “Captain Underpants”. It hit a relatively mediocre 23rd spot in our Dreamworks Animation edition of Ranked, so it’s by no means bad, more “unremarkable”.
6. The Lego Batman Movie
Worldwide Box Office: $312million
Starring: Will Arnett, Mariah Carey, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis
The Lego Batman Movie starred the same grumpy, brooding Batman that stole the show in The Lego Movie, and was bullet-pointed by an excellent iteration of the Batman versus Joker story that has long been a screen and comic book favourite. More so, it was a laugh a minute. It took some of the best aspects of its animated predecessor and channelled them towards a more niche subject matter and in doing so was perhaps better enjoyed by those ‘in the know’ regarding DC Comics and general Batman lore but was certainly an accessible and fun movie for everyone else.
The Lego Batman Movie is good; perhaps the first truly good film thus far. It sits so low on our list for only one reason: the superbly high quality of the films to come…
5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Worldwide Box Office: $864million
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Elizabeth Debicki, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 took all that made the original film successful and did it all over again, this time with larger Marvel Universe consequences, the most beautiful use of CG in any superhero film of 2017 and even more 80s references. Honestly, the only reason we can give for this film ranking lower than the rest of the top 5 is because it felt the least fresh, new and/or important. In terms of enjoyment it was right up there.
4. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Worldwide Box Office: $880million
Starring: Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., Tony Revolori, Donald Glover, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Jon Favreau
“It’s fair to say that Marvel Studios learned the lessons that predecessors seemed hesitant to heed” read our review of Homecoming back in July, and with an $880million take at the worldwide box office, it seems that audiences were more than ready to receive this new and more comedic take on the famous superhero too. This version of Spider-Man felt new and fresh because the film was based in a high school, presented as a high school comedy with legitimate action set pieces, and the character was played by an actor young enough to be believable as a high schooler for the first time since the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man had hit the big screen. So, while it didn’t hurt having the draw of Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man and the iconic Michael Keaton performing a wonderful villainous role, Homecoming was able to stand on its own two feet as a legitimate Spidey film that felt like the burgeoning of a new era within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
3. Thor: Ragnarok
Worldwide Box Office: $843million
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch
Taika Waititi’s take on the Thor franchise could have been just another middling MCU entry that had moments of inspiration but generally stuck very close to the template Marvel Studios had laid out for most of its films to this point, but the New Zealand born filmmaker whose roots were planted in comedy had other plans, instead making one of the funniest, most enjoyable and certainly one of the most self-conscious superhero films that Marvel have ever released. It was, in every sense, “an innocent, loving comedy you’re bound to fall in love with” [Review] and breathed new life into Thor the character, the Thor franchise, and even maybe the Avengers franchise too. In many ways, Ragnarok confirmed Marvel’s new direction towards stand-alone, genre-jumping releases, the first evidence of which was Homecoming just a few months earlier.
2. Wonder Woman
Worldwide Box Office: $822million
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner
Wonder Woman was perhaps the most culturally significant superhero film of the modern era, and was certainly the most significant of 2017. The long awaited silver screen debut of DC Comics’ amazonian princess was met with the highest opening weekend box office of all time for a female director, and Patty Jenkins’ film went on to break the all-time worldwide box office record for a female filmmaker before all was said and done. The movie itself was also very good, with our review describing it as “the best DC film since The Dark Knight Rises“, and it seems that Warner Bros agree, as the studio has since dedicated millions of dollars towards an Oscars campaign for a Best Picture nomination as well as a strong push for Patty Jenkins in the Best Director category. If the campaign is successful, Wonder Woman will go down in history again, this time by becoming the first superhero film to ever receive nominations in said categories.
Worldwide Box Office: $617million
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Richard E. Grant, Stephen Merchant
It was a 17 year long road to Logan but man was it worth it. For the first time, Wolverine was able to brutalise like only he can, and the choice to go r-rated wasn’t a move designed to promote a gimmick, but was instead used as a story device to comment on the mental tole such brutality can put upon a person as gifted (or cursed) as Wolverine, himself stripped to Logan to present the humanity of the film which itself was more of a Western than your typical superhero fare. “From start to finish it explores that which we have yet to see in the titular character’s cinematic universe and does so with such class that almost every emotional twist and turn elevates the film to such heights that even its disjointed conclusion can’t tarnish just how great this movie is.” [Review] This was a superhero film so well put together, and one that made total sense against the odds of its fantastical roots, that it is being talked about as an awards season contender with Hugh Jackman already being nominated for an AACTA International Award for his performance. Logan was every bit as much of an exploration of a superhero movie as it was a presentation of one, and its genre-bending and ultimately earthed approach were proven to be of the highest quality and utmost importance for the future of superhero films, hence why it is our number 1 superhero movie of 2017.
With 2018 lining up Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Deadpool, The New Mutants and X-Men: Dark Phoenix at Disney (courtesy of their buyout of Fox in 2017) and a new look DC cinematic universe on the horizon courtesy of a reshuffling of high ranking executives at Warner Bros’ DC division, it seems we could be in for just as much of a promising superhero year in 2018 as we have been in 2017. Who knows, maybe one of these films can even top the accomplishments set in 2017? We’ll be sure to cover each and every release, so make sure to bookmark our home page and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. In the meantime, have a great 2018!