2018 has proven to be quite an incredible year for superhero movies. The likes of Disney-Marvel, Warner-DC and even Sony Pictures have managed to release offerings of a high standard, with each picture being successful in its own right. The quality on the screen and the returns at the box office have been at an all-time high with Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther even receiving Oscar buzz as one of a number of critically acclaimed releases in the genre this year.
In 2017, Justice League proved to be the standout dud of a pretty stellar year, but without a single film hitting such lows in 2018, we were treated to 9 films of the popular adaptation genre that were entertaining, exciting and at least somewhat unique.
In this edition of ranked,we’re ranking each 2018 superhero movie from worst to best.
Don’t agree with us? Let us know in the comments!
9. Ant-Man & the Wasp
Director: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Michael Douglas, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, T.I., Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer
It’s not that Ant-Man and the Wasp was at all a bad movie, more that it seemed to retread a lot of old ground, the film seemingly the last of the dying breed of 1st and 2nd phase MCU films, tropes and all.
The film managed to sew together somewhat of a reasonable villain story and the casting additions of Laurence Fishburne and Michelle Pfeiffer were welcomed, but the film’s purposeful distancing from the rest of the Avengers story was divisive and there seemed to be very little so-called “real” stakes. Being a sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp didn’t have the surprise factor its predecessor had and thus failed to capture the imagination when it offered much of the same in a way seemingly even more in line with the traditional Marvel sequel. This 3rd Marvel offering of the year was fun and still worth a watch (especially for fans of the Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly characters) but in a time of transition for superhero films as a whole towards more genre-specific fare, dialling down the comedy from one of the studios’ first forays into the genre just seemed a little too “by-the-numbers”.
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Jenny Slate
If this was a list for most divisive superhero film of the year, then Venom would top it. The Sony Pictures release felt like a throwback to the 2000s decade of superhero films like Daredevil, The Fantastic Four and Elektra, only with more insults and bloody violence, Tom Hardy’s performance being one so clearly enjoyed by the actor himself that you couldn’t help but to appreciate it, whether you loved it or hated it.
What this film did hold over Ant-Man and the Wasp however, was that it felt fresh. We hadn’t seen anything like this in nearly a decade, and while so much of it was absurd and ridiculous, that only added to the feeling of it being different to the rest, a quality that Ant-Man 2 didn’t have.
Must-see in its own right, this standalone debut for the famous character of Venom sits at number 8 for the year.
7. Incredibles 2
Directors: Brad Bird
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Eli Fucile, Bob Odenkirk, Samuel L. Jackson
Make no bones about it, Incredibles II was one of the year’s most hotly anticipated movies. The original Pixar classic had gathered somewhat of a cult following, with many listing it among the very best superhero movies ever made, but this year’s sequel felt like a replay of the first film more than anything original in its own right, with each character’s arc from the first movie seemingly forgotten in order to replay them all over again in this film, only with Elastigirl in the lead role.
The choice to centre the picture on Elastigirl made for some funny moments, but the narrative was let down by a twist about as easy to foresee as it gets – the true bad guy of the piece was quite literally called Evelyn Deavor ie, Evil Endeavor – and just about everything else was so frighteningly similar to the original that it just didn’t quite hit like it perhaps should have done, the spark of The Incredibles 1 seemingly dimmed a little by an adequate sequel that holds a lot of enjoyment but isn’t quite the follow-up we deserved after all these years.
Director: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temeura Morrison, Ludi Lin, Michael Beach, Randall Park
Another divisive superhero film? Never!
The only live-action superhero film to come from DC and Warner Bros in 2018 was Aquaman, a movie that looked and at times even felt like an underwater Thor complete with battles lifted directly out of Star Wars, but also suffered from some absurdly poor dialogue exchanges, predictable and overplayed character arcs, and a few small hints that it was, at times, playing it safe.
The qualities of director James Wan inevitably dragged this film into the realm of at least being passable (even to DC’s most hardened critics), while Jason Momoa came across as a charismatic new presence in the superhero sphere.
This was hardly blow-your-socks-off cinema, but it was a step in the right direction for DC and a visually compelling movie in of itself.
5. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Warner Bros Animation
Directors: Aaron Horvath, Peter Rida Michail
Starring: Greg Cipes, Scott Menville, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Hynden Walch, Will Arnett, Kristen Bell, Michael Bolton, Greg Davies, Nicolas Cage
This unexpected gem of a TV series movie was packed to the brim with Deadpool levels of fourth wall breaking and puns galore, and unexpectedly had fun for both kids and grown-ups.
The narrative itself was simple enough – the story following famed Batman sidekick Robin’s pursuit of becoming a film star just like his DC brethren (each of whom appear) – but it was the level of comedy on offer in this Warner Bros Animation that truly set the film apart.
To quote some of the better lines:
“You’re not the Justice League? Then you must be the Guardians of the Galaxy?”
“I did have a movie, but we don’t talk about it” – Green Lantern
“The plutonium crystal, the perfect plot device.” – Slade (ie, “Not Deadpool”)
What really sent this movie over the edge was a Stan Lee cameo to remember, the famed Marvel creator popping up in animated form in this film “by accident” because he “simply loves cameos!” It was quite a fitting way for one of the comic book industry’s greatest names to make one of his final appearances, and a truly memorable moment in a film filled to the brim with creativity, cameos and fun.