4. Deadpool 2
20th Century Fox
Director: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Eddie Marsan, Shioli Kutsuna
Now that the Deadpool live-action movie character is well and truly a part of the zeitgeist, his presence seems too often to be overlooked and/or forgotten, the almost invincible superhero’s endless gifts to us accepted as if the norm when in actuality it remains pretty damn special.
Ryan Reynolds and company have created a juggernaut of the genre (pun intended) and this year gifted us a 2nd instalment worthy of the original and all the hype we’d had for years in the build-up to its release.
Perhaps lost a little behind the cultural phenomenon that was Marvel’s largest ever team-up movie (which was released just 3 weeks earlier), Deadpool 2 actually made over $700million worldwide as an R-rated (15) film, continuing to prove the financial viability of films aimed at more adult audiences.
In the film itself, the X-Force team-up was perhaps the most fondly remembered of all of its major moments and could arguably be the funniest superhero movie sequence of all time because of how it subverted genre expectations and delivered laughs in the truck load. Let us cherish Mr. Deadpool, PG-13 Christmas specials and all.
3. Black Panther
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis
The cultural phenomenon of superhero cinema in 2018 was without a doubt Black Panther, the first black person fronted superhero film from Marvel Studios and the introduction of one of the undisputed leaders of the studio’s output from here on out.
Coogler’s work behind the camera crafted a truly enticing and emotional story that was at once personal to the two central most characters and their opposing views, but also the plight of African Americans as a whole. Each character was identifiable, their actions believable, their viewpoints understandable, and the response was one of love and adoration; finally we had a movie with true representation, not just stereotypes.
It was indeed very tough to put an apparent Oscars front-runner at number 3, but with a few misdemeanours regarding CGI and sub-plots, Panther just didn’t quite reach the levels of the two all-time great superhero movies that top our list…
2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Sony Pictures Animation
Director: Bob Perischetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoe Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine
What a breath of fresh air Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was.
This unique animation, inspired by the comic book panels of the actual “Spider-Man” comics, burst out of the screen in about as unique of a way as we’ve seen from Hollywood ever.
The work of the studio, under the guidance of The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (who acted as producers, with Lord doubling as the screenwriter), was nothing short of spectacular, the matching of the animation to a tantalising, exciting and fresh new take on the Spider-Man origin story cementing this unexpected gem as one of the best superhero movies of all time and easily the animated film of the year.
Had it been released in almost any other year, this truly effervescent, moving offering would have topped our list, but there was one once-in-a-lifetime event that we simply couldn’t overlook…
1. Avengers: Infinity War
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin
“What did it cost?”
Avengers: Infinity War is the superhero film of 2018 because it may well be the single greatest superhero film of all time.
This epic culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s 1st and 2nd phases felt like the special event all other superhero films had only ever marketed themselves as, the season finale to a 20-movie stretch across time and space. Everything in this movie felt like it mattered, and obvious reincarnation aside, the Russo’s truly made you feel the struggle of the heroes against their coming destruction.
With a cast of over 20 mainstream, franchise-leading characters each playing their part, Infinity War was the stuff of dreams for any avid comic book reader or comic book movie fan, with each frame offering something for everyone but never feeling exploitative.
There will simply never be another superhero film like it, and we could very well end up describing this as the peak of the mountain when looking back on the superhero craze in general. This absolute gem from two of the greatest comic book directors of all time was an unforgettable picture, a cultural phenomenon and the best superhero film of 2018.
Phew… there’s bound to be some controversy with the order of this piece! If you feel like contributing to the conversation, please leave a comment (but remember to be courteous).