2023 Superhero Movies Ranked

2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Review

The one that was actually worth the long wait.

James Gunn has been put through the wringer at Marvel over the last five years so it was extremely gratifying to see him get to complete the story he started before he moved on to work for their studio rivals.

Comic book movie sequels traditionally go darker, and the final GOTG adventure is no exception. After Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) is mortally injured, the Guardians go in search of the mad scientist who created him while working out their differences and confronting their traumas along the way.

Guardians Vol 3 is a bold and committed swing that uses extremely upsetting sci-fi animal testing as a main plot point and digs deeper into what makes this dysfunctional space family tick than ever before. The storytelling risks more than paid off at the box office and this comes off as a celebratory last hurrah, giving every character their moment to shine and peppering the film with glossy action, killer one-liners and punch-the-air satisfying needle-drops. Gunn is currently presiding over the future of the DC movie universe and, judging by how his Guardians movies maintained their rebellious energy, we may be in for some genuinely new takes on superhero movies yet.

1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Review

The one that leaves the rest in the dust.

It’s hard not to be hyperbolic about just how well this came together. The first Spider-Verse was a true game-changer for both the medium of animation and the superhero movie genre, and its sequel expands, deepens and deconstructs the whole enterprise with verve.

If only live-action superhero movies, and multiverse movies in general, could be as bold, inventive and affecting as what Sony are doing with their Spider-Verse movies.

After teaming up with Spider-people from other dimensions to save the multiverse from destruction, teen Spider-Man Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) re-teams with Gwen Stacey/Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld) who is caught up with the machinations of the multiverse-policing Spider Society. But what happens when Miles’ moral compass puts all of reality in danger?

We will see in 2024 whether Beyond the Spider-Verse will stick the landing, but judging by the leap in ambition between the first and second movies, we’ll be in for a hugely memorable experience. The amount of wild variations on Spider-Man both front-and-centre and in the distant background of shots, the wildly different animation styles for different universes and the complexity of the ideas, themes and emotions ensure this is still the take on Spider-Man to beat. Anyone can wear the mask, but how many of us could make the moral choices Miles does when all of reality is on the brink of collapse?

Recommended for you: 2022 Comic Book Movies Ranked

Are you still a superhero movie fan or are you sick of the most dominant blockbuster genre of the last decade? How would you rank this year’s comic book adaptations? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow @thefilmagazine on Facebook and X (Twitter) for more insightful movie lists.

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