10 Best Superhero Movies Of All Time, According To Ranker

Upon the release of Richard Donner’s Superman in 1978, movies based on superhero characters slowly became more and more popular, until 2008’s Iron Man spirit The Dark Knight arguably reinvigorated the genre, prompting it to become the behemoth that it is today.

Big-budget superhero movies are now a staple of modern cinema, and with multiple released every single year it is frankly a grueling task to attempt to determine which superhero movies are the best of all time. With well over 100 movies to choose from, superhero genre fans on Ranker have voted for their absolute favorite. But which are the 10 best?


10 Iron Man (2008)

Unforeseen by most people, the Jon Favreau-directed Iron Man would kickstart the most successful shared universe of all time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man benefits from a stellar comeback performance from Robert Downey Jr., who portrays Tony Stark as he begins to navigate the mistakes of his past and attempt to be a better person.

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The movie’s events are fairly small in scale, as the story sees Stark narrowly escape a near-death experience and become a superhero in the process. Iron Man‘s effect on modern-day cinema can not be ignored, and revisiting it after seeing the MCU’s emotional and climactic Avengers: Endgame allows the movie to become an introduction to a character whose arc would one day be completed 11 years later.

9 The Avengers (2012)

avengers 2012 could be a hit

It is truly difficult to imagine what the modern day cinematic landscape would look like if it were not for 2012’s The Avengers. At the time of release, The Avengers became the third highest-grossing movie of all time, making it the third movie ever to pass 2 billion dollars at the box office.

Remaining a pop culture phenomenon 10 years later, The Avengers features iconic lines and battle sequences, alongside genuinely heartfelt character interactions that solidified the characters as ones that viewers would care about immensely, even three sequels later. Despite some outdated character designs and lines, The Avengers remains one of the greatest of its genre.

8 Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

The final battle in Thor Ragnarok

Following two arguably lackluster movies, the Thor series was invigorated by Taika Watiti with 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. It seemed as though audiences had not warmed to the character of Thor in his first two movies, nor his appearances in The Avengers spirit Avengers: Age of Ultronwhich prompted Watiti to inject humor and heart into the character to make him a fan-favorite.

Ragnarok is beloved among fans of the MCU and the wider superhero genre as a whole, particularly due to its unique blend of humor and tragedy. The movie sees Thor enlist the help of Avengers co-worker Bruce Banner (aka the Hulk) and others to defeat the goddess Hela, as he grieves his father’s death. It is hilarious, poignant, and ultimately one of the best superhero movies of all time.

7 Captain America: Civil War (2016)

The airport battle in Captain America Civil War

Steve Rogers faces off against his friend Tony Stark in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, a feud that splits the Avengers into two factions, those for government intervention, and those opposed. With all but Thor and Hulk included, Civil War may, on the surface, appear to be an Avengers movie, but it is a story about Steve Rogers through and through.

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Part of the appeal of Civil War is that both factions are in the right, as Captain America and Iron Man’s views can be understood separately. Boasting an incredibly comic-accurate battle sequence between the warring heroes and a comparably-small, emotional final fight that is rooted in character, Civil War is undeniably one of the best, and also most unique, superhero movies.

6 Logan (2017)

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in Logan

As the only superhero movie thus far to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards, Loganwritten and directed by James Mangold, is a hard-hitting, emotional drama that sees an aging Wolverine attempt to protect a hunted mutant child.

Logan is arguably the greatest Wolverine movie, particularly due to how well-written the ending to Logan’s character arc is. Despite rumors circulating about Hugh Jackman’s continued involvement with the character in the MCU, many feel as though it would be a disservice to the character to bring him back after such a perfect ending.

5 Deadpool (2016)

Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson in Deadpool

After his appearance in the critically-panned X-Men Origins: WolverineRyan Reynolds received the opportunity to revamp the character of Wade Wilson in 2016’s Deadpool. The movie sees Wilson receive a fatal cancer diagnosis and turn to experimentation, becoming immortal but vengeful as he hunts down the people who ruined his looks.

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Deadpool became an unexpected box office hit, earning $ 782m on a budget of $ 58m, solidifying it as one of the most profitable superhero movies of all time. The low budget was of no concern to audiences though, as Deadpool received rave reviews from both critics and audiences, and the character became an immediate fan favorite amongst superhero genre fans.

4 Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Gamora, Rocket, Peter Quill, Groot, and Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Perhaps one of the biggest surprise hits of the modern superhero movie resurgance, is James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Released in 2014, Guardians was a box office success despite how unknown the characters were at the time, due to how well Gunn developed each character’s personality.

While Guardians recieved some criticism for its lackluster villain, the movie is massively entertaining, in part due to its catchy soundtrack, excellent performances, and heartwarming moments between loveable characters. Each of these elements make it unsurprising that Guardians is ranked so highly compared to the vast majority of superhero movies.

3 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier sees Steve Rogers, following the events of The Avengers, attempting to come to terms with being a man out of time. As Rogers faces a government conspiracy, he soon comes to blows with his long-time friend, Bucky Barnes.

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A common praise associated with The Winter Soldier is that it resembles a politcal thriller, while still possessing the qualities of a superhero movie. With gripping action sequences, stellar performances, and an inherently likeable main character in Steve Rogers, The Winter Soldier is unquestionably one of the greatest superhero movies.

2 Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Thanos in Avengers Infinity War

In what is often considered to be the best Avengers movie, Avengers: Infinity War, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to face off against the Mad Titan, Thanos. What makes Infinity War unique is that it ends on the heroes losing to the villain, setting it aside from all other superhero movies.

The Russo Brothers and writers Christpher Markus and Steven McFeely expertly weaved between multiple storylines, successfully building tension through intracately crafted battle sequences and character interactions, ultimately bringing the heroes to a battle they could not win. It is frankly a miracle that Infinity War even works, let alone be one of the most enteratining movies of its genre.

1 The Dark Knight (2008)

Batman standing amongst wreckage in The Dark Knight.

It is unlikely that any superhero movie will dethrone The Dark Knight as the commonly considered greatest comic book movie of all time. Legendary director Christopher Nolan followed up his Batman movie reboot (Batman Begins) with a sequel that sees Batman face off against his greatest enemy: the Joker.

Regardless of its firm placement in the superhero genre, The Dark Knight is often a contender for the greatest movie of all time, as it is ranked number six on Ranker. From incredible visuals to a well-deserved posthumous Best Supporting Actor win for Heath Ledger at the Oscars, the legacy of The Dark Knight is almost untouchable.

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