When Thor hits theaters on May 6, it’ll kickstart a summer packed full of handsomely-costumed superpowered individuals fighting expensively CGI’d evil. June brings us the franchise preboot X-Men: First Class and the space-faring Green Lantern, followed by the Nazi-punching Captain America: The First Avenger in July. It’s a feast for comic book fans, and it’s very much the culmination of a decade that saw superheroes rise to the top of the summer box office season, with a host of new trilogies (X-Men, Spider-Man, Blade, Batman), fascinating curios (Kick-Ass, Superman Returns, Ang Lee’s Hulk), and plenty of outright disasters (Daredevil and Catwoman and anything called The Punisher, oh my!). But which superhero film is your absolute favorite? Has anything equaled Christopher Reeve’s Superman? Which Batman do you prefer: Tim Burton’s, Christopher Nolan’s, or Joel Schumacher’s? (Schumacher? Anyone? Bueller?) Do you prefer Iron Man‘s braggodocio or Spider-Man‘s nerdish lovability? Check out some EW favorites after the jump, then tell us your favorite superhero film in the comments. (Extra points if you include a cogent, coherent, and obscenity-free argument for your film.)
For me, the choice is simple: Hellboy II. Much as I love the sly comedy of X2, the expansive world-building of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, and the messianic weirdness of Superman Returns, I always return to Guillermo Del Toro’s demonic sequel. Ron Perlman makes a great hero — equally brash, wounded, and existentially troubled, as if Spider-Man and Iron Man merged with Fantastic Four‘s Thing and a young Johnny Cash — and the film features hallucinogenic imagery that’s utterly unique in superhero cinema. I pray to the Elder Gods for a sequel every night.
Keith Staskiewicz: Batman Returns. Sure, The Dark Knight is great, but why so serious? I like my comics movies to have at least a smidgen of levity, and to me Tim Burton’s sequel hit all the right notes: Deeply weird, perfectly cast, amazing production design, and Michelle Pfeiffer in leather.
Maggie Pehanick: Kick-Ass was one of my favorite movies of 2010. I saw an early screening and I hadn’t heard anything about it so when I got there, I was floored. Nic Cage was… good? In a movie? What year is this? And real violence, citizen vigilantism, and a truly kick-ass hero (Chloë Moretz, not Aaron Johnson)? So good.
Hillary Busis: Does The Incredibles count? It’s not only a great superhero movie, but also one of the best animated movies ever made, period — you can’t go wrong with Pixar and Brad Bird.
Martin Schwartz: Can I consider Kill Bill? Uma could take on all of Marvel at that point. [EDITORS NOTE: No, you cannot consider Kill Bill.] If not, soft spot goes to the second Batman with Keaton and Pfeiffer, which is like, one of the movie pairings that generates more heat than it it ever should.
Now that you’ve heard our favorites (and learned that Batman Returns is apparently an office favorite), tell us your number one superhero movie!