Here is my list:
- The Dark Knight (2008)--Some will not even consider this film for this category. I can actually understand the argument that this, "Isn't a comic book film" or "Is more than a comic book film." That being said, no matter how this pushes the limits of a "comic book film," I still consider it one. The tone is dark and Ledger's performance as the Joker lives up to the hype. As they did in the first one, Christian Bale and Michael Caine give the film a solid foundation. The story of Gotham's White Knight, Harvey Dent, being taken down by a mad man the villains "didn't fully understand" is incredible.
- The Avengers (2012)--Tons of build for this through the Iron Man series as well as the Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor films. It hits every note perfectly. It is tons of fun and succeeds as a film with a completely different tone than the The Dark Knight. The fact that I even considered putting this film at number one over TDK is a testament to how great it is. I will be taking my son to see it this week which will mark the second time I will have seen it in theaters. If you haven't gone, you need to do so.
- Iron Man (2008)--Robert Downey Jr just absolutely dominates this film by nailing the Tony Stark character. His transformation from playboy to hero is a joy to watch. One of the things that makes this so effective is that as Stark, Downey nails the "Women want him, men want to be him" thing. Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane deserves credit for giving an excellent balance to RDJ's Stark/Iron Man as well.
- Watchmen (2009)--This is another one that you could argue is not a "comic book film." Honestly, this was one of the films I forgot about when coming up with my first list. Jackie Earle Haley as Rorshach is the star of this show. His best line? "None of you seem to understand. I'm not locked in here with you... you're locked in here with me!"
- X-Men: First Class (2011)--Excellent film that explores the genesis of the X-Men and the nature of Professor X and Magneto's relationship. The performances by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Professor X and Magneto respectively carry the film. Major credit should go to Kevin Bacon as well playing the "big bad" in this film.