Mainstream cinema would not be complete without superhero movies. They revolve around, as its name implies, characters that possess uncanny abilities or superpowers. These characters use their powers for good and the likes of Superman and Superwoman always come to mind.

Generally, we tend to associate these characters with their strengths as in the case with the above-mentioned names. They can fly, shoot lasers through their eyes, and show great strength no human can match.

However, the beauty of these superhero films is that they don’t just focus on those with superpowers. There’s DC’s Batman, for instance. He is merely human but has the brains and brawns, not to mention the money, to become The Dark Knight, the feared vigilante of Gotham City.

Then there’s also Tony Stark, the Marvel counterpart of Batman. There are other characters in the comic book universe that started out as regular people, but through some freak accident become extraordinary in nature (here’s looking at you Spider-Man).

Regardless, there is something to learn when it comes to these types of movies. They provide valuable lessons that we can apply in life. You can use those powers to do good or you can exploit them for personal gain. As Uncle Ben or Aunt May said, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

On the other hand, you can be your own superhero to anybody even if you don’t possess any uncanny abilities or superhuman strength. And when it comes to bringing these fantastical characters to life, then you can count on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe. There’s also Pixar for animated superhero films.

Below you will find 25 of the Best Superhero Movies Of All Time. These films are not just packed with action, adventure, and nail-biting thrill and mystery. They also impart a moral story. Thankfully, modern technology has paved the way for spellbinding and amazing graphics that make these stories believable. 

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Unbreakable (2000)

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The Unbreakable is actually marketed as a trilogy, a series of superhero thrillers and psychological films that start off with the 2000 movie, then Split (2016), and Glass (2019). The second movie focuses on a different character and is an introduction of sorts to the third film.

The neo-noir Unbreakable ranked four in Time Magazine’s Top 10 Superhero Films of all time following its release. At the time, director/writer M. Night Shyamalan wrote the story with a traditional comic book outline which consisted of the superhero’s “birth,” power struggles, and the ultimate battle against the enemies.

But superhero films at the time were considered niche and so it was marketed as psychological thriller. It eventually gained a cult following when the audience for superhero movies grew.

In Unbreakable, the story centers on David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson). Dunn learns something extraordinary about himself following a devastating train wreck. Price, a mysterious stranger, gives Dunn a bizarre explanation as to why he was the only survivor and escaped without a single scratch.

Dunn is, as the title puts it, unbreakable. But the film did not fully explore what he is capable of until the third film. Meanwhile, Price is the total opposite as he is physically frail. But you wouldn’t think he is the villain in the story at first thanks to the story’s unpredictable twists and turns.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan—Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan — Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright, Spencer Treat Clark — Run Time: 1h 46m

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Split (2016)

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M. Night Shyamalan returns to direct and write Split. This is an entirely different story from the first but is worth a watch if you want to understand Glass. It focuses on Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) who suffers from 23 different personalities. He kidnaps three girls and they must find a way to escape before the emergence of the beast, a terrifying new 24th personality. Only one of the girls, Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy), escapes because of some shared bond with one of the personalities.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan—Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan — Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Betty Buckley — Run Time: 1h 57m

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Glass (2019)

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The final film, Glass, brings back Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in their iconic roles in Unbreakable. This time, viewers get to see what Dunn is really capable of as he faces off with Kevin Crumb, who now has 24 personalities. Dunn uses his superstrength and supernatural abilities to track down Crumb while Elijah plans everything from the background.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan—Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan — Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark — Run Time: 2h 9m

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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What do you get when you pit earth’s mightiest heroes against each other? A civil war. That’s what happens in this film which sees the team divided into two because of the Sokovia Accords, which dictates that The Avengers shall no longer be able to operate privately but under the command of a United Nations panel.

Tony Stark is for the accords while Steve Rogers believes the superheroes must have the freedom to defend humanity without the government interfering. The superheroes must now pick a side and ultimately, the debate escalates into an all-out bloody feud.

Director: The Russo Brothers — Screenplay: Stephen McFeely, Christopher Markus — Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Sebastian Stan, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Paul Rudd— Run Time: 2h 27m

 

 

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016)

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Director Sam Raimi and Marc Webb’s take on your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man were great back in the early and mid-2000s. But when it comes to combining incredible visual effects, action, and humor, then the MCU’s version tops them all.

Probably also because the Jon Watts-directed “Spider-Man” films really catered to all ages. By this time viewers have become familiar with the web crawler. Moreso, the MCU made great efforts to make Tom Holland’s debut as Peter Parker as memorable as possible in Captain America: Civil War.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) marked the first film in the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy. The story is lighthearted as it delves into Peter Parker’s high school life and first love. But the action is there too, especially when the protagonist encounters his nemesis Adrian Toomes/Vulture (Michael Keeton). Peter learns of the villain’s plans to hijack a DODC plane carrying weapons from Avengers Tower heading to new headquarters. He manages to intercept the plane and prevents a catastrophe.

Director: Jon Watts—Screenplay: Jon Watts, Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley — Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Donald Glover, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine, Angourie Rice — Run Time: 2h 13m

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Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

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The story takes place five years after the events in Avengers: Endgame. Those who disappeared from Thanos’ snap have returned, unaged, and this includes Peter Parker. By this time his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and MJ (Zendaya) already know he is Spider-Man. He is also still reeling from the death of Tony Stark, who he looked up to as his mentor/father figure.

The bulk of the film happens in Prague where the trio comes face to face with a new alienlike threat called the Elementals. In comes Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), a holographic specialist and a superpowered individual who goes by the name Mysterio. He is successful in defeating the Elementals. But Peter and his friends eventually learn of Mysterio’s real identity and his sinister plot to take revenge against STARK industries that could threaten civilian lives.

Director: Jon Watts—Screenplay: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers — Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Tony Revolori, Cobie Smulders, Angourie Rice — Run Time: 2h 9m

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Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

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This superhero movie is a trip down memory lane for fans of Sam Raimi and Marc Webb’s Peter Parker. It was nostalgic at best because it confirmed long-held rumors of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s appearance as their respective Peter Parker from the multiverse.

This time the entire world knows high school Peter Parker is Spider-Man thanks to Mysterio who revealed his face and identity in the second film. Now all Peter wants is for everyone (except those closest to him) to forget that he is Spider-Man. He turns to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help who begrudgingly obliged. But the spell gets corrupted because of Peter’s fickle mind and as a consequence, it brought Spider-Man villains from the multiverse into their world.

Somewhere in the story, Ned gets hold of Doctor Strange’s ring and is able to open a portal. In his and MJ’s attempt to locate Peter following the death of Aunt May, they instead find alternate versions of Peter Parker.

The film ends on a sad yet hopeful note when Holland’s Peter eventually makes the difficult decision to have people’s memories of him as Spider-Man completely erased in order to save the world. This time there are no exceptions, even Ned and MJ.

Director: Jon Watts—Screenplay: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers — Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Samuel L. Jackson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire, Benedict Wong, Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice — Run Time: 2h 28m

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Constantine (2005)

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Before the MCU even introduced Doctor Strange, there was John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a supernatural exorcist and demonologist. People turn to him for help when it comes to the occult. He is actually a demon hunter whose purpose on Earth is to vanquish demons back to the nether regions.

But he gets more than he bargained for when he agrees to take on a strange case from Detective Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz). She wants to find the truth about her twin sister’s death and doesn’t believe that it’s from suicide. In order to uncover the truth, he must go to Hell and back. But in his quest, he realizes that demons are trying to break through to the human world. His battles with demons eventually lead him to a face-off with the devil himself, Satan (Peter Stormare).

Director: Francis Lawrence — Screenplay: Kevin Brodbin, Frank A. Cappello — Cast: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Gavin Rossdale, Tilda Swinton, Peter Stormare, Pruitt Taylor Vince — Run Time: 2h 1m

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Watchmen (2009)

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This live-action movie adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel of the same name was director Zack Snyder’s debut into the superhero trope. He applied the same dark, foreboding mode in his earlier 300 to this superhero film, which focuses on a group of former superheroes who now live normal lives.

However, the death of a colleague sparks active vigilante Rorschach into an investigation that threatens to change the course of history as we know it. The heroes must don their masks and suits once again in order to save mankind.

The film is gritty, much like 300, and its narrative may seem complex, especially to those not familiar with the source material. But it’s got lots of good action, drama, graphics, and mystery to keep viewers engrossed and entertained.

Director: Zack Snyder — Screenplay: David Hayter, Alex Tse — Cast: Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Matt Frewer, Laura Mennell, Jackie Earle Haley — Run Time: 2h 42m

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Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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James Gunn turned a relatively unknown Chris Pratt, fresh from his days on Parks and Recreation, to become one of Hollywood’s rising stars after he cast him for the starring role of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). The actor proved his worth and viewers were totally surprised when the film worked, despite criticism of the actor and of the director for taking chance on a newcomer and an unfamiliar source material to many.

But this intergalactic superhero movie packs action, family drama, romance, and comedy rolled into one as Peter Quill leads his team of space heroes in a mission to stop villain Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) from destroying the galaxy. You get one heck of an entertaining film. Plus, the ragtag crew of alien superheroes with their quirky personalities make this space adventure definitely worth a watch that it even birthed to a sequel.

Director: James Gunn — Screenplay: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman — Cast: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benecio Del Toro, Sean Gunn, Christopher Fairbank, Laura Haddock — Run Time: 2h 1m

 

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

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Chris Pratt returns for the sequel along with Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Karen Gillan (Nebula). Expect more mayhem, action, space blunders, and hilarious fun when new characters join the group, including Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), and Ego (Kurt Russell).

There is some family drama involved as Gamora reunites with her estranged sister Nebula (who has been brainwashed by Thanos) and Star-Lord learns about his birth story, especially about the real identity of his father and his plans to rule the galaxy.

Director: James Gunn — Screenplay: James Gunn — Cast: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan — Run Time: 2h 16m

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Big Hero 6 (2014)

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This animated superhero movie loosely based on the Marvel comics of the same name teaches you the importance of family and friendships. It focuses on the bond shared between a teenage robotics prodigy Hiro (Ryan Potter) and his plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax (Scott Adsit), designed by his brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) as a health care provider before he died in a blast.

Hiro suspects his brother’s death was no accident and soon he finds himself chasing after a man wearing a Kabuki mask and using microbot swarms as his weapon. Together with Baymax and Tadashi’s friends, including adrenaline junkie Go Go (Jamie Chung), slacker Fred (T.J. Miller), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr), and Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), they uncover a betrayal and a sinister plot that could threaten the lives of those around them.

Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams — Screenplay: Jordan Roberts, Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson — Cast: Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, T.J. Miller, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk, Maya Rudolph — Run Time: 1h 42m

 

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Hancock (2008)

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This is one underrated superhero movie that looks at the “gloomy side” of being a superhero. It’s not all cupcakes and rainbows as the titular character proves. He means well, saving people and all, but he is a little sloppy on the execution side.

He ends up causing more damage and becomes the most hated man in Los Angeles because of his clumsiness and alcoholism. It’s only when he gets a PR makeover from the man that he saves from death that the story delves into his character.

He may be invulnerable and super strong. But outside of the glamour of being a superhero lies loneliness. For John Hancock, it means he can’t have a family of his own and can’t ever be with the woman he loves.

Director: Peter Berg — Screenplay: Vy Vincent Ngo, Vince Gilligan — Cast: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Jae Head, Eddie Marsan, David Mattey, Johnny Galecki — Run Time: 1h 32m

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Doctor Strange (2016)

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The story follows popular neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange who after a terrible car accident ends up on a journey to the Tibetan mountains in search of healing. There he discovers the power of the occult and of the existence of alternate dimensions. In order to regain his strength and practice magic, then he must put his ego aside.

The film is a great origin story of the MCU’s Sorcerer Supreme, one who uses artifacts and metaphysical abilities to protect the multiverse. The movie is exciting, thoroughly entertaining, and funny when it should be.

Director: Scott Derrickson — Screenplay: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill — Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen — Run Time: 1h 55m

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Wonder Woman (2017)

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Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), princess of the Amazons, learns of a terrible war happening in the human realm after pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes on their shores. Believing that Ares, the god of war is behind the chaos, she leaves her home ready for battle. Probably one of the iconic scenes in the film was when Wonder Woman stormed the battlefield to lead the charge, giving the soldiers more time to fire at the enemies.

Director: Patty Jenkins — Screenplay: Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, Jason Fuchs — Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Danny Huston — Run Time: 2h 21m

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Shazam! (2019)

This superhero movie is loads of fun and laughter balanced with believable superhero action sequences. It is an endearing film about family and friendship that centers on Billy Batson, an abandoned teen, who suddenly possesses super strength and invulnerability after an encounter with the Wizard Shazam.

But in using his powers, he also instantly turns into an adult. With the help of his new friend Freddy, Billy must learn to master his powers in order to defeat an evil mad scientist who wants his powers for himself.

Director: David F. Sandberg — Screenplay: Darren Lemke — Cast: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou — Run Time: 2h 12m

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The Suicide Squad (2021)

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David Ayer’s 2016 version of DC’s The Suicide Squad was good but it did not quite satisfy comicbook fans who expected more from the story. The prior film just did not have the punch despite the explosive action sequences.

Now James Gunn definitely remedied the situation and just like his Guardians of the Galaxy films, turned his version into a highly enjoyable, fun family action movie. He knows how to interject the humor where it’s needed and saves the explosions for later for a memorable and remarkable finale. This film is also a bit on the gory and brutal side but all in good fun.

Director: James Gunn — Screenplay: James Gunn — Cast: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Michael Rooker, Viola Davis, Daniela Melchior, Nathan Fillion, Flula Borg, Jai Courtney — Run Time: 2h 12m

 

 

 

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Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

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The over four hours of runtime in this superhero movie is all worth it. After all, you get to see your favorite DC superheroes Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman join forces to defend the planet from Darkseid’s henchman Steppenwolf.

The film also makes up for the lackluster 2017 Justice League. Perhaps the only gripe from fans is the 4:3 ratio format which made the movie look boxy, especially on wide screens.

Director: Zack Snyder — Screenplay: Zack Snyder — Cast: Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller — Run Time: 4h 2m

 

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The Avengers (2012)

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This film brought Marvel’s favorite superheroes into one big team to fight one common enemy. Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, and Hawkeye must stop Thor’s adopted brother Loki’s plans to invade Earth and become a king.

As with any other Marvel films, this one packed action, humor, and stunning visual effects. Everyone also gets their time in the spotlight, although they shine brighter as a team.

Director: Joss Whedon — Screenplay: Joss Whedon, Zak Penn — Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, Paul Bettany, Gwyneth Paltrow — Run Time: 2h 23m

 

 

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

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Earth’s mightiest heroes return and this time, they are up against an enemy virtually impossible to defeat. In an attempt to protect the world from a possible future alien invasion, Tony Stark creates the peacekeeping program called Ultron. But it turns hostile, putting humanity’s life at risk. The team must come together once again to defeat Ultron and protect the world from global extinction.

Director: Joss Whedon — Screenplay: Joss Whedon, Zak Penn — Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, Paul Bettany, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stellan Skarsgard, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg — Run Time: 2h 23m

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Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

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Tony Stark was right to keep the world safe from alien invasion because no one could have predicted Thanos’ plans to wipe out humanity. With the Infinity Gauntlet in his hand, the Mad Titan manages to wipe the earth of half of its population in a single snap. It would need the combined powers of The Avengers, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, T’Challa, Thor, Scarlett Witch, Doctor Strange, and more to defeat Thanos.

Director: Joe and Anthony Russo — Screenplay: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely — Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Zoe Saldana, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Cumberbatch — Run Time: 2h 29m

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Avengers: Endgame (2019)

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The story takes place five years after the events in Infinity War. Black Widow, Captain America, and Bruce Banner are desperate to bring everyone back but are at a loss on what to do. They found their answer when Scott Lang appeared and told them about his quantum machine.

Now they can travel back in time and collect the infinity stones to try to undo the snap and bring everyone back. But first, they must convince a dejected Tony Stark to come back to headquarters and help them execute their plan. Along the way, sacrifices have to be made to bring back those who disappeared in the snap and to defeat Thanos. This film gave Black Widow, Iron Man, and Captain America a fitting end to their story.

Director: Joe and Anthony Russo — Screenplay: Joss Whedon, Zak Penn — Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Brie Larson, Elizabeth Olsen — Run Time: 3h 1m

 

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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This is by far the best out of the MCU’s Thor trilogy. The first film was a good introduction to the God of Thunder and the second was just too gloomy.

Marvel brought back the fun and lighthearted element in Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and it did not disappoint. In this film, Thor is imprisoned in Sakaar and must find a way to escape before his kingdom falls into the wrong hands. He must return to Asgard to prevent the evil Hela from destroying his world and his people. Thankfully, he reunites with “a friend from work” Hulk and meets new lovable characters who make his journey home fun and memorable and his battles worth it.

Director: Taika Waititi — Screenplay: Eric Pearson — Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston — Run Time: 2h 10m

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Aquaman (2018)

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The DCEU’s origin story of Aquaman offers up colorful CGI and energetic action, be it above land or underwater. Arthur Curry, half-man and half Atlantean, must heed the call of his destiny as the true heir of the kingdom of Atlantis.

He must retrieve the Trident of Atlan so he can protect his people from his brother, the power-hungry King Orm. He must also prevent the war between those who live on the surface and underwater from happening.

Director: James Wan — Screenplay: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick — Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren — Run Time: 2h 23m

 

 

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Logan (2017)

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The film is set in the distant future where mutants are nearly extinct. Logan and Professor X are living a quiet life away from the public’s knowledge of their existence. But when a girl who shares his powers come to Logan for help, he must use all of his remaining strength to keep her safe from those who want to experiment on her. At first, he hesitates but the professor sees it as a new hope for the re-emergence of his kind.

This superhero movie is the perfect goodbye to a well-loved X-Men character. It’s poignant and shows Wolverine’s humanity. Here we have an aging hero, weary, and vulnerable to pain with the slow decline of his powers.

He is bitter toward the end, especially at the world. But he no longer fears death but yearns for it. This film is a bittersweet yet much-deserved ending to the Wolverine’s story and to Hugh Jackman’s stint as the clawed mutant.

Director: James Mangold— Screenplay: James Mangold, Michael Green, Scott Frank — Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holdbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Daniel Bernhardt— Run Time: 2h 17m