Films

The 20 greatest superhero movies of all time, according to critics

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Gary Ogden
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Here are the 20 greatest superhero movies, according to Metacritic

“Here I am everyone! I’m a giant bat! I’ve got big ears and a deep voice and I’m gowna kick ya in the shin, you dumb penguin! Come here, Mr. Clown, I’ve got a knuckle-sandwich with your name on! And you over there with the gas mask on - I can’t even hear what you’re saying! Still gonna whack ya dead though! I’m outta here in my big old bat car! ZOOOM! Eat my dust, bozos!”

Superhero movies are great, aren’t they? Really really great, I think. But which are the best? Or more specifically, the 20 best? Or, to really dive into the minutiae with it, the 20 best according to Metacritic?

Well, I’ve done a look on the site and pulled together a list for you. So, according to a bunch of critics from around the world, here’s an aggregated list of the 20 best superhero movies - may you be eternally grateful and grant me access to your souls as thanks. Enjoy:

  • 20. 'Hellboy' (2004)

    Who is doing the punching? It is a big red devil man called Hellboy.

    Who is he punching? He is punching Nazis, as well as giant monsters that live in the sewer.

    How is he punching them? With a big red hand made out of stone. Great for punching with.

    Why is he punching them? Well, because they’re Nazis, and also because they’re trying to take over the world - it’s pretty standard stuff, really. Very good reasons to be punching people.

    (Metacritic score: 72)

  • 19. 'Superman Returns' (2006)

    Who is doing the punching? It is a handsome man from the planet Krypton, who can shoot laser beams out of his eyes and weight-lift planes.

    Who is he punching? He is not really punching anyone, which is annoying, because he has a very hard punch and I would like to see it. Lex Luthor is there, who certainly deserves to be punched, but he escapes without getting one.

    How is he punching them? He is not, as we have already established.

    Why is he punching them? Lex Luthor is a horrible man who is trying to rule the world, basically. Really wants a big punch, does Luthor.

    (Metacritic score: 72)

  • 18. 'Spider-Man' (2002)

    Who is doing the punching? It’s Peter Parker, the big nerd that got bit by a radioactive spider and now can climb up walls and shoot garlic mayo out of his writsts.

    Who is he punching? He is punching the Green Goblin, an old man who flies about on one of those hoverboard things that were popular a few Christmases ago.

    How is he punching them? He is punching them with his super-powered fists, but also with his sticky aioli guns. Ouch!

    Why is he punching them? Because he’s whizzing about on his evil Segway and killing loads of people because he got sacked. Now he’s trying to kill Peter, who ain’t having none of it!

    (Metacritic score: 73)

  • 17. 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' (2017)

    Who is doing the punching? It’s Peter Parker again, Spider-Nerd, but this time he’s different, and he’s got a new snazzy suit with wings and shit.

    Who is he punching? The Vulture, who is Michael Keaton with his pursed lips, but he also has wings - wuh woh.

    How is he punching them? He’s punching them like he always has - with the sour cream and onion wrist-slime.

    Why is he punching them? Keaton has had enough! So he’s making loads of alien weapons and he’s going to kill a load of people with them, presumably. That’s what bad guys named after birds do, ain’t it?

    (Metacritic score: 73)

  • 16. 'Thor: Ragnarok' (2017)

    Who is doing the punching? It’s Thor, big sexy long-haired (for a bit, anyway) God with a large hammer.

    Who is he punching? Wow, he punches loads of people in this one, but he also punches Hulk, who he’s normally friends with. How terrible. I cried.

    How is he punching them? He’s punching them so hard you wouldn’t even believe! However, he is also punching them with lightning and also a hammer.

    Why is he punching them? Hulk has been brainwashed into fighting in a big tournament, which is bad. Also, Thor’s sister is there, and she and her mates are trying to take over Thor’s hometown, which I think is Hull.

    (Metacritic score: 74)

  • 15. 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' (2014)

    Who is doing the punching? It’s the X-Men, including Knife Hands, Brain Man, The Human Magnet, Blue Lady Group, Clever Bear, Billy Whizz and Walls Eh? Wouldn’t Have Thought So!, among others.

    Who are they punching? They’re all punching each other - it all gets very complicated. Think they punch some giant robots at one point, too.

    How are they punching each other (and/or the giant robots)? They are punching them with metal, with brains, with fur, with disguises and with going through walls.

    Why are they punching each other (and/or the giant robots)? Well, The Human Magnet is keen on murdering the president, but also the giant robots are trying to kill all the X-Men - it’s entirely convoluted and doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, but then again, it is a film about a man who has knives hidden in his hands, so I wouldn’t worry.

    (Metacritic score: 74)

  • 14. 'The LEGO Batman Movie' (2017)

    Who is doing the punching? The man who likes to dress up as a big old bat! Look at his silly ears! All that money, and you went with a bat! 

    Who is he punching? He’s an equal-opportunity puncher, but the main person he wants to punch is The Joker.

    How is he punching them? Well, Batman is a billionaire, you see, so he’s got loads of gadgets and stuff - he uses these to punch people with.

    Why is he punching them? The Joker wants to get a bunch of bad guys to destroy Gotham, for no other reason than he is an unwavering bastard. A right old shitter, is The Joker, make no mistake. Needs a good punching, if you ask me.

    (Metacritic score: 75)

  • 13. 'Captain America: Civil War' (2016)

    Who is doing the punching? Loadsa people! You’ve got Old Timey Strong Man, Spider-Nerd, Small Sometimes Big Man, Dangerous Manicure Cat, Robot Goatee and ‘90s Calvin Klein Model With A Metal Arm. Plus others.

    Who are they punching? Again, they’re just really going ham and punching each other, in loads of different ways.

    How are they punching them? They are punching each other with metal arms, with large frisbees, with going small and sometimes big, with aioli, with a rather fetching set of fake nails, with an archery scholarship and also with loads and loads of money.

    Why are they punching them? Because they’ve all had a big falling out, and it’s all got a bit out of hand. Like every dinner party you go to, basically.

    (Metacritic score: 75)

  • 12. 'Wonder Woman' (2017)

    Who is doing the punching? Wonder Woman, or as her friends call her, Whippity Doo Dah.

    Who is she punching? A number of people - this was WWI, so there were lots of baddies for her to punch. There’s another person she has to punch, but I guess revealing their name would be a spoiler, so I shall say no more.

    How is she punching them? She is doing it with her super-strength, but she is also doing it with her lasso, which glows all yellow, like a big long Cheestring. I love it.

    Why is she punching them? Because it’s the war, and she wants to stop it. Fair enough, really.

    (Metacritic score: 76)

  • 11. 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    Who is doing the punching? Five people: The Tree, The Jolly Green Lady, Wrestler With Eczema, Rude Vermin and Look At My Cool Leather Jacket.

    Who are they punching? A scary man called Ronan The Accuser, who wears a hoodie, which means he isn’t allowed in some supermarkets.

    How are they punching them? They all have different ways of punching, but all are effective. You wouldn’t want to get punched by one of this lot, no siree! A punch on the bonce from any of these busters and you’d know it - doh!

    Why are they punching them? Standard tryna take over the world business - you know the drill.

    (Metacritic score: 76)

  • 10. 'Logan' (2017)

    Who is doing the punching? It’s ole Knife Hands, doing one last mission before he hangs up his flip-flops.

    Who is he punching? He’s punching quite a few people, but mainly this big dickhead with a Terminator hand who won’t leave him alone. God he’s annoying.

    How is he punching them? Whenever he says the word ‘Swords’ big knives slide out of his hands and then he punches people with them.

    Why is he punching them? Because that big dickhead I told you about has made another Wolverine and is trying to punch Real Wolverine with it. Punch him back, Wolverine! PUNCH HIM!

    (Metacritic score: 77)

  • 9. 'The Dark Knight Rises' (2012)

    Who is doing the punching? The Ear Suit Boy is back again, doing a really deep voice to scare all the baddies away.

    Who is he punching? Bane, a man who has a lot to say, but unfortunately for him, you can’t hear any of it.

    How is he punching them? In fights, mainly. Punching him in fights.

    Why is he punching them? Because he’s a big idiot with a dumb voice, and he’s trying to kill him. If I had one of them coming after me, I’d probably try and punch them. Think you would too.

    (Metacritic score: 78)

  • 8. 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army' (2008)

    Who is doing the punching? It’s our big red devil man again, with his coats and cigars and that.

    Who is he punching? Luke Goss, from short-lived ‘80s pop group Bros.

    How is he punching them? Again, much like before, he is doing it with his large stone fist.

    Why is he punching them? He is presumably not a fan of Bros’ musical output, and wanted to punch him so much that he never made any music again. I think it worked.

    (Metacritic score: 78)

  • 7. 'Iron Man' (2008)

    Who is doing the punching? It’s me, with my beard, and my shiny metal suit! (As told to me by Tony Stark)

    Who is he punching? Someone else with a beard and a metal suit, called Obadiah.

    How is he punching them? He also has metal gloves, so he’s punching them with them.

    Why is he punching them? Guess he wants to be the only bloke in town with a beard and metal suit. I can understand this, as I have been in exactly the same situation before.

    (Metacritic score: 79)

  • 6. 'The Dark Knight' (2008)

    Who is doing the punching? It’s the rich man who’s swallowed a pint of tar. Does tar make your voice deep? Sounds like it might. Try it at home and get back to me, kids!

    Who is he punching? The Joker again - he just doesn’t leave Brucey alone, that man. How many years of failure does it take to drum it into that thick skull of his? Not enough, it seems.

    Still, at least he can lay claim to starting the most annoying Halloween costume of all time, so I guess he’s achieved something.

    How is he punching them? WITH THE MIGHTY POWER OF A BAT!!!

    Why is he punching them? Because The Joker is the biggest shit on campus, the One True Bell. His face is aching for a big hard punch.

    (Metacritic score: 82)

  • 5. 'Spider-Man 2' (2004)

    Who is doing the punching? It’s the return of the Swinger - Petey Park-o with his his milk wrists, come to save the day!

    Who is he punching? It’s just a simple run-of-the-mill scientist. PSYCHE! He’s got eight arms!

    How is he punching them? Using his sticky fingers, gooey feet and drippy reams of ooze that spurt from his teenage hands. Gross.

    Why is he punching them? Oh god, he’s trying to blow up the city, what a dolt. That, and he’s trying to punch Spider-Man eight times, one from each arm. He’s like some sort of punching octopus, and I don’t trust him as far as I can punch him.

    (Metacritic score: 83)

  • 4. 'Superman' (1978)

    Who is doing the punching? It’s the strongest kiss-curl in the universe - Superman, and does he have a right jolly punching up his sleeve for you and your cronies!

    Who is he punching? Or not, because this film isn’t that punchy. Lex Luthor is there, and he still deserves a punch, but Superman restrains himself. Why would you do that? You’ve got the best punch in the galaxy! Punch someone with it!

    How is he punching them? He’s not, the sloth.

    Why is he punching them? He should be, because Luthor is shooting missiles all over the shop, and people that do that deserve a hefty bop on the nose.

    (Metacritic score: 86)

  • 3. 'Black Panther' (2018)

    Who is doing the punching? Say hello to Dangerous Manicure Cat once more, because this time he’s flying solo, and those nails are going to wreck havoc with your new settee.

    Who is he punching? He is punching another cat who similarly saw that there was a sale on at Claire’s and snapped up a full set of fakies sharpish. 

    How is he punching them? Claw-punches, I think they’re called in the business. The punching business, specifically.

    Why is he punching them? I’m not actually sure, seeing as I haven’t yet seen this film, but it’s probably got something to do with a mutual hatred of the 1980s boyband Bros.

    (Metacritic score: 87)

  • 2. 'Superman II' (1980)

    Who is doing the punching? It’s Old-Fashioned Black And White A4 Picture Of A Man In The Window Of A Barbers, But Super again, and this time he’s extra punchy.

    Who is he punching? General Zod, a man who has the exact same powers as Superman, meaning, yes: he’s got a really hard punch, too.

    How is he punching them? Superly, I think. I would hedge that Superman punches people superly.

    Why is he punching them? Because Zod and his crew of dressing-gown stooges are prancing around the place causing havoc, the kind of havoc that can only be truly stopped with a GREAT BIG PUNCH.

    (Metacritic score: 87)

  • 1. 'The Incredibles' (2004)

    Who is doing the punching? A family of superheroes, consisting of The Large One, Stretchy Barbara, The Incredible See-Through, Run-Fast and their baby, The Baby. Oh and also their mate I’m Cold.

    Who are they punching? An obnoxious little stinker called Syndrome with a hair-brained plan. And we all know what hair-brained plans always ultimately lead to: getting punched.

    How are they punching them? Using muscles, stretching, not being seen, fastness, camouflage and ice cubes.

    Why are they punching them? Syndrome wants to kill all superheroes, which is bad. So bad, in fact, that he should, in my humble opinion, get punched for it.

    (Metacritic score: 90)

(Image: Rex)