Superhero movies took audiences and the box office by storm in 2018, and that's what made ranking the best superhero movies of the year a bit challenging this time around. Over the years, superhero movies have become a cornerstone in the filmmaking industry, with every major Hollywood studio developing their own comic book adaptations. It's a trend that simply won't die out - and why should it? Superhero movies gross billions of dollars every year, and they've become go-to events.
In 2017, audiences saw the conclusion of Hugh Jackman's tenure as Wolverine in James Mangold's Logan (which became the first superhero movie to be nominated for an Oscar in a non-acting category) as well as the release of Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman, which made history for female-led superhero films by not only becoming one of the highest rated superhero films ever released but also one of the highest grossing superhero origin movies of all time.
Then, in 2018, everything was taken to the next level with numerous groundbreaking releases that will change the landscape of the superhero genre going forward. All in all, nine superhero movies (including animated films) released in 2018, and here's Screen Rant's site ranking, which was determined by taking into account the editors' personal rankings.
9. Teen Titans Go! to the Movies
Teen Titans Go!'s popularity is undeniable, which is why it was a smart decision on WB's part to ultimately a movie adaptation. Unfortuantely, despite Teen Titans Go! To The Movies hitting several high notes, including successfully adapting the cartoon's characters from television, the animated film failed to find itself in the sea of meta references and jokes it constantly made to the rest of the superhero genre. The thing is, Teen Titans Go! To The Movies is actually quite good, but it's a mostly average movie that's easily forgotten once audiences have left the theater.
8. Ant-Man and the Wasp
Ant-Man and the Wasp being in second-to-last place on our list doesn't mean the movie is bad in any way whatsoever, but what it does mean is that Screen Rant's editors found it as a rather superfluous entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Peyton Reed's second installment in the MCU - a movie that stars Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp, which makes her the franchise's first actress to appear in a lead role - was certainly a fun ride, but it was a shadow of what it could've been. Unfortunately, Ant-Man and the Wasp suffered from using Marvel's formula - and the formula's shortcomings prevented the film from being elevated in the MCU's lineup.
Venom is a strange movie. Sony Pictures spent several years developing a standalone adaptation after first dropping the ball with the villain in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3. And, after finally getting off the ground with Ruben Fleischer directing and Tom Hardy starring as Eddie Brock, Venom finally released this year to overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics. Interestingly, though, audiences were much more pleased with Venom, and that's because Venom isn't meant to be taken seriously. Sure, it has problems - but Venom's reviews misunderstood what the movie was; it's an average film with a lot of entertaining moments sprinkled throughout.
6. Incredibles 2
Perhaps one of the most anticipated movies in animation, Brad Bird's Incredibles 2 brings back the Parr family for another go-around on the big screen, and while it plays its cards to close to the chest, Incredibles 2 scored well with critics because it was everything that it needed to be. Unfortunately, that's all it was. While the long-awaited Incredibles sequel was certainly enjoyable from start to finish, it wasn't the groundbreaking flick that the first installment was. In the end, it was a wonderfully bland movie, something to be enjoyed by all families but not enough to top some of the other superhero movies that also released this year.
Page 2 of 2: The Top 5 Superhero Movies Of 2018
Coming more than a year after Justice League, James Wan's Aquaman is one of the better entries in the DC movie universe. Its first half is tonally... off, but its second half is an action comedy filled to the brim with anime-esque elements - and it's during that half that Aquaman continues to top itself with every scene. Its pulpiness, campiness, and absurdity are all in service of the character and story, which is why it feels unlike anything else DC has put out in recent years.
Make no mistake, Aquaman is fundamentally flawed, but nitpicking at its narrative misfires - judging by the way it was designed to be presented - feels almost pretentious, though it's still valid to do. Years ago, Aquaman was billed as being an adventure on the high seas in the vein of Indiana Jones, and while it doesn't necessarily hit all those beats, it certainly delivers on being an epic ride. It's essentially DC's Odyssey.
4. Deadpool 2
Sure, R-rated superhero movies aren't anything new, but the first Deadpool movie took things to a new level when it released in 2016, and David Leitch's Deadpool 2 continues to deliver on everything Ryan Reynolds' first outing as Wade Wilson brought to the table two years ago. Even though Deadpool 2 is an action-comedy movie that sells itself on the meta-jokes it can make in two hours, there's a surprising amount of heart that makes up the crux of the story. Somehow, Deadpool 2 finds a way to strike a balance between the heart and humor that achieves everything it set out to do. And, if for nothing else, Deadpool 2's post-credits scenes are glorious enough to warrant ranking it as one of the year's best superhero movies.
3. Avengers: Infinity War
Bringing together practically every corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - in a seamless, reactive, and easy to follow narrative while also introducing Thanos, one of the most iconic villains in Marvel's pantheon - is a remarkable feat. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, along with directors Anthony and Joe Russo, have taken what was once considered impossible and made it a reality on the biggest screen possible. Avengers: Infinity War was an event of a lifetime, and it's something that will continue to be remembered for years to come. But even though people are still talking about Thanos' snap, Infinity War just wasn't the best superhero movie of the year (nor the best Marvel movie).
2. Black Panther
It was a long and arduous journey getting Black Panther onto the big screen, but once it happened, it quickly became one of the biggest movies of all time - and for good reason. Seeing Ryan Coogler's film - starring Chadwick Boseman as the eponymous character - hit the ground running was a sight to behold, and the fact that the character, story, and visual effects all worked, ending in a living and breathing Wakanda, was the icing on the cake. It's no wonder Black Panther eventually became the third highest grossing movie ever in the United States (unadjusted for ticket price inflation). Just think about that for a moment: Black Panther made more money domestically than Avengers: Infinity War.
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse takes everything that makes comics special - heart, humor, drama, and wild, explosive action - and splashes all on the silver screen with a unique animation style that will soon become envied by all other animation studios (if it hasn't already). And the crazy thing is, it works... all of it. Into the Spider-Verse returns Sony Pictures' reputation in the superhero genre after more than a decade trending downward, and that's all thanks to the writers, producers, and the trio of directors who've spent several years bringing just this one film, which is the best introduction into Spider-Man's mythos, to audiences.
Thankfully, there are a few Spider-Verse sequels on the way, because the first movie was an ode to comics and a love letter to Stan Lee - and the journey from start to finish was a beautiful one that everyone needs to experience.