With the release of The Avengers only days away, and summer’s big blockbusters of The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises not too far in the distance, we thought we’d come up with our top 10 superhero movies, strictly based on comic book characters (sorry Meteor Man).  So here we go…

10. Kick-Ass – While not as well-known and mainstream as Marvel’s and DC’s big superheroes, Kick-Ass was the everyday guy trying to make a difference.  Thanks to reconstructive surgery that dulled his pain senses, Kick-Ass could take a licking and keep on ticking.  Plus it’s just a fun movie to watch!

9. BladeThe Tomb of Dracula hero and occasional Spiderman side-kick got his own movie, which was a gamble at the time.  Wesley Snipes turned a character that few people knew about into a cash cow, with two sequels and an awful short-lived TV show.  While not as groundbreaking as the films that came before it, most people will agree that it’s a pretty good flick.

 8. The Watchmen – Before you get all mad about how this movie sucked, we will agree with you right now: it was far from perfect.  Making a single movie from Allen Moore’s best-selling graphic novel might have been a little too ambitious, but if you read the book, you know that they probably did the best that they could.  If you didn’t read the book, you probably felt lost the entire time, and that is very understandable.  For what it was, we think it was pretty good, plus the opening title sequence might be one of film’s best ever.

7. X-Men – The first X-Men movie really paved the way for the modern superhero flick, and wasn’t too bad of a film in itself.  It brought nerd culture front and center; and now it was alright to like comic book related stuff.  It made Hugh Jackman a star and cemented him in the role of Wolverine for a decade and a half.

6. Superman (1978)Richard Donner’s movie pretty much broke the seal for all comic book movies that came later. It showed that a movie based on a comic book could be good, but also profitable.  Christopher Reeves as the Man of Steel, while sort of cheesy today, was a huge success when it came out, spawning three sequels.  And Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor might be one of the best movie villains.

5. X-Men: First Class – This movie revived a franchise that was loosing steam after the not great third movie and an awful Wolverine solo flick. First Class showed us how the whole thing started and we got to see some of our favorite mutants on-screen for the first time.  The standout of this movie has got to be Michael Fasbender as a young Magneto, his performance stands out even among some other really great ones.

4. Spiderman 2 – While the first one is great, it suffers from the typical first superhero movie issue: the lengthy origin story. Spidey 2 gets right into the thick of things as the web head battles Dr. Octopus and reveals his true identity to Mary Jane.  This summer’s reboot looks like it goes in a different direction as Peter Parker has a love interest and abilities more like in the first few years of the comic.

3. Batman – At the time no one thought that Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/ Batman was going to work, as he was mostly a comedic actor, but it was a good fit with director Tim Burton.  The is was totally different Batman than most people were used to, since the general public only had the campy 60’s TV show for reference.  This movie was dark and gritty.  Jack Nicholson’s Joker is still a memorable villain to this day, mixing his performance somewhere between the cheesy Caesar Romero Joker from the show, and the phsyco killer from the comics of the mid 80’s.

2. Iron Man – Robert Downey Jr. makes this movie, plan and simple.  Without him as Tony Stark, this movie is average at best.  Marvel owes any success they have at any of the avengers related movies to him. The success of Thor and Captain America is directly related to how good Iron Man was: getting the general public to see a ‘not as well know superhero’ movie started with this one.

1. The Dark Knight – Was there any doubt that this would be #1?  It was clear within the first 2 minutes that Heath Ledger’s Joker was on screen, that this movie was going to be different; not just different, but great.  It has everything you could want in a movie, and you left the theatre thinking this might be the best movie you’ve ever seen.  Let’s hope The Dark Knight Rises is at least half as good as this one.

What did we miss? Leave us a comment and let us know.