Some Honorable Mentions:
1. Ghost World (2001)- One of the first non-superhero films to hit theaters, it showed that there were other things going on than spandex crime fighters. An indie film, based on an indie comic, with a fairly indie cast (comprised of young up and comers and character actors) it told a somewhat banal story. This was not an outrageous adventure…it was about a somewhat unstable friendship between two young women. It also allowed hipsters to openly admit they liked busty blonds, thanks to Scarlett Johansson-the early 2000’s brainy hot girl.
2. Incredible Hulk (2008): Rebooting the franchise after ONE movie seemed a bit of overkill. But casting Edward Norton seemed brilliant. I did like the original film’s cast…but Roth made a great villain, and Hurt was great as Thunderbolt Ross. The story was more coherent and made total sense. It was a step up from Ang Lee’s first film.
3. Hellboy (2004): This first film isreally all about watching Ron Pearlman steal the show. It’s his performance that sells the film. William Hurt also is very engaging.
4. Batman Begins (2005): Not a perfect film, it is still the second best Batman movie. Stellar cast (overall). A great setup for a rebooted franchise. I wish Superman had done this.
5. Spider-Man (2002): I could have done with a different suit for the Green Goblin… and I could have done without the hokey “New Yorkers Fight Back” sequence. But Peter Parker was the perfect high school loser…Aunt May was love-able and Spider-Man was fun. Spider-Man made great responsibility look like a blast.
6. X-Men (2000): Saddled with the trouble of introducing us to a massive cast, the performances sold this movie. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan were convincing as old friends now travelling down different paths. And some guy who was to tall to play Wolverine served fan boys a serving of “shut the hell up.”
Stardust (2007): I found this a fun and engaging fantasy. It was full of whimsy and joy. Even De Niro’s over the top flamboyant sky pirate. So sue me.