Ranking 2017's Superhero Movies From Worst to Best
By John Boone
If 2017 begged the question, Is seven superhero movies in the same year too many superhero movies? then 2018's answers is: Hold my beer. Next year, Marvel Studios will release three more movies (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp) as will Fox (The New Mutants, Deadpool 2 and X-Men: Dark Phoenix); Sony has two Spider-Man universe movies (Venom and the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, separate from their Marvel universe-set Spidey films); Warner Bros. and DC have only one scheduled (Aquaman) and even Disney has The Incredibles 2.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Before we're inundated with another year's worth of Avengers and mutants and superheroes who can talk to fish, let's take a look back at the year that was, ranking each of 2017's superhero offerings from worst to best.
7. Justice League
There wasn't much to love about DC's hesitantly anticipated, not-too-long in the making team-up flick. Sure, Ezra Miller's Flash was fun and Gal Gadot certainly tried her best to rise above the material she was given. But after the summer's revelatory Wonder Woman (more on that in a moment), this felt like a massive step back for the DC Extended Universe (or whatever we're supposed to be calling it). Ultimately, Justice League was a big, loud, ugly, largely nonsensical mess, and where do you build from there?
6. The LEGO Batman Movie
The LEGO Batman Movie was by no means bad. (I want to start there, in case the stink of being so close to the No. 7 slot makes it seem that way.) Really, this spin-off's biggest fault was following The LEGO Movie, which was as inventive as it was touching. LEGO Batman's big finale certainly gets points for spectacle and slick use of corporate synergy, but for me, personally, Will Arnett's loutish take on Bruce Wayne is better in smaller doses.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The burden of expectations is something we're continuously dealing with in this era of sequels, reboots and remakes, yet it always finds a way to sneak up on us. GOTG 2 is a blast in its own right: Chris Pratt is at the top of his game, quippy and buff and oozing charm all over the place. Kurt Russell plays a villainous planet. (Yes, a planet.) There are plenty of dizzyingly good times to be had in the (admittedly overstuffed, perhaps to the point of bloatage) space romp. It just doesn't capture the same magic as the OG Guardians, a top three staple in nearly every fan's ranking.
There is dark and gritty, and then there is Logan, which is heavy, haunting and more staggeringly bleak than any of us probably expected an X-Men movie to be. I'd never been clamoring for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine to go hard-R -- for all the gratuitous nudity, carnage and freewheeling F-words that allows -- but f**k, was it worth it. Jackman delivers perhaps his best turn as the morally conflicted mutant in his 15-plus years of playing him, and Logan proves far more thoughtful and moving than, well, any of us probably expected an X-Men movie to be.
3. Spider-Man: Homecoming
After Captain America: Civil War did the unthinkable -- made us excited for yet another reboot of Spider-Man -- Homecoming followed through with a solo outing that's impossible to not love. Tom Holland, cast as yet another iteration of Peter Parker, brings a joy to playing Spidey that permeates the film, an infusion of plucky, relentlessly upbeat energy into Marvel's ever-expanding cinematic universe. Even more impressive, Marvel managed to craft a Spider-Man story that feels simultaneously familiar yet fresh, offering perhaps their most relatable hero yet and reminding us why we fell in love with this character in the first place.
2. Wonder Woman
There is so much to love about DC's 75-years-in-the-making Wonder Woman movie, the character's first ever solo film. After the ploddingly dismal Batman v Superman -- in which Gadot's Diana Prince/Wonder Woman was the sole bright spot -- Wonder Woman arrives as a breath of fresh air. Gadot is wondrous in the role and director Patty Jenkins' work behind the camera is nothing short of brilliant. (Just re-watch the No Man's Land sequence.) How full-circle it would've been to have a DCEU movie in the first and last slots, alas, as close as Wonder Woman comes, it doesn't stick the landing -- this time.
1. Thor: Ragnarok
Chris Hemsworth's third solo outing as the titular God of Thunder is both the Marvel universe's Most Improved franchise and easily the best superhero movie of 2017. Much credit to Hemsworth himself, who wasn't just game for anything as Thor but actively campaigned to reinvigorate the oft-overlooked Avenger, but this movie could not have happened without director Taika Waititi, who imbues every bit of his idiosyncratic, hilarious self into a big budget superhero movie and makes it something more than that, something epic and odd and -- what we need most from a superhero movie now -- truly unique.