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The Top 20 Must-See Quintessential Superhero Movies

Updated October 2, 2019 61.2k votes 4.9k voters 86.7k views20 items

List RulesVote up the superhero movies that define the genre and should be required viewing for beginners in an Intro to Superhero Films class.

It seems every month, a new superhero movie is being released - and that's a good thing! Thanks to the success of earlier films like Spider-Man and Iron Man, the superhero genre has taken Hollywood by storm. Superhero films define our culture as these characters have been with us for decades. Spider-Man, Captain AmericaSuperman, and others are America's epic heroes. Much like Odysseus and Achilles illustrated Greek values, these figures represent the moral principals that define our nation. Audiences are drawn to these characters again and again because of their multigenerational storylines that continue to have relevance today. These essential superhero films teach us that great power means great responsibility, our differences should be valued, humanity is capable of both great good and great evil, and no hero truly stands alone. Even if you're not an aficionado of action and fantasy, there are some superhero movies everyone should watch. 

Superhero films have proven to be some of the most popular, critically acclaimed movies made in decades, and there appears to be no slowing them down anytime soon. Given the sheer magnitude of superhero films out there, getting into the genre can feel overwhelming. This list contains superhero movies for beginners to ease you into the fictional worlds that have proved resonate with millions. 

If you're new to the genre, you can consider this list an intro to superhero movies, containing the most famous films the genre has to offer. Check out these must-see superhero movies and then give your favorites a thumbs up! 

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    The Avengers

    The Avengers
    Video: YouTube
    Marvel's The Avengers(classified under the name Marvel Avengers Assemble in the United Kingdom and Ireland), or simply The Avengers, is a 2012 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.It is the sixth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was written and directed by Joss Whedon and features an ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, and Samuel L. Jackson. In the film, Nick Fury, director of the peacekeeping... more on Wikipedia
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    • The Dark Knight Trilogy
      Video: YouTube
      The Dark Knight Trilogy is a British-American superhero film trilogy based on the DC Comics character Batman. The trilogy consists of Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), directed by Christopher Nolan.... more on Wikipedia
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      • Iron Man
        Video: YouTube
        Iron Man is a 2008 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures.It is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by Jon Favreau, with a screenplay by Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway. It stars Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub and Gwyneth Paltrow. In Iron Man, Tony Stark, an industrialist and master engineer, builds a powered exoskeleton and becomes the technologically advanced superhero Iron Man.... more on Wikipedia
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        • Deadpool
          Video: YouTube
          Deadpool is a 2016 American superhero film directed by Tim Miller, based on the Marvel Comics character. After being given mutant abilities with a scarred physical appearance, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) goes on a mission for revenge as the antihero Deadpool. ... more on Wikipedia
          • Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano
          • Released: 2016
          • Directed by: Tim MIller
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