JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Batman & Friends

According to my pal Jemele Hill, The Dark Knight is going to knock me off my feet (I’m seeing it tomorrow). I hope so, and I’ll certainly offer my take here. But while we wait for that inevitably exciting post, here’s my Top 5 All-Time Superhero Flicks: (I’d love to hear your take, dear readers …)

1. Superman: The Movie—Critics tend to say Superman II was better—and they’re on crack. Superman is the perfect superhero flick; engaging from beginning to end. This is my favorite scene, but there are a million of ’em. Chris Reeve (I call him Chris, not Christopher, because doing so makes me sound in the know) was the perfect man for the role, and Gene Hackman is Lex Luthor.

2. Batman Begins—Very, very dark, as a Batman movie should be. I don’t love Christian Bale as Batman, because I think he’s soooo dark the character lacks charisma (any charisma). But, as with Superman, the dedication to the true essence of the title character is wonderful.

3. Batman—I remember when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman, and everyone sort of shrugged. Well, I still consider him the perfect actor for the part. Much was made of Jack Nicholson’s Joker portrayal, which was certainly good. But Keaton proved perfect.

“Who are you!?”

“I’m Batman.”

4. Spider-Man: Another one where everyone praised the sequel—and everyone was wrong. I’d say the best single scene from a superhero movie is Peter Parker (Toby Maguire) trying to figure out how to shoot his web. Brilliant—and the wrestling scene is a close second.

5. Superman II: Not as good as the first, but still high quality. “Kneel before Zod!” has a place in my heart. Sadly, Superman III sucked, and Superman IV, well, sucked sucked.