5. The Wolverine
Now this is how you do a Wolverine solo film. A loose adaptation of one of the most beloved Wolverine stories this film sees Logan getting caught up in a conspiracy in Japan and also dealing with his near immortality and the fact that everyone he loves will die long before he does and he will have to live with the pain for a long while. While most superhero movies deal with saving the world, this is a much smaller and personal film and it ends up being a nice change of pace from the usual film we get in the superhero genre.
The sequence where Wolverine fights some assassins on a bullet train is jawdropping and one of the best action scenes in the whole series and the character development of Wolverine as he confronts his immortality and his relationships with the other characters grow is the strongest he has had in the series. Unfortunately the third act does fall into some cliché superhero territory and the twist at the end of who is behind everything is weird and raises more questions than answers. Still this is a vast improvement over the first Wolverine film and it makes me excited for the next one.
Deadpool lagged in development hell for years as Fox was uncertain about making the movie in the first place. From the R rating to the irreverent tone it seemed that the movie would never see the light of day as it was seen as too weird and too much of a risk. But luckily thanks to a leak of some test footage the movie did get made and it ended up being as amazing as everyone hoped it would be.
Ryan Reynolds was born to play Deadpool and the movie is genuinely funny with some great action scenes. The supporting cast is also great with Negasonic Teenage Warhead being the standout. The villain of the movie is underdeveloped and it does fall on some of the usual superhero tropes at the end but the film is entertaining and pokes fun at the genre without being overly mean about it. Bring on the sequel with Cable.
3. X-Men: First Class
This prequel/reboot is an outstanding film that not only pays tribute to the silver age of Marvel Comics but to the original Sean Connery James Bond movies. It starts by recreating the opening of the first film with Magneto in the concentration camp and expands on it showing us more of the tragedy of his life and sets up the rest of the film which is not only a film about the formation of the first X-Men team but also the origin of Magneto and how he became the villain we love. The rest of the cast is also terrific with James McAvoy being a perfect young Xavier, Kevin Bacon having a lot of fun and hamming it up in a good way as Sebastian Shaw giving him some of a James Bond villain feel complete with a crazy base, and a pre-Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence showing signs of the star she will become.
The standout though is Michael Fassbender who gives an mesmerizing performance as we see the evolution of Magneto and see what turns him into the man we see in the original film. The 60s aesthetic fits the movie well and creates one of the most beautiful superhero films in terms of the look. If I have any complaints is that like almost every X-Men movie some characters are underdeveloped and it could lose a few characters, but the ensemble is strong and there is enough well-developed characters to make this not just one of the best X-Men movies but one of the best superhero movies period.