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Ranking Animated Superhero Movies of 2018

2018 was a big year for Super Hero movies.

Black Panther came out and did very well domestically and was the first Black Super Hero movie to come to the big screen since Blade and/or Spawn.

The first DC animated featured to hit the big screen (not counting LEGO Batman) since Batman: Mask of the Phantasm,  Teen Titans Go came out. Incredibles 2 finally made its big debut after 14 years from its original release and Spider-verse came out which brings innovation to the world of animation.

Recently the WashingtonPost released an article on the top 8 Super Hero Movies. Only 8? What about all the direct to streaming/Blu ray super hero movies that came out as well? The low budget animated features?

With that in mind, I've compiled a list of 11 animated super hero films that I feel were some of the best of 2018. I have ranked them accordingly based on story, characters, plot and generally how much fun I had with each movie.

Going from worst to best; as these things are typically done.

I have divided my picks into four categories:
  1. Less then or equal to 2 stars
  2. 3 stars
  3. 4 stars
  4. 5 stars
You might argue that a particular movie should be an 8 or 9 and I'll admit the numbers are somewhat arbitrary. These are my opinions based on how much I enjoyed each respective film, and do not reflect the official AFA ratings. If you have a different opinion, great! 

So let's start with what I thought was 2 star movie

0 to 2 stars -- Not Recommended


Yeah, sorry Edna and it pains me to put your film so low on the list. When I first went out to see Brad Bird's Incredibles 2, I loved it! But when I really started to think about the movie, more and more I began to notice more problems with the story. The art and the animation are still top notch. Even better than the original. But I do not have the same fondness for the storytelling as I did on my first watch.

By now, I suspect a vast majority of you reading this would disagree with this choice. But there are other movies that came out in 2018 that I feel were way better. Again, probably not on level of art and animation that Pixar produces but just because a film has a smaller budget doesn't make it less worth seeing. That and the fact that it took 14 years for Incredibles 2 to release even with such big story problems that sours my opinion on the film even further.

I've already given my thoughts about Incredibles 2 and as more time passes my opinions about the movie only harden but, I will be there for Incredibles 3 even if it takes Pixar another 14 years to make.

Next up

10) Batman Ninja:

So let me start this off by saying, "Don't watch this sober!"

This movie is just horrendous. It makes no sense and is way too goofy. I like a bit of camp in my super hero stories. But this! This was too much. Moreover, it completely botches the characterization of Damien Wayne.

However with that said, I did actually like this movie. I view it like one would view the Room or the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I mean take a look at this...

 That is a Joker Mecha firing a Joker missile at an army of Monkeys' in the form of a giant robot.

I want to recommend staying far away from this one but at the same time it's just so goofy. If you are in the mood for a so bad it's good animated super hero film, this Batman Ninja has got you covered. Otherwise, out of all the movies listed this is the one you should run from.

10) Death of Superman:

I wrote a review of this sometime back. Not really bad, but not really memorable either.

Death of Superman sets up for the much more interesting story "Reign of Superman" really well. In fact I would still urge you to look into the comic if you are at all invested in learning more about this Superman story.

One criticism I have with Death of Superman was that it chose to include the "will they, won't they?" subplot with Lois not knowing Superman's true identity. In my opinion, she has to know who he is for Reign to work, so why not just start us off with that in the first place.

In fact, I believe a better version of this story exists as a Super Friends episode titled Death of Superman.

DC people are really creative.

The episode came out in '85 and the infamous comic came out in '92. The Death of Superman is the death of hope in the DC Universe and Super Friends actually explores that really well. It's not the death that's important but what the death means and how Superman's absence effects the heroes and the world around him.

Alright, now that the worst has been cleared out of the way let's get to what I think was pretty decent in 2018

3 star movies of 2018 -- Basically recommended
8) The Ray:

So the movie actually came out as streaming episodes in 2017 on the CW site. But and if I'm not mistaken wasn't completed until 2018 and made into a movie in that same year. SOOO … I'm going to count it.

This movie stars a homosexual male super hero character. Now as a straight male, I really liked it. The movie doesn't make a big deal out of him being gay. He wants a relationship, but at the same time still hasn't come out to his family about it.

Too often, I think adding diversity means adding a "token" black character or if we're going for a gay character they are made into a lesbian. (or maybe that's just what I've noticed)

However, besides that, this movie is full of some heartfelt moments and plenty of action with a great sci-fi adventure concept of interdimensional travel to a world where Hitler won War World 2.

7) Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay:

From left to Right: Bronze Tiger, Copper Head, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang and Killer Frost

This is what the live-action Suicide Squad should have been.

The Suicide Squad was never a team designed to get rid-of Superman. They are a super secret off the books team that can and will go in to disrupt a foreign nation, leaving the US and Amanda Waller completely blameless. Or if she needs them to go up against other super villains without calling Batman and/or Justice League.

In the case of this film, Amanda Waller tasks the Squad to track down a mysterious card that supposedly could extend her life.

The team goes against Dr. Fate (DC version of Dr. Strange), Vandal Savage, Reverse Flash and there own destructive vices to find this card for Waller.

The plot is pretty straight forward but these are some really interesting characters and more importantly it's fun.

6) Batman: Gotham by Gaslight:

What if Batman lived in the 1800s and he was after Jack the Ripper. An interesting premise to be sure.
This film is a good to watch and if you want your Batman fix. I highly recommend this one over Ninja. Oddly enough though, they play this movie too straight, I think.

Part of the fun of a super hero movie is fast-paced wacky animation and crazy use of powers. There's a fine line between going way over-board like Batman Ninja and playing it too straight like Gotham by Gaslight.

With that said, this could have easily gone into next category and I imagine for many people it's probably worth 4 stars since it has due to it's great tone and creative premise. However, it only barely missed the mark since I'm keeping this to three films per category.

So which 3 has 4 stars?
4 stars -- You should really see these animated super hero movies

5) Constantine: City of Demons

Super Heros and Horror Elements, welcome to the world of  Anti-hero John Constantine.

He's the guy you call in the DC universe when you need someone to deal with ghosts, goblins and things that generally go bump in the night. Magic has a price to it which the unwise and pig-headed won't be happy with the cost, as John learned long ago.

He isn't out to save everyone. His persona is designed to push people away because he realizes that he'll only hurt the people he loves the most. Hence he pushes them away before that happens.

Not only is the story great but the beginning and ending is incredibly strong.

Check out the trailer and tell me this movie shouldn't be on your must watch list.

4) Teen Titans Go! To the Movies:

 Yes, when I originally reviewed this film I only gave it three stars but after thinking about it, I want to up it to four stars.

Nicholas Cage as Superman is divine. Full stop.

Just how much this film embraces its self aware humor through not just the story but through it's casting is incredible.

The advertisement for this movie was "If Aquaman can get a movie, anyone can".

This review will be "If Aquaman can be declared the best DC super hero movie then Teen Titans Go should say, hold my beer er waffle" because they're teens and they like waffles.

Life is funny isn't it?

If you had told someone that Aquaman and Teen Titans Go would be the best DC movies of 2018 when the news first broke that they were getting a movie you would have been severely laughed at
but here we are.

TTG at the movies made about 51 million (about five times it's budget) and Aquaman has surpassed a billion dollars. Moreover TTG has the added benefit of a Stan Lee Cameo giving the much needed Stan Lee boost to the movie.

Stan Lee being told by one of the writers that this is a DC movie and not a Marvel Movie

3) My Hero Academia Two Heroes:

Like Incredibles 2, I'm betting you've already saw this. If you haven't, you should.

What makes this a strong super hero film and not just a anime tie in is how well it explores the importance of super heroes in this super powered society. Specifically how the presence of All Might, the world's greatest super hero, affects the world outside of Japan. We get to learn where All-Might's costume and equipment came from. We learn the back story of how he named his moves and why he's considered the greatest super hero in the world.

To be honest, I feel this is what the Incredibles 2 should have been. The movie explains how All-Might's presence maintains a low-crime rate in Japan. The Super Heroes in general help maintain a low crime rate but Japan has the lowest in the world thanks to All-Might.

Incredibles 2 should have mentioned that since Super Heroes have been outlawed crime rates doubled or even tripled. Moreover, the premise of the movie is that we can't hang onto the past that we have to trust and guide the youth to their full-potential, so one day they can be ready to take our place in the world.

Incredibles 2 kind of does that by introducing the other supers but My Hero Academia: Two Heroes does it better.

Moreover, this movie says you don't need powers to make the world a better place. You can use your mind and even if you don't have powers you're still special that only you can provide to the world.

5 stars -- Run, do not walk, to your nearest streaming/video service place and OWN IT!

2) MFKZ:

Based on a French comic book, the half human half alien protagonist Angelino lives in a fantastical world of men in black, super scientist, sentient roaches, and crime-fighting Luchadores.

I already wrote a review talking about my thoughts on this, but I'll reiterate what I said here. I love this movie for the action, the grittiness, and how fleshed out the world is. The crazy elements really mesh well for me and I really hope to see more of these characters one day.

The movie is based on the first four graphic novels and there's now a second set. Hopefully, one day it will be translated to English.


1) Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse:

Swinging into first place

Yes, this is the number one animated super hero movie of 2018.

It's got tons of good reviews and won the golden globe for animation.
There's nothing new I can say about it that hasn't already been said.

The hype is real and it is that good. But then again, Spider-man is my favorite super hero after all so I could be bias.

So that's my list. I hope I brought some good gems to your attention.