Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second round of the Unwinnable Superhero Movie Smack Down. As you may remember from our first installment, Team Unwinnable has gathered together to stand in haughty judgment on the superhero genre, arguing that our favorites are the best and everyone else’s opinion is stupid. You, Dear Reader, vote on the results.
Without further delay, let’s get it on!
Michael Edwards – Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man is us. That is the one of the main points driven home by this 2004 masterpiece (also, something about great power). When he’s carried by a crowd of New Yorkers after an epic battle with Dr. Octopus, we realize it doesn’t matter that his mask has been torn off, because to them he could be anybody. We care greatly because we care about the life of Peter Parker as much as the often-intertwined life of supervillain-fighting Spider-Man. That’s more than can be said for Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent!
Spider-Man 2 succeeds more than any other superhero movie because it drops us right into the beautifully-staged action while propelling us through Peter Parker’s rollercoaster life. We relate to him because of his doubts and fears about himself and his power, and his personal struggles that occasionally take a backseat to fighting an octopus man who used to be his friend.
Spider-Man edges out the other top heroes because we care about the man and the mask. Combine that with director Sam Raimi firing off on all cylinders, as well as wonderful work from the cast and special effects team, and you have the greatest, most relatable superhero movie about the most heroic one of them all.
Olivia Davis – The Fifth Element
With Luc Besson at the director’s helm, you know The Fifth Element (1997) is likely to contain plenty of things that pull an audience in – flying cars, gun fights and a hot alien babe with orange hair. It worked on me!
Leeloo, played by Milla Jovovich, is the reason I believe this should be considered a superhero movie. She has superhuman (or alien) strength, she has a mission to stop the “Great Evil” and she even has a costume of sorts that has become so iconic it is cosplayed at conventions and worn to many a Halloween party. Leeloo is a strong heroine that is also incredibly likeable. That said, she’s not the only hero of the film.
We also have Bruce Willis playing Korben Dallas. Ex-military turned cabbie, Korben is a reluctant hero in the movie. He mostly wants to bed Leeloo but comes around to the cause and fights alongside her against the evils portrayed throughout the film.
For any of you Unwinnable readers who haven’t seen this great movie, I implore you to do so. Look at it for what it is: an unconventional superhero film that doesn’t need to be taken too seriously.