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Superman - The Movie
D: Richard Donner (1978) 143m


Christopher Reeve and some stunning special effects make for a convincing íman of steelí combination. The Superman story unfolds from his arrival on Earth as an infant through to his job as Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent. Along the way he reverses time in order to save both Lois Lane and the world from the evil Lex Luthor. The movie that kicked off the 'still going strong' superhero craze.





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X2: X-Men United
D: Bryan Singer (2003) 134m


An assassination attempt on the President's life sees the Mutant Academy cop the blame. With the Academy under attack, the X-Men reunite to track down the real culprit. This movie laid down the template for successful superhero sequels. The first instalment in any superhero series generally busies itself with laying the groundwork, paving the way for a rip-roaring good story in the sequel.





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Spider-Man 2
D: Sam Raimi (2004) 127m


He may be a superhero, but Spider-Man has normal work/life balance problems like anyone else. The strain of balancing his college classes, job as a photographer with the Daily Bugle and relationship issues with his girlfriend is beginning to show. And mad-scientist villain Doctor Octopus - who has morphed himself into a really nasty cyborg - isn't making life any easier.





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Iron Man
D: Jon Favreau (2008) 126m


Robert Downey Jr stars as mega-rich industrialist Tony Stark in this updated version of the Marvel superhero. An encounter with some Middle Eastern terrorists leads stark to invent the titular Iron Man suit. Plenty of action ensues, all spiced nicely with a bit of fun along the way. And, of course, Marvel-ous comic aficionados will lap up the Stan Lee cameo.





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Watchmen
D: Zack Snyder (2009) 161m


Alternate history tale based on the graphic novels by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Set in 1985 at the height of the Cold War, a team of mostly-retired costumed vigilantes spring back into action on a grand scale. The irradiated Doctor Manhattan is the only one with genuine superpowers, thanks to an Intrinsic Field Subtractor accident in 1959. Not your typical superhero movie.





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The Avengers
D: Joss Whedon (2012) 143m


The Marvel Cinematic Universe struck paydirt in a big way with this teaming of a virtual who's who of their superheroes. When Thor's evil brother Loki does a deal with 'The Other' - the leader of the extraterrestrial Chitauri - the superhero agents of SHIELD unite to thwart an invasion of Earth. As well as Thor, we get Captain America, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow.





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Man of Steel
D: Zack Snyder (2013) 143m


In what is one of the most science-fictional takes on the story yet, a young Clark Kent discovers his extra-terrestrial origins and ends up having to take on some Kryptonians who aren't so nice. A legal wrangle over the rights to Superman's origins forced Warner Brothers into a reboot of the franchise, which despite a mild critical reception garnered a more-than-healthy box-office take.





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Captain America: The Winter Soldier
D: Anthony & Joe Russo (2014) 136m


Steve Rogers wakes up after decades in suspended animation and must learn to deal with the complexities of modern times. He is warned that SHIELD (Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate) is facing a threat from within. He teams with the Falcon and the Black Widow to take on the forces of evil and the Winter Soldier. Another winner from the pages of Marvel.


The one that started it all and some 21st Century hits
Superhero Sensations
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