1. The Dark Knight (2008)
After the neon-drenched, pun-loaded disaster of Batman & Robin, it would have been understandable if Warner Bros had given up on the Caped Crusader for good. But Christopher Nolan’s brilliant 2005 reboot Batman Begins reinvented Gotham as a more realistic, violence-ridden metropolis, paving the way for a superior sequel that’s as much crime epic as superhero flick.
At The Dark Knight’s heart is the three-way tug of war between Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne, Aaron Eckhart’s idealistic DA Harvey Dent, and – in the performance of his career – Heath Ledger as the definitive screen Joker. It’s now the standard by which all future Bat-movies will be judged.
2. Avengers: Infinity War/Avengers: Endgame (2018/2019)
Yes, they’re two movies – and the combined running time is in excess of 340 minutes – but each one is incomplete without the other. When it comes to blockbuster filmmaking, you don’t get better than Infinity War and Endgame, the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ambitious 22-film arc.
Not only do the two films successfully bring together almost every character in the MCU, the action scenes are out of this world and Thanos is the franchise’s first truly iconic villain. As for that pivotal finger snap at the end of Infinity War… it’s arguably the greatest cliffhanger in cinema history. Sorry, Darth Vader!
3. Logan (2017)
As superhero movies evolve as a genre, it’s only right they should start to deal with the ageing process. Logan hooks up with the artist formerly known as Wolverine years after we last saw him – the X-Men are all-but-gone and his adamantium skeleton has started to poison him.
There’s a real Western vibe to Logan, as this lone gunslinger takes on one last job – saving a young girl with familiar powers – and looks for redemption. As much road movie as superhero actioner, Logan also brings an aged, broken Professor Xavier along for the ride in the perfect swansong for the most popular of the X-Men.