With 2023 fast approaching, I thought I'd share my personal top 5 comic book movies of the year with you guys.
Honestly, it wasn't exactly the best year for the genre, which means even a couple of films on this “best of” list left something to be desired. There were some major standouts, of course, but let's just say you probably won't be too surprised by my top two!
Check out the breakdown below, and be sure to share your own favourites with us in the comments section.
Thor: Love and Thunder tends to come in for a lot of ridicule here on CBM, and while Taika Waititi's Ragnarok follow-up is certainly not without its problems, it's still a pretty fun time overall.
Waititi's decision to double down on the comedic elements of his previous MCU adventure proved to be highly divisive, and there's no denying that Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder is depicted as a bit of a goofball – and yet, Natalie Portman's welcome return as Jane Foster, aka the Mighty Thor, packs and emotional wallop, and while he is underutilized, Christian Bale's Gorr the God Butcher makes for a very effective villain.
A mixed bag, for sure, but Love and Thunder just makes this list (hey, it was this or Morbius)!
Another MCU adventure that's proved to be somewhat divisive since its release, Sam Raimi's chaotic, horror-tinged Doctor Strange sequel is still more hit than miss.
Raimi employs his trademark camera angles, crash-zooms and tracking POV shots to terrific effect, and while not every joke lands (there are a few eye-rollers), the humor is about as dark and irreverent as we imagine he was allowed to get away with. At times, it does feel like the filmmaker was working within the confines of a rather pedestrian script, but he goes all-out whenever possible, and keeps a few surprises up his sleeve for the second act.
Maybe not the mind-bending exploration of the Multiverse we'd hoped for, but strong performances, some creative set pieces and the Scarlet Witch's surprisingly brutal dispatching of the Illuminati make this a trip worth taking.
Yes, we're cheating a bit with this one since neither Werewolf by Night nor the GOTG Holiday Special are technically movies, but making both Special Presentations joint-third should count… right? (hey, make your own damn list).
We've heard this time and time again, but Marvel Studios' first Halloween Special really does set out to do something different, and succeeds with a creepy, gruesome, black-and-white throwback to the classic Universal monster movies.
As for James Gunn's Holiday Special, it's a joy to behold. It's difficult to imagine anyone but the most cynical failing to be won over by this heart-warming seasonal tale, which features a cute dog, dancing Groot, and Kevin Bacon belting out a tune. What more could you ask for this Christmas?
The only DC movie to make the cut (there wasn't exactly many to choose from, to be fair), The Batman dials everything back for a stripped-down, standalone take on the iconic Dark Knight.
Though it does contain some outlandish elements, at its core, Matt Reeves' film is a noirish detective story that's primarily interested in getting under our hero's skin in order to discover what drives a man to dress as a creature of the night to strike terror into criminals. It's an intense, moody film, featuring impressive performances across the board and stellar work by composer Michael Giacchino and cinematographer Greig Fraser.
It does run a little long (we could have done with a tighter third act), but Reeves must be commended for crafting a bleak, brutal new vision of Gotham City and its tormented protector, and Robert Pattinson fully commits to a more cerebral incarnation of The Dark Knight who might be just as unhinged as the villains he opposes.
There wasn't much in it, but Black Panther: Wakanda Forever just clinches the top spot.
Ryan Coogler was faced with a very difficult task after the tragic passing of his lead actor in 2020, but managed to pull everything – and everyone – together for a fittingly emotional tribute to Chadwick Boseman and his beloved character.
A couple of minor nitpicks (did we really need that Val/Ross subplot?) aside, Wakanda Forever is the best sequel we could have hoped for without Boseman. Coogler has built a respectful, mature, beautiful monument to his friend and T'Challa, whose legacy is in the safe hands of a worthy successor in Letitia Wright's Shuri.
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