Silver Age of Superhero Movies 2000 - 2007

In the leap from single action hero franchises to the ensemble casts of the X-Men franchise, the Silver Age of Superhero Movies marked a more mature look at the adaption of comic books for the silver screen.

Silver Age of Superhero Movies 2000 - 2007

With Bryan Singer's X-Men and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, two of Marvel's biggest hitters showed just how the modern superhero should be viewed. This prompted a wave of imitators and eventually the end of the classic franchise with X-Men: The Last Stand and Spider-Man 3. Quietly, on the sidelines, Christopher Nolan kicks off a street-level guerrilla war with Batman Begins that will solidify the end of the Silver Age of Superhero Movies from 2000 to 2007.

X-Men

X-Men
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Director:  Bryan Singer

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen 

Released: 14 July, 2000

Description: It's well-formed, sure, and the effects still dazzle, but it's too much of a brochure of what was supposed to follow than an adventure in its own right. 

Rating: 2/5

The Specials

The Specials
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Director: Craig Mazin

Cast:  Rob Lowe, Thomas Haden Church, Paget Brewster

Released: 18 September, 2000

Description: With a script from future Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, this low-budget mockumentary is sweet and satirical in equal measures.

Rating: 3/5

Unbreakable

Unbreakable
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Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright,

Released: 22 November, 2000

Description: A superhero movie by stealth, M. Night Shyamalan not only offers up his best movie since The Sixth Sense, but a clever deconstruction of comic-book lore disguised as a thriller. 

Rating: 5/5

Spider-Man

Spider-Man
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Director: Sam Raimi

Cast: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst 

Released: 3 May, 2002

Description: Warm, big-hearted, and self-aware, Sam Raimi reveals the potential of comic-book movies just as skillfully as he distills the enduring appeal of Spidey into a rooftop—leaping romp with a hapless Tobey Maguire in the lead. 

Rating: 5/5

Blade 2

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman

Released: 22 March, 2002

Description: Del Toro brings plenty of his own baggage, but rather than derailing the franchise, it reinvigorates it as an action/horror hybrid better suited to its comic book origins, setting the stage for Hellboy

Rating: 2/5

Daredevil

Daredevil
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Director:  Mark Steven Johnson

Cast: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell

Released: 14 February, 2003

Description: A nu-metal inflicted Spidey clone to a point, Daredevil fumbles the source, but nails the brooding tone with some rare moments of idiosyncratic brilliance amid the music-video set pieces. 

Rating: 3/5

X2: X-Men United

X2
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Director: Bryan Singer

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry

Released: 2 May, 2004

Description: Though it hoards most of the series' highlights (teleport kung-fu, the attack on the mansion), its good work is nearly ruined by a directionless second half and frustrating character arcs. 

Rating: 2/5

The Hulk

The Hulk
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Director:  Ang Lee

Cast: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott

Released: 20 June, 2003

Description: Ang Lee pours demonstrable passion into Hulk, his visual tics and tank-lobbing set pieces neatly mirroring the comic-book origins. Sadly, the clever direction is vastly more interesting than the plot.

Rating: 3/5

Hellboy

Hellboy
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Director: Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, Selma Blair

Released: 2 April, 2004 

Description: Blending the pulp of The Rocketeer with the block-punk weirdness of del Toro's own devising, Hellboy is a bespoke indie delight amid the free-for-all churn of Marvel's second-tier licenses.  

Rating: 4/5

The Punisher

The Punisher
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Director: Jonathan Hensleigh

Cast:  Thomas Jane, John Travolta, Samantha Mathis

Released: 16 April, 2004 

Description: Garth Ernis's Welcome Back Frank is mined for all of its comic-book goofiness, but with none of the tone, resulting in an over-lit origin story that blends high camp with a body count. 

Rating: 2/5

Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2
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Director:  Sam Raimi

Cast: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina

Released: 30 June, 2004 

Description: Green Goblin might be the classic nemesis, but it's always been Doc Ock who provides the most fun, and Raimi's eight-legged rollercoaster delivers as only he knows how.

Rating: 4/5

Catwoman

Catwoman
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Director: Pitof

Cast: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone

Released: 23 July, 2004

Description: The death rattle of the original Batman film franchise is like no take on the mythology we recognize, and that's probably for the best—this flesh-flashing Razzie-bait is not our Catwoman. 

Rating: 1/5

The Incredibles

Director:  Brad Bird

Cast:  Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson

Released: 8 December, 2004

Description: Pixar's sweet and smart The Incredibles not only steals a few gags from Watchmen, but thumbs its nose at Marvel too by getting an infinitely more enjoyable family of superhero archetypes on screen than Fantastic Four

Rating: 5/5

Blade 3: Trinity

Director: David S. Goyer

Cast: Wesley Snipes, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds

Released: 8 December, 2004

Description: The trend-bucking quasi-superhero action series finally circles the drain with a premise so hokey (and therefore comic-book faithful) that Abbot & Costello would have probably signed up—it's Wesley Snipes versus Dracula. 

Rating: 2/5

Elektra

Elektra
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Director:  Rob Bowman

Cast: Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Will Lee 

Released: 14 January, 2005 

Description: Jennifer Garner's absurd solo outing trowels on mysticism and mythology like clotted cream, before undermining it at every turn with music-video strutting and beat-em up videogame idiocy masquerading as story. 

Rating: 1/5

Batman Begins

Batman Begins
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Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson

Released: 25 June, 2005 

Description: Brilliantly cast and sublimely shot, Batman Begins is an understated turning point for the genre that takes another half decade to really shake the superhero status quo.

Rating: 5/5

Fantastic Four

Director:  Tim Story

Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans

Released: 8 July, 2005 

Description: Ultimately harmless, Fantastic Four is last decade's brand of superhero movie on a farewell tour. Big, bright and basic, it's hard to love but impossible to hate. 

Rating: 2/5

Sky High

Director: Mike Mitchell

Cast: Michael Angarano, Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston

Released: 25 July, 2005

Description: Overlooked due to its family friendly origins, big-hearted Saturday afternoon comedy Sky High blends the warmth of The Incredibles with—of all things—the meta-textual awareness of Watchmen

Rating: 3/5

X-Men: The Last Stand

Director: Brett Ratner

Cast: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry

Released: 26 May, 2006

Description: A chaotic, overblown but wildly spectacular bookend, X-Men: The Last Stand is arguably the most superficially enjoyable of the bunch, but nevertheless hugely underwhelming. 

Rating: 2/5

Superman Returns

Director: Bryan Singer

Cast: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey

Released: 28 June, 2006

Description: Donner-era Superman Returns is strangely cold and sterile, helped no end by a lack of real villains—unless you count the concept of gravity. 

Rating: 3/5

Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider
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Director:  Mark Steven Johnson

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Peter Fonda, Eva Mendes

Released: 16 February, 2007

Description: With a flat romantic subplot and an unintentionally funny script, Ghost Rider is throwaway B-movie trash, lacking the wit, intelligence and sheer excitement if the best comic-book movies.

Rating: 2/5

Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3
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Director: Sam Raimi

Cast: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Topher Grace

Released: 4 May, 2007

Description: For each misjudged moment—the ridiculous swaying of Harry by a speech from his butler is the worst scene in the series—there's a franchise-topping jolt of pure exhilaration, like the vertigo—inducing rescue of Gwen Stacy. 

Rating: 3/5

Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Director: Tim Story

Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans

Released: 15 June, 2007

Description:  This Marvel adaptation heartlessly plods its way through every one of its uninspired scenes, with even the few pleasures of the first film—such as Chris Evans's performance—completely mismanaged. 

Rating: 2/5

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