There can be no doubt that the summer of 2008 stands as a high-water mark for superheroes. But in the wake of a superhero renaissance and the growing cultural legitimacy of the genre, the question must be posed: Has the superhero genre evolved beyond the comics medium?
Unlike previous years, where classics came crawling out of the celluloid woodwork with regular reckless abandon, 2008 was more calm… and considered. That's not to say that choosing 30 top titles was hard. The difficulty in placing them in some manner of rank order suggests the actual depth of quality involved.
Like the gladiators of old, 2008 resembles a battle of formidable acting gods, especially when looking over the 20 choices presented below. Indeed, if anything, choosing a winner requires more of a leap of faith than any amount of critical skill - they all were that good.
Oddly enough, while the major studios continue scratching their heads over how to sell yet another new format (Blu-ray) to disinterested consumers, several outside distributors made sure that this would be a digital year to remember.
In the first act of this four-part production, Tinsel Town decides to do some unbelievable front loading. Will there be room for independent offerings, or former HBO carnal comedy divas? Who knows? Without a doubt, it's an interesting way to start the season.
That noise you heard near the start of the new millennium was the creative din of a brash new breed of filmmakers tearing down the traditions of mainstream moviemaking. Their motion picture mission statements -- including the ones featured on this list -- remain the rulebook for new generations of anxious film artists.
Apparently, as the sun's strongest rays finally settle over the movie going public, sequels are the remedy to cool down an overheated demographic. This month alone holds five examples of such redux refreshment. The rest of the choices are a variety pack of genres, ideas and possibilities.