This year has been a huge one for superhero media. The Marvel Cinematic Universe turned 10, marked by the studio releasing the “most ambitious crossover event” ever — a phrase that ended up being meme-d the heck out of online. After getting off to an underwhelming start, DC is also set to relaunch its own cinematic Universe with upcoming films, Aquaman and Shazam! creating a much-needed positive buzz. As for Fox, Deadpool used his second film outing to set some superhero movie wrongs to right. On the small screen, capes and masks continue to invade networks and streaming services. The CW’s Arrowverse is still going strong at the six-year mark, with new hero on the block, Black Lightning joining the ranks and Ruby Rose’s Batwoman set to follow him.
Meanwhile, Marvel’s TV slate grew with the arrival of Cloak and Dagger and new seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and The Runaways, as Gotham‘s fourth season reaffirmed that the Batman prequel series is still as insane as Arkham’s inmates. As for the source material, the engagement of one of comics’ longest “will they, won’t they” couples dominated discussion while the Super Sons showed the older generation how it was done; the worlds of DC and Young Animal clashed in Milk Wars, Rise of the Black Panther capitalized well on the success of T’Challa’s cinematic debut earlier in the year, and the X-Men were painted Red, Blue and Gold. Finally, let’s not forget about animation. Batman not only travelled back to the Victorian times in the Gotham by Gaslight adaptation, he also journeyed to feudal Japan in Batman Ninja. As for the Teen Titans? They just went to the movies.
15. HIT: AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
After one decade, four phases and 18 movies of build-up, it all came down to Avengers: Infinity War to deliver the pay-off MCU fans had been patiently waiting for. Despite a few complaints about the legitimacy of what we saw during the film’s downer of an ending, the movie was largely received positively and made all of the money ever.
The biggest surprise was that Josh Brolin’s Thanos — who was loftily promised to be “this generation’s Darth Vader” — put in a convincingly nuanced performance as the philosophical Titan, making up somewhat for years of villainous CGI duds in other superhero movie fare. Despite the obvious impermanence of some character’s fates, it was still refreshing to see the bad guy win for once.