2017 was not "the year of the superhero movie" -- we've been inundated with comic book adaptations for several years now -- but it was still a big year. Just looking at theatrical releases alone, there were plenty of super-powered stories to keep you busy. The options were varied, too. The Lego Batman Movie catered to fans of comedic animation, for example, while Power Rangers played on some specific nostalgia (and a healthy dose of teen angst).
Some of the movies were disappointing (I'm mostly looking at you, Justice League), but all things considered, the superhero film lineup we got this year was impressively strong. While we're definitely at risk of comic book burnout, I would be happy to see the train keep going for a awhile longer if this level of quality keeps up.
But if you don't have time for them all, here were the top five superhero movies of 2017:
Nobody asked for yet another Spider-Man reboot so soon after Andrew Garfield's short-lived run as the webslinger, but Homecoming turned out to be the exactly what the flailing franchise needed. Tom Holland plays both aspects of the hero -- awkward teenager Peter Parker and eager vigilante Spider-Man -- with more balance than his predecessors, but above all, Homecoming shines because it remembers how to have fun and be hopeful.
The third Thor movie struggles to stand on its own, away from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon, but dedicated fans were treated to one of the most colorful, funny and downright entertaining movies Marvel has yet produced.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Thor, Logan is dark, grimy and grim. Its nigh-apocalyptic setting has more in common with The Road than with the X-Men movies that came before it, and Hugh Jackman's swan song as Wolverine shows impressive range for a character that a layperson might write off as "angry man with knives in his hands." Logan is brutal and bloody, but it's also quiet and contemplative.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
It's still amazing that Marvel has attracted such a huge audience with a cast that includes a walking tree and a talking raccoon, but it's more fun to hang out with the Guardians of the Galaxy than it is most big budget ensembles. The humor hits the right notes, the '80s nostalgia tugs at the right strings and the action is satisfyingly explosive, but touching themes about family and fatherhood help this second Guardians movie stand out.
Since the character was one of the saving graces of both Batman v. Superman and Justice League, it's a relief -- but perhaps not a surprise -- that Wonder Woman's first solo outing is one of the better superhero movies in recent history. Gal Gadot's Diana Prince is wonderfully confident and capable while also having just enough naivety to make for a believable (and often funny) origin story. Her inherent morality and faith in humanity shines a beacon of hope that DC's other superhero movies fail to deliver on, and I'll happily welcome more opportunities to watch her on-screen.