100 Greatest Superhero Films

(UPDATED: July 2019) Superhero films are a relative newcomer to the entertainment world. 80% of the films on this list were released in the 21st Century -- by far the most recent-heavy list on the site. But the genre has already created some of Hollywood's most indelible classics. I anticipate this list changing a lot as I update it every year.  You can see a list of sources used to compile the list here.

This list was updated in July 2019. Several films were added and removed, and many rose or dropped in the rankings. You can see the 2018 version of the list here.

 
 
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#1) The Dark Knight

(2008 - dir. Christopher Nolan)

The Dark Knight changed the expectations for comic book films forever. Few movie villains have ever become instant icons to the extent that Heath Ledger's Joker did, before the film was even released. The Dark Knight's sinister tone is emulated by nearly every superhero blockbuster and blockbuster-wannabe. Its failure to be nominated for Best Picture prompted the Oscars to change the way nominations are conducted.
READ: How Heath Ledger Took “The Joker” From Clown Prince to Psychopath at highsnobiety.com

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#2) The Avengers

(2012 - dir. Joss Whedon)

Now we take the Marvel Cinematic Universe for granted, but just six years ago it was still an untested concept. The Avengers was cinema's most ambitious attempt at serialization and world-building, and it paid off handsomley.
READ: Joss Whedon On Why ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ Made ‘The Avengers’ A Better Movie at The Huffington Post

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#3) Spider-Man 2
(+3)

(2004 - dir. Sam Raimi)

Spider-Man 2 has a tight, personal story that stands alone - a rarity among superhero films right now. The action is tremendous, Peter's relationships with his girlfriend, his best friend, and the villain hits at what people have always loved most about this character.
READ: 15 Reasons Why Spider-Man 2 Is Still The Best Spider-Man Movie by Spencer Coriaty at Screen Rant

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#4) Logan

(2017 - dir. James Mangold)

Released just a little more than a year ago, Logan was instantly acclaimed as a landmark in the superhero genre. Critics hope it will help usher in a new, mature stage of the genre's lifestyle. No longer a kiddie action flick, the R-rated X-Men spinoff emulates two other genres that vacillate between pop fluff and very adult themes- Westerns and noirs. It's wonderful to see Wolverine become one of the first on-screen superheros to truly wrestle with what he is.
READ: Logan review: not just the bloodiest X-Men movie, but also the saddest by Tasha Robinson at The Verge

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#5) Iron Man
(+3)

(2008 - dir. Jon Favreau)

This is the one that started it all. Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark was a new type of superhero, proudly declaring his identity and taking joy in who he was. Iron Man's legacy is so secure in cinematic history is feels difficult to remember a world in which it, and the Marvel Cinematic History that followed, did not exist.
READ: Iron Man review from 2008 by Roger Ebert

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#6) Wonder Woman
(+3)

(2017 - dir. Patty Jenkins)

Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman. She and Jenkins create a new take character from a source that was already beloved - not an easy task, as we've learned from the numerous tries as Superman. The World War I setting is unique and well-crafted.
READ: Why Wonder Woman is a masterpiece of subversive feminism, by Zoe Williams at The Guardian

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#7) The Incredibles
(-2)

(2004 - dir. Brad Bird)

The Pixar classic came just as the century's superhero boom was beginning. The studio's masterful storytelling created a powerful family film and superhero landmark.
READ: The slippery politics of The Incredibles and other superheroes by Charles Bramesco at The Dissolve

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#8) Spider-Man: Homecoming
(+8)

(2017 - dir. Jon Watts)

Tom Holland was the third Spider-Man to don the mask in just 15 years — but the movie’s unique teenage tone made the character feel fresh again.
READ: Spider-Man: Homecoming Is One of the Best Superhero Movies in Years by Christopher Orr at The Atlantic

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#9) Thor: Ragnarok
(-2)

(2017 - dir. Taika Waititi)

Chris Hemsworth is the most charismatic of the actors in the Avengers, and he's put on full display in Ragnarok. Cate Blanchett likewise makes perhaps Marvel's most compelling supervillain in the series yet.
READ: Ragnarok gives Thor the multiple buddy comedies he's always deserved by A.A. Dowd at The AV Club

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#10) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
(+1)

(2014 - dir. Joe & Anthony Russo)

The conspiracy thriller proved that original movies could still exist within the Marvel Cinematic Universe brand.
READ: Edelstein on Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Beneath the CGI, an Old-School Conspiracy Thriller by David Edelstein at Vulture

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#11) Spider-Man
(+1)

(2002 - dir. Sam Raimi)

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#12) Captain America: Civil War
(+3)

(2016 - dir. Joe & Anthony Russo)

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#13) Guardians of the Galaxy
(-10)

(2014 - dir. James Gunn)

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#14) Black Panther
(+23)

(2018 - dir. Ryan Coogler)

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#15) Superman
(-1)

(1978 - dir. Richard Donner)

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#16) Batman Begins
(-6)

(2005 - dir. Christopher Nolan)

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#17) Captain America: The First Avenger
(+13)

(2011 - dir. Joe Johnston)

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#18) X2: X-Men United

(2003 - dir. Bryan Singer)

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#19) Hellboy II: The Golden Army
(+10)

(2008 - dir. Guillermo del Toro)

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#20) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
(NEW)

(2018 - dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman)

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#21) Iron Man 3
(+6)

(2013 - dir. Shane Black)

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#22) X-Men
(+6)

(2000 - dir. Bryan Singer)

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#23) Hellboy
(+3)

(2004 - dir. Guillermo del Toro)

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#24) Deadpool
(-11)

(2016 - dir. Tim Miller)

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#25) X-Men: Days of Future Past
(-3)

(2014 - dir. Bryan Singer)

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#26) The Lego Batman Movie
(+7)

(2017 - dir. Chris McKay)

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#27) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
(-8)

(2017 - dir. James Gunn)

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#28) Big Hero 6
(-8)

(2014 - dir. Chris Williams & Don Hall)

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#29) Unbreakable
(+10)

(2000 - dir. M. Night Shyamalan)

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#30) The Dark Knight Rises
(-13)

(2012 - dir. Christopher Nolan)

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#31) Batman
(-10)

(1989 - dir. Tim Burton)

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#32) Doctor Strange
(-8)

(2016 - dir. Scott Derrickson)

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#33) Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
(-1)

(1993 - dir. Bruce Timm)

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#34) Superman II
(-11)

(1980 - dir. Richard Lester, Richard Donner)

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#35) Batman Returns
(-10)

(1992 - dir. Tim Burton)

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#36) Avengers: Endgame
(NEW)

(2019 - dir. Jor & Anthony Russo)

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#37) Ant-Man
(-6)

(2015 - dir. Joe Johnston)

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#38) Darkman
(-3)

(1990 - dir. Sam Raimi)

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#39) X-Men: First Class
(-5)

(2011 - dir. Matthew Vaughn)

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#40) The Crow
(-4)

(1994 - dir. Alex Proyas)

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#41) Superman Returns
(+1)

(2006 - dir. Bryan Singer)

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#42) The Avengers: Infinity War
(+3)

(2018 - dir. Joe & Anthony Russo)

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#43) Avengers: Age of Ultron
(-5)

(2015 - dir. Joss Whedon)

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#44) Blade II
(-1)

(2002 - dir. Guillermo del Toro)

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#45) The Rocketeer
(+4)

(1991 - dir. Joe Johnston)

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#46) Thor
(-2)

(2011 - dir. Kenneth Branagh)

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#47) Watchmen
(-6)

(2009 - dir. Zack Snyder)

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#48) Shazam!
(NEW)

(2019 - dir. David S. Sandberg)

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#49) Incredibles 2
(NEW)

(2018 - dir. Brad Bird)

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#50) Ant-Man and the Wasp
(NEW)

(2018 - dir. Peyton Reed)

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#51) Deadpool 2
(+4)

(2018 - dir. David Leitch)

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#52) The Amazing Spider-Man
(-2)

(2012 - dir. Marc Webb)

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#53) Sky High
(+17)

(2005 - dir. Mike Mitchell)

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#54) Chronicle
(+4)

(2012 - dir. Josh Trank)

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#55) Captain Marvel
(NEW)

(2019 - dir. Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck)

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#56) The Incredible Hulk

(2008 - dir. Louis Leterrier)

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#57) Dredd
(-6)

(2012 - dir. Pete Travis)

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#58) Iron Man 2
(-11)

(2010 - dir. Jon Favreau)

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#59) Batman: The Movie
(-19)

(1966 - dir. Leslie H. Martinson)

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#60) Mystery Men
(+1)

(1999 - dir. Kinka Usher)

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#61) Batman Forever
(-4)

(1995 - dir. Joel Schumacher)

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#62) Man of Steel
(-2)

(2013 - dir. Zack Snyder)

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#63) Blade
(-1)

(1998 - dir. Stephen Norrington)

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#64) Thor: The Dark World
(+2)

(2013 - dir. Alan Taylor)

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#65) The Wolverine
(-19)

(2013 - dir. James Mangold)

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#66) Teen Titans Go! to the Movies
(NEW)

(2018 - dir. Aaron Horvath, Peter Rida Michail)

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#67) Justice League
(-8)

(2017 - dir. Zack Snyder)

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#68) Constantine
(-8)

(2005 - dir. Francis Lawrence)

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#69) Batman: Under the Red Hood
(-2)

(2010 - dir. Brandon Vietti)

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#70) Super
(-2)

(2010 - dir. James Gunn)

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#71) The Punisher
(-8)

(2004 - dir. Jonathan Hensleigh)

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#72) Spider-Man 3
(-3)

(2007 - dir. Sam Raimi)

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#73) The Lego Movie
(-8)

(2014 - dir. Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)

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#74) The Mask
(-26)

(1994 - dir. Chuck Russell)

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#75) Punisher: War Zone
(NEW)

(2008 - dir. Lexi Alexander)

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#76) Kick-Ass
(-23)

(2010 - dir. Matthew Vaughn)

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#77) Captain Underpants
(-25)

(2017 - dir. David Soren)

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#78) X-Men: The Last Stand
(+3)

(2006 - dir. Brett Ratner)

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#79) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
(+6)

(1990 - dir. Steve Barron)

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#80) Flash Gordon
(+20)

(1980 - dir. Mike Hodges)

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#81) X-Men: Apocalypse
(-10)

(2016 - dir. Bryan Singer)

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#82) Justice League Dark
(-9)

(2017 - dir. Jay Olivia)

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#83) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
(-11)

(2013 - dir. Neveldine/Taylor)

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#84) Aquaman
(NEW)

(2018 - dir. James Wan)

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#85) Megamind
(+5)

(2010 - dir. Tom McGrath)

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#86) Orgazmo
(+2)

(1997 - dir. Trey Parker)

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#87) The Phantom
(-10)

(1996 - dir. Simon Wincer)

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#88) The Powerpuff Girls Movie
(-5)

(2002 - dir. Craig McCracken)

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#89) Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
(-15)

(2016 - dir. Zack Snyder)

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#90) Hancock
(-8)

(2008 - dir. Peter Berg)

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#91) Power Rangers
(-15)

(2017 - dir. Dean Israelite)

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#92) The Amazing Spider-Man 2
(-17)

(2014 - dir. Marc Webb)

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#93) Spawn
(-13)

(1997 - dir. Mark A.Z. Dippé)

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#94) Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
(NEW)

(2008 - dir. Joss Whedon)

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#95) Wanted
(-8)

(2008 - dir. Timur Bekmambetov)

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#96) Suicide Squad
(-18)

(2016 - dir. David Ayer)

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#97) Daredevil
(-18)

(2003 - dir. Mark Steven Johnson)

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#98) RoboCop
(-9)

(1987 - dir. Paul Verhoeven

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#99) Swamp Thing
(-1)

(1982 - dir. Wes Craven)

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#100) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
(-7)

(2014 - dir. Jonathan Liebesman)

View this list on IMDb
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LIST NOTES:

FILMS ADDED
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (#20)
Avengers: Endgame (#36)
Shazam! (#48)
Incredibles 2 (#49)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (#50)
Captain Marvel (#55)
Teen Titans GO! to the Movies (#66)
Punisher: War Zone (#75)
Aquaman (#84)
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (#94)

FILMS REMOVED
V for Vendetta (was #54)
Hulk (was #84)
Fantastic Four (was #86)
Green Lantern (was #91)
Blade: Trinity (was #92)
The Green Hornet (was #94)
The Shadow (was #95)
Ghost Rider (was #96)
TMNT (was #97)
Judge Dredd (was #99)

HIGHEST RISERS
+23 Black Panther (#37 -> #14)
+20 Flash Gordon (#100 -> #80)
+17 Sky High (#70 -> #53)
+13 Captain America: The First Avenger (#30 -> #17)
+10 Hellboy II: The Golden Army (#29 -> #19)
+10 Unbreakable (#39 -> #29)

FURTHER FALLERS
-26 The Mask (#48 -> #74)
-25 Captain Underpants (#52 - #77)
-23 Kick-Ass (#53 -> #76)
-20 X-Men Apocalypse (#71 -> #81)
-19 Batman: The Movie (#40 -> #59)
-19 The Wolverine (#46 -> #65)
-18 Suicide Squad (#78 -> #96)
-18 Daredevil (#79 -> #97)
-17 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (#75 -#92)
-15 Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (#74 -> #89)
-15 Power Rangers (#76 -> #91)
-13 The Dark Knight Rises (#17 -> #30)
-13 Spawn (#80 -> #93)
-11 Deadpool (#13 -> #24)
-11 Superman II (#23 -> #34)
-11 Iron Man 2 (#47 -> #58)
-11 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (#72 -> #83)
-10 Guardians of the Galaxy (#3 -> #13)
-10 Batman (#21 -> #31)
-10 Batman Returns (#25 -> #35)
-10 The Phantom (#77 -> #87)

TITLE CHARACTERS WITH THE MOST MOVIES
11, Batman
6, Spider-Man (+1)
5, Superman
3, Captain America
3, Iron Man
3, Thor
2, Ant-Man (+1)
2, Blade (-1)
2, Deadpool
2, Hellboy
2, The Punisher (+1)
2, Wolverine

TEAMS WITH THE MOST MOVIES (includes team movies and individual hero movies)
22, The Avengers (including Guardians & the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies) (+2)
21, Justice League
10, X-Men (including Deadpool)
2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (-1)
2, Guardians of the Galaxy
2, The Incredibles (+1)

Films from Each Decade:
1960s - 1
1970s - 1
1980s - 5
1990s - 13 (-2)
2000s - 26 (-4)
2010s - 54 (+6)

Oldest Film: 1966, Batman: The Movie
Newest Film: 2019, Avengers: Endgame

Year with the most represented films:
2017 with 10 (Logan, Thor: Ragnarok, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Lego Batman Movie, Captain Underpants, Justice League, Justice League Dark, Power Rangers)

Directors with Multiple Films Listed:
5, Bryan Singer (X2: X-Men United, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men, Superman Returns, X-Men: Apocalypse)
4, Sam Raimi (Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man, Darkman, Spider-Man 3)
4, Joe & Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, The Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame)
4, Zack Snyder (Watchmen, Justice League, Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice)
3, Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, Blade II)
3, James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Super)
3, Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises)
3, Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog)
2, Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Incredibles 2)
2, Tim Burton (Batman, Batman Returns)
2, Richard Donner (Spiderman, Spiderman II)
2, Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Iron Man 2)
2, Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Rocketeer)
2, James Mangold (Logan, The Wolverine)
2, Peyton Reed (Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp)
2, Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass)
2, Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2)