I always find these lists frustrating because they never define "best". What does that mean? The most socially relevant? The most entertaining? The most successful?
No. It often comes down to "the ones I enjoyed the most". And what irks me is if it was a list called that, it would be written as such, and thus be more interesting.
The idea that these articles have people actually capable of defining the 'best' film in terms of the craft of moviemaking is preposterous as I sincerely doubt they know enough about the craft of writing, acting, directing, editing, and composing to be able to accurately gauge the 'best'. And I say this as someone who does know what he's talking about and still would be hesitant to make the claim 'it's the best'.
I mean... okay, firstly, I would focus probably just on Action movies and not include movies based on comics not in that genre because it is a rather pretentious thing to do. Sticking ROAD TO PERDITION and A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and AMERICAN SPLENDOUR into that list is supposed to show pedigree in terms of research, but there are probably countless movies based on Japanese comics that the author has not heard of, let alone seen. I mean, where was OLDBOY? What about AKIRA, GHOST IN THE SHELL, or FIST OF THE NORTH STAR? Maybe they weren't high enough to get on the list, but I sincerely doubt AKIRA would not make that list purely based on the strength of its animation. And OLDBOY is hauntingly powerful and moving. It has a power that PERDITION wishes it had.
So let's just say "Action movies based on western comic books", fine. I would have real trouble saying which is better: IRON MAN, THOR, or CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. Actually, that's a lie, that is the order in which I would rank them.
But only because I don't care for World War II. Doesn't interest me. So I found CAP to be far less interesting than the He-Man epic of THOR or the crazy Transformers fun of IRON MAN. Yet, I seriously don't see how the storytelling, writing, or acting is better or worse between the three.
As for SPIDER-MAN (1 and 2), and X2, I can't stand them. I find them dull, plodding, nonsensical stories with set ups that never pay off. But that might be because I have (and I don't know why this is) no empathy for any of the characters. FIRST CLASS is well-designed but also has a bigger empathy problem, so I really enjoyed it on a critical level as opposed to the fun I had with IRON MAN or the sheer love for THE DARK KNIGHT.
And on and on it goes.
So for me, these lists I find to be remarkably pedantic and it doesn't surprise me when I look at them and am unimpressed.
You might be wondering why I read the list at all, and your reactions: research. Everyone loves SPIDER-MAN 2 and X2 and I just don't understand why. And I really do need to see what's good about them. So I read it in the hopes of understanding.
I don't. And I honestly think I might have had the list been, "My Favourite 25 Comic Book Movies", because then every piece of criticism I just leveled at that list would be incorrect. The scope of the list (Japan, America) would be irrelevant because it doesn't matter how many they've seen. It wouldn't matter of any of the films were actually good.
And I would've learned something. Nothing amazing, but something: I would've learned why that person loved those movies.