No. 2: "X2: X-Men United" (2002)
In 2000, director Bryan Singer ushered in a new era of superhero movies with not only an entertaining x-pose of Marvel's "X-Men," but a diverse character study that made Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) a superstar and set up an even-better sequel.
The plot of the film is exactly as the title implies, where, in a rare instance, Professor Charles Xavier's (Patrick Stewart) X-Men team up with Magneto's (Ian McKellen) Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to stand up against Colonel William Stryker (Bryan Cox).
A vindictive military scientist in denial because his son is a mutant, Stryker kidnaps Xavier in a plot to use his Cerebro mechanism to eradicate the Earth of all mutants.
The film is every bit as exciting as it is emotional, particularly when the comic book's iconic "Dark Phoenix Saga" rises in the final stages of the film, as Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her fellow X-Men. Indeed, superhero films can be tearjerkers, too.
Why so serious?