The Best Comic-Book Movie Trilogy?

With the final entry in Hugh Jackman's iconic Wolverine saga, Logan, hitting stores this week, I thought it was the perfect time to comb through some of the most influential and memorable comic-book movie trilogies of the last decade. While some of these might be quite difficult to rank, with their first films spawning either much greater sequels or falling flat after a dynamic first outing, there's no doubt that there have been some amazing trilogies from the comic-book/superhero genre. While some of these may surely spawn fourth installments in the near future, here are my rankings of the best trilogies of the comic-book genre so far.

7. The Iron Man Trilogy - While 2008's Iron Man might be the gold standard of superhero films, at least within the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film's two lackluster sequels paved an uneven road for Robert Downey Jr.'s leading billionaire-playboy in his solo outings. While Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2 might still be an enjoyable movie to watch, and Shane Black's riotous sequel might stir up fans to the point of amusement, the Iron Man trilogy remains an inferior trilogy when it comes to elevating beyond Downey Jr's fantastic appeal and the series' glitzy action set pieces.  

6. The Wolverine Trilogy - Unlike the Iron Man trilogy, the trio of films dedicated to Hugh Jackman's solo adventures as the ferocious Wolverine began at a very low point. As 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine set its sights on exploring Logan's time before he met the X-Men, the film fell flat when it came to delivering a compelling story, bogged down by irrelevant love interests and a slew of underwhelming characters. Hope came for the clawed mutant in 2013 with James Mangold's The Wolverine, which explored Logan's troubling time in Japan. Delivering a far more emotional and compelling take on the character, which bled right into his profound send-off in this year's Logan, Mangold's touch on Wolverine allowed the character to be fleshed out beyond his exploits with the X-Men.

5. The Spider-Man Trilogy - While Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man series might not have gained the proper legs to produce a third film after 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sam Raimi's phenomenal trilogy that began with 2002's Spider-Man managed to bring to screen one of my favorite iterations of the famous wall-crawler to date. With the first two films in the series easily becoming two of the best superhero films of all-time, the franchise's genuine take on the character intermingled dynamic characters with dark themes to give fans the live-action Spider-Man they'd been waiting for. While 2007's Spider-Man 3 might have tossed the series into a whirlwind of mistakes just waiting to be rebooted, the Spider-Man trilogy remains the most unforgettable of the bunch.    

4. The X-Men Trilogy - The franchise that kickstarted not only Hugh Jackman's lengthy career as Wolverine, but also the ever-expanding adventures of the X-Men on the silver screen, the X-Men trilogy that began with 2000's X-Men came at a time when superhero films remained an untaped goldmine. Pulling together a unique cast of actors to portray the mutant team, the first three X-Men films brought the imaginative stories of comic-books into the realm of modern-day politics. Exploring themes of discrimination and indifference, while also swaying the scales of good and evil, Bryan Singer's (and partially Brett Ratner's) mutant trilogy stood out as a collection of compelling superhero tales grounded in reality.    

3. The X-Men: First Class Trilogy - While the original X-Men trilogy still might stand out as its own, the trio of films (for now) that focused on the younger cast of X-Men brought a new energy to the franchise after the lackluster X-Men: The Last Stand. With James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender leading the cast after their fantastic debut as Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr in 2011's X-Men: First Class, the trilogy reached its peak with 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past. An exploration of the future of the X-Men, the film worked to expand the mythology of the original trilogy by exploring its most dynamic characters in Xavier and Lehnsherr. While 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse might not have been all that memorable, it did promise an intriguing new future for the mutant team.  

2. The Captain America Trilogy - Probably the strongest group of films to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the politically-infused and action-packed Captain America trilogy managed to establish both the origins of the super-soldier Steve Rogers in World War II, as well as his adventures into the modern era. With 2011's The First Avenger giving us one of the franchise's most compelling characters in Chris Evans' Steve Rogers, the series only got more complex as 2014's spy thriller The Winter Soldier provided the story with the political edge it needed. Even as 2016's Captain America: Civil War turned out to be Avengers 2.5, the massive close to this phenomenal trilogy still managed to keep its central USA-themed hero as its core. 

1. The Dark Knight Trilogy - Even as we gear up for another Batman in Ben Affleck as the DC Extended Universe kicks off, I still have a place reserved in my heart for Christopher Nolan's spectacular Dark Knight trilogy. Giving us one of the best comic-book films ever in 2008's The Dark Knight, the complex trilogy centered around the Caped Crusader and his many struggles against deadly mercenaries and killer clowns lent the superhero genre some of its most memorable performances. While its villains in Heath Ledger's Joker and Tom Hardy's Bane might make the final two entries worth it, it's ultimately Nolan's storytelling and Hans Zimmer's masterful score that makes this trilogy so legendary.

Honorable Mention: The Blade Trilogy - If you made it this far, you might be wondering, hey, where's the Blade trilogy at? Well, in my busy lifestyle, or whatever you might call it, I've yet to see all of the Wesley Snipes vampire adventures. Still, from what I've seen of the trilogy, Snipes makes for a compelling-enough protagonist to pull the films through, even when its realm of shadowy creatures gets a bit too campy.

As I settle in to watch Wolverine's last ride in Logan again, I'll leave you all with a single question: What comic-book/superhero trilogy is your favorite? How would you rank the ones above? Tweet me or comment below, and let me know which one tops them all!

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