Joker (2019, dir. Todd Phillips)

A clown with mental health issues tries to be loved and recognised. Well-shot but superficial origin story, heavily reliant on its stylistic and plot inspirations (early Scorsese movies, Bernhard Goetz). Sometimes impressive, sometimes misguided, but anchored by a committed central performance nevertheless.

Aquaman (2018, dir. James Wan)

Aquaman/Arthur Curry reluctantly agrees to help prevent a war between the Atlanteans and humanity. Glossy and fun – though overlong and CG-tastic – superhero origin flick. Ugly greenscreen cinematography gets in the way of some decent performances and Wan’s capable direction.

Captain Marvel (2019, dir. Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck)

An alien warrior works to prevent a rival species from gaining a foothold on 1995 Earth. Slow-starting but generally entertaining superhero origin flick, wisely not overdoing its nostalgic comedy; the film’s hampered somewhat by the low-stakes storyline.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018, dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman)

Miles Morales is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains superpowers, but he’s not the only Spider-Man. Visually impressive and engaging (though overlong) comic book story that emulates the reading experience as well as offering both fan service and deconstruction. Huge fun for the most part, though.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017, dir. David Soren)

Comics-loving best friends hypnotise their headteacher into becoming a superhero. Splendid animation – based on the Dav Pilkey books – that delivers a barrage of bottom jokes and a touching portrayal of childhood friendship. Recommended.

Fantastic Four (2015, dir. Josh Trank)

Five young scientists gain superpowers after opening an interdimensional portal. Unnecessary reboot/origin story which takes an age to get going and doesn’t really have a plot. A strong and well-chosen (though hardly teenage) cast wasted on rote material and some variable FX.

Wonder Woman (2017, dir. Patty Jenkins)

An Amazon princess journeys to the outside world to defeat the God of War. Superior superhero origin story, benefitting from freshness of its lead character, a generally light touch, and a well-realised World War 1 period setting.