The Justice League movie is finally here, one of the most anticipated films of the year that features some of DC Comics’ heaviest hitters coming together for the first time on the big screen.
Only time will tell how Justice League will stand up to perennial super hero squad powerhouse The Avengers, but at the very least I know it’s going to be a fun time at the movies. And it got me thinking about some of the best action movies featuring kick-ass teams, squads, etc. This is more than just superhero teams, too! So for this week’s Friday Five, I went through some of my favorite movies and picked out some of the best team-centric action and/or adventure movies. Without further ado, here we go!:
The Monster Squad (1987)
So this is the second time The Monster Squad has appeared on a top five list of mine, and you know what? I’m not sorry about it! This selection on the list is certainly one grounded in some serious nostalgia on my part, but anybody that watches it can’t deny that it’s an awesome flick – and one that totally fits in with the team/squad theme we’ve got going on this week. Not only do we have some of the Universal Monsters teaming up (I mean, how often do you have Dracula, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein hanging out together?), but you’ve also got a ragtag group of kiddos taking on these big baddies in an attempt to save the entire world. What’s not to love?
The Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
What would a list like this be without some Avengers action? Although I may have thrown some for a curve ball by specifically choosing the The Guardians of the Galaxy – or maybe it isn’t much of a curve ball, as it’s one of the most successful and popular movies in the entire MCU. I can’t think of many movies that I laughed harder at and had more fun watching than this sci-fi action romp with one of the lesser known (at the time) groups within the Avengers. While the performances of the stars might be most people’s favorite parts, I have to say I don’t think the movie would have been nearly as successful were it not for the impeccable delivery from David Bautista’s Drax and Bradley Cooper’s Rocket – they’re the glue for the team, I think!
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Some of my friends give me a hard time because I don’t often think highly of black and white movies, classics, etc. Well, this is one of those occasions! While the OG Ocean’s Eleven featuring the Rat Pack was a solid film, I don’t think it is nearly as fun as the 2001 version is. Ocean’s Eleven, the titular team, is jam-packed with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. The movie is an incredibly fun, and very funny, team-based heist film that I think overshadows similar films like The Italian Job that sort of fit the same mold. You can look at Brad Pitt, or George Clooney, or Matt Damon as the highlights of the film (and the franchise in general), but personally I was a major fan of Don Cheadle’s character, and the relationship between Casey Affleck and Scott Caan often steals the show.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Another selection on this list that’s leaning hard on my 90s kid nostalgia – the original live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of my favorite childhood memories, as I spent a ton of time hanging out with them and another super team, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, as I grew up. You look back at this movie now and it’s easy to write it off because many think that it hasn’t aged well, but I think the practical effects were great and the impressive costume and makeup work in this movie help it to stand the test of time. This continues to be a film I return to at least every couple of years to reminisce and enjoy some “Turtle Power”!
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
I mean, come on, this is one of the most impressive teams ever assembled on screen, or on the page. J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings remains one of my favorite series of books ever, so it’s no surprise that the films are near the top of the list for me too. Some might give the movies a hard time for being too divergent from the books (and I can agree with that to a certain degree), and most aren’t willing to invest the ridiculous amount of time it takes to watch all three of the Director’s Cut LOTR movies, but if you have, you know it’s some pretty impressive film-making and really does the books more justice. So, basically you have the fantasy version of The Avengers teaming up to go on an epic quest to destroy an all-powerful piece of hand-jewelry… If the Infinity War movies end with the Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity Stones being thrown into a huge volcano… Well, we know where they got that from!