With the number f comic book movies that come out in a year, a few years ago, this category was added and who was a better person to honor than Christopher Reeve? We then went back to 1989 and awarded winners for every year.
This year, the winner, to me, was clear.
The Christopher Reeve Memorial Comic Book Movie of the Year
Previous Winners: Batman (1989), Dick Tracy (1990), The Rocketeer (1991), Batman Returns (1992), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), The Crow (1994), Batman Forever (1995), The Phantom (1996), Men in Black (1997), Blade (1998), Mystery Men (1999), X-Men (2000), From Hell (2001), Spider-Man (2002), X2: X-Men United (1993), Spider-Man 2 (1994), V for Vendetta (2005), 300 (2006), Superman: Doomsday (2007), The Dark Knight (2008), Watchmen (2009), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), Captain America: First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Captain America: Winter Soldier & Guardians of the Galaxy [tie] (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Logan (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Birds of Prey (2020), Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
In 2022, the standout comic book movie…
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Ironically, the first Black Panther movie did not receive the Christopher Reeve Memorial Award. It came out in the same year as Infinity War, which was tough competition. However, that first movie starring Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa was consequential and inspiring for a huge swath of a community. People of color embraced that film and made it one of the most successful films of all time.
Then, in 2020, tragedy struck. Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer. A cancer that we had no idea he was suffering from. During the filming of Black Panther and Infinity War, he kept that to himself, suffering in silence. The suddenness of the loss took us all by shock.
It caused major problem for the Black Panther sequel, which had been written by writer/director Ryan Coogler already. Everything had now changed. Marvel Studios decided that they would not recast T’Challa and that they would use Wakanda Forever to, not only push the story ahead, but to honor their fallen star.
What Ryan Coogler and the cast of Wakanda Forever accomplished was monumental considering the obstacle that they faced. Wakanda Forever was a triumphant film, filled with real emotion from a cast that loved their ‘king’ but had lost him too young. Wakanda Forever was about grief, but also acceptance.
As the tremendous achievement filled the theaters, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will always have a spot in our hearts moving forward with Shuri (or eventually the young prince T’Challa).
Runners-Up: The Batman, Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love & Thunder, Black Adam, Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons