With Captain America: The Winter Soldier being released (and nearly everyone loving it) and everyone excited over the upcoming X-Men: Days of the Future Past, Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy films--there's been a lot of talk about what Marvel movies are the best and what ones are the worst. I decided to make a list of the 15 best and 5 worst Marvel movie films. This doesn't limit itself to the Marvel Cinematic universe but it does limit itself to Marvel movies that have been actually released in the theater (so, no, this list doesn't include such wonderful tragic mess movies like 1994's Fantastic Four or the Hasselhoff Nick Fury TV movie). So, here we are and here's my list:
The 15 Best Marvel Movies:
15) Blade: While Howard the Duck is the first full-length Marvel feature film to be released in theaters, I'd like to think this movie is what began it all for Marvel. This movie is a great vampire movie and a pretty good superhero movie. The action is over the top and fun and Wesley Snipes is, well, barely acting and it's wonderful. I mean, the villains are played by the crazy hot Stephen Dorff and former porn star Traci Lords. This movie holds up better than the sequels do (the second one being directed by Guillermo del Toro and having action sequences so over the top you forget what's even going on in the film and the third one starring Ryan Reynolds's abs).
14) Spider-Man 2: A lot of people feel very strongly about this movie. I, however, do not. My only strong feelings are how impressively bad Kiki Dunst is in all these Raimi Spider-Man films. I think this movie is very clearly the best of the trilogy. It doesn't have Green Goblin flying around looking like a metallic cartoon character nor does it have a really terrible scene at the end where everyone cries (we'll get to that later). What makes this movie for me is the subway scene where everyone protects Spider-Man's identity and I maybe shed a few tears about it.
13) The Wolverine: After a really really terrible first outing, we were given this very much above average Wolverine movie. The story is almost too removed from the X-universe and at points it's very much "so what who cares"...but, overall, this is a good movie. It was nice to see Jean grey again (and actually see them address the shitmess that was X-Men: The Last Stand) and have an after credits scene that vaguely tied into X-Men: Days of the Future Past. It wasn't so nice to see a weird robot Silver Samurai and to have to witness the Miranda-from-Sex-and-the-City-on-crack acting stylings of Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper (WHAT EVEN WERE HER POWERS). No matter how tired of seeing Wolverine everyone is, you can't deny that Hugh Jackman is perfect in the role.
12) Captain America: The First Avenger: This movie is severely underrated. It was the one Marvel Cinematic Universe movie I was not excited to see and then ended up loving. I think it's mostly thanks to a really wonderful cast. Chris Evans as a scrawny Steve Rogers is so adorable that I want to hug him and then Chris Evans as the ridiculously buff Steve Rogers is so hot that I want to hug him...naked. They did a great job of mkaing a usually bland character incredibly not bland. Also, I teared up at his final goodbye with Peggy Carter.
11) Iron Man 2: Yes, this movie is basically an advertisement for The Avengers--but, it's a really fun advertisement for The Avengers. Scarjo is surprisingly well-cast as Black Widow, Don Cheadle is just as good as (if not better than) Terrence Howard as War Machine and the villains are much more fun in this than in the first one. Also, I could watch a movie of Pepper and Tony sitting down to eat dinner and arguing and I'd be happy and fully satisfied.
10) X-Men: First Class: This movie is so well-cast I almost feel bad for January Jones--her portrayal of Emma Frost is cringe-worthy and nearly stops the movie dead in every scene she's in. I think Emma Frost's role is a terrible one-two punch of bad acting and bad dialogue...which is weird since everyone else has some great lines and believable dialogue. Fassbender and McAvoy could have carried this movie all on their own if they needed to (and they almost do). They have such a great relationship that you almsot forget about the also great relationships the characters have with Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique and Rose Byrne's Moira (a character I'm sad we won't see again in Days of the Future Past). This movie continues the tradition of only vaguely following the X-Men movie universe continuity--but, that and January Jones aside, this movie is still pretty great.
9) The Amazing Spider-Man: You know why this movie works? Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield--that's why. I could have watched an entire movie of them in high school being cute with each other. And, hey, maybe it's cheating since they're dating IRL but so what who cares? Emma Stone is sassy and wonderful and everything I wanted MJ to be in the Raimi Spider-Man movies. The movie is a bit of a mess but it's a testament to their chemistry that it's easy to overlook a lot of things like...what happened to thsoe people when they turned into lizards? They killed like, a shitton of people, right? And like, why there was a mystery about Peter's parents that was just never addressed (although, it looks like the 2nd film might address this).
8) X-Men: This movie doesn't quite hold up as well as some of the others, but this movie set the standard for good superhero movies. It doesn't take itself too seriously, it's well-cast and it doesn't cheapen the characters with campiness. While the role they gave Rogue should have been given to Jubilee or Kitty Pryde (who were introduced as scared teens in the comics) and Halle Berry's accent is...unofrtunate, I still love this movie. Patrick Stewart was born to play Professor X (I remember Wizard Magazine doing an article about fantasy casting if there ever was an X-Men movie years before and even they cast him as Professor X), Ian McKellen is a perfect as Magneto (who gets suuuch a great opening scene) and Famke Janssen is really really great as Jean Grey. I saw this movie 3 times in the theater and watched it everyday for a week after I bought it on VHS (ugh, I'm old).
7) Iron Man 3: Tony Stark spends a lot of time out of his armor in this film and I think that's part of what makes it so great. It's what sets this film apart from the other films, Tony Stark is barely Iron Man in this--he's mostly just Tony Stark. Also, am I the only one who thought Pepper was actually going to die when they blew up their house? The Mandarin twist was pretty great and pretty bold even if it was a bit dissapointing (I really wanted a classic ring-weilding super powered terrosit villain but, well, you can't always get what you want). And, I mean, how cool was it seeing all those armors at the end? And how cool was it to see Pepper save Tony for a change? My only issue with this film is that it didn't really seem to make sense that Tony would blow up all his armors.
6) Thor: The Dark World: This movie is legit funny--I laughed out loud so many times during it. The beefed up Loki's role and also let Kat Dennings be the wonderful angel she is. The only thing that didn't work in this film was the villains. There was almost never a sense of urgency or a sense that Thor wouldn't beat them. I think the Thor movies are incredibly underrated. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston have such great brotherly chemistry that I almost wish they'd make Loki just a tad less evil so that they could actually fight alongside each other once and a while without Loki betraying Thor (like in the comics).
5) Thor: This will be an unpopular opinion but I think the Thor movies really are fucking fantastic. We can fight about it if you'd like--but I'd prefer not to. I think they do such a good job of balancing action with humor. Thor isn' a funny character like Iron Man but they do a good job of surrounding him with funny people (cough Kat Dennings cough Tom Hiddleston cough). I basically love the two Thor movies equally, so I don't have anything different to say about this one that I didn't say about Thor: The Dark World. Moving on.
4) Captain America: The Winter Solider: This movie was a really nice surprise. It's basically a B-list Avengers movie in the best kinda way. It reminded me of the 90s when Black Widow was the team leader and wore an ugly brown jacket, which was when I got into reading The Avengers comic. If you haven't seen this movie yet, well, I mean, what the hell are you waiting for!?
3) Iron Man: This movie kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the best God damned way. Robert Downey Jr is Tony Stark--it's a role he was born to play. He and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts are the best couple in any superhero movie. I almost wish they'd never gotten together so we could have stayed with them being best friends and arguing and having crazy sexual tension. Also, has there been any greater surprise than Nick Fury approaching Tony Stark about The Avengers Initiative in the post-credits scene?
2) X2: This movie still completely holds up. The addition of the wonderful Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler and the unexpected team-up of Magento and his brotherhood with the X-Men and then Jean Grey's sacrifice at the end...it all works. I still get emotional every time I watch Jean Grey's sacrifice. This movie expands the X-Men movie universe mythology without watering down the cast (unlike the 3rd movie which we will get to in a minute). I can only hope that X-Men: Days of the Future Past is half as good as this movie.
1) The Avengers: Because duh. This movie stands both on its own and as a wonderful culmination of all the other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
and now, the fun part...
The 5 Worst Marvel Movies:
5) Elektra: My main reason for including this movie on the list and not Daredevil is because this movie is basically not a comic book movie. It's not the worst in terms of movie quality but it's one of the worst in terms of comic book movies. At least Daredevil had a memorable cast. Colin Farrell is insane and fun as Bullseye and Ben Affleck is very medium as Daredevil and Jennifer Garner is fantastic as Elektra...but then she gets her own movie and suddenly becomes boring and dull. This movie is unfortunately forgettable and could basically be called Lady Ninja and be created by anyone other than Marvel.
4) X-Men Origins: Wolverine: This movie is impressively bad. To be fair, I didn't hate it that much when I first saw it in theaters...but, then the more I thought about it the more I hated it. Nearly EVERYONE Wolverine encounters in this film dies...even the leaders of Alpha Flight made into a weird old couple. The casting in this film is a joke. The only casting decision that was good in this film was Ryan Reynolds...who is only in the first 10-15 minutes of the film and then isn't seen again (unless you count the weird body double playing the really stupid mutated version of Deadpool). This movie is still sadly better than 1 other X-film (CAN YOU GUESS WHICH ONE).
3) Spider-Man 3: I'm not the biggest fan of the Raimi Spider-Man films and their terrible casting but boy does this one suck a fat one. The stupid "emo" haired Peter Parker, the terrible version of Venom, the weird pointless-ness of Gwen Stacy and my favorite awful moment at the end, when EVERY CHARACTER CRIES. But, hey, at least Sandman looked kinda cool.
2) Blade 2: This movie uses so much CGI that it becomes utter nonsense. At one point, during a ninja vampire fight, there are like, 4 kick-flips done mid-air. Even back when there were very few other superhero movies to compare it to, I still rolled my eyes through this whole movie.
1) X-Men: The Last Stand: This movie is probably my one of my most hated movies of all time. It's not even because it's the worst movie ever made but it's suuuuuch a let down after 2 really great X-Men films. I remember reading an interview with the actress who played the Psylocke character (who could jump through shadows which Psylocke could do for a quick minute in the 90s) and her saying her charascter didn't have a name until the movie was finished filming. That kind of shit is what makes this movie such a heaping pile of garbage. It's a trashcan version of the Dark Phoenix Saga. Cyclops dies off-screen. I repeat, the leader of the X-Men dies off screen. Oh, and then Professor Xavier dies in the only cool fight scene of the movie. Oh, and then nearly everyone else dies at the end of the movie because Jean goes all Dark Phoenix (although, I don't know that there was any other version of Phoenix other than Dark) and decides to disintegrate everyone because so what who cares. Wolverine then kills Jean Grey and I nearly burned down the movie theater I was in I was so mad. Also, another point of terrible-ness, Rogue uses the mutant cure to get rid of her powers which...is shitty, to say the least, because the whole thing the X-Men fight for is EQUALITY and not a medicine that will make them like everyone else. Sigh.
Fantastic Four: These movies aren't good enough to make the "Best of" list but not terrible enough to make the "Worst Of" list. I have no doubt that the new reboot will be no better than these films...and at least these films had the super hot and super charming Chris Evans. Also, Jessica Alba as Sue Storm gets a bad wrap in these movies but the real turd is Julian McMahon as Dr Doom.