My schedule has been unforgiving for the last month and shows no signs of slowing down so I’m trying to find a way to work blogging into the adjusted schedule. I don’t like these breaks. Blogging helps keep my creativity moving so with that, my first blog in over a month. Please forgive the rust…
With the impending release of X-Men: Days of Future Past my nerd side is going nuts. The Punisher, Wolverine, and the X-Men were the main comics I read as a kid. For the most part, their big screen transitions have been good and MARVEL has paved the way for the modern superhero movie.
Today, I want to celebrate some of the best MARVEL has released, so don’t go nuts because there are no Batman movies on the list. Besides, *everyone knows that Batman is just a poor man’s Moon Knight anyway.
With that, here is the top 5 MARVEL movies list based on my poll I took of one person.
5. X-Men First Class (2011) – It was a unique reboot of sorts, especially after the disappointment that was X-Men:the Last Stand. With its fresh cast (including standouts James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as the pre-Magneto Eric Lensherr, and Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique) First Class stripped away the shock value of Last Stand and returned to telling a strong origin story. It was the rebooted the franchise needed and I had hoped for being an X-Men fan above all others. It also gave a great nod to the classic costumes and did not apologize for them or try to modernize.
4. Spider-Man 2 (2004) – It is rare that a sequel is better than the original but such is the case in the world of Spider-Man. Tobey Maguire was a great Spidey/Peter Parker and Alfred Molina played a sympathetic bad guy in his portrayal of Doc Ock. It showed how sometimes bad guys aren’t bad guys just because they were born bad guys. Sometimes people do bad things in an attempt to do good things. That made the villain relatable if not likable. Throw in Peter’s wrestling with what exactly it means to be a superhero and the sacrifices that are made and you have the strongest Spider-Man movie to date.
3. Iron Man (2008) – Robert Downey Jr was born for this superhero role. The womanizing, sarcastic, yet heroic for the right reasons Tony Stark could not have been better cast. It is going to be a sad day when he decides to retire the suit. The first Iron Man movie seemed to have all the pieces in place: comedy, good drama, and a more realistic scenario. The opening “origin story” section of the movie that involved the arms making Stark Enterprises (more specifically, Tony Stark) captured by terrorists in the Middle East created a tension that was still real and relatable to many Americans. As the movie unfolded in a somewhat predictable manner from there, it didn’t stop the movie from being enjoyable thanks to RDJ and the somewhat grittier tale the movie told.
2. the Avengers (2012) – What began with Iron Man was a set up for a mega movie. The Hulk, Captain America and Thor all had solo outings in the theater before the Avengers movie hit the big screen. Everything in me wants to not like this movie as much as I do. In fact, it might be because I am a little bit of a movie hipster that I don’t have this movie in the #1 spot. The movie was a fairly complete package. Action, comedy, huge scope, and lots and lots of superhero action. That even includes some of the hero on hero fights that happen (how can we not love Hulk trying to pick up Thor’s hammer when they fought?)
Tom Hiddleston (who played Loki, Thor’s half-brother) makes the perfect villain. He has a character similar to Magneto in that you don’t know when he’s going to do something good, even if it is for the wrong reasons. The change from Ed Norton as Hulk (which I desperately wanted to add in the list but at least deserves an honorable mention) to Mark Ruffalo bring a Dr. Banner who is less abrasive which contrasts better with the Hulk.
Yes, the movie is the very embodiment of over the top summer action movie, but given that something like this (a few individual movies as lead up to the group movie) had never been tried before let alone pulled off so well, the Avengers will always be a marked turning point in the comic book movie world for the better.
1. X-Men (2000) – Maybe it has to do with my love of the X-Men or it was my love of Wolverine, but this movie has a special place for me. Sure, at the time (and I can’t believe that time was 14 years ago) I didn’t like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. He was supposed to be a short guy, not a 6 foot + tall guy. But the movie won me over. Patrick Stewart as Professor X, James Marsden as Cyclops, Halle Berry as Story, and Ian McKellen as Magneto. The cast was stacked. And it didn’t disappoint.
It went after the idea that we are afraid of what we don’t understand. The social commentary is still as sharp today as it was in 2000.
It was the first comic book movie that didn’t feel like all the cheesy Batman movies that had been released to that point (not that I didn’t love them). There were few superhero cinematic moments that made me smile like the one where we are introduced to Wolverine. To this day, it has been the superhero movie that changed my outlook on all superhero movies and the potential they have.
As I looked back on the list of MARVEL movies there were a few I had to leave out. The Punisher (both the Tom Jane version and Punisher: War Zone) were both a lot better that most gave credit for. The Incredible Hulk with Ed Norton was also strong. There was also the recently released Captain America: the Winter Soldier. Amazingly, for as indifferent as I have always been towards Cap, these two movies (in particular the second) have brought me around on the character and have provided some of MARVEL’s top moments.
Yes, there were a lot of duds in there too (we’re looking at you, Fantastic Four and Ghost Rider movies) but the MARVEL franchise has provided us with a lot of quality films and with a new Avengers
So what were your favorites? How would you rank them?
*Moon Knight is not better than Batman. It is a nod to a friend who refuses to show his son any DC Comics stuff and once referred to Batman as “kind of like Moon Knight.”