As a child, I became interested in comic books by constantly stopping in a small shop to read them over. I had little money so I couldn’t purchase them but the owner was nice enough to let me read them in house. However, the first comic I ever received was, “The Death of Superman”. My mother purchased this for me in trade form (a collection of one particular story line) and I read it several times. After this I was instantly drawn to them. Ironically, I’m not a Superman fan at all, but that is an entire discussion within itself. While on the subject though, my top 5 when super heroes are concerned: Batman, Spawn, Wolverine, Captain America, and Wonder Woman. What’s I’m really here to talk about is the products that Marvel Studios has given us movie consumers so far. Of course everyone has their own opinion, but I’ve seen most of these movies in theater with the full IMAX experience. Trust me, when these movies are on I pay full attention so that I can catch all the Easter eggs. Most people that will read this article are fans of the movies so I need not go into incredible detail but some of the movies rankings are obvious. Keep in mind I am only speaking of movies from Marvel Studios, so please don’t ask me about Punisher, Amazing Spider-Man, Blade, Ghost Rider, or any of the other filth that made it into the theater somehow. So, without further waiting and rambling, lets get to it.
#1 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This movie is great enough to be a top 5 for movies all around. It flows like a spy movie instead of a run of the mill super hero film or action flick. I mean, It’s a really well written espionage film. The camera angles and action are exactly balanced and the dialogue is always useful. This is a Captain America story and the comic Easter eggs are priceless. At certain points Black Widow steals the show with her funny banter and confident attitude. Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes) is introduced in a most menacing manner and stays a significant villain until the end when he reaches his breaking point.
#2 Guardians of the Galaxy
This movie has jokes, action, and a great plot for a movie that doesn’t take itself to seriously…this is the best part of the film. It never really gets super serious and the inkling never gets dropped that any one could actually die. Dangerous situations arise of course as is the movie but you know that you’re not losing any important characters. It’s the perfect outlaws become saviors troupe for a movie. I actually thought this movie would suck because the characters had very little popularity in any universe, cinematic or otherwise. It winds up being a great movie because of the Infinity Gauntlet tie-ins and low expectations. I barely watched any trailers for this movie. I slobbered over Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron trailers for months…we’re talking small chub every single time. I believe this movie actually started a rise in popularity and a revisit to the legacy of Guardians of the Galaxy.
#3 Iron Man
This is the movie that started it all. The failure or success of this movie determined the entire universe. They used a washed up actor who essentially ended up playing a movie version of himself and made it work regardless. Terrance Howard was supposed to be the big name selling this movie and he ended up being a “side kick”, just as the character he played.` I particularly enjoy how the origin was modernized to make it easier for the audience to relate. The movie flows well and amount of time we must wait to see “Iron Man” is sufficient for a movie of this magnitude. What hold this movie back from being a clear number one, is the lack of originality with the villain. “Iron Monger” was acceptable but we could have been given someone more high profile and dynamic. I realize the movie intends to make it personal by having Tony Stark betrayed by a friend, but I believe the first movie could have introduced a greater long term adversary. This villain in this movie is one of the primary reasons that the other sequels fall towards the bottom of the list.
#4 The Avengers
This movie is great simply for the inclusion of every Avenger equally, the slow forming of a group dynamic, and the finale of Captain America’s arc as the leader. Mark Ruffalo’s performance as the Hulk was outstanding however, I believe Edward Norton was a better Bruce Banner. Of course the addition of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury was an ever brilliant move by Marvel Studios and has payed huge dividends. So many actors are attempting to become apart of the universe after it’s success and few very big names signed on at the very beginning. The importance of this movie lies in it’s function as a culminating event for the phase one Marvel movies.
This movie was the exact meaning of pleasant surprise. The news was riddled with bad vibes whenever this movie was mentioned. Casting changes, director changes, producer changes, but the writing and vision stayed the same. One wonders what the execution would have been like with the original creators. Not visiting the origin of Hank Pym was fine even though most of us realize he is the original Ant-man. What most people don’t know is that Hank Pym was no model citizen. In comics he was a wife beater, a drunk, and an extreme narcissist. Not quite the person you can easily paint as a hero to the mass public. The last minute tie-ins to the Marvel Universe were incredible and the Easter egg introduction of Spider-man was much needed. The truth though rests in the show of minimal promotion for this movie proved that even Marvel had it’s doubts but in the end, they hit it out of the park.
#6 Captain America: The First Avenger
I really do love this movie, the Blu-Ray is still around 30 dollars. In my opinion this one of the more serious movies in the phase one era. Anything dealing with WW II is usually worth a view anyway. The movie touches a patriotic nerve with how much Steve Rogers continue to try and join the military to fight for his country. In a sense you see things from Red Skulls perspective in that he volunteered for Germany’s version of the super soldier program as well. The story in general really puts the ultimate sacrifice into a fine view because the Captain does it without a thought. The movie has some dry points and seems to be shot in an older manner obviously because of its desire to portray the 1940’s. It has enough spark to still be a great movie and worth a watch anytime you are bored and need a fictional patriotism fix.
#7 Avengers: Age of Ultron
This movie did ridiculous box office numbers but it just felt so cluttered. David Spader as Ultron was an excellent casting choice and the choices in general are great. I really don’t believe that it is better than the first movie. It easily could have been broken into two parts although, they strayed away from this because of upcoming Infinity War movies. The Ultron comic story line is epic and probably one of the most pivotal in Avengers history. The movie just doesn’t do it justice. It has so many good parts and great casting, but the execution is a bit sub-par. It served it’s purpose as a summer blockbuster but not the same level of culminating event that the first Avengers movie was. It’s not necessarily a straight up bad movie but it’s just not as great as the other six above it.
#8 The Incredible Hulk
It wasn’t really hard to make this movie good, as the first attempt with Eric Bana as the main character bombed horribly. That movie had zero redeeming qualities at all. I could have made a movie using stick figures and done a better job for significantly less money. Edward Norton is great as Bruce Banner. Intelligent and meek but housing the great green beast behind his lowly human form. The greatest part of this movie is that we wait barely 30 minutes before we see the Hulk in action. If you grouped all super hero movies that have graced the stage in the last ten years (non Marvel studios) this movie is better than 95% of them. I haven’t gotten to the bad movies yet and in reality in the entire list there is only one really bad movie. I think this movie takes to much of a lull at points to be a Hulk film. I’m still waiting for a solo film that captures the rage and fury of the Hulk from the comics. Let’s hope Marvel delivers something in the form of “World War Hulk” or “Planet Hulk” soon.
While not a terrible movie, it’s just very boring. Hemsworth is excellent as Thor but the movie just drags on. This ends up being a consistency with both Thor movies and I believe Marvel is having trouble making Thor into an interesting character. Even in the comics, he just has a very dull or linear personality. “Thor smash, Thor throw hammer, Thor let everyone know he is above you mortals, but Thor still loves mortals.” The age old (demi) God falling in love with a mortal scenario is a very tired secondary plot. The primary plot is a redemption story that needs more of a reason than simple goading of the frost giants into battle against Odin’s will. It honestly is a bit non-sensible. Who gives a shit about the frost giants? In the grand scheme of things, Marvel gave us an honest Thor and that’s the same reason I neglected to ever read Thor comics until very recently with the launch of there Marvel Now! run.
#10 Iron Man 2
This movie felt and was rushed through production. In doing some research and investigation on Jon Favreau, he tells of Marvel Studios wanting to get this into the theaters as soon as possible to capitalize of the hype. Mickey Rourke gives a fine performance as “Whip Lash” but the final boss battle is against computerized Iron Man suits. Really Marvel? The first movie you give us Giant “Iron Man” as a villain, then in the second movie we get clone less dependable “Iron Man” suits as the boss? You’ve got to be kidding me. The whole time in the theater I’m feeling high’s and low’s of a whole different nature because the movie messes with my feelings. One of the redeeming qualities behind this movie is Scarlet Johnanson’s portrayal of “Black Widow”. I don’t believe they could have picked anyone more solid besides an actual Russian. Should you see the movie? Yes. Should you really take it super serious? No. You’ll probably have a better time.
#11 Thor 2
Christ! This movie has so many interesting ideas and points, yet it’s still boring as hell. I like the “Ether”. That’s a pretty awesome way to introduce a gem. However, every interaction between Jane Foster and Thor seems super awkward. The movie fails to really enhance their relationship any further as well. I do enjoy how much of the movie takes place in the other realms besides Midgard (Earth). It seems to pale in comparison to the other movies. Yes, we get Loki who is an awesome character but the villain, Malekith is so non-charismatic. He’s much more flamboyant in the comics with a hint of annoying which makes him a great addition to any story. I don’t fall asleep in a theater very often but when I do, it’s to a Thor movie.
#12 Iron Man 3
I couldn’t really find anything to say positive about this movie. First off, everyone wears the damn Iron Man suit. Secondly, the half dragon villain is super lame. When did Tony Stark become a world class spy? Did we really need to see all 200 Iron Man suits? Tony Stark has PTSD and it’s triggered by a child? The kid helps him out constantly but he’s still a dick? The biggest let down though was the Mandarin. You sat me through a movie for over 1:30 minutes and built up this awesome villain, who was supposed to be Chinese but became Arab at some point. Then you make him an actor? A drunk, drug addicted actor. Lord, help me. I absolutely did not enjoy this movie at all. Wasted money if you ask me. Borrow this movie a friend and then burn it.