If my calculations serves me correctly there have been around 40 (yes 40) Marvel movies. Now not all of these films are part of their more recent interconnected cinematic universe. Some came well before Marvel’s multi-billion dollar experiment was put into place. But they all qualify and help make up my rankings of all Marvel movies so far. Well, at least all that I have seen. I never watched “Blade: Trinity” (the first two were enough), “Punisher: War Zone” (I did try, but nope), or “Deadpool” (sorry fans, I didn’t like what they turned him into in the comics, and I certainly didn’t care about watching it on screen). But I have seen all the rest and here they are worst to first:
#37 – “Fantastic Four” (2015)
There is nothing wrong with taking a few liberties when making a movie. But you should never obliterate the source material especially when the end result is this bad. “Fantastic Four” is a train wreck. Bad casting, terrible direction, and the worst writing of any film bearing the Marvel name. Disastrous.
#36 – “Elektra” (2005)
Somewhat of a “Daredevil” spin-off, “Elektra” is killed by an incredibly flat and downright boring script. Jennifer Garner gives it her all, but she is let down by dopey dialogue, an uninteresting story, and completely uninspired action. Any possibility of Elektra showing up again was left dead in the water.
#35 – “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” (2012)
This just goes to show that the coolest movie poster doesn’t mean it’s a good film. The second Ghost Rider movie is really bad. So bad that even Nic Cage, the actor who will take any role thrown at him, completely wiped his hands of the series. This thing looks and feels cheap and its stupidity is sometimes beyond measure.
#34 – “Hulk” (2003)
While some critics went for this, I see it as a failure and a complete waste of a good cast. Eric Bana is particularly good but the writing lets him down again and again. So many ludicrous additions to the source material including a father/son conflict that plays out in a dumb and excruciating ending. Sorry Ang Lee.
#33 – “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014)
Bloated, overblown, overstuffed – all adjectives that fit this film and that will pop up again on this list. While “Amazing 2” made over $700 million it is still considered a franchise killer and yet another Spidey reboot was quickly announced. This thing never gets its footing. Jamie Foxx is a horrible villain and Dane DeHaan’s casting is still mind-boggling. Underdeveloped characters and rampant goofiness end up killing this mess of a movie.
#32 – “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006)
Brett Ratner’s turn at the wildly successful X-Men wasn’t a good one. The film instantly starts on a bad note and then becomes a tedious exercise with Wolverine and Jean Grey as its centerpiece. Too many mutants tossed in with practically no interesting buildup and an ending that had me throwing up my hands. No wonder the series met its temporary end after “The Last Stand”.
#31 – “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009)
An interesting concept that is completely trashed by the time “X-Men Origins” is done. It does some interesting things in the first act but flies completely off the rails. A good Liev Schreiber version of Sabretooth is offset by a literal butchering of other key characters and of X-Men continuity.
#30 – “Iron Man 3” (2013)
Yes I know, many people loved this $1.2 billion juggernaut. I found it to be all over the map, starting strong but ending horribly. Shane Black’s film tries to take a more human look at Tony Stark which is fine. But the slog through the middle is tough and the insanely dumb ‘twist’ at the end rightly put off a huge portion of fans. Once again a good cast is railroaded by some horrible creative choices.
#29 – “Spider-Man 3” (2007)
Oh those third installments. They certainly have a reputation and “Spider-Man 3” lives up (or down) to it. The definition of an over-stuffed movie that simply has too much going on. Three villains that never get the full attention they deserve and some wacky Peter Parker drama doesn’t mesh as a fun and cohesive whole. It was the first of the Spidey franchise killers.
#28 – “Ghost Rider” (2007)
It’s impossible to call the first “Ghost Rider” movie a good movie, but at least it knows what it is…kinda. There are some fun moments and at times the CGI looks really cool. But it is too ridiculous for its own good and the story itself leaves much to be desired. It made a ton of money but left no lasting impression.
#27 – “Thor: The Dark World” (2013)
It’s hard not to be mixed on “Thor: The Dark World”. There are things I like about the characters and story. But so much is lacking. The playful energy of the first film is gone for the most part and the story itself flatlines the closer it gets to its highly mediocre and forgettable ending.
#26 – “The Fantastic Four” (2005)
Generally criticized as a bad movie, “The Fantastic Four” really isn’t. It could be called silly and lightweight but that’s part of its charm. The cast has a lot of fun and it rarely takes things too seriously. Unfortunately that isn’t enough to carry it far in your memory. In the end it doesn’t stand out despite being fun.
#25 – “Daredevil” (2003)
Several years ago this film would have been lower on this list, but my opinion of it has changed over time. “Daredevil” has a lot going for it and it is one of the more unique and interesting superhero origin stories. It does flounder in spots particularly with its tone and pacing, but it isn’t nearly as bad as some say.
#24 – “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” (2007)
Much more serious than the first film but also more interesting. The addition of Silver Surfer to the mix is a lot of fun and some of the character drama works well. The serious tone does strip it of some of the above-mentioned charm, but the film still works. And toss in one of Stan Lee’s very best Marvel movie cameos.
#23 – “Ant-Man” (2015)
Widely adored by audiences mainly for its willingness to do something different within Marvel’s cinematic universe. I appreciated that too, but it is still a film with issues. The comedy keeps hitting the same note and the film features one of Marvel’s worst and most uninspired villains. Funny at times but not the grand mold-breaker it is made out to be.
#22 – “X-Men: Apocalypse” (2016)
The latest of the X-Men movies is such a mixed bag. The film starts on a slow note as it attempts to bring together so many characters from the film’s ridiculously large mutant catalog. Surprisingly it does pick up in the final act and it impressively brings everything together. But getting to that point isn’t the easiest thing.
#21 – “Blade” (1997)
Somewhat of a pioneer of Marvel movies. Wesley Snipes was a butt-kicking, sword-weilding, vampire superhero in 1998’s “Blade”. At the time the film was something fresh and the stylized action was a hoot. It is still a little rough around the edges and no one can argue against its silliness.
#20 – “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014)
Again, another Marvel movie that is beloved for its willingness to go against the norm. But is “Guardians” really that great? Unquestionably it has some good laughs and the characters are fun. But some of the jokes land with a thud and (once again) a boring and wasted villain takes a lot of the steam out of the story. But you have to appreciate its aim.
#19 – “Incredible Hulk” (2008)
Edward Norton gives his one-shot take on Bruce Banner in a Hulk reboot that does a pretty good job of helping us forget Ang Lee’s disaster. The film is based on a really good comic book storyline and bypasses another origin telling. Norton is good as is his supporting cast. Unfortunately the final act gets ridiculous and keeps it from being as good as it should be.
#18 – “X-Men: First Class” (2011)
A surprisingly interesting reboot (kinda) of the X-Men series mainly due to the two lead performances from James McAvoy and particularly Michael Fassbender. Both actors flesh out their characters through some compelling storytelling. Unfortunately the back-end of the cast are significantly weaker and they bog things down a bit.
#17 – “Blade II” (2002)
A fun, ultra-violent sequel five years after the first film. There is tons of style and flare in Guillermo del Toro’s direction and the action certainly takes center stage. Wesley Snipes (in full pre-tax evasion tough guy form) has a blast swinging and slicing through his enemies and that’s what the movie offers in tons. The story is light, but who went to “Blade II” for the story?
#16 – “The Wolverine” (2013)
In many ways this is a stand-alone Wolverine film done right. It’s an odd movie that takes Logan back to past connections in Japan. The setting makes for a fun and unique setting and Jackman is at his feral best. But like so many of the movies, “The Wolverine” fails in the final act by giving a lame final battle that doesn’t measure up to the rest of the picture.
#15 – “The Punisher” (2004)
A widely undervalued and underappreciated film featuring Thomas Jane as the scarred and tormented Frank Castle. Jane fits the character well and John Travolta is a good mix of cheesy and vile as the film’s villain. It doesn’t hold back from the violence which is fitting. The one main problem is the small group of generic outcast side-characters. They distract from an otherwise good take on the Punisher.
#14 – “The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Talk about a movie both helped and hurt by its reboot status. After “Spider-Man 3” the webcrawler was in need of a reboot. This film did a good job of putting together an interesting story and characters. It also did several things to separate itself from the past trilogy. At the same time the decision to tell another origin story hurt the movie. It felt too soon and too familiar despite its attempts to be different.
#13 – “Iron Man 2” (2010)
Not quite the superhero groundbreaker its predecessor was, but still a fun romp and a showcase for Robert Downey Jr’s laser-tongued wit. Not everything works perfectly. The longer it goes the louder it gets and Sam Rockwell’s performance is borderline bizarre. But while many rail against the film, I’ve always found it to be highly-polished fun.
#12 – “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015)
The Avengers films are the centerpiece of Marvel’s cinematic universe and the ambition behind them is almost as high as their budgets. This, the second of the superhero ensembles, still has the strength of the many characters we have grown to know well through their host of movies. That alone makes it worthwhile and helps get past the film’s shortcomings.
#11 – “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014)
Inspired by one of the comics most classic storylines, “Days of Future Past” is a fascinating accomplishment. It is a crazy mixture of past and present both in terms of story and in X-Men franchises. The fact that it all comes together so smoothly is amazing. That’s not to say you won’t have to endure some mental gymnastics in order to keep up. But it’s worth it in the end.
#10 – “Thor” (2011)
Talk about a movie that had every right to fail. It could have been a catastrophe. Instead “Thor” is cool entertaining fantasy movie with a surprisingly good sense of humor. That is what sells it. It knows not to take things too seriously. Chris Hemsworth nails the role with his stout stature and his willingness to mock it at the same time. Again, much better than it had any right to be.
#9 – “X-Men 2” (2003)
A top-notch sequel once again inspired by some the X-books’ classic stories. This particular installment builds on the groundwork laid by the first film and expands the characters in the ways you want. The action is well-done and the ending certainly packs a significant punch.
#8 – “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011)
Here is another example of a creative team who understands the importance of tone and knowing not to overplay their hand. “The First Avenger” is an origin story that actually feels fresh. It has a ton of heart and creates authentic characters ripe with emotional complexities and all. It plays out in a wonderfully realized 1940s setting before cleverly connecting to the existing MCU.
#7 – “Spider-Man” (2002)
Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” was somewhat of a groundbreaker. I know I didn’t expect it to be nearly as competent or effective yet what it manages to do is impressive. Raimi and writer David Koepp wisely focus on the human side of their characters which gives weight and emotional value to all of the superhero action that would follow.
#6 – “X-Men” (2000)
You could say that Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” is the film most responsible for the 15+ years of comic book movies that has followed. “X-Men” was a huge surprise and amazed many of us with how well it brought these characters to life. The story is solid, the relationships feel genuine, and the action is a blast. “X-Men” deserves to be this high because in many ways it legitimized superhero movies as true quality entertainment.
#5 – “Iron Man” (2008)
At the time of its release some of us didn’t see how an Iron Man movie could work. Many of us were baffled by the casting of Robert Downey, Jr. to play such a superhero. We were so wrong. Marvel showed they knew exactly what they were doing not only in casting Downey, Jr. but in making a fun, easy to digest, action picture that also develops smart and believable characters outside of the flying armor and special effects.
#4 – “The Avengers” (2012)
I had a hard time believing that Joss Whedon would be able to corral all of the moving parts that make up “The Avengers”. Talk about a movie that could have been a studio-crippling disaster. Instead Whedon gained a ton of respect from critics and fans alike by making a film so perfectly mixed with action, drama, and humor. Too much of either ingredient could have doomed it. Instead it set an incredibly high bar for any Avengers film to follow.
#3 – “Captain America: Civil War” (2016)
This is the second Captain America film on the list, but it is essentially an Avengers installment and an excellent one at that. In “Civil War” there is a ton at stake both narratively and financially (for Marvel Studios). The careful balance of personal conflict and big budget action is incredibly well handled. It also shows how to set up what’s to come without sacrificing its own story.
#2 – “Spider-Man 2” (2004)
Sam Raimi’s second “Spider-Man” film is not only a good Spidey movie but a brilliant sequel that builds upon everything his first film did so well. It’s obviously full of spectacular special effects and some great action. But the true heart of the film is in how it presents its characters especially Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus. Easily the best Spidey films, and one of the finest superhero movies period.
#1 – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2015)
Notice a common theme among all of the best superhero films? The ones that put a priority on the human element tend to be the best ones. Such is the case with “The Winter Soldier”. But there is so much more to the film. A crafty 70s spy thriller influence is seen all over the story and it melds perfectly with the broader focus. I also love the fact that (aside from the big finale) much of the action was done with old-school practical effects. Everything clicks from opening credits to the end credits stinger. For my money this is Marvel’s best.
Great list and rankings. Kudos for putting Thor in the top 10. That’s one of my favorite Marvel films and it always gets a bum rap as being “trash” from a decent amount of people. I also like your assessment on Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s not bad, but I’m no longer sold on it being so fantastic as everyone says.
Man you have no idea how glad I am to hear both of your takes. Thor is much better than it is given credit for mainly because it knows what it is. It’s entertaining and surprisingly funny. What did you think of The Dark World?
I find Dark World sadly kinda forgettable. Its not even my least favorite Marvel film, that goes to Iron Man 2. But Thor 2 just feels like it’s there, but nothing really matters.
I agree. It spins its wheels a lot and goes no where. I remember sitting in the theater and by the end I was completely disconnected. As for Iron Man 2, I know A LOT of people who agree with your position on it.
Nice list, buddy. That’s a lot of superhero movies to have to sit through…I avoided quite a few of these (and it looks like I made out on top of that one).
Spider-Man 2 and (you’ll love this) Guardians of the Galaxy would probably be at the top of my list, with X2-United, Winter Soldier and Iron Man rounding out the top five. I also have a soft spot for Blade…it was just so badass back in the 90’s.
Wasn’t Blade the coolest? Hey no worries about Guardians. I have a feeling you will be in the vast majority. And I do appreciate it, but I just couldn’t get past a few annoyances. Sounds like Guardians 2 is right around the corner.
“…reinvent the wheel…”
Hey Paul. Somehow I goofed up and deleted you comment while trying to read it. Completely missed you thoughts.
No worries – was just agreeing with much of your Top 10 and advising you should watch Deadpool as it’s great fun. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but has some fine laughs and ultra-violence.
If you were including Marvel TV shows I would definitely have Netflix’s Daredevil in the Top 10. It rocks!
Thanks Paul. I decided to stay away from TV shows and TV movies (to much work to be honest, ha). But I have heard tremendous things about the DD show. And now Punisher is on there, right?
Oh for sure, that makes sense to have internal rules with the piece or it gets out of hand.
Netflix DD is so well done and John Bernthal’s Punisher is now the definitive Frank Castle for me. Marvel’s Jessica Jones is very good too.
Oh that’s right. Bernthal is doing Castle! I can see him fitting right into that role.
Very interesting ranking. You can check out mine here https://letterboxd.com/smilingldsgirl/list/marvel-movies-ranked/
Thanks! Anxious to see yours. Buy your use of the word “interesting” I bet we have a few differences! 🙂
Ha. I havent seen all of the ones you have seen but there are definitely some differences
Good! That will make it more fun!
Very strong list. I disagree with a lot of it but that’s okay. Some more thoughts:
-The Winter Soldier is certainly my favourite MCU film, but if we’re talking all Marvel, I’d rank X-Men 2, Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and maybe even X-Men: First Class above it. The others just hit me on an emotional level a lot stronger. I still really like The Winter Soldier though. Easily the most thematically ambitious film of the MCU.
-I like The Avengers less and less as time goes by. It’s a fun movie to be sure, with a lot of fun dialogue, character, and some cool action, but beneath the surface I find the film to be very shallow and the plotting is very flawed. Hell, there barely is a plot and what little exists makes little sense. Again, a very fun film, but I don’t think it’s the grandslam the internet claimed it was back in 2012.
-On that note, I found Age of Ultron to be a pretty major step down from the first film. Just a mess that doesn’t really go anywhere and doesn’t even fit that well within the continuity. Still some fun stuff, but I don’t think it works all that well.
-I really hate both of the Amazing Spider-Man films. As far as I’m concerned both were a total waste. I wonder if Sony regrets the reboots. Flawed as the third was, I don’t think it was a franchise killer (other film series have come back from worse). I bet Raimi and company could have come back and made a pretty killer fourth flm if they had the chance.
-Surprised to see The Wolverine so high. For me, it doesn’t go deep enough to justify being a full on character study and the more action packed third act is really lame. Awesome train sequence though.
-I’m with you regarding Guardians. Fun movie, but the villain is boring and the climax kind of falters.
-I’d place both Fantastic Four films much lower. It’s not that they’re silly (I like the tone), they just feel so lazy and uninspired. There’s nothing in the way of cool action and the jokes aren’t very funny either. They just feel like dollar bin superhero movies.
-I’ll stick up for Iron Man 3. I don’t love the film (in fact I don’t love any of the Iron Man films) but I do think it works as a superhero blockbusters. The action scenes are far and away the best of the trilogy, I like seeing Tony out of the suit, Black’s comedic sensibilities work well, and the Mandarin twist is one of the most ballsy risks the MCU has done. My only major issue is the third act, which becomes a big dumb action scene with too many suits, the lackluster way said scene ends, and that Guy Pearce’s villain is also boring and lame. Also the Tony PTSD stuff goes nowhere.
-I’ll also stick up for Hulk. It isn’t a good move and Ang Lee was never the right choice for the material, but I at least appreciate the seriousness with which Lee took the assignment. He tried to make something more thoughtful and interesting and will it didn’t really come together the intentions are noble. Plus, I think that film has some interesting stuff scattered throughout.
Phew, sorry for the rant, haha.
It was really fun reading your takes. We definitely had some different reactions but that is part of the fun. Several things: I do think there is some good action in the FF films especially with Surfer. I detested the Manderin twist in Iron Man 3. I agree Ang Lee was a bad fit and I agree there was thought and noble intent put into Hulk. I just think so much of it led to such poor results. The Avengers film is a tricky one. It isn’t a film I see myself visiting over and over, but I’m amazed at how well it comes together as sort of a phase one hub for the MCU. I really disliked Spidey 3 and felt it completely lost its way.
Anyway, I loved comparing thoughts. One thing is for sure, Marvel has given us plenty of movies to talk about, right?
you talk about all these and leave out that picture about the woman that likes cats so much she makes a cat suit and runs around fighting chicks because their makeup ain’t no good? Shame on you mister!!!
Catwoman? Ummm Claude? Never mind.
CATWOMAN is DC, not Marvel.
Yep. But Claude doesn’t always listen to…..reason.
Glad to see no love for X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Those 2 films were horrendous.
No love at all! Amazing 2 was a bad on so many fronts. And isn’t it funny that every movie sense treats X-Men Origins as if it didn’t exist?
[Spoilers for DAYS OF FUTURE PAST]
FOX knows about the movies’ bad reception. That’s why FIRST CLASS didn’t have the word “Origin” in the title. That’s also why, in DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, the timeline was changed specifically to erase what happened in THE LAST STAND and ORIGINS.
Smart move too. Origins fumbled around and botched what it was going for. I think the most frustrating thing for me is that the movie started off really strong before taking a nosedive.
Good list, my friend. It’s basically a bit similar to mine. However, Civil War would be #2 and Guardians of the Galaxy would be #1.
Guardians #1? It doesn’t surprise me but it does. I mean I know so many people love that film, but I just see it as having some pretty big flaws. I’m in the minority for sure.
Wow kudos to you for putting these all together in order! what a mighty task that is! I would put one or two in different spots (I’d put Guardians a little higher on the list, maybe around 14 or 15 and I would drop Winter Soldier out of the top five actually lol! I know! I know! Controversial! Me and that film so did not get along that well. I found it boring, actually but I have to see it again I think. It gets such praise from virtually every person I know. Also agree with Deacon up above, it’s cool to see Thor crack the top 10
I’ve seen Winter Soldier three times now and I just love it. Some of that may be tied to my adoration for the Ed Brubaker comic storyline the film is based on. It is such a fabulous story and the movie does a good job of telling it without letting their creative changes ruin it. As for Thor, man it is just too much fun. I love how it plays with its absurdity.
-0/10: Ghost Rider 2; Punisher War Zone.
-1/10: Howard the Duck; Ghost Rider.
-3/10: Captain America (1990); Blade Trinity; Fantastic Four 2015.
-4/10: Daredevil; The Incredible Hulk.
-5/10: Elektra; X-Men 3; X-Men Origins – Wolverine; Iron-Man 2; Captain America 2.
-6/10: Blade I & II; The Punisher (2004); X-Men – First Class; Captain America 1; The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
-7/10: X-Men 1 & 2; Hulk; Fantastic Four 1 & 2; Spider-Man 3; Iron-Man 1 & 3; Thor 1 & 2.
-8/10: The Amazing Spider-Man; Ant-Man; Captain America 3.
-9/10: Spider-Man 1 & 2; The Avengers 1 & 2; X-Men – Days of Future Past; Guardians of the Galaxy; Deadpool.
I forgot The Wolverine (5/10).
That one seems to get mixed reactions.
Some interesting ratings. Elektra getting the same score as Winter Soldier? Ant-Man and Guardians are loved by most but I don’t get it. Good movies with obvious flaws. Really surprised to see Hulk, Spidey 3, and Iron Man 3 so high. I think all three are terrible.
I did leave a few obvious ones out mainly due to how disconnected they are to what Marvel movies are now. Howard the Duck (which I hated) and Dolph Lundgren’s Punisher movie (not much better) fall into those categories.
Loved reading this. I’ve seen all of these except the latest X-Men flick. I have also watched Punisher: War Zone, Blade Trinity, and Deadpool. War Zone is so bad it’s awesome, Trinity is just plain bad, and Deadpool is just plain awesome. I will say it you hate the character in the comics then you might be making a wise choice to skip the movie.
A few movies I’d probably rank higher:
Thor: The Dark World
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men 2 (definitely ahead of the original)
Some I’d drop like a rock:
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Iron Man 2
Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Incredible Hulk
FYI, Bubbawheat ranked all the Marvel movies on his site (Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights) in a podcast. He came with something in the neighborhood of 80. Then again, he included the TV movies from the 70s and 80s as well as all the Marvel Animated stuff.
Hey thanks for the comments Wendell. I definitely stayed away from TV movies (there have been many of them) and some of the further out feature films (Lundgren’s Punisher, Howard the Duck, the 1995 Fantastic 4). They all seem so disconnected to what Marvel movies have generally become.
I loved the original Deadpool when he was a member of X-Force and with his early teamups with Cable. But then Marvel creative turned into a comedy act which was funny at first but grew tiring. Then they went a step further and gave him the crude and vulgar gimmick. By that point I had had enough.
Ah yes, Ant-Man and Guardians. Both are beloved by most but I see them as two movies with almost identical problems.
X-Men (2000) would probably be laughed at if released today. It is a bit cheesy and the visuals aren’t quite what they are today. But I was almost 30 when it came out and I still have the same perspective now as I had then. It was the film that truly legitimized superhero movies as a quality genre. It really started with X-Men and I have to give it a ton of credit for that. X2 is certainly good. I don’t like their handling of Cyclops, but still I great movie.
So many second outings exceed the first, it is a disappointment that Iron Man 2 is not one of them. I will disagree on the two Ghost Rider films. The first was dreck but Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance is dreck with the lead character pissing flame. That equal it being better. Oh, did I mention that sometimes I’m still 12.
We are both still 12 I think ! 😉
I think Ghost Rider (a bad movie) was a little better, but honestly that isn’t a compliment. 😉
Great job with the rankings and including concise descriptions on why. Everyone might have their own take, some movies up or some down the list, but it’s always interesting to see how our lists compare. I enjoy Captain America: The Winter Soldier even more with repeat viewings, it holds up really well and so many great moments.
Winter Soldier does hold up well. Have you read the comic storyline it was based on? It is available in hardback now and is well worth checking out. It was written by Ed Brubaker. The film does a wonderful job of capturing that while still doing its own thing.
I read the comic story line, I think around the time or shortly after the movie came out to be honest. That’s another thing I appreciate about the movie on rewatches is seeing what the screenwriters incorporated but didn’t feel beholden to the source material.
Wait…there have been 40?!! A fun list, though I’m surprised by how many I haven’t seen (Daredevil, Elektra, the Blade sequels, the Ghost Rider films, the 2 most recent Spider-Man films, X-men spin-offs like The Wolverine, the first two FF movies). Naturally like everyone else I’d rank some higher and some lower – I liked Ang Lee’s Hulk, for example – but I completely agree that last year’s Fantastic Four was the worst.
To be honest there are technically more than 40. But I really wanted to confine it to this most recent Marvel Movie identity. I will say most of those films you haven’t seen aren’t worth catching up with. I did really like Blade II. Guillermo del Toro directed it and it is good, tongue-in-cheek, ultra violent fun.
I remember leaving the theater thinking Ang Lee’s Hulk was okay. Over time I have grown to detest it. I’ve seen it a couple of times since and get more and more annoyed with the creative choices. From gamma-enhanced killer poodles to the excruciating, long daddy issue ending. I just can’t get on board with it.
I do remember watching a Spider-man film as a young kid, and I guess there was that earlier Captain America film.
Nice list Keith. I’m not the biggest superhero guy in the world, but I actually didn’t hate Spider-Man 3 as much as everyone else. It certainly wasn’t a good movie, but I did find some of the action enjoyable and liked it more than the reboot that came out a couple of years ago.
Also, why is the Thing from the new Fantastic Four movie not wearing any pants?
Ah yes, the pants-less Thing. That became a topic when some of the first screenshots came out. As with much of that film, I have no intelligent or logical explanation for that creative decision!
I will say Spidey 3 had some things going for it. My main beef was that it was waaay overstuffed. Trying to juggle three villains then throwing them all together in the big finale proved to be a lot to handle.
What a great idea for a post Keith! LOVE your top 5 picks, I agree with #1 wholeheartedly.
Thanks Ruth. They have certainly given us a lot of movies to talk about!
I’d actually have Thor as number 1, love that movie even though it’s difficult looking at Hiddles these days 😆 Daredevil is one of the most unintentionally hilarious movies ever made
Thor #1? Nice! I think that movie gets way more hate than it deserves. And even though some don’t necessarily hate it, they often dismiss it.
I really like it – it’s fun, the protagonist is likable and i love his chemistry with Jane. And it is one of the few Marvel movies with good villain
100% agree – one of the few with a good villain. That is a problem you see scattered all through the list – poor and paper thin villains.
Great list Keith, must have taken quite some time to think on them all and rank them! Mine would be different in a lot of places for sure, but I love your reasoning behind them all.
Ahhhh, I will always defend DeHaan’s casting as Harry though, I loved him! Definitely a fan of Blade, and glad to see them rank rather high on your list. As for The Wolverine? That would have been way lower on my list 😦 It is the one X-Men film I outright hated. The Punisher so high up makes me so happy, I freaking LOVE that movie and I don’t think it gets the respect it deserves. And as for The Winter Soldier being your favourite in the number one spot? I can TOTALLY get behind that! Gosh, the more I think about it, the more difficult this list is to narrow down haha!
Hey Zoe, thanks for reading it. I turned out to be a lot tougher than I thought. So you like DeHaan as Harry? As for Blade, it was funny. I had both of those on the list but the more I narrowed it down the more I remembered how much I appreciated them. And it is GREAT to hear some shared Punisher love. So unfairly dismissed by many. I was really hoping Jane would return to that role. Winter Soldier…let’s applaud its greatness together!!!
🙂 It was a pleasure to read! Yep, I thoroughly enjoyed him as Harry, and I am a huge DeHaan fan. Even as a fan I was a little worried, but the moment I saw him in action, I was sold! Yeah, the Blade movies are actually really entertaining watches, and while rough, bring a lot to the table, most of it enjoyable. The Punisher gets WAY too much hate (a colleague and I spent a chunk of time just now defending it to a student here haha). Jane was FANTASTIC. I could never, ever get through the sequel for it, and I did try. It just wasn’t what I wanted. Heck, when I bought The Punisher for my collection it (shockingly) came with the cover for the first and the DVD for the second. I was horrified and sent it back, and pleased when the screw up was rectified – totally don’t want that in my collection. Yay, spans of Winter Soldier love!
LOL! The DVD for the second one? What a fail. Have you happened to see the very first Punisher movie? It starred Dolph Lundgren. Pretty bad!
Right?! That was horrible! I have seen it around, but I don’t think I have ever watched it. It just looks… so bad xD
It’s really bad. It’s just so ridiculous.
Wow! Loving the list! Extremely well thought out and I’m, agreeing in general. Although Spider-man 2 would be in the first place for me, followed by Spider-man. Very cool!
Thank you! Hey, I couldn’t argue Spidey 2 being #1. It is so great. This was tricky for me as a whole, but I will say I knew my #1 and #2 from the very start. No other movie really challenged Winter Soldier and Spidey 2. Such a fan of both films.
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You really hit the nail on the head, especially with those bottom few. #37 through #31 I wasn’t even going to bother watching, but then again, I felt as though I’d be out of the loop.
I’m not even going to lie to you; Ghost Rider used to be my favourite movie when I was wee small. However, Spirit of Vengeance really did NOT hit me in the same way- and even rewatching the first Ghost Rider now has me like…. wow, all right.
I considered Spider Man 3 so like…. I have never PHYSICALLY cringed during a movie, but do you remember the scene where he suddenly became a “badass” and got the suit and like slicked his hair to the side? I was screaming in pain; like, legitimately screaming.
I think that Blade is just a film of its time! It’s that type of movie that you can love ironically, and I do love it ironically haha! There’s just something about the cheesy dialogue, set up in such a dry, unbecoming way. It’s like watching those old 50s movies where they talk way too fast and without any rhythm; kills me every time!
I loved The Amazing Spiderman because I love Emma Stone. That’s all there is to say on the matter.
Of course, X-Men will always be in my heart!
I need to stop before I comment on every movie. You’re the article writer here hahaha! I’ve just been really enjoying the amount of Marvel movies coming out. Seeing characters that you enjoy reading and playing in games on the big screen; it’s such a great thing! I just have a lot to say, but overall, I agree with 90% of this list!
Thanks so much and I loved your comments. Great observation on Blade. It was a movie of its time which is fine. I do remember the Spidey 3 scenes you mention. Doesn’t he go into a club and start playing the piano or something? Eeck!
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Excellent list and explanations/defense of many titles, Keith.
I especially liked The First Avenger for it’s original Jack Kirby feel and look of Hydra’s weapons, toys, aircraft and tanks. Also forgave the flip-flop on Bucky Barnes from comic book camp mascot to Marshall Thompson type warrior.
Never was much of a Blade fan. Though I did admire Vincent D’Onfrio’s turn as The Kingpin in the recent Netflix Daredevil series.
Also high marks for Jon Favreau’s initial Iron Man . Which got so many thinks right, Especially Stark’s first heavy, clunky Iron Man suit!
Thanks so much. Really fun lost to do and it was a strong reminder of just how many movies they have put out. I love what you say about the Jack Kirby feel. That’s such a great way of describing The First Avenger. I also thought Hugo Weaving was really good as Red Skull.
I (and I think , everyone) was not sure exactly how Red Skull was going to be pulled off. Especially after the many failures of rubber and metal masks in cinema. Skeletor from He-Man and Dr. Doom from 2005’s The Fantastic Four leaps to mind!
Especially high marks to the film’s make-up and effects crew for creating such an eerie, reflective masterpiece for Mr. Weaving!
Ooooh yes! That Skeletor mask! Isn’t that the Dolph Lundgren picture?
Yep….. Also had one of my favorite arrogant, oblivious secondary character actor cast members, Jon Cypher (Chief Fletcher Daniels of Hill Street Blues ) as Duncan, Man-At-Arms.
Captain america the winter soldier is the only movie I can see 100 of time without getting bored
It’s superb. I’ve seen it so many times yet never get tired of it.
Great list. I really like apocalypse though!
I really feel I need to give it another look.
Yeah. It was really overlooked since it came out the same time as some other big movies.
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I was about to ask “Where’s ‘Avengers: Infinity War’?” when I realised the article’s from 2016 (LOL).
Ha Ha! Yep. It could definitely use an update.
I hate to say it, but… I really loved X-Men: The Last Stand.
Really? Interesting. For me they immediately got off on the wrong foot. Killing Cyclops in such a terrible way was just too much.
That was tragic, but that was my first X-Men movie, and I haven’t read the Marvel Comics, so I wasn’t “attached” to the character. Plus, it established pretty clearly which direction Jean and her dual personalities were going.
For me it was Fax getting Cyclops out of the way so they could focus on the relationship they really wanted – Jean and Logan.
That was tragic – how it ended, anyway.
Not sure why I typed “Fax”! LOL