With the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel films now have 11 (!!) inter-connected movies, and this is a perfect time to re-post my thoughts on the ranking of the first 10. While they all figure cool aspects and fans most likely own them all, some are definitely better than others. In that vein, Top Ten Marvel Films countdown:
10) The Incredible Hulk – Props to Edward Norton for taking the big green guy seriously, but the movie is a bit too serious and saps the fun of the character proven when finally done right in ‘The Avengers.’
9) Iron Man 2 – Despite some cool scenes (suitcase armor!) and a riffing Downey Jr., the movie fizzles towards the end without a solid theme.
8) Thor: The Dark World – Immensely watchable when Loki is on-screen, but the main villain is unfortunately just pure menace. Hemsworth is still perfectly suited, but I like this one a little less than the original . . .
7) Thor – This was the movie I was leery of as a comic fan, but Brannagh is able to create a captivating Asgard and a plausible entry into the cosmic side of the galaxy by utilizing the classic culture-shock trope, dropping the main character on Earth, stripped of power.
6) Captain America: The First Avenger – While kind of sanitizing the horrors of WW2, this film effectively plays with the idea of US propaganda and what it means to have the heart of a hero. A great Cap is finally realized with the help of Tommy Lee Jones (?!), and this movie really starts tying the disparate elements of all the movies together.
5) Iron Man 3 – Downey at his best with comic-action’s finest, Shane Black, at the helm. There’s been much griping of the handling of Stark’s arch-villain but in the end this was an inspired choice – centering the movie back to the man himself was smart as well. There’s much about this one that tops the original . . . But . . .
4) Iron Man – is the film that started it all and gets the deserved credit. How a washed-up, seemingly lost, yet immensely talented actor and a comedy director saved the Marvel Universe. This movie is perfectly cast and grounded in reality – the perfect vehicle to pull audiences into this crazy comic-book world to the point that they will follow this trusted brand to the other side of the galaxy . . .
3) Guardians of the Galaxy – the riskiest film in the franchise is also the most irresistibly fun, and surprisingly, emotional. Introducing this audience to the most out-there concepts (Infinity stones! The Kree! Rocket Raccoon!) using basically unfamiliar characters (even to many superhero fans), through human connection and awesome 70’s pop hits . . . And they somehow pull it off . . . Great time at the movies
2) Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Probably the most engrossing of all the films, this sequel is a mystery in the vein of 70’s political conspiracy thrillers (and even features a prominent Robert Redford! ). Featuring both Evans and Johannsen’s best turns in character, as they (and the movie) question the very nature of the organization that brought them all together in . . .
1) The Avengers – while ‘The Dark Knight’ is the comic book masterpiece, it’s ‘The Avengers’ that happens to realize the true feel of superheroes on celluloid. I don’t need to say more – everyone has seen this movie and as an almost 30-year Marvel Comics fan I say Thank You for supporting these great characters in bringing them to big-budget quality life . . .