This year has been quite amazing for comic book movies. Before this summer started I mistakenly declared it impossible that Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2, Wonder Woman, and Spiderman Homecoming would all be good films. Not only was I wrong, these movies were so good it made me rethink my top 10 lists.
And boy do I have a ton of top 10 lists. Top 10 comic book movies, Top 10 DC films, Top 10 MCU films, Top 10 EGTU films (Ernest Goes to… Universe).
There is still one list that I have neglected to create. So, I decided to generate one right now, the 10 Movies/TV Shows featuring Marvel characters. And yes, I’m sure if you created one, it would probably be different (and wronger) than mine. Feel free to scream angrily at your computer/smart phone screen as I rank these Marvel properties. I call them “properties” because I will be incorporating the MCU films, Marvel TV shows, and non-MCU Marvel films into one list. Because really, why not?
Here we go.
Let’s first start with the honorable mentions, the Marvel films and shows I enjoy that for some reason or another got left out of my top 10. These include, X-Men: First Class (“you left that one out!), Deadpool (“what, how dare you”), X-2 (but that’s my favorite X-Men film”!), Spider-Man 2 (“but he stops a train!”), Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (“I hate this list already!”), Daredevil: Season 2 (“Okay, I’m fine with this”).
10. Iron Man
This film is the reason the MCU exists, in fact it might have a lot to do with why comic book movies are so popular today. The success of Iron Man proved that not only can a great comicbook movie be made, but A-list actors can come out of them. Before Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt and all the other Chris’s, there was Robert Downey Jr. playing the role he was born to play.
9. Spider-Man: Homecoming
There are so many wonderful things about this film. Of course, Tom Holland makes an excellent Spider-Man. In a world full of greatly over-powered Avengers, it’s refreshing to have a true underdog. Michael Keaton makes a terrifying Vulture, but the villain also make sense. When other films feature generic villains, who want to do villain stuff solely because they are villains (that was a good sentence), you empathize with a blue collar construction worker who is just trying to feed his family. Wouldn’t you resort to crime when the world gets torn apart by a bunch of elitist superheroes? If you had some alien tech you might.
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past
I know a good number of people don’t like this film, but I love it. A time traveling narrative was a clever excuse to use the best of the old and the new guard. Not only does this film feature the legends of Stewart and McKellen, but it also includes rising stars like McAvoy and Jackman. The classic comic book story rewritten so that Huge Jackman is thrown back in time only makes the story better. Plus, Jennifer Lawrence can be great…when she cares. Bryan Singer might be an inconsistent director, but he had the best of both worlds here. X-Men First Class may have been an adrenalin shot to the heart of the franchise, but Days of Future Past showed us that a good X-Men film with the characters we all loved from the comics is possible. I still contest that the opening Sentinel fight scene is one of the best cinematic uses of the X-Men’s powers. Of course, Singer screwed it up in Apocalypse, but I will give him a pass on the greatness of the Quicksilver scene alone.
7. Daredevil: Season 1:
Just like Iron Man, Netflix’s Daredevil kicked off its own shared universe, the Marvel TV universe (MTVU?). I know I labeled Tom Holland’s Spider-Man as Marvel’s underdog, but I take that back. Daredevil sure does get his ass kicked a ton, yet when it happens to him it looks like it genuinely hurts. I’m pretty sure I got out of breath just watching the hallway fight sequence. Yes, it’s a crime that it took me two sentences before I even mentioned Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal of the Kingpin. It’s great, and they didn’t kill him off, even better.
The show does suffer some lulls in the action. Some argue that the season needs to be shorten by a few episodes, and the “I can’t have love because I’m Daredevil thing” does get old.
6. Marvel’s Avengers
To say Joss Whedon had some work cut out for him would be a monumental understatement. Every MCU film up to this point was laying the ground works for this team up. In fact, Captain America: First Avenger and Iron Man 2, were simply extended previews, a promise of an epic film to come.
This still might be the funniest MCU film to date, with some burst out laughing moments (Galaga guy, puny god). Avengers also gives every hero a chance to shine, even the stupid ones, like Hawkeye. It could be argued if Avengers didn’t work the comic book movie bubble might have popped a long time ago. This film still holds up especially when you compare it to the disappointing Batman V Superman: Dawn of I Just Feel Asleep Writing This.
The first rated-R Wolverine film did not disappoint. Logan is comprised of everything you would want in a Wolverine film; severed arms, berserker screaming, claws inserted into foreheads. It is a superhero movie for grown-ups (as much as loving comicbook movies makes you a grown up). Take away the superhero element and this film comes down to a man just trying to protect his daughter…a daughter who can slice people’s head off.
Logan does become a bit of a downer. Not only are we subjected to Wolverine wiping puss off his claws we also get to see the comicbook world’s greatest mild succumb to alzheimer’s. And man it is truly depressing.
Yet Logan isn’t without it’s claws…I mean flaws…see what I did there? There is no true antagonist, and the “your worst enemy is yourself” trope comes into full swing here. I’m not sure if actually having Sabertooth as the main villain would have made this film better or worse, though.
4. Jessica Jones
To some, this might be incredibly too high. You might be asking, How could you rank a Netflix TV show above great films like Logan? Well, to answer that question we must start with the villain. Kilgrave played by David Tennant is no doubt (meaning if you doubted it, you would be wrong) the greatest MCU villain to date. A man who can control people with his mind could have come off extremely cheesy, but man was it terrifying. The show even did something I didn’t think was possible, it then flipped the script and made you actually like the bad guy, even after all the terrible stuff he did. In terms of writing, Jessica Jones brought with it an amazing storyline, a great arc for the villain, and a satisfying (to the determent of any future seasons) conclusion.
There are some slow moments in the season for sure, and the quality of the series does rely too heavily on David Tennant’s performance. The scene were Kilgrave escapes from his prison was amazing though. ”Put a bullet in your skull Patsy.”
3. Captain American: Winter Soldier
The MCU’s version of a spy thriller, Winter Solider warns of a government too concerned with national security to the detriment of the rights and freedoms of its people (sound familiar?). The Russo brothers, who came from a string of television comedies, proved they deserve to direct high budget comic book movies. This was the first time we got a good feel for Captain America’s powers. Captain America: First Avenger had all its action sequences clumped into montages, and in the Avengers, Cap is simply pointing and dodging CGI aliens. Winter Soldier showed how truly badass Cap can be.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
I have seen this film…I want to say….100 times. The fact that my 2-and-a-half-year-old son was obsessed with this film and wanted to watch it every day for several months should have ruined this film for me. Yet, I never really got tired of it. Guardians of the Galaxy might have the greatest ending of all comic book movies. Tell me you didn’t tear up a bit when Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, and Rocket defeated Ronan by holding hands. This film has humor, it has heart, great characters, and impressive performances. It turned Chris Pratt into a household name, and Batista into an “actor.”
Of course, the villain is sort of forgettable, but that’s really not the point of the film. It’s about these unlikely heroes coming together to form a family. AWWW!
1. Captain America: Civil War
I have read a good deal of (wrong) Marvel top 10 lists. Some have this movie pretty high in their list, and some have it painfully low (meaning it causes when pain when I read it). Disregarding the fact that this might be Robert Downey Jr’s best MCU performance, and this might have the greatest action sequence in comic book movie history, this is truly a great film.
“But I don’t like my superheroes fighting each other,” says the rhetorical person I made up to kick off my argument. What is more topical than people fighting each other over politics? It totally makes sense why these heroes are fighting. Their motivations are set perfectly in this universe, probably even better than in the comics, Captain America’s loyalty to Bucky vs Iron Man’s relentless need to protect the planet.
The main criticize I hear of this film is the villain is pretty lame. But is he? Let’s examine Zemo. He single-handedly was able to trick the Avengers into fighting each other, but in a Not-Dawn-of-Justice-this makes-no-sense kind of way. When every other comic book film ends with the heroes fighting an endless swarm of CGI monsters, or one CGI monster, or one Hula-hopping CGI fashion model and her CGI lackey, Civil War concludes with two friend coming to blows.
In fact, I will go as far as to say Captain America Civil War is the greatest comic book movie of all time.