April 28, 2011

The definitive list: Marvel Comics movies from Best to Worst

Once again, because no one demanded it, the crack staff (to borrow a phrase from the now-defunct but still-great Hatemongers Quarterly blog) here at Colossus has compiled the DEFINITIVE (and quite subjective) list of Marvel Comics films from best to totally dreadful. Omitted from this list are made-for-TV productions, but included are flicks that ended up going straight to video (or were sorta meant to -- see #24). Also, omitted is "Elektra," which we (remarkably) haven't seen yet.

#1. X-2: X-MEN UNITED. Has it all, frankly: Superb, smart script, constant action and a fanboy orgasmic cliffhanger. Nasty government agent William Stryker mounts an assault on the mutants, and Prof Xavier's team has to team up with Magneto's squad.

#2. IRON MAN. Just a smidgen behind "X-2," Robert Downey Jr. is stupendous as Tony Stark/Iron Man in this brilliantly done origin tale by director John Favreau.

#3. SPIDER-MAN 2. Pete Parker battles his classic nemesis Doc Ock in this sequel. Alfred Molina as the villain is perfect, although he shouldn't go shirtless when on the attack in Manhattan (see left).

#4. BLADE. Marvel's first "big" feature flick, it was a chance, too, with its "R" rating. And it proved awesome: Wesley Snipes shines as the protagonist and Stephen Dorff is delightfully diabolical as the baddie. Not to mention, the opening sequence is slam-bang hard to beat.

#5. SPIDER-MAN. Superbly done origin tale with Tobey Maguire superbly cast as teen geek Peter Parker who chances into amazing powers. Willem Dafoe is villain the Green Goblin, but they should have allowed his helmet to show his naturally disturbing facial features.

#6. THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Light years better than the first Jade Giant flick (see waaaay below), you rarely can go wrong casting Edward Norton in a starring role. And Tim Roth as villain the Abomination and Liv Tyler as Norton's love interest? Hoo-yah!

#7. IRON MAN 2. A worthy sequel to be sure with more Iron action than the debut movie, but at the same time it loses some of the story-telling magic of its predecessor. Oh, and I know I'm in the minority, but Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes is still way better than Don Cheadle.

#8. X-MEN. Marvel's skillfully done first "mainstream" blockbuster featuring the merry mutants. Hard to go wrong with folks like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen at the helm. Hugh Jackman debuts as Wolverine making him a household name. Too bad Wolvie is actually supposed to be about five feet tall, and Jackman is 6'4".

#9. X-MEN 3: THE LAST STAND. The cinematic take on the "Dark Phoenix" saga, it succeeds pretty darn well. Jean Grey's dark side takes over, and she threatens the entire planet. Kelsey Grammer's Beast is terrific.

#10. DAREDEVIL. Ben Affleck does a neat job portraying one of his favorite comic heroes. The story gets a bit bogged down trying to do too much (Elektra, Bullseye, and the Kingpin in one film), but overall it's better than many people remember. Colin Farrell is delightfully wicked as Bullseye, too, by the way.

#11. X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. Good origin yarn about the Canuck mutant. I still think Wolvie would have been in a lot more agony when he got his adamantium, and the whole Sabertooth thing (why's he look so different in "X-Men" and why does he not mention his kinship to Wolvie?) leaves one scratching his head.

#12. BLADE 2. The vampires come to Blade to help them track down and eradicate a mutant strain of their own dubbed the "Reapers." Why? Because the Reapers feed on vampires as well as humans. D'oh!

#13. SPIDER-MAN 3. A good example of "trying to do too much" in a second sequel, Spidey takes on no less than the Green Goblin, Sandman and Venom in this flick. Loses [major] points for the total silliness of Parker's antics after the Venom symbiote affects his personality.

#14. BLADE: TRINITY. Cool concept in having Blade tackle the ultimate vampire -- Dracula -- but hindered by the silly, snappy dialogue of Ryan Reynolds and the vampires that awaken Drac. Bonus points, however, for Jessica Biel as Whistler's daughter.

#15. FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER. The FF films are known as Marvel's "family" flicks, but the addition of the Sentinel of the Spaceways (voiced by Laurence Fishburn) adds some decent pep to this story. Lameness: Galactus as a big "space cloud," and Julian McMahon as Doc Doom (again).

#16. PUNISHER: WAR ZONE. Marvel's third attempt at a Frank Castle flick, and it's their most violent, garnering a Blade-ish "R" rating. But third time's not a charm, even though this is the best of the three tries. And WTF is up with Ray Stevenson's Bazooka Joe-esque wardrobe?

#17. FANTASTIC FOUR. Cookie cutter fare with a total miscasting of Julian McMahon as Dr. Doom, not to mention giving Doom cosmic ray-spawned powers just like the FF. Also misplaced was the subplot of Ben Grimm (The Thing) feeling sorry for himself and ditching the team. Ugh.

#18. GHOST RIDER. Since Nick Cage's best acting performance was 28 years ago ("Valley Girl"), only the smokin' Eva Mendes elevates this origin tale. But hardly. (At right: Cage's acting skills go down in flames.)

#19. HULK. Lame reworking of the origin, lame casting of Nick Nolte, and lame idea of making Nolte an Absorbing Man-type villain ... coupled with herky-jerk split-screen antics? LAME.

#20. THE PUNISHER. Straight-to-video (in the US) offering starring Dolph "Ivan Drago" Lundgren as Frank Castle. No, Lundgren doesn't say "I must break you" to the thugs he offs. (At left: Lundgren says of his latest victim: "If he dies, he dies.")

#21. THE PUNISHER. Remarkably, lamer than the Lundgren version. Thomas Jane's dye job looks ridiculous, and John Travolta as the villain is at his "Battlefield Earth" worst.

#22. HOWARD THE DUCK. Yep, this is a Marvel property, and yep, they made a rather pathetic film out of it starring 80s film fave Lea Thompson.

#23. CAPTAIN AMERICA. A unattractive protagonist with the physique of a 60 year old? Check. The Red Skull an Italian instead of Hitler's right-hand man? Check. Cap thwarting a missile attack on Washington DC ... by kicking the missile off course? Yep. Worth "Mystery Science Theatre 3000"-style viewings only.

#24. THE FANTASTIC FOUR. What do you do when you have only a $1.5 million budget and you're about to lose film rights for the property? You make this dreadful fiasco. Only available via bootleg copy (it was never released, even straight to video), the plot, effects and acting are so pathetic that it makes the above "Captain America" look like an Oscar-winning film.

Posted by Hube at April 28, 2011 10:31 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I didn't like X-Men II for the way they dissed Mastermind, one of my favorite all time villains. They didn't even give him the right name. For the record, I think the bald guy from Lost (John Locke) would make a better Professor X than Stewart. He's even got wheelchair experience.

Out of the list my favorites would have to be Blade, The Hulk (second one) and Ghost Rider, flawed though it was. FF Rise of The Silver Surfer was just okay. They could have done without Doom for sure, but I didn't have a problem with the way Galactus was portrayed. In fact, I liked it. More of an aura of mystery. Plus, the cloud, thing, whatever it was, did vaguely look like him.

Most of these movies try to do too much, that's their major flaw. They should stick to one villain, and focus on building that origin and back story. Just an opinion.

I'll tell you who would make a good Punisher, and he even looks like him somewhat, is "The Rock".

Posted by: ThePaganTemple at April 29, 2011 08:37 AM

although the x-man films were all good,there were huge mistakes made in the series. the angel and the beast were both part of the first of x-men but were not seen until the third movie. daredevil,spider-man and ironman were very good because they delt with the origins so well. i think in order for the x-man series to move forward,you have to introduce the new mutants to the series,cannonball,sunspot,wolfsbane and the rest. one question how does chris evans play the torch and cap?

Posted by: james barnes at May 14, 2011 06:24 PM