Marvel Comics has been pumping out a cornucopia of flicks for a while now, including the 1944 Captain America and the 1994 unreleased, smaller-budget Fantastic Four, but now more than ever the comics studio is captivating the earth as one of the snazziest and most epic brands in cinema. The Marvel Studios universe is expanding, Guardians of the Galaxy propelling the company to ridiculous heights, making it about time to go through the roster of superhero adaptations to figure out which have been awesome successes, and which bitter, disturbing failures.
For your nerdy pleasure, I’ve compiled a list of the five best and five worst Marvel Studios films since right before Y2K, not only from Tony Stark’s universe but from Wolverine’s and Wesley Snipes’ as well. Films were rated by how epic they were on the awesome side, and how much they made us want to solder our retinas on the horrifying side.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Just an honest to goodness film about a chemically jacked American guy caught in the middle of political stuff, while fighting giant flying boats with Scarlett Johansson just being hot in every way.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
After a series of kinda disappointing X-Men films, this one raised the bar considerably with scary-ass, shapeshifting, death robots, a badass performance by Hugh Jackman (only he could time travel to a naked lady), a well written story, and fucking Peter Dinklage.
Featuring Wesley Snipes and vampires, this movie had more balls than any of the Marvel Universe films that came after. Maybe not the best made film in some ways, but its utter ridiculousness puts it in the top five (and also, Wesley Snipes).
Marvel’s The Avengers
All our favorite superheroes (besides Batman, that ass) in one movie, spouting tongue-in-cheek lines written by the god of all nerds Joss Whedon and also an ultimately useless but awesome NYC battle? Comic fan-gasm! Also, Mark Ruffalo as the only good Hulk so far.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Absolutely the best from Marvel so far, in every category (especially music). We are Groot. Forever and ever and ever.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
How can one movie ruin Galactus and the Silver Surfer all in under two hours?
Who at Marvel thought it would be a good idea to let Toby Maguire go all emo with his character? This film was so terrible, they had to reboot the franchise almost immediately with an English actor just to make us forget about this third installment.
Zero character development, awful villains, and the worst choreography ever made this nigh unwatchable, but somehow spawned Elektra, which was even worse.
X-Men: The Last Stand
The Golden Gate Bridge scene? Almost as nonsensical as Jean Grey exploding people, Magneto losing all credibility (who sends in all the pawns first?), and the plot in its entirety. Kudos to whoever wrote the line, “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” though, but seriously.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
How there is even a sequel to the first film in which Nicolas Cage’s head catches on fire is a mystery, but it’s not so mysterious that it’s even worse than its predecessor.
And Bonus: The Worse Than It Should Have Been
X-Men: First Class
No matter how many people tell me this film is awesome, I just can’t agree. The mutants were utterly ridiculous, the plot was nonsense, some of the writing made me want to cringe, and the whole epic friendship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr was boiled down to one stupid chess game. “Mutant and Proud?” Epicly bad schlock. The only redeeming quality was Hugh Jackman’s cameo. At least the sequel overshadowed this weirdly loved cinematic failure.