Ever since the announcement some time ago, I have been more than excited about the forthcoming Marvel’s Avengers Assemble. Not only did it feature on our Most Anticipated Films of 2012 podcast, it also starred in my Most Anticipated Summer Blockbusters post, we’re fast approaching the release date (26th April, not that I’m counting down the days).
To celebrate the release, and refresh my memory a little; I worked my way through all previous Marvel films. Even the bad ones. My scores for each film are at the bottom of the post, but here are my top five favourite Marvel films of all time (so far).
X2 : X-Men United
RELEASED: May 2, 2003 | DIRECTOR: Bryan Singer | CERTIFICATE: 12 | RUN TIME: 133 minutes | CAST: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Anna Paquin
Ihave loved the X-Men franchise since I watched the cartoons on Saturday morning TV when I was little. Re-watching the first X-Men film was quite a shock as I didn’t realise just how dated the special effects looked. Thankfully, time has been more forgiving on X2. Featuring my favourite mutant (Nightcrawler; above), this sequel is not only visually superior, the plot and acting have also improved considerably. I love learning about backstories, and Wolverine’s is explored much more successfully than the terrible X-Men Origins.
Bryan Singer proved that superhero films really meant business with the release of X2. Fans of the previous film won’t be disappointed, as it’s just like the first only so much better. As if you need more reasons to watch it; Ian McKellen continues to be just awesome as Magneto.
RELEASED: June 30, 2004 | DIRECTOR: Sam Raimi | CERTIFICATE: 12A | RUN TIME: 128 minutes | CAST: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris, J. K. Simmons
The second sequel in my selection, Spider-Man 2 is, like the X-Men films, similar to the first but so much better. Even though it’s still a little cheesy (all good comic book adaptations should have just a hint of cheese), Alfred Molina as Doc Oc is one of my favourite baddies of all time. Intelligent, driven mad with power and just a hint of remorse, I seriously would not want to mess with him.
Sam Raimi successfully fuses heart with action in Spiderman 2, as it is more emotional, more powerfully and way more aesthetically pleasing than the first. Tobey Maguire’s acting has improved considerably, proving a maturity he didn’t possess in the first.
RELEASED: May 6, 2011 | DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh | CERTIFICATE: 12A | RUN TIME: 114 minutes | CAST: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Rene Russo, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba
When I originally saw Thor back in the summer of last year, Movie Writing was only getting started. I was blown away by the beautiful CGI effects and Kenneth Brannagh’s magnificent directing. Watching it again on blu ray I was a little concerned I wouldn’t love it quite so much, in one less dimension. I needn’t have worried.
Just as gorgeous as I remember it (and I’m not just talking about Hemsworth, ho ho), Thor is just brilliant. Slightly different to the standard comic book adaptation, it is faithful to the genre to keep fans amused but original enough to attract new fans. Also, Idris Elba’s Heimdall is just as badass as I remember him being.
X-Men : First Class
RELEASED: June 1, 2011 | DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughn | CERTIFICATE: 12A | RUN TIME: 132 minutes | CAST: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence
As much as I hate to repeat myself in lists, I couldn’t compile my favourite Marvel films without X-Men First Class being amongst them. One of my favourite films of 2011, Matthew Vaughn’s prequel is nothing less than brilliant. Re-watching it was just as delightful as seeing it the first time, and surprisingly January Jones didn’t annoy me as much as she did when I saw this in the cinema.
Amazing acting from Fassbender (overexposure to him has resulted in a bit of a fascination for him, I think it’s his teeth..), McAvoy and Lawrence to name but a few, it successfully explores the backstories behind some of Marvel’s favourite characters. I also loved the appearance of Beast (Nicholas Hoult who proves he’s a much better actor than Skins gives him credit for), Havok and Darwin. Retro Marvel simply at its best.
RELEASED: May 2, 2008 | DIRECTOR: Jon Favreau | CERTIFICATE: 12A | RUN TIME: 126 minutes | CAST: Robert Downey, Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow
Finally, another perfect rating film, is Iron Man. I love Robert Downey Jr who perfectly epitomises the arrogant yet charismatic Tony Stark. Clever scripting, some witty one liners and sold acting from Bridges, Paltrow and Downey Jr himself; Iron Man is just as entertaining to watch as it was the first time I saw it at the cinema. If nothing else, it improves every time I revisit it.
Amazing in blu ray, as are all the above Marvel films, it’s action-packed, fast paced nature is just as entertaining for non-comic book films as it is for the fans. Iron Man is my favourite character in the Marvel universe, and I can’t wait to see how he fairs in Avengers Assemble
Curious to see how the other Marvel films fared in comparison to the above? Check out the sweet graphic below listing every Marvel film I saw (yes, even Electra and Daredevil) for this post. An honourable mention goes to Man-Thing; a straight to DVD Marvel production that I just couldn’t get my hands on.