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The 10 Best Marvel Movies, Ranked
10. Iron Man (2008)
The movie that laid the first stone of the massive MCU Empire, ‘Iron man’ brought a fairly arrogant character that wasn’t even known outside die-hard comic nerds to the screen with the perfect casting of Robert Downey Jr. The actor who had been rebuilding his career after a hiatus leading to his substance-abuse problems, found a platform to catapult his way to the pinnacle of success. RDJ brought to his character a much needed humor and cockiness that made Tony Stark an iconic superhero. Director Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr. And Jeff Bridges reworked the original script and more-or-less ad-libbed the dialogues to make a landmark movie. It also set the tone for its successors to follow.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
When this movie released, I wasn’t as impressed with it as so many critics were, going to the lengths of even calling it the best Marvel movie. Upon re-watching the movie more than half a dozen times since, I have come around on my first impression. It was a risky for the studio to make a movie without a single scene with an established character. But the movie brought minor characters and formed a team of misfits. While most MCU movies have spurs of comedy, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is a riot of laughter. It manages to establish new characters to actually span a universe. The overuse of dated references mostly unknown to the target audience is forgivable for the interesting characters featured.
8. Spiderman 2 (2004)
While Sam Raimi’s first ‘Spiderman’ was a success in all regards, this is the best Spiderman movie by a mile. ‘Spiderman 2’ brought a villain born by accident and barely in control of his own actions. Doctor Octopus blames the friendly neighborhood superhero for his accident and purely seeks revenge. He strikes a deal with Harry Osborne who also blames Spiderman for his father’s death (Green Goblin). But in the end Doc Ock sees the greater good and sacrifices himself, thus giving us the best redemption of a villain in the movies.
7. Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
The second installment in the Captain America solo movies, deviated from the superhero genre full of big explosions and powers beyond the realm of science, to venture into the field of spy thrillers. The movie was directed by the Russo brothers, previously known mainly for the comedy TV series, ‘Community’. They brought Bucky Barnes back from the dead as the eponymous Winter Soldier. The inner struggles that Captain America goes through, fighting his childhood friend, outline much of the story and set up important events of the Civil War. The movie was also instrumental in fleshing out the character of Black Widow since whatever time she previously had onscreen; she had shared with a lot of heavyweights.
6. Big Hero 6 (2014)
This is the only animated Marvel movie that received a big release, mostly because of it production by Disney. It illustrated the power Disney had to bring together two of their properties and make a great movie out of it. The movie had a tear-jerking moment quite early on in the film with the death of Hiro’s brother in a fire. There is a magic that Disney casts which makes animated characters more relate able than those played by real actors. It also has the typical mix of jokes mixed into the emotional exploration of the story. Baymax also dons a suit of armor that is slightly reminiscent of Iron man’s especially given his superpowers. While Stan Lee cameos in Marvel movies is a given, these days, ‘Big Hero 6’ has him integrated in the most gob-smacking way in the end credits.
5. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Even if today, X-Men movies seem like the stepchild of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it actually brought the Marvel characters to the world’s attention with a star-studded cast and good stories and believable CGI in 2000. The first X-Men brought success to the Marvel name after the shitty movies in the 80’s and 90’s. But with the disappointing ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ and ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ it seemed like this franchise was going to die a dishonorable death. When ‘X-Men: First Class’ blew some fresh air in its lungs, ‘Days of Future Past’ expanded its scope and ventured to literally erase the mistakes of their past. Bringing in Peter Dinklage as a villain was clever in light of the unmatched popularity of Game of Thrones. The super-slow-motion scene of Quicksilver running around and doing his thing will go down in history as a landmark in SFX. While the entire movie was very well made, that scene alone was worth the ticket price.
4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The year 2016 had promised us two huge movies with superheroes fighting superheroes. But when ‘Dawn of Justice’ had disappointed a lot of fans, there was a ton of pressure on ‘Civil War’ to be good. And it was mind-blowing! I had read the Civil War comic story-line so I frankly was disappointed by the scale of the war. But I believe that it would be impossible to get a scale much bigger than what we got. The movie divided audiences into Team Iron Man and Team Cap but almost everyone changed teams at least once. This was a commendable achievement in direction as it let the audience choose whom they sided with, without antagonizing one or the other half of the protagonists. More importantly, we got an all out fight between the two sides with an underlying difference of opinion throughout the movie. We also got two new characters in Black Panther and the new Spidey. Can’t wait for Spiderman’s Homecoming this July!
3. Logan (2017)
I know it may seem very early to include it in this list but it absolutely deserves it. The fact that it is the last portrayal of Wolverine by Hugh Jackman may be making me quite sentimental about this movie but doesn’t it affect everyone the same way. This movie with its R rating, allows Wolverine to be as violent as he inherently is. With blood and severed body parts flying around, this movie unleashes Wolverine’s savagery we got only a glimpse of previously in the first few minutes of ‘X-Men Origins’. In the same way that the movie is named Logan and not his superhero name, it explores the human struggle the famed mutant has to go through. All his flaws are laid bare for us to see and so are his virtues. It is almost unbelievable to see a man that barely aged in decades to sport a white beard and be frail (or the wolverine equivalent of frail). Even with Hugh Jackman retiring from his role, Wolverine will live on in the hearts of the millions of fans he garnered.
2. Deadpool (2016)
It is very rare to see a movie with such high stakes that experiments with the formula that defines the genre and occasionally throws out the rule-book altogether. A string that joins three of the movies in this list is the fact that some actors embody their characters. RDJ and Hugh Jackman became the permanent images of their characters but the case with ‘Deadpool’ is maybe the other way round. Ryan Reynolds was born to be Wade Wilson. A character created to parody a serious Slade Wilson from the DC comics; ‘Deadpool’ became much more than just a spoof of the superhero genre and became a pop culture icon. ‘Deadpool’ had been in the works for a while and even when it was green-lit it was given a much smaller budget than most superhero movies. Then again, ‘Deadpool’ is not a conventional superhero. He is a crazy antihero with a power that nobody else can match; he can talk to the viewers directly. His hilarious narration and uproarious antics transcend the genre and create an experience that nobody else had been able to create before. Even its promotion campaign was evident of the creators’ vision for the character.
1. The Avengers (2012)
Was there any doubt about this one? If you’re not convinced, just imagine a world where no movie series had ever tried to amalgamate so many of its characters from stand alone movies into a single team of Earth’s mightiest superheroes. Now, it may seem quite normal to have multiple superheroes cross paths and even team up for a movie of two but before ‘The Avengers’ was made, it was unimaginable. What is a more nuanced issue is the fact that such powerful heroes had to get a more or less equal part in taking down baddies. It would also be absurd to have a team of powerful heroes fight a singular villain so they were made to battle an entire army of aliens. While this device has been overused since then, this movie was the first to do it on such a scale. The sheer joy of seeing your favorite superheroes fight together was immense but it was also a visual treat to experience. It is something that the DCEU has tried to replicate but failed. Till somebody can come up with a way to one-up ‘The Avengers’ it is the best Marvel movie of all times.