A friend and I recently read a top 10 of the best Marvel films ever and I feel pretty confident in saying it was an utter pile of horseshit. With that in mind I decided to do a top 20 of my favourite Marvel films, turns out it’s harder than it looks as some stuff I really like had to make way such as X-Men First Class, Antman and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I will point out that this is entirely my opinion so feel free to disagree, the beauty of films is that people will usually find things that make films more personal to them/
20 – Ghost Rider: This really shouldn’t be on here as it’s essentially just a vehicle for Nic Cage to overact (it is nowhere near as bad as the sequel though). It’s on here though as it’s a film that I think falls into so bad it’s good territory. It’s silly bollocks and Nic Cage chews scenery like a bloody lunatic but it’s also dumb entertainment. I apologise for it’s inclusion essentially.
19 – The Punisher: Te previous big screen iteration was Dolph Kundgren with dyed hair back in the 80s. This is a far superior film and Thomas Jane makes for a pretty decent Frank Castle overall. It’s nowhere near as violent as the recent Netflix series but still has some pretty creative violence. it also has a soft spot for me as The Punisher was one of the first Marvel comics I got into.
18 – Spiderman 2: This would potentially be a lot higher on lists for other people and it is an excellent film. Sam Raimi got this film pretty much spot on, and is easily the best of the Tobey Maguire Spiderman films. It’s a film that is well focussed and does a good job of realising Dr Octopus which good as he’s such a key villain, and also when you consider how wasted Venom was in the third film.
17 – Iron Man: The introductory film to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and very much the tone setter for pretty much everything that’s come since. It’s a entertaining film and Robert Downey Jr is pretty much perfectly cast as Tony Stark and he gets to be appropriately snarky which is a lot of fun. There’s also nothing wrong with Jeff Bridges as the villain.
16 – Iron Man 3: Another controversial one I’m sure but I really like Iron Man 3, I like that it humanises Tony somewhat by showing that the events of the Avengers impacted him significantly and the dialogue is well written which you’d expect from a Shane Black film. The argument is that Tony spends most of the film not being Iron Man but for the the house party protocol makes up for this.
15 – Avengers: A few years ago this would have likely been top of the list as I think it’s superb, it’s a nice culmination of the first Marvel films. There’s some really fun character interactions throughout the film, Thor and the Hulk offering a couple of funny moments and Loki is cements himself as one of the best villains in the whole MCU. I also think bringing in Mark Ruffalo to replace Ed Norton as Bruce Banner was an inspired move.
14 – Captain America Civil War: This works surprisingly well given the number of characters the film revolves round, my only really complaint is that it’s too long. This is also the film that introduces Black Panther and, more importantly, Spiderman into the MCU. Spiderman appearing in the MCU was a huge deal at the time and for me he’s possibly the best thing in the film.
13 – X-Men Days of Futures Past: First Class was good but this for me is better, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender seem more comfortable in their roles and the the story is quite grim and manages to work in Wolverine for a starring role rather than a cameo and it works well thankfully. It has pretty much every character that’s ever appeared in the entire series and yet somehow newcomer Quicksilver manages to steal the show.
12 – Deadpool: This was the only other Marvel character that I was familiar with from comics before seeing the respective film. It’s a huge upgrade for Deadpool compared to the previous appearance in X-Men Origins which was a shambles. This does an excellent job of capturing the character while also being really funny and not afraid to take the piss out of itself.
11 – Guardians of the Galaxy: I wasn’t initially fussed about this right up to the last trailer which got me interested. The suspicion from a lot to places was that this would be the first mis-step of the MCU and thankfully everyone couldn’t have been more wrong. It was an absolute joy, Chris Pratt is perfectly cast and Drax is gloriously funny. The dance off at the end is just ridiculous in the best possible way.
10 – Doctor Strange: I was intrigued by this going in as it had a great cast and was going to be introducing magic into the MCU. It’s very similar to Iron Man in the sense that the lead is an arrogant prick who has to learn to be better person. It’s a film that really shows how Marvel have developed as it’s visually stunning and it plays into the larger MCU pretty seamlessly.
9 – X Men 2: The original was fun and worked really well all things considered but this ramps things up considerably. They clearly realised that Wolverine was one of the standard characters first time round and the film is much more focussed on him so it’s just as well that Hugh Jackman was up to the task of carrying the film. It also sets up the third film but I won’t hold that against it.
8 – Black Panther: As the other stand out character for me in Civil War I was really looking forward to this and it didn’t disappoint. It has one of the better villains in the MCU as they gave him a pretty decent backstory, and as usual with MCU films they seem to get the casting pretty spot on. It also represented the calm before the storm as it was the last film release before Infinity War.
7 – Logan: Potentially the closest thing we’ll see to the Old Man Logan comic, this is a bleak film set in a future where shit has definitely not gone to plan. It’s also incredibly violent as the success of Deadpool showed them that there was a considerable market for a film where Wolverine was allowed to be the best at what he does, which seemingly is kill people in mildly gruesome ways.
6 – Spiderman Homecoming: I genuinely think in Tom Holland they’ve found the perfect actor to play Spiderman, he plays him how I always heard the character in my head when reading the comics. And a film that casts Michael Keaton as the villain and manages to make him a sympathetic character is clearly doing things at least partially right. It helps that it’s a really fun film and doesn’t rely too heavily on Tony Stark’s involvement in the story.
5 – Antman and the Wasp: Both Antman films have come after Avengers films and acted as a pretty awesome palette cleansers. This is predominantly because they don’t take themselves seriously at all. I prefer the sequel as it’s a lot more comfortable in itself and seems to be having a hell of a lot of fun with the concepts established in the first film.
4 – Deadpool 2: Absolutely gloriously insane, it builds on what worked from the first film without falling into the trap a lot of sequels fall into where a bigger budget means the filmmakers cram too much in and lose sight of what worked previously. The addition of Josh Brolin as Cable works well and Ryan Reynolds continues to show that Deadpool is essentially a role tailor made for him.
3 – Captain America Winter Soldier: The Winter Soldier is one of my favourite Marvel characters so I was happy he was going to be focussed when this was initially announced. It helps that the film turned out to be a cracking film that was genuinely tense in places. It also had a really good twist with the Hydra reveal and led to the Heil Hydra meme which was usually good for a laugh.
2 – Avengers Infinity War: It’s a 3 hour film but never seems like it as it whips along at a decent pace. It assumes hat you’ve seen everything that’s come before so doesn’t waste any time on needless exposition and I really appreciated that. It’s great fun seeing characters interacting that haven’t done previously such as Dr Strange and Tony Stark. It also ends on a fucking depressing cliffhanger which has made the wait for Endgame slightly frustrating.
! – Thor Ragnarok: There was only ever going to be one film at number one, I bloody love Ragnarok. It’s incredibly funny and everyone in the case seems to be having a laugh pretty much constantly as the film really does seem to revel in the ridiculousness of the premise and fully embraces it. It also has Jeff Goldblum in it which is always a good thing in my opinion. Hopefully Taika Waititi will get to do a few more films in the MCU as a few more like this would be most welcome.
So that’s it for now though I fully expect that to change as next year you have Captain Marvel, Avengers Endgame and Spiderman Far From Home out from an MCU perspective and I think there’s a couple of X-Men films due out too so there’s a good chance that some of those will make it onto this list but we’ll see.
For reference this was originally written for my mates website http://www.twobeardgaming.com