On Friday Captain America: Civil War was released to people across Europe. The movie is a culmination of several movies before it, and to celebrate it's release, I thought I would list off my favourite films ever to be based on a Marvel Comics property. For this list, I am going to be looking at all the theatrically released, live action films from Fox, Sony and Marvel Studios that are based on characters created under the Marvel Comics name. If you're a fan of the animated films or the TV movies, you should be aware that this list will only contain live action films that had a wide release in cinemas, and not what you're looking for. I want to stress also that this is my list and is based on my personal opinion, so if one of your favourites isn't on here, don't take it personally, as this is purely my thoughts that I wish to share with others. Anyway, without further ado, let's begin.
I have decided to allow myself a few honourable mentions (one from each studio in fact), starting with Spider-Man, the first in Sam Raimi's beloved trilogy. The movie is seriously entertaining, pays great homage to the source material, and Tobey Maguire plays Peter Parker perfectly, despite not quite doing his best once actually in the suit. However, it is a well paced origin story, and deserves a mention. I also want to give a mention to X-Men, the first Bryan Singer superhero movie that showed people how a truly serious superhero movie could be made, and that was more grounded than audiences had ever seen before. It's a great watch, but I do think Singer outdid himself with later instalments. Finally, on the Marvel Studios side of things, my mention goes to Ant-Man, a smaller film that actually, despite all odds, turned out to be a really fun time at the cinema with some really cool characters. So, those are my honourable mentions. Take them as you will, but it's time for the good stuff.
10) Blade (1998)
In a world of pretty much just Batman and Superman, Blade broke the mould and showed that comic book movies weren't just for the kids. Insanely violent and endlessly cool, Blade is a seriously underrated superhero flick that follows the Marvel Comics vampire hunter, played by Wesley Snipes, who is half-man, half-vampire, as he kills villainous vampires to protect the human race. It is a truly thrilling and fast paced film with well executed and gory action that is really great to watch with some popcorn and a cold beverage on a lazy Friday night.
9) X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
As someone who is a firm believer in the X-Men franchise, I was very excited to see Bryan Singer back in the directors chair for this 2014 instalment, and luckily for me, it was great, and brought together the two versions of the universe in an admirable and simplistic way, which I really respected. With Days of Future Past, Singer created one of his best movies in years, with an unpredictable and intriguing plot, and a script, backed up by great performances and direction that really nailed the large cast of characters. As well as a superhero flick, it was a well rounded sci-fi film aswell, and had intelligent writing that never felt lazy. All in all, it shows how the genre has progressed and how a great superhero film can be made.
8) The Avengers (2012)
A lot of people may have thought this would be higher on the list, and I can understand why, as it is a universally loved film. But, whilst I may not love it as much as other people do, I still think it is an immensely entertaining movie with fantastic character chemistry, action, charm and heart and some of the visual effects are just mesmerising to look at. There isn't a moment in the film where the viewer gets bored, and it is just a joy to watch throughout. The characters are unique and their interactions with each other feel very natural and not forced at all, and this truly invests us in them. It defines the summer blockbuster and does deserve to be hailed as one of the greatest superhero films ever made.
7) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
From one incredibly entertaining popcorn flick to another, Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the most fun experiences I've ever had in a cinema. The movie never took itself too seriously and remained a humorous and ultimately awesome movie that harkened back to older films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark or Star Wars. In the space of 2 hours, James Gunn made you fall in love with a tree that only says three words, and made you laugh out loud at the one liners of a talking raccoon or an alien played by a wrestler. It just sounds so ridiculous, but the movie is so damn great. These were the Marvel characters that were plucked out of obscurity and into the mainstream in 2014, and we are all the more grateful for it.
6) Deadpool (2016)
2016 has already proved to be a fantastic year for comic book oriented films, and we're only 4 months in. Partly responsible for this is Deadpool, a seriously crude and off-centre superhero flick from first time director Tim Miller, that follows the potty mouthed superhero as he goes on a hunt for vengeance. And whilst Miller's direction was extremely impressive, the real heroes here are Rhett Rheese and Paul Wernick, who wrote a wonderfully unique script with a non-linear narrative and hilarious and witty dialogue that is truly memorable. It's a film that I can't wait to watch again and again and one I know will be endlessly re-watchable for months on end.
5) X2: X-Men United (2003)
Topping the Fox-Marvel movies, right at the centre of it all, is X2: X-Men United, Bryan Singer's second stint at the beloved heroes that truly takes the cake. Where the first film sets up a world, the second film truly deepens and develops that world, showing us the divide between humans and mutants, and the issues that come with it. It has some seriously cool action too, with memorable scenes throughout, but the true focus here is in the script and the themes and ideas it presents, which are far deeper than other superhero films of the time. It is smart, concise, and intense, and provides the most genuine of thrills throughout.
4) Iron Man (2008)
In the beginning, there was nothing but Fox and Sony. Then, in 2008, came Iron Man, and the beginning of a vast and extremely wealthy cinematic universe. The movie stood on it's own, yet still managed to provide the path for future movies. And in Robert Downey Jr, Marvel fans everywhere found the perfect Tony Stark/ Iron Man, in a role that would truly define his career. An origin story was told through the best of storytelling from Jon Favreau, who directed some of the most enthralling action sequences, and some of the most interesting smaller character moments, that showed us that this new universe would bring characters for us to love for years to come. It is a truly great film, and the perfect springboard for the MCU.
3) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
This film is phenomenal. Honestly, it blows the rest of the competition out of the water for me. Joe and Anthony Russo showed they were capable of making a taut and smart espionage thriller, but also manage to still make it a fun and entertaining popcorn flick. They developed the character of Steve Rodgers extremely well, and the action was some of the best I've ever seen in a Marvel movie. Seriously, there is some hand to hand combat scene that will just make you drool. Rarely does a film keep you so on edge throughout it's run time, but the Russo's do it here, and not to spoil the list, but they may just have done it again in another Marvel Studios film (nudge nudge, wink wink). Seriously, for anyone who doesn't believe that a superhero movie can be an extremely finely crafted film, they need to watch The Winter Soldier.
2) Spider-Man 2 (2004)
So Spider-Man 2 is Sam Raimi's comic book movie masterpiece. It feels like a movie based on a comic book, but still give us astonishing character development and incredible writing. The action sequences are some of the best of all time (train sequence, I'm looking at you), and the relationships between the characters are beautifully fleshed out and wonderful to watch. It keeps the campiness of the first film, but applies some truly emotional moments that make it all even better. But on top of all this, at the centre of the film, is Alfred Molina's Dr Octopus, who is a deservedly iconic movie villain, that is truly menacing, but also fairly likeable, and I have to give the guy props for that. In the end, all the decisions made in this movie feel so damn right, and it deserves to be the modern classic that it is.
1) Captain America: Civil War
Who knew that a film I saw only yesterday would top my list to be the greatest Marvel movie of all time? I honestly was not expecting this, but Captain America: Civil War is more exhilarating, more spectacular, more gut-punchingly emotional, and more incredibly political and perfect than ever other Marvel movie I've seen. It has one of the deepest and most truthful messages of any superhero film, and some of the best performances I've ever seen in a movie based on a Marvel property. Joe and Anthony Russo truly did prove that they could craft another excellent piece of cinema with this movie, and furthermore proved that they were so capable of helming such films as Avengers: Infinity Wars. There was not a dull moment in the film, and it's so rare that a movie with this much buzz and hype around it can actually exceed expectations. I was purely blown away and this is honestly the greatest Marvel movie of all time.
So what did you think of the list? Did I miss out any of your favourites? Make sure to let me know in the comments sections and go to https://creators.co/@garwoodreviews for more reviews and articles like this one.