Flashback/Backlide’s Marvel Blogathon wrapped up this week with a MovieRob review of Guardians of the Galaxy. Thank you to everyone who supported our first Blogathon by following along, voting in our Marvel Movie Tournament and, of course, for writing so many reviews! We especially want to thank John Link Movies, Movie Rob, Drew’s Movie Reviews, Furious Reviews, What About the Twinkie?, and The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger for writing reviews for the Blogathon. We hope to start another Blogathon later this year and keep connecting with you all.
With the Marvel Movie Tournament finished and all the reviews in, Lauren and I want to name our favorite Marvel films among the 34 featured in the Blogathon.
Damien’s Top 10 Marvel Movies
1. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: Not only is this my favorite Marvel film of all time but it’s one of the best comicbook movies I’ve seen in a long time. Guardians mixes all the action elements you hope to see in Marvel films with a sharp humor and unbelievable soundtrack. Unlike most superhero fllicks, all of the main characters here have story arcs and undergo development throughout the film. Plus, Guardians actually uses its characters as superheroes. We see Groot thrash henchmen, transform into a ladder the team climbs on, light a room with petals, and form a giant protective plant ball. From the beginning Rocket uses gadgets to find people in a crowd and show us he’s interested in “the simple things” like shooting Quill with a massive taser-gun…thing. Throughout the movie Rocket makes new weapons on the fly and MacGyver’s his way through prisons and spaceships. Even the relatively standard strongman Drax and assassin Gamora get individual attention while they smash prison guards with a laugh or duel a sibling cyborg. The characters developed in Guardians and how they are used only highlight my frustrations with the X-Men series which always seems hesitant to depict the powers of the mutants.
2. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER: While Guardians gave us the origin story for a new cosmic team, this second film in the Captain America series explores a character we have already grown to love on screen. The Winter Soldier expands on the character presented in The Avengers and Captain America: The First Avenger and makes Captain America one of the more compelling characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just as Bruce Banner and Tony Stark are each divided by internal struggles, Steve Rogers is divided as he comes to terms with serving his country even as it violates the values he thought he served. Sweetening the deal is the delivery of a rare compelling villain for our hero to battle.
3. SPIDER-MAN: I’m a sucker for a good origin movie. Sam Raimi takes us from pre-bite Peter Parker, to Parker awkwardly using his powers, to full-fledged Spider-Man. Norman Osborn is still one of my favorite Marvel villains, second only to Loki. Sorry, I guess I should have said “spoiler alert.” Norman is the bad guy in this one.
4. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST: Spider-Man and the X-Men are my favorite comic book characters from the Marvel Universe. Both have suffered through lackluster film adaptations but both have produced some excellent films. Like the films ranked above, Days of Future Past builds a winning script for its characters instead of wasting our times with cheap explosions devoid of content. We do get plenty of explosions however and the possibly best visualizations of mutant powers on film. The finale set in the future is one of my favorite scenes among all superhero films.
5. THE AVENGERS: One of the things I love most about Joss Whedon’s ensemble film is the time it takes to build up the characters and the overall story. Each Avenger is given their own introduction and their own room to breath. (Side Note: Lauren is right. The characters don’t get enough time overall, but I think the film does a decent job of carving out room for everyone. As decent a job as possible given the insanely high hero/minute ratio). And even though we all know they’ll come together in the end, the film doesn’t make it easy and provides a more realistic portrayal of what happens when you mix a handful of volatile, over-powered characters and force them to work together. It’s like the worst version of middle school group projects. Except that one kid is wearing a billion dollar killing suit.
6. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: Did it come too soon after Sam Raimi’s trilogy? Maybe. Well, definitely for the time. But since then we’ve seen plenty of rebooted heroes. As much as I like Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, I would take Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone any day. That’s not only because Emma Stone is almost impossibly likeable. I actually prefer the humor Garfield injects into the film, even if he goes overboard at times.
7. BLADE: I’m not afraid to admit it. I love this movie. My brothers and I watched Blade dozens of times growing up. It’s no Iron Man or Spider-Man. It barely spends time building the origin story despite introducing a new character to the audience. It doesn’t always make sense and it makes mistakes. But this movie is amazing. Wesley Snipes as Blade is one of my favorite heroes in Marvel, beating out Tobey’s Spider-Man, and nearly Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Yeah Lauren, I said it. Blade spends almost the entire movie exploding vampires, flashing his Katana, and fist-pumping. We waste little time with exposition but the film still builds a handful of interesting arcs and gives one of the best Marvel Movie villains. And that end fight scene? Come on, it’s amazing.
8. THOR: The most important thing about this movie may be the introduction of Loki. Tom Hiddleston’s character has been the villain of three MCU flicks so far and is arguably the only villain the universe has created who is capable of dominating screen time. Even Guardians suffer from a less than interesting bad-guy. Plus, Thor’s inability to assimilate into Earth’s society is still my favorite comic relief in the MCU. “Another!”
9. X2: X-MEN UNITED: It’s a tough call between X-Men and it’s sequel but I’m leaning towards this second film in the series mainly because of all the new characters introduced. Plus the opening with Nightcrawler may have been the best X-Men sequence until Quicksilver’s prison heist in Days of Future Past.
10. SPIDER-MAN 2: Many people prefer this edition over the original but Willem Defoe’s Norman Osborn is miles ahead of Doc Ock. Still, both villains have depth and Spider-Man goes through more in these two films than nearly any other character over a similar stretch. I can say with confidence that no other Marvel movie franchise fell as hard as Spider-Man did after this movie.
Lauren’s Top 10 Marvel Movies
Hey guys, Lauren here! Damien has charged me with the agonizing task of ranking my top 10 Marvel movies. I should disclose that my top 10 are fairly biased in a general Loki direction, which should come as no surprise. Happy reading!
1. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST: This movie is first for two main reasons: #1 Generally speaking, X-Men is my FAVORITE because it is fun and clever on the surface with an interesting deeper political subtext, #2 this movie single-handedly undid all the horribleness of X-Men: The Last Stand while being completely fascinating and brilliant all the way through.
2. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: This movie has the perfect balance of humor and action. The other movies on this list are solidly in the action movie category with the occasional funny moment or line to relieve the tension. Here, you could make the argument for the movie to be classified primarily as a comedy if not a satire of the genre in general, which I love. I can watch this movie again and again without getting bored.
3. THOR: THE DARK WORLD: I like to call this movie Loki: Did He F*!#$%! Plan This The Entire Time? Full of deliciously emotional Loki scenes, a complex interesting plot, and multiple gasp-worthy moments, this movie was a beautiful masterpiece for Loki fans and Thor fans alike.
4. THE AVENGERS: This movie was pure fun, from start to finish. Plus Loki. The only reason I did not rank this movie higher is because although I have seen this movie fifteen times, it does not hold up as well over time, and even becomes a little tedious. (I think this is because there are so many interesting characters and the audience does not get enough time with each individual one).
5. X-MEN: Ah… the movie that started my X-Men obsession. This movie was very solid – it did a great job at introducing hitherto unknown film characters and explaining the complexities of the X-Men world. Again, I will mention the political undertones of these movies and say that this movie and X2 did a great job at combining the action with the mutant message.
6. IRON MAN: I refuse to believe that Robert Downey Jr is not an alter-ego of Tony Stark. I also do not have anything bad to say about this movie. It was funny and clever, the plot was great, and Jeff Bridges was awesome. The fact that I ranked it above a movie that has Loki in it should tell you all you need to know about how much I enjoyed it.
7. THOR: This movie was a bit simple, but it was solidly enjoyable. Obviously I love Loki’s spiral into madness because his hair becomes more and more unruly. I cannot rank this film above Thor: The Dark World because clearly Loki and his hair have reached a whole new level of hot mess in the latter.
8. X2: X-MEN UNITED: Kiss her, Logan. KISS HER.
9. SPIDER-MAN: I will cherish Toby Maguire’s ridiculous crying face until I die. This is my favorite portrayal of Peter Parker, although Spider-Man is not my favorite superhero, and thus I cannot rank this movie higher.
10. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS: I readily admit that this is not the best X-Men movie, but the set up between Professor X and Magneto is done so well, I cannot bear to leave it off the list. Plus, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender had enormous shoes to fill, and they did not disappoint.