As a big comic book fan and a big comic book movie fan, I thought I’d offer my opinions on the rankings in quality of movies based on marvel comics. These are only legit movies, no made-for-TVs, or 1940’s adventure serials. The list may change slightly, and I’ll try to update it every time a new movie comes out. I’ve recently made it my mission to talk about every single one of these, so they’ll all link to my reviews. The only omission here is The Amazing Spider-Man 2, simply because I refuse to see it. But that’s a whole other discussion. So here, in my own humble (but correct) opinion, are all the Marvel movies ranked from best to worst.
02. X2: X-Men United
03. Spider-Man 2
04. The Avengers
05. X-Men: Days of Future Past
06. The Incredible Hulk
07. Iron Man
09. X-Men: First Class
10. Blade II
11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
12. Guardians of the Galaxy
13. Avengers: Age of Ultron
14. Punisher: War Zone
15. Captain America: The First Avenger
16. The Wolverine
18. Thor: The Dark World
20. Iron Man 2
21. The Punisher (2004)
22. Iron Man 3
24. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
25. Daredevil (2003)
26. X-Men: The Last Stand
27. Blade: Trinity
28. Howard The Duck
29. The Punisher (1989)
30. Spider-Man 3
31. Fantastic Four (2005)
32. Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
34. The Amazing Spider-Man
35. The Fantastic Four (1994)
36. Captain America (1990)
37. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
38. Ghost Rider
Wow. I really don’t even know where to start with this one. This is actually the first ever theatrically released film based on a Marvel comic. It was also produced by George Lucas, and was one of the most expensive movies ever made at the time, costing more than even Return of the Jedi. And, well, it was a pretty huge fucking flop. In fact, it’s infamous and being one of the biggest bombs ever. Let’s just call this movie the first in a series of poor decisions made by George Lucas. So the basic premise of the is that there’s an alternate dimension in which humans evolved from ducks rather than primates, and so everyone on this alternate world is like a little duck person. Howard is just an average duck who suddenly gets sucked through a portal into our world, landing in Cleveland, Ohio circa 1986. The first half of the movie plays out like a weird dramedy, with Howard adjusting to life on Earth and trying to find a job. Then about halfway through the plot suddenly kicks in, and he’s trying to stop a group of “dark overlords” from escaping a hell dimension and conquering earth via the same portal that brought Howard there. Along the way he hooks up with the mom from Back to the Future, who’s in a glam rock band, and befriends Tim Robbins with glasses. There’s also a scientist who gets possessed by a “dark overlord” and slowly turns all monstery, played by the guy who plays the principal in Ferris Beuller. So if you ever wanted to see Rooney turn into a demon, this movie has that. Or, you know, you could just go online and read about how the actor was arrested for child molestation. BOOM! Roasted. Anyway, this is one of the most nucking futs movies I’ve ever seen. It’s like one of those weird, culty low budget comicbook movies that goes straight to VHS, except on a huge budget and with a theatrical release. As batshit crazy as this movie is, there’s actually some cool stuff in it. The monster at the end is actually one of the most interesting creature designs and most well executed special effects I’ve ever seen. Seriously, google that shit. It looks like the Rancor meets The Thing meets a giant scorpion. It’s fucking awesome. The movie also doesn’t take itself too seriously, and even though a lot of the actual jokes they try to make feel dumb and forced, there is a lot of comedy that just comes out of the ridiculousness of some of the sequences. For example, there’s about a 30 minute chunk of the movie solely dedicated to Howard the Duck and Tim Robbins flying around the city on a little motorized glider being chased by the cops. I don’t know, with a lot of these crappy old Marvel movies I’ve been telling you to check them out because they’re so funny bad, but this one really is the best of the worst. Just the fact that this movie exists is so baffling. I was in disbelief the whole time I was watching. This is a phenomenon that must be seen to be believed. And if you’re still not convinced, I leave you with this; the movie has duck tits.
Overall Rating: Duck/10
So technically this was a straight to video release, not a theatrical one, which means maybe I shouldn’t be reviewing it as part of this whole thing. Buuuut I didn’t realize that until after I watched and I’ll be damned if I just watched that fucking movie for no reason, so I’m going to talk about it regardless. So this movie starts out as a pretty faithful adaptation of Cap’s origin. It takes place in WWII, we see him get the super soldier serum, and then he fights the red skull. It’s at this point, about 20 minutes into the movie, that he ends up getting shot up in a rocket, crash lands, and is frozen in ice. The red skull makeup is actually pretty cool looking, but unfortunately when we jump to the present he’s now had major reconstructive surgery, so for most of the movie he’s just a guy with scars. The Captain America costume itself is absolutely ridiculous looking, though. It’s like rubber, but it’s super stiff, and you can tell the mask doesn’t fit the actors head properly because one of the eyehole is slightly off the whole time. The actor playing Cap, strangely enough, is the son of J.D. Salinger. He also can’t act even a little bit. The plot of the movie is mostly to do with the Red Skull and his guys kidnapping the President (played by Ronny Cox of Robocop fame) because they don’t like his strong stance against environmental issues. The end of the movie has Cap and the President team up to beat the bad guys. Pretty silly stuff. Mostly this movie is a pretty good “so bad it’s funny movie”, and I would recommend maybe checking it out with some friends and a few beers or something, but I’ll probably never watch it again. Also, Captain America steals a lot of people’s cars in this movie, which doesn’t seem very heroic.
Overall Rating: Grand theft auto/10
This might be the worst movie ever. This is such a bad movie. This movie makes DC’s attempt at an early 2000s female lead superhero movie, Catwoman, look like a great fucking film. I mean, Jennifer Garner was the worst part of Daredevil, and yet they decided to give her a spinoff, and they decided to not bother hiring actual writers I guess. So the movie technically takes place after DD, but there’s no real explanation as to how she came back from the dead or any allusions to any of the events of that movie. They even seem to rewrite her whole backstory, completely ignoring her father, who was a pretty major character in Daredevil. Anyway, so it attempts to be like a kung fu movie, with this little “chosen one” girl, and dudes with magic tattoos and shit. And no, neither of those things make any more sense after actually watching the movie. Also, the evil ninja tribe in the movie is called “the hand”, which, I don’t know about you, but sounds a lot like the fucking Foot from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to me. Which is a weird connection, because in the first issue of the TMNT comic, they actually show the mutagen being spilled in the sewer as the same traffic accident and the same radioactive goop that created Daredevil. Kind of just a little nod from the artist, but technically in a weird way that makes TMNT a Daredevil spinoff. Which this movie also is. See, this movie sucks so hard that I would literally rather talk about anything else. Don’t for the love of god ever watch this fucking haemorrhoid or a movie, and if you see Jennifer Garner in public, spit on her, please.
Overall Rating: A big ol’ pile of fucking poop/10
Daredevil is super underrated. There, I said it. I’m going to be that guy. I’m going to be the asshole defending fucking Daredevil on the internet. But let me get something straight; this is definitely not a good movie. Like, it’s actually a pretty bad movie. But it’s also a pretty fun movie. And if you look past the total b-level filmmaking there are some really great moments in this movie. Now, I also want to stipulate that the Director’s cut of the movie is much better. It ads a subplot in which Matt Murdock and his legal partner Foggy (played by John Favreau in almost the exact same role that he plays as Happy in Iron Man) defend a man accused of murder, who is played by famed rapsmith Coolio. As ridiculous as all that sounds, it’s actually much more interesting than the main plot. We get to see Daredevil use his powers to fight crime from both sides of the law, using legal trickery to dole out justice and going all man-without-fear on people when that’s not enough. If the movie had been more about that kind of stuff instead all the bullshit with Elektra it probably would have been more fondly remembered. I think that’s what kills this movie for most people, is the whole kung-fu love story between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. Ever minute she’s on screen sucks, that’s true, and you can point to the fight in the park as the definite low point of the movie, but people only ever seem to remember that, as opposed to perfectly executed origin story and the corny yet awesomely stylized comicbook tone that never lets up. Speaking of comicbook cheese, it’s hilarious how every single bit part character is named after a former Daredevil artist or writer, or one of the higher ups at marvel. Kevin Smith even has a cameo as a forensic investigator named Jack Kirby. But what really makes this movie for me is the combined villain power of Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin and Colin Ferrel as Bullseye. Thanks to the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon, Kingpin was always one of my favourite villains, and MCD plays the shit out of him. He just seems to love being evil so much for no reason, I love it. And as for Bullseye, I know a lot of comicbook fans hate this portrayal of the character, but I say if you can’t enjoy Colin Ferrel running around with a target carved in his forehead killing old ladies for no reason than you can’t enjoy anything. Now, if we’re talking cast I gotta mention Affleck as Daredevil. I wouldn’t say I love him in the role, and there’s probably a lot of people who could have played the character a little less like a douche who you want to punch, but he doesn’t do that bad of a job. Anyway, this got a lot longer than I wanted it to, but in closing I will say that the standard of quality regarding superhero movies has increased greatly over the last ten years, and while that’s good in a lot of ways, part of me kind of misses when they used to be this campy and stylized. A bad movie, but a fucking fun movie, and I would recommend revisiting it. Get the directors cut though.
Overall Rating: Without Fear/10
After how terrible the first movie was, it seems insane that somebody would make a sequel. And what’s even more insane is that it’s actually not that bad. I mean, it would be a pretty big stretch to call this a good movie, but there is a lot to appreciate about it. It’s directed by Neveldine and Taylor, the duo behind the Crank movies. And the great thing about these two guys is that they don’t take anything they do seriously at all, but they will do anything to get a cool shot. Seriously, watch some making-of featurettes on some of their movies. In the first Crank there’s a close up shot of the wheel of the motorcylce that Jason Statham is riding, and the director himself is hanging off the back of the bike on rollerblades holding the camera up next to the wheel. Anyone else would have just filmed the bike against green screen. Or even CGI’d the whole shot. That’s the kind off effort these guys put into stuff, and even on a stupid movie like this that shows through. They also really play up Nic Cage’s hilarious side this time around, which is a very good move, helped by the fact that this time around he’s actually mo-capping the Ghost Rider. I also like the tone and setting of this one much better, as they move it from a generic L.A. city scape to the baron deserts and mountains of Romania and Turkey, giving the whole thing a much more old world religious kind of feel. It’s also more violent and has a swear word or two this time around, and is generally less dumbed down for kids. While all of these are positive changes, this still doesn’t feel like the Ghost Rider movie we should have gotten. It’s still only PG-13, it still doesn’t embrace the ridiculousness and stylization of the character quite enough, and it still seems like it was written by a 12 year old. Overall, I don’t think I would really recommend this movie, but it does have some good moments, a few laughs, and some really cool shots.
Overall Rating: Annoying Child Actor Demon Kid/10
You like good movies? Welp, you’ve come to the wrong place. Now, I never read any Ghost Rider comics (I’m actually pretty sure no one did), and it’s pretty backwards that we got a Ghost Rider movie before seeing Iron Man on the big screen. But the idea of like a dark, violent, stylized horror fantasy sort of movie with Ghost Rider could have been really cool. Like Spawn without the ridiculous CGI cape. But instead they decided to just make the most boring generic tensionless unoriginal recycled feeling cliched piece of crap ever shat out by the superhero movie genre. I don’t know who’s more uninteresting; Ghost Rider, who exists only as CGI, sans motion cap, and is essentially just a blank skull face who occasionally spits action catchphrases, or the villains, who are almost completely indistinguishable from each other, all get killed super quickly and easily, and whose motivations don’t really extend beyond “I’m evil”. Oh, and don’t forget the stupid annoying love story with Eva Mendes and the long drawn out “oh-no-my-father-is-dead-I-must-avenge-him” origin story. The one thing that has a slight chance of actually making this movie watchable in a funny bad sort of way is Nicholas Cage, but even his insane wackiness and ridiculous delivery choices aren’t enough to make this movie anything but a total yawn-fest. The only thing I would call a redeeming factor is Peter Fonda chewing the everlasting shit out of all the scenery he can find as the literal Devil, but he’s only in about ten minutes of the movie. It’s pointless to even talk about because I’m pretty sure that the only people who ever watched this were disappointed comic fans and little kids back in 2007, and that nobody for any reason would watch it now, but if somebody told you to check it out cause it was funny bad, or maybe you liked it as a kid and were wondering if it held up, or for whatever reason if you were thinking about watching this movie, I would strongly urge against it. This movie has no value.
Overall Rating: The Definition of Schlock/10