Friday, November 4, 2011

Discuss: Marvel movies

Karen: So far I've loved all the recent Marvel Studio films. I've been trying to figure out which I like the best, but they are all very close in my mind. I'd probably rank Iron Man and Thor just slightly ahead of Iron Man 2 and Captain America, and all four of those just ahead of Incredible Hulk. For pure enjoyment, I would even say I put them all ahead of the Sony Spider-Man films (mainly because I don't care for Tobey Maguire or Kirsten Dunst), and Fox' X-Men as well.

So -how do you rank these five films?


Anonymous said...

Hi Karen,

The biggest surprise to me is that the more true they remain to the comics, the better they are. That’s one of those things that we (as comic snobs) desperately WANT to be true, but there’s no earthly logic why it should work out like that....why WOULD what works in a comic format be the best route to the screen? But it seems to be. I really thought Thor was the proof of this. I had real misgivings about that movie until they gave it to Branagh and even then I thought he’d probably take it too far in the opposite direction and make it too Shakespearian. Don’t get me wrong, if I have a choice between Thor being too ‘thee & thou’ and him saying ‘Yo, Loki, dude, like just totally chill, man’ I know which way I’m going, but I really thought Branagh hit absolutely the right note.

I thought Iron Man 1 was a lot better than 2, but I still enjoyed a lot of the elements that carried forward. Not seen Cap yet.

But I also had no problem with the Sony ones. I liked both Spidey and the Xmen, especially the 2nd film (in both cases) and I even thought, all things considered, they took a reasonable swing at the Dark Phoenix plot arc. Given that they couldn’t have her destroying planets, having her kill Charles was pretty shocking.

Any reason you left out First Class?


Rip Jagger said...

Here's my ranking of the Marvel movies to date. Number one is the best.

5. Thor
4. Iron Man 2
3. Incredible Hulk
2. Iron Man
1. Captain America (Maybe the best superhero movie I've seen since the first Superman way back when.)

The Spider-Man movies are pretty good with only the third one being a bit tiresome, though Sandman is awesome.

The Fantastic Four movies are pretty decent, but lack a certain spark.

The X-Men movies peaked with the second one, and the Wolverine movie is fun.

Ghost Rider is a blast, but a bit hard to follow.

The Punishers are all entertaining, even the first one long ago. War Games is the truest translation.

The Blade trilogy is a hoot. Snipes is sharp, and the third one is the best I think.

Rip Off

Inkstained Wretch said...

My ranking:

1- Iron Man
2- Captain America
3- The Incredible Hulk
4- Thor
5- Iron Man 2

I liked all five of them. Iron Man gets the nod because of Downey's brilliant performance and a pretty clever script, though I thought the film could have used more action. And why was the Black Sabbath tune used so sparingly?

Captain America was really well done too: Great script, great cast, and nifty action sequences though I haven't seen it since it opened so I'm not sure how well it stands up to repeat viewings.

The Incredible Hulk - the one with Ed Norton - is the most underrated of the five, I think. It really does capture the feeling of the Herb Trimpe/Sal Buscema era very well and the final showdown with the Abomination was boffo.

Thor was probably the toughest of the five to translate to the big screen because the film's "Cosmic Asgardian" mythology is so dense, but they pulled it off. Still, I was a little put off by the fact that Thor spent most of the movie as just a mortal and the Destroyer was defeated much too easily.

The Iron Man sequel was the weakest of the five, with a confused, overstuffed script. Why they couldn't have simply focused on Mickey Rourke as Whiplash instead of adding so many other plot threads I don't get.

Bob said...

Captain America easily tops the list – it is, I think, the best superhero film since The Rocketeer (also directed by Jonstone). Great cast, smart script, and … well, you could take kids to it. I don’t think a superhero film has to be campy or childish, but you shouldn’t be afraid to take kids to them – otherwise, what’s the point. Top marks to Capt. America.

Of the other Marvel films – I greatly enjoyed the first two X-Men movies, mostly for playing both the text and sub-text. They really got it. The 3rd X-Men was something of a mash-up and a lot less enjoyable. I did like the recent X-Men reboot more than expected.

I like both Hulk films – he’s the only Marvel character that consistently hits a tragic note, and both films succeed on this. Good job.

I think the Spider-Man films missed a bet by not being set in a sun-kissed JFK 1960s, but for all of that, they were enjoyable. However, unlike Capt. America, the Hulk and X-Men films, I would never look at them again.

Thor was OK – but nothing more. Ditto Fantastic Four I and II.

I could not stand either Iron Man movie – the first one was simple muddled rubbish, and the 2nd more and more of the same, only louder.

Karen said...

Richard, I left out First Class because as I understood, it was not under the complete control of Marvel Studios as the other five films were -I believe Fox still has the rights and control over creative decisions, although I might be wrong. I do think you see a big difference in the five films based on the fact that Marvel itself was putting the films together, and so had complete creative control. Things seem to stick closer to the books, for one thing, as you noted.

It would be great if Marvel could get the rights for FF, Spidey, and X-Men back from their respective studios. While the Spidey and X-Men franchises were relatively solid, I thought the FF films were very weak. I'd like to see a more Marvel take on the FF.


dbutler16 said...

Honestly, I liked all 4 Marvel movies that came out this year about the same. I thought they were all very good, but none of them blew me away. I'd rank Iron Man ahead of all of them. I'd probably also rank the first two Spider-Man Movies (well, the first one, anyway) and the first two X-Men movies (well, the second one, anyway) ahead of all 4 of them. I'd also rate the Incredible Hulk about even with, or perhaps slightly behind, this group of 2011 movies. I know I'm in the minority, but I actually liked Daredevil, especially the Director's Cut. I'd put that about even with the four 2011 Marvel movies. I'm not a fan of Tobey Maguire, either, but Spider-Man might be my favorite Marvel movie. I know I'm also in the minority there, as most people seem to like the second one best. Spider-Man, X2, and Iron Man are my favorite Marvel movies so far, with the Director's Cut of Daredevil (really!) just behind them. I'm expecting The Avengers to top them all, though!

Doug said...

With the films Karen's mentioned, I really appreciate that the studios are making more of an effort to get "the look" right. I'm still put-off by the black leather X-suits. They yellow/blue "First Class" suits worked just fine to me -- not sure why Nightcrawler wouldn't have looked good in the red body suit, or Wolverine in the brown/beige outfit. And let's face it -- tell me your heart didn't go all aflutter when Magneto appeared in his comic book costume at the end of "First Class" -- lordy, my heart skipped a beat! I am also less than thrilled with the upcoming Spider-Man suit.

So what would be my ranking of the recent films? I think I Iron Man the best, with Thor and Cap tied -- although my sense is that I was left wanting a bit more out of Thor than I was of the Cap film.

Believe it or not, I've not seen IM2 yet.

As to some of the other films brought up, I thought Spidey 2 was the best of that lot, and ditto for X2.

Overall champ? Too tough to say...


david_b said...

Agreed with most comments here, especially Bob on missing the 60's mark, not so much with Spidey (hated the Maquire and Dunst casting..), but more so on the FF films, also not good on casting, but it would have been MUCH more fun as a period piece.

Thor and Cap were both really fun entries, and so far rank as my favorite, along with the first I'm film.. It's finally cool to be a Marvellite at the Cinema..!

david_b said...

I typed 'IM' but it auto corrected as 'I'm'.. Was referring to the first Ironman film.. One thing I did like about the first Spidey film was the old jazzy animated tune over the credits, REALLY wish the other Marvel films slipped in the 60s themes somehow, but that's just me.

Garett said...

First Iron Man was great, second could've been better. Downey is very entertaining.

Captain America was also tops, for the right blend of comic and real--hit the right tone.

I liked Maguire as Spiderman, but the movies were just ok. The others just ok or haven't seen.

I'd like to check out Rocketeer again. Outside Marvel now, but I've always been a fan of Flash Gordon.

starfoxxx said...

i just watched Capt America; here's what I thought of the 4 superhero movies of 2011.

THOR - I loved how it started off with ACTION (a pet peeve of mine, No superhero movie has got my pulse rate up like that opening scene from X-men 2, though, thats my litmus test)

I LOVED Anthony Hopkins narration and performance as Odin, brilliant casting.

My dissapointments were the length of time Thor was de-powered, and the casting/costuming of the Warriors 3. Volstagg was way off, more tall than tubby. Sif was gorgeous. Natalie Portman seemed like she phoned it in.

X-MEN/1st Class- I loved it, but where I think THOR was very accessible to non-comic book fans, X-1C had all those juicy, trivial tidbits comic fans (like me) could enjoy. Costumes and acting were great. I could watch this over and over.

CAPTAIN AMERICA- I loved it, gave me goosebumps in a couple scenes. Strangely, I enjoyed the origin with the 'skinny' Steve Rogers the most. Amazing how they did that.
The Red Skull and Arnim Zola were well acted/portrayed. It got a bit too lovey-dovey sweet at the end for me, but I still loved it.

And I know it's not Marvel, but I LIKED Green Lantern. They should have had more GL Corps and space scenes, though. My biggest gripe was the horrific version of Hector Hammond. My memories of GL comics were not so dark and horrific. His head looked like it was gonna pop!

Dougie said...

I missed Cap in my local, small-town cinema-hopefully, it'll be on dvd for Xmas- but I did catch X-Men First Class and enjoyed it. We also took the junior school to see Thor in the early summer, which was my second viewing and it's the Marvel movie I liked best.
I can admire Iron Man although I'm not a fan of the character but I found IM2 noisy and dull. Similarly, having tried to teach film studies via Spidey 2, I can attest the first hour bores kids to death and the third one is a sprawling hodgepodge. Rise of the Silver Surfer is a guilty pleasure, however. And, as this is a Bronze Age blog, someone should post a pick of Angie Bowie as the Black Widow.

William Preston said...

I thought the Thor and Hulk (the second one) movies best captured the feel of the comics. I was disappointed with how quickly the Destroyer went down, but was thrilled when that turned out to not be the major battle. The opening battles were too dark, and they were directed in such a way that it was hard to follow the action.

Hulk was notable for the performances, great, clear fight scenes that seemed like they had truly translated the comic fights into this medium, and a satisfying story. I thought that film "got" how a "super soldier" would look better than Captain America did. You saw how Tim Roth could simply move faster than everyone around him, and how he could take a lot of punishment. I didn't think the Cap flick captured that as well, especially since he was constantly fighting glass-jawed Hydra goons.

I like the second Iron Man movie more. The first one's third act is lame, and Downey's line readings are pretty much the only thing keeping the film alive. The second film is much less dependent on Downey (though certainly he always kicks things up a notch). The park-as-atomic-model made zero sense, but at least it was filmed in a way that carried you along with the nonsense.

I enjoyed the Cap film immensely, but thought that neither the script nor the direction did justice to the Cosmic Cube. It made electricity jump around! That's about it. I was also bothered by the was the story conflated Hydra and Nazis to the detriment of the WWII plotline. Much was excellent about the film, though Samuel L. Jackson seemed stiff, and the opening felt like a TV-movie version of the story.

Of the Spideys: the second one is terrific. The comic book came to life.

X-Men: Didn't see the latest one. The second one, again, worked the best.

The second FF movie has some nice moments between Johnny and Ben, and the final battle is good. But Reed and Sue are terrible, both in the writing and the acting, and they should've just saved Galactus for another film. That fight was as bad as Clark fighting Darkseid on Smallville.

Redartz said...

Doug, you are quite right regarding the costume issues in X-Men and Spiderman. I really enjoyed First Class and appreciated those little costume touches.

Just watched Captain America last night, and loved it. Terrific casting, visually it worked great. Steve Rogers came alive from the page in wonderful form. Only one minor complaint; I saw the blu-ray version, and found some of the 3-D effects a bit distracting.

Ranked in order of personal regard:
1. Iron Man
2. Captain America
3. X-Men First Class
4. Spider-man 2
5. Thor

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