Ranking the Modern Marvel Movies, 17-7

Continuing to rank these films. Got through pretty well all of the poop last time. This was hard to rank as most of these movies in here are relatively interchangeable a few spots give or take.

17. Incredible Hulk

This isn’t bad, but its not good. Its much less ambitious than Ang Lee’s “Hulk” and it suffers/improves accordingly. They got closer to getting Bruce Banner and The Hulk right this time around, but still whiffed a bit. I like Ed Norton, but I don’t think he really fit as Bruce Banner. Liv Tyler sucks. Otherwise, the casting for the most part is well done. Blonsky is a sensible “villain” and the camera work and story isn’t really that bad either. It just misses “clicking” and the Hulk design not resembling in any sense Ed Norton. That part really bugged me.

16. Thor

This movie had the potential to be so much worse but, like with most good comic book movies, good actors can sell you on the silliness. The casting was another home run. Sif, Odin, Thor and Loki are all casted perfectly and all bring the right amount of maturity and immaturity to the movie. The characters, even the grating ones, have great chemistry with each other. Sending Thor to earth works to balance the giant golden city of gold everything that Asgard is. Few too many Dutch camera angles though.

15. X-Men

This entire list owes it to this movie for being the first. Its low budget and thats obvious, especially as it has aged. But at the same time it was certifiably nuts and did everything it needed to do. It also laid down the template for pretty well every comic book movie to execute and improve upon which is why this ranks where it does. Huge impact, but over time its been outdone. The casting in this movie is perfect except for Rogue. Anna Paquin…

14. The Amazing Spider-Man

This is a perfectly fine and unoffensive remake of Spider Man. I enjoyed the character chemistry, which is a strength of the reboots. Andrew Garfield fits Spider Man as a hero better than Toby McGuire. Emma Stone is flawless. The biggest gripe I have is that he learned his powers too easily in the movie. He swung around a dumb empty warehouse on a skateboard and POW! he was Spider Man. Also, how crazy Curt Connors got was strange. Went from “OMG I can haz arm!” to “EVERYONE SHOULD BE LIZARDS!” I sort of get it and know and saw what they tried to do to show the descent, but they just whiffed on it. Went for a home run and got a bloop single into right field.

13. Iron Man 2

I’m so wishy washy on this movie. I had it at 16 and I’ve had it higher so I settled on here. When you watch it with your turbonerd vision on, which is how I watch all comic book movies, then you see a lot more to it. Its perfectly fine and fun. The character chemistry is still there and there is lots of Iron Man-ing. A lot of the things that others see as plotholes, I have totally reasonable non-fanboy explanations that are actually in the movie. Synthesizing the vibranium was a little outlandish though.

12. Spider-Man

This is a good movie. While Andrew Garfield is a better Spider Man, Toby McGuire is a better Peter Parker to me. He’s better at the nerdy, down on his luck character with all sorts of conflicts. James Franco does Harry Osborne well too and the casting is pretty strong. I don’t know if Kirsten Dunst is a bad MJ, or if its the lack of chemistry between her and McGuire that brings her character down. The plot is good and comic booky while believable and the CGI holds up really well over time. Its complete and very satisfying.

11. X-Men: First Class

Another ace in character casting. Beast, Professor X, Magneto and Mystique are all excellent and many of the side characters are very well done too. I’d give the show stealing performance to Michael Fassbender. He’s an excellent Magneto and his scenes accordingly excellent. If it wasn’t for the bomb that was Origins: Wolverine, we were supposed to get a Magneto movie but they folded a lot of those scenes (Magneto the Nazi hunter) into this one. I really enjoyed how the super hero conflict was blended into actual history. Its a very strong origin for the franchise and really established the strong relationship between Professor X and Magneto.

10. Thor: The Dark World

Much like the first film, this one is goofy and dumb but it pulls it off. They fully embraced more of the weird spacey realm mytholgy things. Hemsworth has improved every time he’s held the hammer. Hiddleston is Loki. Loki is Hiddleston. Jaime Alexander is excellent as Sif, while criminally underused. And even Natalie Portman and her team of misfit scientists make this work. There is case to be made that of the post-Iron Man Marvel movies that this hast the weakest villain, and well yeah. No charisma or pull, which is unfortunate with an actor like Ecclestone under all that makeup. He’s just an evil bad dude. But a combination of Loki, improved action, scope of the plot and with more time spent on not-Midgard really makes it enjoyable.

9. Iron Man 3

I get wishy-washy on this Iron Man movie too. I had it at 15, then 7 and everywhere in between. Its really good. The tone is great. Its fun. It has all the great character chemistry you’d expect. It also does a good job at emphasizing Tony Stark as the hero versus the Iron Man suit as the hero. But I have my issues with it. First and foremost, The Mandarin as an actor and bathroom humour vehicle. But then again, I love the Extremis storyline and liked Guy Pierce’s character. The twist was interesting and cheap at the same time. And that is what tears me on it. From a movie standpoint, its great. But from a comic book standpoint, it takes a few too many liberties in a way I wasn’t totally okay with. Its everything you’ve come to expect from Iron Man in the previous movies, but at the same time unique and different which was refreshing. And it wasn’t just another villain in a suit which I LOVE LOVE LOVED! It also really set up an interesting world for Avengers 2 and find out just what Tony’s been doing.

8. The Wolverine

This is a really interesting “comic book movie” because it really wasn’t all that comic book movie, but it was. It was character driven and the scale of the plot was stripped down from what we’re used to seeing in these movies with world domination and extinction and whatever. It was a really different take on the character and reminded me of the Terminator 2. There isn’t a lot of excess at all and it keeps things moving pretty straight forward. It was very enjoyable in how lean and focused it was. Really a “Wolverine” movie versus a “Wolverine and Friends”. The end could be better, but thats a pretty common gripe with just about every movie.

7. Captain America: The First Avenger

I really have to hand it to this movie. They took a character that is as easy to screw up as Captain America and nailed it. They really embraced how old fashioned Cap is as a character instead of trying to turn him into a gritty soldier screaming “AMERICA!” That is my favourite part of this movie. He’s fighting for the USA, but not as this pro-America supremacist flag waving nut case. His values are simple like bravery and fighting for what is right while being entirely selfless. He’s the “ideal” American, while feeling like you can easily replace “American” with whatever your nationality is and lose none of the messaging. Then making it work in this day in age as a World War II movie mixed with space guns and a soldier who beats everyone by punching them super hard. The supporting cast is perfect as well. Arnim Zola to Peggy Carter to Bucky Barnes to Red Skull to everyone else.

Marvel movies 28-18

Marvel movies 6-1 (link soon)

Summer Movie Review: Now with 100% more Monkeys

- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 5/5

This movie is really good. Like really really good. I really really recommend it. The character dynamics between Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Andy Serkis Ape (Caesar) and Angry Ape (Koba) is terrific. It provides such a good balance and you are able to easily understand where each character is coming from.

Usually with extremist characters, you find yourself hating them because they’re cheap, but with Angry Ape and Gary Oldman you totally get it. They’re more anti-heroes than the antagonists. Like Magneto vs Professor X. More a clash of understandable ideologies than good guy vs bad guy.

Andy Serkis as Caesar is excellent. I don’t think he gets enough credit for how good he is because he ends up CGI’d, but he’s in a mo-cap suit and totally managed to become that character and do little things with the face and eyes that pure CGI animated characters haven’t done in pretty well any movie (You really can see this in some of the behind the scenes stuff). He was excellent as Gollum and he’s totally killing it as Caesar.

The conflict was really well thought out and paced excellently. I had not seen Rise of The Planet of the Apes before this one, but the way the story was designed they managed to cover anything you needed to know well and I didn’t have any real moments of “wait wut?”

Then I went back and Mexico Netflix’d “Rise” and I like “Dawn” even more.

My only “complaint” would be that the third act is your generic “everything is happening” action scene, but its still done in a very interesting way. I would have liked there to be maybe more of a memorable moment. Like the “that shot” moment because the movie really deserves that kind of thing and I’m not left with any one shot from the end really sticking out that way.

But its still very well done. The sense of scale makes sense and the camera work is excellently done. Go see.

Other reviews:

Transformers 4: Age of Extinction 3/5
A Million Ways to Die in the West 0/5
Godzilla 5/5
X-Men: Days of Future Past  4/5
The Amazing Spiderman 2 2/5
Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It 4/5
Captain America: The Winter Soldier 5/5
The Raid 3/5
Need for Speed 3/5
300: Rise of an Empire 3/5

To Come

- Son of Batman (DVD) May 6
- Hercules July 25
- Guardians of the Galaxy August 1
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles August 8
– 
Batman: Assault on Arkham (DVD) August 12
– The Expendables 3 August 15
- Sin City: A Dame to Kill For August 22

Summer Movie Review: Now with 100% more Transformers

- Transformers 4: Age of Exinction 3/5

Sigh. Well, its better than Transformers 3, and probably Transformers 2. Its just such a Michael Bay movie. I used to not really care about how crap these were, but then I saw Pacific Rim and now I have a higher standard for giant robot movies.

The movie has all the mindless action you could want and it does look terrific. The 3D works and the shots are all focused nicely. And unlike the earlier movies, you can tell what is happening more often than not. The evil robots are designed nicer and more like robots and not jagged metal creatures.

The characters in this movie at least stick around/get some sense of closure for the most part and my groan-counter capped at like 6 or 7 which is pretty good for Michael Bay. His new jailbait is hot and he makes sure you know that and Marky Mark >>> Shia Lebouf. Not enough Dinobots.

The plot falls apart, I mean really badly even for a Transformers movie, in the last hour of this 3 hour escapade. I won’t get into spoilers, but its glaring.

All in all, this is a popcorn movie.  But no pop because you’ll have to take a piss, but you probably, who am I kidding, you won’t missing anything of consequence.

Other reviews:

A Million Ways to Die in the West 0/5
Godzilla 5/5
X-Men: Days of Future Past  4/5
The Amazing Spiderman 2 2/5
Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It 4/5
Captain America: The Winter Soldier 5/5
The Raid 3/5
Need for Speed 3/5
300: Rise of an Empire 3/5

To Come

- Son of Batman (DVD) May 6
- Transformers 4: Age of Extinction June 27
- Hercules July 25
- Guardians of the Galaxy August 1
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles August 8
– 
Batman: Assault on Arkham (DVD) August 12
– The Expendables 3 August 15
- Sin City: A Dame to Kill For August 22

Ranking the Modern Marvel Movies, 28-18

Gonna rank these bad boys since I’ve seen them all over the last 6 months. Except both Ghost Rider movies, but I heard I didn’t miss anything. And well, you didn’t miss anything with most of these either.

28. Fantastic Four

This movie sucks. They turned Marvel’s First Family into a silly sitcom family. Instead of fighting bad guys, they basically spend the entire movie bickering amongst each other. Its a shame, because Doctor Doom is arguably the greatest comic book villain of all time and he’s just marginalized by everything.

27. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

This movie sucks, but just a bit less because its less sitcom and more terribly done action movie. They actually do superhero stuff and save the world. Doctor Doom is bungled again. Galactus is a… cloud? Why is Reed Richards using his stretching ability to wheel ladies at a nightclub? Blargh, I hope Fox fixes it next time or just give it back to Marvel.

26. Elektra

When I went to HMV to get all the movies I didn’t have or couldn’t get on Netflix, I almost forgot this one existed until I Googled before leaving. Everything is forgettable and I don’t really even know what happened. I wonder how they got this approved after Daredevil.

25. Daredevil

This should have worked better. Daredevil is a great street-level superhero and especially in a time before Iron Man and the Avengers, this could have worked. But, its just not right. Ben Affleck didn’t work here, but I think it was more Fox trying to have their way with the material and “adapt” it for “regular” people. Granted, Michael Clarke Duncan and Colin Farrell do pretty well as villains, but things just aren’t right. All this time and I still can’t figure it out as far as what specifically doesn’t click, but its not good.

24. Punisher

I like the Punisher. I really do. He’s like comic book Max Payne or The Hitman. Like if Batman just gunned everyone down. He should be an interesting, violent, sorta-crazy vigilante, but he was just a boring, goofy caricature without the desire for gunfire and blood he should have. And seriously, getting back at John Travolta by getting him a parking ticket for parking too close to a fire hydrant? This is a dude who is like the angriest, bestest dude at killing in the world with guns, and that’s vengeance?

23. Spiderman 3

I have so many reasons for hating this movie. All the dumb, goofy scenes like dancing and crying. Harry Osborne going nuts. Sandman’s whole “story”. Completely neutering Venom. But most of all, being so bad they rebooted it shortly after into a completely average series of films. This movie sucks.

22. X-MenOrigins: Wolverine

F–k. This movie did a lot of stuff I like with all sorts of mutants and some really cool ideas and Gambit but then everything got dumb and the execution was… well it was poo. The CGI sucks. There are 3 scenes its awful. First, when he’s looking at his claws in the mirror. Second, when he was destroying the fire escape. Third, the whole scene with Patrick Stewart and all the kids running towards him at the end. I want to know who came up with memory bullets, and “The Deadpool”, and Will.I.Am, and everything. Where did Gambit get a plane?

21. X-Men: The Last Stand

The only reason this is higher is because they killed Cyclops who totally sucks but that was only the first of two good things. The second good thing is how many mutants we got to see: Colossus, Shadowcat, Juggernaut, etc. Now onto the bad, such as everything. Its such a mess. The biggest mess. Of all messes. Plot, characters, dialogue, structure, camera work. There is a third good thing though and its honestly amazing how Magneto and Professor X have awful lines, but Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart deliver them so well they become mediocre. There is also all the action you could ever want to see too, but it can only be so entertaining before it becomes visual noise.

20. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Another steaming pile of crap. I don’t know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with the good, which is Emma Stone and Emma Stone wearing skirts all movie. Why did we need like 4 villains? Electro sucks. His death makes no sense. Why did he wear boxers and a battery meter? The new Green Goblin is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in comics. And the plane scene was utterly pointless. And the parents story-line was horribly unsatisfying. And the whole thing just felt like 4 or 5 episodes of a Spiderman TV show played back-to-back and not at all like a movie. Andrew Garfield was up and down and overall meh again.

The biggest sin of all is that this movie is “launching” us into the Spider Man Movie Universe. The most pointless and unnecessary movie universe of all movie universes.

19. Hulk

I wanted to like this more. Its really ambitious and is shot almost like a motion comic. Almost a literal comic adaptation. Or even taking a lot of the scenes from the TV show and making them into a movie. But it just doesn’t have any of the “it” factor to be really good. I think it comes down to an issue with the Hulk himself. Hulk is more of an antihero. He doesn’t do well as a hero, because once he turns green he just destroys everything. He doesn’t really have much intelligence as the Hulk which almost makes the action scenes sort of mindless. I think more of it falls on Eric Bana and trying to make Bruce Banner interesting.

18. Punisher Warzone

Punisher - War Zone

Now, this movie isn’t terrible as a movie. Its actually a pretty solid action flick. Guns, explosions, wacky, good camera work. But it never really felt like the Punisher to me. Felt more like The Expendables before The Expendables. And that’s just why I don’t like it. There just isn’t much Punisher to it. Granted, I haven’t read the comic its based off of, but I know Punisher from other materials.

Marvel movies 17-8

Marvel movies 6-1 (link soon)

Summer Movie Review: Now with 100% more Godzooki!

- Godzilla 5/5

Extremely well put together. One of the reasons I liked Pacific Rim so much compared to Transformers is that you knew what was going on. There wasn’t just a bunch of visual and audible noise going nuts all the time. Legendary kept that up in this film.

The sense of scale was very well done to show just how helpless we’d be. Like when a human pours ant-killer in an ant-hill. They can’t do jack because we’re just so much bigger.

Also well done was the fact that the monsters really paid no attention to the humans, let alone the main hero guy. There was only 1 scene where he made eye contact with the monster. One, and it wasn’t long and drawn out and to show how tough humans are. It just happens, and dude craps his pants like all of us would.

The movie does take a while to get going although I didn’t really mind the way I do with other films. There were also tons of small imagery things that I’m not sure how many people but the biggest super-nerds would pick up on.

Note: Imagine if Godzilla/monsters reacted to humans the same way that some people do that are scared of bugs? That would be hilarious.

Note note: I would have loved to be in the pitch meeting. “Okay, Pacific Rim went over well. We did giant monsters v giant robots! Yeah woohoo! So, now, the logical next step is… MONSTERS ONLY AND NO ROBOTS!” (Yes, I know. Godzilla and all but still.)

- A Million Ways to Die in the West 0/5

Awful.

  1. Seth McFarlane isn’t a good actor.
  2. The script sucks.
  3. The jokes repeat themselves repeatedly over and over by being retold repeatedly over and over.
  4. Classic “sequel” issue. “Wow the guy who made Ted! Here’s a bunch of money and ALL THE FREEDOM!” and oh boy it does not work. Ted had a lot of charm to it, this movie is just like having Godzilla blast your ass with his atomic fire breath.

Do not watch.

Other reviews:

X-Men: Days of Future Past  4/5
The Amazing Spiderman 2 2/5
Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It 4/5
Captain America: The Winter Soldier 5/5
The Raid 3/5
Need for Speed 3/5
300: Rise of an Empire 3/5

To Come

- Son of Batman (DVD) May 6
- Transformers 4: Age of Extinction June 27
- Hercules July 25
- Guardians of the Galaxy August 1
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles August 8
– 
Batman: Assault on Arkham (DVD) August 12
– The Expendables 3 August 15
- Sin City: A Dame to Kill For August 22