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Hulk Ranks Every Non-MCU Marvel Movie From Best To Worst

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Mar 30, 2020, 1:19:56 AM3/30/20

1. Logan: The Greatest Non-MCU Marvel Movie. This movie is pretty much the closest thing we’ll get to a mainstream superhero art film, a hyper-violent dystopian Western that gave its hero the respect of transforming him into a gruesome killing machine and granting him some long-sought redemption. It’s a bleak movie with most of the X-Men dead, Logan dying, Xavier slowly losing control of his powers, mutants going extinct, and an evil company performing secret experiments in order to create their own mutant army. It’s a bit depressing, but it’s still a thrilling movie. The action in this movie is very brutal, filled with a lot of blood and gore; the violence in this film takes full advantage of the R rating. But, this is one of the few superhero movies where the fight scenes aren’t one of the main attractions. This movie is more about the acting and writing. Hugh Jackman gives his best Wolverine performance here as a Logan whose powers are slowly fading and who is now feeling the weight of all the things he’s done in the past. It’s a beautifully weary, cynical performance that builds off of his previous performances. Patrick Stewart is also great in this movie, using all his Shakespearean gravitas to play an Xavier full of regret and loneliness and who’s a little senile. He gives a sad, melancholic performance, which was a great way to end the character. I was also impressed by Dafne Keen’s Laura/X-23, who does a great job at mimicking Jackman’s earlier Wolverine performances, and by Stephen Merchant, who is surprisingly good as Caliban, showing a lot of range and pathos the normally comedic actor hasn’t been known for. But, what really makes this movie work is how it does something most movie superheroes don’t do: gives its hero finality. This movie could have only ended with Logan dying, and his death terrifically done. And, that was Logan’s greatest strength: it doesn’t feature the typical superhero or backtrack on any major deaths. While it does end on a hopeful note, Logan is still dead at the end; and that’s tragic. It’s not afraid to be a bit of a bummer, and that’s why it’s The Greatest.

2. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse: We need more animated superhero movies, especially the kind like Into The Spider-Verse. This movie is amazing, taking full advantage of its animation and delivering a lot of great colorful visuals throughout. From that great upside down shot of Miles Morales falling through the sky to Miles and Peter swinging through the woods to the fantastic final battle with the multiverse colliding together, practically every frame of the film contains a beautiful piece of art. As great as this movie looks, the acting and writing match it beautifully. There are some great voice performances throughout, from Jake Johnson’s world weary Peter B. Parker to Hailee Steinfeld’s too cool Gwen Stacy to Nicolas Cage’s fun, cheesy Spider-Man Noir to Brian Tyree Henry’s soulful, warm Jefferson Davis. But, the movie does belong to its lead as Shameik Moore nails the role of Miles Morales. He plays Miles well, capturing his confusion over his new powers beautifully while also making him a funny, nerdy, awkward teen. And, the plot of the film is a lot of fun, with all the different Spider-Men from other universes coming together. The movie has a lot of fun playing with the Spider-Man mythos, from the female Dr. Octopus to the Spider-Man themed Jingle Bells. I mean, who ever thought we’d see Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, in a theatrically released major motion picture? But, the best thing about this movie is that it's just a whole lot of fun. Freed from having to set up any plot points in a cinematic universe, Into The Spider-Verse can just do its own thing, with the filmmakers letting their imaginations run wild. It’s like watching a kid play with his or her Spider-Man toys, only we’re able to see what they are imagining as they play. There were no movies like Into The Spider-Verse when it came out, but hopefully, there will be more movies like it now.

3. X2: X-Men United: The 2nd X-Men movie is still the best, having held up well over the years. It builds on the vision of the first movie, keeping the societal-alienation themes intact, but since it was a sequel and didn’t have to waste time on getting the team together like in the first, it could do more. It raises the stakes, expands the canvas, and introduces a whole lot of fun new characters, like Alan Cumming’s great take on Nightcrawler, Aaron Stanford having some fun as Pyro, and Kelly Hu’s cool stoic take on Lady Deathstrike. Though, the real standout from the newcomers was Brian Cox’s fascist blowhard General Stryker. Cox is great at playing a righteous bastard, and he does some great work as Stryker. It’s got a great plot with the X-Men having to team up with Magneto and Mystique in order to stop William Stryker from tricking Charles Xavier into wiping out all mutants. I also liked the twist that Magneto only helps save the day so that he could use Xavier to wipe out all the humans instead; it was a great, logical heel turn for the character. There are some great action set pieces throughout: Nightcrawler’s White House invasion is still one of the best action scenes in a superhero movie. The Blackbird crash was exceptionally well done. Magneto’s escape from his ultra-secure plastic prison was unique. Finally, the fight between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike is a great knockdown, drag-out slugfest. And, while there’s a slightly lighter, goofier tone, the movie still brings the drama, especially when Jean Grey sacrifices herself to save everyone. It’s basically everything that a superhero movie sequel should be. While it sucks that the franchise got turned over to a total hack one movie later, X2 still holds up exceptionally well.

4. X-Men: Days Of Future Past: My two big complaints about this movie are: how 20th Century Fox lazily used it to explain the franchise’s continuity problems (time travel screwed everything up) even though the movie created some more, like how Bolivar Trask went from being a tall black man in 2006 in The Last Stand to somehow being a white little person in 1973 or how Mystique disguised as William Stryker saves Wolverine at the end only to see Wolverine as Stryker’s prisoner in the next movie. The other big complaint: how the franchise will introduce cool mutants with cool powers and then just drop them after a scene. I mean, you’d think that Havok would show up to help Xavier, Magneto, Beast, and Wolverine after realizing somethings up with Mystique after she helps him in Vietnam or that our heroes would keep Quicksilver around after he helps bust Magneto out of prison. They both could have added some visual flair to the big climactic fight. Besides those flaws, I did really enjoy this movie. Since it was the 5th movie in the franchise, the X-Men world had been fully set-up. So, it didn’t have to waste any time with origins or getting the team together. They could just jump into the action. Also, say what you will about Bryan Singer and his personal demons, bringing him back to direct was a wise choice as he had a good knack for filming these characters. He did a great job of adapting the Days Of Future Past storyline, nailing the original spirit of the comic. The cast is great as usual. Jennifer Lawrence’s take on the more radicalized but conflicted Mystique was well done. Ian McKellan does great work as the elderly Magneto, full of regret and perspective, but Michael Fassbender does a better job as the young bitter Magneto. While the continuity issue with Bolivar Trask did bug me, I did like Peter Dinklage’s take on the character. And, Evan Peters left a big impression as Quicksilver even though his character wasn’t that fully fleshed out. And, the action and special effects were really well done. The past and future Sentinels were great, both coming off as a great threat. The fights with the future Sentinels were well done. But, the big standout was that Quicksilver scene, where he takes out a bunch of prison guards in quick succession. It was a unique, well made sequence that showed a lot of playfulness and creativity. And, it told us a lot about Quicksilver’s character. In all, Days Of Future Past is just a great thrillride with the time travel plot making it unique among other superhero movies.

5. Blade II: As great as the 1st Blade movie is, the 2nd one blows it out of the water. Why? Guillermo del Toro. The future Oscar winning director made a rich, beguiling, visually sweeping movie with a unique premise: Blade has to work with the Bloodpack, a team of vampire mercenaries originally put together to take him out in order to kill a bunch of mutated vampires called Reapers. The Bloodpack is a great addition to the Blade mythos, mainly because their leader is played by a very game Ron Perlman and features Donnie Yen doing his usual badass action man shtick. The Reapers are another great idea, mainly because of how f***ing cool they look. They are a typical del Toro creation: ugly and disgusting but so bewitching that you can’t help but look at them. And, Luke Goss does a good job as Jared Nomak, the Reaper leader. I also have to mention a memorable Norman Reedus as Scud, Blade’s replacement for Whistler (who turns out to be alive, which was a bit contrived but works because it means more Kris Kristofferson) who turns traitor. And, of course, Wesley Snipes is great as usual as Blade. Plus, he does some good work with Leonor Varela, who plays Nyssa, the daughter of the vampire lord who brings Blade in to help him with the Reapers. They make a surprisingly deep connection in the film, and she gets an emotional death scene that works a lot better than it should. Outside of the plot and cool characters, the movie looks fantastic. If there was any director who could beautifully capture the dark tones of the Blade character, it was del Toro. He creates a great dark atmosphere throughout the film. And, the fight scenes are just the best. The scene where Wesley Snipes suplexes a guy through glass and then pops up in Ron Perlman’s face may or may not have caused me to piss myself a little. The action in this movie is even better than the first and has held up incredible well since 2002. Hell, the whole movie holds up well, thanks in large part to del Toro. The director found ways to indulge his freaky monster-movie imagination, stage impressive fight sequences, and channel some genuine emotion, all without compromising the monumental badassery of his main character.

6. Spider-Man 2: I do have two complaints about Spider-Man 2: For one, the dialogue. It’s clunky and cheesy at times. There are some lines that are just so bad that no one can make them work. The other, I didn’t like how the movie went out of its way to get the mask off of Spider-Man. I mean, a train full of people saw his face. It was so stupid. But, other than that, Spider-Man 2 is a great comic book movie. As good as Tobey Maguire was in the first Spider-Man, he’s even better here. He does great work as Peter keeps getting shit on throughout this movie; he makes a good hapless loser. Alfred Molina makes a great Dr. Octopus. He brings a lot of warmth to the role before he gets the robotic arms fused to his body, and he has a lot of fun when Dr. Octavius goes full badguy. Sam Raimi keeps up the frantic visual style from the first one, which again adds to the comic book feel. Plus, with the origin story out of the way, Raimi feels free to have a whole lot more fun with the Spider-Man story, sending Spider-Man careening beautifully through Manhattan corridors. And then, there are the fight scenes. Good God almighty are they great! The fights in this movie look like some of the great fight panels from the old Spider-Man comics come to life. The real standout is the train fight between Spider-Man and Dr. Octopus. It was a great tour de force of action, suspense, and special effects. It may very well be the best fight scene in a superhero movie. In all, the movie just works, effortlessly combining special effects and a human story, keeping its parallel plots alive and moving. It’s just a well-made movie that tells a great story so well that you can forgive for some minor flaws.

7. Deadpool 2: The 2nd Deadpool is just as funny as the first but has the added advantage of not having to waste any time in telling Deadpool’s origin. It can spend more time making jokes and showing violent fight scenes. All the things that worked about the first Deadpool work here, but it has enough new elements to make it shine better than the first one. The new characters add a lot to the movie. Josh Brolin is great as Cable, playing the straight man role with aplomb. Julian Dennison does some great work as Russell Collins/Firefist. He puts a lot of heart in the role and keeps it from being a token foul-mouthed teenager caricature. And, Zazie Beetz makes a fine Domino, bringing a lot of charisma to the role. I also liked how well they were able to showcase Domino’s luck powers. That scene with Domino running down the streets as everything falls apart around her looks fantastic. In fact, the action scenes in this movie are really well done. Though, the comedy still remains one of the strongest elements of the Deadpool movies. There are a lot of great gags in this movie, like the cameos from the X-Men actors who want no part of Deadpool and the fact that they spent a bit of time to build up the X-Force team only to kill most of them off (with a brief cameo by Brad Pitt as an invisible mutant who only shows his face for like 3 seconds before dying). But, Deadpool 2 works surprisingly well as a movie that deals with getting over the loss of a loved one both in Wade’s job getting Vanessa killed and Cable going back in time to prevent the death of his family and as a movie that deals with overcoming trauma from abuse with Russell wanting revenge the Mutant Reeducation Center. Audiences expected Deadpool 2 to be just as funny as the first, but I doubt anyone was expecting to be a tearjerker as well.

8. Blade: It’s amazing that the movie that got the ball rolling on the superhero movie craze was about an obscure character from an obscure Dracula comic Marvel made in the 1970s. Hell, Blade is better known for his movies than for his comics. Which should really tell you how good the first Blade movie is. Its biggest strength is how it builds its world. You get a full scope of the underground vampire world and Blade’s fight against it within the first scene, and it just builds its world up beautifully as the movie goes on. Another big strength is the case. Wesley Snipes is great as Blade, displaying a great steely badass cool throughout. Kris Kristofferson leaves a big impression as Whistler. Stephen Dorff wonderfully chews scenery as Deacon Frost. I really liked N'Bushe Wright as Dr. Karen Jenson. She did a good job with the thankless role as Blade’s sidekick, managing to not make her a damsel in distress; I’m really disappointed she hasn’t done much since. The movie also looks great. The fight scenes are very brutal and fierce. And, the movie has a great high visual style, using extreme camera angles, bizarre costumes and sets, exaggerated shadows, and confident cutting between long shots and extreme close-ups. It slams ahead in pure visceral imagery that made it stand out from some of the cheesier superhero movies of the 1990s, like the Schumacher Batman films. And, it still stands out today. Blade showed that a more serious, stylish take on the superhero genre could be very profitable. And, the fact that it still holds up after over 20 years shows how good the movie is.

9. Deadpool: After X-Men Origins: Wolverine nearly ruined Deadpool, this movie came along to return the character to its glory. The best decision this movie made was to just completely ignore his previous movie appearance (aside from some funny gags about how awful it was). Instead, this becomes a new origin for Wade Wilson, which does drag the film down a bit as we’re forced to watch Wade get tortured into activating his latent mutant genes. Luckily, the rest of the film is a pure joy. Ryan Reynolds builds on the brilliant flashes he showed in the pre-mouthless Deadpool scenes in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, nailing the character’s wit, sarcasm, and irreverence to a T. Morena Baccarin is great as Vanessa, Wade’s girlfriend. She has great chemistry with Reynolds, matching his comedic chops well. And, she has enough toughness to elevate the role from a mere love interest/damsel in distress. I also love the movie’s portrayal of Colossus as the ultimate goody-two-shoes; it was a great choice, making him unique as well as a great contrast to Deadpool’s more mature personality. The action scenes are pretty well done, being both thrillingly action packed as well as funny. And, speaking of funny, comedy, and its emphasis on being Rated R, is the movie’s biggest strength. It’s absolutely hilarious, and the movie is the closest to an outright satire/parody of the superhero genre. While comedy has been a big part of superhero films, especially due to the MCU movies, it’s mainly been just one bit of a filmmaking element to them. Here, it was the main attraction; and it worked well, making Deadpool stand out among the pack. Deadpool easily proved there was an audience for an R rated, raunchy superhero comedy.

10. Spider-Man: There are a lot of elements of Spider-Man that haven’t aged well. Some of the CGI looks bad. The action scenes aren’t anything to write home about. The Green Goblin costume is awful. Kirsten Dunst’s portrayal of Mary Jane Watson is not great. And, Tobey Maguire’s quips as Spider-Man are just terrible. However, there are elements of the movie that still work. While Maguire doesn’t make a good Spider-Man, he does make a great Peter Parker. He definitely nails the nerdy aspect of Parker and definitely had the chops for the more dramatic parts of the movie. And, while Dunst might not make a good Mary Jane, she still has great chemistry with Maguire; that famous kiss works well not just because Spider-Man is upside down. It’s also got a great supporting cast. J.K. Simmons stole the show as J. Jonah Jameson. He so thoroughly nailed the role that Marvel and Sony had no choice but to bring him back for the MCU Spider-Man movies. Willem Dafoe inhales the scenery as The Green Goblin. It’s not a great performance, but it sure is memorable. James Franco makes a great Harry Osborne, managing to be friendly but hiding a darkness. But, what really makes this movie work is Sam Raimi. The director did a great job to give this movie a unique visual style. He made it feel like a comic book and not in a bad corny way like with the Schumacher Batman films. Raimi let his imagination run wild and made a Spider-Man movie that looked and felt like a 1960s Spider-Man comic. While some things haven’t held up, his direction has.

11. X-Men: For much of the 1990s, superhero movies were a bit of a joke. After the Batman franchise crashed and burned, many thought the genre was dead. Blade proved everyone wrong, but X-Men proved that the genre could keep on making money if people took superheroes seriously. That’s what really makes X-Men work: Bryan Singer made the movie seriously. The characters in the film may make a few jokes, but they treat the events happening as if they’re a matter of life and death. Singer filled the film with great actors. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan bring their Shakespearean gravitas to Charles Xavier and Magneto respectively. Stewart does a great job of balancing Xavier’s warmth and self-righteousness. And, McKellan plays the role like Richard III, deadly serious but capable of having some fun. Besides those 2, the big standout was Hugh Jackman, who nailed the role of Wolverine. He beautifully captured Logan’s gruff exterior, weathered intensity, wariness, caged-animal body language, and hidden warmth. And, I really liked Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey, able to play her sly intelligence and gentle warmth well. I was also impressed by how Rebecca Romijn was able to make Mystique work through her lithe, predatory physicality, which was nice as she didn’t just rely on the make-up. As great as the casting is, some things in this movie haven’t aged well, like the fight scenes that combine 1990s Michael Bay noisiness and post-Matrix kung fu. The CGI isn’t great; though it was made in the late 1990s, so it at least has an excuse. And, way too much of this movie takes place in the X-Mansion with the heroes talking about what to do. However, despite those flaws, the movie works. Singer creates a great atmosphere and world in this movie, and the acting does a great job of elevating the movie. X-Men was basically made to set up its cinematic world, and at that task, it did a great job.

12. The Wolverine: If I have one complaint about this movie, then it’s the movie’s big twist: that Ichirō Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi), the man who first met Wolverine at the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and brings him to Japan to set up the movie’s plot, is the villain, The Silver Samurai. It doesn’t make any sense. Why would Yashida bring Logan to Japan, ask him for help in curing his cancer, and then fake his death when Logan said no? Why not just kidnap him and force Logan to give up his quick healing powers? The plot could have just as easily been set up with a kidnapping and an escape with the help of Mariko (Tao Okamoto) and Yukio (Rila Fukushima) rather than the fake death. Other than that, this is a pretty good dry run for James Mangold. He’d go on to make the great Logan, but this was his 1st foray with Wolverine. And, he does a great job here. Nearly everything that fans and critics loved about Logan was first expressed in The Wolverine, and while Logan is the superior movie, The Wolverine is a damn fine superhero movie. Mangold made a great adaptation of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's original Wolverine miniseries. And, the Japanese setting was a great change of pace for locales in superhero movies. I also like how the movie uses The Silver Samurai and Viper, 2 lesser known X-Men villains. The movie also makes for a great action film. Mangold largely eases up on the CGI theatrics, instead sending Wolverine to Japan and building a low-stakes old-school action movie around him, letting him battle ninjas and yakuza, staging cool fights on bullet-train roofs. The fights are really well done; the bullet-train fight is excellent, and the shot of Wolverine with chained arrows in his back is exceptionally striking. Though, to give the fights some stakes, Mangold and screenwriters Mark Bomback & Scott Frank made the wise decision to take away Wolverine’s healing powers and have him face off against a Silver Samurai with a giant heated adamantium sword. It may have been a little convoluted, but it worked. But, what really makes this movie work is Logan’s arc of getting over Jean Grey’s death. Hugh Jackman does great work with his role here, and the arc helps to break up the monotony of the action scenes. In all, this is a fine underrated superhero flick. Mangold would do a whole lot more with Wolverine the next time around, but this was a strong start.

13. The Amazing Spider-Man: This may very well be the most underrated superhero movie. It doesn’t get a lot of love, probably because of its association with its terrible sequel and Sony’s botched attempts at starting their own MCU with just Spider-Man. And, those attempts are on display here with all the hints to the mysterious circumstance surrounding the disappearance of Peter Parker’s parents. Those parts are unnecessary and a bit of a drag. Another flaw is James Garfield. He’s not great as Peter Parker. He’s just way too cool to be the nerdy Peter, like a jock trying playing geek dress-up. Though, he works very well as Spider-Man, handling Spidey’s quick wit much better than Toby Maguire (though Tom Holland blows both of them out of water in both aspects of the role). He also has great chemistry with Emma Stone, who’s fantastic as Gwen Stacy. She brings a lot of wit and charm to the role. In fact, the supporting cast is a big factor in what makes this movie work. You can’t go wrong with Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Denis Leary is a surprise treat as George Stacy, Gwen's police captain father; he’s basically a stand-in for J. Jonah Jameson and does well in the role. Rhys Ifan does well as Dr. Curt Connors, though there was a little too much reliance on CGI for the Lizard parts. Another thing that works in this movie is the action scenes. While not as good as some of the other Spider-Man movies, they get the job done. Though, there is one stand-out: the library fight between Spider-Man and The Lizard, which was really creative and featured the best Stan Lee cameo of all time. And, the web-slinging parts looked good, especially in 3D. However, there is one other big flaw: the direction is a little rote and by-the-numbers for superhero movies (I highly suspect director Marc Webb simply got the role due to his last name fitting in well with the whole spider motif). Though, there is a lot to recommend in this movie. It doesn’t really deserve to have the stink of its sequel to rub off onto it.

14. X-Men: First Class: The biggest flaw in the entire X-Men franchise is continuity, in that there is seemingly none. Characters who first appear in the 2000s will just show up decades earlier played by different actors. Plot developments brought up in one movie will be completely ignored or changed in another. And, First Class is a big offender of this flaw. The movie ends with Charles Xavier and Magneto having parted ways and with Xavier paralyzed in 1962 even though Last Stand began with both of them still friends and Xavier walking in the 1980s. Needless to say, this confused some people since it appeared that First Class was trying to be a prequel to the first 3 X-Men movies rather than a full reboot. Continuity aside, this is a very enjoyable movie. For one, it’s got a hilariously overqualified cast. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are great as Xavier and Magneto respectively. Both fill the roles as well as Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan did. There’s also Jennifer Lawrence who makes an intriguing Mystique. She does a great job of playing Mystique as sweet and naive in the beginning and slowly toughening up. And, all 3 do a great job with the arc among the 3 as Mystique becomes conflicted between following Xavier’s more peaceful integration for mutants and her intrigue with Magneto’s more violent approach. Outside of the 3 leads, I also enjoyed Kevin Bacon’s fun performance as Sebastian Shaw; and Rose Byrne’s take on Moira MacTaggert was unique. Another great aspect of the movie was its 1960s setting. Director Matthew Vaughn has a lot of fun with the time period, basically making the movie into superhero homage to that decade’s spy films, which gives this movie a unique look among the franchise and other superhero movies. He also has a great eye for the action scene; Shaw’s attack on the CIA is exceptionally well done. Though, there are other flaws besides the continuity. The CGI is not great, another big flaw within the whole franchise. And, some of the other mutants get treated as afterthoughts, particularly Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Darwin (Edi Gathegi), and Havoc (Lucas Till). But, besides those flaws, this is a pretty enjoyable, unique entry in the X-Men franchise.

15. Hulk: This is a mess of a movie, and a big reason for that is director Ang Lee. Lee loved the psychological approach to Bruce Banner and The Hulk, how Banner struggles to keep the Hulk at bay. However, most people just think of the Hulk as a monster who smashes things. The movie he made was far more cerebral than the typical superhero fare audiences were expecting. However, Lee felt that he also had to deliver something that could work as a summer blockbuster. So, in between scenes of the actors dealing with abusive parental relationships and the big debate between nature VS nurture, we have scenes with a bad looking, incredibly green Hulk fighting with giant radioactive dogs, shots crosscut together to make scenes literally look like a comic book, Nick Nolte doing god knows what as Banner’s dad (who eventually becomes The Absorbing Man), and a climactic battle that takes place in pitch black darkness, which makes it impossible to see. It also didn’t help that the Hulk looked like Shrek on steroids. I know I just mentioned the Hulk looking, but it bears repeating: the Hulk looked awful in this movie. Like I said, this movie is a mess. But, it’s a beautiful mess. There are times that Lee’s vision manages to come together, like when the Hulk is jumping through the desert, and a serene, sublime beauty comes out. Also, the casting is well done, outside of Nick Nolte, of course (and even his batshit insane performance is memorable). Eric Bana is a fine Bruce Banner. But, the real MVPs are Jennifer Connelly and Sam Elliot as the Rosses. Connelly is great as Betsy, who’s nicely terse and distrustful in this movie. And, Elliot, one of Hollywood’s most laid-back actors, seems like an odd choice for the boisterously angry Thunderbolt Ross, but Elliot nails the role. And, while some of the action scenes aren’t great (the aforementioned climax and fight with the dogs), some work well. Hulk’s fight with the Army is well done and leads to that beautiful part with the Hulk in the desert. Lee is a good enough director that he still managed to make the movie work for the most part, but it is still a jarring experience at times. Like I said, it’s a mess; but it’s a sublime, beautiful, ambitious mess. And, quite frankly, I’d love it if more superhero movies were as psychologically serene as Hulk is.

16. The Punisher (1989): Another comic book movie that fails because it changes a lot from the comic. I mean, this is a movie made by people who looked at The Punisher’s iconic skull costume and thought, “Nah! Don’t need it!” In fact, the whole movie is just a basic, generic 1980s action movie that just so happens to feature Frank Castle. In order to turn this a non-Punisher movie, all you’d have to do is change Castle’s name to anything else. But, while this movie fails as a Punisher movie, as a cheesy 1980s action movie, it’s pretty damn good. Sure, the dialogue is a little stilted, the fight scenes a little cheesy, and the whole comes off as a little silly, but that was just how a lot of action movies were back then. And, compared to other action movies from the 1980s, this is better than a lot of them. Dolph Lundgren is pretty good as Castle. The only thing terrible about his Punisher is his dye job. And, the film's atmosphere is genuinely comic book-like, rather than cartoonish like a lot of comic book movies were back then. The movie does a good job of mimicking the dark tones of the source comic even though they changed so much about the character. And, the fight scenes are pretty memorable. I can’t hate a movie in which a gang of ninjas attacks the hero by zooming down an enormous funhouse slide. In fact, all this movie needs is a rewrite to make things more like the comic. Just change a few names, add in some of Marvel’s mobster characters, and put Lundgren in the Punisher costume, and you’d have a good Punisher movie. As it is, it’s not a good Punisher movie. But, it’s much more enjoyable than the movies below it.

17. X-Men: Apocalypse: After Bryan Singer returned for Days Of Future Past, it looked like the X-Men franchise was back on the right track, especially after how well that movie turned out. Unfortunately, Apocalypse came out; and the franchise took 2 big steps back. The movie’s biggest flaw is the titular villain. Apocalypse just isn’t a very interesting villain in this movie (and, honestly, in the comics as well; if you’re like me and aren’t enamored with Apocalypse, then this might not be your kind of film). I give Oscar Isaacs all the props for doing the best he can with what little material and with all that heavy make-up to work with. But, in this movie, Apocalypse is just a big bad mutant who wants to take over the world; and that’s just a boring motivation for a villain, especially considering all the cool villains that have come about since, especially in the MCU. Another big flaw comes in how he recruits his Four Horsemen. They all just join him because he makes them more powerful, and none of them seem to care that he wants to wipe out all of civilization until it’s narratively convenient for them to. Plus, Jennifer Lawrence just sleepwalks through the role of Mystique. She barely wears the Mystique make-up in this film. Though, I kind of understand that. The Mystique make-up in this franchise was needlessly elaborate. I much preferred the minimalist look of Mystique from the comics; just blue skin and red hair looked great to me. I don’t know why they went so detailed with her look in the movies. Plus, this movie continues the franchise’s trend of non-continuity. We got Angel living as a 20-year-old in 1983 even though he was a 20-year-old in The Last Stand’s 2006. Wolverine is William Stryker’s prisoner even though Days Of Future Past ended with Mystique disguised as Stryker saving Wolverine; so did Mystique just decide to let Wolverine become a prisoner for Stryker’s experiments? And, on a personal note for me, I didn’t like how Jubilee was so wasted in this movie. She’s just there with nothing to do but go to the mall. I know most people think she’s a waste of space, but I’ve always found them wrong. I mean, shooting fireworks from your hands doesn’t sound like that lame of a power to me. Though, this movie does have some things working for it. For one, it’s filled with a talented cast. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are great as usual. And, newcomers Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner and Kodi Smit-McPhee do a good job as the new versions of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler. But, it’s biggest strength is the action scenes. They are very well done, from Wolverine’s cameo to the final battle. But, the one stand out in this movie is Quicksilver saving everyone in the mansion as it explodes. While it did look like a rehash of his great scene in Days Of Future Past, it was a great rehash. A lot of creativity went into its layout, and it did a great job of showcasing Quicksilver’s personality. It’s nice to see a mutant in this franchise who likes his powers and doesn’t have any hang-ups about them. Hell, that one scene makes the whole movie worth it, but the movie around it is a mixed-bag at best.

18. Spider-Man 3: This is the 1st time Sony f***ed up Spider-Man and would have to start over. And, a lot of the movie’s problems stem from Sony forcing director Sam Raimi to include Venom into the movie. Raimi had no real interest in the villain, and it showed. The Venom arc doesn’t work for 3 big reasons: the first: how ridiculous Peter Parker acts when the symbiote turns him bad. I mean, he was f***ing dancing! And, that scene in the jazz club! That was funny for all the wrong reasons. I get the logic: Peter is such a nerd that his attempts at being cool are dorky, but that doesn’t mean it would play well on screen. The second: how little of Venom there is in the film. There’s just so little time given to Eddie Brock’s downfall and transformation to Venom. That really needed its own movie, and if this film had exercised that part, set up Venom in this movie, and saved Venom for a 4th movie; then this would have worked much better. But, that’s not what happened; and we got this mess. And, the third: Topher Grace. He was just miscast as Venom. Sure, he’s good at being creepy. But, he’s a smarmy creepy, not intense creepy, like Tom Hardy. He came off as a twerp in this movie. Of course, there are other flaws. Bryce Dallas Howard is wasted as Gwen Stacy, another shoehorn this movie could have done without. Kirsten Dunst continued to show how bad of a Mary Jane she is. The butler revealing how Norman Osborne died to Harry was incredibly hamfisted. And, the goofy comedy, which worked better in the 1st 2 movies, wore out its welcome here. But, there are some things that do work here. The main reason to watch this movie is Thomas Haden Church. His portrayal of The Sandman is the main thing that makes this movie worth watching. He beautifully underplays the role, saying a whole lot with just his expressions. And, his character, criminal trying to do right by his daughter, was a great choice for the character. Him being shoehorned into Spider-Man’s origin was a little hokey, but the movie stuck the landing with Sandman’s confession to Spider-Man at the end. Besides Church, Sandman works because of the effects. That sequence with Flint Marko discovering his powers the first time is just fan-f***ing-tastic. It’s just a beautiful scene, easily one of the best special effects scenes in a superhero movie. Sandman isn’t the only villain who works in this movie as this film finally had Harry Osborn take on the Goblin mantle. And, James Franco did a great job of playing the bad version of Harry (the amnesiac Harry, not so much). Also, the fight scenes, as usual, were well done. I especially liked the 2 fights between Harry and Peter. They were very exciting and had a touch of personal stakes to them. The 2nd was very good, especially since it was the 1 time in the movie that Peter’s turn to the dark side actually worked. Peter throwing that bomb at Harry showed the potential for this movie to truly embrace the darkness the symbiote could bring out in Peter. Sadly, the movie failed to live up to that potential. And, it’s not hard to see why: Spider-Man 3 is basically 2 great movies shoved together into 1 big mess of a movie. Like Peter and the symbiote, they really need to be separated.

19. X-Men: The Last Stand: This movie has a lot of flaws. Most of them stem from Bryan Singer deciding to pass on directing this movie after doing the first 2 X-Men movies. Because of this, Brett Ratner took over. While he was good with action scenes, the more emotional acting parts were lacking. And, he gave us that stupid “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” line because he saw a dubbed video of the X-Men animated series on YouTube and thought it was funny. But, Singer’s decision to leave the X-Men for Superman ultimately screwed over Cyclops as he took the character’s actor, James Marsden, with him. This led to Cyclops becoming a whiny wussy still crying over Jean Grey’s death before being killed by the resurrected Jean a third of the way into the film. Cyclops should have been a depressed loser who steps up when Professor X dies and proves himself as the X-Men’s leader. There were other problems. Making a movie that mashes up the Dark Phoenix storyline with the Mutant Cure storyline was a bad idea as the Dark Phoenix parts were treated like an also-ran and gives Famke Janssen nothing to do but look serious. Ben Foster is wasted as Angel, a character who could have been cut and nothing would have been lost, which is bizarre since his dad creates the cure because of his son’s mutant powers. And, Halle Berry is terrible as Storm, though she isn’t given any good material. In fact, Storm comes off as a huge dick in this movie as she’s completely dismissive of Rogue’s reason for wanting to use the cure; she honestly thinks that Rogue, who can’t touch anyone with her bare hands because powers would drain their lifeforce, is perfectly fine with her mutant powers. Speaking of Rogue, the movie doesn’t do enough with her decision to take the cure. So, there’s a lot that doesn’t work in this movie. But, there is a lot that does work to get this movie ranked this high. As I said, the action scenes are very well done. Wolverine’s attack on Magneto’s camp is excellent, and the final battle is a great climactic battle. And, casting Kelsey Grammer as Beast was a stroke of genius. A lot of it does rely on his association with his Frasier Crane role, but that does make him a good choice to play the intellectual Hank McCoy. And, Grammer is a great actor, whose performance shines through all that make-up. And, while the Dark Phoenix plot is an afterthought, there are some good scenes between Jean Grey and Wolverine. The movie is a mix-bag with enough good stuff to make it enjoyable, but there’s still a lot of problems plaguing it.

20. Venom: The fact that there’s a solo Venom film should tell you that it’s not any good. Venom just doesn’t really work without Spider-Man. He was mainly created to be an evil version of Spider-Man, and there’s a convoluted origin to the character: Spider-Man gets a new costume on an alien planet during Secret Wars; the costume turns out to be an alien symbiote that’s turning him evil and slowly draining his lifeforce; Spider-Man gets rid of the symbiote only for it to attach itself to Eddie Brock, a reporter who got exposed by Spider-Man for lying about a serial killer; Brock then learn everything about Spider-Man and tries to kill him as Venom. The movie avoids all this, but that convoluted origin sets up his ties to Spider-Man, which make Brock interesting. Instead, we get this movie, which ends with Venom threatening to eat a robbers arms and legs and turning him into a human turd and has Jenny Slate mispronouncing the word “symbiote” as “sym-bi-OAT.” It’s a silly movie that takes itself way too seriously. But, it’s not completely awful. Tom Hardy is pretty damn good as Brock and Venom. He brings a lot of crazy energy to the role. And, the Venom symbiote effects are really well done. They look good and give the symbiote some personality. Plus, the action scenes are well done and show some real creativity with the symbiote. This all creates a truly bat-shit insane movie, one that’s not any good but is fascinating to watch.

21. Punisher: War Zone: Here’s the thing about Punisher: War Zone: it’s a well-made movie. For one, it does feel like a Punisher movie, more so than the other 2 Punisher movies. Ray Stevenson does a decent job as The Punisher-Frank Castle. There was some strong use of Micro in the movie; Wayne Knight did a great job as Punisher's partner in crime. And, Dominic West chewed the scenery well as the villainous Jigsaw. It was the Punisher/Jigsaw confrontations that really made the film seem like a comic book movie and not just a typical "shoot 'em up" film. The action scenes are pretty good, and the film looks perfectly dark to match the character’s tone. And, it’s amazing how well this movie came out considering the creative problems between director Lexi Alexander and Lionsgate, mainly over whether it would be a PG-13 or an R rated movie. There were even some reports that Alexander got fired from the film, which turned out to not be true. Despite all that, Alexander has said that she does prefer how the movie turned out. But, there is just one big problem with the movie: it’s just not that interesting. It’s bland and uninspiring, a dark, serious action movie that takes itself way too seriously. It’s a competently made movie, but it’s just not any fun or interesting. That certainly makes it better than the movies below it, but it’s still not any fun to watch.

22. Fantastic Four (2005): The 2005 Fantastic Four movie is actually pretty close to being a good movie. There are a lot of good things that got it ranked so high, and a big one is casting, specifically in half of the titular Four. Chris Evans is now more known as Captain America, but he made his name known as The Human Torch-Johnny Storm. And, he nailed the role, displaying the right amount of cocky swagger and sarcastic charm. It’s amazing that he could later tone all that down to play the more self-righteous Captain, but these 2 roles show just how good of an actor he is. Though, even better is Michael Chiklis as The Thing-Ben Grimm. He brings all his Vic Mackey toughness to The Thing but is able to display enough warmth and kindness to nail the Ben Grimm part of the role. And, he managed to do all this while wearing that thick ass orange rock make-up. There are some other good casting choices. Ioan Gruffudd makes a fine Mr. Fantastic-Reed Richards. Julian McMahon is pretty good as Dr. Doom. And, Kerry Washington makes a great impression in the small role of Alicia Masters. However, there is one casting call that didn’t work: Jessica Alba as The Invisible Woman-Sue Storm. It’s not that she’s terrible in the role, but she’s clearly not as good of an actor as the others. And, it shows. Outside of the acting, the movie has a nice, cheesy tone. It’s like it was made in the 1960s but somehow has the special effects of the 2000s. Though, there aren’t any cool action scenes that make the movie stand out. Basically, this is a mediocre movie with some overqualified actors. This makes the movie better than the ones below it, but it’s not great.

23. The Punisher (2004): Who in the hell thought a Punisher movie in sunny Florida was a good idea? I mean, putting Marvel’s darkest character in America’s sunniest state is such a poor mash-up. Not to mention the fact that The Punisher has a trio of wacky sidekicks in Ben Foster, John Pinnette, and the 1st Mystique Rebecca Romijin. The movie is a weird mix of unfunny jokes with a sunny disposition and The Punisher’s usual dark tones. Still, it mostly works. Thomas Jane is a good Punisher. John Travolta is memorable as Howard Saint, the movie’s villain, giving a nice scene-chewing performance. And, I liked Will Patton as Quentin Glass, the secretly gay right-hand man to Saint; he gives a nice, touching performance. And, I liked the movie’s plot: with Frank Castle coming up with an elaborate plan to get back at the mobsters who killed his family. It was a nice throwback to the old-school action films of the 1960s and 1970s, a fun revenge story. Plus, the action is pretty good. There’s a nice fight scene between Castle and The Russian, played by a fun Kevin Nash. Still, the movie is a tonal mishmash of dark moods and light jokes. It’s not a terrible movie, but it is a bad Punisher adaptation.

24. Elektra: Poor Jennifer Garner. This woman deserves a much bigger career than the one she currently has. She’s funny, charming, graceful, and just a plain delight. But, she’s not as big of a star as she should be. Ben Affleck f***ed up Daredevil and then got to be Batman. She made a perfectly fine Elektra (despite being a little too nice for the role) and has to star in a bunch of Capital One commercials and had to be married to Ben Affleck. Garner was a good choice for Elektra, embracing the role with gusto in Daredevil and her own movie. But, she’s saddled with a poor script with no charm and comedy to lighten the too self-serious tone and bereft of intelligent dialogue. The direction is lacking, with the whole movie looking like a TV movie. Hell, Garner’s TV show Alias was a better Elektra movie than this actual Elektra movie. And, the whole thing is filled with incoherent plotting, action scenes, and CGI. But, it’s not all terrible. A strong Garner performance, a surprisingly good turn by Goran Višnjić, the fact that it’s competently made rather than outright terrible, that it has some cool visual moments, and that it’s better than Daredevil elevate Elektra this high. But, it was still a bad movie. Jennifer Garner deserves better.

25. Captain America (1990): Honestly, this isn’t that bad of a movie. The basic plot (Captain America wakes in 1990 after being frozen since World War II and has to save the President of the United States from the Red Skull, who’s been operating in secret since the end of the war) isn’t a bad idea. The problem is in the execution. It’s just not a well-filmed movie. Sure, the cast is fine. Matt Salinger is okay as Captain America. Scott Paulin is a good Red Skull. And, it’s filled with some veteran character actors (Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty, Darren McGavin). But, they can’t really salvage this mess of a movie. For one, the script they were given isn’t that great, filled with clunky dialogue and some shoddy ideas, like the President sending a reporter to pick up the revived Captain America despite the fact he has access to send any kind of military personnel or law enforcement officer instead. But, the script isn’t the only problem. With a shoestring budget, director Albert Pyun can’t really bring the story to life as properly as the MCU outings. Though, Pyun, a life-long direct-to-video B movie director, isn’t exactly the best man to bring this story to life. But still, there is a kernel of a good movie here. Maybe with a better director, a bigger budget, and a competent script, this could have been a good movie. As it is, it’s almost a good movie. But, almost ain’t good enough.

26. Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance: I will say this for the 2nd Ghost Rider movie: it’s better than the 1st. For one, Nic Cage is trying harder in this movie. Also, it’s got a strong cast similar to the 1st one. Idris Elba damn near steals the show as Moreau, an alcoholic priest. Ciaran Hinds makes a fine Mephisto, managing to go toe-to-toe with Cage in the weird performance dance. And, there are some strong turns from stalwart character actors Anthony Stewart Head and Christopher Lambert. The movie also has some filmmakers willing to make a badass movie to go with the badass titular character: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the team behind the Crank movies. Unfortunately, they got saddled with a lower budget than the 1st one had. This led to poorer special effects and shoddy use of 3D. And, the duo didn’t write the movie themselves. If they had, I feel like this would have been a much better movie, allowing the 2 to fully unleash their insane, over-the-top style. Why they weren’t allowed a rewrite is beyond me. Needless to say, the dull script and poor special effects failed to live up to the insane style of the directors and actors. This led to a mess of a movie that tries to be a crazy guilty pleasure thrillride that is only guilty of being no pleasure and not thrilling. It wants to be trashy fun, but it’s just trash. Still, it’s better than the 1st Ghost Rider.

27. Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer: They turned Galactus into a cloud. That’s the biggest complaint lobbied at this movie. And, I get that the idea of Galactus, a giant man in a purple and blue costume who devours planets, works better in a comic book than in a movie. But, this film also features Mr. Fantastic dancing like a goofball at his bachelor party. So, it’s kind of weird that this movie would decide to take a realistic approach to Galactus while still including a lot of superhero silliness. That’s the movie’s biggest problem: it can’t find the right balance between telling a serious story and being a fun superhero movie. Some things do work: the Silver Surfer is wonderfully done. The effects team, Doug Jones, and Laurence Fishburne’s voice all came together wonderfully to make the Surfer look great and come off as a legitimate threat. Also, the film has the same great cast from its predecessor as well as a great addition in Andre Braugher as Gen. Hager. He’s basically great in everything, and he shines in such a small role. But, these serious elements clash drastically with the movie’s attempts at comedy. And, the comedy isn’t all that funny in the first place. There’s a whacky subplot in which the Surfer alters the Human Torch’s molecules, causing him to switch powers with the others whenever he touches them. This leads to a silly final battle with the Torch in possession of all the Four’s powers taking on Doctor Doom with the Surfer’s powers. Speaking of the action sequences, they aren’t very exciting, which is another problem with the movie: it’s a little boring. As for the Galactus cloud, it’s such a huge disappointment. After all that build-up, seeing the World Eater coming to Earth as a big puff of smoke is like getting a wet fart to the face. Hell, that’s what this whole movie is like.

28. Blade: Trinity: You can usually tell if it’s a bad movie if the making of the movie has a better story than the actual movie. This is one of those movies. Behind the scenes, Wesley Snipes had a big problem with David S. Goyer, the screenwriter of the 1st 2 Blade movies, becoming the director for the 3rd. So, he threw a big hissy fit and stayed in his trailer for much of the movie’s filming. He refused to shoot scenes, often forcing director Goyer to use stand-ins and computer effects to add his character to scenes, and refused to interact with Goyer or his co-stars, instead communicating with them through his assistant or the use of notes. Co-star Patton Oswalt alleged that Snipes would spend much of his time smoking marijuana in his trailer, and that he became violent with Goyer after falsely accusing him of racism. Snipes also allegedly referred to co-star Ryan Reynolds as a "cracker" on one or more occasions. Now, that sounds like a movie I’d watch. The actual Blade: Trinity is a bore. Snipes sleepwalks through the movie, which really puts a damper on the proceedings. The film was clearly designed to set up a new film series starring Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds as The Nightstalkers. However, while Beil and Reynolds gave it their best shot, there was just no chemistry to be had between them and Snipes’s apathetic portrayal as Blade. Perhaps the worst part of the movie was Dominic Purcell's take on Dracula, who was far too low key to be taken seriously as the ultimate vampire. Hell, the only thing that really stands out in this movie is Triple H. And, typing that just hurts my soul.

29. Ghost Rider: There’s a shot in this movie in which Johnny Blaze (Nic Cage), the new Ghost Rider on his flaming motorcycle, rides alongside the old one (Sam Elliot), The Caretaker who’s on his flaming horse. They’re riding to battle Blackheart (Wes Bentley), and the shot is incredible, a heavy metal album cover comes to life. And, it does a great job of getting the audience for the ensuing battle: two Ghost Riders against Blackheart and his demons. Unfortunately, that battle never comes. The Caretaker leaves Blaze to fight the demons by himself. And, the battle that does happen is very lame and anticlimactic, with Blaze limply fighting off each demon before taking on Blackheart. That is the movie in a nutshell: infuriatingly withholding. Ghost Rider is a movie that wants to be badass but chickens out at the last second. The filmmakers made some weird decisions in this movie, like how they CGI'd Nic Cage’s muscles even though he buffed up very well for the role. It’s like they were afraid to be cool. And, Nic Cage is a little disappointing as Blaze. If ever a role called for him to go full Nic Cage, this was it. But, he holds back a little too, actually trying to give a good nuanced performance. LAME!!!! Though, he does have good chemistry with Eva Mendes, who is good as Roxanne Sampson. In fact, that is the movie’s strongest part: the cast. It’s stocked well with good actors. Elliot is great as The Caretaker. Bentley is subtly evil as Blackheart. Donal Logue leaves a great impression as Blaze’s best friend Mack. And, Peter Fonda makes a fun Mephistopheles. But, as good as the actors are, they can’t save this so-so, lackluster Ghost Rider movie. It’s a waste of one of Marvel’s coolest badass characters.

30. Captain America (1944): If you’re a stickler for comic book movies staying true to the original comics, then this is not the movie for you. This 1944 serial is a Captain America movie in name only. LITERALLY! The name “Captain America” is the only thing that it shares with the comic. The serial has District Attorney Grant Gardner as Captain America, trying to thwart the plans of The Scarab, really museum curator Dr. Cyrus Maldor, regarding his attempts to acquire the Dynamic Vibrator (boy, that name hasn’t aged well, but I’m sure it elicited a few sex toy jokes back then since the vibrator has been around since the 1870s) and Electronic Firebolt, devices that could be used as super-weapons. So, no Steve Rogers, no supersoldier formula, no Red Skull, nothing from the comic at all. It seems that Republic Pictures (which made the serial) just took an existing script and replaced the name of the original hero to “Captain America.” Why I have no idea. If they thought the original comic story wouldn’t sell, then they’re idiots since America was currently fighting in a World War at the time. So, as a Captain America movie, it’s terrible. But, as a 1940s serial, it’s not bad. Certainly better than the movies below it, but not as good as the ones above it. Also, fun fact: Dick Purcell, who played Captain America in the movie, died of a heart attack a few weeks after filming. Apparently, the strain of making the movie was too much for his heart. So, it had nothing to do with the comic book; and the main actor, chosen to play the epitome of peak human physicality, died of a heart attack after making it because he was too out of shape. So, yeah, not a great adaptation of the Captain.

31. X-Men: Dark Phoenix: If you want to know why this movie failed, then read this quote from writer-director Simon Kinberg from an interview with KCRW’s The Business: “It wasn’t made as a classic superhero movie. It was made as more of a dramatic, intimate, smaller film.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with making a more dramatic, intimate, smaller superhero movie. But, this movie was about a powerful telekinetic mutant who gets possessed by a fire entity from outer space. That’s not the kind of story that needs to be small and intimate. And, trying to make The Dark Phoenix into a small and intimate affair gets you… well, this movie. Now, some things do work. The cast is still ridiculously stacked. Sophie Turner is fine as Jean Grey. The action scenes are good. And, I did like how the story questioned Charles Xavier’s motives for turning his students into basically a private army. But, Dark Phoenix is a bit redundant, sticking to the usual plot of the X-Men movies: the X-Men fighting with human who hate them and other mutants who want to take over the world, all while Professor X makes a bunch of speeches and Magneto switches from good guy to bad guy at the drop of a hat. Speaking of redundant, this is the 2nd time the Dark Phoenix saga has been retold, after the story got shoehorned into X-Men: The Last Stand. And yet, with a whole movie to tell the story, this was somehow worse. And, the fact that it’s a movie about a woman who suddenly gains cosmic powers in the 1990s made it look like a Captain Marvel rip-off. Hell, many speculated that the movie had to reshoot its ending because it was originally too similar to Captain Marvel’s. And, it continues the franchise’s love for continuity errors as it ends with Jean dying, even though the Days Of Future Past movie ended with Wolverine changing the timeline to where Jean lived. But, at its core, the movie is a bit of a bore, a huge whimper to end 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise. At times, it looks like the movie is just trying to get this franchise over with so that Marvel can get the X-Men into the MCU quicker. Case in point: Mystique’s new cheap make-up that obviously shows that Jennifer Lawrence didn’t wanna wear the elaborate make-up since the character was going to die anyway. It was just a piss-poor way to end the franchise. But, I will give Kinberg credit for taking all the blame. In that same interview, he said, “I’m the writer-director, the movie didn’t connect with audiences, that’s on me.” You’re damn right about that.

32. Daredevil: When Ben Affleck was announced as the new Batman for the Batman V Superman movie, many fans groaned at the choice. And, with good reason: the guy had already screwed up Daredevil. Now, Affleck isn’t a bad actor; he’s just good at playing douchebags. Whether it’s smug douchebags, like in Mallrats, or douchebags who mean well, like in Gone Girl, that’s his bread and butter. But, Matt Murdock is a good, righteous man. Affleck is just too damn smug to play him. And, that’s a big reason why the movie didn’t work. He’s just not believable as Murdock, and it drags down the whole movie. Another big problem is how badly the movie does the romance between Daredevil and Elektra. Affleck does have good chemistry with Jennifer Garner, but the romance is just so rushed that the audience has no time to feel anything. And, it’s not that romantic, especially since the most romantic scene is that stupid playground fight. Speaking of which, that is just the dumbest scene. I mean, they just fight out in the open, and Murdock is just flipping around, using his powers without any care for his secret identity. It’s also out of place with the dark tone of the movie. Speaking of which, this movie doesn’t do a good job of setting a dark tone. It looks dark at times and takes itself a little too seriously, but it tries too hard, like a teenager trying to be dark and serious but failing miserably. Now, some things in this movie do work. Colin Ferrell makes a good Bullseye, and Michael Clarke Duncan shines as Kingpin. And, there is an R-rated cut of the film. However, these positives are just gold spray paint on a turd. They may make it look shiny, but it’s still a turd.

33. Fantastic Four (1994): To be fair, this movie has a good excuse for being so bad. It allegedly wasn’t really made to be released but rather to hold onto the film rights. German producer Bernd Eichinger obtained the rights to a Fantastic Four movie in the 1980s but hadn’t made a film by 1992. And, the rights were set to expire on December 31, 1992. So, by September, he hired Roger Corman to help him make a cheap film that many, including Stan Lee himself, thought was done in order to keep the rights. Because of this, the movie has a good excuse for looking cheap as hell with 1990s soap opera costumes, make-up, and special effects. The movie has a good excuse for the clunky dialogue that the game actors struggle like hell to make work. The movie has a good excuse why the actors need some polish from the director, who seemed more concerned with getting it made within a month rather than making a good movie. The movie has a good excuse for its campy, B-movie feel. The movie has a good excuse for being bad because the whole thing looks like a movie that was simply made just for monetary reasons, like a film version of “Springtime For Hitler.” So, it’s not entirely the actors’, director’s, and production crew’s fault this is such a terrible movie. But, it still doesn’t change the fact that it is terrible. If it had been intended for release, then this could have easily taken the very bottom spot. But, the speculation about why it was made keeps me from putting it any lower than here. Again, it’s terrible; but it has a good excuse.

34. The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Aw, the movie so bad that Sony went running to Disney and Marvel and begged them to fix Spider-Man. To be fair, some things work. The chemistry between Andrew Garfield (Spider-Man) and Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) was great as usual. Dane DeHaan is fine as Harry Osborne. And, the fight scenes were pretty good, especially the ones between Spider-Man and Electro. But, this movie is still overstuffed with bad parts. In fact, “overstuffed” is the best adjective to describe this movie. There’s so much thrown into this movie to set up a Spider-Man cinematic universe that it overpowers the story. We got Peter’s dad and his mysterious disappearance, George Stacy metaphorically haunting the movie, Norman Osborne’s death, all the allusions to The Sinister 6, and 3 freaking villains (much like another Spider-Man movie that was an overstuffed mess). Hell, the movie ends midway through a fight between Spider-Man and Rhino, and Mary Jane Parker was cut from the film entirely. There’s so much that it can’t all fit. All these subplots nearly crowd out Spider-Man in his own movie. And, there’s not enough room for parts of the Spider-Man mythos that people want, most notably The Daily Bugle and J. Jonah Jameson. The whole thing just reeks of desperation on Sony’s part to get their own MCU. Plus, the foreshadowing of Gwen’s death is ridiculous. Jamie Foxx’s Electro make-up doesn’t look great. It's patronizing at times, as if it doesn’t trust the audience to figure out what’s going on and uses computer screens and voices to tell you what’s up. And, Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is still just way too cool. This was a problem in the first Amazing Spider-Man, but that movie is 10 times better than this one; so it’s not much of a problem there. Here’s it’s more noticeable that Garfield’s Peter is a cool academic kid and not the unlucky nerd that we know and love from the comics. Sure, his coolness works when he’s a wisecracking Spider-Man; but Peter is only cool as Spider-Man. The movie did a bad job with that balance. Of course, the movie did a bad job with a lot of things. It’s biggest goal is to start a franchise rather than tell a good story, and that’s never a good way to make a good movie.

35. X-Men Origins: Wolverine: There are some things to recommend about this movie. Some of the performances are good, particularly Taylor Kitsch as Gambit, Liev Schrieber as Sabretooth, as Wraith (he was surprisingly fun), and, of course, Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. Well... before he got his mouth sewn shut; he nailed the roll before the transformation. Also, there are some good fight scenes, like Wolverine’s fight with Gambit and Sabretooth VS Wraith. And, it has a great opening, showing Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting in wars throughout history. It’s a fantastic sequence that shows off the tragedy of Wolverine’s life so well: a man who can’t be killed and is essentially only good for killing others. But, the rest of the movie is such a f***ing mess that positives can’t elevate any higher. There are a lot of stupid moments throughout the film. For one, there’s the part where William Stryker (Danny Huston) tells a henchmen to kill Wolverine after he’s been given his adamantium skeleton and claws. And, he does this within earshot of Wolverine even though he knows that Wolverine has superhuman senses and can hear from miles away. It’s idiotic and only exists to set up the next scene, like a lot of parts of the movie. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. One of the biggest complaints was the portrayal of Deadpool, which is fair. They f***ing ruined him by sewing his mouth shut and turning him into a weird mash-up of mutant powers. And, they got him right up until that point, so that made it incredibly frustrating. This also contained the X-Men franchise’s notorious track record with continuity errors, here with Cyclops getting his glasses knocked off and causing him to cut through a school with his optic blast like a knife through butter even though the 1st X-Men movie showed that when this happens to Cyclops, his optic blasts blast a giant hole in a building. Also, some of the computer effects look awful. The set production does a bad job of making the movie look like 1979; I didn’t even realize that was the year much of the film was supposed to take place in until someone mentioned Three Mile Island. The movie also did a bad job of making the story compelling since Wolverine’s quick healing powers make him immortal. The other 2 Wolverine films went out of their way to make him vulnerable and raise the stakes; this film couldn’t be bothered. And, it shouldn’t shock anyone that there was a big dispute between director Gavin Hood and 20th Century Fox over how the film should be made, which really sank the film. It’s an empty spectacle, though one that is cool to watch at times. Basically, Hood could only make the movie look good as the studio controlled its story content; and he had a hard time with the one thing he could control. So, we just got one big shitshow of a movie that shows some glimmers of a good movie that could have been.

36. Fantastic Four (2015): This is one of the blandest looking movies I’ve ever seen. So, dark and drab and dreary. I guess they wanted the movie to look as dark as the story they wanted to tell, but a dark Fantastic Four is a big mistake. The team is one of Marvel’s premiere properties, and a big reason for that is that the team is filled with bright, colorful personalities. And, there was talent to make this movie bright and colorful with a more serious tone (Josh Trank as director with Miles Teller (Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards), Michael B. Jordan (The Human Torch/Johnny Storm), Kate Mara (The Invisible Woman/Sue Storm), and Jamie Bell (The Thing/Ben Grimm)). But, instead, they made a dark, brooding Fantastic Four taking on a Doctor Doom out of a David Cronenberg movie, which isn’t as cool as it sounds. There’s not a lot of action, the actors struggle to make the flimsy script work, and the continuity errors brought on by reshoots are impossible to ignore. Hell, the reshoots really drag this thing down as they make it look like 2 different movies (Trank’s original version VS Fox’s version) fighting to be shown only to somehow merge into some kind of cinematic monster. It’s a mess of a film that doesn’t really know what it wants to do. The most accurate description I’ve heard about this movie is that it’s a “100 minute trailer for a movie that never happens” (Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter). It’s just a drab, boring movie that sucked all the joy and humor from the original comic. And, it was the 3rd time the group’s origin story had been turned into a movie; so it was a little pointless, too. Just a big mess of a movie.

37. Howard The Duck: Worst Non-MCU Marvel Movie Ever! Hell, it’s one of the worst movies ever made. It’s just a deeply unpleasant watching experience. The worst thing about it is its tone: it doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be. The Howard The Duck of the comics is a cynical, irritable fellow, and his comic is an existential satire, easily the best way to portray a talking duck. The movie, however, doesn’t know if it wants to be a friendly, cuddly duck for kids or the Howard of the comics. It’s trying to appeal to the irreverent adult fans of the comic and kids all at once and ends up failing to appeal to anyone. I mean, there’s a shot of a female “duck” with boobs. Who the f*** is that supposed to be for!? The duck itself is another problem. It looks terrible, its mouth didn’t work right, and its face was expressionless. It was just awful, and since the duck was the movie, this pretty much sunk it. The rest of the cast didn’t fare much better. Poor Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins, and Jeffrey Jones did their best to make this watchable, but it was an impossible task. And, there were a lot of deeply unpleasant scenes and special effects. It was just a terrible looking movie that was also painfully unfunny and a little boring. Watching Howard The Duck is just an awful experience, and anyone who’s able to make it through the whole thing is f***ing champ. There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Howard The Duck is just an awful movie.

James Fabiano

Apr 28, 2022, 11:40:38 AM4/28/22
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