We’re a few days closer to “Avengers: Infinity War” and that means the next section of my Marvel movie ranking. Here’s 11-6. If you missed the first section, click here.
11. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
There are a lot of things I like about “Captain America: Civil War,” especially the last half hour. There’s a great moment of dialogue between Black Panther and the film’s main villain, as well as an emotionally wrenching fight between two heroes you’ve come to really enjoy watching.
The film also deals with some important themes, such as how much control should be given to the Avengers, considering they’re basically an independent military force, as well as how far can loyalty and friendship go in extreme situations.
The film, however, hit some snags. The second act, for example, gets bogged down with some side-quests. This is most noticeable with Tony Stark recruiting Spider-Man. Now, as a character, the film got Peter Parker and his alter ego completely right. However, considering how many powerful characters Iron Man had on his “side” cough Vision cough, bringing in Spider-Man to help confront Captain America didn’t seem necessary.
Plus, there’s the fact that much of the main antagonist’s master plan was based on a lot of coincidences happening. If they don’t happen, the Avengers probably wouldn’t go to fight each other like they do. And that’s another thing, the only time this felt like a real conflict was at the end. During the big fight at the airport, it seemed like a light scrimmage, especially with so many characters having quips and one-liners. Not only did it make it feel like the stakes were low, but it was also incredibly jarring when War Machine was injured.
10. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Here we go with the top 10 and rounding the list is Cap! The first outing for Steve Rogers was also the first film that showed how Marvel Studios could change the formula for superhero pictures. The film did this by mixing a superhero origin story with a World War II epic. In doing so, the film was able to create its own charm, incorporating elements of a war movie while still having its other worldly, sci-fi pieces.
Rogers was also handled very well as a character. The movie was able to make Captain America, who at first glance seems like a simple, overly patriotic hero, into a developed character who’s a bit more complex than one might think. It’s a great balance the character has here, where Cap acknowledges the symbolism he carries with his uniform and shield, while still being completely selfless with a tight focus on finishing the mission at hand. He wears the stars and stripes, but there’s more to him than that.
Making this work is a solid performance from Chris Evans, who convincingly plays Rogers as a noble man with an iron will. The film also wisely had Tommy Lee Jones as the military commander in the movie, which really added to the film’s war feel.
9. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
This film is notoriously underrated. Now, I think that Mark Ruffalo has made a better Bruce Banner than Edward Norton and the CGI in the film doesn’t look as good in today’s standards. However, that’s really the only criticism I can find.
Plus, while I think Ruffalo is better, it’s only by a thin margin. Norton was great here as the troubled Dr. Banner, who’s trying to get his life under control while dealing with the danger of the Hulk. Norton’s acting is spot on, as he portrays Banner using his scientific methods to see if he can prevent becoming the Hulk while also learning meditation to prevent the Hulk from appearing. There’s a significant amount of desperation that Norton gives the character, but at the same time he still has very human, relatable moments.
It was also a good move here to not have this be an origin story, either. After a brief montage at the start showing how Banner received the Hulk powers, the film picks up a while later. This was especially important as this came out just about a month after the 2008 “Iron Man.” It showed how the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be diverse in its presentation.
Instead of an origin story, this is more of a fugitive, man-on-the-run type action film, making the pace feel very quick as the protagonist can’t stay in one place for too long. Things are still capped off with a great battle scene, though, where Banner becomes the Hulk and battles the film’s primary antagonist. It’s a great fight, highlighted by the Hulk ripping apart a police car and using the two halves as boxing gloves.
The film’s cast is also well rounded with Liv Tyler, Tim Roth and William Hurt.
8. Spider-Man Homecoming (2017)
After a “Spider-Man” trilogy in the early 2000s and a failed reboot movie series that bit off more than it could chew, it seemed rather surprising that that the powers that be would attempt another one. However, thanks to this Spider-Man being in the Marvel universe, it was able to set itself apart from its predecessors.
It also distanced itself as it managed to be a funny high school, coming of age comedy while also being a crime fighting flick. The film managed to capture teen life really well, with natural dialogue that made Peter Parker’s life compelling to follow, especially considering he’s dealing with his alter ego’s life as Spider-Man.
This was thanks to a solid performance from Tom Holland, who was perfect in the role, especially as he portrays Spider-Man’s growth as a hero. The cast is also well rounded with a stellar performance from Michael Keaton and good support from Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” has a lot going on, in fact it pushes the run time to two hours and 16 minutes. However, this movie still really works, and one of the reasons is how it ties its many subplots together with the theme of family. As the film takes place, it explores Peter’s relationship with his father and Gamora’s relationship with her step-sister Nebula, along with Rocket learning to rely more on the team.
This great character development was very crucial in making audiences even more invested in the protagonists that they already knew from the first film. Tying everything together this way was also important in making the movie’s ending quite emotional.
Like its predecessor, Guardians Vol. 2 was also benefited from a very funny script, great soundtrack choices and wonderful performances from the returning cast. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper and Michael Rooker especially stand out in this film, where they really bring their A-game in their respective roles.
6. Black Panther (2018)
“Black Panther” has two major strengths in its execution. First, the film benefits from showing T’Challa, an already accomplished and courageous man, still have to learn more about himself. For example, because he’s now king, he has to deal with more politics than before. It creates real human drama on top of the action we expect from this type of movie.
Secondly, the movie sets itself apart from just another superhero film by telling a monarchy-related story. This is largely driven by T’Challa having to defend his throne from the film’s antagonist, Erik Killmonger, who makes a great villain. The story about these two characters is elevated to a high level thanks to the fantastic acting of Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa and Michael B. Jordan as Erik.
“Black Panther” also excels thanks to exciting action sequences and an awesome musical score that gives the film a lot of style.