The team at TBG recently read a “Top 10 of the Best Marvel Films Ever” and feel pretty confident in saying it was far, far from home. With that in mind, we decided to do a Top 20 favourite Marvel films, turns out it’s harder than it looks as some stuff we really like had to make way. We would also like to point out that this is entirely our opinion so feel free to disagree, regardless of what the clickbait headline for the piece winds up being.
20. Ghost Rider
This really shouldn’t be on here as it’s essentially just a vehicle for Nick Cage to overact (it is nowhere near as bad as the sequel though). It’s on here though as it’s a film that we think falls into so bad it’s good territory. It’s silly and Nick Cage chews scenery like a bloody lunatic but it’s also dumb entertainment. We apologise for its inclusion essentially.
19. The Punisher
The previous big-screen iteration was Dolph Lundgren with dyed hair back in the 80s. This is a far superior film and Thomas Jane makes for a pretty decent Frank Castle overall. It’s nowhere near as violent as the recent Netflix series but still has some pretty creative violence. It also has a soft spot for us as The Punisher was one of the first Marvel comics we got our hands on.
18. Spider-Man 2
This would potentially be a lot higher on many other lists and it is an excellent film. Sam Raimi got this film pretty much spot on and is easily the best of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films. It’s a film that is well focused and does a good job of realising Dr Octopus which good as he’s such a key villain, and also when you consider how wasted Venom was in the third film.
17. Iron Man
The introductory film to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and very much the tone setter for pretty much everything that’s come since. It’s an entertaining film, Robert Downey Jr is pretty much perfectly cast as Tony Stark and he gets to be appropriately snarky which is a lot of fun. There’s also nothing wrong with Jeff Bridges as the villain.
16. Iron Man 3
Another controversial one but we really like Iron Man 3, it succeeds in humanising Tony somewhat by showing that the events of the Avengers impacted him significantly. The dialogue is well written which you’d expect from a Shane Black film. The argument is that Tony spends most of the film not being Iron Man but the house party protocol scene alone makes up for this.
15. The Avengers
A few years ago this would have likely been top of our list. It’s a superb film and a nice culmination of the first phase of Marvel films. There’s some really fun character interactions throughout the film, Thor and the Hulk offering a couple of funny moments and Loki cements himself as one of the best villains in the whole MCU. We also think that bringing in Mark Ruffalo to replace Ed Norton as Bruce Banner was an inspired move.
14. Captain America: Civil War
This works surprisingly well given the number of characters the film revolves around, our only real complaint is that it’s too long. This is also the film that introduces Black Panther and, more importantly, Spider-Man into the MCU. Spider-Man appearing in the MCU was a huge deal at the time and it helps that he’s possibly the best thing in the film.
13. X-Men: Days of Futures Past
First Class was good but this just is better, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender seem more comfortable in their roles and the story is quite grim. It manages to work in Wolverine for a starring role rather than a cameo and it works well thankfully. It has pretty much every character that’s ever appeared in the entire series and yet somehow newcomer Quicksilver manages to steal the show.
This was the only other Marvel character that we were familiar with from comics before seeing the respective film. It’s a huge upgrade for Deadpool compared to the previous appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine which was a shambles. This does an excellent job of capturing the character while also being really funny and not afraid to take the piss out of itself.
11. Guardians of the Galaxy
Initially we, as well as most, weren’t too fussed about this right up until the last trailer which got us interested. The suspicion from a lot of places was that this would be the first misstep of the MCU and thankfully everyone couldn’t have been more wrong. It was an absolute joy, Chris Pratt is perfectly cast and Drax is gloriously funny. The dance off at the end is just ridiculous in the best possible way.
10. Doctor Strange
The team at TBG were intrigued by this one, it had a great cast and was going to be introducing magic into the MCU. It’s very similar to Iron Man in the sense that the lead is an arrogant prick who has to learn to be a better person. It’s a film that really shows how Marvel has developed over the years, visually stunning and plays into the larger MCU pretty seamlessly.
9. X2 (X-Men 2)
The original was fun and worked really well all things considered but this sequel ramps things up considerably. They clearly realised that Wolverine was one of the stand out characters first time around and the film is much more focussed on him so it’s just as well that Hugh Jackman was up to the task of carrying the film. It also sets up the third film but we won’t hold that against it.
8. Black Panther
As the other stand out character in Civil War we highly anticipated the King of Wakanda’s first solo outing and boy it didn’t disappoint. It has one of the better villains in the MCU as they gave him a pretty decent backstory. As usual with MCU films they seem to get the casting pretty spot on. It also represented the calm before the storm as it was the last film release before Infinity War.
Potentially the closest thing we’ll see to the Old Man Logan comic, this is a bleak film set in a future where shit has definitely not gone to plan. It’s also incredibly violent as the success of Deadpool showed the studio that there was a considerable market for a film where Wolverine was allowed to be the best at what he does, which seemingly is to kill people in mildly gruesome ways.
6. Spiderman: Homecoming
We genuinely think that in Tom Holland Marvel have found the perfect actor to play Spider-Man. He manages to play the friendly neighbourhood spider how we have always heard the character in our heads when reading the comics. For a film that casts Michael Keaton as the villain and manages to make him a sympathetic character is clearly doing things at least partially right. It helps that it’s a really fun film and doesn’t rely too heavily on Tony Stark’s involvement in the story.
5. Ant-Man and the Wasp
Both Ant-Man films have come after Avengers films and acted as a pretty awesome palette cleanser. This is predominantly because they don’t take themselves seriously at all. Although both are excellent, we prefer the sequel as it’s a lot more comfortable in itself and seems to be having a hell of a lot of fun with the concepts established in the first film.
4. Deadpool 2
Absolutely gloriously insane, it builds on what worked from the first film without falling into the trap a lot of sequels fall into where a bigger budget means the filmmakers cram too much in and lose sight of what worked previously. The addition of Josh Brolin as Cable works well and Ryan Reynolds continues to show that Deadpool is essentially a role tailor-made for him.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Winter Soldier is one of our favourite Marvel characters so we were very happy he was going to be focused on when this was initially announced. It helps that the film turned out to be cracking and genuinely tense in places. It also had a really good twist with the Hydra reveal and led to the Heil Hydra meme which was usually good for a laugh.
2. Avengers: Infinity War
It’s a 3-hour film but never seems like it as it whips along at a decent pace. It assumes that you’ve seen everything that’s come before so doesn’t waste any time on needless exposition and we really appreciated that. It’s great fun seeing characters interacting that haven’t done previously, such as Dr Strange and Tony Stark. It also ends on the ultimate depressing cliffhanger which has made the wait for Endgame slightly frustrating.
1. Thor: Ragnarok
There was only ever going to be one film at number one because we bloody love Ragnarok. It’s incredibly funny and everyone in the case seems to be having a laugh pretty much constantly. The film really does seem to revel in the ridiculousness of the premise and fully embraces it. It also has Jeff Goldblum in it which is always a good thing in our opinion. Hopefully Taika Waititi will get to do a few more films in the MCU as a few more like this would be most welcome.
So that’s it for now though we fully expect that to change as next year Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home all get released from an MCU perspective. There’s even a couple of X-Men films due out too so there’s a good chance that some of those will make it onto this list but we’ll see. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below or on our Twitter or FB pages.