Monday, August 17, 2015

Ranking the Marvels

This weekend Sylvia and I finished Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix, and we were both very impressed with the show's tone, direction, visual style and story. It definitely sets a high-water mark for Marvel's television efforts, and actually compares very favourably to the films.

Having now seen all of the Disney/Marvel shows and films thus far, here's how I'd rate them:

15. Guardians of the Galaxy
By now my friends and readers are sick of hearing about how much I hated this movie. But just in case you missed it...
Read my infamous review.
14. Iron Man 2
Unlike a lot of critics I didn't think Iron Man 2 was a bad film, but it does suffer from a silly antagonist and a too-obvious effort to lay the groundwork for future movies.
13. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I really didn't enjoy this show at all for the entire first half of the first season. It picked up in its second half, then faltered in season two. I'm enjoying it more now than I was in the beginning, but it's still hit and miss. Here are some silly S.H.I.E.L.D. acronyms I made up.
12. The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk is an odd duck of a film, more like a really good B-movie than a summer blockbuster. There's nothing really wrong with it, but I struggle to remember any truly standout moments.
11. The Avengers: Age of Ultron
I liked Hawkeye's B-story, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, and I liked the way the film showed superheroes doing what they're supposed to be doing: saving people. But otherwise I thought this was a little overblown, save perhaps the opening party scene.
10. Thor: The Dark World
As you can see in my original review, I enjoyed The Dark World, but it suffers a little compared to entries that came later.
9. Agent Carter
After Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this show came as a delightful surprise. The period setting really helps, as does Hayley Atwell's take as the lead, Peggy Carter.
8. Captain America: The First Avenger
Just good fun. My original review.
7. Thor
Kenneth Branagh took a character I'd never been much interested in and made him and his world engaging and wondrous. Here's my review.
6. The Avengers
I gave this film an A back when it first came out, but it fell flat on my second viewing.
5. Iron Man 3
I thought this film did a great job of addressing the catastrophic consequences of The Avengers, and I liked its well-worn "final battle" climax more than most of those found in the Marvel movies.
4. Ant-Man
I found this film a refreshing change of pace from Marvel's usual sturm und drang; the cast is great and the Pym backstory provides needed depth and weight to the world of the Marvel movies.
Read my mini-review here. 
3. Iron Man
The first Marvel Studios movie is still among the best. Robert Downey Jr. as billionaire genius Tony Stark infuses his performance with so much guile and flawed humanity that you can't turn away, and it helps that the story, direction, music and effects match his
2. Daredevil
The Netflix platform gives Marvel's creators the freedom to explore a more mature take on what is, admittedly, a genre that can too easily lapse into silliness. In 13 well-crafted episodes, Daredevil takes us on a compelling journey through the seamier side of the Marvel Universe and its all-too-human denizens; it's worth watching for Wilson Fisk alone, certainly the most compelling villain (perhaps alongside Loki) the studio has yet produced.
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Marvel's most ambitious film delivers crackling adventure and solid commentary on one of the most important real-world issues of our time. Read my rave review here. 

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