6. X-Men: First Class (2011)
This may not be the finest Marvel film to date but it’s quite possibly the most entertaining and spectacular movie the genre has offered in the past few years. X-Men: First Class was by all means a stunning accomplishment and by combining a strong narrative pace, compelling characters, a good sense of humor, spellbinding action sequences, and last but not least excellent performances all around, director Matthew Vaughn crafted what is arguably the best installment in the X-Men franchise.
James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were simply amazing. The latter in particular demonstrated in the same year that he can be just as good in some more independent and serious work such as shame, as well as in a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster such as this. On the other hand, Jennifer Lawrence was really good as Mystique while Kevin Bacon was extremely cool to watch as the villain.
Set in the most difficult years of the Cold War during the Cuban missile crisis in the early 1960s, this film was something more than a simple comic book action film; instead it feels more than once like a spy movie or even as an action-packed political thriller, and that was totally awesome.
It surpassed all our expectations and honestly we couldn’t have ever imagined of a better prequel to the X-Men trilogy, which was already great in the first place.
5. Avengers: The Age of Ultron (2015)
Written and directed by Joss Whedon (Firefly, Serenity) and based on Marvel comic book characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, this eleventh installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe makes for an impressive and immensely entertaining follow-up to 2012’s box- office hit Marvel’s The Avengers, even if lacks the depth of its predecessor. For its faults, Avengers: Age of Ultron still provides the excellent visual effects, exciting action sequences, witty dialogue, superb character development, and terrific performances that fans have come to expect from an MCU film.
The Characters Performances
Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans are both superb as Iron Man and Captain America, with their rivalry and banter being amusing to watch. Chris Hemsworth does a great work as Thor and Mark Ruffalo once again shines as the Hulk. The gorgeous Scarlett Johansson is brilliant as the Black Widow, providing the perfect blend of intelligent, seriously sexy, and incredibly bad-ass, and the character is given more to do this time around. Ruffalo and Johansson also have very good romantic connection with one another, even if their love story did come out of blue. Jeremy Renner is great as Hawkeye, whose character is also given much more to do, and it helps that Renner has some of the best action scenes and dialogue in the film.
Whedon’s writing and direction are top-notch. The bond that keeps the script together are the characters as well as the character development. As usual for a Marvel film, the dialogue is sharp, the humor is witty, and the one-liners are hilarious. Whedon also proves himself once again capable crafting truly exciting action sequences. The action and set pieces are spectacularly fun to watch, well-paced and incredibly well-shot. The visual effects, created by Industrial Light & Magic, are superb.
The score by Brian Tyler (Iron Man 3, Furious 7) and Danny Elfman (Batman, Edward Scissorhands) is wonderful, topping the score for the first film by Alan Silvestri (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump). The production designs by Charles Wood (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Italian Job) are very impressive and the cinematography by Ben Davis (Guardians of the Galaxy, Kick-Ass) is gorgeous.
4. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Captain America serves as the last film before the biggest film yet in the Marvel franchise and boy does Captain America deliver everything you’d expect from a Marvel film. Everyone knows the plot by now but to refresh your memory, the film is about Steve Rogers who undergoes a transformation to become a super soldier and help take down the Red Skull. Captain America had a lot to live up because of the previous films that Marvel had released before this; though Iron Man 2 is the weakest film in the franchise at this point.
The Movie Performance
The film is directed Joe Johnston whose previous efforts include Jurassic Park 3 and the reboot of The Wolfman, both of those films were underwhelming to say the least which is why it’s a surprise that Captain America is as good as it is. This might be Johnston’s best work and it proves that there’s a good director in there somewhere, he’s able to handle the action sequences with some restraint and delivers some great scenes. Now the most important thing in a film is of course the story and here Johnston gives us the best story in any Marvel film up until this point, he was the perfect choice for an origin story on Captain America. The visuals as with the rest of the Marvel films are great, though the CGI looks a little lackluster at times which takes you out but it never becomes flat out bad.
Chris Evans plays the title character here and delivers a performance that will surely make you forget that he was in the terrible Fantastic Four films. Evans gives off a certain confidence that works for this character because Steve Rogers is clearly an American, the movie is a bit patriotic at times but it never takes it too far. Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull was a great casting choice and of course Weaving makes for a great villain who isn’t just one dimensional and has a reason for what he does, which is needed to make any great villain. The acting here is probably the best in any of the Marvel films before this, save for Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man whom I believe to have given the best performance in any comic book film.
Captain America: The First Avenger proves that you can make a fun movie and still have heart along with ambition, that story doesn’t need to be sacrificed for great visual effects. Marvel has certainly crafted a careful plan and Captain America: The First Avenger is one of the best in the franchise and one of the best comic book films period.