16/ THE INCREDIBLE HULK. DIR: LOUIS LETERRIER.
I think everyone knew that this was going to be low on the list. After that weird Ang Lee film there wasn’t much hope for a Hulk film. So, when this film was released, while still lukewarm it was bit of a hit. Most agreed that it was the better Hulk film. But as time moved on more and more people got a little sick of it. It’s often seen as the worst of the MCU films and for good reason. Then again, what do you expect with a Hulk film from the director of Transporter 2 and the Clash of the Titans remake?
It’s a bad film, there’s no getting around that. The CG is horrible. There is no substance to the story or characters. This would be fine if we were just seeing a dumb action film where the Hulk is fighting the army and destroying buildings – but that only happens three times in the film. The rest is a boring sci-fi thriller. Even in those moments though the action isn’t anything to write home about. Again, if we had good performances or direction then the film could have something going on. While Liv Taylor is surprisingly good as Betty and William Hurt is perfectly cast as General Ross, not to mention Tim Roth who’s clearly having fun, everyone else leaves a lot to be desired. It’s very well known by now that Edward Norton was against even being in this film and left the series when he could. That shows. As for direction, again this man gave us the Clash of the Titans remake.
That all being said I do like how it handles the reboot idea. The opening credits play out a re-enactment of the Ang Lee film, making it come off as neither a sequel or a remake. It’s the perfect idea for a reboot. As for the rest of the film, if you go into it with the right mind set then you’ll probably find it to be a bit of dumb fun. Emphasis on dumb. The ending action scene is laugh a minute in my house. But if not, it is clear that this was added to the MCU as an afterthought, so you’ll miss nothing if you skip it.
15/ SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING. DIR: JON WATTS.
Weirdly enough I feel that this will be my most controversial placing. I know a lot of people who love this film. It often hits near the top when people are listing off their favourite Marvel films. It’s certainly one of the better Spider-Man films ever made. Although we do live in a world where The Amazing Spider-Man 2 exists. I would be lying if I said I didn’t see why that was the case with most people. It’s good to see Sony learn how to make a good Spider-Man film again – they let Marvel produce it.
Like everyone I love the villain. Michael Keaton’s performance aside this was a great villain to work with. He’s the most sympathetic of the series and you almost want him to succeed, even when he’s clearly doing very wrong. I love the idea of the alien weapons on the black market. I also, like everyone, like how this is a Spider-Man story of how he stops being Spider-boy and learns to grow. The high-school setting, while it dissatisfied me, was a good choice of setting for this message. Tom Holland get a lot of praise for his turn as Spider-Man – truth be told I don’t love him, but I think he does a decent job. Most of the other kids I really didn’t like. I find his friend to be annoying – bit of a problem when he is given a lot of screen time.
The action was lacking to me but being fair that’s not the film’s focus.
For the most part I find the first two thirds of the film unengaging. Ironically, it’s when he loses his suit I feel it picks up. By then though there’s only forty minutes left. The simple truth is I feel that Spider-Man Homecoming is very over-rated. To me it’s just an average superhero film, nothing special. But if someone came up to me and told me that they really liked it, I’d see why. Maybe it’s just me and not the film. Give it a go. I just won’t be watching it again.
14/ AVENGERS ASSEMBLE. DIR: JOSS WHEDON.
When this film came out it was huge! Audiences everywhere loved it. Including me! I came out of the cinema with my friends and we couldn’t stop gushing about it. We’d seen the accumulation of five films and four years, all building up to the huge team film. Unlike many other cross-over films at the time – Alien Vs Predator and Freddy Vs Jason – it didn’t suck. It had all lead up to a good film. I will never forget that experience and feeling. But as time moved on, the novelty has definitely gone.
I’m surprised with how much I like this film and how much I don’t at the same time. When the ultimate battle comes along I still get pumped up and ready for action. This it delivers. With a relatively smaller cast than what was to come later each Avenger got ample screen time, with minutes left over for Loki to chew up some scenery. The action is fun and fairly regular throughout the film. The performances are all good, with a little bit of ham thrown in for extra fun. Even most of the CG has aged surprisingly well, despite some obvious blue-screen here and there. My issues are with the direction of the film.
Joss Whedon played a little more to his strengths here by filming it like a TV movie with a budget. It feels like a series finale at times. This is both a help and a hindrance. Looking and feeling like a TV movie has aged it somewhat and makes the down-times all the less fun to watch. At least compared to most other Marvel films. The script does feel very much like a Whedon script, which as previously mention is not a compliment by me. The opening feels like a better made Asylum movie. Basically when there is action, or the focus is on the conniving Loki then it’s great. Any other time I find it to be rather lacking. But I can never forget how I felt the first time I saw this. Many still ride that high today, I don’t. As such, I think it’s a fun film, even if I don’t feel it hold up too well.
13/ THOR. DIR: KENNETH BRANAGH.
Thor is a film of two halves for me. I love mythology and have always had a fascination with it. In particular Greek, Egyptian and of course, Norse. So the idea of seeing an interpretation of Norse mythology, told by Shakespearean actor and film director Kenneth Branagh is a good one to me. And when we get to see the worlds of Asgard and Jotunhein it’s great. The sets and designs are amazing and beyond beautiful to look at. I love the Shakespearean way people talk in these worlds, it adds some needed gravitas to the film. The action if fun, the worlds are fun and the characters, though most not entirely memorable, are fun. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is the series’ first great villain and Chris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins couldn’t have been better cast.
It’s when we’re on Earth that things start to crumble. I like the idea. It’s a fish out of water story. I like that Thor’s origin story is how he let go of his arrogance. But he’s stuck on Earth with a weak tie in to the Avengers. His chemistry with Natalie Portman is bad. The less said about Starsgard and Dennings the better. Needless to say that the change from Shakespearian talking to red-neck American is a little more than jarring too.
I don’t really understand people who hate this film, as the good elements are very good. But I completely understand people just not getting into it. It most certainly has serious issues. It’s pretty sad that we wouldn’t get a proper good Thor film until six years later. I find that I do like Thor more than most. As a character I find him to be very fun – unless he’s in The Dark World. It’s not the most memorable of the Marvel films, and certainly isn’t great. But I’d recommend it at least once.