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Marvel’s Top 5 Films That Make Them the Superhero Specialists

As Ant Man is up for release take a look at our pick for the top 5 Marvel movies

Updated
Entertainment
4 min read
A publicity still of <i>The Avengers</i>

With Ant Man releasing this week and Marvel belting out two films a year, has quality been matching quantity? Surely not, but there are a few landmark films from the Marvel cannon that has made them the superhero juggernaut after being on the brink of bankruptcy just a few years ago. The choices are many but it’s easy to pick the best Marvel products – below are the top five:

1. Iron Man

A still from <i>Iron Man</i>
A still from Iron Man

The film that set the ball rolling, the original Iron Man began shooting without even a finished script. That gaffe became sort of blessing in disguise because the film benefitted from Robert Downey Jr’s impromptu dry humor that was powerful enough to compensate for the lack of a great story. Iron Man turned out to be far different from Batman, Superman and Spiderman, and it came across as a refreshing change to have a superhero who was more cocky yet lovable than a heroic angel painted in broad white strokes. The film also set the foundation for Marvel’s formula of mixing humor and action, with a weak villain and a post credit scene to get you excited about what’s to come.

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The Avengers

Poster of <i>The Avengers</i>
Poster of The Avengers

While the first Captain America and Thor movies were mediocre at best, teaming those two up with the rest of the superheroes for a gigantic battle against Loki was a special cinematic experience. Nothing like this had ever been done before in cinema and director Joss Whedon really set the new standard for blockbuster filmmaking. No matter how excited one was for this movie, it hulk smashed those expectations. It also introduced the world to shawarma and made sure everyone had the Avengers assemble poster in their bedroom.

The Winter Soldier

A still from <i>The Winter Soldier</i>
A still from The Winter Soldier

It was one thing to deliver gigantic entertainment wallops with The Avengers, but how does someone outdo that in future films? The Winter Soldier is a superior movie to The Avengers because it did just that. By the time this movie came out everything about the Marvel universe was fleshed out, yet with such little element of surprise, Winter Soldier delivered a series of crackerjack moments because of its style and tone. Introducing superheroes and teaming them up together was no longer the draw – exploring them further was, and the Russo brothers understood that. Every Thud and Clang on Captain’s shield felt real, it had impact. But that was not enough because even the film had to have to some impact, and it sure as hell did – it subverted the whole Avengers initiative in its bombastic finale.

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Guardians Of The Galaxy 

Poster of <i>Guardians of The Galaxy</i>
Poster of Guardians of The Galaxy

Director James Gunn took subversion to some other intergalactic level with this film and beautifully demonstrated how humor can work in several ways, and even when it is self-aware. The snarky tone and edgy jokes were only matched by the amazing visuals and the wonderfully written characters, whose camaraderie raised stakes not only within the film, but also in the entire Marvel universe. It’s only a testament to James Gunn’s direction and flair for dark comedy that people named Star Lord and Rocket Raccoon came across as awesome instead of stupid. If you don’t get that, imagine this film in the hands of the guy who made Batman and Robin.

Ant Man

A still from <i>Ant Man</i>
A still from Ant Man

Surprise – the Edgar Wright debacle did not cause any apparent damage to the film – because Ant Man was exactly what fans needed from the Marvel universe. In Age of Ultron the scale was raised too high without much at stake, and reducing the size of the scale and increasing the stakes is what Ant Man does wonderfully. Thanks no doubt to Peyton Reed’s direction this is certainly the most mature Marvel film to date and also accessible because it’s a simple story of a father trying to reconnect with his daughter. Such a basic plot thread is a welcome diversion in the increasingly ugly palette of crumbling buildings in final battle Marvel Metropolises. Paul Rudd being such a likable guy helps a great deal, of course.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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