We’ve talked Spider-Man already, now it’s time to talk about our favorite Marvel movies. With this week being a nod to the Marvel Cinematic Universe we will be skipping those confusing and average at best X-Men films, those horrid Fantastic Four films and the first five Spider-Man films. So drop on in and check out the nerd side of Matchsticks and Gasoline!
1- Captain America: The First Avenger
This will always be my favorite Marvel movie as he is one of my Top 5 Marvel Comics characters. Part of my love of this move is my love of history, so the time period just suits me perfectly. I love that they went directly to his right off the page of the comics costume, despite the chance to make it different. Chris Evans does an awesome job of playing the humble, dorky, whole milk, white bread, All-American version of Cap. There is NOTHING to pick apart about this movie. Hugo Weaving was spot on as Red Skull, one of my favorite Marvel villains. To this date, my top MCU movie.
2- The Avengers
Captain America may by my favorite MCU movie of them all, but the opening sequence to this movie is absolutely what a comic book movie should look like. The cast is perfect, Black Widow’s first scene and hunt for Banner are fantastic. This is the first super hero team up movie, which had a ton riding on it and it totally delivered on all fronts. When you laugh with the villain and find him charming and likable, you’re doing well. And come on, nerd tent pitch city when they all assembled in NYC in that circle. If “it” didn’t move a little there, you don’t like comics.
3- Avengers: Endgame
Does this really need to be explained? Every single character from every film….almost, sorry Quicksilver, is here to take down the mighty Thanos. The battle scenes are fantastic. Tony Stark with a family and his ending are brilliant. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and that father/son style relationship with Robert Downey Jr. is out of this world. Honestly, for the small amount of time she’s in the film, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel steals the show. There’s nothing not to like about this film.
4- Iron Man
This is the movie that set everything in motion and was such an unlikely character to lead the charge. I actually just watched this film for the first time in a long time this past weekend and it still holds up. The scene of Stark coming out of the cave is some of the best stuff Marvel has ever put on film.
5- Avengers: Infinity War
This movie makes the Top 5 for the best surprise twist, in my opinion, in the entire series: Red Skull is the keeper of the Soul Stone. When Thanos and Gamora go to Vormir to collect the stone and Red Skull turns to face them…YES! I yelled in the theater. Such. A. Good. Scene. Plus, the emotional deaths at the end during the “snap” and watching characters you’ve grown to love disappear was such a solid twist.
Just Outside The Top 5: Captain Marvel, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 1 (I feel bad leaving it out because it’s SO GOOD), Thor: Ragnarok, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming
1- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Like Mark, I absolutely love the First Avenger because I love period pieces, so this was a really hard choice. That said, The Winter Soldier is kind of a perfect movie for me. It does a lot of important work in terms of introducing and further explaining characters, but it’s also all packaged really nicely. I love a good spy/conspiracy movie, so that part also really works for me—indeed, this could probably still work if it stood on its own without the superhero stuff, and I think that’s a testament to just how good this movie is. Everything about it is great.
2- The Avengers
This was a hard one too, and I really almost had Endgame sneaking onto this list, it’s also fantastic, but this one just sort of holds a special place in my heart. Obviously it’s super important to the franchise, as it was the one that first saw, if you’ll excuse the pun, the Avengers assembled. It worked when it came out, delivered in just about every way it needed to, and this one still really holds up for me. And I think that also counts for something.
3- Captain Marvel
I just really loved this movie. Captain Marvel is a super cool character, and it was great to see Marvel kind of knock it out of the park with their first female-led movie. Brie Larson is amazing. The 90s setting was cool. It was nice to see a bit more from characters like Nick Fury and Agent Coulson, having that anchor the film in another way. There’s just so much to like about this one. Big fan.
And, as a minor detail, I love that there’s a ginger cat (not actually a cat) in this movie because I also have a ginger cat (actually a cat). Okay, moving on now.
4- Spiderman: Homecoming
I don’t know that I have a really detailed breakdown on this one, other than the fact that this movie is just a whole lot of fun. It does a great job of sort of properly introducing our new Spiderman after we met him somewhat briefly in Captain America: Civil War. And, as maybe something of an underrated detail, I think it does a great job of actually portraying… kids in high school? I know some of the actors are a bit older, but it was nice to see a Peter Parker who looks more like he could actually still be in high school, rather than having them slap glasses on a nearly-30 Tobey Maguire (with all due respect to him) and pretending that’s all fine.
5- Guardians of the Galaxy
I distinctly remembering agreeing to go see Guardians of the Galaxy with my best friend when it was in theaters and not being sure how I felt about it, going into it. The last few movies had left us with some Big Questions and I wanted answers immediately! I didn’t want to go to space and meet all of these new characters! But this movie was so good and does a lot of important work, and I ended up really liking and appreciating it. The new characters are great, and they’re funny. We hadn’t gotten a ton of humor in the preceding movies, and it was a really nice touch here.
1 – Thor: Ragnarok
The absolute perfect blend of comedy and action, it sparked the whole MCU into a new era where comedic scenes could be found in the most serious of situations. After the not-so-good “The Dark World” this film made any movie with Thor in it a must watch. Seamlessly incorporating the Planet Hulk storyline (and also making a joke about the Hulks enlarged…. ego)? GENIOUS. I’ve watched this one at least 10 times, and Disney + just makes it easier. Taika Waititi created an absolutely tremendous movie that easily makes number 1 on my list.
2 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
A LOT happened in this movie. The effects of this reverberated through the rest of the MCU, including TV shows. Bucky Barnes coming “back” to life was a regular viewers plot twist deluxe, but for marvel nerds like myself it opened up so many more possibilities for the character. Black Widow also further developed here, a TON. Just talking about that has me pumped up for the eventual (Screw You COVID) release of the Black Widow movie.
3 – Guardians of The Galaxy: Vol 1
Chris Pratt transforming from my favorite, loveable Andy Dwyer (Parks & Rec) into this behemoth of a superhero in Starlord shocked me, but he never lost his humour. The casting director of this movie needs to take a bow, the chemistry the whole squad exudes is superb. Also, Awesome Mixtape: Vol 1 is a gift to all of humankind’s ears.
4 – The Avengers
i was 18, just about to graduate. I had seen all the lead up movies, all the shorts, everything that was available. I went to a small town theatre to watch the biggest cinematic team up that ever happened. Fiege and his crew had done the impossible. He made a universe where the movies weren’t just related to each other, they were good too. This one holds a special place in my heart, and for good reason, it’s made me never miss an opening day Marvel movie since (yes Disney, you’re welcome for my money. Now please, Season 2 of the Mangialor- crap sorry, Mandalorian”
5 – Iron Man
The one. It all had to start somewhere. When Tony Stark, of recent cave escapism appeared in Ed Norton’s Incredible Hulk, it was on. Robert Downey Jr. grabbed your attention the second the screen started rolling back in 2008 and helped MAKE this franchise what it is. Imagine an MCU without RDJ, because I literally can’t see it getting this far without him and that first film. Now Marvel’s bought Fox, so the X-men are coming to town. I can’t wait for Deadpool to appear and flip this whole MCU sideways, and I owe all the fun anticipation to Iron Man – 2008.
Honourable Mention: Doctor Strange, Ant-Man (specifically Louis), The Black Panther Soundtrack, all of Tom Holland’s scenes in any movie, and Endgame.
by Mark Parkinson