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Fun with Franchises EXTRA: The Marvel Universe – Ranking the Films

All right. So over the last ten weeks, we went over all the Marvel films. (Not counting Age of Ultron, since that’s too new. So all as of 2014.) We watched them, we made fun of them, we did our usual thing. And now, since this is a formidable universe, we’re gonna rank them. Like we did with Bond, and like we did with Disney.

I’m not doing this because I consider them on par with either of those two, but because it’s Marvel, and apparently that’s like web traffic gold. So, while we work in a Fun with Franchises break to allow us to get ready for the next set of franchises, I’m gonna throw up some of this bullshit, because I’m not opposed to whoring myself out for small periods of time. Look, it was either this, or nothing gets posted. I don’t have a problem with turning tricks on Hollywood Boulevard, but you don’t get to see that for free.

We’re gonna finish by ranking all of the films.

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1. Iron Man

Colin:

This was so obvious, we really didn’t have a choice but to start with the top spot and work our way down. We’ve already had Tony Stark first on two lists — I think you all knew this was happening. This is movie is head and shoulders above the crowd and still would be if you were referring to giraffe anatomy. Favreau directing was a good thing, yes, but giving everyone free reign to improvise was the best move he could have made. You’ve got Robert Downey Jr. and Jeff Bridges. Something good is going to happen. He also isn’t totally whipped by Pepper in this one, so we’ve got a fun origin story with him getting into all kinds of trouble, drinking and sleeping with Christine Everhart. I also genuinely like the villain for thematic reasons, where they make it look like he’s fighting terrorists and it turns out being much closer to home. And as imperfect as the ending was, there was no 9/11 imagery! I’ll watch this movie plenty of times. 

Mike:

This created the entire franchise. Without this, nothing else on the list can possibly exist. This is kinda why any list of Pixar movies should really start with Toy Story. Though the difference is, there, the first Toy Story might not be their best overall film (though it’s close). Here, there’s no question about it. This is the best product they’ve put out there so far. They haven’t hit this height yet again. We start by instantly putting a character on the screen that we love. And then we put him in a horrible situation, and show how he got there, and then watch him get out of his situation by essentially becoming a superhero. And then we see the real world repercussions of this — his company locks him out, people think he’s crazy, he has a crisis of conscience. And then the whole thing ends with the absolute perfect ending (that is unfortunately never capitalized upon). There is no better Marvel ending than “I am Iron Man” and cut to black. That was perfect, and it will never be replicated again.

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2. Guardians of the Galaxy

Colin:

This was a tricky one, because I went back and forth while watching for the first time. On one hand, the main characters are super fun. But then the villain and his plot are awful! There’s an infinity stone that he wants to give to another bad guy in exchange for the destruction of a planet, but then he takes the stone himself and decides to kill the place himself. So…he started with the basic plot from The Avengers and switched gears to Thor 2 midway through. There’s only so much they can do with infinity stones and planetary ruling/destruction. So this movie goes to number two because it’s supremely enjoyable when Dave Bautista and his crew (yeah, this was all about Dave Bautista) are on screen and then becomes drivel when we cut to the dark interior of the bad guy spaceship. Never has a Marvel movie been so good and so bad at the same time.

Mike:

The key to this one is that, while it’s Marvel formula, the main characters are so good and the movie is so fun you don’t notice. That’s something Marvel lost since Iron Man: the sense of fun. They had to go all the way to the other side of the galaxy to realize these movies can be fun and not be about the heavy burden of saving the world. These people save the universe and have fun doing it. And one of them’s a tree. There’s no question to me that this is the second best Marvel movie by sheer virtue of it being playful, having a fun soundtrack, and having weird, misfit characters that are more interesting than the usual bullshit they throw out there. The fun overcomes the formula.

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3. Captain America: The First Avenger

Colin:

I’ll admit, I still go back and forth between the Captain America movies. I prefer the action and really the plot of the sequel to this one. But then, this one has a lot of fun montages, a musical number, Fake Hitler and Hugo Weaving. The plot makes very little sense to me, but then…neither does the plot of the other movie. So when you reach that dilemma of both of them being sort of good and sort of not, I say you pick whichever is more fun and has the best character build. That’s The First Avenger, hands down. We get his origin story with Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones, we get to enjoy Howard Stark being a jerk, and there are lots of bunkers and maps. I guess Peggy’s there for some of it, too. I can’t shake the Red Skull stuff and how 2D the character is, but when you give it to Hugo Weaving, things end up working more or less.

Mike:

Yeah, it’s kind of a toss up between the two. Everyone says Winter Soldier is better, which kind of makes me want to go firmly with this. Winter Soldier has way better action, and the mystery plot is more fun, even though I’m not crazy about the climax of that movie. Not that this movie’s climax is much better. But I like that they really set up Steve’s character here, and give him a full act of character development before he becomes Captain America. I like that this is a period piece and takes place in the 40s. I like that it gets somewhat old-fashioned for a time, even though the futuristic weaponry and stuff make no sense and really take you out of it. I like that we world-build by going before the world. With Stark, and the founding of SHIELD. I like Tommy Lee Jones. I love Stanley Tucci. Hugo Weaving does a great job with Red Skull. I hope they bring him back for the future. I love that there’s a musical number in this. I like more elements of this movie than I like in Winter Soldier, which is why I rank this higher. It’s pretty much a toss up, but I’m gonna go with the one I enjoy more over the one that’s probably the better film.

Captain America The Winter Soldier - 365

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Colin:

This was, in many ways, the better movie. An absentee Peggy gets replaced by Natasha for the movie, which is a very welcome development. The action is way better — including and especially the chase scene with Nick Fury and the cops, which we called the best action sequence Marvel had shot as of 2014. I guess there’s also a lot more dialogue in this movie than we’re used to in most movies. If I was really nerdy, I’d go back and count how often there were cuts between scenes, and I bet there were fewer in this. The bits seemed a little more self-contained, which is a result of Steve and Natasha being on the run. Who are you going to cut to? But while I think this was better than the first movie in all those ways, we didn’t need the wings, we didn’t want the whole movie to be about taking down helicarriers. So you know…I’m still kind of feeling the tie, but that’s a cop out.

Mike:

Clearly the better film than First Avenger. But I don’t like it as much. This movie, when I saw it, I called the best Marvel can probably do as a movie. Which is an entertaining movie with flaws that has good action that is pretty good overall but not great. They’re not gonna hit Iron Man levels, and the only way they can get close is by changing the equation, a la Guardians, and having the fun outweigh the usual bullshit. So given their proclivities, this is the best they can probably do. Which is fine for Marvel, but not entirely promising for great storytelling. Yes, this is better than the first Captain America. But I don’t like it as much, so I don’t rank it any higher than fourth.

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5. The Avengers

Colin:

This is the split, because everything before this has a lot of good stuff going for it, and everything after it becomes problematic. I mean, THIS is problematic. The only reason this goes to number 5 is because of the sheer numbers thrown at it. It’s got characters, it’s got action…it’s a summer blockbuster through and through. Why it was released at the beginning of May is another matter. I didn’t want it even this high on the list because of how many people idol-worship this movie, but when you look at what’s left to compare it with, it kind of has to go here.

Mike:

This is definitely the split. I break down Marvel thusly: number one is up there, not gonna be knocked off. Number two is below it, easily knocked off it anyone can get there. Then three and four. I just like them better. This is there purely because it has everything in one, and has elements of fun to it that most of the other’s just don’t have. Then there’s a middle section of “meh” films, and then the bottom two, which are clearly the bottom two. But before we get to that, this movie. Only number five because it has everything and no other reason. I don’t love this movie. It’s got problems. But it has everyone together, and Loki is there, and there are big action sequences and I don’t have to follow a dumb plot I don’t care about. So it goes here. But I consider this a huge step below the top four, and really only above the others purely because the others aren’t better and no other reason. I rate this as “pretty good.” If any Marvel movie makes it to “good,” it jumps up above this quickly and easily.

Iron Man 2 - 808

6. Iron Man 2

Colin:

This ranking must piss off some people. I certainly hope it pisses off some people. I have fewer issues with this movie than anyone I’ve ever talked to about it, which is funny because we’re the ones taking criticism from people for being too harsh on the franchise. Sure, Iron Man 2 wasn’t put together nearly as the first movie was, but take stock of what it had: a villain with some genuine grievances and no superpowers, out to get our hero; the guy we all know and love, still drinking and insulting people, but also struggling with his new identity; Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson. Most of the performances are pretty good, there was good action and this might be the last Marvel movie that didn’t involve space. Like, I guess The Winter Soldier sort of doesn’t, but Iron Man 3 is about him dealing with is space problems. It obviously falls because of the blood toxicity and the universe building and all that, but will I watch it again? Yeah. I have no hatred for this movie that outweighs Robert Downey Jr. making a farce of a congressional hearing. 

Mike:

I was shocked to discover that people consider this the worst movie Marvel has made. At worst I’d have put this one spot lower. Yes, sure, I wouldn’t watch this over at least one other ranked below it, because it’s just not as fun, but it’s not a bad construction. The real downfall of this movie is twofold: the villain has a badass introduction and then is sidelined for the entire middle of the movie, and Tony is “dying” for most of it and is no fun. Or rather, he’s not as self-destructive as the plot would lead you to believe. He should be way more self-destructive and fun than he is. Oh, and then there’s the whole universe building scene where they randomly have a cure for his ailment purely so he can go and create a new element (Bullshitium). I count the universe building as a lesser fault. I am okay with that sequence if Mickey Rourke isn’t sitting in a warehouse for the entire second act. So that’s what keeps this from hitting that upper level tier. But honestly, there’s good stuff here, and I really don’t understand the hatred for this. Yes, it’s not the first Iron Man. And we all got pissed at that when we saw this in theaters. But considering what they put out after this, this is not anywhere near the bottom three movies they’ve put out. Not close.

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7. Thor

Colin:

Thor should have been so much lower on this list, or so I thought when we started. There were a few movies that I hadn’t seen yet, so I didn’t know. But when I saw this in theaters, I did NOT like it, so I was thinking that this would be like ninth out of ten or something. Admittedly, I didn’t appreciate the canted angles and relatively interesting cinematography until we wrote the movie up here, but in my defense, it’s a CGI-saturated 3D conversion. You can defend CGI until the digitally-enhanced cows come home; 3D conversions look like absolute shit. The plot isn’t great, but the way they execute it is just Shakespearean enough to keep me watching. There’s also Thor being a moron on Earth and breaking mugs. I guess this can go here, considering what’s left to come.

Mike:

7 and 8 are tough calls. Because neither are great, and the other one has a particular element that makes it preferable to this, but honestly — I like what they did with this. They took a stupid property and made it Shakespearean. Branagh canted the fuck out of that movie to make it more interesting. (Because without that, it would be Hulk 2.0.) This introduced us to Tom Hiddelston’s Loki, which I think we can all be grateful for. Thor doesn’t understand Earth customs and drinks. It’s a relatively contained story. I like that they did the SHIELD site sequence to save money but still made it look okay. The Destroyer is really only in this one town instead of in a big city. (No 9/11 imagery!) And it’s peppered with story elements. Him unable to lift the hammer, Loki coming in and telling him he can’t come home, the final showdown between brothers. There’s pretty good character work here, bogged down in an otherwise mediocre movie. I’ll give them the credit for that. Simply because… well, the alternative is…

Iron Man 3 - 793

8. Iron Man 3

Colin:

This movie. I have some contempt for this movie, now that I think about it. You can go back and read our final thoughts on it to get why I really disliked it, but I took this film as such a massive disappointment in the context of the Iron Man series. Stark’s the best, Iron Man is the best, and they really threw him out the window. The goddamn kid? How about how he’s finally WITH Pepper in this one? That’s what every recipe needs: more Gwyneth Paltrow. And the villain is awful. I’ve spoken about this too many times now, so I’m going to stop. But yeah, this can’t go higher than Iron Man 2 and people need to stop hyping this movie. Sometimes “darker” is just worse.

Mike:

Here’s the thing — I enjoy this movie. I really do. But I also acknowledge that it is not good. The plot is so stupid, and again points out that somehow all of Tony Stark’s problems are self-inflicted and/or came from the past. And then Tony Stark has panic attacks? That’s not what we want to see. Oh, and what was set up as a really badass looking villain was completely undercut and made so inconsequential. Now, I do enjoy the shit out of Ben Kingsley in this movie, but that’s just the performance. The fact that he had to give that performance is wholly the fault of the movie. There are fucking fire people in this movie. They turn Pepper into one of them! The only saving grace this movie has is that Shane Black wrote it. Without that playfulness, this really makes a play for going lower than even this.

– – – – –

This is really where it gets interesting. Because Colin and I have been going back and forth about this for a little while now, and just completely do not agree about these last two.

Of course, the big joke is that we both think they’re not good and are basically just arguing about which one is the bigger piece of shit. But I’m just gonna leave the floor open for us to really get into the discussion. Because it’s amusing to me.

9. + 10.

The Incredible Hulk

Thor: The Dark World

The Incredible Hulk - 70

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I am convinced Thor: The Dark World is the worst thing Marvel has ever done. Colin says that title falls to The Incredible Hulk. So we’re just gonna go back and forth until the booze prevents us from typing anymore or we get to the point of, “Fuck it, we’re done with this fucking franchise.” I’m thinking the second part will happen sooner.

Here’s how we did this — we went on Facebook and spent a good 40 minutes just typing our feelings (and meandering along the way) about why we feel our choice is the worst Marvel movie.

Colin:

Okay, let’s knock this thing out and be done with Marvel.

Mike:

I can’t wait to be done with them. The ultimate joke being that I’ll be seeing Ant-Man within the next two weeks.

Colin:

Oh, fuck. Ant Man. That’s a bummer. Sorry to hear that.

Mike:

It’s actually supposed to be pretty entertaining. I have moderate hopes for it. If it can end up above both Avengers movies for me, I consider that a huge win for them.

Colin:

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twelve times…

Mike:

I don’t even count it as being fooled anymore. Since I’m gonna see everything regardless. Fortunately I haven’t been burned by high expectations with Marvel yet.

And then we get into the actual discussion:

Colin:

I’m going to start by saying I recognize your criticism of Thor 2 as being without consequences. I guess it’s pretty low on those, but it ends with Loki on the throne and Thor cast out. Not entirely nothing. Let’s compare that to Hulk, which began with him already afflicted and on the run, and ended with him still afflicted and on the run. No backstory, no change. If Thor 2 is the movie that sort of puts things back where they were, Hulk is the movie that doesn’t even START somewhere.

Mike:

My thing about Thor 2 not having consequences is because everything that happens is undone within minutes. The only changes are Rene Russo dying and Loki on the throne. Which aren’t really changes. I just hate that everything is completely pointless.

My thing is about Hulk being the lesser of two evils is — I don’t feel like faulting them as much for what is ultimately movie 1A in the franchise. They shot it the same time as Iron Man. So there wasn’t a blueprint and there wasn’t any kind of formula to be using. They were basically figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Whereas, by the time Thor 2 happened, they knew what they were doing and had a formula mapped out, however shitty that formula is. So for me it comes down to — “You knew better, but you still delivered shit.”

I also know for a fact that there was more to Hulk that never made the final cut, which was more character work and more stuff that made the situations slightly more interesting. I bet if there were scenes cut from THor, it involved Darcy making mistakes with British slang or some shit.

Colin:

I think that gets back to the same issues we had with the Star Wars prequels, only in reverse. I was more pissed off at Attack of the Clones for not learning the lessons of the first one and being a bad sequel. You didn’t like Phantom Menace for setting things off on the wrong foot. Which is what Hulk did. Granted, Star Wars was supposed to have a blueprint — way more than these had, anyway. But Incredible Hulk is supposed to be introducing one of the Avengers. It’s so bad they gave up on the character outside Avengers movies.

Mike:

I don’t know if Hulk is supposed to introduce one of the Avengers. I think at the time, Hulk was just another superhero movie, and after Iron Man was a success, they realized, “Oh shit, we can link all of these and build to something,” and then added the Stark scene like a week before the movie came out.

They actually didn’t start building to Avengers until Thor.

Colin:

I’m sure that’s true. They cut something passable into something awful. But man, is it hollow. I think I dislike it most because it’s the most plainly comic book, where everything is given as a stereotype and taken for granted.

Mike:

It’s actually almost a similar argument to Star Wars in that I’m more disappointed with the movie that should know better. As opposed to the one that’s just shitty all over the place.

Colin:

Well, with Star Wars, I said Attack of the Clones should have known better once Phantom Menace failed.

That was my position at that time. And now I’m on the other side with, “I know you guys threw this together practically overnight but that’s no excuse for it looking like you threw it together overnight.”

Like, it looks amateurish. The whole Culver University sequence with NO people and one or two things happening at a time because they did a storyboard and just shot it.

Mike:

They didn’t have the budgets they did later on. I’m willing to forgive that part.

This was actually one of those deals where if both of those movies failed, Marvel was done as a studio.

Hulk didn’t succeed, but it also didn’t fail. Box office-wise.

Colin:

I’m also not thinking about budget. The movie just sucked. If more money could have helped, so be it. But it sucked.

Mike:

I don’t see Hulk as being a story of no change. I see things ultimately ending up the same, but I like that they at least bring it up later in Avengers, “Last time I was in New York I broke Harlem,” and now they’re bringing Hurt back for Civil War. At least it’s something that happened and has consequences, if barely.

Colin:

I’m not weighting anything here based on time frame or total budget. Just, did it work? And the laughable part is that neither of them worked. But I thought Hulk did nothing.

Mike:

Thor really accomplishes nothing. Loki is on the throne, sure, but they killed him right before that and undid it. The only purpose of the movie is to show us an Infinity Stone, which they only tell us about in the end credits. So really the only thing to take away from that movie is the end credits.

Colin:

Thor does end with Loki ruling and Thor gone, which means the next movie starts totally different. If they started a movie right after Hulk, it’s EXACTLY the same except now they need to find a hot Canadian chick in the woods for him to flirt with and some Canadian bully who wants to rape her.

Mike:

I will agree that the only parts of Thor 2 that did work were because of good casting. I can’t argue that point, because Hulk wasn’t cast particularly well and they didn’t get a second chance to do things better or worse.

A Hulk 2 movie would actually have to start post-Avengers.

And Age of Ultron. Where… he’s still in exile and they’re still looking for him.

That’s pretty much all he is as a character. So really I blame them for trying to turn him into a movie so soon.

Colin:

I’m really struggling to find any way in which Hulk changed anything in that storyline, because all you mentioned was a single reference he made during The Avengers.

Mike:

The thing is, I like that what happens there has consequences. Whereas with THor 2, none of the events will ever be mentioned. It’s not the reference (since Thor 2 — “That was for New York!” — an alien invasion was boiled down to a single slap) so much as — nothing that happens in Thor 2 has any consequence anywhere except in the final credits sequence. Even the first Thor had Earth consequences. Second Thor — nothing.

Colin:

This is why this is fun. We’re arguing over pieces of shit. And driving them both lower. Where they should be.

Mike:

The thing with Hulk though is that his character is one of no change. He wants to not be the Hulk, but he can’t. So he can only drive himself away and look for that cure. And he can walk away sadly and Liv Tyler can be breathy.

Really they did what a Hulk movie is supposed to do. Badly. But they did. And that’s where I’m okay with Hulk.

Colin:

Neither of these movies should have existed, but I think Hulk only works as a secondary character. At least Thor 2 is just a shitty episode of his own show. Hulk is the pilot that didn’t get picked up.

Mike:

The pilot didn’t work. Okay.

Thor, I was invested, and now you just turned it into complete garbage, AND wasted… what, $275 million in the process?

Colin:

That’s the other thing. I think I’m less interested in Liv Tyler than Natalie Portman. Amazing as that sounds. Liv was actually more annoying to me.

I’ll still watch Thor 2 first if given the choice because of Loki and Anthony Hopkins and Stellan and everyone.

Mike:

Oh, no argument there.

I’d actually watch Hulk first.

Thor 2 apparently only cost $170 million.

And Hulk apparently cost the same.

Which is insane.

Colin:

Wait, seriously?

Mike:

$150 million for Hulk. But the CGI in Thor 2 is really bad. So it’s about even.

Colin:

Okay, that IS insane. Now I’m even more against Hulk for underperforming.

Mike:

They both look bad.

Colin:

Well, you say that, but Hulk might be the worst looking movie of the bunch.

Action in the dark. Remember picking shots for that?

Mike:

It is the worst looking of the bunch.

They’re both not good looking, though. Remember when she steps outside and everything turns into a screensaver from the 90s?

Colin:

We’re really only arguing over which we’d watch if given the choice of watching either or nothing for the rest of our lives.

Oh, see, I didn’t hate that as much as Liv Tyler snuggling on Shrek in a cave.

At least there were colors.

Mike:

I miss the favela.

Colin:

Me too.

I think that’s the takeaway here. More colorful poverty in movies.

The problem is that Thor 2 is almost completely sci-fi. Like, if you didn’t know it was a comic book thing, it’s almost all sci-fi and doesn’t hit you in the face with the comic book-ness quite as hard.

Mike:

See, I’m still faulting Thor 2 more because Hulk just failed. Hulk was grasping at the air to figure out what it was supposed to do and fell off a cliff. Thor 2 had a bridge that could get it across (a rainbow bridge), and they still fucked it up.

I didn’t see as much comic book-ness in Hulk.

Colin:

Like, it’s terrible. But having the hot chick and then bringing in the stereotypical bully who’s going to fight him or rape her or both…

Mike:

Well… Brazil.

Colin:

Touche.

And how the guy who’s going to hunt him down and murder him is the estranged father of his girlfriend.

Mike:

Yeah, but that’s just action movies.

Wasn’t that Armageddon?

Also Liv Tyler.

Colin:

It’s all beat-you-over-the-head-until-senseless comic book. Plus the weird liquids and contamination through head wounds.

Mike:

Hulk Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing

Hulk Eat Animal Crackers From Liv Tyler Vagina

Colin:

I will admit that that Tim Roth is more fun than Malekith. But I’m still not a fan because he ends up being the guy who doses himself to become a monster and fight people as a mutant. Very Spider-Man-like.

Mike:

Let’s also not forget that Thor 2 makes you believe Natalie Portman has incredible enough strength to keep an infinity stone in her body for half a movie without any side effects.

Colin:

That was offensive, cause they almost give you the hope she’s gonna die. Like, Marvel doesn’t kill people, but Natalie might not want to do more, so maybe they’d kill her to make Thor a REALLY dark character.

Mike:

But they don’t, the assholes.

The problem with Tim Roth is that his character doesn’t get enough development. Malekith has NO development.

I think Natalie’s done anyway.

I think Thor 3 is all in space.

Colin:

Both of them cut too often.

Mike:

The other thing with the two is — Thor’s action sequences are HORRIBLE.

The bottom three on our list were all Thor 2.

Colin:

I don’t know, I have no reason to even start with Hulk. Not that I have much reason to continue with Thor, either.

Mike:

The centerpiece action sequence is predicated on a ruse that we all know is a ruse from the start.

So really it’s just a waste of time like the rest of the movie.

And then they kill a character that I legit thought died in the first movie.

I also realized that we didn’t even list the action sequence in Thor 2 where he fights the rock guy

We just both completely forgot that existed.

Appropriately.

Colin:

If I’m being honest, though, the Hulk scenes are all super low for me, too. Thor 2 had redeeming (SUPER relative) qualities beyond the action. But in Hulk, I was like, “Shit, can he just Hulk out already?” And then when he did, I wanted less Hulk.

Mike:

That’s the one thing I can’t argue against. Thor 2 has better character work by virtue of Tom Hiddleston.

But then I keep trying to consider it as being worse, but I can’t, because I keep getting stuck on, “But they should have known better.”

Colin:

And he and a few of the other actors are the reasons that I’d have something to look forward to. There are brief ribbons of enjoyment in Thor 2. I didn’t enjoy anything in Hulk. No smiling. Nothing. Except for Lou’s cameo.

But it’s Marvel. They’re not going to know better. We knew it’d be a bad movie, and less good to look at because it wasn’t Branagh.

Mike:

And I had the opposite reaction. I actually enjoy parts of Hulk, while recognizing it’s not very good.

I can almost pretend Hulk ISN’T Marvel. And is just another generic superhero movie.

Colin:

Oh, wow, we’re totally opposite on this, because I still think of Thor 2 as a generic sci-fi movie. To me, Marvel equals superheroes.

But we’re not going to agree on these points because it’s enjoyment. I hate both, but didn’t really like Norton’s Banner, hated the cheap Spider-Man biochemical elements, disliked Liv and her father, and the guy who “helps” them. And then Roth was disappointing.

Mike:

Yeah, that is why we won’t agree. I do enjoy parts of Hulk more than I enjoy the parts of Thor 2.

Colin:

Hulk just felt cheap and from an earlier — but not better — era of superhero films. I felt the comic book stereotyping all over the place. It looked the worst of everything. He gets no origin story, spends the whole movie on the run and ends on the run, right back where he started, just with a lot of now-useless Portuguese. And everything between them arriving in New York and the end of the movie made me angry.

Mike:

What’s funny is — if you look at how critics and audiences responded to all the movies — Thor 2 is the lowest ranked. Followed by Iron Man 2. Then the first Thor. Then Hulk.

Actually, with critics, it’s Thor 2, then Hulk.

Somehow all of them got above 60% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Yeah, the lack of origin story is weird. But we already know it. So in that regard, at least it’s not another Spider-Man situation, where we see the same goddamn story told again and again.

Colin:

Wonder what they’d say if Hulk and Thor 2 had come out the same year. Can’t view them in a vacuum, but Thor 2 looks worse after Avengers and stuff.

And Hulk looked better before more things happened. But yeah, why the shit does everyone hate on Iron Man 2 more than everything?

Mike:

I actually think the effects in Hulk are pretty good, but it was directed and shot poorly.

I think the Iron Man 2 hate is because it wasn’t Iron Man 1

Which is how I felt in the theater when we saw it.

Colin:

Well of course. That has to be it.

Mike:

The lasting hate is weird. But I guess that’s not people going back and rewatching them all.

Colin:

I’d be happier with that appraisal if people didn’t then jump on Iron Man 3’s dick.

Mike:

I think they moderately jump on it.

The way I do. Which is — “It’s horrible, but at least it’s trying to be fun.”

Though I don’t think they say horrible.

Colin:

79% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Mike:

Here’s something crazy — you know which of the Marvel movies had the smallest budgets? Iron Man 1 and Cap 1.

Colin:

Should say something.

Mike:

Ant-Man had less than those

Which will be really interesting

Thor had same budget as Hulk. Which is why they had that entire sequence in the tube site.

Thor 2 and Winter Soldier had the same budget. That’s insane.

Colin:

Cap 1 has the same RT rating that Iron Man 3 got.

Winter Soldier got 89%. But Iron Man got 94%, so there may be some justice left.

Mike:

Yeah, but everyone who rates that stuff also jumps all over The Avengers’ dick.

Colin:

They do.

Well, I think that does it for Thor 2 and Hulk. I’m pretty happy with that discussion, and lumping them together as two feces-covered films. Like a Shit-Kat.

Mike:

I’m actually curious now to see how you respond to Age of Ultron.

They actually do a good job with Ultron as a villain, even if he’s STILL underdeveloped.

Colin:

I should get that. Maybe I could watch tonight. It’s in theaters here starting today.

Mike:

There’s also some WEIRD shit going on there.

Hopefully the forced romance will piss you off as much as it pissed me off.

And hopefully the ending will… well, I won’t spoil it

Colin:

Yeah, I’m just gonna watch and enjoy not having to write about it.

Time to go to a few 4th of July parties.

Mike:

It’s so nice to be done with this.

Colin:

Well that’s me for the afternoon. I’m off to do America stuff.

Mike:

– – – – – – – – –

And, before we end, I will ONCE AGAIN say (because people are dumb and will undoubtedly not read this and do exactly what I’m disclaimer against) — this is based on the films BEFORE Age of Ultron. Because that movie came out while we were doing this franchise. That’s what that’s not here, and why everything that comes out in the future isn’t here. Don’t ask me why they’re not here. Reading comprehension is a good thing. The article wasn’t created the minute you clicked on this page. And no, we will not be updating it with those movies.

– – – – – – – – – –

All right. Now… we’re actually done with Fun with Franchises this year.

I know, I know.

We had, originally, four more franchises planned after this, and then one got cut off pretty early (as it was meant to. It was there on the off chance that we could make it to the end and still have the energy to do it). But then we decided to go a different route in order to keep things fresh and not have them feel like work. And because something else happened that was interested and we wanted to write up. And there was no need to put that off any longer when we could do Fun with Franchises any time.

So Fun with Franchises will come back another time. We got some good ones on tap for when that is. For now, we’re gonna get back to movies. LOTS of movies. It’s gonna be fun.

(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)

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4 responses

  1. BlueFox94

    What a semi-painful journey, optimistically punctuated by good, old-fashioned, egotistical dickery, raccoons and trees, a crisp rat, steroids, political espionage, and—of course—booze.
    By the way, I ranked the films myself at the start of this Fun With Franchises MCU episode. No joke, my list was a carbon copy of this list and I barely touched it since before Iron Man 2.
    I side with Mike. Thor: The Dark World is my #10. My reasoning? I’d rather see something that could be improved (Incredible Hulk) over something that I can’t even see with my eyes at all (Dark World). And it didn’t help that I originally skipped Dark World in theaters either.
    I’ll be here, waiting for the next season…or whatever will be posted tomorrow, even if it’s just the Pic of the Day. =D

    July 5, 2015 at 2:01 pm

  2. Well, I agree concerning the top 5 and the bottom five…just not necessarily in that order. For me it is Gotg and Winter soldier (I go back and forth on which one deserves the top spot) followed by The Avengers, Captain America and Iron Man (and yes, I know I go totally against the trend by placing Iron Man only on place five, but I think that while the first half of the movie is incredible strong, the second half is weak…all those other movies end on a high note. Captain America has similar problems as Iron Man has in the third act (mainly the need to shoehorn in some fight with a villain), but at the very end it has the scene in which Steve wakes up, which is the best scene of the whole movie.

    The bottom five…I honestly don’t care, this ranking mostly changes daily for me, though I firmly vote for The Incredible Hulk as the worst. All the other movies have at least one or two scenes which I really like or stand out. The Incredible Hulk has nothing. It is just endless boredom. I don’t even buy Norton in the role, I keep seeing him as actor and not the character he is supposed to play (yeah, I know, another unpopular opinion).

    I think it is kind of funny that you are so hard on Iron Man 3. I mean, I can’t get over the weak structure of the movie, but considering that you always want Marvel to do something different and deeper, well, this is the movie which did it. I don’t think it did it good, but you always want ambition, and there it is, even if it failed in the end. Still, the themes are very intricate.

    July 5, 2015 at 5:16 pm

  3. marvel stan

    all you are doing is slamming the marvel franchise

    August 28, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    • Please give us another example of someone who has examined and analyzed the films as films like these guys have.

      October 5, 2016 at 4:11 pm

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