Posted on Friday, August 7th, 2015 by Ethan Anderton
Since we’ve had two releases from Marvel Studios this year, there’s been plenty of talk about ranking the movies in the Marvel cinematic universe. But with 20th Century Fox’s reboot of Fantastic Four hitting theaters this weekend (for better or worse), we thought it was a good time to rank all the Marvel movies that exist outside of the MCU, which include Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, all the X-Men films and more.
Check out all the other non-MCU Marvel movies ranked after the jump!
Before we begin, it should be noted that we only decided to rank movies based on Marvel Comics since the year 2000. That’s when the original X-Men was released and became a box office hit, launching an onslaught of comic book movies, good and bad. And since then, what began as a trend has turned into a box office mainstay, paving the way for the unprecedented creation of the Marvel cinematic universe.
But again, this is about ranking all 25 of the 21st century Marvel movies outside of the MCU (including the new Fantastic Four). So working from the worst to the best, here’s our ranking of Marvel movies from the likes of 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures, New Line Cinema and one from Artisan Entertainment.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Starting with the bottom, it might be worth noting that the bottom six movies on this list could be put in almost any order and it wouldn’t really make a difference. But we begin with the incoherent Ghost Rider sequel. Nicolas Cage may throw himself into this wild role, but it’s just a crazy mess. Ghost Rider isn’t a character easily adapted to film, especially one that’s PG-13, but that doesn’t mean you have to include a scene that features him pissing fire.
This is what happens when you let David S. Goyer direct a movie after letting Guillermo del Toro direct the best film in the Blade franchise. You get this mess of an ensemble movie featuring a wise-cracking Ryan Reynolds (he’s actually more of a smart-ass in this movie than he is as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but we’ll get to that later) spouting off the words “c*ck-juggling thunder c*nt” for no good reason whatsoever. I would say that Dracula has never been so lame, but Dracula Untold came out last year.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
How is it that Ryan Reynolds has starred in two of the worst movies based on Marvel comics and one of the worst DC comics movies too? Thankfully it looks like he’s about to redeem himself with Deadpool, a character introduced in this pitiful beginning to the standalone Wolverine franchise, and mishandled in the worst way possible. From awful special effects (those CG claws) to cheesy punchlines that rival the terrible dialogue in X-Men: The Last Stand, this movie is downright unbearable.
Fantastic Four (2015)
Fox’s second attempt to launch a Fantastic Four franchise feels like a movie made by a distracted committee; its energy level is set at “mid-week corporate strategy meeting.” Marvel’s First Family is barely united in this outing. Under-funded VFX attempt to visualize extraordinary powers, and the approach to action has all the enthusiasm of a vegan sitting down to a steak dinner. Previous Fantastic Four films lobbed too-broad comedy bombs. This one recoils so far from warmth that Reed Richards would have to invent a new instrument to detect any genuine feeling as the team finally comes together. [text by Russ Fischer]
Fantastic Four (2005)
Speaking of not-so-fantastic comedy, here’s one of two disasters featuring Marvel’s first family as a superhero sitcom. Aside from how awful the script is, and the fact that Doctor Doom is like a dastardly game show host of a villain, perhaps the worst thing in this movie is the “comedy.” It’s not that a Fantastic Four movie shouldn’t have laughs, but it should actually be funny. There’s a scene in this movie where Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) plays a shaving cream prank on The Thing (Michael Chiklis). That’s a real scene. And don’t even get me started on the fact that Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) is somehow going to build a machine that reverses the superpowers whose catalyst he doesn’t really understand.
Well, it’s not the worst movie in the Ghost Rider series, but the least moldy of two rotten apples still doesn’t make a tasty treat. I’m not sure why anyone thought casting Nicolas Cage in the role of Johnny Blaze was a good idea, but here we are with this memory that can’t be easily erased, even if the movie itself is entirely forgettable. While this movie is just one out of what seems like a hundred ill-considered movies Cage has made in the past eight years, what hurts the most is that it somehow did well enough to warrant a far worse, less coherent sequel.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
At the very least, this movie is better than its predecessor, if only because of the presence of the Silver Surfer, but only in the same way that losing a foot is better than losing a hand. Neither are preferable but we’ll take the lesser of two evils. The biggest problem that Rise of the Silver Surfer has is the impending arrival of Galactus, who finally shows up in the form of a boring, non-threatening cloud. Some sequences with the Silver Surfer are cool, but that’s it. Otherwise this sequel is still a complete waste of time.