Just as Stan the Man Lee is one of the greatest people to have ever walked the face of the Earth and definitely one of the greatest ever writers of fiction Marvel Comics, with whom he has been inexorably linked for more than 50 years, is a company that has made this world of ours a better place to live in. And thats the gospel truth.
In recent years, Marvel has also triumphed in the cinema, the likes of the Spider-Man and Iron Man films and Avengers: Age of Ultron drawing in huge crowds all around the world. Computer wizardry has made it possible for Marvels visions to be magnificently realised on the big screen, in a way they never could be on television in the past.
With a number of projects in planning, including sequels and reboots in most of the major franchises, the future for Marvel is bright. So now seems like a good time to look back at Marvel in the cinema with every film they've released so far...
Howard the Duck - 1986
A humanoid duck saves the world. Crass and awful movie for one of Marvels less endearing creations, with a story seemingly aimed at slow five-year-olds, but weirdly done in an adult manner. It sucks, big time.
Director: Willard Huyck, Cast: Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins, Ed Gale
The Punisher - 1990
An armed vigilante battles city criminals. Based on one of Marvels darkest characters, this serves up nearly non-stop action and doesnt trouble the grey matter too much.
Director: Mark Goldblatt, Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett Jr, Jeroen Krabb
Captain America - 1990
Its Cap to the rescue when the Red Skull kidnaps the US President. A superhero movie that stinks to high heaven its abysmally scripted and produced on a budget of a packet of Twinkies. Action sequences are ham-fisted and repetitive, the hero is limited (to say the least), the plot is inane, even the wardrobe is awful... just complete dreck.
Director: Albert Pyun, Cast: Matt Salinger, Scott Paulin, Kim Gillingham
Blade - 1998
A half-human/half-vampire takes self-loathing to a new level by exterminating vamps he comes across. Wesley Snipes cuts an imposing figure as the Daywalker infused with the superpowers of a vampire, yet without the pesky weaknesses. He shows off some mad moves and goes up against a cocky Dorff who gives great villain. Overall, the film comes off as low-budget despite some great action sequences.
Director: Stephen Norrington, Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Dorff
X-Men - 2000
Two opposing groups of super-powered mutants battle it out for supremacy. Glossy, watchable action flick with a decent assortment of costumed characters.
Director: Bryan Singer, Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
Blade 2 - 2002
Blade looks for his lost mentor, Whistler, and then battles Reaper vamps. Del Toro brings his dark aesthetic to the franchise and elevates the quality of the series with his rich attention to detail. He crafts some great visuals, especially the three-ply jaws of the Reapers. Theres more blood and gore with lots of noisy action but the story isnt the most engaging.
Director: Guillermo del Toro, Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela
Spider-Man - 2002
A young student is bitten by a radioactive spider which gives him remarkable arachnid powers. He soon has to use them against the evil Green Goblin. Finally this great comic book superhero is done justice on celluloid, not least in the special effects department which convey Spider-Mans movement convincingly. For keen fans of the strip its a fondly assembled treat with a perfect choice of lead actor, and for anyone else, an exciting blockbuster with a good heart.
Director: Sam Raimi, Cast: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst
Daredevil - 2002
A blind lawyer is also a spectacular costumed superhero. While hardly in Spider-Mans class, this is a half-decent adaptation with some boisterous action Bullseye is particularly lively. The film looks like it was cut down from a greater length and is rather too keen to promise a sequel.
Director: Mark Steven Johnson, Cast: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan
X-Men 2 - 2003
A fanatical military man attacks Professor Xaviers band of mutants. A superior sequel, for what its worth, which generally succeeds in reproducing a comic-strip vibe. As franchises go, X-Men isnt the easiest to warm to but its aided by the different superpower exhibitions and a starry cast.
Director: Bryan Singer, Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Brian Cox