Hulk - 2003
A scientist is transformed into a rampaging green monster that becomes a target for the army. Dour, downbeat version of one of Marvels most popular characters, this takes an age to start but eventually provides computer-generated action that is dynamic if unreal. The 1970s TV show probably had more of the right idea of how to interpret Stan Lees magic.
Director: Ang Lee, Cast: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott
Spider-Man 2 - 2004
Spider-Man battles Doctor Octopus while his alter ego Peter Parker has problems with his love life. Very well-received sequel with some of the most spectacular battles between super-powered folks ever put on film, but perhaps a little bit too much romance. Mostly, though, its one of the very best Marvel movies, full of wit, individual style, great performances (Maguire is just wonderful in his role) and an aura of being that bit special.
Director: Sam Raimi, Cast: Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, Kirsten Dunst
The Punisher - 2004
A cop goes after the men who killed his wife and child. In some ways better than the previous version, with well-staged violent flashpoints, this still doesnt really catch the true, cartoony Marvel feel.
Director: Jonathan Hensleigh, Cast: Thomas Jane, John Travolta, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Samantha Mathis, Roy Scheider
Blade Trinity- 2004
Blade gets two sidekicks to join him on the hunt for Drake (aka Dracula). The franchise backs away from the horror and oddly leans more towards comedy and sci-fi. The lumpy story has Blade facing down Dracula and Daystar, a bio-weapon engineered to kill all bloodsuckers. Snipes is barely present in the film, so Biel and Reynolds do their best to take up the slack.
Director: David S Goyer, Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Dominic Purcell
Elektra - 2005
A female warrior chooses to protect the father and daughter she has been ordered to assassinate. A weirdly awful movie its difficult to say why it so dismally fails; maybe its because the script is invisible, the locations unsympathetic and the action meaningless. Its not a goer at any rate.
Director: Rob Bowman, Cast: Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Kirsten Prout, Terence Stamp
Fantastic Four - 2005
A group of astronauts gain superpowers. The foursome are finally properly brought to the big screen, and the result is not-too-difficult to digest froth. Its a little by-the-numbers but not objectionably so, with the most valid criticism probably being that they spend most of the movie establishing the team in an effort to set up a franchise, and the climactic battle is rather brief.
Director: Tim Story, Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon
X-Men: Last Stand - 2006
A new drug is developed to help mutants become normal. The weakest X-Men movie is an over-egged pudding with not much of a story and too many characters who make little impression; it just doesnt feel like a movie made with care and affection (it was actually rush-released).
Director: Brett Ratner, Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn, James Marsden
Ghostrider - 2006
A motorcycle stunt rider sells his soul to save his cancer-ridden fathers life. Johnny Blaze comes to the screen in a vehicle that suits him: dumb, brash and full of pyrotechnics. Blaze is visually a treat when hes on fire and amusingly Cage-esque when not, but this is really only for motorbike fans or living dead fans.
Director: Mark Steven Johnson, Cast: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Wes Bentley
Spider-Man 3 - 2007
Peter Parker plans to propose to Mary Jane but is distracted by three villains. A highly enjoyable exercise in popular modern moviemaking; its rare to see a comic book adap breathe such life into its characters. It also gains points because the battle royales are dazzling, the plot is dense yet cleverly structured and it successfully provokes a variety of emotions, including laughter, sorrow and excitement.
Director: Sam Raimi, Cast: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - 2007
A being from space engages the team. A childrens film and one which does its job; after several extremely long, po-faced and dark superhero films (hi, Batman Begins and Superman Returns) its quite refreshing to see one that is brief, sweet-natured and light-hearted. The special effects are as good as any of its bigger cousins.
Director: Tim Story, Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Lawrence Fishburne