Friday, November 18, 2016

Superhero Movies: A Personal Ratings Rundown

I love DC Films and especially the burgeoning Justice League Universe. But I also often say that I like most of the Marvel Studios films, too, and I've even gone on record saying that people should be willing to like both movie franchises rather than picking sides and being antagonistic. Following the release of Doctor Strange and Captain America: Civil War, and with me being underwhelmed by both of those films, I thought it was time for me to revisit the claim that I "like most Marvel movies." Is that really true?

So here's a quick rundown of my personal opinions on a bunch of WB/DC and Marvel superhero movies, going back about 10 years. Let's see where I really stand:

Doctor Strange (Marvel, 2016) 6.0Visuals pretty but not meaningful; Too formulaic, especially at the beginning; Humor in the wrong spots; Secondary characters too flat.
Suicide Squad (WB/DC, 2016) 7.5Good characters and style; Enchantress a good choice but not well executed; Action a bit run-of-the-mill.
Captain America: Civil War (Marvel, 2016) 6.5Strong thematic set-up but does not follow through; Action is fun but tone is inconsistent and motivations are contradictory or absent; Cinematography is weak.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (WB/DC, 2016) 9.8Deep, coherent character arcs; Rich in societal, philosophical themes; Strong use of visual imagery; Great music.
Ant-Man (Marvel, 2015) 5.5Humor did not land well for me; Character arcs were too obvious and sometimes pushed aside in favor of plot beats; Not much to discuss afterward.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel, 2015) 6.5Important theme but addressed in a surface-level way; Ultron always seemed like James Spader to me; Action was contradictingly flat and chaotic.
Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel, 2014) 7.0Entertaining movie but I am not as infatuated with Rocket Raccoon or Drax as others are; Ronan’s role in the plot was contrived; Chris Pratt is Chris Pratt.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Marvel, 2014) 8.0Cap, Bucky have good characterizations; Plot is intriguing though themes are under-developed; Fury’s “death” was bad, Helicarriers unrealistic.
Thor: The Dark World (Marvel, 2013) 4.5I did not really enjoy the characters, the humor, or the plot; it looked like TV.
Man of Steel (WB/DC, 2013) 9.5Realistic world building; Deep characterization of Clark/Kal-El; Great link between origin and villain; Compelling action and music; Drawback is a few bad lines of dialogue.
Iron Man 3 (Marvel, 2013) 6.0Some good Iron Man / Tony personality but I did not really get into it and it was quickly forgettable.
The Dark Knight Rises (WB/DC, 2012) 8.0A logical conclusion to the character arcs and themes of the trilogy, though a bit of a letdown from the stellar TDK; some plot contrivances but a good story for Bane; Great action in parts but poor fight scenes in other parts.
The Avengers (Marvel, 2012) 7.5Good multi-character story but lack of deep themes; Exciting action but disrespect to real heroes, first responders; Humor gets in the way at times.
Captain America: The First Avenger (Marvel, 2011) 7.0A pretty straightforward, pretty decent origin story but not great; period settings were cool; a bit cheesy and safe in its approach, at times.
Green Lantern (WB/DC, 2011) 6.5To me it’s not as bad as most people say; Humor good in most spots, not all; Effects and production design were hit and miss; Villain didn’t reach potential.
Thor (Marvel, 2011) 6.0Personally don’t like the Thor character that much and didn’t buy his relationships on Earth; Predictable or formulaic in parts.
Jonah Hex (WB/DC, 2010) 6.0Not a great movie but I liked the thorough setting and tone, and Brolin’s portrayal of Hex; other performances not as good; some really good scenes even if the whole thing was undercooked.
Iron Man 2 (Marvel, 2010) 7.0Step down in cinematography, story from the first installment; some action scenes are pretty good but they are sometimes convoluted; Didn’t like the villain.
The Dark Knight (WB/DC, 2008) 9.6Great villains; Good story and characters that all feed into themes; Memorable scenes and music; Discussion starter.
The Incredible Hulk (Marvel, 2008) 6.5Not a big fan of Edward Norton; Some good action sequences but the story was pretty pedestrian.
Iron Man (Marvel, 2008) 8.5Compelling character; Good cinematography, settings; strong action scenes; right amount of humor.
Superman Returns (WB/DC, 2006) 7.5 As others have said – pretty good drama, not a great superhero movie; Nods to classic Superman are nice but also hold it back from greatness.
Batman Begins (WB/DC, 2005) 8.5Refreshing and serious new take on Bruce Wayne and Batman; Good settings and music; Smart choice of villains.

Looking across the whole table, my rating averages 8.1 for the 9 WB/DC films and only 6.6 for the 14 Marvel films. So as expected, my tastes align more with the WB/DC side of things. But to answer the main question -- is it true that I like most of the Marvel movies? -- I tend to consider anything above a 6/10 as me "liking it" and so the Marvel average is above 6 and so is in the "like" range. Also, going film by film, there are 9 out of the 14 that I've rated higher than 6, so yes, it is true that I like most of the Marvel films. But...

I like WB/DC a lot more. What this compilation has really revealed for me is how substantially the WB/DC movies stand above the Marvel movies. Only 2 WB/DC films – Green Lantern and Jonah Hex – were rated lower than my average rating for Marvel, and I didn't even hate those two movies. In recent years, even my least favorite WB/DC movie – Suicide Squad – rates higher for me than the last five Marvel movies. And overall, there is just one Marvel film – Iron Man – that I have rated higher than the WB/DC average. That leaves 13 Marvel films (!) lower than my average rating for WB/DC.

Here are my ratings in graphical form:

2016 Rankings

While I'm on the topic of personal favorites, here is my ranking of superhero films in 2016:

  • Batman v Superman (way ahead!)
  • Suicide Squad
  • X-Men: Apocalypse
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • And quite a bit below (but still decent)...
    • TMNT: Out of the Shadows tied with Doctor Strange
    • Deadpool (just not my style, though I can see why others liked it)

1 comment:

  1. Movies with famous stars and large budgets (lots of money), are designed to have a wide appeal, so that hopefully millions of people will pay to see them. These most expensive movies are called blockbusters. Special effects can add a huge amount to the cost of a movie, especially the newest CGI effects, but people have come to expect them and every blockbuster movie tries to out-do the last. movie ratings