Tag Archives: game of thrones

Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe

© Marvel Disney

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Marvel Studios and Disney will continue to print their own money with the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron today. In preparation for the movie, which has already made over $200 million overseas, I’ve been rewatching the previous entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I put more planning into this months-long marathon than I do into what I eat. I usually hope patrons will bring us cookies or something equally tasty.

Anyway, top ten lists are always fun (and it’s been a while since I did a top ten list) so, without further delay, I present my ranking of the films of the MCU.

Warning: These are only the films since, apparently, the television shows, tie-in comics and one-shots only complicate the movies.
Warning: This is only my preference. Save your nerd-rage for something else.
Warning: This list contains spoilers.

10. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

I’m probably one of the only people who enjoyed Ang Lee’s 2003 iteration of the big green monster. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen it, but I remember that it at least it tried to be cerebral. Louis Leterrier’s version, on the other hand, is bland; I feel like he only makes horribly average movies for people who hate movies (see Clash of the Titans, The Transporter and Now You See Me). He’s like a French Michael Bay. This film is clearly the black sheep of the MCU as it’s hardly ever referenced, save for the one-shot The Consultant and a line in an episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I promised to keep this cinematic. I think it would be incredible (see what I did there?) if the Hulk just stayed in Avengers films or other team-up films in the future.

9. Thor (2011)

I think this is the only film in the MCU that I didn’t see in the theaters. I’ll openly admit that I don’t particularly care for fantasy/mythology stuff. I realize that may seem a bit hypocritical when I’m listing off comic book movies, but let’s move past that. When Kenneth Branagh was announced as the director, I thought it was a match made in heaven. For a time it seemed like Branagh was set on adapting all of Shakespeare’s plays and I’ve always felt the story of Thor is inherently Shakespearean. While the finished product never reaches the Shakespearean epic I had in mind, there are snippets of it bubbling below the surface, specifically when you watch Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston act off each other. You really feel for them as brothers and I’m not just saying that because my brother is blonde and muscular whereas I am dark haired and, well, not (see my earlier comment about eating).

8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Again, knowing that Alan Taylor (someone who’s directed six episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones) was directing this sequel got me excited. I’ve never seen the show–I’m not that kind of nerd–but people really seem to enjoy it and it seems pretty similar in tone to Thor’s mythology. Again, I was disappointed. It’s super-close, but I’m ranking this sequel above Thor because of the Guardians of the Galaxy midcredits tag, the expansion of Thor and Loki’s relationship and because this scene had me cracking up in the theater. I could watch Tom Hiddleston all day.

7. Iron Man 2 (2010)

I know, I know, after I spoke so highly of Robert Downey Jr in my last post, how could I possibly list one of his films so low? Of the three Iron Man films, this is the one I feel like watching the least. It seems there’s a need in sequels to escalate everything so I will give credit to Jon Favreau and company for making the action of the climax less end-of-the-world-threatening than other sequels (see: Thor: The Dark World). Still, the ending was essentially the same as the first Iron Man–people in metal suits fight each other and blow stuff up. Also, Sam Rockwell was wasted in this movie, but  it was a delight to see him pop up in the All Hail the King one-shot (Sorry! I’ll stop venturing from the cinematic part of the MCU).

6. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Let me say this right off the bat: I’ve never really been a fan of Captain America. I like my heroes flawed and Cap’s always seemed too good. An argument could be made that he’s essentially a junkie because he gets his powers from a series of injections, but that is a blog post for another day. Also, I agree with Tocqueville about patriotism; overly showy displays annoy me. That said, I actually do enjoy this film. The World War II setting is great because it forced the writers to deal (to an extent) with technological hindrances of the day. It’s also not a time period we normally see in these types of films and in a market that is quickly becoming saturated with comic book movies, being different is important.

But more on that later …

Which films made the top five? Click through to find out!


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Like Chocolate And Peanut Butter

When a TV show or movie is based on a book, there’s always the debate of which is better and why. Issues like if the actors look the way the characters are described, scenes that may be left out or added in, and other issues of fidelity to the story are discussed. But something I never really thought about until recently is how a TV show or movie can complement the book it’s based on and actually enhance a reader’s/viewer’s experience.

That has been my experience with the Song of Ice and Fire series and the TV show based on it, Game of Thrones. I had not planned on reading the series, mostly because it’s fantasy (I’ve never really been into reading fantasy) and they’re really, really long (I may have a problem with commitment). The TV show premiered in 2011, but I didn’t get around to watching it until January of this year. For reasons I’ve not yet analyzed, I love fantasy/sci-fi TV shows (Battlestar GalacticaBuffy the Vampire SlayerFireflyFringe, Quantum LeapTorchwood, the list goes on), but don’t normally read any fantasy/sci-fi books other than the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (I checked my Goodreads account and the only fantasy/sci-fi books I have rated other than the Dresden Files books and the Song of Ice and Fire books are To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.).

I liked the show and watched two seasons pretty quickly. Even then, I still had no real desire to read the books. But I had two friends pushing them on me. “Read them!” they said. “The books are better than the TV show!” “If you’re concerned about the length, each chapter is from a different character’s perspective so you can skip ones you don’t want to read!”  “READ THEM!” I broke down and checked out A Game of Thrones at the beginning of June, started the second book, A Clash of Kings, in mid-June, and just started the third, A Storm of Swords. I obviously enjoy them.

Game of Thrones

One doesn’t have to be better than the other.

Game of Thrones

They can complement each other.

If I absolutely had to decide which I liked better, the books or the TV show, I’d probably say the books, but I would say it with reservations since I don’t think I would have read and enjoyed the books had I not watched the TV show first. I tend to be more visual. I’ll remember your face long before I remember your name. Being able to see the characters on the TV show has helped me put faces to names while I’m reading the books. Had I not seen the TV show and for some reason, decided to read the books, I probably would have frequently used the appendices Martin puts in the backs of the books to remember who is Tywin and who is Tyrion, who is Varys and who is Viserys. I also think that listening to their voices and seeing their faces has given me an emotional foundation for reading the books. I feel more invested in the characters than I might have been with just reading the books.

I am interested in how this might work for other books made into TV series. Justified is based on a character in Elmore Leonard‘s books, Riding the Rap and Pronto, and a short story, Fire in the HoleThe Vampire Diaries is based on the series of the same name by L.J. Smith. Rizzoli and Isles is based on the Tess Gerritsen series. I enjoy all those TV shows so would having the knowledge of the TV shows enhance my enjoyment of the books? I don’t know. I may give it a try.

How about you? Have you ever had a TV show or movie enhance your enjoyment of the book it’s based on? Do you usually find yourself liking one more than the other?

-Aisha, very close to starting to panic that the sixth book isn’t out yet


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