Tag Archives: sam rockwell

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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Space is the Place

Yesterday marked the 42nd anniversary of when Neil Armstrong, (shortly followed by coolest name for an astronaut ever Buzz Aldrin– who you shouldn’t mess with), walked on the face of the moon. Take a minute and think about the glory of that statement, and then share the discontent that comes with knowing that NASA has no plans to launch another mission into space in the near future. Twelve days ago, NASA had its last manned mission to speak of, the successful launch of the aircraft Atlantis. With that in mind, I can’t help but think that my favorite space movies will never come to fruition – they imagine an existence in space that we have all but abandoned. OK, so most of these movies have to do with catastrophe and/or alien invasion, but they’re still great movies. They harbor an appreciation of space and technology that is looking rather bleak to me currently, so bear with me, dear readers. (Oh and I’m going semi-recent, because picking 2001: A Space Odyssey would effectively end this list with its sheer power – same goes for The Right Stuff.)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

I know, I know, I can hear the whiners already. It wasn’t as good as the books! What else is new? Books are generally way better, but this movie was really well done. The casting was top notch – Deschanel, Def, Freeman, and Rockwell rounded out the gang (Marvin the Martian voiced by a perfect Alan Rickman) – while staying faithful to the story and keeping the humor intact. Considering it ran on a limited budget and didn’t perform in theaters, they won’t get the opportunity to reunite for the rest of the series. A shame, it’s fun imagining a universe outside of Earth that is as idiosyncratic and bizarre as this.

Moon (2009)

Hey, Sam Rockwell again – he must have a vision for space as well, even if in this movie he’s all alone with a robot voiced by Kevin Spacey (in the role he was born to play!) Directed by David Bowie‘s son Duncan Jones, creating cinema like this will allow some room outside of that large shadow. This movie has cloning, philosophical dilemmas (existentialism and solipsism), and all the beautiful solitude of living alone on the moon.

Solaris (2002)

Soderbergh remade this Russian film with stud George Clooney and it flopped tremendously. I, for one, cannot see why. It’s beautiful, desolate, and opens an entire wormhole about space and isolation that is often unexplored. A psychological space movie, I can see why people didn’t flock to the theaters, but when it’s available now you shouldn’t continue missing the chance. Oh, and Jeremy Davies (of Lost fame) totally steals the show.

Sunshine (2007)

Before Danny Boyle got all Slumdog on us, he came out with perhaps his most experimental and vast film. It’s also one of my favorite movies. Ever. The “Icarus II” is on a mission to reignite the sun with a nuclear device big enough they mined out the entire planet to comprise it. It is humanity’s last hope, but the film is a reminder that the human condition exists  no matter where you place it. It’s striking and haunting, and you will never look up at the sun without quiet appreciation ever again.

Alien (1979)

This one is way older than the rest of the list, and yeah I said it was more recent, but try to watch this without knowing the year and guess when it came out. It looks beautiful. That this movie is only 10 years after the actual moon landing blows my mind. Also, terrifying – why can’t anyone make a movie this scary anymore?

What do you think of my choices, dear readers? Anything you disagree with? Anything I foolishly omitted? What movie reminds you of the vast awesomeness of space?

– Tony

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