A world without Marvel is no world at all. With the direction of Stan Lee, MCU has brought the world together through its inclusion of diversity and the ability to insert racial issues. In hindsight, MCU is the reason why comics and science became cool.
Image Via Den of Geek
It’s hard to envision pop culture without the impact of Stan Lee. So much so, that in 2017 parents thought it best to name their newborns after their favorite MCU characters. Some of the most common names are Loki, Pepper, Natasha, Wade, and Parker, which ranks at the top with 1,487 females and 4,386 males. This is no surprise as our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has been attributed to the beginning of the success of Marvel.
Stan Lee and his team went further than inspiring kids with the creation of comics like the Fantastic Four and the iconic X-Men. The Fantastic Four and X-Men heroes, like Professor X, Logan, Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Storm, were the outsiders that allowed fans to compare themselves to characters that resembled their own differences. This didn’t stop here. Black Panther, with the most successful release, provided more representation for black audiences. We hailed Wakanda for months on end, taking on the pride of the Panther Tribe with costumes and more.
And let’s not forget, every hero has a villain.
Image Via Amino Apps
Among these villains are Ultron, the robot created by Dr. Pym in the original Ant-Man; Loki, son of Laufey the king of the Frost Giants; Red Skull, confidant to Adolf Hitler and leader of HYDRA; Ronan, the radical Kree warlord who formed an alliance with Thanos in order to eradicate Xandarians; Thanos, the most evil, bloodthirsty villain who attempted to conquer the universe with the Infinity Gauntlet and many more. These villains, although vicious, are the greatest villains of all time. MCU has made it so that we not only root for the superheroes, but we also give praises to the villains.
Even though Marvel films have a variety of characters within different periods of time, they all share an overarching storyline, making Marvel one of the best universes. As Screen Rant’s article puts it, “if audiences had to pick between listening to a lecture on the nuances of particle physics and watching the Hulk smash through Manhattan, they’d probably pick the latter.”
Image Via slashfilm.com
Speaking of audiences, if you ever go to a Marvel movie and you try to walk out at the end, best believe you will get the glaring eyes. There is always a glimpse into what will be coming next, leaving the audiences itching for more.
MCU aims to not only entertain the audience but also encourages audience members to reflect on the issues that plague modern society. Many of the issues represented within each comic include “delicate topics like sex, race, drug use, violence, and authority.”
Although Stan Lee won’t show up in the movies anymore, the MCU continues on its legacy by keeping the audiences glued to their seats willing and ready for whatever comes their way.
In the past decade, we’ve seen a meteoric rise in popularity of comic book movies. Especially thanks to the success of films like The Dark Knight Trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan and that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Since it’s December and there’s no announcement of any other films of the genre being produced before the year’s end, let’s take some time and rank the top ten comic book movies of the past decade starting from 2010 all the way to 2019.
10. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Dark Knight Rises is the final movie of the critically acclaimed Christopher Nolan directed Dark KnightTrilogy about DC’s caped crusader, Batman. This movie has Batman (played by Christian Bale) face off against one of his most famous villains, Bane (played by Tom Hardy.) The movie borrows inspiration from three different Batman story-lines, Batman: Knightfall, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and Batman: No Man’s Land. In this film Batman deals with the consequences caused by his nemesis, Joker (played posthumously by Heath Ledger.) Eight years have passed since then, and organized crime is a thing of the past because of the Dent Act giving the police more power. However, this peace is disrupted by the sudden appearance of Bane who plans to destroy Gotham and the rest of the world.
9. Wonder Woman (2017)
Although not the first ever female-led comic book movie, Wonder Woman was the movie and hero that we needed in this era dominated by blockbusters and comic book movies. The movie is an origin story of one of DC’s most famous characters and arguably the most famous female superhero, Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot). The movie’s plot discusses her origins in Themyscira, the island of the Amazons, and her eventual departure from the island to try and protect the world during World War 1 from the threat of Ares the God of War. The movie was a critical and box office success that succeeded in proving that female-led superhero movies can be a success, potentially opening doors for more female directors and female-led blockbusters in the future. Despite brilliant performances and amazing sequences, the film’s final act holds it back. The film rushes to the finish and eventually devolves into a stereotypical fight against a giant CG Monster that is too dark to see well on screen. However, Wonder Woman’s final speech about fighting for love rather than hate is an empowering speech that anyone should take a chance to listen to.
8. Black Panther (2018)
In the past decade, there are few films that reached the magnitude of Black Panther. The movie was a cultural phenomenon that can only be found once every couple of years. Coincidentally, we got two films like this in back-to-back years, with Wonder Woman in 2017 and Black Panther in 2018. A nearly all black blockbuster/ comic book movie was exactly what was needed at the time, even if it wasn’t the first of its kind. Rolling off the success of the introduction of the character in Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) returns in his first standalone film as the King of Wakanda where he faces the struggles of becoming a King before he believes that he’s ready. To make matter worse, T’Challa also faces the addition of a new external threat in the form of Killmonger (played by Michael B Jordan) that threatens to start an worldwide uprising due to his troubled past. The massive success of this film led to more doors being opened to more black superheroes and blockbuster movie leads as well as making Michael B Jordan and Chadwick Boseman superstars in Hollywood.
7. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: Civil War is the followup to the critically acclaimed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where members of the Avengers find themselves at odds with one another and with governments around the world because of their involvement and culpability in recent large scale threats. In this film, we are given an on-screen adaptation of the famous story-line of Marvel’s Civil War comic book. The movie’s crossover story-line has many of the characters and their story-lines interacting with people taking either the side of Captain America, who chooses to resist governments’ intervening with the heroes, or the side of Iron Man, who chooses to stand with those governments. The film follows a similar plot line; however, the inciting issue seems to be the the Sokovia Accords, a document that is signed by many countries of the UN demanding that the Avengers have all their actions be monitored and dictated by the UN.
6. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
We finally reached the Endgame. All roads that we took led us to this movie. The third film MCU film that was directed by the Russo Brothers, solidified them as A-List Directors that could possibly do no wrong. After the smash hit of Infinity War and the big box office but weak critical response of Captain Marvel, we are given the final film in what is now called the Infinity Stone Saga. In Avengers: Endgame, The Avengers face off once again against the Big Bad of the Universe, Thanos. The film is huge, it’s loud, exciting, emotional, tense, and beautiful. It was a jaw-dropping spectacle that could only be fully felt after enjoying the journey that were the 22 films that preceded it. Disney and Marvel outdid themselves in this film by doing the impossible: making this dream of a large-scale universe of separate stories that eventually intersect a reality.
5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Now, I know that I just took time to drool over Endgame. However, I feel like the story of the Endgame is only as good as it is because the climax of the story was so groundbreaking and breathtaking. ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ fully introduced us to Thanos, the big bad that was hyped up for viewers of these movies since the first Avengers film. Endgame couldn’t be as powerful if it wasn’t for this film. In this film, the Avengers face their biggest threat, The Mad Tyrant Thanos whose goal is to collect all the Infinity Stones to help finally enact a plan. It also takes a step back and makes the main character of the film not the Avengers, but the villain Thanos. We follow him for most of the movie and learn what drives him to achieve his goal of acquiring all the stones. Portraying Thanos less as a Monster that just seeks destruction and more as a person that wants to help the Universe. A man with a noble cause however feels the ends justifies the means.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favorite film in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. This movie, while not as big as some of the other films on this list, was still financially successful and critically acclaimed. It was also the first film the Russo Brothers directed for the MCU. Winter Soldier takes the typical comic-book movie and spins it on its head, making it a political spy thriller. The film follows Captain America (played by Chris Evans) two years after being thawed out after being frozen for seventy years and helping stop Loki from taking over the world with the Tesseract, with him still trying to get acclimated to life in the 21st century. But things turn weird when someone attacks Nick Fury, nearly killing him. This new threat arrives: The Winter Soldier. The film is a fun and smart way to place the traditional Captain America character in a modern world. I recommend that everyone who loves comic book movies see it, because it’s shrouded in mystery, action and social commentary that’s timeless.
3. Joker (2019)
Joker is a creepy, tense and breathtaking movie that drives inspiration from films like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. The movie is directed by Todd Phillips, who is known primarily for directing comedies such as the Hangover Trilogy. The film is an origin story for the most iconic comic book villain The Joker (played by Joaquin Phoenix) that takes us through the life of Arthur Fleck, a socially inept man that suffers with some psychological issues, that dreams of one day becoming a famous comedian in hopes to put a smile on everyone’s face. However, he lives in Gotham, a rough and tough city that resembles New York City in the 1980’s. The film is a combination of masterful acting from Phoenix, proving that he is clearly one of the best actors working today, and Todd Phillips who proves himself to be a multi-talented director in his own right. It’s a smart, dark and gritty film that is unafraid to take risks and play with expectations. I’d highly recommend it.
2. Logan (2017)
Logan is another one of those comic book movies that transcend the genre for its plot. It’s one of those films that say, ‘This is what a comic book story can be.’ Logan discusses topics that aren’t usually discussed in comic books, especially since comics are usually a medium only for children. But this film tackles topics like, old age, death, loss, mental issues, depression and stagnation. The film is shot and feels like an old western film even down to the Johnny Cash song, ‘Hurt’ as the main theme for the trailer. The movie is heavily inspired by the comic-book story-line of ‘Old Man Logan’ which is an alternate story-line that is about a world where all the heroes that we know aren’t exactly how they used to be. At the center of the story is Old Man Logan aka Wolverine. I should preface that this movie isn’t as powerful without seeing the previous X-Men and Wolverine movies that preceded it. However, I will argue that this movie still stands up on its own because of the timelessness of the story. This film was marketed as the last film that we will see Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and Sir Patrick Stewart (Professor Charles Xavier) portraying their characters in the Fox X-Men Franchise. So when I saw it in theaters when I finished I couldn’t help but cry…. I mean sob, because it’s the end of an era because these actors have portrayed these roles for nearly 20 years.
1. Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse (2018)
Alright, let’s do this one last time. Let me end this list off with Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse, an animated comic-book movie that’s the first ever appearance of Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), one of the newest additions to the Spidey Family. This film is the origin story of Miles Morales, a half Puerto Rican and half African American teen who becomes Spider-man in an alternate time-line to the one with Peter Parker that most people know. He’s bitten by a radioactive Spider and is just as riddled with insecurities, struggles and a knack for quips Parker is. Into the Spider-verse also introduces other members of the Spider family, such as Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, and Peni Parker: all alternate timeline Spider-Man incarnations. This film surprised everyone who saw it, because who would have thought that the best comic-book movie to come out since 2010, would be an animated film that featured a talking pig. I know that when the movie was announced and people saw the trailer, many thought it would be a good movie, but no one expected it to be as amazing as it was. It tackles topics such as taking risks, family life, and resiliency. Even discussing the idea that anyone can be great, that anyone can be spider-man. That reinforces the idea that greatness is something achievable as long as we work for it and aren’t afraid to take a leap of faith.
Along with the changing of the leaves come the dark, chilly nights of Autumn- the perfect setting for everyone’s favorite holiday, Halloween. Face your fears with this month’s terrifying Hulu and Netflix adaptations!
We’ve put every new release into categories and included the Netflix and Hulu release dates to boot! Click on the titles or where it says “book” or “novel” to either the watch film/show trailer or to purchase the original book!
With Endgame over, Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic universe has reached its conclusion. It’s safe to say we’re in a transition period in which characters like Tony Stark, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye are on their way out, with newer characters like Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel taking their place as the main heroes of the sprawling superhero universe. But what about even more characters? With Marvel having a vast library of superheroes, its inventible we’re going to be getting a lot of new faces with Phase 4 and beyond. But who could they be? Let’s have a look at some of the superheroes from the comics who haven’t been adapted yet and see who might be candidates for showing up!
Image via Marvel
Guardians of the Galaxy introduced the Nova Corps, so it stands to reason their most famous member of the comics has a good shot at showing up in the future. Richard Rider, better known as Nova, was given the helmet of the intergalactic space police by a dying Corps member. Although he didn’t have any idea how to use his equipment at first, he eventually discovered the helmet gave him a connection to a special energy field called the Nova Force, which allowed him to access abilities such as flight, super strength, and energy manipulation. With the MCU continuing to expand into cosmic territory, it’d be awesome to see this galactic defender get his due. Perhaps there could even be a crossover with Captain Marvel or the Guardians!
Image via Wikipedia
5. Moon knight
Moon Knight is essentially a Batman-like vigilante but with one difference: he’s pretty messed up in the head. Suffering from dissociative identity disorder, Moon Knight has developed multiple personalities, being born as Marc Spector but also becomes Steven Grant, a millionaire, and Jake Lockley, a taxicab driver. Prowling the streets after dark, Moon Knight uses gadgets and his own combat training to take down the criminal underworld, making him a fascinating anti-hero who’s always teetering the line on becoming a villain.
Image via Comicbooknews
4. Beta Ray Bill
Beta Ray Bill is one of the wilder heroes of the wider Marvel Universe. A noble warrior alien, Beta Ray Bill is distinctive for being so pure hearted and good that he could wield Thor’s hammer, much like Captain America. It was he who was granted Stormbreaker in the comics and his costume partially inspired Thor’s look in Infinity War and Endgame. A rival and friend to Thor, Beta Ray Bill might even be a worthy successor to the God of Thunder in the films, taking Stormbreaker from Thor if the God of Thunder truly hangs up his hammer.
Image via Collider
3. Devil Dinosaur
This guy is a bit of an obscure one, but so were the Guardians and Dr. Strange before they got big. Hailing from a parallel world overtaken by dinosaurs and cave people, Devil Dinosaur aids his friend Moon Boy on the dinosaur infested planet, fighting off dinosaurs and other monsters as they journey across the hostile world. In the modern day, Devil Dinosaur found his way to Earth, where he teamed up with a young girl called Moon Girl. Devil Dinosaur is a bit high-concept, but who wouldn’t want a Dino buddy as their companion?
Image via Collinder
A 15 year old engineering student, Ironheart began life as Riri Williams, who stole Iron Man tech and forged her own suit of armor. Beginning a career as an underground superhero, Ironheart established herself as a member of her community, helping out the little guy before becoming integrated with the superhero community at large. With more callings for diverse superheroes, it’d be fantastic to see an intelligent, talented young black woman become an Avenger.
Image Via Collider
1. Ms. Marvel
A very popular candidate to appear in the films, Kamala Kahn is a young Muslin woman who inherits abilities thanks to Captain Marvel and grows into a superhero. Kamala Kahn has been acclaimed for portraying a young woman with diverse interests, with a colorful personality who instantly feels relatable to a young audience. She’s the hero who feels especially relevant now and one that would be great to see in the world.
Superheroes are often underrepresented in literature. To be sure, they dominate the landscape of comics, television, and movies these days, but actual books about superheroes are pretty scarce. Nevertheless, they do exist and there are some real gems among the throngs. You just have to dig deep. But to celebrate the release of Avengers: Endgame, here are some recommendations for the best superhero novels to add to your collection, super-fans!
Image Via Amazon
5. Soon I will be invincible by Austin Grossman
Soon I Will Be Invincibleis a loving commentary upon superhero tropes that also embraces the concepts that make them so endearing to audiences. It tells the story of two characters, a rookie superhero named Fatale and a villainous mad scientist called Doctor Impossible. Both are quite compelling points of view, each chronicling their attempts to become a superhero and rule the world respectively. Eventually, their paths cross, and the novel deconstructs the cliches around superheroes while still making them compelling for an audience. It’s very well-written and highly recommended for any comic book lovers.
Image Via Amazon
4. Princess Paragon by Robert Rodi
A hilarious satirization of superhero comics, Princess Paragon tells the story of a renowned comics cartoonist Brian Parrish who has fallen on hard times. Bang Comics hires him to redesign one of their iconic superheroes, Princess Paragon, an innocent super-heroine who is considered outdated and needs a grittier makeover. Brian’s solution is to make her lesbian and embrace her sexuality, bringing him into conflict with Princess Paragon superfan Jerome, who tries everything he can to stop Brian. The result is a deranged sendup of superhero stories, providing a great look at the minds of comics fandom and behind the scenes work on comics in general.
Image via Amazon
3. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Renedagesby Marissa Meyer tells the story of a syndicate of humans with extraordinary abilities. Champions of justice, they overthrew a corrupt society and built a better one, making a utopia. The Renegades are beloved by all, except, of course, for the villains they ousted. Now, Nova, a former villain, wants to defeat the renegades and return to power. But then, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who falls in love with her. Now, Nova’s loyalties to the villains are tested as she finds herself caught between two worlds. An alternate history from the villain’s POV, this is a great superhero novel that is heavy on grey morality and showcasing a world where the good guys win… and not everyone is happy.
Image via Amazon
2. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Wonder Woman: Warbringer is part of the DC Icons series, a collection of novels about their most iconic characters. By far, the best yet is this novel Wonder Woman: Warbringer, which delves into the origin of Diana Prince before she becomes a superhero. Diana wants to prove herself to her warrior sisters on her hidden island. But when she finds a mortal woman washed up on her isle, a direct descendent of Helen of Troy, she’ll risk everything to defend her new friend. This novel is great both as an origin story, having fun action against monsters and mythic creatures while also forging a powerful friendship between Diana and the woman she saved, Alia Keralis.
Image via Amazon
1. Wild cards edited by George R.R. Martin
Wild Cards is an anthology series of books, centering on different superheroes throughout different ages of history, all written by various authors, including George R.R. Martin himself! An alien virus struck the earth in World War II, giving various members of society superhuman abilities. Some became heroes, some became villains, and the world turns into an alternate history from there, chronicling the so called ‘Wild Cards’ throughout the long history of Earth. From the backdrop of World War II to the Cold War to Vietnam to the modern age, the Wild Cards have a role to play in everything. Some of the best characters of the series include: Fortunato, a man whose abilities are powered by sexual pleasure; the Turtle, a telekinetic who builds a huge armored shell to fight inside; and Jetboy, a legendary hero from World War II who sacrificed himself to save the world. Full of complex, weird, and tragic figures, Wild Cards is the ultimate superhero series.