Coinciding with the release of Marvel Studios’ upcoming eighteenth film- Black Panther and the tenth anniversary of the famed comic book movie studio: I thought it would be great opportunity to present my top five movies in the ongoing shared universe canon.
5) Captain America: The First Avenger
In retrospect, it’s easy to look back at the original Captain America movie as a necessary box that needed to be ticked. However, Joe Johnston’s 2011 picture is sincere and resplendent war epic that presents an earnest portrait of its central hero and the conflict between his societal function as an idealised image of propaganda and the genuine help he can provide to the war effort as a soldier on the frontlines. Like Superman The Movie, Wonder Woman and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy: The First Avenger reminds the audience of the inherent appeal of comic books via the heightened portraits of good and evil they depict.
4) Avengers: Age of Ultron
Joss Whedon’s follow up to his 2012 blockbuster juggernaut is a thoughtful piece of work about the nature of heroism and control. The film is also a fascinating reconceptualisation of the Frankenstein story, resulting in a compelling prism through which our creations perceive humanity as a species. Out of all my selections, Age of Ultron feels the most undervalued and deserves revaluation.
3) Iron Man 3
Shane Black, the maestro of edgy and ingenious eighties genre fare deliveries a personal threequel that focuses on Tony Stark and the demons that plague him. But in between the amusing repartee and stripped down narrative is a development that harkens back to the crassness of Drew Pierce’s short-lived British sitcom- No Heroics. More crucially, the plot twist is a significantly potent commentary on manufactured evil in the post 9/11 age.
2) Thor: Ragnarok
In the context of the comic book films that graced the silver screen in 2017, Thor: Ragnarok seems like a big budget frolic. However, Taika Waititi’s first foray into tentpole moviemaking subtly reconfigures the formula of the Marvel Studios movie into something that feels effortlessly unconstrained. Filled with the sublime comic flourishes that permeated his earlier films, Waititi’s second sequel is an off-kilter and lavish comedic sketch of a movie with a penetrating central theme of a deterministic reckoning for an ailing society that has attempted to cover up its bloody past.
1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Delivering the best film in the franchise to date: The Winter Soldier pits the black and white sensibilities of Captain America against the murky morality of the contemporary world in an utterly engrossing political thriller with monumental implications for the cinematic world the characters inhabit. Coupled with claustrophobic and tense action sequences as well as a personal storyline that forces Steve Rogers to reconcile the past and present: the ninth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a stunning piece of pop art that illustrates the enduring appeal of the genre and the ever fruitful tales it can spin.