10 Old Marvel Movies As Good As The MCU

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Regardless of what detractors may say, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has pretty much perfected the superhero movie formula. Even the weakest entries in the MCU understood the genre better than their competitors.

RELATED: 10 Comic Book Movies That Failed At The Box Office (And How Badly)

Without the foundations laid by the Marvel movies of decades past, the MCU wouldn’t be what it is today. While not all of these films have aged perfectly, they still live up to (if not surpass) what the MCU has to offer.

ten Punisher: War Zone was Frank Castle at its pulpiest


The Punisher is arguably the easiest Marvel Comics character to adapt. Without the Marvel label, Frank Castle’s movies would be indistinguishable from the urban vigilantes that have dominated the action genre since the ’70s. Rather than denying that parallel and trying to be more than a massacre of vigilantes, Punisher: Warzone kissed him.

war zone is notably the most violent of the three Punisher movies. Unlike its predecessors, war zone did not hold back in terms of blood and brutality. Although it lacks the intelligence, nuance and tragedy of the Netflix show, war zone is the most gloriously fun and entertaining of them all.

9 Howard The Duck Isn’t As Bad As His Reputation Implies


Howard and Bev hang out in Howard The Duck

Since 1986, howard the duck has been consistently listed as one of the worst comic book movies of all time. Reasons for this include supposedly cringe-worthy comedy, weird effects, and an unapologetically campy tone. These do howard the duck seems unassailable even if the opposite is true. At worst, howard the duck was an acquired taste.

Hindsight has been nice, as Howard slowly found his audience (both ironic and genuine) in the decades that followed howard the duckthe initial failure. While not as irreverent as the comics it was based on, howard the duck is a weird but enjoyable comedy that the MCU doesn’t feel like doing right now.


8 Director’s Cut of Daredevil Gave Him the Recognition He Deserved


The Man Without Fear in Daredevil 2003

When first released in 2003, daredevil was panned by critics and fans due to its rushed pacing, unresolved storylines, and toothless courage. These criticisms were addressed by the director’s cut released on DVD, which was considered much better. The director’s edit was even considered one of the best superhero movies of its time.

In addition to its acclaimed director’s cut, daredevil was bolstered by its strong cast, unique visuals, fun action, and complete adherence to comic book artifice. As good as Netflix’s unfairly canceled daredevil series was, it still traded comic book creativity and imagination for gritty realism. Fortunately, the extension daredevil the film has it in spades.


seven X-Men started the gritty, realistic trend, for better and for worse


Professor X opens Cerebro in X Men

Precede Spider Man two years old, x-men helped usher in the still-ongoing superhero craze of the new millennium. Spider Man (2002) proudly embraced the eccentricities of its source material, but x-men went in the opposite direction. Instead of fantasy adventures, mutants secretly fought for their future in a contemporary setting.

RELATED: X-Men: 10 Things Fans Should Know About Cyclops & Marvel Girl’s Relationship

As the dark and gritty trend overstayed its welcome, x-men was one of the first superhero movies to legitimize the aesthetic. Despite the external scandals linked to its controversial director, x-men stands the test of time with its incredible ensemble cast, gritty action, and commentary on issues like identity and race.


6 X2: X-Men United was a great team-up movie of heroes and villains


Mutants unite in X2 X Men United

Few superhero movies feature the heroes fighting alongside their villains against a more powerful threat, which is a criminally underused plot beat. X2: X-Men United is one of the few to have told this story. X2 has done its sequel and team-up movie job so well that it was only recently overtaken by Captain America: Civil War.

Based on the critically acclaimed event God loves, man kills, X2 brought back the original cast and added more mutants. Despite its larger distribution, X2 balanced everyone’s screen times, exposed on established characters, and introduced newcomers. X2 was more action-packed and compelling than its predecessor.


5 Perfectly Balanced Wolverine’s Character Drama and Superhero Adventures


Logan releases his claws in the Wolverine

Following X-Men success, it made sense to expand the franchise and feature its most popular character, Wolverine. While Logan is considered Hugh Jackman’s finest hour as the enraged Wolverine, The glutton tends to go unnoticed. It’s a shame because The glutton gets a lot of stuff.

In many ways, The glutton is the perfect compromise between so-bad-it’s-good X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the tragedy Logan. The glutton wasn’t afraid to use comic book eccentricities like mutants and ninjas in the service of serious character study about a downcast immortal man in search of his humanity.


4 Spider-Man 2 sets the gold standard for superhero sequels


Logan releases his claws in the Wolverine

In the early 2000s, the only thing rarer than a superhero movie sequel was a good one. Spiderman 2 defied expectations by exceeding Spider Man and be heralded as one of the best superhero movies ever made. What else, Spiderman 2 showed how the superhero’s lowest point could make for a great story.

Spiderman 2 followed the downfall of Spider-Man and Peter Parker. The high demands of a superhero lifestyle made Peter’s already crumbling personal life worse. Watching Peter work through his issues as himself and as Spider-Man remains one of the best comebacks in the superhero genre. Spiderman 2 can still impress and inspire audiences today.




3 Deadpool Was The R-Rated Breath Of Fresh Air The Genre Needed


Wade feigns surprise at Deadpool

While not the first R-Rated comic book/superhero movie, dead Pool was the first since Blade to connect with a general public. dead Pool was unabashedly vulgar, but Wade Wilson finally got the cinematic representation he deserved. dead Pool was refreshing to avoid the superhero clichés of the era.

RELATED: 10 Of The Most Disgusting Superpowers In Comics

dead Pool came out at the height of shared superhero universes. Dead Pool’The lack of a bigger franchise image and family-friendly restrictions made it stand out for all the right reasons. dead Pool bills itself as a steamy action-comedy. dead Pool gave Ryan Reynolds his role as a career builder.


2 Spider-Man Perfected the Modern Superhero’s Origin Movie


Green Goblin makes his threats in Spider Man

Spider Man solidified the superhero film’s place in mainstream entertainment. Spider Man’s influence can still be seen and felt in the modern MCU. Spider Man told Peter Parker’s classic origin story so perfectly that it’s constantly copied and imitated by new superhero movies. Most of them are still insufficient and lack the magic of the ancestor.

Spider Man sticks to familiar themes, like the clash between good and evil and the responsibility of power, but tells it beautifully. Sam Raimi’s unique filmmaking and visual style completes the first part of his iconic trilogy in every way imaginable.


1 Blade was ahead of its time in countless ways


Blade unleashes his fangs in Blade

If it wasn’t for Blade of Success, the modern superhero movie wouldn’t even exist. That being said, Blade is more than a genre artifact and a relic of the 90s. Blade is an action-packed, vampire-slaying ride starring Wesley Snipes in his prime. Blade is a timeless blend of action and horror.

As a superhero movie, Blade is one of the most visually unique releases of the genre. Blade perfectly achieved the comics’ blend of sci-fi and occultism while modernizing older elements. Infinitely cool and violent, Blade is an excellent R-Rated action/horror film and an excellent comic book adaptation.

NEXT: 5 Ways Marvel’s Version Of Van Helsing Is Better (And 5 DC’s Version Is)


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