Wicked 10: the Worst MCU Movies

Wicked 10: the Worst MCU Movies

BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME

IG@matt.tuck.writer

FB@The Comic Blog

All the glitters is not gold, and that is especially true for superhero cinema. It’s time we debated the worst MCU movies in this week’s Wicked 10.

The Marvel fandom is divided on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. While it is on pace to make a billion dollars at the box office, the critical and audience reception has been a different story. Generally, most viewers enjoyed seeing Scarlet Witch mop the floor with Doctor Strange, Wong, and the entire Illuminati, but even the most diehard MCU fans can’t ignore the numerous plot holes and missed opportunities. While MOM isn’t the best movie Marvel Studios has to offer, it certainly won’t make the top-five on many fan lists.

So where does the latest MCU popcorn fest rank among the Marvel mayhem? There’s certainly a lot worse. On that note, let’s debate the 10 worst Marvel movies. This time, number one is not the position you want to be in.

10. AVENGERS: ENDGAME

Yes, Endgame is neck-and-neck with Avatar as the two highest-grossing movies of all time. Yes, there are legions of Marvel fans who rank Endgame as the best movie in all the MCU. Neither of those factors make this a legitimately great movie.

Get out your torches and pitchforks because there are some hard truths about Endgame. Pushing past the glitz, glamor, and pure spectacle of Endgame, this was a movie filled to the brim with plot holes and pandering. What made this pill more difficult to swallow was that it followed on the heels of arguably Marvel’s single best movie, Infinity War

Endgame had the potential to be the MCU’s opus, but as Marvel Studios tends to do, the powers that be opted for silliness over drama. Remove the entire time caper sequences, and this is a solid movie. Sure, we all laughed at Bro Thor, but his story could have had much more impact. Instead, the film opted to make light of his depression and lack of coping skills. Professor Hulk was a travesty in all aspects, whether it was not seeing Bruce and Hulk make peace on screen or the fact that the Green Goliath is an absolute pushover. Then there’s Thanos, the dynamic, well-rounded protagonist of Infinity War reduced to generic villain in Endgame. For that matter, Black Widow’s sacrificial death scene (which didn’t make sense being that IW established you have to give up that which you love, so Hawkeye didn’t actually relinquish something he loved for the Soul Stone) was played for laughs with the silly one-upmanship to see who would be the first to commit suicide. It wasn’t half as impactful or unexpected as Gamora’s death in the previous film.

Aside from fans of absurd escapist cinema, what gets this movie ranked so high on many fan lists is the final act. Endgame has the most emotional moments in all of the MCU’s vast movies and series. Whether it is Captain America wielding Mjolnir, when the cavalry arrives to battle Thanos, Cap leading the charge to the tune of, “Avengers, assemble!,” or Iron Man’s death, these scenes will give you chills no matter how many times you have rewatched it. Even better, watch the crowd reactions on YouTube. It’s amazing. Take away the final act of this story, and what do you have left? An irreverent comedy that tries to turn the Avengers into a time-traveling episode of The Office.

9. IRON MAN 2

Overall, I don’t hate Iron Man 2, but it speaks volumes when the best part of the movie is the post-credits scene. In this case, it was the first sighting of Mjolnir to set the stage for Thor’s MCU introduction. Up to that point, the only Marvel Thor we had seen in live action was the God of Thunder’s portrayal in the NBC television movie, The Incredible Hulk Returns, from 1988. Needless to say, we Marvel fans were stoked to see a more comics-accurate Thor on the silver screen.

The story of Tony Stark’s substance abuse issues has always been a nice touch of reality into the world of superheroes. Bob Layton’s work from the “Demon in a Bottle” storyline gave Stark much-needed flaws, something that superheroes tended to lack. Iron Man 2 touched on the concept but shied away from truly embracing Tony’s flaws. Mickey Rourke, fresh off his Oscar win for The Wrestler, was stereotypically Russian, and fans hated the unnecessary man bun and cockatoo. It didn’t help that he somehow survived being repeatedly rammed with a car into a concrete barricade with no serious injuries. Sam Rockwell was entertaining, but the over-the-top performance made the character look like a bumbling idiot rather than an engineering expert.

8. ETERNALS

The first time I watched Eternals, I was caught up in the theatrical experience. The big screen, the special effects, and all the fact that this was not a full-fledged comedy distracted me from this movie’s nonsensical plot. 

Upon a second viewing, the problems showed their ugly heads. From the movie’s opening scene, it was clear Eternals tossed logic out the window. Despite being essentially alien androids in the distant past, the Eternals spoke English. I understand that may have been necessary to keep from losing the audience, but they spoke in modern, trendy dialects. That made absolutely zero sense, and it didn’t get much better. When Ikaris flew into the sun, I wanted to go with him.

7. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

For a movie produced by Marvel, Homecoming understood surprisingly little about the titular character. The filmmakers ignored what made Spider-Man a beloved character. Rather than having a self-made hero carrying an enormous amount of character-defining guilt, Peter Parker became the Robin to Tony Stark’s Batman without one mention of Uncle Ben. Peter was given a high-tech suit and thrown into a teen comedy plot with acting from the school of Hannah Montana. He even gets an annoying sidekick to boot, not to mention Happy Hogan’s superfluous Avengers namedrops as if the filmmakers didn’t want the audience to forget for five seconds that, indeed, Spidey was part of the MCU. The worst part is that in the eight minutes of screentime in Civil War, the Russo brothers proved more adept at handling the character.

6. DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS

With two MOM articles under my belt in the past week, I won’t spend too much time bashing Marvel’s latest popcorn fest. Suffice to say, this is a movie that asks audiences to turn off their brains and simply enjoy the theme park experience. 

Like 2016’s Doctor Strange before it, much of the trippy atmosphere was reminiscent of the psychedelic artwork from the Silver Age Strange Tales comics. Scrape away the glitter and flashing lights, and there’s very little substance, which is where this movie fell flat.

I have to wonder if director Sam Raimi went into this project with the mindset that MCU fans care less about character development and plot than they do big CGI action sequences, sitcom moments, and teases for what’s next on the Marvel agenda. If so, then Raimi succeeded in making what is more or less a two-hour-long movie trailer for the upcoming adventures of America Chavez and Clea. 

5. CAPTAIN MARVEL

Marvel Studios can be accused of making mostly live-action cartoons aimed at young children. Much like their Spider-Man films, Captain Marvel was very much a kids’ action movie. The dialogue was clunky and riddled with cliches. The 1990s nostalgia was overdone and felt inauthentic for those of us who lived through the decade. There’s only so many references to grunge music, flannel, and Blockbuster Video that one movie can handle. Besides that, it was boring and corny.

The biggest sin Captain Marvel committed was turning Nick Fury into a joke. Captain America: the Winter Soldier implied that Fury lost his eye in a mission gone wrong, hence his line about not trusting anyone. It was logical for his character, and it made audiences hopeful of seeing that play out in a movie or streaming series. Then Captain Marvel threw away any mystery and intrigue surrounding Fury for a cheap gag. It retroactively ruins his line from Winter Soldier because now we know that he lost his eye to an alien cat scratch. 

4. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

Contrary to what today’s list might suggest, I don’t hate action-comedies. When they’re done well, I am a fan. Guardians of the Galaxy is one of my favorite Marvel movies, and I enjoyed Ant-Man and Ragnarok as well. Although Ant-Man was inane and silly, it was legitimately funny. Ant-Man and the Wasp, however, was not. 

Like so many other Marvel movies post-Avengers, AMATW attempted to make superheroes and supervillains closer to a work-related sitcom. There was little character development, and the heavy use of bad ‘60s spy tropes, like the convenient use of “truth serum” to make the bad guys confess all their crimes to the authorities, was nauseating. 

One of the worst offenses was the misuse of two acting heavyweights, Laurence Fishburne and Michelle Pfeiffer. These are two vastly talented performers with forgettable roles in a forgettable movie. Take away the quality special effects, which were basically average for a Disney production, and AMATW could have passed for an episode of Inspector Gadget. Sadly, that may have been what Marvel was aiming for here.

3. SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

And here I was thinking that Homecoming misunderstood Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Far From Home upped the ante on gutting a character’s origin and inserting bad Disney Channel tween sitcom dramadey in its place. Like Endgame before it, FFH turned the heavy stakes and drama of Infinity War into bit comedy. Granted, the filmmakers made good points about the “blip,” such as how those snapped out of existence didn’t age upon returning and where would they reappear. While it was funny to see the band members show up in the middle of a basketball game, it made light of the horrors of what would happen to the people who vanished in, say, an airplane or helicopter upon their re-emergence.

Then there was the field trip, which would give away Peter’s secret identity to any rational person on that bus. Taking Spider-Man on a field trip to Europe didn’t fit the character’s homegrown roots. Having him use his Spidey powers while on the trip made less sense. It wouldn’t be hard to connect the dots and see that where Peter Parker goes, be it in New York City, Washington, D.C., Germany, Italy, or England, we find Spider-Man. By this point, everyone on the field trip should be clued into Spidey’s true identity well before J. Jonah Jameson makes the big reveal. Actually, there’s a massive Multiversal plot hole for you. If the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies exist in a separate dimension, how is Jameson the same guy when everyone else is different? 

It is clear that FFH was based more on Disney’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon than the character’s decades-long comic history. Swapping Peter’s mentor from Tony Stark to Nick Fury and having Spider-Man function as an impromptu SHIELD agent alongside Mysterio had all the appeal of an episode of USM. If I had been watching this on Disney XD, it wouldn’t have made it any better, but it would have been more palatable.

2. THOR: THE DARK WORLD

Was it the Asgardian laser spears? Was it the rubbery costumes? Could it have been a disjointed plot (and overabundance of Chris Hemsworth’s guy-liner) that merely served to establish Loki as an anti-hero? 

Honestly, it was a combination of all the above plus seriously annoying sidekicks. By the end of this movie, I never wanted to see Kat Dennings’ character ever again. The entire plot was corny, and Freyja’s death scene lost any emotional impact. While the CGI was basically average for any other Marvel movie, the Dark Elves’ costumes and makeup looked cheap. Kurse came off as a guy in a foam suit, not an all-powerful monster on par with Thor. For a Dragoncon cosplay, this would be A+ work, but it doesn’t cut it for a blockbuster movie with a $170 million budget. 

1. IRON MAN 3

There are times when Marvel can pull off the campy-yet-funny schtick. They can be overly self-aware, poking fun at every superhero trope that has ever existed with a wink and nod. This was not that kind of movie. It was simply bad, and nothing Marvel has done since has been able to challenge Iron Man 3’s right to that porcelain throne.

Similar to Thor: the Dark World, Iron Man 3’s special effects were subpar for a movie on such a gargantuan budget. It also had its annoying sidekick and generic, unrelatable megalomaniac of a villain. The superb Ben Kingsley’s talents were completely wasted for a gag, and Tony Stark went full MacGyver thanks to the motivation from his kid companion, Harley Keener. I get that writer/director Shane Black, the same guy that brought us the simply painful The Predator, wanted Tony to be a hero without the Iron Man armor. Unfortunately, this was a movie that missed all its marks in grand fashion.

Probably the most egregious error was giving Pepper Potts superpowers, a move so ill placed that Marvel has ignored it entirely.


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