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Top 5 Marvel Movies

BY SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE

Many memorable characters dwell at Marvel, and the efforts of writers and makers — of unquestioned eagerness but varying degrees of talent — are given cracks at bat with the company’s caped mascots, taking their stories further and moulding new thrills. Naturally, this results in a wonderful unpredictability. Strangely for a superhero blockbuster, however, the sentiments overwhelm the set pieces. Personal rivalry between good and bad guys is a major element of action comics, but the best film adaptations shoot for a broader fight, with villains hatching dastardly schemes of mass destruction or conquest (think Gene Hackman in ”Superman,” Jack Nicholson in ”Batman,” Ian McKellen in ”X-Men”) Comic book fans who’d kept their eyes peeled to the Internet for every scrap of news ever since the Marvel films were first announced, were delighted to find that the flicks lived up to their tall expectations. The truth, in fact, is that even if you’re unfamiliar with the Marvel universe and the back-story of these superheroes, you’re still likely to find yourself cheering for the sheer spectacle that’s up on screen.

Spider-Man (2002)

With this film the acrobat of superheroes debuted in a tale that’s a little sticky, as befits a story with so much web-slinging. Tobey Maguire, who proves to be a fine choice for the title role, turns Peter from a bookish schoolboy of convincing intelligence and touching sensitivity into a daring young man of the spider persona which actually doesn’t emanate from any aspect of Parker’s troubled psyche—it’s just a beguiling conceit. This movie is acted and directed so simply and with such radiant sincerity that you might forget, for a moment, you are in the middle of a special-effects-engorged extravaganza—the very first chapter of a new Hollywood franchise.

X2: X-Men United (2003)

Director Bryan Singer skilfully keeps multiple subplots spinning while moving inexorably towards a climax that puts the new milieu of mutants with deeper problems than secret identities. Expanding the roster and featuring big name actors with solid performances, X-2 features an improved blend of science fiction and political thriller. The X-Men find themselves locked in an unlikely alliance with Magneto and Mystique (their nemeses from the first film) against an evil military scientist named William Stryker, whose main goal is to eradicate the world of mutants once and for all.

Iron Man (2008)

Diretor Favreau seems to have had an idea to get an origin story out while not boring us with long drawn out backstory. Robert Downey Jr. gives a nicely sardonic performance as billionaire weapons peddler Tony Stark, and it proves just as indispensable to the movie’s giddy escapist appeal as the seamless CGI effects and eye-popping pyrotechnics. The movie is so clever and smoothly paced that it’s easy to overlook the odious story line. The script crackles with smart humour that doesn’t go overload.

The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers is the culmination of what began in Iron Man and continued through The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America; and it earned a 92% from Rotten Tomatoes while bringing in $1.5 billion dollars at the box office. True comic aficionado and writer/director Joss Whedon assumes that the audience’s familiarity with the characters from their respective solo films will do most of the heavy lifting and this delicious ode to the Marvel universe boasts clarity, conviction and characters who live and breathe till the end. This hulking 142 minute feature is a stimulating affair with a freehold on the brash and the flash and every element comes together in harmony to create something to be savored.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

There’s no other way to say it: Civil War is phenomenal. Marvel continues the trend of upping the stakes by pinning our favorite heroes against each other. The sequences are a stunner, choreographed with wit and verve and featuring the notable introduction of super-powers we had not witnessed before. The ensuing plot hopscotches the setting with gusto. The heroes duel among themselves now and again, notably in a bravura chase scene giving an incredible example of deft cinema and showing character through action—but in the end this is a movie about friendships and conflict, and what can happen when the latter overwhelms the former.

Marvel superheroes find themselves being held accountable for the massive loss of innocent lives in the wake of their battles with power-hungry villains. Crucially – and here’s where Marvel takes an upper hand over its DC rivals – there’s real maturity in these stories of friendship, loyalty, guilt and revenge. The lead actors, by now are virtually inseparable from their character, as they continue to invest their talent with old-fashioned sincerity and decency, emerging the conscience of these films.

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