Welcome to 5 Favorites. Each week, I will put together a list of my 5 favorites (films, performances, whatever strikes my fancy) along with commentary on a given topic each week, usually in relation to a specific film releasing that week.
This week, Jared Leto takes on another comic book role as Doctor Morbius, an ailing scientists who finds the secret to eternal life as a vampire. I’m not terribly excited about the film, but I thought it would offer an opportunity to look at the Marvel universe outside of the MCU. Granted, this list will be populated mostly with X-Men movies, but what can you say about the non-Disney output except that some of it was really really bad.
Before we get to those, let’s highlighted five titles that didn’t make the final list. Three of the X-Men films made between 2000 and today have made my final list. Two titles came close, but not close enough. The original 2000 X-Men started it all and managed to convince studio execs that a Marvel team-up film could actually work. While the Blade films pre-date X-Men, Fox’s X-Men titles were a huge success and were followed by the even more successful Spider-Man trilogy from Sam Raimi, the combination helped pave the way to the MCU itself. Another of the X-Men titles came close, X-Men: First Class was the introduction to a new group of mutants, the younger versions of the ones created by Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and others. They did well setting up the new universe that would retcon the third film of the original trilogy and start a new path towards the second X-Men title on my list and a group of mediocre follow-ups.
X-Men-adjacent Deadpool also came close to the list. Ryan Reynolds acerbic, motor-mouth figure that first appeared in The Wolverine, got his own stand alone film and it was bat shit crazy and hilarious at the same time. It set the standard for modern title sequences and was incredibly fun.
After Raimi’s popular Spider-Man films reached their conclusion, Sony attempted to reboot the character with Andrew Garfield replacing Tobey Maguire and Emma Stone stepping in as one of Peter Parker’s other famous love interests. Although The Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t as popular as its Raimi forebears, Garfield and Stone were leagues better than Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.
And finally, a film that Disney made, but which isn’t considered a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Big Hero 6. Loosely based on a series of comics of the same name, some of the character names were changed and it wasn’t billed successfully as a Marvel movie. Still, it fits and is the primary reason I didn’t say “Non-Disney” Marvel movies.
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