If The MCU Didn't Exist, These Would Be The Best Marvel Movies

Diply 9 Oct 2018

If you can take a minute, I'm about to take you and your imagination to a pretty dark place. I want you to imagine a world in which the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn't exist. I know, pretty scary, right? Where would that leave us for our superhero movie fix? The DC Extended Universe? No, thank you.

Thankfully, there are a ton of other Marvel movies out there that aren't part of the ginormous MCU franchise, and we wanted to go over the best of them...even if in some cases "best" just means "least bad."

The Punisher (2004)

IMDb | IMDb

Oh wow. I bet you never expected to see a ranking list that showed The Punisher among the very best, huh. But as far as Punisher-based stuff goes, this 2004 version isn't the worst.

I mean, it's nowhere near as good as The Punisher Netflix series, but at least it's not that weird Dolph Lundgren movie. I'm pretty sure I'm trying to say these things as compliments.

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Venom

IMDb | IMDb

In terms of fan reaction, Venom seems to be getting the same kind of reception as most of the DC movies have. Fans think that "critics" and "people who care about good movies" just have a stick up their butt about it. It's hard to come up with a better take than @annakforever23's on Twitter when she described Venom as "Cheesy AF but I'd watch any day over Ant-Man."

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The Wolverine

IMDb | IMDb

It's possible that any movie would have seemed good following up X-Men Origins: Wolverine, so let's not give The Wolverine too much credit. But it did a decent job adapting a notable part of Logan's life, and it left us with such memorable characters and moments as...uh...okay, maybe not.

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X-Men: Apocalypse

IMDb | IMDb

Say what you will about thoughtful character pieces (we'll get to some of those later), sometimes it's just fun to watch a bunch of mutants launch superpowers at each other. And that's what X-Men: Apocalypse offers...for two and a half hours.

It's basically the Transformers of Marvel movies. It might even rank higher, if not for committing the ultimate sin — covering up Oscar Isaac's face.

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The Amazing Spider-Man

IMDb | IMDb

No one else wants to say it? I'll say it, then. Andrew Garfield is a better Peter Parker than Tom Holland.

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Oh my god, no, can you imagine if I was serious?

Anyway, it never blew anyone away, but The Amazing Spider-Man was serviceable in what it set out to do, which, at this point in the list is about as good as we can hope for. And hey, if we're being totally honest, "serviceable" describes a lot of the MCU as well.

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Blade II

IMDb | IMDb

Blade II had everything that Blade had...again! If Blade proved the commercial viability of a superhero movie, then Blade II did the same for superhero movie sequels. Then again, it also led to Blade: Trinity, which I don't think any of us need to acknowledge.

Plus, this movie gave us Ron Perlman's incredible haircut (see above), which can only be described as "'90s cyberpunk loses bet."

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Blade

IMDb | IMDb

Remember all that stuff I said about Blade in the last part? That! Except down here.

But seriously, Blade doesn't get enough credit for launching the whole idea of good(ish) superhero movies, but it also showed that you can tell this kind of story in an R-rated setting. So, what I'm saying is that Deadpool owes Blade a thank-you card.

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X-Men

IMDb | IMDb

If you thought the MCU was never-ending, then you obviously forgot about the X-Men franchise. That sucker's been going on since 2000, and with *Dark Phoenix* around the corner, who knows when it's going to end?

As much as Blade got the ball rolling, X-Men definitely picked it up and ran with it, showing just how big a superhero franchise could get.

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Spider-Man

IMDb | IMDb

The original Spider-Man is basically the movie against which all origin stories are measured. It's safe to say that nobody ever wants to see Peter Parker get bit by a spider again, and the last thing anyone needs is another Uncle Ben death. For better or for worse, Spider-Man came along and did the thing.

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Spider-Man 2

IMDb | IMDb

It's insanely rare for the sequel to be better than the original, but Spider-Man 2 pulled it off. The story was more personal, the fights were bigger, and the mask scene on the bus was one of the most touching moments in a superhero movie.

Plus, it turned into the best superhero video game ever, at least until that new Spider-Man for PS4 one came out this year.

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X2: X-Men United

IMDb | IMDb

Remember that thing I said about sequels improving on the originals being rare? Well, apparently Marvel movies are the exception to that rule because X2 was legitimately pretty great.

The story was better, the powers were more exciting, and the new characters like Nightcrawler were cinematic AF.

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X-Men: First Class

IMDb | IMDb

While admittedly a bit of a nightmare timeline-wise, X-Men: First Class showed what can happen when a franchise gets rebooted properly.

Partially a prequel, partially a fresh start, First Class got back to the heart of what the X-Men are about — a bunch of weird misfit kids trying to figure out their place in the world.

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Deadpool 2

IMDb | IMDb

Even considering the MCU, Deadpool and Deadpool 2 are a breath of fresh air. At least until Infinity War came out, Marvel movies typically always felt safe.

It's no secret that part of what makes the Deadpool movies such a cold splash of water is the willingness to go hard "R" and meta. And with another formulaic superhero movie out every few months (it seems), I'm certainly not mad to get a second dose of Deadpool.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Days of Future Past gave fans of every part of the X-Men franchise something to get excited about. You got the old cast, you got the new cast, and you got a plot that succeeded at wrapping up all of the timeline problems, as long as you don't squint too hard.

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Deadpool

IMDb | IMDb

Deadpool is a tricky one. Yeah, it calls out superhero tropes, but it plays them all out just the same. It's doing what everybody else is doing, but with a thick layer of dark humor and sarcasm. And if that's not me in superhero movie form, then I don't know what is.

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Logan

IMDb | IMDb

It seems kind of weird to end this list on a such a bummer note, but really, Logan was the peak of the X-Men movies, and among the very best superhero movies ever. It's a super-fitting swan song for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Plus, it introduced the world to Dafne Keen, an argument for there being an Oscar category for Best Growling Like A Feral Animal if there ever was one.

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