The massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought the superhero genre into the mainstream. Its overwhelming presence has dominated the box office since its inception, so much so that it’s easy to forget that many Marvel properties don’t fall under the MCU’s umbrella. Long before the franchise was a glimmer in Jon Favreau’s eye, many other studios owned rights to the comic company’s heroes, spawning many standalone series through the years. In this article, we’ll cover five of the most successful among them.
There’s really no way to undersell how insane the success of this movie was. From the beginning, the deck was stacked against it, even when it was a pitch on the cutting room floor. The studio behind it had so little faith in it, it’s surprising it ever saw the light of day. But after some test footage got leaked, and the fans demanded more, Fox finally relented and begrudgingly greenlit it for production with as little financial backing as possible. Despite its relatively meager budget of only $58 million, the movie went on to be one of the highest grossing rated R-films, second only to The Passion of the Christ. Fans loved it, and it’s not hard to see why. The film perfectly captures the insanity one would expect from the merc with a mouth, and the R-rating ensured the bloodbath that inevitably followed him would be appropriately gory.
After the undisputed success of its predecessor, it hardly comes as a surprise that this film managed to stick the landing. Sequels can often be sorted affairs, but this film managed to take everything that worked in the first outing and improve upon it to great effect. The titular hero is put through the ringer in an emotional and relatable tale. All set against the backdrop of an action-packed New York City full of memorable set pieces. The returning actors haven’t lost their step, and the new faces are welcome additions. Most notably, the legendary Alfred Molina plays the villainous yet sympathetic Doctor Octopus. To this day, it’s considered one of the best comic book films of all time. If only the trilogy had maintained its momentum, then maybe the third film may have made the list.
The X-Men film franchise had been around for almost two decades. Most of the films in its roster are your standard summer blockbusters, packed to the brim with explosions and non-stop action. And while such films have their successes and their place in the medium, Logan takes a step back and offers a new approach to the genre. The film follows Logan, better known as the hero Wolverine, in a somewhat post-apocalyptic world devoid of heroes like the X-Men. They’re a memory now, a relic, just like our hero. It’s a deeply emotional character study of a broken man reminiscent of old westerns. It’s also a rated R Wolverine story, so it’s a very bloody western.
X2: X-Men United
In the world of superhero movies, few franchises can compete with the seemingly peerless MCU. It’s undeniably popular, but another franchise managed to beat the odds and stay relevant alongside its competitors: the X-Men franchise. The movies that make up the series have their ups and downs, but among the best of these movies has to be the second release, X2: X-Men United. Picking up where the previous film left off, this tale follows the team as they investigate a plot to ruin public perception of mutants that would culminate in their undoing. While the heavy subject matter is explored, it mostly served as an engine for the over-the-top CGI slugfests the franchise would become famous for.
X-Men: First Class
With four films under its belt, all with varying degrees of success, it’s safe to say the X-Men franchise was in need of a course correction. This came in the form of the prequel, X-Men: First Class, following the escapades of the younger versions of Professor X and Magneto during the events of the real-world incident known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. After seemingly losing its footing with the last two entries, First Class shows the franchise's return to form, recapturing what made us fall in love with the series in the first place. And if the reviews are anything to go by, the new start was the breath of fresh air the franchise needed, spawning several more spinoffs and sequels over the next few years.
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Written By Micah Mitchells
Source(s): Screen Rant
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