Now, it’s hard to imagine Marvel movies without “The MCU”. However, there were a fair few before Iron Man in 2008. So, we’re here to take a look back at how the whole superhero saga went nuts, and managed to actually break into mainstream cinema. Previously, that would have been pretty much unimaginable. But these movies all helped, in their own way, to get us to where we are right now . . .
This was released before SciFiPulse even existed! Yes, we know, hard to imagine a world before the single greatest website in existence! But Blade (1998) was in cinemas before the internet ruled all our lives. With a phenomenal performance by Wesley Snipes, for some, this is the film that started it all. However, that’s debatable. There were even earlier live-action features based on Marvel characters, but that’s not why Blade may not be the starting point of modern superhero flicks. Blade was super violent, and certainly not family-friendly. But wow, what a film it was. It easily still holds up now. It will be twenty-five years old in two years – not bad, then!
Absolutely the major starting point for where we are now, for Superhero movies. Yes, X Men (2000) could be seen to hold that mantle, but the sheer anticipation of Spider-Man (2002) was truly massive. Furthermore, the revenue was massive, too. It may have come two years later, but make no mistake: this movie starring Toby Maguire really paved the way. There were some questionable elements, but mostly it was a great film. It also set the trend for having “easy rock” music threaded throughout the film. It wasn’t the last, either . . . (Fun to note here. That scifipulse was barely one year old when this film was released)
Dare Devil (2003)
In terms of Marvel movies maybe not one of the greatest, but it had its moments. Ben Affleck did a decent job in the title role. His passion for comic books came through. On a sad note, this film also heavily featured Michael Clarke Duncan, who is no longer with us. He had a wonderful presence. One of the highpoints of this film is the use of CGI to show how Dare Devil processed sounds. Conversely, the low point of Dare Devil is it led to the woeful Elektra (2005). Jennifer Garner wasn’t dreadful in the film, but the movie itself was a complete flop. Perhaps it needed the uber-cheesy Colin Farrell again, as the almost slapstick comedy Bullseye, again!
X2 ( X Men 2) (2003)
A hotly anticipated film, and one that firmly established Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine. There are numerous scenes in this movie which are nothing short of awesome. For example, the opening scene. We had a true pace-setting opening sequence, that helped to establish a great plot, and a wonderful finale. This was definitely one of the best Marvel movies before the MCU. Again, it’s just a shame that X Men: The Last Stand (2006) (X Men 3) was dreadful. But that doesn’t change the fact that X2 was a totally brilliant film.
Fantastic Four (2005)
The film that brought us Captain America! (Well, sort of). Very much of its time, this film saw Chris Evans and co. in what was really just a cheesy romp. The first real “squad” movie within the early Marvel films. What was lacking here was nuance and complexity. It was very much the good guys verses Doctor Doom (Julian McMahon). But what this offering did provide was some good dynamics between the group, which, for example, we saw in Guardians of The Galaxy (2014). So, perhaps it did pave the way, to some degree.
There you have it. If there are other early Marvel films we’ve missed, that you wanted to see mentioned. let us know. It certainly feels a long time ago since these movies. Look out this Friday for a poem by May The Verse Be With You based on one of these characters.