This feature originally ran April 2015 and is being re-published with the latest Marvel releases.
Welcome to Dissected, where we disassemble a band’s catalog, a director’s filmography, or some other critical pop-culture collection in the abstract. It’s exact science by way of a few beers. This time, we sort through the best and worst of Marvel’s seemingly never-ending cinematic universe.
Though it’s perhaps bad business to have you look at another website before you read and remain on this one, have a quick glance at this:
That was April 2006. Now, a decade later, the outline for Marvel’s ambitious (many at the time said overzealous) plan to take over movie theaters has been made manifest. A Marvel movie is the closest thing to truly untouchable, from at least a fiscal perspective, that Hollywood has seen in decades upon decades. Two years ago, movie partially about a sassy talking raccoon and a giant tree fighting space evil became one of the highest-grossing films of 2014. In 2008, Robert Downey Jr.’s career was still on the mend, and now he’s one of the biggest movie stars of the current era.
The point is, Marvel’s a big ‘ol deal. With this week’s release of Doctor Strange, the imprint is likely going to enjoy another hit, and for good reason. The answer to the question of why Marvel Studios’ gambit worked out so very well is more complex than many realize, but one simple explanation is that there’s a certain standard of quality expected from modern Marvel movies, one that’s been consistently delivered upon with each production within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While we obviously like some of the films more than others, there’s not a movie on this list that we could even come close to equating with the worst garbage your average film critic sees in a given year.
So join us, as we dissect what Marvel has accomplished so far, by way of the 19 Marvel Studios offerings that have been released as of this publication. Because, as we’ve learned in abundance over the better part of the past decade now, there’s more than one way to make a great superhero movie.