Marvel Movies Recap
May 20, 2010

I’m not a movie snob nor am I Comic Book Guy. So I’m a little hesitant to blog about comic based movies. What I am is hyped over my recent viewing of Iron Man 2. One of the (not-so-immersed-in-geek-culture) friends I went with texted me earlier in the day to say they were reading reviews and, “did I know that Marvel wants to connect all its hero franchises?” They were referring to news regarding the talent and story lines of the recent and upcoming Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor movies being brought together for the eventual Avengers movie. This is, of course, very exciting. Especially if Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth can bring to life their alter egos: Steve Rogers and Thor respectively, the way Robert Downey Jr. nailed Tony Stark and Ed Norton portrayed Bruce Banner. Lots of potential there. Anyway, I wanted to spend a little time recapping all of Marvel Comic’s movie endeavors to date. So here goes . . . 



Release Date: 1986
Writer: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz
Director: Willard Huyck
Starring: Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins, Chip Zien
Notable Marvel Characters: Howard the Duck, Beverly Switzler



Release Date: 1989
Writer: Robert Mark Kamen, Boaz Yakin
Director: Mark Goldblatt
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett, Jr.
Notable Marvel Characters: Frank Castle (Punisher)


Release Date: 2003
Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, Michael France
Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
Starring: Thomas Jane, John Travolta, Rebecca Romjin
Notable Marvel Characters: Frank Castle (Punisher)


Release Date: 2008
Writer: Nick Santora, Matt Holloway, Arthur Marcum
Director: Lexi Alexander
Starring: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West
Notable Marvel Characters: Frank Castle (Punisher), Jigsaw



Release Date: 1990 (direct to video)
Writer: Stephen Tolkin, Lawrence Block
Director: Albert Pyun
Starring: Matt Salinger, Scott Paulin
Notable Marvel Characters: Steve Rogers (Captain America), Red Skull



Release Date: 1998
Writer: David S. Goyer
Director: Stephen Norrington
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson
Notable Marvel Characters: Blade, Deacon Frost


Release Date: 2002
Writer: David S. Goyer
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Peter Frankfurt, Patrick Palmer
Notable Marvel Characters: Blade


Release Date: 2004
Writer: David S. Goyer
Director: David S. Goyer
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds
Notable Marvel Characters: Blade, Hannibal King



Release Date: 2000
Writer: David Hayter, Tom DeSanto, Bryan Singer
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn, Ray Park
Notable Marvel Characters: Wolverine, Professor X, Magneto, Rogue, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Mystique, Toad, Sabretooth, Iceman


Release Date: 2003
Writer: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, David Hayter, Bryan Singer, Zak Penn
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Brian Cox
Notable Marvel Characters: Wolverine, Storm, Professor X, Magneto, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Mystique, Rogue, Iceman, Pyro, Nightcrawler, Deathstrike, Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, Colossus, Hank McCoy


Release Date: 2006
Writer: Simon Kinberg, Zak Penn
Director: Brett Ratner

: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Kelsey Grammer, Rebecca Romijn
Notable Marvel Characters: Wolverine, Storm, Professor X, Cyclops, Beast, Rogue, Iceman, Kitty Pryde, Angel, Colossus, Magneto, Phoenix, Mystique, Pyro, Juggernaut, Multiple Man, Callisto, Moira MacTaggert



Release Date: 2002
Writer: David Koepp
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, J.K. Simmons
Notable Marvel Characters: Spider-Man, Green Goblin, Mary Jane Watson, Ben & May Parker, J. Jonah Jameson, Harry Osborn, Betty Brant


Release Date: 2004
Writer: Alvin Sargent, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Michael Chabon
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, J.K. Simmons, Alfred Molina
Notable Marvel Characters: Spider-Man, Doc Ock, Mary Jane Watson, J. Jonah Jameson, May Parker, Harry Osborn, Curt Connors, Betty Brant


Release Date: 2007
Writer: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Alvin Sargent
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Church, Bryce Dallas Howard
Notable Marvel Characters: Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson, New Goblin, May Parker, J. Jonah Jameson, Venom, Sandman, Gwen Stacy, Curt Connors, Betty Brant



Release Date: 2002
Writer: Mark Steven Johnson
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell
Notable Marvel Characters: Daredevil, Elektra, Bullseye, The Kingpin, Ben Urich



Release Date: 2003
Writer: James Schamus, Michael France, John Turman
Director: Ang Lee
Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Eliot, Nick Nolte
Notable Marvel Characters: Bruce Banner (Hulk), Betty Ross, General Ross


Release Date: 2008
Writer: Zak Penn
Director: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Ty Burrell
Notable Marvel Characters: Bruce Banner (Hulk), Betty Ross, General Ross, Leonard Samson, Emil Blonsky (Abomination), Samuel Sterns



Release Date: 2004
Writer: Zak Penn, Stuart Zicherman, Raven Metzner
Director: Rob Bowman
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Terrance Stamp, Goran Višnjić, Will Yun Lee
Notable Marvel Characters: Elektra, Stick, Kirigi, Typhoid Mary



Release Date: 2005 (direct to video)
Writer: Hans Rodionoff
Director: Brett Leonard
Starring: Matthew Le Nevez, Rachael Taylor, Jack Thompson, Conan Stevens
Notable Marvel Characters: Ted Sallis (Man-Thing)



Release Date: 2005
Writer: Michael France, Mark Frost
Director: Tim Story
Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Julian McMahon
Notable Marvel Characters: Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Thing, Human Torch, Doctor Doom


Release Date: 2007
Writer: Don Payne, Mark Frost, John Turman
Director: Tim Story
Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Julian McMahon, Doug Jones, Laurence Fishburne
Notable Marvel Characters: Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Thing, Human Torch, Doctor Doom, Silver Surfer, Galactus



Release Date: 2007
Writer: Mark Steven Johnson
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Sam Elliott, Peter Fonda, Wes Bentley
Notable Marvel Characters: Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider), Roxanne Simpson, Mephistopheles,





Release Date: 2008
Writer: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, John August
Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow
Notable Marvel Characters: Tony Stark (Iron Man), Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Obadiah Shane (Iron Monger), Pepper Potts, JARVIS, Nick Fury, Happy Hogan, Dr. Yinsen


Release Date: 2010
Writer: Justin Theroux
Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Samuel Jackson
Notable Marvel Characters: Tony Stark (Iron Man), Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Pepper Potts, Whiplash, Justin Hammer, Black Widow, Nick Fury, JARVIS



Release Date: 2009
Writer: David Benioff, Skip Woods
Director: Gavin Hood
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins
Notable Marvel Characters: Logan (Wolverine), Sabretooth, William Stryker, Gambit, Blob, Deadpool, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Silver Fox, Kestrel, Agent Zero, Maverick


Besides a few television movies and a handful of animated films, the above represents Marvel’s big screen presence so far. What do we have on the horizon to look forward to? As mentioned, 2011 will be bringing us Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and X-Men: First Class. Then in 2012: The Avengers and a Spider-Man reboot. There are some other films in the planning stages, but I won’t begin listing them here.

Like the rest of you, there are Marvel movies that I really loved and Marvel movies that I really hated. Of course, there are lots of factors that come together to make a comic adaptation film successful. Its not just about a good director or a good script or good actors, but the Marvel movies that stand out did have all of those things going for them.

Having actors that can bring some charisma and gravitas to the table has, in my opinion, been fairly crucial to these stories. Stars like Robert Downey Jr., Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Edward Norton, and Tobey Maguire have had the talent, the passion, and the desire to remain true to their characters that these films desperately need. That is what worries me about the choices made to fill the roles of Cap and Thor. Fingers crossed that the Chris’s can deliver.

Staying true to the history of the comic title is also important. I knew Fantastic Four was headed downhill fast as soon as I saw that Victor von Doom was going to accompany Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny for their fateful space mission. Way too much messing with a fundamental Marvel back-story. This movie was a loser for more reasons than that, though. The story was forgettable. The actors were mediocre. Silver Surfer helped FF2, but only negligibly.

I had planned on listing all of the action figure tie-in lines related to these movies but I’m afraid I got a bit overwhelmed. Honestly, I haven’t been a fan of most and so lacked the motivation to research a thorough check-list. Gah, just the Minimates scared me away. Sorry about that!

So, what have been your favorite Marvel movies and why? What factors do you think are crucial to a successful comic book movie adaptation? What does the future of Marvel movies need to be for you to declare: "Excelsior!"

Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann
Action figure anthropologist, Professor Cantina Dan Neumann has been a scholastic contributor to the online community studying the complex world of parumplasticus populus {little plastic people} since the turn of this millenium. His primary focus is the visual cataloging of species exhibits through photo-journalism.
Read other articles by Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann.





  • Dusty says:

    Awesome! thanks for all the work, I think I am the only one who prefers the original 2003 Hulk movie over the craptastic 2008 one, (horrible acting and story) I also loved Spider-man (2002) but hated the ones after it, but anyways, I can’t believe there have been that many Marvel movies, hopefully Captain America will be cool, I am not looking foward to a Spider-man reboot or a Thor movie,


  • Chip Cataldo says:

    You have some incorrect information in your blog.

    Galactus was NOT in the Fantastic Four 2 movie.

    …and if I ever meet the person responsible for that whole mess, he’s getting punched dead in the face.

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      Well, I do understand your sentiments, Chip. Definitely not Galactus like we all would’ve wanted to see Galactus. But, technically, he was a part of the move. But, yeah, its a mess. Too bad, ’cause the FF have such a proud Marvel history.

  • Andrew says:

    If you include the direct-to-video Captain America, you need to at least mention the Roger Corman Fantastic Four. I don’t remember if it ever had a legitimate release, but the trailer on the Carnosaur 2 video was enough to give a Marvel fan nightmares.

    • Jim Abell says:

      That one never got a legit release, but considering the complete lack of budget I think it turned out far-and-away better than the recent, big-budget ones.

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      Yup, never released. From what I understand it was actually just made so that the production / distribution company would retain the rights to the property. But, yes, I should have mentioned it. Thanks!

    • Tekwych says:

      There was also the avid Hasselhoff Nick Fury: Agent of Shield movie. It was a Made for TV production but a ‘Movie of the week’ none the less

    • Brainlock says:

      also, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty were supporting cast in that particular Cap Movie. Ironically, they were probably the only bright spot in that mess.

      and where is Harry Osborne in the first two Spidey’s? at least he gets a mention as “New Goblin” in SM3.

      FF: we finally get Stan Lee’s constant cameo character named: Willie Lumpkin! (either that, or James Madrox Sr! LOL)

  • John Cage says:

    Galactus might not’ve been in the film, but at least he was name-checked and a variation on the Ultimate version was used. Not that I’m excusing it or anything. I mean, it was like a friggin’ swirling cloud after all.

    On the plus side, it did have Frankie (Nova) Raye in a small role, so there you go.

    Have a good day.
    John Cage

  • UncleMarsellus says:

    My favorite Marvel movie so far is Spider-Man 2. I still think that’s one of the better comic book hero-based movies made to date. I like the first 2 X-Men movies but they don’t stand up as well as years have gone by. I also really like the first Iron Man but I don’t love it. I don’t care for either of the Hulk movies despite both of them having talent attached that should’ve delivered. I have a lot of respect for Ang Lee and Eric Bana but that movie was a mess. Lots of respect for Ed Norton too, well beyond his acting talents, and even he couldn’t make it all that interesting. It was disappointing. Chris Evans was the best thing about the terrible FF movies so I’m actually curious to see him as Cap now. All I know of Chris Hemsworth is the opening sequence of Abrams’ Star Trek and he made a heck of an impact in 6 minutes. Coupled with Kenneth Brannagh and a good cast, I’m more intrigued by Thor than I ever thought I would be.

    For the future, I just want them to be good first and foremost, and not overload the system. Franchise fatigue could be close on the horizon, in my eyes.

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      Totally agree that Chris Evans was one bright spot on the whole FF debacle. But, man, Johnny Storm is a whole different thing than Steve Rogers. Fingers crossed. And, true dat on the Hemsworth / Trek goodness. Thanks for the comments!

  • George says:

    Iron Man was the best out of all of them for me.

  • Stcardinal says:

    What about Kick-Ass? Or is this just for the 616 universe?

  • Shellhead says:

    Dan, Curt Conners (aka Lizard) has been in at least two of the three Spider-man movies. He probably has about as much screen time when you put ’em together as Gwen did in Spidey 3.

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      Far from exhaustive, I know. I appreciate these reminders. I’ll update the blog if a few more come in!

  • demoncat says:

    nice list to me what would make Marvel get an excelsior for their efforts is to do what they are doing with iron man and thor and captain america take time to find the right director who knows the material and also the right actor. not just any name to bring in the box office. that and get doctor strange on the big screen. as for the Roger Corman fantastic four. Marvel bought the film though think it got a legitimate dvd release a few years back.

  • Richard Grayson says:

    Wasn’t there a Captian America 2 direct-to-video as well? I never saw it, but seem to recall. But, man! That first one was terrible!

    • Hourman says:

      The only Captain America 2 that I know of was the second TV movie/backdoor pilot that CBS made in 1978 or 1979, with Reb Brown and (I think, bafflingly) Christopher Lee, which ended up on VHS in the 80s. It was the Cap who rode a motorcycle and his shield doubled as his windscreen. Yes, so sad …

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    I liked the Corman Invisible Woman better. Neat movie poster line-up, Dan. Batman aside, DC has a lot of catching up to do. They OWNED Marvel’s (ahem) on the big screen back in 1978. What happened? And which one was worst? Howard the Duck? Man-Thing? Lundgren’s Punisher? The mind boggles!

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      I haven’t seen Man-Thing but I just got it on Netflix! Will let ya know. 🙂

      • Danny CantinaDan says:

        OK, my buddy xrmc20 and I subjected ourselves to Man-Thing yesterday. Some good stuff in the first 3 minutes 🙂 If you saw it you know what I mean.
        After that its pretty much endless scenes of various people lost in the swamp at night yelling for other people. You finally get to see Man-Thing after an hour or so. Oh, and remember Man-Thing’s tag line: “Whoever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch”? Yeah, no.

  • Jason JJJason says:

    Tim Blake Nelson played Samuel Sterns (later known as The Leader) in The Incredible Hulk.

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