2018 was a huge year for comic book movies. In total, a mighty 22 films were released, ranging from LEGO animated releases to the single biggest ensemble in the history of Marvel movies.
We saw villainous solo movies, new underwater worlds and the curtain of Wakanda peeled back for the first time. So it’s no wonder that there was more money spent at the box office on superheroes than ever before.
The past year saw THREE new additions to the billion dollar club from the realm of comic book movies alone, with both Venom ($855,689,766 and counting) and Deadpool 2 ($743,638,764) pushing pretty close to the magic number too. That makes the benchmark for all forthcoming releases that little bit more daunting, even if it is a sign that those rumours about bubbles bursting are manure.
Before any other comic book movies break into the upper room (Avengers: Endgame SURELY will), it’s time to consider where 2018’s offerings sit with the rest of the billion dollar superheroes…
9. Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)
Box Office: $1,405,403,694
Age Of Ultron is easily one of the most underrated comic book movies of all. Sure, it may have broken Joss Whedon and ended his tenure as a Marvel film-maker prematurely (he had been in line for Avengers 3, too, initially), but it’s still a great blockbuster and it deserves a lot better than what Whedon tends to say about it.
Importantly, it also introduces important ideas that would come to shape the MCU: Tony Stark’s anxiety over saving the world, superhero accountability and the first seeds of genetic superpowers (which could be the key to introducing mutants, after all). And beyond that, there are things to really enjoy, like James Spader’s pantomime villain-like performance and the Hulkbuster v Hulk fight.
It’s not up there with the other Avengers movies, but on any other spectrum of quality, it would be far more cherished. Still, it’s in lofty company here.[/nextpage][nextpage]
8. Aquaman (2018)
Box Office: $1,020,261,781
Aquaman might be the silliest comic book movie ever and it’s undoubtedly the most mad-cap of all the releases that have surpassed a billion at the box office. But that’s absolutely part of its charm. In fact, that’s pretty much most of its charm.
James Wan’s beautifully realised world of Atlantis frames a story that owes a lot to the likes of Tron, The Never-Ending Story, Thor, Black Panther and even Crocodile Dundee, but it never feels particularly derivative. Perhaps thanks to the world-building and the charisma that Jason Momoa drips all over the place.
The script is a little… numb at times and the narrative bridging work is notably absent, but everything hurtles along so quickly and exhilaratingly that it’s not so much of a problem. It’s not the most cerebral of movies, but it’s one of those that popcorn was absolutely made for.[/nextpage][nextpage]
7. Black Panther (2018)
Box Office: $1,346,913,161
Considering how important the idea of representation in blockbusters is, it should come as no surprise that Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther found a committed audience. But the film was successful for far more than its ability to channel an under-represented community in comic book movies, as much as that is to be commended.
Coogler brought the same commitment to personal story telling as he’d shown in the exception Fruitvale Station and Creed, introducing a hugely compelling villain in Michael B Jordan’s Erik Killmonger and exploring identity, the sins of the past and legacy with subtlety and maturity.
The world-building is great, the supporting performances all strong and the political messages are as important as they are deftly negotiated. There’s no preaching here, but its very existence is worth far more than its entertainment factor.[/nextpage][nextpage]
6. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Box Office: $1,214,811,252
It’s always been a shame that the critical response to Shane Black’s wonderfully charming Iron Man threequel has typically been a little obsessively focused on the twist ending that apparently “ruined” a great character in The Mandarin. The reality is that that character was never great – he was a racist stereotype who simply wouldn’t have worked in 2013. And shouldn’t have even been considered.
Looking beyond that divisive twist, you get a lot of rewarding elements: Robert Downey Jr is brilliant as the newly fractured Tony Stark who is more overtly dealing with demons that would blossom into his Civil War mentality, his relationship with Rhodey is FINALLY believable and there’s bags of 1990s action movie nostalgia to enjoy.
Black was having fun here, even as the material showed darker edges, and while there are story issues (including Marvel’s insistence on relegating Maya Hansen to a bit-part), it’s still a great watch.
(Excerpt) Read More at: WhatCulture.com[/nextpage]