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Timeline: Live-Action Films based on Marvel Comics

  • Captain America

    Captain America
    The first film based on a Marvel comic (called Timely comics at this point) A black and white 15-part serial about Captain America - real identity District Attorney Grant Gardener - trying to thwart the evil doings of villian 'The Scarab' as he tries to accquire the 'Dynamic Vibrator' and 'Electronic Firebolt' which can both be used as super-weapons. This was the last serial about a superhero that Republic Pictures ever made probably because it was the most expensive film they'd ever made.
  • Howard the Duck

    Howard the Duck
    Loosely based on the Marvel comic of the same name, the film centers around a duck, unsuprisingly, called Howard. He is an alien from a planet of anthropomorthic ducks who is transported to Earth and meets struggling singer, Beverly and both end up having to save the planet from an evil alien monster. Despite being produced by George Lucas and with a budget of $37m, it's widely considered one of the worst films of all time and was a box office bomb.
  • The Punisher

    The Punisher
    Loosely based on comic "The Punisher" this film is notable in two regards: firstly, it was released theatrically worldwide everywhere but the US and Sweden and secondly because the character never wears his trademark skull. The film is widely slated amongst comic fans for straying so far from the source material.
  • Captain America

    Captain America
    Although it contained a nice little environmental message, this Captain America film was unfortunately only released as direct-to-video despite being intended for a theatrical release to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Captain America. The film however was given complete theatrical release across the whole of USSR. The film was widely panned by critics mainly due to it changing the source material and what were considered "terrible acting and stunts".
  • The Fantastic Four

    The Fantastic Four
    Although never released, the producers of the film were aware of the fate the film would befall due to it's lack of budget however the director, actors, and all other participants were never informed of this fact. Instead they completed the entire film (about the Fantastic Four's first battle with Doctor Doom) arranged press releases and even promised that if not released as a film it would be turned into a TV programme. A premiere date was announced for 1994 but it was cancelled in 1993.
  • Blade

    Again, loosely based on the Marvel comic of the same name, Blade is a human-vampire hybrid (played by Wesley Snipes) who protects humans from vampires. The film received mixed reviews however it made over $131m worldwide at box office. It was also credited as one of the first successful comic book films after the box office bombs of 'Batman and Robin' and 'Steel'.
  • X-Men

    With an all-star cast, huge budget and the first film I can proudly say wasn't 'loosely' based on the source material, X-Men was greeted with incredible box office success, positive reviews and paved the way for the reemergance of superhero films.
  • Blade II

    Blade II
    Sequel to the successful Blade, Blade II was directed by Guillermo del Toro and received mixed to positive reviews. It's plot details have been touted as being a lot closer to the actual content of the original Blade comics.
  • Spiderman

    Despite being stuck in development hell for almost 25 years, Spiderman was finally given the green light and was licensed in 1999. Featuring the efforts of Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco and William Dafoe (as Peter Parker, Mary Jane, Harry Osborn and Norman Osborn respectively) and at it's time was the highest grossing superhero movie of all time.
  • Daredevil

    With average reviews and insane amounts of advertising and marketing, Daredevil was released after beginning development back in 1997. With a cast including the talents of Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner and Colin Farrell was a box office hit and the 2nd highest grossing film of February 2003. A R-rated director's cut of the film was released in 2004 and is regarded by critics as being better than the original.
  • X2 (X-Men 2)

    X2 (X-Men 2)
    A sequel to the 2000 hit film, X-Men 2 returned with the same ensemble cast and was a critical and commercial hit.
  • Hulk

    Starring Eric Bana as Bruce "You won't like me when I'm angry" Banner, Hulk recieved mixed reviews but managed to gross over $245m worldwide and would soon be receiving a much-needed reboot.
  • The Punisher

    The Punisher
    After the widely regarded failure of the 1989 of the same name, The Punisher stuck a lot closer to the source material, taking a lot of influence from two Punisher comic stories: 'The Punisher: Year One' and 'Welcome Back, Frank'. The film received a decent box office gross however it was met with widely negative views which would prompt a further reboot (originally a sequel) later on.
  • Spiderman 2

    Spiderman 2
    Grossing over $783m worldwide, winning an Academy award, receving extremely positive reviews and frequently being including in 'top films of all time' lists, Spiderman 2 was a commerical success and included one of Spiderman's greatest foes: Doctor Octopus.
  • Blade Trinity

    Blade Trinity
    The third and final film in the Blade trilogy was greeted with mainly negative reviews from critics and a lawasuit from Wesley Snipes regarding a lack of salary that he believed was due to low box office takings.
  • Elektra

    A spin-off of the 2003 film, Daredevil, this follows the story of Elektra after she is revived from the dead. Receving mostly negative views and appearing on several 'worst films of all time' lists, Elektra definitely did not do as well as it's predecessor.
  • Fantastic Four

    Fantastic Four
    The second live-action Fantastic Four film to be filmed after the unreleased 90s version, it was met with a lot of hype and box office success however it was panned by most critics.
  • X-Men: The Last Stand

    X-Men: The Last Stand
    The third installment in the X-Men series and the most expensive film at the time of release, it's budget exceeded $210m and had visual effects created by 11 different companies. The film had the 6th highest gross of 2006 however it received mixed reviews from critics.
  • Ghost Rider

    Ghost Rider
    The always perfect Nicholas Cage plays Johnny Blaze, a stunt motorcyclist who sells his soul to the devil and becomes a vigilante called Ghost Rider. Although met with negative to mixed reviews, it did well at box office.
  • Spiderman 3

    Spiderman 3
    Although receiving less favourable reviews than the previous two installments, Spiderman 3 is the most internationally successful film in the series achieving a higher box office gross than the previous films. The film included both Venom and Sandman as villians.
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

    Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
    Despite being received by more favourably by critics than the first installment, Rise of the Silver Surfer was still met with mixed reviews despite the inclusion of the Silver Surfer, a character that could have been much better built upon.
  • Iron Man

    Iron Man
    The first installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a shared fictional universe between six major Marvel films used primarily to set up The Avengers, Iron Man was widely praised by critics, particularly the performance as Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and went on to be listed in many critic's best movie lists for both 2008 and all-time.
  • The Incredible Hulk

    The Incredible Hulk
    Rebooting the Hulk storyline, The Incredible Hulk was the 2nd film to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe and established this by briefly featuring Tony Stark from Iron Man. The film did better both in reviews and box office than it's predecessor.
  • Punisher: War Zone

    Punisher: War Zone
    A second reboot of The Punisher, Punisher: War Zone was the first film to be released under the Marvel Studios subsidary of Marvel Knights - used for films directed towards more mature audiences. Punisher: War Zone is the lowest grossing Marvel film alongside Elektra and Howard the Duck.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine

    X-Men Origins: Wolverine
    The fourth film in the X-Men series focuses primarily on the back-story of one of the most instantly recognisable X-Men characters - Wolverine. Hugh Jackman's performance was praised by critics whilst the film itself was given mixed reviews, mainly for being overly cliched.
  • Iron Man 2

    Iron Man 2
    The third installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and sequel to Iron Man, Iron Man 2 alludes even more to The Avengers, partially due to the inclusion of Captain America's shield, Hulk's rampage and Thor's Hammer and mainly due to Nick Fury actually asking Tony Stark to join the 'Avengers Initiative'. It was the third highest grossing film of 2010.
  • Thor

    Thor is the 4th film to make it into the the Marvel Cinematic Universe and added more to The Avengers build-up by including both Hawkeye and Nick Fury. The film was extremely well-received both critically and commercially and will be given a sequel.
  • X-Men: First Class

    X-Men: First Class
    The fifth movie in the X-Men series, First Class acts as a prequel to the original trilogy, detailing the early relationship of Professor Xavier and Magneto and the formation of both their groups (The X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants). Due to it's critical and box office success, a sequel to the film has been hinted at.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger

    Captain America: The First Avenger
    Predominatly set during World War 2, Captain America is the 5th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and even ties up ends for the audience about how he ends up in the same time period as the rest of the Avengers ready for the ensemble film. It is one of the most succesful Marvel films and was praised by critics.
  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

    Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
    The second film to be released under the more mature Marvel Knights banner, Spirit of Vengeance is the sequel to Ghost Rider and marks Nicholas Cage's return to the character. The film received more negative reviews than the first with one moviegoer even stating that the first Ghost Rider look "like The Dark Knight in comparison with the new film".
  • The Avengers

    The Avengers
    The sixth and seemingly most-awaited film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the most current film based on a Marvel comic is The Avengers. Featuring an amazing superhero ensemble cast from the first 5 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and amazing reviews already, it really appears to have lived up to the hype it has been creating since it's announcement.