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Marvel Studios launched the ground-breaking Iron Man in 2008 and ushered within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The shared universe spent a little bit over a decade exploring a storyline referred to as the Infinity Saga that introduced a number of Marvel characters to the large display for the primary time.



RELATED: 10 Marvel Characters Who Would Hate Their MCU Counterpart

The MCU movies have garnered loads of fame, however they are not Marvel’s solely films. Well over a dozen movies launched earlier than the MCU debuted in 2008, and followers proceed to rejoice them to this present day. While a few of them have been forgotten, different movies stay fan favorites.

Updated on August 27, 2022 by Scoot Allan: Marvel Studios just lately revealed the upcoming slate for The Multiverse Saga, which is able to embody Phases 4, 5 and 6 of the MCU. Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange within the Multiverse of Madness featured characters from Marvel films from earlier than the MCU, additional broadening the MCU’s multiverse by together with over twenty years of movies from earlier than Iron Manhit theaters.


20 Howard The Duck

Release Date: August 1, 1986

Marvel’s first foray into live-action diversifications was additionally its first bomb. Howard The Duck flopped into theaters in 1986. George Lucas produced the movie that tailored the favored comedian collection. Unfortunately, it misplaced a lot of the surrealism from Howard the Duck’s greatest comedian storylines.

IMDb Rating: 4.7

Box Office: $38 million

Available for lease on Apple TV

Howard the Duck starred Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins, and Jeffrey Jones; Chip Zien voiced Howard. A crew of puppeteers mixed with a number of folks in a (typically) animatronic swimsuit introduced the character to life on the large display. Howard the Duck‘s failure saved Marvel away from theaters for a couple of years.


19 The Punisher

Release Date: April 25, 1991

Nineteen Eighties motion celebrity Dolph Lundgren starred as Frank Castle in Marvel’s first live-action tackle The Punisher in 1989 alongside Lou Gossett Jr. However, it was simply missed by Marvel followers on video retailer cabinets, for the reason that character lacked his recognizable iconography.

IMDb Rating: 5.6

Box Office: Limited launch

Not obtainable to stream

After the homicide of his spouse and kids, Frank Castle launched his one-man struggle on crime. He shortly fell right into a confrontation with each the mafia and the Japanese Yakuza, and he allied together with his best enemy to tackle the lethal new menace. The Punisher joined Howard The Duck as one in all Marvel’s early cinematic failures after a really restricted launched.


18 Captain America

Release Date: December 14, 1990

Albert Pyun directed the primary cinematic Captain America in 1990, but it surely went unreleased for a few years earlier than lastly hitting cabinets as a direct-to-video launch. Captain America price $3 million and solely introduced in a couple of thousand after followers and critics panned the movie.

IMDb Rating: 3.2

Box Office: Under $10 thousand (Direct-To-Video launch)

Not obtainable to stream

There had been a number of adjustments made to the characters for the live-action adaptation. Notably, the reimagined Red Skull (Scott Paulin) was Italian as a substitute of German. The underdeveloped Steve Rogers (Matt Salinger) additionally wore an inexpensive costume that saved this adaptation within the forgotten VHS bin.


17 The Fantastic Four

Release Date: May 31, 1994

While it wasn’t formally launched, Roger Corman’s 1994 live-action adaptation of Marvel’s First Family earned its personal place in historical past. The Fantastic Four featured actors engaged on a low funds who had been unaware of the producers’ final objectives. The Fantastic Four solely went into manufacturing to maintain maintain of the movie rights for a later adaptation.

Rent Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four on Apple TV or stream on Vudu, Tubi and Redbox

RELATED: 9 Actors Who Should Play Magneto In The MCU

Producers shelved the movie as supposed, however demand briefly introduced it into the sunshine. This ultimately led to a leaked bootleg model that lastly revealed the unofficial Fantastic Four film. twentieth Century Fox producer Avi Arad bought the movie and destroyed nearly all of the copies to guard later diversifications of Marvel’s First Family.


16 Blade

Release Date: August 21, 1998

It wasn’t till 1998’s Blade that Marvel lastly noticed success with a stay action-adaptation. Wesley Snipes impressed followers because the vampire hunter within the R-rated motion/horror film. Some viewers did not even understand Blade was a comic book e book film when it was launched.

IMDb Rating: 7.1

Box Office: $131.2 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on HBO Max, Direct TV, Sling TV, TNT, TBS and TruTV

Blade launched the character and his ally Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) as they waged struggle in opposition to vampires. The movie additionally featured Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), one in all Marvel’s strongest Blade villains. Similar to the comics, Deacon appeared because the vampire who turned Blade right into a human/vampire hybrid, led the vampiric rebellion, and tried to hold out an historic blood ritual.


15 X-Men

Release Date: July 14, 2000

Director Bryan Singer kicked off twentieth Century Fox’s blockbuster franchise with 2000’s X-Men. The first live-action adaptation of the hit Marvel comedian featured a small roster of mutants as Professor Xavier’s (Patrick Stewart) X-Men and Magneto’s (Ian McKellan) Brotherhood confronted off for the primary time.

IMDb Rating: 7.3

Box Office: $296.3 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on Disney+

X-Men additionally launched followers to Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). The X-Men welcomed the character onto the X-Men following a battle with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, who tried to kidnap younger Rogue (Anna Paquin). Wolverine later obtained his personal spin-off

franchise that launched in 2009 after the MCU’s debut.

14 Blade II

Release Date: March 21, 2002

The success from 1998’s Blade launched successful franchise. Visionary director Guillermo del Toro took over the collection for 2002’s Blade II, the place future The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus joined Snipes and frequent del Toro collaborator Ron Perlman.

IMDb Rating: 6.7

Box Office: $155 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on HBO Max, Direct TV, Sling TV, TNT, TBS and TruTV

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Blade labored with an elite vampire demise squad referred to as the Bloodpack to tackle a brand new pressure of vampires. The lethal vampires consumed their very own sort to rework them into much more terrifying monsters. The movie slot in properly with different Guillermo del Toro initiatives and the brand new pressure of vampires impressed his later tackle the undead in The Strain​​​​​​.


13 Spider-Man

Release Date: May 3, 2002

Sam Raimi launched the profitable live-action Spider-Man franchise in 2002 for Sony Pictures. The movie starred Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, alongside Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane and James Franco as Harry Osborn. Willem Dafoe additionally appeared as Norman Osborn, whose transformation into the villainous Green Goblin occurred across the similar time Peter grew to become Spider-Man.

IMDb Rating: 7.4

Box Office: $825 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on Netflix and Hulu

RELATED: 10 Times Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Was Actually Better Than The Comics

Spider-Man shortly grew to become a fan favourite and remained the usual for all different diversifications. Tobey Maguire and Dafoe each reprised their roles from the hit adaptation in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, bringing the characters into the MCU.


12 Daredevil

Release Date: February 14, 2003

twentieth Century Fox introduced the primary big-screen Daredevil to theaters in 2003. Ben Affleck starred as blind attorney-turned-costumed vigilante Matt Murdock. Daredevil additionally featured Jennifer Garner as Matt Murdock’s love curiosity, Elektra. Michael Clarke Duncan and Colin Farrell starred as two of the strongest Daredevil villains, Kingpin and Bullseye.

IMDb Rating: 5.3

Box Office: $179.2 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on HBO Max and Direct TV

Daredevil tailored a number of basic comedian storylines with a give attention to Frank Miller’s work. Unfortunately, the difference didn’t deliver the character’s depth to the large display. However, it did function future MCU director Jon Favreau as Foggy Nelson.


11 X2: X-Men United

Release Date: May 2, 2003

The X-Men returned with a much bigger roster in 2003’s X2: X-Men United. The sequel featured one of many franchise’s greatest motion scenes, the place Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) tried to assault the president. This scene went unmatched within the franchise for years till Quicksilver appeared within the prequel collection.

IMDb Rating: 7.4

Box Office: $407.7 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on Disney+

An enemy from Wolverine’s previous launched an assault on the Xavier Institute and left the X-Men divided after their college students bought captured by anti-mutant authorities forces. Dire circumstances led the X-Men to hitch forces with the Brotherhood to save lots of mutantkind from people who hated and feared them. The sequel tried to kick off the “Dark Phoenix Saga” however failed within the execution.


10 Hulk

Release Date: June 17, 2003

Visionary director Ang Lee introduced Hulk to the large display for the primary time in 2003’s Hulk. The adaptation reimagined the experiment that reworked Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) into the Hulk and merged a couple of completely different villains, like Absorbing Man and Zzzax, into his father, David Banner (Nick Nolte).

IMDb Rating: 5.6

Box Office: $245.4 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on Peacock, Direct TV and Fubo TV

Lee used attention-grabbing comedian transitions that stood out to followers together with the dynamic battle scenes. However, there have been different uncommon artistic choices that made this adaptation fall behind later cinematic variations. The MCU’s Hulk starred in his personal reboot earlier than returning for a recurring function in The Infinity Saga and The Multiverse Saga.


9 The Punisher

Release Date: April 16, 2004

Thomas Jane starred in 2004’s reboot of The Punisher. The film was loosely primarily based on The Punisher: Year One and the “Welcome Home, Frank” comedian storyline. The reboot explored the demise of his total household at a tropical reunion getaway earlier than he returned to discover a new residence whereas he ready for his new mission because the Punisher.

IMDb Rating: 6.4

Box Office: $54.7 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on Peacock

RELATED: The Punisher: 8 Heroes Frank Castle Has Beaten (& 7 He Can Never Win Against)

John Travolta starred as gangster Howard Saint, though the film suffered a bit from the give attention to the villain and his numerous household issues. Fans had been hoping to see the Punisher do what he did greatest, which later diversifications achieved.


8 Spider-Man 2

Release Date: June 30, 2004

Tobey Maguire and the remainder of the forged reprised their roles for Sam Raimi’s 2004 sequel Spider-Man 2. The sequel additionally starred Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus in a fan favourite function. Many followers thought-about Spider-Man 2 the franchise’s greatest, however to some, it grew to become among the finest sequels in cinematic historical past.

IMDb Rating: 7.4

Box Office: $789 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on Netflix and Hulu

Peter Parker’s troubled relationship with each Mary Jane and Harry Osborn was additional explored, together with Otto’s transformation into Doctor Octopus. Molina’s portrayal of the characterintroduced new depth to Doc Ock and led to his return within the MCU’s Spider-Man: No Way Home​​​​​.


7 Blade: Trinity

Release Date: December 8, 2004

Wesley Snipes returned for a 3rd and closing outing as Marvel’s vampire hunter in 2004’s Blade: Trinity. It additionally launched Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) and Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel) as members of the vampire-hunting group referred to as the Nightstalkers.

IMDb Rating: 5.8

Box Office: $132 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on HBO Max, Direct TV, Sling TV, TNT, TBS and TruTV

Blade: Trinity offered a brand new tackle Dracula (Dominic Purcell) referred to as Drake, who deliberate to wipe out all inferior species on the planet, together with each people and vampires. Trouble behind the scenes ended the franchise and Snipe’s time with the character, which set the stage for Mahershala Ali’s upcoming Blade reboot.


6 Elektra

Release Date: January 14, 2005

While 2003’s Daredevil wasn’t extremely regarded amongst followers, it proved sufficient of successful that Jennifer Garner returned for the 2005 Elektra spinoff. The film explored a few of Elektra’s coaching from The Chaste and the magical organizations like The Hand that opposed them.

IMDb Rating: 4.7

Box Office: $57 million

Available for lease on Apple TV

While the film launched a couple of different Marvel villains and developed an attention-grabbing backstory for the character, Elektra fared even worse than Daredevil amongst each followers and critics. Unfortunately, it didn’t seize the essence of Marvel’s tortured murderer, delivering a watered-down tackle the character as a substitute.


5 Fantastic Four

Release Date: July 8, 2005

Director Tim Story introduced the primary official live-action Fantastic Four to the large display in 2005. The film starred Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, and Chris Evans as Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, Susan Storm/Invisible Woman, Ben Grimm/The Thing, and Johnny Storm/Human Torch, respectively.

IMDb Rating: 5.7

Box Office: $333.5 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on Disney+

RELATED: 10 Most Powerful Members Of The Fantastic Four, Ranked

Julian McMahon performed the villainous Doctor Doom, and his reworked origins match with the Fantastic Four’s new cinematic transformation. The movie was extremely light-hearted and the intense variations in characters like Doctor Doom did not sit properly with followers. However, the film proved a monetary success for twentieth Century Fox and led to a sequel.


4 X-Men: The Last Stand

Release Date: May 26, 2006

The unique X-Men trilogy got here to its first conclusion in 2006 with Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand. The third entry in twentieth Century Fox’s franchise loosely tailored the enduring “Dark Phoenix Saga” alongside Astonishing X-Men‘s “Gifted” storyline a couple of mutant remedy.

IMDb Rating: 6.6

Box Office: $460.4 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on Disney+

X-Men: The Last Stand launched fairly a couple of new mutants who additional cluttered up the trilogy’s finale. The film additionally featured the deaths of established characters, making this one of many least profitable entries within the long-running franchise.


3 Ghost Rider

Release Date: February 16, 2007

Daredevil director Mark Steven Johnson returned to the Marvel universe for 2007’s Ghost Rider. The adaptation starred Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze alongside Eva Mendes, Sam Elliot, Peter Fonda, Wes Bentley, and others.

IMDb Rating: 5.2

Box Office: $228.7 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on Hulu and Pluto TV

Ghost Rider adopted the titular hero’s transformative cope with the satan that led to his service because the Spirit of Vengeance. This introduced him into battle with Bentley’s demonic Blackheart, as Blaze discovered extra about his multi-generational curse. While not a important favourite, the movie did properly sufficient for a later sequel referred to as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in 2011.


2 Spider-Man 3

Release Date: May 4, 2007

Sam Raimi’s unique web-slinging franchise reached its conclusion with Spider-Man 3 in 2007. The finale added Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman, Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy.

IMDb Rating: 6.2

Box Office: $894.9 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on Netflix and Hulu

Spider-Man 3 explored the “Alien Costume Saga” from the comics, but it surely was closely influenced by Spider-Man: The Animated Series‘ tackle the symbiote’s origin. It additionally featured Harry Osborn’s transformation into the New Goblin and reworked Uncle Ben’s demise to incorporate Sandman. It made for a packed ending to the fan-favorite collection that left viewers wanting extra.


1 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Release Date: June 15, 2007

The success of 2005’s Fantastic Four led to a 2007 sequel that reunited director Tim Story with the forged from the unique movie in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Laurence Fishburne voiced the Silver Surfer whereas famed “monster actor” Doug Jones introduced the character to life on the large display.

IMDb Rating: 5.6

Box Office: $301.9 million

Available for lease on Apple TV and to stream on Disney+

Rise of the Silver Surfer doubled down on the primary film’s tacky qualities. It additionally featured one in all Doctor Doom’s greatest innovations and his try to steal the Surfer’s Power Cosmic. The final Marvel film earlier than the MCU, Rise of the Silver Surfer grew to become a failed try to adapt the cosmic devourer of worlds referred to as Galactus, which finally ended the franchise as properly.

NEXT: The 10 Best Cosmic Costumes In Marvel, Ranked

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