8. Hulk (2003)
Ang Lee is a great director. Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, both very good. That is the end of the good with this movie. This movie is very easy to diagnose. Ang Lee directs introspective, character driven movies very well. The Hulk, as a character, does not function very well in that format. Sure, the character of Bruce Banner seems like he should do well in a story like that, but he does not. Think about it. In The Avengers, we have a reinvention of The Hulk as a character. There is some reference back to The Incredible Hulk (Ed Norton version), but for the most part, it’s all new for Mark Ruffalo.
This is an origin story movie for The Hulk, but we get a lot of character motivation, some overly dramatic acting, a less than exciting series of Hulk-related mischief, and, at the end, a movie that does not stay with you very long. So much so that Marvel and it’s teams started over with The Incredible Hulk just a couple years later. Ang Lee has killed it in his career. Crouching Tiger. Brokeback Mountain. Life Of Pi. All amazing. His version of Hulk? A rare miss.
The argument you will hear people make about this movie is that it does a better job of showing the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde idea that Stan Lee originally had. There is some truth to this argument, although I think it is painted even better in The Avengers.
7. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
I want to like this movie so much. There is a DVD copy sitting 10 feet from where I write this. It’s Spider-Man. And Sam Raimi. But they couldn’t pass up on opportunities to reinvent the wheel, and they failed.
The first two Tobey Maguire had enough going for them that they worked. It was a pretty cool version of Spider-Man, it was the characters that even non-comic reading people know and find interesting. However in the third flick, we have a series of issues that come up. First, we start introducing characters that most people won’t know, which would generally be fine, but in this case we add in cheesy dialogue, a silly storyline, and so many characters that it is hard to track.
A number of characters are added to give comic fans something to chuckle at and to spark some story drama, such as the addition of Gwen Stacy and her father. The real issue comes from the fact that, I believe at last count, there are close to 700 villains in this movie. Ok, maybe three. Sandman is a great villain, but why not just let him shine on his own? Instead we have to have a new Goblin, Sandman, and fan favorite Venom. Seriously. Why would you put Venom in a movie with other villains? He is a strong enough character with enough of a following that he could pull off the movie by himself. The sheer amount of story and character make this movie tough to stomach. It also makes it easy to understand why they rebooted Spider-Man into a new franchise while in the middle of the fourth Tobey Maguire flick. The Amazing Spider-Man was three times the movie this is.