The popularity of the MCU has reached heights in the last few years, and these days we almost exclusively consider Marvel movies as only those which are part of the MCU.
But, there are actually some pretty cool movies outside of the so-called canon aka the MCU. These movies are based on characters or plots from the Marvel comics, but are not a part of the MCU.
In simple words, these movies are not produced and owned by Marvel studios. Marvel studios is definitely a huge part of films made out of the Marvel comics, but not the only one.
So yeah. This one is for all those non-MCU movies that, I feel deserve your time and attention. Wondering where to start?
I have listed some of my top recommendations for you. These are not in any particular order or rank. Just a bunch of movies for Marvel fans (or if you’re looking to watch some superhero action of sorts) which you can catch on a free day!
1Spider Man (2002)
Long before Tom Holland charmed us with his charisma, there was this gem that all 90s kids will be able to relate to!
It’s all the same – high school kid Peter Parker and how he struggles through his life as a teen and a superhero and balances it all. The film is well executed and shot and one of the first of its genre to appeal to such a wife range of audience.
There’s everything you could ask for: the entertainment, the action, good storytelling and some life lessons too! Considering the time and the opportunity, the quality of camera work and technology used in the film is truly commendable.
Besides, it remains one of the best superhero films, even after we’ve had a number of contenders for it today.
2 Logan (2017)
Critically speaking, this is one of the best superhero movies out there. It is emotional and also deep, with a lot of food for thought to offer and some solid character development.
Heath Ledger made history when he won the Academy Award for his performance as Joker in The Dark Knight, which was probably a first for a superhero film. But Logan is probably one of the fewest superhero flicks to receive an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay.
Logan is the tenth film in the X-Men series and the third one in the Wolverine series. Trust me when I say this, it is not just a superhero flick, but it is also a superb piece of work in science-fiction and gives us an insightful vision of the future and its technology.
The script is simple awesome, and Hugh Jackman delivered one hell of a performance as Logan.
The film gives us a Wolverine which we aren’t used to, and that is definitely a refreshing change. In terms of film making as well, it is no less than the MCU for me because of its technique and treatment.
You know the trope I love the most? It’s comedy in disguise of a superhero action flick and Deadpool is exactly that.
It gave me real Breaking Bad vibes as the storyline focuses on Wade Wilson, a terminally ill man suffering from cancer. He is basically on a revenge drive to take down Ajax, a scientist who had conducted on experiment on Wilson.
As a result, he scarred Wilson’s physical appearance for life and due to a mutation, made death an impossibility. Pretty, Hulk and Frankenstein-ish.
Despite such a dark and serious theme, Deadpool is one hell of a black comedy and gives you all the entertainment you need. I love the film for its script and its themes. This one is a must watch, it can give many MCU movies a run!
4Spider Man 2 (2004)
The most exciting part of Spider-Man movies back then was also the villains, like it is with the MCU Spidey movies today. Spider-Man 2 gives us Doctor Octopus and and his whacky scientific experience and Peter Parker has to save the day once again.
Like it’s prequel, Spider Man 2 is a brilliantly well made and well executed movie with a solid script. I love how beautifully the film captures both Parker’s inner struggles as well as his clash with Doc Octopus.
Everything from dialogue to direction and cinematography is well done and even the action scenes has some depth to it. None of the scenes feel out of place, which is the case with several of the weaker MCU films.
Spider Man 2 is not just a piece of commercial cinema of Hollywood, but also an insight into human nature and a great take on the evergreen superhero of the comics.
Venom was a film made solely for the fans. It was not meant to appease the film critic, and it shows. The fact that makes this an interesting watch is how a previously well established character like Venom is given the antihero twist.
The cast is stellar, which great performances from their end. Besides, sometimes we’re all in the mood for some slaptick comedy, isn’t it?
You’ll get that in this film as well. Venom is a fun one time watch. It’s also full of the straight superhero flick stropes: outer space people, mysterious people, superpowers etc. All in all, quite a great one time watch.
6Fantastic Four (2005)
Fantastic Four is about four astronauts who come in contact with cosmic energy in space which gives them contrasting superpowers. You’ve obviously guessed the rest – there’s one villain and the four have to come together to fight him.
Same wine in a new bottle. But, that is basically the case with all superhero flicks except some exceptions. The difference is in the execution and treatment.
There’s a certain charm about the cringe goofiness in Fantastic Four and it has definitely aged well over the years. The story is your basic good vs bad, but the premise is quite fun.
There’s the right degree of comedy, a feel good appeal and some charmingly fresh performances that gives this one some good repeat value to an extent. I highly recommend if you’re in the mood for a breezy fun movie that won’t mess with your head.
7X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
A feel good film about time travel, Days of Future Past brings out the best in each of the pivotal characters in the film. The films involves the question of time: with past and future being all over the place. (as you can guess from the title)
The film also cleverly offers crossovers between young and old characters, which makes it an even more compelling watch, especially if you’re a fan. Not going to deny this, but the film is dark to a certain extent.
But it works. There’s nothing much really to complain about it. The script has the right amount of action, the direction is on point and the performances add up to give us a great watch. Recommended 10/10.
8The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Not gonna lie, the best thing about this one is Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, who make it work because of their sizzling chemistry on screen. Garfield did a fair job as Peter Parker, while Stone shined as the typical female lead and the daughter of a police Captain.
The Lizard, who is the villain in the film did not really make as much of an impact as other villains in Spidey movies have, but then we got Stone and Garfield together.
Yeah, I know I am talking too much about them but it is them which make this movie work. The story is pretty basic, being a reboot of the classic origin story of Spiderman.
The action scenes are neither dull nor amazing, but they work. The strength of the film lies in its performances, and is also the reason why it landed on this list.
Martin Sheen does an excellent job as Uncle Ben, while Sally Field plays Aunt May with quite styel. Denis Leary also does quite a good job as Gwen’s police captain dad. All in all, the leads along with the supporting cast makes this a good watch.
9X2: X-Men United (2003)
This one was based on the classic X Men graphic novel titled God Loves, Man Kills. While the first X Men movie was more of an experiment, considering the risk and the limited budget, this one was made under much better conditions.
Which is why, the outcome had also been way better. Brian Cox gives an unmatchable performance as William Stryker, an Army colonel who is given permission to invade Charles Xavier’s school. Stryker basically wants to hunt down the mutants that the school holds.
Along with a pretty interesting plot, the action sequences as well as performances makes this one worth a watch. Besides, it also paved away for future instalments and still remains one of the best comic book adaptations in history.
Thankfully, we have another movie on the Hulk after the blasphemy of MCU’s The Incredible Hulk. Ang Lee was inspired by the interesting psychological aspect of the character. The outcome is much more cerebral than any other superhero flick.
The plot of the film explained that the Hulk was really some sort of alter ego, that had existed within Bruce Banner since he was young, due to his abuse that he faced from his father. The gamma experiment just unleashed the monster that was Hulk, which was always there inside her.
The film is different in the sense that Lee’s direction is very faithful and the effort is quite visible. The script is quite well knit and the cinematography is also memorable. So yeah, pretty much recommended.