The Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated the world’s box office since the release of Iron Man in 2008. But for casual fans of the franchise, there are Marvel Comics films that are not connected to the intertwined universe of the MCU. Some of the older adaptions of beloved Marvel characters are not great, but there are several standouts
Some franchises have ties to the MCU, but at the time of their release they were not a part of the MCU, so for the purpose of this list they are considered not part of the MCU. The following films weren’t created with the Marvel Cinematic Universe in mind, but they still captured the spirit of the comics that fans loved.
10 The Amazing Spider-Man
Andrew Garfield’s take on Spider-Man was initially met with some criticism. Fans felt a reboot was unnecessary, and the costume had some negative responses. However, since its 2012 release, The Amazing Spider-Man has received a large fan following, despite a lower performing sequel.
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Fans felt that the world of The Amazing Spider-Man was left unfinished, so it was amazing to see Garfield reprise his role in Spider-Man: No Way Home in the MCU. TASM was praised for Garfield’s performance, comic-accurate web-shooters, and the portrayal of Gwen Stacey as Peter Parker’s love interest. Spider-Man did well.
9 X-Men: Days Of Future Past
There was a time in the world were the X-Men were more popular characters than the Avengers, and they were the main players of Marvel. These days, this is not the case. Yet, X-Men: Days of Future Past was a cinematic take on a popular X-Men comic of the same name.
In an attempt to fix the wrongs of X-Men: The Last Stand and merge the older (chronologically) X-Men of First Class with the newer X-Men, Days of Future Past rescued the series with a time-traveling epic that introduced fans to Evan Peters’ Quicksilver, who stole the show. DoFP was the movie the X-Men franchise needed after a few less-than-acclaimed hits.
The movie that started it all, X-Men was released in 2000 and at the time was a massive success, Hugh Jackman shot to stardom as Wolverine, and it went on to become his trademark role. Comic fans have seen their favorite characters Cyclops, Storm, Magneto and Professor X on the big screen, and the movie holds up to this day.
X-Men spawned a massive franchise that lasted over 20 years, and it has this movie to thank for that. Although there have been some misses in the franchise, for the most part, they are well received.
7 Deadpool 2
Deadpool 2 brought some iconic characters to the big screen. Josh Brolin portrayed Cable perfectly, and comic readers were big fans. Deadpool 1 was a commercial and critical success. The sequel also performed well, but it lacked the focus on the Deadpool character that the first one had.
With a stacked cast of Marvel characters, Deadpool 2 was amazing. With Deadpool 3 set in the MCU, there is scope for the threequel to hit heights that the others didn’t.
Sam Rami launched his Spider-Man universe in 2002, and it was an instant hit. In the early 2000s, Spider-Man was the biggest superhero in pop culture, and it was all down to this movie. Tobey Maguire’s performance was as spectacular as the wall-crawler, but it was Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin that made this movie great. Without a doubt one, he remains of the most iconic villains in cinema.
With the iconic suit, cast, action and trueness to the character, Spider-Man was the staple of the superhero genre. Without this film paving the way, there may have never been the MCU.
5 Spider-Man 2
It is rare that a sequel performs better than the movie that came before it, but Spider-Man 2 tipped the scales slightly. Alfred Molina’s performance as Doc Ock is stunning. The complex nature of his character was shown on screen perfectly, and his relationship with Spider-Man was unlike anything fans have seen since.
Spider-Man 2 developed the existing characters from the first movie and made a very compelling sequel. Less can be said about the third entry into this series, but that doesn’t take away from the brilliance of the first two films.
4 X-Men: First Class
After some terrible movies in X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the X-verse needed a reboot. This came in the form of X-Men: First Class. The film showed how the team was formed and how Professor X and Magneto became friends (and later enemies).
First Class had a great cast of X-Men and fantastic performances throughout. Set in the 60s, it showed how the world reacted to mutants and the part they played in real-world events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis. First Class was everything fans wanted in an X-Men movie, and it is a shame that its followups did not match this one in terms of quality.
Logan is unique in the sense that it doesn’t have a superhero movie feel to it. There is limited action, and the focus is more on the feelings and emotions of the titular character: Logan, AKA Wolverine.
Touted as a send-off for the character, Hugh Jackman’s performance as an aging Logan is simply stunning. Set in an offshoot to the regular X-Men timeline, Logan was a Western-like adventure that featured X-23, the clone of Wolverine. It showed a different side to the character than the one audiences were used to.
Deadpool first appeared on screens in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is certainly not on this list. That movie butchered the character, and Ryan Reynolds fought hard to portray his favorite hero once more. In 2016, he got his wish.
The result was immaculate, a comic-accurate and perfect portrayal of the character. Deadpool has limited connections to the other X-Men movies, and it works great as a standalone adventure. Deadpool was well received, and proved that R-rated comic book movies can do well commercially.
1 The Spider-Verse Movies
It was hard to list these two movies separately, as they are both the best non-MCU Marvel movies that have been produced. Many argue that they’re the best Marvel movies, including the MCU. Both Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and its sequel Across The Spider-Verse are beautifully animated, and tell compelling Spider-Man stories with Miles Morales at the helm, a nice change of pace from Peter Parker.
Loved by children and adults, the movies expanded on Spider-Man lore and introduced a lot of fans to the vast array of Spider-Men in the comics. Across The Spider-Verse was the perfect sequel, with a beautiful soundtrack, stunning performances, and a truly iconic story of Spider-Man that fans can all agree is the best non-MCU Marvel Movie.
Not all movies based on Marvel Comics are part of the MCU, and these movies prove that some of the best take place outside the cinematic universe. Read More