Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Director Jon Watts handles the element of Peter Parker’s life that the previous “Spider-Man” iterations didn’t, offering a compelling coming of age high school drama, whose main character is a super powered being trying to live up to impossible standards. When we meet Peter Parker, he’s a typical teenager vlogging his experience in “Civil War” where he brushed up against a slew of heavy hitting superheroes in an effort to help Tony Stark. When the movie begins Peter is returned to Queens to go back to being just a teenager who happens to be Spider-Man. Peter is a young man always trying to do what’s right and noble, he’s the true underdog of the Marvel Universe.

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Supaidāman (Spider-Man) (1978)

What was once considered just a passing joke by Spider-Man fans has managed to gather some cult acclaim over the years, and has even been embraced by Marvel (yes, it’s canon, now) and Stan Lee himself. “Supaidāman” is the Japanese incarnation of Spider Man that bears almost no resemblance to the character we know from the US. That doesn’t mean it’s terrible though, as the 1978 action science fiction series is quite entertaining and has a lot of innovative ideas we’d see in future Super Sentai series. Sure it’s cheesy and goofy in some way, (including the opening theme song) but there’s a lot to like if you can divorce yourself from the Marvel Spider-Man and think of this character as something from another universe.

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Spider-Man (1977)

The Nicholas Hammond starring TV movie* “Spider-Man” is also the two hour TV pilot for the cult classic series “The Amazing Spider-Man.” When you consider the decade, and the budget, “Spider-Man” isn’t too bad of a movie. When I was a kid it was about all we had in the realm of live action Spider-Man, and sadly with its budget we never got banner foes like Green Goblin and or Doctor Octopus. We were instead granted a lot of gangsters, and cronies, as well as the occasional ninja or two (and in this instance, three martial arts thugs with wooden sticks). “Spider-Man” the Movie that sets the stage for the series is a solid iteration of Spider-Man that is altogether a mixed bag.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Much like a classic mix tape, “Vol. 2” of “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a movie that’s similar in theme to its predecessor but feels fresh and original. Director James Gunn delivered a truly remarkable adaptation in 2014, and now he offers up a sequel that’s just as good, with a hefty narrative that thankfully has so much going on, but never loses sight of its central themes of family, love, and how music is the soundtrack of our lives. With “Guardians” the group of Starlord, Gamorra, Groot, Rocket, and Drax are back committing to a difficult job for a race of aliens called the Sovereign. They’re tasked with killing a vicious monster called the Abilisk and protecting priceless batteries. In exchange, they give Gamorra her sister Nebula back, who has been held prisoner.

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The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990)

Even with the success of “Batman” a year prior, director Bill Bixby had a hard time accumulating the budget and network support for what became the final hurrah for the famed seventies series. Apparently “Death” was supposed to be a vehicle for Iron Man and She-Hulk, but the budget just didn’t allow for it. Not to mention around this time Bill Bixby received the unfortunate news that he had prostate cancer, so “Death” was ultimately a swan song for the series as a whole. It’s a mixed blessing, though, since the budget allows for this final film to give the Hulk what is a bittersweet finale. The movie isn’t at all perfect, and completely meanders in the middle of the film, but overall the final scene paired with the classic theme song is gripping and a great testament to Bill Bixby’s commitment as an actor before his untimely death.

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The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989)

It’s been a while since David Banner has been on the road and he’s now looking for new lodgings in New York (aka Canada) under the guise of David Belson. After an incident involving a pair of jewel thieves on a train attacking a woman, David is forced to invoke the monster of the Hulk, which results in unfortunate casualties. After wreaking havoc as the green monster, David is arrested and is shocked to learn the women he saved on the train from the robbers is claiming David attacked her. He’s also being blamed for the unfortunate shooting of an elderly man during the attack. Realizing the pair of criminals were under the pay of local crime boss Wilson Fisk, David tries to clear his name along with his new attorney Matt Murdock. Little does David know that Matt is a vigilante by night known as Daredevil.

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The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988)

Even after “Superman: The Movie” and its somewhat successful franchise, the idea of turning comic books in to movies or a TV show was a rare prospect. Studios considered it a gamble as then comic books were considered a kids medium, so it was an anomaly for something like the Incredible Hulk to be adapted in to a successful drama that stayed in syndication for a long time. Six years after the end of the series, Bill Bixby returns to the role of David Banner, a scientist now living in a seaside town with his girlfriend. He’s mostly lived a quiet life and is helping to create a machine that can decay gamma radiation. Though he’s helping the local lab to create it, he’s also hoping to use it as a means of killing the hulk and end his curse.

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Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D (1998)

Before the public at large were aware of Nick Fury, ABC’s long struggling “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” and the overall organization from the Marvel Cinematic movies, there were 1998’s “Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Long ago when comic book movies were still concepts and properties that studios were hesitant to touch, FOX Studios in America aired the TV movie/pilot movie to little fanfare. Said movie starred David Hasselhoff (cast by virtue of the fact that he looks like classic Nick Fury and nothing more) fresh off of “Baywatch,” and starring as the classic Nick Fury before his re-imagining in the aughts in the Samuel L. Jackson mold. The classic Col. Nick Fury was a tough and grizzled war veteran with dark hair and signature white on the sides. He also donned the trademark eye patch and cigar, leading one of the most covert and top secret organizations in the Marvel Universe.

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