The Marvel Cinematic Universe has enjoyed the success of 19 films over the past decade (some better than others), so let’s rank them of course!
*Before I begin, I want to note that I understand that people have done this list before. However, this is the correct one. Behold:
19. Iron Man 3
This movie stunk. The worst part about making a list like this is that you have to start by describing the worst films first, and that’s exactly what this one was: the worst marvel film. The film was roughly a million hours long for no reason. It’s literally one of the longest films in the MCU. Guy Pierce’s character was ridiculous. Ben Kingsley was even more ridiculous and unnecessary. By the time they made the third installment of Iron Man, Director Jon Favreau was sadly long gone, and it showed. Shame.
The Incredible Hulk
Any franchise that intends to continue its story arc over the next couple of years, but change its MAIN actor in the process, automatically gets a few points knocked off right off the bat. Every Hulk movie that’s ever been made has been absolute garbage, and this one is really no exception. This adaptation is slightly watchable, but looking back now, I really just wish they had cast Mark Ruffalo from the very beginning.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was an odd mix of humor and chopped-up, subpar storytelling. While the film was one of the funniest in the MCU, it was somehow also one of the very worst. The film had me nearly crying with laughter, but also fighting the urge to turn it off to save me the frustration of watching another terrible movie. I’ve always felt like the Guardians of the Galaxy movies flirt with the likes of successful films like Men in Black, but continually come up short due to half-ass character development. Yondu has been someone who repeatedly treats Peter Quill like trash, yet we’re supposed to suddenly adopt the idea of him always being an empathetic father figure Quill never had, and somehow feel emotionally attached to him. Also, everything about Ego the Living Planet was a disaster.
Thor: The Dark World
It’s incredibly hard to be objective here and admit that this film was actually very bad. Why is it difficult? Because I love Thor in every way possible; he’s sort of my real-life hero. However, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor was held hostage in a pretty shitty movie, and that’s unfortunate. The Dark Elves were a cool idea, but just weren’t done right. Natalie Portman and her crew on Earth just seemed so unnecessary and strange. Introducing the reality stone though makes this film one in which you should probably watch if you want to ultimately understand the ever-important story of the infinity stones. Nonetheless, The Dark World features the perfect Thor in a bad movie. Shame.
Iron Man 2
So now we’re getting into films that aren’t bad, they just weren’t great. Iron Man 2 could’ve been great, but teetered a little off course. Landing Mickey Rourke as the pivotal bad guy in a super hero movie is like winning the lottery. Rourke agreeing to the film and the filmmakers screwing it up is like a pitcher throwing a 90 mph fastball down the middle and the batter hitting a boring single. It should’ve been a home run. On top of that, they also had Sam Rockwell in the film, who is one of the most talented actors in Hollywood, and also one of my favorites. Rockwell’s wit and acting chops were on display in this sequel, but it was yet another example of the filmmakers being given gold, only to do nothing with it. One of the main things that bothers me is when a film seemingly comes so close to being incredible, but falls short.
Ant-Man could’ve and probably should’ve been a hell of a lot funnier with someone like Paul Rudd as your lead actor. It’s an entertaining movie, but I just have a thing against Ant-Man where I feel like he’s really unnecessary in the overall story arch of the MCU. What the hell do we need this guy the size of an ant for? According to everything I’ve read about the comics though, it sounds like I may be wrong. The fact that he controls and works with actual ants is insanely stupid, but the film still works, I guess. I just thought the movie was okay, but I was hoping for more.
Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War definitely felt forced. Pretty sure we don’t need a thousand super hero’s fighting each other for absolutely no reason. That’s the problem with this film. The whole time the audience is asking itself, “but why are they fighting?” Also, I can’t get too heavily invested in a story when I know for a fact that everything is going to be okay in the end. Nothing is going to happen to either Iron Man or Captain America, so the stakes just aren’t there. It’s like suddenly Marvel decided they were going to have a super big budget and pay for an unnecessary amount of their stars to face off in this installment. However, Civil War does introduce us to the Black Panther in a very cool way, and for that reason alone, I’m in. He turned into my favorite character in the film, which really had me excited for his own movie which was yet to come out at the time. Also, this movie did feature some top notch action sequences.
I have to be honest here, I really didn’t see this one coming. The last thing I wanted in my life was another Spider-Man movie. When I heard that Marvel had bought the rights to the character, I really thought it was a bad move simply because we had already seen like six other Spider-Man movies in the last decade. Spider-Man: Homecoming works though. It was an incredibly funny and entertaining film. Peter Parker is truly lovable, and is really brought to life in his own unique way by actor Tom Holland. Michael Keaton’s villainous character is kind of weird, but still gets interesting when he turns out to be the father of the girl Parker loves. Overall it’s really a fun, feel-good movie, and a great addition to the Marvel arsenal.
The first time I saw Doctor Strange I actually didn’t really love it. However, upon second review I have to say it’s won me over. Maybe I originally had problems with it because they hired my nemesis, Michael Giacchino to do the music, but even that I eventually came around to somewhat being okay with. I can go on an endless rant as to why Giacchino is the worst thing ever and why he’s my nemesis in life, but that’s for another time. God, does the guy only know 5 different notes on the piano?! Change it up a bit! Anyways, the movie features some absolutely incredible visuals and action sequences to boot. Benedict Cumberbatch is legit and always brings it, and so to does Tilda Swinton. Doctor Strange’s presence in the Marvel universe is one of extreme importance, which ultimately adds a good amount of weight to not only his character development, but the movie as a whole. Well done Marvel. And as for Giacchino, you get to live to see another day, I guess.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
So they’re really all good films from here on. Captain America’s nobility always gives me the tingles, and here he is again, being noble as fuck. Saving the world is second nature to him, and he does it all with a heart that rivals the great heart of our time: Tom Brady. Amazing action sequences define this film, and we are introduced to Bucky (The Winter Soldier) who is another great addition to the MCU. A cool and appropriate dark and low-key movie score drives the overall feel of the film, which is a huge compliment from me since I was put on this planet to enjoy (or hate) original movie soundtracks. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo do a fantastic job making this film feel real and of great consequence. I’m a fan.
Guardians of the Galaxy
This is another movie that I didn’t love after my first viewing, but have eventually come around to really like. Unlike its sequel, this one really is a good mix of humor and engaging story telling. I will say that they fail to develop the characters as much as I would’ve hoped, but the film still really works. They’re a bunch of misfit idiots whose incredibly chaotic plans somehow seem to always work out, while having the viewer laughing out loud throughout the whole experience. The reason the film is so high on the list is that it’s a movie that can easily be watched over and over. It also featured Lee Pace’s rock star performance as Ronan the Accuser.
Not everyone has the original Thor as high on their list as I do, but they’re wrong. They’re wrong because they fail to properly appreciate the physical excellence that is Chris Hemsworth. Okay they’re not wrong for that reason, but it might be part of it. This film is a brilliant entrance into the galactic side of the MCU. I’ll admit, I wasn’t crazy about the ending, but the first time we see Asgard and all its glory is mesmerizing. Brilliant cinematography mixed with a heavenly score by Patrick Doyle truly have you thinking of Asgard as a beacon of hope and a righteous protector of the nine realms. Director Kenneth Branagh, who hails from a Shakespearean background, brings a certain amount of weight and credibility to this film. Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, and Chris Hemsworth are all wonderful in their rightful roles. The ending was subpar though, I’ll say it.
Black Panther was an incredible film. However, it wasn’t nearly the movie that everyone made it out to be. What I mean by that is that it was by no means the best Marvel movie ever, and for some reason that’s what many people said. It was very very good though. The cast was perfect with one exception; Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger. In the midst of an incredible film lead by sensational and powerful performances, was an actor straight out of a C-list movie. I understand that Killmonger grew up on the streets and is acting a certain way for a reason, but at times the role called for true acting ability that Jordan simply did not have. For this reason, the actor was out of place. The rest of the film was sensational, from incredible cinematography, groundbreaking performances from Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright, to a mesmerizing original soundtrack. Black Panther broke though several cinematic boundaries, but was by no means the best of the nineteen films.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Most people have The Winter Soldier above the original film, but not this guy. I love this film for a few reasons. First, we learn what makes the future leader of the Avengers so special; his heart. The always incredible Stanley Tucci reminds him to always be guided by the power of his heart just before he dies of his wounds, and it’s a powerful moment. Second, I love the fact that the story takes place during the events of World War 2. It’s such an interesting idea to throw a super hero into the mix. Alan Sylvestri absolutely shreds the music, which is typical. Hydra and Red Skull were both really cool and slightly strange, but Hugo Weaving is able to bring any character to life, and he did just that. Cap saving the world for the first time, but definitely not the last. Good stuff.
Iron Man is where it all started. Probably none of these nineteen films would exist if it were not for the success of this movie. Robert Downey Jr establishes himself as one of the best casting decisions in recent cinematic history. Jon Favreau absolutely kills it as director. The whole being captured by terrorists thing, and breaking out of the caves as Iron Man is maybe the most memorable moment in the MCU. Once again, this film sort of has a strange ending due to a slightly weak villain, but nonetheless packs a serious punch.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
This is where the films start to get seriously epic on this list. Director Josh Whedon once again does an amazing job of putting all the super heroes together to fight off a seemingly impossible foe; Ultron. The only thing I’ll say is that the film might take itself a little too seriously, but other than that it’s a smash. Actually, there’s one more thing and that’s that Danny Elfman’s score is trash. Bring back Sylvestri! (they do, thank God). Seeing all the heroes fighting together and not having it be a hot mess of editing is always an accomplishment, so well done Marvel.
The top three films on this list are seriously better than the other sixteen. Avengers is one of the very best superhero movies I’ve ever seen. Before I saw it, I really wasn’t sure they were going to be able to work all these characters in together and have it work, but man was I wrong. Sylvestri blew my nips off with his power score. Testosterone flying around in every direction as Iron Man battles Thor as soon as they meet. Thor fighting the Hulk who is finally portrayed in an interesting and engaging way. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is beyond electric. Seeing the Avengers finally putting their egos aside for the greater good and fighting together at the end is what dreams are made of. Above all else, Avengers is probably one of the most re-watchable movies of all time.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Thor: Ragnarok is nearly a perfect film. Thor has reached peak Thor which is all I could ever ask for. He’s being pushed to the absolute brink in a desperate attempt to save Asgard and its people, and fulfill his destiny of becoming the true God of Thunder. Director Taika Waititi’s new take on the character is an absolute grand slam. The movie is a perfect mix of incredibly important and emotional moments, mixed with some of the best humor Marvel has given its audiences. Oh, and throw in The Hulk fighting Thor in a gladiator style battle and you’ve got my favorite movie. Check that, lets add the most lovable person ever in Jeff Goldblum and we’ve got an all time movie. Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, Anthony Hopkins, and Cate Blanchett as Hela are all perfect. The casting, directing, editing, cinematography, music, and overall story are everything you could ever want in an epic science fiction film.
Avengers: Infinity War
Impossible. It’s impossible to do what Marvel and the Russo brothers did with this movie, but they did it. I can’t undersell the level of difficulty here in not only preventing a movie of this magnitude from being an absolute disaster, but propelling it to being the greatest super hero movie of all time. To assemble this unprecedented number of A-list actors, all with their own incredibly important story arcs to complete, and give them all their own screen time (without forcing it) is impossible! Josh Brolin’s Thanos is everything you could ever want out of a character they have been building up anticipation for over the last ten years. Forget Thanos though. Just from a cinematic standpoint, to have this truly unprecedented level of anticipation behind a movie, and have it not only deliver, but go well beyond any expectations is unheard of. Okay back to Thanos. Just incredible. The directors ability to actually get the audience at times to sympathize with a character who wants to wipe out half the life in the universe is so incredibly amazing to me. The editing is maybe the best I’ve ever seen. Each scene effortlessly transitions into the next scene. Everything that is happening is so important it’s ridiculous. Alan Sylvestri’s score! Infinity War is the opposite of Civil War. The whole film has so much weight to it, that my palms were sweating the entire time. It’s somehow the funniest Marvel film ever, while also being the most emotional and disturbing. It also featured one of the most surprising endings I’ve ever seen, that left audiences with their jaws on the floor for the entire credits. Oh and also, Thor in Wakanda. My God….