With Black Panther in theaters, it seemed an appropriate time to look back on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as a whole and rank the films. Be sure to let us know where your favorites, and least favorites, fall in the comments below!
18Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Coming in at number 18 is the middle entry of the Thor trilogy. Can anyone even remember what had those elves so angry? I sure can’t and I’ve seen this movie multiple times. The earth characters are forced and take away screen time that should have been used to further develop Lady Sif and the Warriors Three.
17Iron Man 2 (2010)
It’s still baffling that the casting of Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke led to two such flimsy villains. A sloppy script and a boring finale land this near the bottom of pile in terms of superhero films. At least the replacing of Terrance Howard with Don Cheadle worked well.
16Iron Man 3 (2013)
Much like in Captain America: The First Avenger, a truly classic villain gets a poorly executed on-screen portrayal, this time it’s the Mandarin. There are also a lack of consequences attached to the film as the big ‘destroys the suits’ ending was obviously going to be temporary.
15Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The World War II setting ends up having more possibility than results in Steve Rogers’ first solo outing. A great origin tale ends up playing out rushed, a bit cheesy, and ultimately ends up serving as a prologue to The Avengers. Red Skull looks cool, but the iconic adversary deserved more.
14The Incredible Hulk (2008)
The big green guy’s solo adventure is often overlooked in the MCU. The best part of this one for me was that it fully washed away memories of the awful 2003 Hulk. Ed Norton is solid and the action is handled well, but Hulk just ends up fighting another special effect thing at the end which plays off pretty uninspired.
A lighthearted and fun adventure that’s a good enough introduction for Chris Hemsworth, but it lacks depth and, surprisingly, action. Loki is the clear star here while Natalie Portman is largely wasted in a throw away role.
12The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Though not as bad as its ranking on this list might suggest, the second Avengers movie is still a let down. Ultron has far too many one-liners to be taken seriously and Quicksilver is wasted as a one-off character. The action and cast are excellent as expected though.
11Doctor Strange (2016)
Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent as the sorcerer supreme and there are some likable side characters, but the movie suffers from too many origin story cliches. A forgettable, one note villain doesn’t help matters, but Doctor Strange still manages to be a fun watch.
A comedic heist film at its heart. Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas have great chemistry with the secondary cast and there are more than a few genuine laughs spread throughout. The one let down is that they could have done so much more with Yellow Jacket.
9Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Huge in scale and having all hands on deck, Captain America: Civil War could have easily been called a third Avengers movie. While the action sequences are tremendous and the surprise addition of Spider-Man was cool as hell, there was just something missing here.
8Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017)
Somewhat overlooked in what was an epic year for comic book movies, this follow up to our favorite A-Holes hits on a lot of different and often surprising notes. Typically sequels go bigger and louder, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is a more condensed, intimate story. While it’s a great addition to the franchise, a few of the Guardians end up feeling like secondary characters which was a bit of a let down.
7Spider Man: Homecoming (2017)
When you have a good villain, you generally have a good movie and that’s absolutely the case with Spider Man: Homecoming. Michael Keaton’s Vulture has realistic motivations and expectations, which gives the character a more grounded feel than most. Tom Holland is great as Spidey and actually looks like he could be in high school. Oh, and more Iron Man is never a bad thing!
6Iron Man (2008)
The one that started it all! It’s hard to imagine anyone expecting that the casting of Robert Downey Jr. was going to change the landscape at the box office for the foreseeable future, but without his pitch-perfect take on Tony Stark, I’m not sure we would have the MCU as it is today.
5Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
After two forgettable solo movies, the Thunder God declares the third time is a charm in Thor: Ragnarok. This often hilarious adventure is nothing close to what I expected and might have been my favorite theater going experience of 2017.
4Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
A comic superhero political espionage thriller. Yea, that’s a mouthful but the movie is awesome! Cap is definitely better suited for modern times, even if the titular frenemy comes from his past. Oh, and Robert Redford is in a Marvel movie!
3Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
What an unexpected treat this was. A huge risk for Marvel on a fairly unknown property ended up being the best family-friendly space adventure movie since Star Wars. Great action and a surprising amount of heart made for an instant classic.
2The Avengers (2012)
The Avengers managed to redefine the word ‘blockbuster’ and deservedly so. A sweeping action film on the grandest of scale featuring the type of team-ups some of us never expected to see played out on-screen.
1Black Panther (2018)
A beginning to end spectacle filled with the kind of depth that’s just not expected from the genre. Everything from the performances to the music to the color scheme is top notch, including the best MCU villain short of Loki.
Well that’s it! The long path to Infinity War is complete. Anticipation for Earth’s mightiest heroes & the galaxies guardians taking on the giant Thanos complete with infinity gauntlet is huge; and with the past 2 films in the universe being amongst the series best the pressure is on for the crew to deliver an all time classic this May.
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