Now that I am officially retired from the MCU, it’s time to rank all 22 Marvel Cinematic Universe from worse to best. 11 Years of hard work that has culminated into the biggest superhero/comic book movie of all time Avengers: Endgame. Now that Endgame is officially out in theaters, it is time to rank all 22 films from best to worst. Disclaimer: This is my list if you don’t agree with my list; you can post your own…or get bent. Let’s start with the #22 film and the one I hate the most of the entire MCU…
22. Iron Man 2
Let me be very clear, this is NOT a movie, this is a 200 million dollar commercial for Marvel’s The Avengers. Everything about this movie was to set up a future film, the debut of Black Widow, the lead into Thor, the setup of S.H.I.E.L.D., all of this and it’s like the movie forgot to set up its own plot. Mickey Rourke was a terrible villain and his Russian accent was laughable, but at least he put more effort into it than Scarlett Johansson.
The film looks great when they are in Asgard, the second they leave is the second you stop caring. The one good thing about this film is that Chris Hemsworth actually put in the effort to become Thor because ever since this movie he’s become less jacked and less Thor like in his actions. The villain of this movie was a giant suit of armor if we aren’t pretending Loki was the true bad guy. You figure that in the age of Game of Thrones, that someone at Disney could do Fantasy better than this but…they can’t. Also, Kat Dennings is terrible.
20: Iron Man 3
Now I don’t hate this movie as much as I did when I first saw it but it still isn’t good. The Mandarin twist was the first true taste of Marvel’s bait and switch marketing we’ve experienced and that alone put a bad taste in the mouths of people who saw this film. Not to mention the ending with Pepper Potts being the hero and Tony blowing up all of his suits was just stupid. A movie that was built as a Dark thriller for Tony Stark turned out to be a joke and Disney did this A LOT moving forward.
19. Thor: The Dark World
Remember when the Thor movies wasted your time with Kat Dennings and Natalie Portman? This is the part of the MCU that Disney doesn’t like to talk about, so much so that by the time Thor Ragnarok came around it was like these movies were retconned with the exception of Loki. I honestly can’t even remember the villain and the plot this film it is so forgettable. All I know it that Disney wasted two movies on the Jane/Thor relationship that died with this film.
18: Captain Marvel
STRONG…FEMALE…LEEEEEEAADDDSSSS!!!! The temptation to pander and squeak by on as little effort as possible was simply too strong. And why not when you can trust the brand and the hype to sell the resulting painfully average product regardless of quality? A handful of genuinely enjoyable moments and splashes of shiny CGI among long stretches of middling boredom is all we are rewarded with for our loyal patronage. The soulless Marvel assembly machine grinds on.
This film is what happens when the previous film becomes a surprise hit and the studio demands a sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 tries to score too many points on what people liked in the first movie but instead produces a mediocre sequel which is the norm now for Disney’s MCU. Trying to be too funny with too many callbacks to the first film, when you look at the final product, you realize just how empty the film was and badly it undid all the goodwill from the first.
16. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Remember how the trailer made this film look like it was supposed to be dark epic that was going to push The Avengers like they were never pushed before? Instead, what we got was James Spader voicing one of the most menacing villains in the Marvel Universe full of knock-knock jokes. This film was basically another commercial setting up Black Panther and the next Avengers movie…WHILE YOU ARE WATCHING AN AVENGERS MOVIE. This film is probably the biggest let down of all the MCU films by far
It’s hard to set a new pace with Spiderman when the series has been rebooted like 3 times in 10 years, but we finally have a Spiderman that isn’t 30 in high school. The problem with this film is that outside of Spidey, this film really doesn’t feel like a Spiderman film. There is basically none of the classic Spiderman rogue gallery you are used to in the film. Spiderman has no motivation when his Uncle Ben storyline throws out the window. Ironman takes too much of this film away from Spiderman and basically what you have is an entertaining film for the MCU but when isolated, really isn’t much of a neighborhood Spiderman film.
14. Thor: Ragnarok
Just because a movie is funny, doesn’t mean the movie is good. The more I think about this film, the less I like it. This is the best Thor movie by far, but still really irritating because the comedy undercut so much of the drama you really can’t take this film seriously even when you are supposed to. Chris Hemsworth doesn’t even feel like Thor anymore, he lost the hair, he lost the hammer, he lost his eye, and he lost his manly physique and demeanor…not to mention his homeworld. Thor: Ragnarok has a lot of laughs to distract you from the fact they destroyed everything that makes Thor…Thor.
13. The Incredible Hulk
The Marvel movie that Disney pretends doesn’t exist…and it wasn’t that bad. I like Edward Norton FAR BETTER than I like Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. This movie on its own is a solid film, but there was so much turmoil behind the scenes with the actors, the studios, the licensing, and the set up for the Avengers movie that this movie has been silently buried by the ranks at Disney but it is so much better than the try-hard efforts of Phase 3.
This film is undeniably fun, but that is also the problem. While you are laughing at the gags, you soon realize that there are no stakes in this movie. Ant Man and The Wasp has no impact on the overall MCU storyline at all; not only that, there is no villain. The character of Ghost, which is played by Hannah John-Kamen, is more of a desperate character and not a character is driven by villainous intentions. Ant Man and The Wasp is fun popcorn flick with not much meat to it.
11. Black Panther
Besides having a civil rights movement unfairly attached to its name, Black Panther is a solid film with many original ideas. My biggest gripe here was I felt like the character of Black Panther was portrayed better in other movies that this one, but they at least stack the movies with interesting supporting characters so it doesn’t become a glaring problem. Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger ranks among the franchise’s greatest villains which I don’t know says more about him or the MCU’s inability to properly book a good villain.
I really wish Disney let Edgar Wright finish this film, I mean they let Rian Johnson destroy Star Wars for the sake of “his vision” but they couldn’t let Wright handle Ant-Man? Paul Rudd is an underrated hit and Michael Pena nearly steals the entire movie from him. The villain is weak, but that’s an MCU problem as a whole. I dig the creativity that went into creating the world that Ant-Man lives in making it stand out on its own. This is definitely one of the few films you can watch and still be entertained with.
Doctor Strange is visually the most creative film they have done in years, Even if it looks like Inception on steroids. Benedict Cumberbatch feels like a natural in his role as Steven Strange as many fans of Doctor Who will recognize. Doctor Strange gets an A for concept and visuals with a story that is essentially a Batman Begins origin with Magic added to the mix. A film with arguably the best ending in MCU history deserves its high praise.
8. Captain America: The First Avenger
Another movie highly underrated in the MCU, the introducing to Captain America is well done and gives you perspective on why his relationship with Bucky and Peggy were so important. Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Phillips and Hugo Weaving as Red Skull were great additions to the film along with the world building of 1940s America. We all knew how this film had to end, but it is a great ride along the way proving why Cap has the best series of films in the MCU hands down.
This is the end of the MCU as you know and love it. If you are one of the fans out there who started watching this series from the jump then you will like this movie. There moments throughout the film which were made especially for the fans to mark out for in the theaters. The fanboys will love it, the general audiences will enjoy the experience. This is truly the end of an era for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
6. Marvel’s The Avengers
Still the gold standard of the MCU or the film that created the shared universe craze and ruined Hollywood as a result…depending on how you look at it. You can’t deny that seeing these superheroes in one movie was a game changer and quite the Marvel to see. Before Joss Whedon’s life fell apart, he put together the film that created a newfound sense of pride for comic book fans and nerd culture alike, which is good or bad depending on how you look at it.
As a moviegoer, this is the perfect popcorn film for audiences, escapism at it’s finest. As a comic book fan, this is everything you have waited a decade for, Thanos is finally here and he is ready to end half of life in the universe. There are many things I liked about the film and many things that I didn’t like. For the audiences and fans of the MCU, this ultimately won’t matter much because they will see it as a culmination of the entire franchise. I really liked Avengers: Infinity War, but I did fall just short of loving it.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy
An obscure group of superheroes that nobody has ever heard of, starring a former WWE Champion and the fat guy from Parks and Recreation…this movie should not have worked and it did. The space opera atmosphere, the 1970s pop music, the cast of actors who made their chemistry work by bringing something different and compatible to the table. Guardians of the Galaxy is funny without having its humor drag down the movie. This movie is a winner because it is the most fun you can possibly have in the MCU. Also, Nicole Perlman does not get enough credit for writing this film.
3. Captain America: Civil War
You can call it Avengers 2.5 but this effort was far better than Age of Ultron mostly because of who was involved. The Russo Brothers behind the camera and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely writing the story have proved to be the Grand Slam formula for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Panther was a better Black Panther in this movie than in his own feature film. The story of Winter Solider, the début of Spiderman, the political divide between the two sides and creating one of the most intriguing and effective villains in MCU history. Civil War was the superhero mashup that did a better job than either Avengers movie.
2. Iron Man
I may have hated Iron Man 2 & 3 but the original Ironman, the film that jumpstarted the entire MCU is a textbook perfect origin story for a superhero. Believe it or not, Robert Downey Jr. was a massive risk at this point in his career given the struggles in his personal life. So much so that Terrance Howard the guy Marvel brought in as the star power hoping the gamble on Downey Jr. would pay off. Times have changed. A film that had a sense of realism given that it wasn’t full of magical powers and didn’t follow many superhero tropes of its time. Iron Man was the superhero movie that even non-comic book fans can enjoy and it was RDJ’s performance the jump-started the world of Marvel we know today.
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The absolute best movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to be Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely wrote Winter Solider (and Civil War) as a cautionary tale of the dangers of government overreach, something that flew far over the heads of the real-life actors in the film. A movie that turned the MCU on its head after discovering that HYDRA has been running S.H.I.E.L.D. in secret for decades. Captain America serves in what is more of a spy movie than a superhero. Not only is the acting here great, but the Russo Brothers get the best performance of every actor in their MCU run to date. Captain America 2 isn’t just the best MCU movie but it will stand the test of time as one of the best superhero movies ever.