The last time I wrote a post ranking all of the Marvel movies was in January of last year and at that time there were only 14 films within the MCU. Now with five more movies in the franchise’s repertoire and Avengers: Infinity War coming out nearly a week and a half ago I think it’s time to make an updated list. Enjoy!
19. The Incredible Hulk
I’ve seen The Incredible Hulk and both times I watched I felt like I lost brain cells. There is nothing about this film that I particularly like. Edward Norton’s portrayal of Bruce Banner isn’t a great representation of the mad scientist. Liv Tyler as his love interest feels constrained and only serves the purpose for romance in the film. And the villain is one of the least memorable in the franchise. For Iron Man to be such a great success The Incredible Hulk feels like the exact opposite to me and that is why it’s my least favorite MCU film.
18. Thor: The Dark World
Thor: The Dark World is a sloppy sequel that focuses too much on all of the wrong things. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) brings absolutely nothing to the film other than an excuse for romance in the movie. Her scientific colleagues provide only a slight bit of humor and could have been erased from the entire movie. And the villain is hands down the worst Marvel villain in the MCU with an evil plan that didn’t make any sense to me. The only good thing about this movie was Loki and his interactions with Thor in the film. His scenes were, I admit, rather enjoyable and helped lay down the foundation for Thor and Loki to become allies in the future. Too bad that wouldn’t last long. *sniffle*
17. Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America’s origin story could’ve been absolutely wonderful…and it was, for the first half of the movie. Seeing Steve Rogers in the mid-nineteenth century as this young man who could barely be a soldier because of his lack of health was astonishing, considering how incredible he would end up being. What wasn’t lacking however was his heroic spirit. He was stronger-willed than every other soldier and it showed in his constant determination. The story of Captain America was a truly inspiring tale but unfortunately while the movie had clear promise of being one of the greatest Marvel origin stories in the MCU there was just a lack of storytelling and the film fell flat. But it is a decent Marvel movie.
16. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Guardians of the Galaxy was such a perfect film and so to see its sequel fall so short of the quality of its predecessor was just shocking. The humor felt unnaturally forced, the Guardians seemed to shout every word they spoke, and the overall story was just not that enjoyable. Now there was a compelling villain in Ego who was Peter’s dad but ended up becoming a total douchebag, a surprise I definitely did not see coming, but overall there should’ve been more character development for Gamora and Yondu’s death just wasn’t that emotional of a sacrifice.
I went to see Thor when it came out in theaters in 2011 and while the origin story of Thor could’ve been absolutely phenomenal the movie’s quality quickly diminished the longer he stayed on Earth. The film took Thor way too seriously (which makes sense considering that his character in the comics and cartoons was always an austere man) and the inclusion of Jane Foster only worsened the film. Of course the shining light of this film is Loki who presents a compelling story as we see him go from being the beloved son of Odin to a treacherous villain bent on destruction. All in all, Thor could’ve been great but the creators behind the thunderous character just hadn’t figured out his secret sauce yet.
14. Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 is a film that explores, for the first time, the repercussions of being an Avenger as we see Tony deal with PTSD a year after the Battle of New York. That’s the compelling side of the movie but unfortunately it is lost within a silly film that tries not to take itself too seriously and ends up being more like an action Christmas comedy than a serious film in the veins of Civil War. The villain, Mandarin/Aldrich Killian, is kind of menacing…until he isn’t. There are some surprising moments in the movie but overall it’s definitely in the bottom tier of Marvel movies.
13. Iron Man
This is, of course, the first film that started this ten year and counting journey with the MCU and while it will always earn my respect for what it was able to accomplish this movie really wasn’t one of my favorites. The villain is one of the most forgettable in the MCU. (See. I don’t even remember his name.) Pepper Potts is the cliché hot assistant that Tony Stark is infatuated with (thankfully the MCU made her more than an assistant later on in the films as they upgraded her to co-CEO of Stark’s empire.) And Terence Howard is the one playing the role of Colonel Rhodes which I’m glad was changed because Don Cheadle plays the part so much better. This movie just doesn’t have that compelling of a story to me and that’s why it’s so low on this list.
When I heard of this Marvel character named Ant-Man I was definitely intrigued. I had heard of Spider-Man and Batman but Ant-Man? What did his suit even look like? When I finally did see the film I was disappointed in the film’s corny, comedic aspect. It felt like a movie wrapped in the vein of a children’s animated flick rather than a PG-13 superhero film and while I don’t exactly have a problem with that it just wasn’t something I expected. Now I liked Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man/Scott Lang. He landed all of his jokes perfectly and made the film more enjoyable. I loved Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne because she was never a damsel in distress or utilized into the movie as just the love interest. She was more of a superhero than Ant-Man and so I’m excited seeing her taking the mantle of Wasp later on this summer. Girl power! 🙂
11. Iron Man 2
A lot of people claim Iron Man 2 as a sloppy sequel but I happen to love this film. Yes, the villains aren’t that great but they’re more memorable than the villain in Iron Man and on top of that this is the film that introduced Black Widow into the fold of things. This is also the movie that brought War Machine into the mix as well and that seems pretty awesome to me. If you’re having a boring day and you need a good Marvel action film to watch this is definitely one of those fun matinee movies.
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron
While I did enjoy Age of Ultron in the movie theaters and for quite a while after that it definitely suffers from disappointing sequel syndrome and this is why. It has some fun moments as it debuts two new compelling characters in Scarlet Witch and Vision but this movie is constantly being constricted by joke after joke after joke and after a while it becomes an annoying constant that refuses to go away. The unsuspected romance between Natasha and Bruce Banner seems terribly forced and unrealistic. There aren’t any major character developments for any of the characters besides Hawkeye, who we discover has a normal life as a husband and a father. And Ultron, who could’ve been a real menace to the Avengers, ended up becoming a weak version of the powerful antagonist Ultron is supposed to be as the writers turned him into a humorous robot who just so happened to want to make the Avengers and eventually all life on Earth extinct. Ooh, I’m so scared. *rolling my eyes* The trailers made Ultron seem absolutely terrifying and unfortunately he actually wasn’t. All in all, Age of Ultron could’ve been better but it’s definitely not in the bottom tier of Marvel films.
9. Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange was definitely a risky entry into the MCU because of the, well, strangeness of the hero’s world, or realms I might say. This film introduced all of the weird possiblities the MCU could take the franchise and helped debut a new character that would end up becoming my favorite Marvel hero. They also took a risk by casting Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular hero and it paid off big time. He plays the role of Doctor Strange so well that I can’t imagine anyone else playing Doctor Strange. Unfortunately, while he is undoubtedly a shining light in the film, the story around him is a little boring at times but overall it’s undoubtedly better than the other ten movies behind it.
8. The Avengers
Like Infinity War this film broke boundaries as it tackled bringing six of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes together to make a superhero team of the ages and Marvel prevailed. The Avengers became an instant cultural phenomenon and it was the first movie to make me fall in love with this franchise. I still remember going to see it in the theater and walking out of that theater incredibly happy at the film I had just witnessed. To see these characters that I had grown to know through their various films come together was a real treat. Of course, nowadays there are Marvel movies that have long since surpassed it in quality and sheer enjoyment but this film will always have a special place in my heart.
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming
When Spider-Man debuted in Captain America: Civil War I was thrilled to have him be part of the MCU but then to find out he was going to have a stand-alone film the very next year was even more exciting. I, of course, hoped that the movie would be as enjoyable as he was in Civil War and it definitely was. In fact, I’m literally beaming just thinking about the film. There’s so much that’s right about the movie; from the characters surrounding Peter Parker to the shocking reveal within the film but if there is a negative to this movie it’s about thirty minutes too long. The film is nearly perfect but after a while it seems like the movie keeps going and going and I wish it was a little condensed. But it’s still undoubtedly one of my favorite Marvel movies.
6. Captain America: Civil War
Civil War is a great film full of shocking revelations, fantastic action, and memorable character developments, but its main flaw is that it doesn’t have great viewing longevity. The first time I watched this movie I thought it was the best superhero movie of all time but after seeing it another three or four times that magical factor that I got the first time just wasn’t there anymore. Now it’s two years later and Civil War, while it is an absolutely marvelous film, just doesn’t possess that same pizzaz as it once did.
The story for Civil War is undoubtedly the third greatest story ever told behind Black Panther and Infinity War but it’s just a little…boring now compared to these next five films. I still love it though.
5. Thor: Ragnarok
Taika Waititi saw that the previous two Thor films weren’t successes because the writers tried to take Thor too seriously so he took the Guardians of the Galaxy approach and made the entry into the Thor series a comedic action movie and it worked wonders. Gone was the unnecessary involvement of Jane Foster and she was replaced with a much cooler female character in Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie. This film also brought The Hulk into a fascinating and hilarious major role which was nice to see considering that he’s always been a side character while others like Iron Man and Captain America were given much more development than him. All in all, Thor: Ragnarok is literally a perfect movie and the only reason it isn’t higher is because the next four films are even better.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy
Gaurdians of the Galaxy was, I’d say, Marvel’s biggest risk. I mean come on. A superhero group that involves a talking racoon, a talking tree, a grey and red shirtless alien man, a green woman, and an Earth dude? That could’ve easily been a terrible disaster on Marvel’s part but James Gunn took this bizarre group of heroes and made them cooler than the Avengers, at least for a while. The humor in this movie is spot on and perfectly fits the film, the story is impeccably told, the music is superb, and after four years I can still look at this movie and experience the same joy while watching it as I did the first time I saw this film. That’s pretty special and that’s why it stands as #4 on this list.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
For nearly four years straight this film has remained at the top of the list of Marvel movies for so many reasons. It isn’t one of the fanciest or the prettiest movies in the MCU but the story was so perfectly constructed, the shocking moments were well, shocking, the music was some of the best in the MCU, and it was just a GREAT film…but it has finally been dethroned simply because the next two movies are just in a word; better. I can’t believe this film has finally been knocked out of its top spot and I’m so glad about it. I will always still love this movie though.
2. Avengers: Infinity War
Infinity War is a remarkable film and at times it definitely feels like the best Marvel film ever made but like Civil War it’s such a great film with so many unsuspecting shockers that when you watch it again that magic is unfortunately gone and so you’re just left with the movie. Now, this film is packed with compelling storylines, extremely fun action scenes, and exciting character interactions throughout its entirety which makes it better than Civil War by a long shot but it just doesn’t have that longevity that most of my favorite films do possess and that’s why I have it ranked as second. It has definitely raised the bar, however, of what I’ve come to expect in a Marvel film and I think it’s going to be really hard for Avengers 4 to top this one.
1. Black Panther
I would’ve never thought that Black Panther would end up becoming my favorite Marvel movie but there is something so undeniably perfect about this film that I can’t help but place it in the top spot. All of the characters fit into the movie perfectly, the action is purely awesome, the music infuses the film with a cultural essense that hasn’t been seen in the MCU yet, and the story is enticing from beginning to end. There haven’t been a lot of perfect Marvel movies but Black Panther is undoubtedly one of them and that’s why it’s no surprise that right now it holds the top spot as the highest-grossing superhero film of all time. Infinity War will undoubtedly surpass that by, if not the end of this week, sometime next week but it just goes to show how incredible Black Panther was to millions of viewers around the world. Wakanda Forever!
Well, this is my ranking of all nineteen movies in the MCU. It took a lot of thought making this list, especially between these last three films, but I couldn’t be happier in how it turned out. I thank you for reading and I hope you have a magnificent day.