So I saw Black Panther on the weekend (during an earthquake) and because Infinity War is coming out in just over 2 months, I thought I would rank all the MCU movies in the Marvel catalogue so far. By my count there are 18 movies to date so far – I will not be including One Shot shorts like the Mandarin in prison or any TV stuff like Agents of Shield or The Defenders. If you agree with me in this list then please let me know by commenting. This is just my opinion so if you don’t agree with me, also please comment below telling me why I’m wrong. I already know some of the decisions here will be quite polarising but I’ll try to justify why I put the films in certain positions as I go.
Just a disclaimer straight away, I have seen all these films at least 3 times with the exception of Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, both of which I have only seen once. So I am remembering them with possibly less accuracy than the others. Also, please be advised… SPOILER WARNING!!! For all Marvel films up to and including Black Panther. You have been warned (I don’t own the pictures in this post).
18: The Incredible Hulk
I should say straight away that I don’t actually think Marvel has made a bad film in the MCU. In fact The Incredible Hulk is a pretty decent watch but unfortunately something has to bring up the rear of this list and this film does it for me. Firstly, I thought that although Ed Norton did do a decent job and was waaaaay better than the 2003 Hulk film with Eric Bana, he was still the wrong casting, and then when Mark Ruffalo was brought in on Avengers Assemble, this was highlighted even more. Also, until he turned into the Abomination, I didn’t buy Tim Roth as a credible threat to the Hulk at all and that fight scene at the university was… a bit crap. This is also the only movie in the MCU you could probably skip and not miss anything. Now I like that General Ross has been weaved back into the MCU through Civil War, further tying the film in… but I feel with Bruce Banner having more freedom, Betty Ross should have come calling for him by now.
17: Doctor Strange
There are quite a few people who really enjoyed Doctor Strange, but I thought it was merely… alright. I didn’t come out of that film thinking wow (like I have with a fair few other MCU films), I just came out of this thinking, okay, Doctor Strange is in the MCU now. It wasn’t the casting, Cumberbatch plays him well, and I thought his addition in Thor: Ragnarok was very good, plus he looks good in Infinity War and I know he is going to be a staple in Marvel’s phase 4 stuff but the last two points don’t count towards the film itself. Also the cast around him, Wong, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel EJiofor and to a lesser extent Rachel McAdams were all good. But they wasted Mads Mikkelsen. Which in my eyes is unforgivable. He just turned out as a generic bad guy and so I have to score it lower for that. I want to like this film more… I just don’t. Not compared with some of the others.
I really struggled with this films placing in the list. It is an enjoyable film – hilarious in parts. Michael Pena and Paul Rudd really bring it in my opinion. But unfortunately this film is forgetful. Once again it falls into the Marvel trap of generic movie villain. Plus this has to follow Age of Ultron in the order of what to watch and unfortunately it just isn’t as good in my opinion and so has to be scored lower. Happily however, I did very much enjoy Ant-Man in Civil War and the sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp does look very good if the trailer is anything to go by. But neither of those two things count towards the judging of this film.
15: Thor: The Dark World
I actually watched this film last night – I’m doing the watch one marvel film a week in order until Infinity War comes out thing. It pains me to put this film so low in my list as I do like this film, and I love the characters of Thor and Loki, but I am not blind to its faults. Boring at times, easily the worst of the 3 Thor films, a performance from Portman bordering on woeful and with yet another unforgettable and 2D villain in the form of Christopher Eccleston (who was shamefully wasted), I cannot justify putting it higher than this in the list. Any scene with Loki, his silent takeover at the end, Heimdall’s far too brief badass scene and some of the humour are all highlights in an otherwise meh film. Also, the warriors 3 and Lady Sif were awesome in the first Thor, why did we get so little of them this time. Again, this film is enjoyable but compared to the calibre of films we are used to… it is poor.
14: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
A lot of people will lynch me for placing this film so low as I’ve seen this it top quite a few lists but hear me out. This film is very, very good. It completely bucked the trend of what a superhero film should be but I do have some very serious issues with it. Firstly, where the hell are Hawkeye and Iron Man? The first could and should be easily explained off, have a throwaway line like ‘he’s on a mission and can’t get back’. Done. That is a 3 second fix. The second is much harder to ignore. Firstly, in Avengers Assemble, Jarvis hacked Shield. Okay, maybe you can explain away that he found no evidence of Hydra because it wasn’t on Shield’s systems. But, there are 3 big flying aircraft carriers about to fire on everything in Washington AND then fire on each other. Iron Man would be there!! He just would! At worst he’d see it on TV and come flying in to help at the end. Say he even missed the action – have a scene at the end where he is annoyed he missed the action and that Cap should’ve called him now they’re friends. This film also wastes Frank Grillo in my opinion. He should not have been reduced to a secondary villain to Bucky. It is for these reasons I must put this film so low.
13: Captain America: The First Avenger
I only have issue with about 5% of this film, the rest is a complete masterpiece and a very good war film. My issues are… The fact that he stops to kiss Agent Carter just before jumping onto that plane. What the fuck?! Just carry out the mission and then get with her after. I watched this for the first time with all my friends and we all groaned at this point. It still makes me roll my eyes and grimace now. Secondly, the fact he says he has to crash the plane in the water. He doesn’t have to that at all. We’ve watched him destroy 2 of those bombs already. All he has to do is go back, kick them out of the plane and into the sea. Jobs a good’n. Also, he is Captain bloody America! He would easily survive that crash and not be put on ice for 70 years. I know they needed to do it to bring him forward in time for the Avengers but still lazy writing!
12: Avengers: Age of Ultron
I very, very nearly placed this one higher but I can’t bring myself to rank this above Spiderman: Homecoming. This film boasts all of the Avengers and when this film is good, it’s great. But unfortunately when this films misses, it misses hard. Now I like that Black Widow can calm the Hulk, but do we really need a Natasha/Bruce love story? No. I go back to my previous point… where is Betty?! Also, Thor’s dream sequence is brilliant, as is his pool bit… but those two sequences can easily be combined. Also… Elizabeth Olsen’s accent in this gets very dodgy in parts. There are just odd choices in this film that make me question why certain scenes made it to the final cut. But, as I said – when this film gets it right, it has some of the best scenes in any Marvel MCU movie. Plus Vision lifting Mjolnir is one of the coolest scenes in the MCU. Fight me.
11: Spiderman: Homecoming
It pains me not to put this film in the top 10 as Spiderman is actually my favourite Marvel character. It’s just I cannot rank any of the films above this film, below it. To this films credit, Tom Holland was excellent. Michael Keaton is possibly the best villain since Loki and the fact that Tony Stark/Iron Man is in the film as supporting character ties it in beautifully. Also the message given – you don’t need end of the world stakes to make a great film. This is all about heart and family consequences and is almost less about Spiderman and more about Peter. For those reasons it easily holds its own in the MCU. The film isn’t without fault though. It does get a little slow at times and not all of the humour lands, but on the whole it is a great first film for the web slinger and I eagerly await seeing him in Infinity War. Plus I really hope they follow through with Aunt May knowing Peter is Spiderman.
Now we’re in the top 10, it is becoming very difficult to justify which films have a nose ahead of others. But with this film I can. Thor is a very good film. It opens the MCU to space, aliens, magic etc and it does it all very well. The direction they took Thor in, making him more Shakespearean – was a stroke of genius and nowhere in the casting have they even come close to getting it wrong. I mean – you have the best villain of the MCU making his debut. Plus you have Odin and Heimdall. What more do you want?
9: Iron Man 2
A lot of people throw shade at this movie. I don’t get why – it does so much! It is a fantastic sequel to Iron Man, builds upon the MCU so far, gives us Black Widow, War Machine, Nick Fury (properly) and hints at Captain America and Thor. It does all this while maintaining a solid plot and showing us Tony Stark growing as a person. Now this film isn’t without its flaws. The actor playing Hammer can be a bit annoying at times and Mickey Rourke’s accent does get a little dodgy. But overall, it’s a film I praise very highly indeed and apart from how they ended the big battle – as soon as Rourke showed up it was pretty much over – I don’t really have anything bad to say about it.
8: Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2
This film was a blast but it has a major kryptonite factor and that is… following its predecessor. The first Guardians film came out of nowhere and was utterly fantastic. This time, we knew what to expect and although it delivered on many levels, I did come out of it feeling a little underwhelmed. Now that is almost definitely my fault – I had too high expectations, but still other MCU movies have met my high expectations. Yet, this film is easily within the top 10 for Baby Groot, Yondu and Rocket, Gamora and Nebula, Drax being… Drax. In fact the only boring parts of this film for me are unfortunately, Star Lord and his dad. I also hope they don’t bring in Sly Stallone and co as major characters. We don’t need that.
7: Iron Man 3
A lot of people don’t like this film for the plot twist with the Mandarin. I’m not one of those people. I thought it was a stroke of genius and Ben Kinsley is one of the best things about this film. Whenever I watch the scene where War Machine is pointing a gun to him then his team score a goal and he goes ‘”Olay! Olay! Olay!” I’m broken. It’s hilarious. Also we strip Iron Man away from Tony Stark for a lot of this film and see him survive without the suit – this makes his speech to Spiderman in Spiderman: Homecoming that much more real. The only thing I dislike about this film is Guy Pearce’s character. His motivations are a little mundane. Also, using Pepper as a simple trophy was a bit meh. But another positive… second best Christmas film after Die Hard!
6: Captain America: Civil War
This film does so much. I could go on about this so instead I’ll just name my favourites. It introduces Black Panther and Spiderman. It shows clear divides within superhero factions. It asks the questions that we never knew we wanted asking. And it genuinely gives us 2 sides to root for – both of whom aren’t actually wrong. Also it explores Bucky more which was very much needed after the Winter Soldier. Finally, it gives us that 20 minute fight scene at the airport which is arguable the best 20 minutes in the MCU thus far. My only criticisms of this film were Zemo – who feels a bit bland, the fact they waste Frank Grillo AGAIN, and when Hawkeye comes back. He has a nice little house with Velma and their three kids. Stay there man and we’ll see you in Infinity War!
5: Thor: Ragnarok
In a simple sentence: This film saved Thor. He was becoming a bit bland and boring, and having not seen him since Age of Ultron, during which time much has happened within the MCU, having Ragnarok almost completely reinvent the character was exactly what was needed. It also gave us the best on screen Hulk scenes yet (including his arse) and it sets up the start of Infinity War nicely. The casting, colour pallet and overall tone of this film was exceptional and I for one very much hope they do another. The only downside is I wish the warriors three got better deaths. I’m assuming Sif was omitted on purpose (I know the actress found it hard for scheduling conflicts) but the character at least deserves a good death in the next film should there be one.
4: Iron Man
Watching this film now may not feel like much considering how deep we are into the MCU. But I have to include this film in my top 5 films simply because it kicked it all off. This is what the MCU built upon and Tony Stark/Iron Man is the reason this list exists. Go back and watch this film if you haven’t in a while. I guarantee it’ll rise in your estimations too. This is one of the rare MCU films for me where I don’t actually have anything bad to say about it. Everything just works.
3: Avengers Assemble
Before Saturday when I saw Black Panther I honestly didn’t think this would move down from second place until Infinity War but there we go. This film, is in my opinion, one of the best superhero films ever made. It combines very complex story arcs seamlessly and because of having 5 films before it, hasn’t got to set up anything except the plot of this film (DC could learn something there). My only issue with this film and thus why it isn’t higher is that Captain America is not needed in this film at all. Seriously, go back and watch this – you can genuinely take Captain America out of this film and the outcome is exactly the same. You could maybe argue that Iron Man would die if Cap didn’t pull that red lever – but seeing how he almost did anyway, that’s not too much of a sticking point. Plus he is Iron Man, he’d find another way of fixing the propeller. Also, that Hulk – Thor fight scene. One of the best MCU moments.
2: Black Panther
In a year when Infinity War is less than 3 months away, I, foolishly, had very low expectations for this film going in. I was expecting it to lumber in and just be Infinity War set up. Never have I been so wrong. This film is the best standalone marvel film since Guardians of the Galaxy. You can honestly go into this never having seen any of the other MCU films (except maybe Civil War). The best way I can describe this film is a mixture of The Lion King meets James Bond meets Star Wars. I had heard the hype about this film and fair play, it is well deserved. I don’t really have issues with this film, instead I just have hopes. 1) I really hope Andy Serkis isn’t dead. He was absolutely fantastic in this film and I really hope we get to see more of him. 2) Michael B. Jordan’s character comes back in some form. He was an excellent villain and could easily do a Loki and become a standout favourite for the MCU.
1: Guardians of the Galaxy
For me, this film has not been beaten in the MCU yet. I missed most of the trailers for it and so had no idea what I was in for. This film completely changed the MCU in my opinion, from Drax’s unintended hilariousness to Rocket’s unhinged lovability to just everything Groot does. All of the cast was perfect and I cannot fault this film. Also I may or may not be in love with Zoe Saldana. The one tiny niggle I could have is that Ronan was not fleshed out enough. But on the other side of that coin, this film gave us our first proper look at Thanos.
And that’s my list. You may or may not agree with me but one thing we can all agree on I’m sure… the 27th April cannot come around soon enough.