Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe

So, for those that know me (friends, family, dogs, cats, possums, your mother etc), they know I am a MASSIVE Marvel Comics fan. I remember attending “The Ekka” (Brisbane’s yearly exhibition of all things) and grabbing the comic book show-bags, which sampled both new and classic comics. It was my introduction to characters like Thor, Batman, Captain America, Green Lantern and The Phantom.

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However, there was something about the mystical, supernatural Marvel universe that just drew me in. So in 2008, when Iron Man came to the big screen for the first time, I was excited. Sure, we had already gotten brilliant movies like Spider-Man, X-Men and Howard the Duck (note: sarcasm), but seeing Iron Man purely excited me. And if we knew then what we know now about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I feel that Iron Man would have absolutely destroyed the box office.

Saying all this, and the fact that we just got Doctor Strange in cinemas, I thought it would be a good idea to rank every MCU movie from 14 to 1. This wasn’t an easy task (except putting one movie DEAD LAST), so I’m rating it on my own personal enjoyment and nothing really else. Spoilers aplenty, obviously. This also might prove to be a bit of a divisive list, and I might get a bit of hate for some criticisms. But anyways, lets crack on.

14. Iron Man 3

Let’s face it. This film is awful. Just awful. From the sub par villain, to the god awful “Mandarin” plot (yes, somehow they completely cocked up The Mandarin as a foil for Iron Man. What are you doing Marvel? Stop it), this film stood no chance of me liking it. Which sucks. This was the first film of Phase 2, and the first film post-Avengers, and from getting an absolutely amazing film in The Avengers to this, I was severely disappointed.

13. Iron Man 2

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Now this is where we get into the part of the list I hate. Everything that isn’t Iron Man 3. It’s so hard to rank a lot of these movies. Just because I have Iron Man 2 at 13 doesn’t mean I hate it. It just means that there are 12 other great movies that were better than it. Iron Man 2 had possibly one of the hardest tasks ahead of it. Try and be better than Iron Man 1. While it couldn’t do that, it didn’t entirely miss it’s mark. The change from Terrence Howard to Don Cheadle as Rhodey was seem-less and easy, and Sam Rockwell’s casting as Justin Hammer was spot on. What this movie suffered from was it’s villain, Whiplash. Marvel has a curse when it comes to most of its villain, and Iron Man 2 couldn’t sell me on Whiplash as a threat to Iron Man.

12. Captain America: The First Avenger

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As someone who has always hated Captain Americas comic books, Chris Evans made me want to give a crap about the good ole Captain (who isn’t an actual Captain). Red Skull was a cool villain, and I’m sad that this is the only movie we will see Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull. But with where the Cap movies are at now, I’m just glad we got Red Skull at all.

11. The Incredible Hulk

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For all the criticism that The Incredible Hulk copped, I actually really enjoyed it. And I actually enjoyed Ed Norton’s go around as Banner/Hulk. It did suffer from the “Marvel Villain Curse” with vanilla villain (try say THAT 10 times in a row), however the confirmation of a tie in with the MCU via Tony Stark showing up at the end was enough to sell me on this movie. As much as I liked Ed Norton though, I’m glad we didn’t get another Norton Hulk movie as I’m a big fan of Mark Ruffalo. He has taken over the role and has been able to make it his own.

10. Iron Man

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The movie that started it all. I didn’t think this movie would be successful at first, and I sure as hell didn’t think Robert Downey Jr could play Tony Stark. But boy oh boy am I glad to be proven wrong! Normally, this movie would be higher on my list, but because of how good the remaining movies are, it’s just been shuffled to number 10 on my list. It doesn’t mean that it’s a bad movie, just that I had more fun with what’s left.

09. Thor

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Now, for all that know me, they know Thor is my favourite superhero of all time. I’ve been long obsessed with Norse mythology, and there was something about Thor comics that I gravitated to as a child. The script was a bit average, but seeing Thor, Loki, Odin, Heimdall, Sif and the Warriors Three rip it up on big screen for the first time absolutely blew me away. Seeing Asgard fully realized is a spectacle unto itself as well. Also, bonus points to Marvel for not casting Tom Hiddleston as Thor, but giving him Loki instead. He is as perfect as Evans as Steve Rogers, or RDJ as Tony Stark.

08. Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Maybe at a surprising number on this list for some, but Age of Ultron was far from a perfect movie. However, I actually had a bunch of fun watching this. Mind you, when I saw this for the first time, I was drunk as a skunk. I really remember liking it. Afterwards though, there was a lot of heat on this movie for not being anywhere near as good as A1. I went back a few days later and watched it sober, and I can understand some issues with the movie. But for the most part, we got justice for Hawkeye’s arc in A1, we got James Spader playing an awesome villain, and we copped more emotional bullets to the heart than Quicksilver got to his entire body. #wasntquickenough.

07. Thor: The Dark World

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Another one that might be a surprising number on this list, Thor: The Dark World was a hell of a lot of fun for me. Getting another run with Thor and pals, we were treated to more Asgard-y goodness. The heartbreaking death of Frigga mid-way through the film however, was only fuel to the fire to reunite Tumblr’s favourite villain with our lovable Blonde strongman. This film unfortunately suffers again from the “Marvel Villain Curse” we talked about earlier. Malkeith isn’t a villain that could stand a chance against Thor, and his motivations in regards to the Infinity Stone felt convenient to the plot of the Marvel Universe rather than for a Thor film, which is unlike what they did with Loki in the first one who had a legitimate gripe with Thor. However, despite all of that, I still loved this movie. All the action scenes look great, and the comedy was way more on point than the first film.

06. Ant-Man

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Ant-Man was probably the “surprise hit” of Phase 2 for me. After the departure of Edgar Wright, and the reworks being said to have happened behind the scenes of Ant-Man, I was expecting it to be the MCU’s first flop. But holy crap was I wrong. And boy, am I glad I was wrong! Casting comedy actors in this movie during pre-production seemed like a bad idea to me, but it paid off, as the comedy in the movie shined through better than anything else. Getting a post-Pym Ant Man and moving straight to Scott Lang seems strange at first, but I actually love that they did that. Hopefully we can get more flashback Pym/Ant-Man and Van Dyne/Wasp scenes in future movies, but for now, what they’ve been able to do with Ant-Man has impressed me so much that Ant-Man and the Wasp has been my most anticipated movie of Phase 3, over Civil War, Guardians V2, Ragnarok, Infinity War and an actual Marvel Studios Spider-Man film.

05. Captain America: Civil War

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I remember walking out of Civil War completely gushing over what had just infiltrated my eyeballs for the last 2 and a half hours. From seeing Spider-Man line up against Iron Man and Captain America, to seeing Chadwick Boseman absolutely steal the film as Black Panther, this movie was absolutely fantastic. If you somehow haven’t seen this movie yet, please get on it as soon as you can. It’s a fantastic addition to the MCU. The reason why it sits at 5 for me lies in one single reason. I feel that even in a two and a half hour long movie, we didn’t get enough Captain America. If you’re going to have a “stand alone movie” (using the term very loosely) for Cap, then he should be in at least half of his movie. Civil War showed us less than 40 minutes of screen time for Marvel’s version of The Big Blue Boy Scout.

04. Doctor Strange

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Even though this is the latest addition to the MCU, it’s definitely one of the best. Buffalo Custardbath plays our favourite egotistical ex-surgeon/magician with such ease, that you could easily mistake Brendadirk Cramplescrunch as not acting at all. Mads Mikkelsen did a fantastic job as the films villain, Kaecilius. Considering he’s not a big villain in the comics, Kaecilius didn’t suffer from the Villain curse thankfully, and seems to be a totally credible threat for Doctor Strange’s first go around. The action pieces looked amazing, and one of the few movies I’d ever dare say that the 3D version of the film beats it’s 2D counterpart into the ground. Benedict Wong is the showstealer as Wong though, with his comedy always being hilarious in every scene.

03. Guardians of the Galaxy

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Guardians of the Galaxy was a sleeper hit. It crept up on almost everyone, including comic fans like myself. The Guardians comics always seemed a bit C-grade to me, and a cheap superhero version of Star Wars. But James Gunn was able to take the parts of Guardians that made it great, and make something even better. Chris Pratt is the unsurprising stand out, while Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper and even Vin Diesel all played their parts to perfection. There seemed to be a bit of criticism of the villain, Ronan, however I though Lee Pace did well with the role. With the introduction of Ronan and the Kree, I’m hoping we can get the Guardians trying to navigate through a Kree/Skrull war in the third movie (since we pretty much know what Volume 2 is about).

02. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Normally, you wouldn’t associate political thrillers with superhero movies, and this first attempt at the comic book movie by The Russo Brothers absolutely knocks it out of the park. It was a scary risk too, having The Russo Brothers work on this film, as they were mainly known for their work on TV series Community and Arrested Development and the film You, Me and Dupree (so, so awful). The action was completely on point, the comedy was subtle and not overly done. The introduction of Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon was awesome, and seeing established heavy hitters in the Universe, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L Jackson tie it up with newcomers Robert Redford and Frank Grillo was a site to behold. The script was awesome, and the cast was even better.

01. The Avengers

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What else could be number one? Seeing Iron Man, Thor and Captain America movies for the first time was great. Seeing Iron Man, Thor and Captain America stand side by side together for the first time was a spectacle to behold. The sheer joy that built up inside me when I heard that this movie was in the pipeline couldn’t have made my nerd heart explode any more than it did. Then hearing Black Widow, Hawkeye and Nick Fury would be with them, with new Hulk Mark Ruffalo and the introduction of Colbie Smulders from How I Met Your Mother as Maria Hill made me absolutely lose my mind. The single shot scene during the battle in New York is probably the best editing I’ve ever seen in a film.

Disagree with my opinion on any of these? Let me know in the comments and we can talk about it!

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