Marvel’s MCU has had an incredible run. Starting off in 2008 with the seminal ‘Iron Man’ the franchise has grown to become the biggest cinematic universe in movie history. The creative team have pushed the boundaries in several ways and whilst their work is often imitated it is unrivalled.
After watching through the entirety of the MCU three times (yes THREE TIMES) I have ranked the films from worst to best. This was a labour of love and took a lot of time so whether you agree or disagree with my list, please let me know your favorites.
With that out the way I’m Deffinition and this is my ranking of the MCU.
The weakest of the MCU, Thor centres around the origin of the God Of Thunder. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins this film tells the tale of Thor travelling to Earth after being cast out of his realm, Asguard. Suffering from an underdeveloped love story and weak third act, Thor fails to really deliver on the quality that the MCU has been known for.
18. The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk was a course correction from the previous Ang Lee version. Starring Ed Norton and distributed by Universal, this movie feels almost alien to the rest of the MCU and whilst the film starts off excellently it devolves into a rather banal and predictable climax that makes it easily skippable in the overall run.
17. Iron Man 2
The weakest of the Iron Man Trilogy, this film suffered heavily due to the writer’s strike. I still heavily enjoy it but there are clearly problems in the film and this is definitely the worst Black Widow performance. This movie struggles with a sophomore curse and feels like a step down from the seminal film that preceded it.
16. Thor: The Dark World
Thor: The Dark World has gotten better with age but it still criminally under uses it’s villain and feels like a stop gap between Avenger’s movies. It betters the use of it’s protagonist as opposed to its predecessor but certainly doesn’t do enough good to rank it higher in this list. Which is a shame as there are a lot of cool character moments that really make the God Of Thunder infinitely more endearing.
16. Ant-man And The Wasp
Ant-Man and The Wasp is the weakest film of Phase Three in my opinion due to it’s underused villains, cumbersome plot and lack of logic surrounding some returning characters. Whilst there is amazing set design and some fantastic moments, In my opinion the film fails to capture the level of humour from the first film and doesn’t really feel like it advances beyond that movie in many way. I would have loved to have ranked this higher but unfortunately for me it falls flat.
15. Captain America: The First Avenger
The only period piece from the MCU, Captain America: The First Avengers perfectly introduces one of comics longest running characters. Featuring a brilliant villain in Red Skull, this film depicts the Cap taking on Nazi’s in World War Two. It brilliantly deconstructs how Cap was used as propaganda in the war whilst nailing down the fundamentals of what it takes to be a hero. This lays the groundwork for what is to come and does a brilliant job with the source material.
14. Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 deals with a lot of heavy subject matter such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Politics. Were it not for the neck jerking twist that comes at the films mid point, this movie would rank a lot higher. It features astounding action scenes and balances the drama beautifully with comedy. It’s just a shame that there were some inexcusable choices that mean this ranks far down the list.
13. Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange introduces Magic to the MCU and does so in stunning fashion. The incredible visuals and performance by Benedict Cumberbatch really captured my imagination on first viewing and this film has stayed with me over time. Relying rather heavily on the Marvel formula and being quite derivite of Batman Begins early on keeps this film below the rest of the list but there is still a lot to like here.
12. Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2
Guardians 2 misses out on meaning more due to it’s clear derivitive aspects of The Empire Strikes back. This is a fun film but it fails to capitalise fully on it’s predecessor emotionally. Feeling shallow at points I struggle slightly with the film but there are a lot of fun aspects that evolve the characters in more way than one and anything with Baby Groot in, deserves some credit.
11. Ant Man
Ant Man heavily follows the Marvel Formula but pulls it off in a much better way than Doctor Strange does in my opinion. Laced with jokes, this comedy is laugh out loud funny and has the visual flair to match. Never before had we seen a character that was able to shrink down to atom size and the unique perspective that the hero provides makes this an endearing film in what is cinema’s biggest franchise.
10. Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Age of Ultron is a guilty pleasure of mine. It develops the central cast in more ways than one and features amazing battle scenes such as the opener and Hulk Buster fight. This film really pits Tony against the rest of the team and starts the divide that would come to fruition in Civil War. Disliked at the time due to the amount of plot threads that it leaves dangling, this film works better in retrospect and definitely deserves a revisit now that we have all of the information on the table.
9. Guardians Of The Galaxy
Guardians was a huge risk for Marvel. This cast of characters were practically unknown to all but the most diehard Marvel fans. Due to amazing casting and razor sharp writing the Guardians were able to stand centre stage in the MCU and compete with the A listers that surrounded them. The film made several of it’s stars house hold names and is hilarious from start to finish. It also teases a lot of what is to come and is as good to day as it was upon release.
8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a conspiracy theorists dream. Possessing huge reveals from start to finish, this film really cemented Cap as one of the most remarkable characters in the MCU and is a blast from start to finish. Centring around the Captains relationship with former ally ‘Bucky Barnes,’ the movie has a heart to it that is near unrivalled. It would go on to play a hard part of the Marvel Universe and definitely feels more adult in tone that the other films in the genre, making it better everytime that you watch it.
7. Black Panther
Black Panther now stands as one of the highest grossing movies ever made. It’s no surprise as the story has a superhero like no other and a complex villain that provides a lot of though provoking discussion on aspects such as race and revolution. I was blown away by the film upon first viewiing and the movie stands a milestone not only for it’s phenomenal profit but also for the fact that it is the first film to really bring representation of Africa to Hollywood in such a positive light.
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-man: Homecoming is by far the best Web Head movie ever made. This high school centric film perfectly captures Peter Parker having to deal with his dual identity whilst trying to live a normal life. Michael Keaton delivers a standout performance as the villain’s atagonist and there are several action scenes that beautifully showcase Spidey’s full range of abilities. This one isn’t to be missed and this outstanding coming of age story is relatable on many levels that cement it as one of the best.
5. Thor: Ragnarok
Thor Ragnarok completely reinvents the Thunder God character and is all the better for it. Played for laughs, this futuristic 80s retro action adventure ticks all of the right boxes and manages to incorporate several legendary graphic novels such as Planet Hulk beautifully into it’s arc. Jeff Goldblum will have your sides splitting, Korg will have you on the floor and by the film’s end you will view the characters in a way like never before. This film works great on several levels and is a blast from start to finish.
4. Iron Man
The first film in the MCU really knocked it out of the park. In my opinion, Iron Man is a masterpiece in terms of casting, pace and effects. It nails the Marvel formula right off the bat and is a character defining journey from start to finish. What I love about Iron Man is that it captures your imagination from the get go and leaves you wanting more. The movie beautifully teases the Avengers but too works perfectly as a standalone piece. I can’t really fault the film and this is one of the best.
3. Avengers Assemble
The Avengers film was a trendsetter. Responsible for all of the ‘shared universe’ films that would try and copy it’s success, this still stands as the best. The dialogue provided by Joss Whedon is perfect and it cannot be credited enough for the influence that it would have on films and the comic book genre following it’s release. This was a worldwide phenomenon and was a landmark moment in movie history that is arguably one of it’s most important. The film was a balancing act but it manages to pull it all off perfectly and catapults this film to the forefront of the list.
2. Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War is incredible from start to finish. Pitting the Marvel cast of characters against one another it perfectly balances action with drama and has many thought-provoking aspects that discuss how all actions have consequences. Both sides of the argument have their pro’s and con’s and it’s easy to get caught up in debates of privacy and foreign policy when watching this film. At it’s heart this is a story of friendship and it’s one that I constantly come back to because of it’s incredible character development. It introduces Spider-Man, Black Panther and much more and only just misses out on the top spot due to the next entry.
1. Avengers: Infinity War
Ten years in the making, Avengers: Infinity War is an ambitious crossover that manages to succeed in it’s goals of uniting the Marvel Universe to tackle the threat of Thanos. Beautifully paced, acted and presented, the film is an instant classic due to the villain’s relatability and the epic battle scenes that span it’s two and a half hour run time. I was blown away by how poetic and emotionally charged the film was and somehow it balances all of this gravitas with a humerous side that will appeal to even the most stone hearted. Infinity War is an incredible triumph that I still cannot believe they managed to pull off due to the amount of characters and interlocking plotlines. However, the film manages to not only meet expectations but exceeds them in every way and that’s why it ranks as my favourite MCU Film.
As with all of my lists I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you agree with my list? What’s your top 5? Comment below and let me know and if you enjoyed this video then please like it and subscribe to my channel. I create content like this weekly and there will definitely be something on the channel that you’ll love if you’re a fan of film.
Make sure you check out my breakdown on how Thanos survived the Stormbreaker attack at the end of Infinity War which is linked at the end of this one.
Again, thanks for taking the time to watch, I’ve been Deffinition, you’ve been the best and I’ll see you next time, TAKE CARE, PEACE!