Avengers: Endgame has just released worldwide so in anticipation for it, I decided to go back and watch the Marvel Movies, in chronological order from beginning to end in order to rank them from worst to best. This is the fifth time that I’ve done that and I love revisiting the films with the added context of the sequels and easter eggs.
Throughout this list I’ll be going through each film one by one to let you know how it compares to the rest and what I think of it. This list covers all 22 films including Endgame so it should give you an overall idea of how good or bad that film is.
With that out the way, I’m your host Deffinition, thank you for clicking the video, now lets dive into my list of the 21 MCU movies ranked from worst to best!
Thor comes last on the list for a number of reasons. Firstly the film feels slightly by the numbers with a portrayal of Thor that is difficult to connect with. The dialogue feels overly Shakespearean which, if you know of Kenneth Branagh who directed the film, is expected, it just doesn’t feel fitting for the MCU.
The piece is cliched and due to it’s pacing it feels slightly disjointed and it’s third act feels underdeveloped. If one were to Judge Thor purely off this film alone, I know for a fact that many would not hold the character as the fan favourite that he now is. Overall it feels underwhelming and that’s why it holds last place.
21. The Incredible Hulk
When going through a watch of the MCU, the Incredible Hulk definitely feels like the most unnecessary out of the films. The origin story is skipped over, mainly due to the Hulk film that covered it a couple of years prior and bar General Ross, nothing from this film really gets touched upon in the later films. The action, CGI and plot elements all feel slightly dated by todays standards and this movie hasn’t held up in the way that say, Iron-Man did.
Overall it’s totally fine, however, due to the quality of the other films on this list, it’s hard to rank it any higher.
20. Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel sees the first female lead film in the Marvel Universe and showcases the origin story for Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. Unfortunately for me the film feels a bit flat and lacks the wit and ingenuity of other Marvel movies. Whilst the Skrulls twist was surprising and Samuel L Jackson steals the show, Brie Larson falls a bit flat for me due to her lack of charisma and aloofness.
19. Iron-Man 2
Iron-Man 2 had some pretty big shoes or should I say suits to fill, not to give anything away but it’s predecessor is one of my favourite comic book films ever made and this one falls flat in almost every department when compared to it. The arc for Tony isn’t as strong, the villains are both underdeveloped and don’t really put up much of a challenge and whilt there is a nice metaphor for the gun control debate, with the government trying to strip Tony of his right to bear weapons, it all feels slightly meandering.
Even the normally outstanding Scarlett Johannsen feels pedestrian here and overall it’s just a bit underwhelming.
18. Thor The Dark World
Thor: The Dark world is a real guilty pleasure of mine, whilst it’s hated by many I absolutely love the film. It’s got fast paced action, some great twists and it also makes Thor far more likable than he was in the first film. Whilst the villain is pretty underdevloped, this is Loki’s moment to shine and he secures himself as a fan favourite based purely off this film.
17. Captain America: The First Avengers
Whilst Captain America: The First Avengers is often overlooked I actually really enjoy the film due to it’s heart, message and period setting. The movie beautifully portrays what it takes to be a hero and it excellently interweaves the propaganda aspect of the character that was prevelant throughout the second world war.
Add to that the ever so catchy song ‘Star Spangled Man’ and the ever so villainous Red Skull and you have a hit on your hands that’s my second favourite origin story from Phase One.
16. Iron-Man 3
Iron-Man 3 is actually a guilty pleasure of mine. Luckily or Unluckily, depending on how you look at it, I had the big twist from this film spoiled for me months before I actually saw the film so I didn’t find it that jarring. I can see the bad in it but due to the performances of Downey and Don Cheadle I really have a great time whilst watching it.
The Air Force One rescue scene is incredible and one of the best action pieces in a Marvel movie and I completely fan boy out over the final battle with all the versions of the suits. This film really secures Iron-Man as the coolest character for me and whilst the script may not be the best, there is definitely a lot of fun to be had here.
Oh yeah and it’s a Christmas Movie!
15. Ant-Man And The Wasp
Ant-Man And The Wasp may not live up to the first film in my eyes but it’s still a lot of fun and upon it’s release it felt like the perfect palette cleanser for the events of Infinity War. This really takes the character in a new direction and the house arrest motif that constantly sees Scott battling between helping his friends or seeing his daughter is an inspired choice.
The film uses San Fransico to full effect and also has one of the coolest looking villain costumes ever put to film with the design of The Ghost.
This doesn’t really possess the stakes of the other films but it’s still an enjoyable ride that showcases the dexterity of the MCU.
14. Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange brings Magic to the MCU with a spellbinding tale about the titular character’s journey of enlightenment. Whilst the initial hour of the film is slightly derivative of Batman Begins it takes a complete 180 and ventures into untread territory that is laden with outstanding effects and a unique final showdown.
Overall Doctor Strange is a fun ride but I find it slightly too formulaic to scratch the upper echelon of the MCU and that’s why it gets a position here.
13. Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2
Depending on what day it is, Guardians 2 jumps back and forth with the first film as my favourite out of the two. However, during this watch through I actually preferred the first film over it. That’s not to say it’s bad though and this is an incredible second outing for the character of characters. Nebula becomes a massively likable anti hero and this father and son story really delivers on a lot of levels. What’s not to love about an adventure with Baby Groot?
12. Guardians Of The Galaxy
Guardians Of The Galaxy is by far one of the funnest films in the franchise. It took the cast of characters from the Z-list and was a huge risk for Marvel that paid off massively. Not only does it set up the space side of the saga, it also builds upon several elements of The MCU such as an appearance by Thanos, Ronin The Accuser, The Collector and Infinity Stones.
Guardians is a movie with a lot of heart and it’s one of my favourites.
11. Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Avengers: Age Of Ultron gets a pretty bad wrap in my opinion, the film has one of the most developed villains out of the saga and this movie beautifully puts cracks in the relationships of the team that would come to fruition in Civil War. The Hulkbuster fight is outstanding and one of the best action scenes in the series. Whilst it doesn’t match up to the first Avengers Film, it isn’t really trying to and that’s what a lot of people get confused. I really enjoy it even to this day and that’s why it ranks higher than most.
Ant Man took an absurd hero and showed that Marvel had the ability to make even the most obscure name a mainstream hit. The film is full of fun and from beginning to end it tells the story of a Father on the wrong side of the law trying to do good by his daughter. Add to that the comedic delivery of Paul Rudd and outstanding special effect and you have a small hero that makes a big impact on the list.
9. Black Panther
Black Panther was groundbreaking in many ways, not only did it completely reinvent the Africa Aesthetic, it also did it in a way that made it seem mystical and futuristic. This was the first time that we really saw a Marvel hero lose and the arc of Kilmonger is as fascinating as the movie’s protagonist. It’s no wonder this movie got nominated for Best Picture when it’s this good.
8. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man: Homecoming not only works as a fantastic coming of age story but it’s also the most accurate story on the web head to ever be released. This is a fun filled ride from start to finish that features knock out performances by Michael Keaton as The Vulture and Tom Holland as Peter Parker. Add to that the mentoring that Tony Stark provides and you really get a fleshed out film that makes your friendly neighbourhood Spider-man slot perfectly into the MCU.
7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was when the MCU got serious. This political espionage thriller is far advanced beyond it’s years and really feels like a grounded and gritty take on the characters that are in it. The movie expertly tackles privacy, terrorism and the government in an adult manner that is still fun to watch.
This movie too has a heart and that’s why it still stands as one of the best films in the franchise.
6. Thor: Ragnarok
Thor: Ragnarok totally reinvents the titular character and puts him in a hilarious film that is far removed from the original movie. At this point, Thor had become a fan favourite and this movie cements him as one of the best Avengers. All of the supporting cast really bring their A-Game and the movie introduces Korg to the world, who is probably the funniest MCU character ever created.
Add to that inspiration from Planet Hulk, the destruction of Asgard and an amazing performance by Jeff Goldblum and you have one of the best MCU movies ever.
Iron Man kicked off the MCU in spectacular fashion. This film had to be a success for Marvel in order to kick start their grand vision and there was a lot riding on it’s shoulders. However, due to perfect casting, outstanding CGI, expert pacing and a relatable hero that turned a scoundrel into a hero, the movie succeeded in several ways.
It’s one of my favourite origin stories of all time that ranks up there with Batman Begins and it’s brilliant from start to finish. The piece works as an outstanding 9/11 and Iraq War metaphor with an arms dealer having to handle the repercussions of arming Middle East Terrorists to the point that they were able to hit back. Even today it stands and an amazing piece of cinema and that’s why it easily secures a spot in the Top 5.
4. The Avengers
The Avengers changed the landscape of film and heralded in a new generation of shared movie universes that all failed to match up to this first instance in the industry. From beginning to end the movie encapsulates the comics and feels like an outstanding vision brought to life on the big screen. Overnight this turned it’s heroes from b and c listers to the most profitable comic book characters on Earth. Whether its the incredibly witty dialogue provided by Joss Whedon or the phenomenal action in the city of New York, everything feels like it’s innovating whilst setting the bar high enough that many would fail to live up to. Every hero is fully fleshed out and developed and this is the perfect team up film from beginning to end that on any given day, depending on what mood you’re in could be considered the best in the franchise.
3. Captain America: Civil War
Versus movies are ten a penny and they often are pretty lacklustre, Civil War however, is a shining example of how to do it right. In the same year that saw the release of Batman V Superman, Civil War managed to perfectly do capture what a rivalry of this scale should be like whilst adding the heart that it’s competitor sorely missed. The movie is an epic from start to finish and contains many devastating moments such as the death of Peggy Carter, The reveal that The Winter Soldier Murdered The Starks and the collpase of the Avengers.
Add to that the introduction of Spiderman, Black Panther and the seminal Airport Sequence and you have one of the best superhero movies of all time. Phenomenal from start to finish, Civil War deserves it’s spot in the top 3 films.
2. Avengers: Infinity War
In my head before seeing Infinity War, I thought that there was no way that this could live up to the hype. Thanos had been teased for 10 years, as had the Infinity Stones and with almost every character from the franchise in the film, it just seemed impossible for the Russo Brothers to pull it off. However, against all odds they managed to.
Infinity War is a complete masterpiece that possesses perfect pacing, outstanding action scenes but also an unforgettable ending that will arguably stand as one of the greatest twists ever put to film for a long time. Infinity War not only nails everything that it attempts but it also surpasses all expectations and creates an outstanding movie from beginning to end the showcases why the MCU is the most popular film franchise of all time.
This is a complete masterpiece and deserves it’s position here on the list.
1. Avengers: Endgame
Avengers: Endgame rightfully deserves its spot at number one on this list as it’s an absolutely incredible film from start to finish. The movie has some outstanding action from start to finish but it also packs emotional moments that will have you laughing with joy in some parts and crying in others.
This is the perfect send-off for every character in the entire MCU and honestly if this was the final film in the franchise it would feel like one of the best send-offs of all time.
This movie not only is the best on this list but it’s also the best comic book movie ever made and that’s why it secures the number one spot.
So, what’s your list and where do you rank Avengers: Endgame? Comment below and let me know and if you enjoyed this video then make sure you check out my Ending Explained breakdown on the latest MCU film which will be linked at the end.