My Marvel Studios MCU Movie Ranking
Today is the 10th Anniversary of Marvel Studios with the release of the first Iron Man movie. And, with the release of Avengers: Infinity War as the culmination of their efforts, I thought I would rank the Marvel films in order of my favorites. Please remember, these are MY favorites. People will probably disagree with me on some and that's fine. In fact, I know some of you will think I'm crazy for ranking them the way I did. I should note that even my least favorites are still ones that I can enjoy watching. And, I'd also like to say that the difference between 7-14 is so minuscule that they are pretty much a tie. LOL!
1. Avengers: Infinity War
I didn't think anything would knock the first Avengers film from out of my top spot, but Avengers: Infinity War was an amazing culmination of the 18 films that have gone before it and, so, it takes the top spot. The amount of work to tie the films together and to write characters who are tonally different and make them work in one film is nothing less than extraordinary. Thanos is one of the best and most complex villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It had some really funny moments, yet it never stepped on the gravity of the situation. As I said in my blog, it entertained, it made us feel and it made us think. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
2. Marvel's The Avengers
This had always been my favorite film because this was the film where I felt that Marvel Studios did it. They had promised us a shared universe and took these characters from different movies and really made them work. That moment when they all band together during the Battle of New York still gives me goosebumps no matter how many times I've seen it. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
3. Black Panther
This film rose to the top of my favorite films because, as a person of color, I feel Black Panther did a wonderful job at tackling the subject of race relations and capturing the zeitgeist of today. It offered various viewpoints on how to help the disadvantaged and oppressed. The fact that it's cast was almost all black (with black women in the forefront) and helmed by an acclaimed black director is wonderful. But, the fact that it is also, to date, the highest grossing superhero film domestically really says something. Wakanda Forever. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
4. Captain America: Winter Soldier
Up until this point, the Marvel movies had, for the most part, followed the superhero genre. But, with Captain America: Winter Soldier, Marvel Studios showed that it was going for a plan to avoid superhero fatigue by offering different genres that just happened to feature superheroes. Captain America: Winter Soldier was a political thriller with a much darker tone. This film was a game changer. Under the direction of the Russo brothers, Chris Evans and Scarlet Johansson really perfected their characters. The action sequences are some of the best I've seen. When the Winter Soldier punches Cap's shield, it feel as iconic as ever. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
5. Captain America: Civil War
Many people think of Captain America: Civil War as being an Avenger film, but it really is a film about Captain America and his wanting to help his best friend who he had recently discovered had been brainwashed into being an assassin for Hydra. Its Cap's loyalty to his friend that carries this film forward. That said, the fact that they did manage to fit the Avengers into this film in a meaningful way and even introduced Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is quite amazing. The film also introduced one of the best villains in the MCU in Helmut Zemo. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
This was the film that I was most worried about because, unless you were a comic book fan who read the cosmic books, most people had never heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy. And how would the general public take to a team that had a talking raccoon and a talking tree. But, they did it! The film also did a smart thing by going retro at the same time with its great soundtrack. It adds to Peter Quill's being "the alien" in this world full of the craziest species. What Guardians of the Galaxy does is reminds us that space films can be fun and colorful! We are groot. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
I absolutely love Ant-Man. I love the humor, I love the heist genre, I love the score. Paul Rudd is perfect as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and I love the fact that they made Michael Douglas's Hank Pym more of a mentor. It opened the door to storytelling in the past and I'm all for seeing Peggy Carter in various eras. I also love the way the movie is filmed so that you really get a sense of size and scale with scenes that feel like a great Disney attraction. Its one of those films that I can just have on and enjoy any time. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
8. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Who knew we needed yet another Spider-Man? But, Tom Holland is just perfect and I can't remember anybody else being Spider-Man. I love that they brought him back to high school and they really played the movie as a John Hughes movie that happened to have a superhero in it. Michael Keaton is amazing as The Vulture who, in the comics, is one of the lamest super villains. Yet, in Spider-Man: Homecoming, I really believe The Vulture to be one of the best in the MCU. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
9. Iron Man
The film that started it all. I've mentioned this before, but, where Superman: The Movie made us believe a man could fly, Iron Man made us believe a man could fly in an armored suit. I don't mean that in a literal sense (sort of). I mean that this film captured the same kind of wonder and amazement. Robert Downey, Jr. was just perfect in the role of Tony Stark and its really propelled him to stardom. I've always loved Iron Man, but watching it again recently, I realized how special the film is. It is the film that launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe after all. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
10. Doctor Strange
I was incredibly excited for Doctor Strange and to see magic finally introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Despite the mythological roots behind Thor, they tried to explain things through science.With Doctor Strange, we suddenly have crazy, drug trip dimensions and amazing spell casting. I really enjoyed seeing Strange's journey to become a Master of the Mystic Arts and think Benedict Cumberbatch was the perfect choice. I know many people were bugged by his accent, but I was enjoying the movie too much to care. The cinematography is amazing and dizzying as sorcerers battle within different dimensions. By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, I love this film. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
While two Iron Man films and The Incredible Hulk went before Thor, I actually began to believe in the Marvel Cinematic Universe starting with Thor. Perhaps its because he's always been one of my favorite characters and to see him come to life was just so thrilling to me. Its still my favorite of the Thor films because of that. Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as Loki were perfect in the roles and Sir Anthony Hopkins is nothing short of amazing as Odin. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
12. Captain America: The First Avenger
Tonally, Captain America: The First Avenger is different from its sequel. This is a pure period piece war film, but it needed to be that way because that's how Captain America was during World War II. It was the film that made us all fall in love with Chris Evans as Captain America. And we are also introduced to one of my favorite Marvel heroines in Peggy Carter who I'm glad to have seen in various points in her life. I thought Hugo Weaving did a great job in making the Red Skull believable. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
13. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
I actually really love Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. The first film was about becoming a family and this film was about being a family and what makes a family. I felt that it still captured the fun of the Guardians, yet it also was more emotional as relationships are tested and strengthened. Kurt Russell looked like he had a lot of fun as Ego and I was obsessed with The Sovereign. Also, seeing the original Guardians of the Galaxy as Ravagers was quite a treat. And Mantis who has become one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
14. Thor: Ragnarok
Taika Waititi definitely created a wonderful Thor film with many great moments, including, of course, that spectacular gladiator battle between Thor and Hulk. Jeff Goldblum's casting as the Grandmaster was nothing short of inspired. The same with Cate Blanchett as Hela. But, what prevents it from being my absolutely favorite Thor film is that, at times, I felt it went overboard with some of the humor and I hated the demise of the Warriors Three. I almost wish that they had either concentrated on the Contest of Champions OR Ragnarok and not both. I think both story lines cold have used their own films. But, it really is rollicking fun! Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
15. The Incredible Hulk
I don't know why people don't like The Incredible Hulk? I admit its not one of the best Marvel movies and takes itself a little too seriously, but there is still a lot of good things in this. I particularly like the relationship between Betty Ross with both Bruce Banner and the Hulk. I wish Hulk had Betty Ross outside of this film because, as much as I like to see Hulk smashing, I like to see the gentle giant as well. The scene of the two of them at the cave is one of my favorite Hulk scenes of all time. Its something they tried to do with Natasha in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it wasn't quite the same. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
16. lron Man 2
This is another film that I don't know why it gets so much hate. I think there's a lot of fun moments in the film. And, honestly, in my most recent viewing, I kind of liked Ivan Vanko/Whiplash. I admit he didn't look great, but I liked his back story and his getting the upper hand on Justin Hammer. I also acknowledge the sloppy writing, though. I also didn't love the introduction of Natasha Romanoff in this film because it felt a little too much sex pot. Natasha might use her sexuality to her advantage, but this felt a little too much. I'm glad to see that character have grown since then. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
17. Iron Man 3
I probably tie both Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3. They are both films that I think have fun moments, but still have their problems. I liked the Extremis story, but felt the Mandarin story line was completely unnecessary. Although, I did love Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery, the actor who played Mandarin, even if I thought the concept was dumb. I did like the PTSD storyline for Tony Stark and how he also needed to see he could stand on his own feet without the armor. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
18. Thor: The Dark World
The best part of Thor: The Dark World was the continued relationship building between Thor and Loki and I was glad to see Rene Russo get to kick ass as Frigga. Otherwise, I felt this film was lackluster. I thought the concept of making the Thor franchise be more fantasy genre was a good one, but the film took itself too seriously at times, despite having some great funny moments (including a cameo by Captain America). Jane, Darcy and even Erik Selvig seemed a distraction in the film. Malekith, despite his being a great comic book character, was a yawn. And this is the most depressing I've ever seen the Nine Realms before. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.
19. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Avengers: Age of Ultron really is far from the worst Marvel film, but its just my least favorite to watch. It probably ties with Thor: The Dark World for me as least favorite. But how, you ask? The film has a fantastic fight between the Hulk and Iron Man in Hulkbuster armor! There's the introduction of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver and the Vision! There's action and excitement galore! Well, I just feel the film tries to fit in way too much and is over bloated. You got Brutasha, you got the Red Room, you got Hawkeye with a secret family on a farm, you got Thor's spirit quest. Unlike Avengers: Infinity War that managed to balance all the characters quite well, every time the cut to another character in the film, it felt like time lost. Read my spoiler filled thoughts.