WARNING! POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR ALL MCU FILMS UP TO THIS POINT!!!
With the release of Avengers: Infinity War quickly approaching, we thought it would be appropriate to rank every single film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I asked some other fantastically nerdy Marvel fans to make their lists and I combined those with my own. With 18 movies to cover, some rankings will get more explanations than others. Enough set up, let’s rank these movies from worst to best!
18. Thor: The Dark World
Are you really surprised by this? Moving on…
17. Iron Man 3
Besides revealing some fun suits, Iron Man 3 was a struggle. Multiple comic book storylines were butchered including the Mandarin, extremis, and even the concept behind the Iron Patriot. From the looks of Infinity War however, we may finally be getting the true extremis armor on screen.
16. The Incredible Hulk
I personally really enjoy this film. It may have its flaws, but it gave us some incredible moments. We go to see Hulk rip a car in half and use it as boxing gloves, Abomination was a fun villain and we finally got to hear “Hulk Smash!”
15. Iron Man 2
A villain with another suit… That briefcase armor was pretty great though!
Take out the horrific bleached out beard and eyebrows they put on Chris Hemsworth and this is a pretty solid movie. Arrogant boy gets his toy taken away and put in time-out to learn a lesson and become a better person.
13. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
This seems to be a very polarizing installment in the MCU. Visually, the Guardians sequel was incredible. For me, the movie felt like it was running in place without going anywhere. The humor felt forced and I got tired of baby Groot pretty quick. Oh and if you didn’t know, James Gunn recently revealed that baby Groot is actually Groot’s son. Yup, that means Groot actually died in the first Guardians of the Galaxy… Let that sink in. If you loved this film, great! But for everyone I had make a list, it was pretty low in rankings. I will say the reveal of why Star Lord’s mother died was unexpected and brought me right back to how I felt in the first installment.
Ant-Man was a very nice change of pace for the MCU. This heist film had a lot of comedy and creativity. Paul Rudd does a fantastic job in the titular role and I’m excited for the sequel which comes out July of this year. I think having the Wasp will bring a great dynamic to the franchise.
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron
I honestly wasn’t the biggest fan of this Avengers sequel the first time I saw it, but it has definitely grown on me. I loved James Spader as Ultron’s voice. It was annoying that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver couldn’t be called mutants, thanks Fox. Quicksilver’s death had no emotional payout as we just met him. Vision was amazing though. The action sequences in this film are some of my favorite in the MCU. If you didn’t;t like it the first time, I strongly suggest you give it another chance.
10. Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange was an absolute trip! The visual representation of warped reality was beautifully done. Benedict Cumberbatch fits very well into the Marvel team line-up. Some of the jokes fell flat, but for the most part the writing was solid. While Tilda Swinton’s casting as the ancient one was controversial, she stole nearly every scene she was in. With how great Cumberbatch’s role in Thor: Ragnarok was, I am eager to see him interact with other heroes in Infinity War.
9. Captain America: The First Avenger
I’m not gonna lie, the Captain America character has always seemed fairly boring to me. However, my perceptions changed after watching this movie. I began to understand the mentality and perseverance that Steve Rogers embodies. Chris Evans has played so many comic book characters over the years, but Cap is hands down his greatest realization of a character. So much happens in this film that sets up the future of the MCU. Even though I personally would’ve placed it a little lower on this list, I’m glad to see Cap getting some praise.
8. Captain America: Civil War
From one Captain America film to another. Civil War was a spectacle! Essentially another Avengers film, Civil War demonstrated how even heroes can become divided. This film is non-stop…except for the farm scenes… But lets move on from that. Spider-Man joins the MCU and it’s amazing! Black Panther is also makes his debut and he kills it. The small interactions between characters and the subtleties is what makes this fantastic. Paul Rudd gives a standout performance in the airport scene with both his humor and giant surprise. Within just a few minutes of Spider-Man on screen, we witness his witty banter, “spidey” sense, and legitimate strength. And the final confrontation between Iron Man, Captain America and Bucky is absolutely brilliant. The fact that this is number 8 on our list testifies to the caliber of films in the MCU.
7. Black Panther
Black Panther is a visual spectacle that mirrors modern day issues. The popularity of this film is evident as it is now the third highest grossing film of all time at the domestic box office. The soundtrack is amazing, but the performances by Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira and Michael B. Jordan set this film apart. I just wish we got to see more Killmonger. The constant removal and obtaining of powers got a bit old, but overall the film was solid.
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming
I am a massive fan of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. The genuine excitement he brings to Peter Parker is phenomenal. Michael Keaton gives one of the best villain performances in the MCU. How did they make the Vulture look cool?! That is the lamest character design of all time and it looked terrifying and formidable. I love the fact that Spider-Man finally has the snarky wit he is famous for in the comics. This John Hughes-esque film was a great installment in the Spider-Man mythos. Now let’s see what he can do in Infinity War! Iron Spider!!!
5. Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel took a big chance on a relatively unknown comic series and turned it into one of the biggest films of the year. With well timed humor, exciting visuals, and a heart of gold, Guardians of the Galaxy blew audiences away. We finally got a better look at Thanos and and realized how this rag tag group would eventually meet up with Earth’s mightiest heroes. This movie got me right in the feels. Between Groot’s sacrifice and Peter seeing his mother in a vision near the end, I was all in on this movie. Ronin fell a bit flat, but introducing an entire new cast of heroes and developing a memorable villain is a tall order. I can’t wait to see how these “A-holes” interact with the Avengers!
4. The Avengers
Here it is, the culmination of phase 1 in the MCU and it did not disappoint. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is still the greatest “villain” to date in this franchise. I felt like a little kid in the theater watching all of my favorite heroes meeting for the first time. The banter, tension and action were all fantastic. It took me 3 times to actually hear Hulk say “puny god” to Loki in theaters because of how riotous the laughter was during that scene. The rotating camera around the entire Avengers team still stands as one of the most iconic images in the franchise.
3. Thor: Ragnarok
When I heard Taika Waititi was going to direct Thor: Ragnarok I lost my mind. I love his style and humor. He was the perfect choice to bring this concept to life. Even though Chris Hemsworth was a perfect choice for Thor, his character felt like there was something missing. While the previous 2 Thor films tend to be near the bottom of most fans’ lists, Ragnarok is a standout in the MCU. Cate Blanchett is intelligent, terrifying and powerful. A much needed boost to the villains gallery for Marvel. I don’t believe we’ve seen the last of her character just yet. The entire sequence with Doctor Strange was hilarious and purposeful. Loki’s distain for the Sorcerer Supreme was thoroughly entertaining. Thor finally cuts loose and shows off that he is definitely not the god of hammers.
2. Iron Man
The movie that started it all still reigns as one of the best. Robert Downey Jr was born to play Tony Stark. The character arc in Iron Man is so complete and satisfying. The action is phenomenal and the CGI still holds up fairly well. The relationships feel real. In a film about a man that builds a flying suit to fight bad guys, it still somehow feels grounded. What really made me fall in love with this film however was their decision at the end to have Tony straight up announce that he was Iron Man… That was the most Tony Stark thing they could have done! While the sequels to Iron Man never quite captured the magic of the original, Shellhead shines in every other MCU film he appears in.
1. Captain America: Winter Soldier
We finally made it to our top ranked movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. Captain America: Winter Soldier is so much more than a good super hero movie. It’s just a good movie, period! One thing that Marvel does well is to push the boundaries of what their films can be. Rather than go with a generic action movie, Winter Soldier incorporates the elements of a spy thriller mystery. So many people forget about including the Winter Soldier on the villains list because he was being brainwashed. For the majority of the movie however, he is definitely a villain and a great one at that. This film has so many layers and it builds on the foundation set by previous films in the best way possible.
When considering our lists, we realized that so many of them could be switched and moved around. Our lists completely changed when we were picking the best movie, the movie we would watch again and which ones we enjoyed the most. Everyone’s lists will vary day to day so we in no way say this is a finite list. My personal list differs quite a bit from our final product, but it was fun to see where people placed the films and why.
Let us know what you think of our list. Which movies should be higher or lower? Did we do a terrible job or are we pretty close to your personal list? Let me know in the comments below cause I love to talk about all things Marvel. Avengers: Infinity War comes out April 27th, see you there!