Ranking the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
May 13, 2019
As the Infinity Saga of the MCU comes to an end, it’s time to look back to the 21 films that led to Endgame. The MCU does not really have an awful film, but there are definitely some that are better than others. In my opinion, my top six are so close that almost everyday I switch them. Here is a look at the rankings of all 22-MCU films:
1. Avengers: Infinity War
The first part of the finale of the Infinity Saga is just slightly better than Endgame. The film finally introduces the villian that the MCU has been hinting at since the end credit of the first Avengers movie. Thanos, brilliantly played by Josh Brolin and an amazing visual effects team, is so scary and evil, but has an understandable motive- balance across the universe. The film is two and a half hours of pure action, but has some emotion throughout. Also, the film ends with one of the greatest film cliffhangers of all time, and everyone will always remember the Snap.
2. Avengers: Endgame
The finale of the Infinity Saga does not disappoint at all. It’s a great conclusion to the original characters from the first Avengers. Also, its final hour has the best battle in the MCU but with many emotional beats that would leave any fan in tears. The final film in the Infinity Saga is fantastic all together with everything fans have wanted in the 11-year journey.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The second Captain America film introduced Falcon and built the lore of Hydra within the MCU. It has the best fight choreography of any MCU with the gritty face off between Captain America and the Winter Soldier. Also, Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson are great in this political thriller in the MCU. This film is so great because we get two amazing villains in Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes and in Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce.
4. Captain America: Civil War
The final Captain America film is more like Avengers 2.5. We get to see almost every MCU hero, besides Thor and Hulk, fight each other after a piece of legislation gets introduced allowing the government to control superheroes. Team Cap vs Team Iron Man in the airport is probably the second best fight scene in all of the MCU, and we get an emotional finale with our favorite heroes fighting one another.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy
The original Guardians of the Galaxy has some of the best humor we’ve seen the MCU. Coming into the movie no one, besides hardcore comic fans, even knew who the Guardians were, yet leaving the theater we fell in love with a tree and a talking raccoon. Chris Pratt is great as Star Lord and we instantly have a connection with this band of misfits. I would call the first Guardians the most rewatchable and entertaining film in the MCU.
6. The Avengers
The original Avengers changed the game in terms of having a bunch of characters from different movies coming together. We get to see Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye sharing the screen for the first time. The action is great, the humor is great, and this movie became an instant classic after its 2012 release.
7. Thor: Ragnarok
The third Thor is by far the best of the three. The film has fantastic humor, great action, and an awesome buddy-cop feel between Thor and Hulk.
8. Black Panther
Black Panther follows Chadwick Boseman as the new king of Wakanda. The film really excels introducing a whole new country in Wakanda, while having messages that are very applicable to today’s society. Also, Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger is a great villain with pretty convincing motives.
9. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Although Tom Holland was introduced in Civil War, his first solo film really brought the character into the MCU. There were great performances by Holland and Downey Jr, and Michael Keaton’s Vulture is one of the best villains in the MCU.
10. Iron Man
The one that started it all is still a very entertaining movie, although many forget about it. Without Iron Man being great, the rest of the MCU might not have happened. Robert Downey Jr is great and the MCU’s opener is one of the best.
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron
The second Avengers film had to live up to unreasonable expectations, and therefore was deemed a disappointment by most. The villain Ultron, one of the most menacing and powerful in the comics, was very unconvincing and disappointing. However, some of the great moments in the film put it in the top half of the MCU.
12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The second GOTG movie is very entertaining and helps to develop Star Lord and the other guardians. However, the film deems characters like Drax and Mantis as strictly comic relief and they serve no other purpose. The film relies too much on comedy, and it falls flat more often than usual.
13. Captain America: The First Avenger
The first Captain America does a great job of introducing Steve Rogers and is a well-done period piece taking place largely during WWII. The film also introduces Bucky Barnes and Hydra. The First Avenger plays a huge role in introducing things that are very important throughout the 22-film saga.
14. Ant-Man and the Wasp
Many prefer the original Ant-Man, but I personally find the second one more entertaining and important to the MCU. The film adds another superhero to the mix with the Wasp and continues the great humor found in the first one.
15. Doctor Strange
The film introduces the Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Steven Strange. Cumberbatch plays an arrogant surgeon who loses feeling in his hands, and goes on a world trip looking for a cure. The film has lots of great action and introduces a new realm of the MCU in magic.
16. Iron Man 3
The third Iron Man film has a bad reputation for what the studio did to iconic comic book villain, the Mandarin. While the Mandarin was definitely disappointing, everything else in the movie is pretty good. We finally get to see Tony have to go on a mission without the suit, demonstrating his intellect and bravery.
17. Captain Marvel
The first woman superhero movie in the MCU is very entertaining and has a strong message, but does not have the same Marvel magic that many of the best do. Some of the comedy falls flat, and Carol Danvers seems pretty one-dimensional, but she does kick a lot of butt.
18. The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk mainly suffers from it being the second film in the MCU and having a different actor play Bruce Banner. Instead of Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton stars in the film. Although the action is great and entertaining, the film almost has nothing to do with the rest of the MCU besides brief character appearances.
Thor’s first film brings the God of Thunder down to Earth (figuratively and literally) as he lost all his power. The film does a good job of introducing Asgard and introducing the Thor and Loki characters, but it doesn’t leave any lasting impression.
The film follows Scott Lang who learns from scientist Hank Pym and becomes Ant-Man. The film has great humor, but lacks a convincing villain. The film is not a disappointment, but adds little to the MCU and is very forgettable.
21. Thor: The Dark World
The second installment in the Thor trilogy shares many qualities of Iron Man 2. The film serves to build Thor, Asgard, and his relationship with Loki. However, the villains are extremely boring and the comedic tones fall flat.
22. Iron Man 2
The second installment in the Iron Man trilogy serves mainly to build Tony Stark, while paying little attention to everything else. Robert Downey Jr’s charisma was not able to save a largely bland and forgettable film in the MCU.