It’s the obligatory ranking of the MCU (well so far that is), and what better day to unveil our rankings than the release of the cinematic behemoth that is Avengers Infinity War. We’ve rattled our brains, spat out the memorable (and not so memorable) quotes galore, as well as (poorly) re-enacting the universes biggest battles. All in the name of ranking the biggest cinematic universe out there, so without further ado, let’s get in to it.
18. Thor: The Dark WorldComing in at the bottom is the first Thor sequel, it’s by no means the worst film ever but when stacked against the rest of the MCU it seems to fade in to the background. Featuring the MCU’s dullest villain to date, and perhaps an even more forgettable plot, making Thor: The Dark World Marvel’s blandest outing yet.
17. HulkThe second film in the MCU, and like Thor 2 it’s also one of the most forgettable adventures in the universe. Whilst it was a big improvement over Ang Lee’s 2003 attempt at the raging monster, The Incredible Hulk still failed to rise above mediocrity. It probably didn’t help that Norton never really felt at home in the role, or that the action failed to evoke any feelings of excitement.
16. Iron Man 2The first sequel in the MCU and instead of a direct Iron Man sequel, what we got was an Avengers prelude. The film in turn suffered from an incoherent plot and so so action set pieces. Mickey Rourkes’ Whiplash also struggled to be anything more than a grumbling guy who really likes birds. There’s no doubt that it’s the worst Iron Man, but thankfully it’s also one of the worst movies in the MCU too.
15. Captain America: The First AvengerWe’ll be honest Captain America The First Avenger is one of least favourite Marvel movies, and originally we would have put it lower on the list, but after a repeat viewing we realized it has less fault than the previous entries. Though it features some questionable choices, including choosing to make the films’ best action pieces into a super-cut montage, allowing us to spend more time with Captain America’s patriotic parading… Yay? Yet it did include the ‘death’ of Steve’s best friend Bucky, but it was nowhere near as emotional as we’d have hoped, not to mention the film’s boring finale. Still the romance between Steve and Peggy is solid and the character of Steve Rodgers is admirable, so it’s not necessarily all bad.
14. Avengers: Age of UltronWhat most (including ourselves) were hoping would be the great follow up to one of cinema’s biggest events, unfortunately turned out to be ‘alright’. Ultron was solid as a villain (thanks to voice of James Spader) as well as a fairly decent introduction to certain new comers. The rest of the film seemed to fall apart as it tried to not only juggle the central story but try to set up for all the films that were to follow. The final battle was entertaining if at times lifeless, as endless waves of threatless robots come in to attack. Age of Ultron is still an enjoyable movie, it just left a lot to be desired for what is a pretty underwhelming sequel.
13. Ant-ManAnt-Man went through a bit of production hell as they lost director Edgar Wright due to creative differences, and wound up recruiting Peyton Reed to take over the project. Somehow it all still worked out, and what we got in return was a good heist movie that backed by an excellent turn by Rudd as criminal Scott Lang. The small scale action was refreshing and the eccentric tales spun by Lang’s buddy Luis (Pena) gave us some great laughs. Still like most Movies on this list a weak villain and at times slow pace stopped Ant-Man from being great.
12. ThorDespite not being the Asgardian’s best outing, his first feature still worked rather well as it mixed fish out of water humour and gave us the first introduction to the cosmic side of the MCU (Now in full swing thanks to GotG). The film was less about the action and more about Thor’s family dynamics as his brash actions lead him to be banished and forced to learn the error of his ways. Make no mistake there is still some good action, particularly involving the frost giants, but the film is first and foremost an intimate character journey, that’s still entertaining years down the line.
11. Spider-Man: HomecomingAfter plenty of years on our cinema screen, and a good few Sony reboots the web-slinger finally made his way over to the MCU. Smartly skipping over the now well known origin story, Homecoming centered on a smaller city threat caused by a scavenger known as the Vulture. It didn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of Marvel’s best, but it’s a solid teen drama wrapped up in a superhero blockbuster It’s witty, well cast and has some solid action to tide us over. Civil War gave us hope for Holland’s Spider-Man, but Homecoming put any worries to rest and delivered a great film, and then some.
10. Iron ManAlthough it may have been the film that made the MCU what it is today, Marvel have been nailing film after film, slowly bumping this excellent adventure down the pecking order. The introduction to Iron Man is a great movie, with a now iconic performance by Robert Downey Jr, it gave us thrills, exciting action and solid narrative that made Tony Stark the arrogant yet lovable hero he is today.
9. Iron Man 3Iron Man 3 is probably the most divisive Marvel film out there. You either love Shane Black’s humour and go along with the Mandarin twist, or loathe the film for its so so villain and squandering of Iron Man’s greatest nemesis. Over at Picture Peak we’re in the former camp, and fully enjoy Shane Black’s take on the armoured hero. There’s plenty of great set pieces to gawp at, solid jokes and even suits a plenty that head in to battle. There’s some set back by the weak villain but everything else works so well and that’s what helps edge this sequel slightly above the original.
8. Doctor StrangeMaster of the mystic arts or a magical Iron Man retelling? Cinema goers have compared Doctor Strange a lot to Iron Man, and to be fair the film does follow a lot of the same story beats. Yet Doctor Strange manages to elevate itself above that thanks to the films magical battles and high caliber cast. There’s entertaining battles, and mind bending set pieces that look like someone mashed together the superhero formula and Christopher Nolan’s Inception into one fantastical beast. Though the soundtrack may have played it a little too safe, and once again the villain leaves something to be desired, the overall film is a strange yet wonderfully engrossing tale.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2A sequel to Marvel’s surprise smash hit, director James Gunn’s trip back to the cosmos gave us more of what we hoped for. We were introduced to Peter’s father, given a deeper look at both the central and supporting cast of characters in this largely enjoyable sequel. It may have doubled down on everything we loved about the first movie, though at times it can feel like the overkill as it gets lost in the ‘bigger is better’ sequelitus. Yet Vol. 2 manages to pull through thanks to its charming group of heroes and a involving plot that focuses more on the characters than the world around them. It may not have lived up to the hype around it, but when you’re facing massive expectations, coming close is still pretty good in our eyes.
6. Avengers AssembleThe first ‘Big Event’ Movie moment by Marvel (One that is sure to be eclipsed by the enormity of Infinity War Today). The original outing left some of us worried that a juggling act of such heroes may be a tall order, but Whedon pulled off a great feat and made the Avengers feel like a natural team up. The final showdown still gives us goosebumps and watching all the heroes bounce off of each other still makes an entertaining movie. Though the 1st act can feel a little slow compared to the rest of the movie, and the less said about Captain america’s outfit the better. The rest of the movie is endless fun, that delivers excitement and laughs time and time again.
5. Captain America: Civil WarDubbed by a few as ‘Avengers 2.5’, make no mistake Civil War is a Captain America tale through and through. It was the first film that added stakes and fear of death to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, on top of successfully managing to juggle a very large cast. It may be nowhere near the scale of the Civil War comic tale, but the family feud gave us jaw dropping action, whilst it introduced compelling new heroes as well as giving us more reasons to love the heroes of old. The central narrative is clear and doesn’t falter to set up other movies, it not only features some of the MCU’s best set pieces, but it also features one of the most riveting narratives inside the entire superhero genre.
4. Thor: RagnarokAfter the previous two Thor films, not even Stan Lee himself could have convinced me that Thor Ragnarok was going to be the funnest Marvel film yet. Yet director Taika Waititi did it. Ragnarok is an absolute blast from start to finish, filled with; grande spectacle, big laughs and an incredible comedy performance by Hemsworth. There’s a gladiator battle between Thor & Hulk, A solid villain in the shape of Cate Blanchett’s Hela and a solid supporting line up. What more could you possibly want?
3. Captain America: The Winter SoldierAt it’s core The Winter Soldier is an intriguing spy thriller, and a bloody good one at that. It isn’t just a great Marvel movie, but an outstanding action movie in its own right. Packed to the brim with gripping action, a strong villain and a narrative that challenges everything the central hero believes in. There’s not much The Winter Soldier gets wrong, and it only gets better with repeat viewings
2. Black PantherThe most recent entry on this list, but Black Panther is without a doubt one of the best MCU movies out there. It introduced us to a whole new culture, continued the growth of T’Challa post Civil war and gave us one of the most exciting villains in the MCU pantheon, not to mention the well crafted score and great performances by the entire cast. Creed director Ryan Coogler handled the film with the upmost care, balancing character depth and nail biting combat without compromising either. It’s an excellent adventure, one that feels unlike anything we’ve seen before in the MCU, and it’s all the better for it.
1. Guardians of the GalaxyDespite the onslaught of great MCU movies in the coming years, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy stands tall as the current king of the MCU. It’s got the killer soundtrack, a colourful cosmos to explore, and a phenomenal cast of lovable rogues that’s all wrapped up into an exciting Science-fiction adventure. Whilst Ronan may not be a great villain, the tale of this rag tag bunch of heroes coming together is still Marvel’s most entertaining affair yet.
So there’s our run down of the last 10 years of the MCU. Do you agree with our list, if not what would you change? Let us know in the comment section below.