In preparation for Avengers: End Game, I thought I’d take on the extremely difficult task of ranking all of the MCU films. I will write brief comments on each one, but not too much, otherwise, I could be here all day doing this. So, without any further ado, let’s get straight into it!
21. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Bottom because it’s largely irrelevant now, with the titular character being portrayed by someone completely different and it not really having much influence on the wider universe. Have no desire to watch it again and probably never will.
20. Captain Marvel (2019)
The latest instalment in the MCU sadly comes in right near the bottom, it offered nothing new for me and I was unimpressed with how the titular character was written and portrayed in the film. You can check out my full review for it here.
19. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Only just comes above Captain Marvel on the basis I would probably still rather watch this over it, but this isn’t great either. With one of the worst villains in MCU history, this story is largely forgettable.
18. Thor (2011)
A relatively good introduction for Thor, but I can’t shy away from the fact that I personally found to be quite dull, another MCU film that I wouldn’t particularly rush to watch again. It’s not looking great for Thor at the moment, but don’t worry, he’s still got one more chance in this list!
17. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
This will likely be controversial to many, but I just can’t get along with the first Captain America, no matter how hard I try, I just find it rather boring. Perhaps one day my opinion on it will change, but it can’t be any higher than 17th on this list because I just never have any real desire to rewatch this film. Don’t worry though, because as you’ll see as this list goes on, this first part in the Captain America trilogy is clearly just a blip in my eyes. (Sorry, spoilers!)
16. Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)
I feel sorry for Ant-Man and The Wasp, because it had to follow Infinity War and never stood a chance of being anywhere clear close to the quality of it. It’s a fun film, but in hindsight, it really didn’t serve a purpose until the post-credits scene, and the rest of it, although entertaining, is forgettable. I can’t see many people going back to watch this one on the regular.
15. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Iron Man 3 gets a lot of hate, I don’t actually mind it. But I acknowledge that The Mandarin twist left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths, and looking back on it, the decisions made by Iron Man throughout the course of the film are rendered null and void by Age of Ultron. Still, I don’t think it’s anywhere near as bad as people make out, and I would still happily watch it!
14. Iron Man 2 (2010)
A decent sequel that started to sow the seeds of this wider universe. The villain is quite lacklustre, but I still think this is a fun film and it’s always fun to look back on, when the MCU was still very new and fresh and the direction wasn’t as apparent as it is now.
13. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017)
Following its predecessor was always going to be a tough task, but Guardians 2 did a pretty good job. In parts, it’s just as fun as the original and it develops these characters well, and it’s worth revisiting just for Baby Groot. That being said, it’s ranked Number 13 because I felt that dragged on for too long and the third act was a bit messy.
12. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The weakest of the Avengers films in my opinion, it felt too much like the first one at times, it didn’t feel fresh or new. That being said, it’s still brilliant fun, and I think the events that followed on from this film actually elevate the quality of Age of Ultron. I also loved James Spader as Ultron, and it was great to see Paul Bettany make his debut as Vision!
11. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Finally, Spidey is back where he belongs. His full MCU debut after his Civil War cameo is a strong outing, and it has one of my favourite MCU villains in the form of Michael Keaton’s Vulture. It’s unlike any Spidey film I’ve seen before, and although it’s not my favourite, it did fill me with optimism for the future of this character in the MCU, and I can’t wait to see how things develop!
10. Ant-Man (2015)
This one really took me by surprise, despite the success of Guardians the year before, many found it difficult to see how a hero like Ant-Man could fit in. But Ant-Man is great, Paul Rudd is perfectly cast and this is a very funny, light-hearted heist film. It didn’t necessarily add much to the MCU at the time and it did feel very standalone, but that was actually quite refreshing.
9. Doctor Strange (2016)
Visually stunning, the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, a very strong origin story, what’s not to like? It felt fresh, it felt original. I’ve got a lot of time for Doctor Strange.
8. Iron Man (2008)
The film that started it all. It’s crazy to think that we had no idea where this would all go at the time, what seemed like just another superhero film kicked off one of the biggest franchises of all time. For that, Iron Man will always have a special place near the top of these lists, but that being said, it’s a damn good film as well and is completely justified in being here.
7. The Avengers (2012)
The first of the Avengers film is still a classic. It’s incredibly entertaining and it was certainly something special at the time of it’s release. It was unlike any other superhero film we’ve seen and it was the perfect way to end the first Phase of the MCU.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
This one took us all by surprise, it took a franchise that nobody thought would work in the MCU and it proved everyone wrong. Perfectly cast, full of charm and heart, it’s hard not to love the first Guardians of the Galaxy film.
5. Black Panther (2018)
Oscar nominated Black Panther brought something fresh and original to a 10 year old franchise. A thrilling ride from start to finish, a captivating story and one of the best villains we’ve seen in the MCU. I would imagine that you would find Black Panther in many people’s Top 5!
4. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Taika Waititi is a genius. Completely different to the two Thor films that came before. Ragnarok is most likely my favourite MCU film in terms of sheer entertainment value. It’s the funniest MCU film I’ve seen, the cast and performances are fantastic and the decision to include The Hulk in the story was a stroke of genius. The first two Thor films were definitely more serious, but Ragnarok lets go and just attempts to be fun and ridiculous, and it works perfectly. Let’s be honest, this has to make the Top 5 for Korg alone.
3. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
This will most likely be the top film for many, with good reason. This was always going to be in my Top 3, and it was bloody hard placing it. Infinity War is incredible, it seamlessly juggles a huge amount of characters and it never once stutters. Thanos is the best villain the MCU has ever had, and the climax of Infinity War will forever be known as one of the most shocking moments in film history, and I can’t wait to see how this part of the story will conclude in Endgame.
2. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Civil War just beat Infinity War for me, because I feel it is the most complex and layered film in the MCU. Watching the divisions between The Avengers grow further apart is captivating, and much like Infinity War, it juggles a lot of characters seamlessly, but what was even more impressive is that during all this, it still managed to give debuts to Black Panther and Spider-Man that didn’t halt the story at all. Civil War was an event, and even to this day you could debate for hours whether or not you’re “Team Cap” or “Team Iron-Man”. I was always Team Iron-Man, but the film did an amazing job of giving strong arguments on both sides, to the point the viewers were likely conflicted as well. It’s not only one of the best superhero films I’ve seen, but it’s also one of my all-time favourite films in general.
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
But our winner, is the second of the Captain America trilogy, The Winter Soldier. I remember having no expectations at the time due to my dislike of the first film, but I was blown away by quality of this film. Looking back on the MCU as a whole, The Winter Soldier is the film that began to show that the MCU could go in new, fresh directions. Those that came before all followed a similar formula, but this film was more of a political thriller. After this, we saw MCU films become braver, not afraid to branch out and play around with different genres, which has consequently helped the longevity of this entire franchise. As well as this, The Winter Solider has an incredible story, probably some of the best character development and chemistry we’ll ever see in the franchise, unbelievable special effects and choreography, an array of strong villains and a plot twist that changed the direction of the MCU forever. For me, personally, The Winter Solider is the absolute pinnacle of the MCU and proves why the Russos are the best directors the franchise has on offer. If Endgame is even half as good as this film, then we’re in for a treat.
So, that’s my ranking of all the MCU films!
Do you agree? Do you disagree? Are any of mine way off the mark compared to yours? Are any of them spot on? Where would you rank them? I’d love to know!
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