Here’s the Definitive Count Down Of the Best and Worst Of the MCU
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has grown into a full-blown money making monster. Going from humble beginnings as a struggling studio, to becoming one of the biggest blockbuster contenders in the industry. However, money doesn’t always mean quality, and there have been some movies in the MCU that managed to sneak by quality control. That’s why I put on my fanboy hat and decided to take another look at the movies included in the MCU’s catalog and put them in order from worst to best. I’m sure there will be some controversy over some of my choices, but I’m thinking that this list really puts the films in perspective. So, sit back and enjoy as I shame the hero movies that deserve to be shamed and praise those that have satisfied the fickle geeks among us. The ultimate ranking of the MCU 2017 edition!
Coming in dead last is the first appearance of the golden-haired God of Thunder. I don’t even know where to start with this one, but I mostly blame director Kenneth Branagh for the lackluster action, awkward pacing, and failing to raise the stakes for our hero. This is not the origin story Thor deserved, but it’s the one we’re stuck with. Luckily later directors started to understand the character better.
16. The Incredible Hulk
How could something with Ed Norton be so bad? To be honest, I had almost forgotten that this movie was considered MCU canon. After all, there was no Hulk 2 (we all know the first Hulk doesn’t count). It’s a shame though because all the pieces were there. Tim Roth as the villain, William Hurt as the jerk dad/ General, and, well, Liv Tyler was there too. Unfortunately, legal issues have made it impossible for Hulk to get another solo movie from Marvel in the near future.
15. Iron Man 2
Maybe it’s the fact that the first Iron Man was so good. Maybe it’s the fact that Mickey Rourke played a Russian villain. Maybe it’s the fact that Sam Rockwell was absolutely wasted. Either way, Iron Man 2 was not a great movie. Sure it introduced Black Widow and the new War Machine, and I have to give it props for that little push for “diversity” but that’s not going to let it off the hook for being an aimless mess that just reinforced the fact that the MCU has a villain problem.
14. Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America is a hero’s hero. The guy every other Marvel character had a poster of on their wall. There were a few things that the first one got right, most importantly was Chris Evans, who is still spectacular in the role. The biggest problem with Captain America: The First Avenger is that it’s so boring. Not only that, but it feels like a vehicle to set up Agent Carter as a character fans would care about. But in a world of superpowers, a sassy British spy is, well, weak sauce.
13. Thor: The Dark World
For the longest time, Thor just could not get a break. His second solo outing went much better than the first. His character seemed to actually have a personality starting to peek through, and his relationship with Loki was actually given some depth. On top of that, Jane Foster was given a chance to be more than eye candy. However, a hero is only as good as his villain, and this time the villain was a D&D character with a messed up face.
12. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Man, where do we start with this one? First of all the controversy surrounding Black Widow. What the hell was supposed feminist Joss Whedon thinking? I won’t get into everything he did wrong (that’s an article for another day), but he messed up REAL bad. The film itself owes a lot to James Spader for voicing Ultron, but it was so rushed that there was never time to let anything sink it. In the end, it was a slapdash mess that only served as a stepping stone to phases 3.
11. Iron Man 3
It’s our old buddy Iron Man again! Considering he’s one of the most beloved characters in the MCU, he hasn’t really made too many great movies. This was about the time that Marvel decided to start mixing genres into its superhero movies, and the whole spy thriller really wasn’t the kind of thing Tony Stark would excel at. Plus, they messed up a villain fans had been looking forward to since the first Iron Man movie. Now, it wasn’t awful, but it tried to do a lot from the Iron Man comics and spread itself really thin.
It’s this point in the rankings that things really start to look up. Ant-Man suffered a lot of behind the scenes drama, but in the end managed to pull a decent film from that wreckage. It really wasn’t given the Marvel push we have all come to expect, but I will say that it was a charming film. Paul Rudd was a bold choice that really paid off and, of course, there was Michael Peña who stole the show. All in all, it was one of the better hero origin stories to come out of Marvel
9. Doctor Strange
If Robert Downey Jr. was born to play Iron Man, then Benedict Cumberbatch was born to play Dr. Stephen Strange. Despite the controversy over Tilda Swinton cast as the Ancient One, I thought she did a pretty spectacular job in the role. Then there were the insane visual Scott Derrickson brought to the table (with a little help from Rick and Morty’s Dan Harmon). Magic was going to be a difficult concept to introduce to the MCU, but Doctor Strange really pulled it off.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
Here’s where the list starts to get tough. The debate will rage on forever whether Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 is better than Vol 2, to which I say they were both better than each other in different ways. The second was way better at cementing the team dynamic and giving the characters real room to grow. The overall plot though was a bit lackluster. Still, that after the credits sequence really set up some big things for the future of the MCU(not talking about teen Groot).
Marvel’s most recent film really knocked it out of the park. Finally, Thor got himself a decent movie, one that the big lug could be proud of. The only issue is that there was such a dynamic change for the character that it felt a little jarring. Still, director Taika Waititi managed to keep the new comedic direction going strong throughout the film. It’s hard not to notice the inspiration it from Guardians of the Galaxy, but whats wrong with taking from things that work. It’s safe to say the MCU keeps getting better and better.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
I don’t think any fans of the MCU were ready for this one. There was such a dramatic shift in tone from anything else we had seen, and that risk paid off in spades for James Gunn. His team of lovable anti-heroes manages to breath new life and hope into an MCU that was starting to become a little paint by numbers at that point. While not all the movies since then take risks, this is the one that showed audiences are will to respond to those that do.
5. Iron Man
The movie that started it all. A lot of fans will argue that it’s one of the best the MCU has made, which is a fair point. However, I think there’s a little bit of nostalgia influencing that opinion. Sure, it brought us the three lynchpins that would hold phase one together, Tony Stark, Nick Fury, and Agent Phil Coulson. This was just the beginning though. It would be sad if things never got better from there, but luckily I think the MCU has in general.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
If there’s one hero who has really managed to stand as a beacon of light in his franchise, it’s Cap. While the first one didn’t offer much, the Russo brothers came along and managed to give fans everything they could want from the character. Someone who tries to do the right thing even if it’s not the most pragmatic, and one that often finds himself thrown into situations where the right thing isn’t always clear. Throwing him against Hydra and the Winter Soldier gave him an opening to become the MCU star.
3. Spider-man: Homecoming
Spider-man is officially part of the MCU! He’s the most beloved hero of all time, and now he’s back in style. Don’t get me wrong, I was a fan of Andrew Garfield, but something tells me this Tom Holland kid is going places. Plus, it was a movie that showed villains don’t have to be clones of their heroes and that not every character stops plots to destroy the world. Homecoming established the webhead as the hero of the people and that’s going to be very interesting to see in the next Avengers movie.
2. The Avengers
This is where the MCU became real. Other heroes had their moment, but the first time seeing them all together like this was something that fans never thought they would get a chance to experience. The pay off Avengers offered was everything we needed for phase one to come to a dramatic close and offer a chance for phase two to rock our socks. True some heroes got more of a chance to shine than others, but that end sequence with all of them coming together still gives me chills.
1. Captain America: Civil War
I know, a lot of people are going to say Avengers was the best the MCU had to offer to date. But it felt light and fluffy compared to Civil War. All the heroes came together, but this timelines were drawn in the sand and it became clear that friends don’t always disagree. Besides I think that Baron Zemo was one of the best villains in the MCU because he proved that even the weakest man has enough strength to kill the strongest, his strength came from turning the heroes on each other to rip apart everything they had tried so hard to build.
There are a lot more movies coming to the MCU next year (hell, for the next couple of years). But so far this is the ranking of worst to best. Trust me, there will be plenty of changes to this list in the future, but make sure you let me know what you think of it in the comments below.