Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Which of the 17 holds the top spot
With the release of “Thor: Ragnarok,” Marvel has completed possibly its best cinematic year yet in 2017, offering three films that were all really solid. And now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is at 10 years and 17 films, it’s time to add the new trio and rank them. The list appears in ascending order.
17. Ant Man (2015) — The final film in Stage 2, this is by far my least favorite. I thought it had potential, and some love it, but I didn’t. The humor didn’t work for me and no matter how much I like Paul Rudd, this just didn’t work for me.
16. The Incredible Hulk (2008) — The second entry in the MCU, this one is often forgotten, and for good reason. Ed Norton didn’t even remain Bruce Banner/The Hulk. If you haven’t seen this one, you’re not missing anything.
15. Thor (2011) — At this point in time, I think Chris Hemsworth as Thor might be my favorite Avenger (more on that below), but this first film, directed by Kenneth Branagh, didn’t really work. It’s fine, but not great.
14. Iron Man 2 (2010) — There was so much potential here, and I’ve always loved Robert Downey, Jr., as Iron Man, but this sequel fell a little flat.
13. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) — This is an underrated film in some ways, and it was crucial to setting up the collaboration. But Captain America has never been my favorite Avenger, and this one is just OK to me.
12. Thor: The Dark World (2013) — This one followed the Avengers and saw the return of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and it worked in an interesting way. I almost like Thor and Loki as begrudging buddies than as adversaries, and there’s part of this movie that works well for that. Part of it doesn’t work as well, though.
11. Iron Man 3 (2013) — This was the first post-Avengers film, and likely the final stand alone film for Iron Man. There’s potential here, and I like Shane Black as a filmmaker, but this one lands outside the Top 10 for me.
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) — This second Avengers team up works in some ways but it’s disappointing they couldn’t make more of James Spader as the villain. I’m hoping the third Avengers film is better.
9. Spiderman: Homecoming (2017) — This is the first of the MCU releases from this year, and a very pleasant surprise. It works for a few reasons. First, Tom Holland is an inspired choice as Spiderman. Second, this isn’t a traditional origin story, which is very nice. Third, he works really well with Tony Stark in this one. This was one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.
8. Captain America: Civil War (2016) — This is the third Captain America film, but really serves as kind of an Avengers film, too. I still have major qualms with the third act of the film and the way it ended, but three quarters of this film is brilliant. So I’ve given it a little break on re-watching, and moved it up the list a bit.
7. Dr. Strange (2016) — The other new MCU offering from 2016, this one was a different kind of film. I liked Scott Derrickson’s direction, and Benedict Cumberbatch is solid as Dr. Stephen Strange. This film isn’t for everyone, but it worked for me.
6. Iron Man (2008) — This was the first entry in the MCU, and it paved the way for everything that came after. I think Downey was a great choice for Iron Man, too. This used to be a staple in the Top 5, but it’s just outside of it now for me.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017) — The second entry from this year, and the first that was released, I loved this follow up to “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Baby Groot was incredible. I like this movie a lot, and this it was one of the most fun movies of summer.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) — This is the second Captain America film, and it was a game-changer for S.H.I.E.L.D. and the whole MCU. It’s also a very well done film and featured some great performances.
3. Avengers (2012) — Joss Whedon did something no one had done before, and he created a great super team that was a lot of fun. This is an under-rated movie because of all it had to accomplish and because of how much fun it has doing it.
2. Thor: Ragnarok (2017) — This was the final film released this year, and the best. And it’s one of the best MCU movies ever, which is a surprise in and of itself. Hemsworth has really come to shine as Thor, and this film allows him to show his comedic side, which is great. Just a great cast, a great story, and a movie where they look like they’re having a lot of fun.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) — Still the best. I love this group and I thought this movie was nearly flawless. It remains my favorite entry in the MCU.