I love to do rankings every now and then. So I figured since I recently saw Ant-Man, that I would look back and review to rank the list of Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Let me preface this by saying that this is my ranking of the films based on my favorites. I’m sure some films are higher on my list than in others and vice versa. Also this is through Phase 2. Once Phase 3 gets going next year, I’m sure I will revisit this list and adjust accordingly. So here is the list (from least favorite to favorite):
12.) Thor: The Dark World
The sequel to Thor resides at the bottom of the list. Nothing against this film. I enjoyed it but compared to the rest of the MCU and specifically to the first one, this one isn’t as good. To me, the plot felt kinda disjointed and the Dark Elves could’ve been used better (or at least have potential to carry over into future films). As you will probably notice in this list, Phase 2 films will occupy a lot of the lower ends of this list. I’ll address that more here in a little bit.
11.) Iron Man 3
While I do enjoy the reference to Tennessee in this film (though there is no location in Tennessee where Tony Stark visits), Iron Man 3 is the least enjoyable of the Iron Man trilogy. I give it credit, it does reference The Avengers in trying to tie the story in the aftermath of those events on Stark. However, it feels disjointed and the ending, while makes sense if you look at it as just an Iron Man trilogy, does not make sense when you look at the bigger MCU picture. Hence, why it’s so far down on my list.
10.) Iron Man 2
The lowest film in Phase 1, Iron Man 2 is better than Iron Man 3 but compared to the rest of the MCU films, it’s not as enjoyable for me. It does have the debut of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and she does a great job. But when compared to the first Iron Man, this one misses the mark.
9.) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This will be the film that most will be higher on their lists. Why is it so low on my list? There are a couple of reasons. One, I don’t like that they blew up S.H.I.E.L.D.. I get why they did it but I think there were a lot of miles they could’ve traveled with S.H.I.E.L.D. still working and on top of that I didn’t like that they said Hydra was pretty much around inside S.H.I.E.L.D. nearly the entire time of existence. Two, compared to the first Captain America film, I didn’t necessarily like the tone. Granted, I’m in the minority on that thought but that’s just me. It’s a good film and probably out of all the Phase 2 films, it ties most into Avengers: Age of Ultron the best. But if I am going to choose between which Captain America film I’m going to watch, this one wouldn’t be my first choice.
Out of the origin story films, Thor is the lowest. I like Thor but again compared to other MCU films, it ranks lower. I like the tone of this film better than The Dark World. It helps that Loki is more prominent in this film as opposed to the sequel. I will say the next several films are tough to rank because they are all kinda bunched up together.
7.) Avengers: Age of Ultron
I’m sure that this film will be one that will be higher on other lists. And I enjoyed it when I saw it in the theater. However, the main problem that I had with the film is what made it less enjoyable than some other films. That problem was continuity. If you view the film on its own, it’s fine. However, when you tie it in to the other MCU films, there are problems. One of the main problems is the end of Iron Man 3 and zero explanation of how Stark went from the end of that film to Age of Ultron. Hydra is barely around in the film and is a secondary villain at best. The action scenes were great and I really like that they gave Hawkeye some quality screen time. He was probably the best character in the film. I’m going on record as saying this will probably be my least favorite Avengers film.
6.) The Incredible Hulk
This will be the film that is lower on a lot of lists. But I really enjoyed this film. And I thought Edward Norton did a great job as Bruce Banner/The Hulk and I loved Liv Tyler as Betty Ross (which is another complaint about Age of Ultron, they dismiss Ross and have Banner together with Romanov…but given that Barton is married in MCU, that option wasn’t available, anyway…). Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Mark Ruffalo fan and what he’s done with the role. But this film tells a really good story. I do hope at some point there is another Hulk standalone film. But until then, this is the one.
Yes, the newest entrant in the MCU makes my top 5 list. You can see my post on the film from yesterday to see some of the reasons why I enjoyed it. I’ll say again that it has a lot of the same beats as the first Iron Man. It is my 2nd favorite Phase 2 film and if you haven’t seen it, you need to see it. You really need to see it in the theater.
4.) Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America is one of my favorite superhero characters. And I love the retro feel of this film. In many ways those two characteristics are what make this film more enjoyable in my mind than The Winter Soldier. I wish though that the Red Skull had survived (and maybe he did, who knows?) but the tone of this film makes the rewatchability more enjoyable.
3.) Guardians of the Galaxy
The best Phase 2 film to me, this film was a lot of fun. Of course the cast of characters makes the film that much enjoyable. The film was unlike any other Marvel film up to that point and it’s charm and quirkyness make it stand out to me. If there is one Phase 2 film I could watch, this would be the one.
2.) Iron Man
The original classic. The one that started the whole thing. I love the first Iron Man. The story it tells is great. I will say that I rewatched it a couple of months ago and saw how dated it was. There was talk of MySpace and there weren’t really any smart phones and a digital camera was used to take a picture. But it still holds up really well.
1.) The Avengers
To me, the first Avengers film is my favorite. I love the action. I love the story. I love the soundtrack. It is an awesome film. If I’m choosing Avengers films, this is the one I’m more likely to go with (that may change when Infinity War comes around but as of right now this is it).
So that’s my list. Like I said, it’s a ranking of which ones I enjoy the most. All of them are good films and can watch them again and again. But given a choice, there’s some I’d watch first before others. I’m looking forward to Phase 3 and seeing what’s next.