MCU 1-18

Infinity War Prep: Ranking All 18 MCU Films!!!

Avengers: Infinity War Poster 2
Avengers: Infinity War has premiered, and with ticket in hand for tomorrow, as the end begins, I thought it might be time to go back and rank the 18 films that have gotten us to this point.  Whatever your expectations for IW, it’s half a finale and I think when we go back and rewatch this first book of the MCU and the 22 films that make it up, we’ll watch it with Infinity War and next summer’s Avengers 4 as a back-to-back conclusion (click here for the chronological way to watch the MCU).

The MCU is the most profitable franchise in film history, and in 2020 it will pass the Bond franchise for the most installments.  Since Iron Man in 2008, the quality of the films has certainly wavered, but has been-overall-remarkably consistent.  If anything, the films are getting better and better as Marvel gets its characters more established and takes more risks in exploring new corners of the Marvel Universe and highlighting more diverse characters.  While I can find flaws in a number of the 18 films, I only have big problems with two of the entries and, once you get to a certain point, it’s really about splitting hairs as to which is the best.  Of the origin story films Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man are the best, but how do you balance that against films that have had the biggest payoffs in the whole saga like Winter Soldier, Civil War, Avengers, and Thor: Ragnarok?  In the end, this is just my preference; your list is just as valid.  Here is my MCU ranking #18 to #1 (subject to change in 24 hours).#18 Iron Man 3 (2013)
Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3

#17 The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk

#16 Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World

#15 Ant-Man (2015)
Paul Rudd in Ant-Man

#14 Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Sebastian Stan, Chris Evans in Captain America: The First Avenger

#13 Iron Man 2 (2010)
Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2

#12 Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Age of Ultron

#11 Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming

#10 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Rocket, Bradley Cooper, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

#9 Thor (2011) 
Chris Hemsworth in Thor

#8 Doctor Strange (2016)
Doctor Strange, Stephen Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch

#7 The Avengers (2012)
Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Chris Hemsworth in The Avengers

#6 Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo in Thor: Ragnarok

#5 Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, and Vin Diesel in Guardians of the Galaxy

#4 Iron Man (2008)
Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man

#3 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

#2 Black Panther (2018)
Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther

#1 Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: Civil War, Captain America, Steve Rogers, Chris Evans, Iron Man, Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr.

2 thoughts on “Infinity War Prep: Ranking All 18 MCU Films!!!”

  1. 18. ANT-MAN. Humor that consistently falls flat, paint by numbers heist plot, stock supporting characters, a lead actor who brings nothing to Pym that isn’t generic. Awesome effects work visualizes the premise to the hilt, yet does not save the movie.

    17. THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Those deleted scenes help a great deal, but they were not in the actual film. This does not even feel like an MCU installment.

    16. IRON MAN 2. No sense of style, poor balancing of action and drama. Only one of two MCU films I think is kind of boring in parts. For half of the third film, when we thought the Mandarin was real, that film had us on the edge of our seats. Mickey Rourke brought nothing to Whiplash. BW was incredible, though.

    15. IRON MAN 3. My problem is actually not with the Mandarin twist, which I am on record as loving, and only object to on principle (when a horrified fan reaction is THAT predictable, you start to enter into mean-spirited territory when you disregard it). My problem is that the villain they replaced him with is lame, and has NOTHING to do with the Mandarin in the comics. Also IM3 is hermetically sealed, no relation to the rest of the MCU.

    14. THOR: THE DARK WORLD. I don’t get the hate. And they took the ridiculous (in the comics) Thor character, and made him even better than he was in his first movie. The worldbuilding was cool in the extreme. Plus Loki elevates everything. But you understand why this is so low on the list, I think.

    13. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. Like IM2, this is kind of boring in parts when I try to rewatch. They started with an incredibly memorable villain, they cast James Spader to play him, and yet somehow the conflict did not feel as momentous as it should have. I suspect a lot of it stemmed from the behind the scenes drama. I was still walking on air when I walked out of the theater, though.

    12. IRON MAN. Robert Downey, Jr is the glue of the the MCU, and I love him as Tony. I’m not the biggest fan of his actual trilogy though, even if it was the cornerstone. Sue me.

    11. THOR. The fact that they took a character I could never get into, who was always frankly ridiculous, and made him workable as well as wonderfully charismatic, blew me away the first time I saw this one. The MCU’s greatest achievement might be the way they handled this character.

    10. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING. Finally, someone got Spidey 100% right. And Keaton is wonderful. I love the way they were able to make Vulture so sympathetic. Sometimes, when a film tries to deepen a villain, it feels grafted on. Not here.

    9. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2. It really does pale next to the first one, but Ego saves it. Ego, Loki, Vulture. Three awesome villains out of the eight films I’ve mentioned so far. Not the greatest track record, yet maybe the MCU villain problem isn’t quite as dire as people say. (The scene where Yondu kills everyone with his arrow…that saves the movie too).

    8. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. A retro past that never was. I love it. And how does Evans make such a square, straight-laced character so interesting to watch? It usually does not work out that way. Red Skull was a pretty damn good villain, but how could he not be, considering Hugo Weaving? The script let him down, but he will always be him.

    7. THOR: RAGNEROK. The most unapologetically ridiculous MCU film, and the most joyfully imaginative. As much a Hulk film as a Thor film. Goldblum is awesome. It’s not perfect, too many jokes mean a lot fall flat, and Hela is one of the most meh MCU villains, especially considering that Cate Blanchett played her. But what a ride.

    6. DOCTOR STRANGE. My favorite character, played by one of my favorite actors. Plus the special effects showed us new and wonderful places and things. I was in the zone.

    5. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. After many years of having no fun space operas to watch, the MCU gave us a fun space opera. And who doesn’t love rooting for the underdogs, when they’re this lovable, and click together this well as personalities?

    4. CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINDER SOLDIER. The film that showed what the MCU could be.

    3. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. The film that embodied what the MCU could be.

    2. AVENGERS. At the time I called it the best lighthearted summer popcorn movie ever made, and I think it still is. I wondered about where to place this on the list. and am surprised to be putting it so high, but the high I felt leaving the theater cannot be ignored. This is THE superhero movie.

    1. BLACK PANTHER. This is barely a superhero movie. I wish the Star Wars prequels had balanced action and dark political intrigue with such dexterity. I really, really wish it. I don’t love this movie for politically correct reasons, I love it because while it was definitely formulaic it showed a unique new world, one never seen before in a movie, not even close, the villain was both scary and 100% understandable, the action was restrained for a movie like this one, and it worked as wish fulfillment: we all know there will never be a world leader, anywhere, like T’Challa. It’s not just hard for a good man to be a king, it’s pretty much impossible. And if a genuinely good king tried it, watch him try to keep his throne. T’Challa actually cared more about his people than hanging onto power, and he ruled with reason guiding him. I love this guy. I love this movie. Wakanda forever. MCU forever!

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