I’ve said this a million times over the last few days but I’m going to do it again: Captain America: Civil War comes out this week! We’re celebrating that fact like it’s Christmas and today’s present is the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe ranked from 12 to 1. Also, I have to say that I love all of these films so this was like picking favourite children – except none of my imaginary kids are anywhere near as cool as these movies.
12) Iron Man (2008)
For a film that didn’t have a script, Iron Man does a great job. This was the first MCU film and all of these other films wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for its success so kudos in that respect. Sadly, it makes the mistake of spending way too much time on the origin. Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is the biggest asset that the film has but he spends the first 45 minutes of the film in a dark cave in Afghanistan. Also, I’m not sure how Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah was planning to go from killing families to casually slipping into the role of Stark Industries CEO – it was a cool fight though.
11) Thor: The Dark World (2013)
The sequel to Thor fell short of its predecessor despite Marvel trying their hardest to make it”bigger”. Ultimately, they wasted Christopher Eccleston’s acting talent and it was just a little bit too long. The film was called Thor but Loki was the real star in this sequel – without Hiddleston’s trickster god, this movie would have been in last place. I think this film was mainly about establishing the Infinity Stone plot line for further down the line but they still had some good scenes: Frigga’s death and all things Loki stand out. Also, they decided to wreck London for once.
10) Iron Man 2 (2010)
This is a sequel that had a bit more direction but if you know how little they were working with on Iron Man then that should come as no surprise. They replaced Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle and brought in a more believable and scary villain in the form of Mickey Rourke. This film also marked Black Widow’s entrance into the MCU and gave us a broader look at SHIELD. Iron Man as a hero is okay but Tony Stark is the best part of these movies so it was a shame that he didn’t get more screen time – admittedly he was dying through most of the film’s narrative.
9) Ant-Man (2015)
The most recent Marvel release was a risk that paid off: Ant-Man is a small hero (literally) but Marvel didn’t shy away from that fact. The success of Guardians of the Galaxy – a film that was even more out there probably helped to spur them on with this one and it paid off. Paul Rudd’s thief turned hero is a fun character to watch and whilst there are no epic fights that level cities – the final battle takes place in a little girl’s bedroom – you find yourself invested in the story. The only bad thing I can find is the forced romance between Scott and Hope.
8) The Incredible Hulk (2008)
We have long since established the fact the The Hulk is not a hero that can carry a superhero movie by himself. Fortunately, The Incredible Hulk isn’t a superhero movie. It gets a bad reputation but it’s actually a very good film that simply lies in another genre. The Hulk doesn’t do anything remotely heroic until the final 15 minutes of the film. The real story is a man that just wants to be left alone and if that’s not relatable, I don’t know what is. For a story about a giant, green, rage-monster, it’s endearing and sweet. Seriously.
7) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
After hearing about this film, I had my doubts but the trailers dropped and it looked good. Then the film came out and it was a summer hit. Why? The ensemble cast work brilliantly together and Chris Pratt leads them with style. Speaking of style, the 1970s soundtrack is something that nobody could have predicted but it was amazing – Marvel got ten year olds singing Hooked on a Feeling. We won’t see them jumping into any other MCU films until Infinty Wars but they have their own sequel coming out next year. James Gunn is directing again so get excited.
6) Thor (2011)
I mentioned how The Incredible Hulk felt like it was a different genre of film and the same goes for Thor. With Kenneth Branaugh at the helm as director, this felt like a Shakespearean drama brought into a modern age. With gods. And laptops. What I love most about this movie is how they shamelessly pimp out Chris Hemsworth – in this film, Hemsworth is the hot girl. They have him taking off his shirt for no particular reason, mud-wrestling and cluelessly smiling. It’s a great gender-bend, especially as none of that negates his masculinity.
5) Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Just look at the poster for Captain America: The First Avenger – the cast is a thing of dreams. Chris Evans, Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper… Not to mention the small roles with Natalie Dormer, Jenna Coleman and Richard Armitage. This could easily have been a very simple film with a 2-dimensional Cap who just wanted to kill Nazis but they didn’t do that. They made Steve a character that we could understand in the 21st century which is why they were able to make even more films with him. He represents an ideal hero but he’s still flawed.
4) Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The largely criticised sequel to The Avengers wasn’t that bad! It was actually kind of great… particularly before the end battle. To be totally honest, there was no way that Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn’t going to face criticism after The Avengers but I will always love this movie. We got to see the dynamic between the Avengers and they featured practically every character in the MCU without it feeling too overwhelming. There are so many great moments but Clint’s secret family was a brilliant reveal.
3) The Avengers (2012)
The Avengers or Avengers Assemble in the UK was the last film that I was as excited for as Captain America: Civil War. After Agents of Shield and Captain America: The Winter Soldier I can’t watch this film without mentally pointing out all of the people that are secretly Hydra. Obviously the team-up at the end is amazing but my personal favourite part of the film is the first time that Banner goes Hulk. I was terrified the first time I watched it: that was probably the only time in my life I will feel like Black Widow.
2) Iron Man 3 (2013)
I’ve been going on about Tony a lot but that was just for the purpose of comparing it to this film. Iron Man 3 sees Tony alone for a lot of the movie. He doesn’t have access to his suits like he usually does which means that we’re not watching Iron Man, but Tony Stark. Fortunately Tony is smart, witty and just hilarious. Of all the Avengers, he’s the only one who can really hold a movie all by himself. We also see more of Pepper and we’ll see her again in Captain America: Civil War. The only thing that’s slightly off is how aggressively it tries to be a Christmas film.
1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Finally: the number 1 MCU film is none other than Captain America: Civil War! By far, this is the smartest film that Marvel have come out with. It’s not simply good and evil: they handle modern and relevant issues like government control and surveillance. It’s superhero action meets political thriller and the Russo brothers create something that anybody could watch and enjoy. It looks like they’re continuing with that theme in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War (which comes out in 3 days!).
That’s it but tell me:
Do you agree with these rankings? Where do you think Captain America: Civil War will fit in? Let me know in the comments.