It’s time for the big one. It’s time to rank the best movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and time to decide which ones are the worst.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become the Hollywood powerhouse of our generation. No other franchise can come anywhere close to it, even though DC Comics and Warner Bros. gave it a good go with their DCEU.
After 23 films and three phases, and with Marvel about to embark on its fourth phase, nows a good time to look at what they’ve done and come up with a definitive ranking for these movies.
There have been some good ones, some very good ones, some not-so-good ones, some bad ones and maybe a couple of real stinkers.
I’m going to try and decide which ones are the five best Marvel movies, and which ones are the five worst, and that’s not an easy thing to do, believe me.
My ranking has a tendency of changing much like the weather, but I’m going to stick to whatever I write down here.
So, without further ado, here are my top five and bottom five movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with the five worst.
THE FIVE WORST MOVIES IN THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE
The very first Thor movie, Keneth Branagh’s film, was about as good as you could have expected it to be. However, it still wasn’t great. They hadn’t figured out that Chris Hemsworth was a fantastic comedic actor yet, and he was still finding his feet with the character.
So, yeah, it’s fine, but not brilliant, and when you have so many other movies that are better than it in the MCU, it’s no surprise that it’s landed in the bottom five.
4. Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Avengers: Age Of Ultron is a complete mess of a movie, and it’s not Joss Whedon’s fault. There was a lot of studio interference with this film and you can really sense it.
The story arc is being pulled in too many different directions and it’s mostly down to the fact that Marvel and its President, Kevin Feige, wanted to connect it to what was to come in the MCU. It wasn’t until later on that they realised they needed to just let the filmmakers strut their stuff and make a good movie in its own right.
3. The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk is a strange movie. Firstly, it’s the only film to feature Edward Norton as Bruce Banner – he was later replaced by the brilliant Mark Ruffalo – and secondly, the film found itself in a bit of a limbo between the comic book movies of old and what was to come.
It’s a shame because there was a lot of promise there, but it just fell short. And apparently, Norton kept on wanting to edit the script which I’m sure didn’t help matters.
2. Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 saw Jon Favreau return to direct the sequel after his smash hit Iron Man, but he couldn’t quite catch lightning in a bottle twice in a row. The film is all over the place and features one of the worst performances in the MCU, and that honour goes to Mickey Rourke as the villain Ivan Vanko.
He was terrible and interestingly enough never to be seen again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was rushed, poorly written and just rather dull. It did, however, feature another great turn from Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man as well as Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer who’s been criminally underused in the franchise.
1. Thor: The Dark World
OK, this one was a big mess of a movie. Thor: The Dark World was originally going to be directed by Patty Jenkins who went on to make the excellent Wonder Woman, and they ended up replacing her with Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor, and the whole film felt a bit like a bad Game of Thrones episode.
The fight scenes were good, but Christopher Eccleston’s villain Maleketh was totally forgettable and the film was just bland and uninteresting. I would argue that it’s the one film in the MCU cannon which is genuinely bad, terrible even.
THE FIVE BEST MOVIES IN THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE
5. Avengers: Endgame
This one is cheating a bit because personally, I would put Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War together. I was blown away by what the Russo brothers managed to pull off here. It may not be the best film in the MCU, but it was definitely the most challenging, and Endgame was the perfect way to end what’s been an incredible run of movies.
It’s blockbuster filmmaking at its very best. Entertaining, emotional, spectacular and just everything you want from a tentpole movie.
4. Black Panther
Ryan Coogler. God damn it, he’s good. Black Panther was a bit of an unexpected hit, and Coogler managed to pull off something really quite remarkable with this film which is as entertaining as it is important. Black Panther is Marvel’s first movie to feature a black lead, but not only that, it’s a genuinely good movie, an Oscar-winning movie nevertheless.
It’ll easily go down in history as one of the most important films of our generation and will hopefully open up the floodgates to more diverse blockbusters like this being made in Hollywood.
3. Thor: Ragnarok
I love Thor: Ragnarok, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I think I’m sensing a pattern with the Marvel movies I like. I tend to prefer their films which are made by directors who have a voice, that have a unique style and have something to say about the world we live in. I also like their films with a good sense of humour, and it doesn’t get much better than Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok.
I laughed and smiled the whole way through, and for that, it’s very high up my list. I can’t wait to see what Waititi and Hemsworth do with Thor 4.
2. Guardians Of The Galaxy
Here’s another film which has everything in my book. Guardians of the Galaxy has style, it has humour, it has action, it has fascinating characters, it has great music… James Gunn really pulled it out the bag with this one, and I would argue that the first Guardians movie is very important for the longevity of the MCU.
Without Guardians I highly doubt you would have got the likes of Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ant-Man and maybe even Black Panther. It was the first time they really let a director do what he wanted to do. Gunn wrote and directed the film, and it has his fingerprints all over it. It also opened up the MCU to the cosmic realm, which is what the Thor films should have done, but they remained on Earth for some unknown reason.
1. Iron Man
That said, it doesn’t get much better than Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. The fact that this film turned out the way it did is a mini-miracle. There was no script, there was no time, and the budget wasn’t that big. If Iron Man didn’t make it, Marvel Studios were screwed, and they had to go up against Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight which came out in the same year. That’s pretty tough competition.
But somehow, they managed to pull it out the bag and Iron Man remains to this day one of my favourite comic book movies of all time, and without it, the MCU would not exist today.
Meanwhile, why not have a read of our articles on the five reasons why Tom Holland in the best Spider-Man ever, the five actors who could play The Penguin in the movie, and the five movies you should watch if you still think Robert Pattinson won’t be a good Batman.
You can also have a read of our reviews of Toy Story 4, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Aladdin, Detective Pikachu, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Avengers: Endgame, Hellboy and Glass.
In the meantime, why not catch up on your Marvel movie knowledge by hopefully re-watching some of the films in the franchise, which you can purchase here!
Spider-Man: Far From Home is in cinemas now if you want a little MCU action.
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