Marvel has created many ‘Marvel-lous’ movies the last decade, creating a cultural phenomenon that’s injected life back into a limp blockbuster scene. Ranging from the first MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movie, Iron Man, to the new Black Panther movie, 18 films have built anticipation among fans for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. Things are going well for Marvel as their movies have managed to catch the eyes and hearts of people, whether they were comic fans or not.
Just watching them won’t be enough, so now what’s left? It’s time to take a look back at the films that led up to Avengers: Infinity War. Here are all 18 films in the MCU, ranked from worst to best! Do note that there will be spoilers, you have been warned!
#18 Thor: The Dark World
What made this movie terrible was ‘the weirdness’ and the lack of a logical plot. Jane being the host for Aether was awkward, with the movie establishing weird rules for her powers and ignoring them just minutes later. Also, weren’t the Asgardians basically super-advanced aliens? There are no character development for every character. It was very generic, a hero saving a distressed princess from a evil villain and that’s it. Even the excuse for the villain to destroy the nine realms was also very plain, leaving Malekeith as perhaps the single worst Marvel villain to date.
#17 Iron Man 3
This movie suffers from the worst flaw ever – the villain! Oh Marvel, why do you have to ruin a movie in such a way. The ultimate villain comic book fans were waiting for was just a hoax. A hoax as in, he was not the real Mandarin! He was an actor hired by Aldrich Killian to pose as Mandarin. Plus, the actor who portrayed him is not even Chinese…*cries in agony*. But despite the flaw, the rest of the movie had some great ideas that were perhaps not quite executed to perfection, and the house party scene added a little joy to it.
They needed a movie to introduce Ant-Man, a superhero with ability to grow as big as a building and as small as an ant, but the movie is about there as far as superhero movies go. The plot was a basic heist one, a flat storyline. No tension build-up and quite a monotonous climax, though the clever use of the shrunken world the final fight was at least entertaining. I am not much a fan of Ant-Man but the visual effects were amazing and the choice of actor I thought was suitable. Paul Rudd’s comedic timing brought humor to an otherwise dull movie compared to other Marvel movies.
#15 Avengers: Age of Ultron
Personally, the movie feels like it is used as an introduction to the Infinity Stone which was later revealed later in the movie (in this sense the movie does not break any new grounds). The A.I. robot, Ultron, is just a self-aware machine that is used just to make the ‘plot’ happen. Despite the low excitement levels throughout, the pick of James Spader to play Ultron was inspired His deep, treacherous voice brings Ultron to life.
#14 The Incredible Hulk
Edward Norton, the Incredible Hulk? My initially thought was, can he pull it off? Surprise, surprise… he did. He played Bruce Banner well though the CGI pretty bad, and when the Hulk is close to the ‘screen’ we can see how bad the effect is – there obviously wasn’t an Avenger’s level budget in play here.The plot is too straight-forward, not much action going on. I like that the movie focused on Hulk trying to control his anger but maybe it was just a little too focused. A plot twist would be great, but it seems the director, Louis Leterrier, ran out of ideas. However with all that negativity, what made it better than Avengers: Age of Ultron is the actor, Edward Norton (his great acting skills) – is still probably the best Bruce Banner casting to date.
#13 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not as good as the first movie. This impression of mine is probably caused by the high expectations I had after watching the first movie. It was mainly centred around Peter Quills (Star Lord) trying to find the whereabouts of his father. Don’t get me wrong, this is an important part of the character that deserves to be developed. But it would be better if there was more character development on other characters as well, and while there is some development for Rocket, the rest of the cast are woefully underutilized. Despite that, the rest of the movie was great together with a few great comedic moments along the way.
#12 Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man: Homecoming was great with Tom Holland as Spidey. I do think Tom is the most suitable one casting for Spidey – having his teenage boy looks (well, the comic book did start with Spidey as a high-schooler). What stops it from making it to the top 10 list is because of how I actually compare it with other Spider-man movies, and I had very high expectations for it. It is good but not quite good enough to compare to the first two Spider-Man movies starring Tobey Maguire, but Spider: Homecoming is better than Spider-Man 3 and both Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2 starring Andrew Garfield.
People are introduced to a hero which is a god who came to Earth from Asgard (a so-called ‘realm’, of which there are nine including Earth, or Midgard. What’s good about the movie is this is where we actually understand Loki’s motives for the first time, and that same motive follows the character throughout all his MCU appearances.
#10 Iron Man 2
Yet again we’re treated to the performance of Robert Downey Jr, which carries this movie on its back. We are also able to see the War Machine fight as well! War Machine is great in terms of assaulting and attacking using heavy duty weaponry, and makes for a good foil for Iron Man himself. The fight with villain was also epic where Iron Man and War Machine fight alongside each other against the Hammer drones in one of the scenes, even though it was a brief and quick fight, it’s one that hints at the future greatness of the MCU’s teamups.
#9 Black Panther
A legitimate Marvel phenomenon, Black Panther recently took it’s place as one of the top 5 highest grossing films of all time. It features a largely nonwhite cast of actors which also includes with an all-female army, whetting appetites for Avengers: Infinity Wars, which will see the return of Wakanda to film. Sadly the movie didn’t make it to the top 5 in this list, mostly thanks to the overall plot. It has a straightforward plot about the prince-now-king, T’challa defending and protecting Wakanda from being known by the world as well as preserving Wakanda as it is. Letting Killmonger actually take reign for a while would’ve upped the stakes in this already great film.
#8 Captain America: The First Avenger
As a matter of fact, this was one of the movies that made me feel super patriotic (as we were able to see how he is willing to serve his country despite his physical condition during the first quarter of the movie). The movie captivates me with its values of friendship and determination, the reason why it is in the top 10 list. There’s a part where he tries his best to save his friend Bucky despite having to risk his life diving into enemy territory. What’s wrong with this movie is that the final fight (with Red Skull) wasn’t enough to truly bring the movie to a climax.
#7 Thor : Ragnarok
Thor: Ragnarok is surely the best of all three Thor movies with surprisingly more comedy than usual, perhaps to no surprise given the comic leanings of director, Taika Watiti (he also acted in the movie itself too). New characters were also shown that make the movie a refreshing change from its predecessors. Plus, there’s an epic fight scene between Thor and Hulk which actually made it even funnier. Don’t forget the amazing costume all of the characters wore, such a Marvel (sorry, pun intended)!
What’s amazing about this movie is that it assembles all the Marvel superheroes we love, finally united on screen as if they were always meant to be. The gathering of the heroes alone was enough to hype things up and I would call this movie a classic (being proof that the MCU idea was truly viable – even if it did kind of break Joss Whedon).
#5 Guardians of the Galaxy
Great and funny throughout the whole movie. Seeing how clumsy and whimsical Peter Quill is (even in bloopers) and listening to those amazing soundtrack really made this one of my favorites. I personally love how Chris Pratt can portray Peter Quill so well as if he was meant to play Peter Quill (as most people know him as the chubby dude from the comedy show Parks and Recreation).
For anyone who is curious about the bloopers, you can thank me later *wink*
#4 Doctor Strange
Science and tech was always a ‘thing’ for all the MCU movies but Doctor Strange is surrounded by supernatural elements and magic, and even science can’t relate. The pillar for Marvel to step outside of the Sci-fi world and into the supernatural one, Doctor Strange was a bonafide hit despite it’s far-out premise. The breath-taking effects are also one of the reasons why this movie is beautiful in ways even with trippy but creative visuals.
#3 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The movie was intense and dramatic for all watching the Avengers fall apart before our very eyes. It takes the rather vanilla first movie and turns into a Bourne-esque spy thriller, turning the political structure of the MCU upside down and setting Cap off into the most compelling narrative arc of the MCU. The movie was also very current, featuring a evil secret army in true conspiracy theory style, filled with questions of government surveillance and individual freedom.
#2 Iron Man
The first ever MCU movie made Iron Man into a star, and revived the then-flagging career of one Robert Downey Jr. Great character development was the key to the movie’s success, with Downey truly bringing the role to life. We truly see how the sarcastic playboy Tony Stark could change into someone who feels remorse and guilt, someone who is kinder. Personally, I used to hate him in the movie but in the end, I fell in love with the character. There’s a possible theory that the Avengers: Infinity War movie will be the last for Iron Man, as the trailers shows that he is pretty beaten up by Thanos (the villain) and is a character many think will not survive. I do hope he stays for more movies as he is one of the iconic heroes of the MCU.
#1 Captain America: Civil War
Amazing, beautiful, awesome, and the most Marvel-ous of all MCU movies. I love the fact that how Marvel managed to split the fans into two teams, Team Cap and Team Iron Man. It raises tensions between the fans (the 2 teams as well) with a convincing dilemma and even managed to get us worried for a little bit as the comic version of the event lead to the death of Captain America. It’s brilliant how the villain, with no super powers, tore apart the Avengers in a way that would change the MCU as we know it, setting up a grim stage for Thanos. Totally 100% chance of rewatching. Now that Infinity War is just around the corner, will it be able to beat Civil War?