We at The Grid have ranked the Marvel Cinematic movies from favorite to least favorite. There were arguments, folks. Hair pulling, fisticuffs, the works. We may not be friends anymore.
Nah, just kidding. It was a fairly easy consensus for all of us. Disclaimer: None of the MCU movies have been bad. It’s not like we’re talking Daredevil here (the Ben Affleck film, not the new Netflix series, of course). All of them were impressive feats of cinema and will most likely continue that into Phase 3!
Now! On with the list!
11. Iron Man 2 – If any other movie had been its predecessor, this film would be much higher on the list, because, like we said before, it wasn’t bad. The few missteps taken were just enough, though, for us to lose our hype from Iron Man. We all just wanted it too much for it to be amazing and when it didn’t live up to Tony Stark’s first outing, we were all just a little disappointed. The film scores points for being a prologue to Avengers and introducing us to Black Widow.
Overall ranking: one Ex Wife missile
10. Incredible Hulk – This movie just was not handled well. The great ideas behind it seemed to get masked by the overall theme of sadness. We all know the Hulk is a pretty sad guy, but he’s also a brilliant scientist with a sense of humor who’s actually pretty easy to love…wait, that’s Banner. The Hulk is about the smashing! The balance between Banner and the Hulk was so off and poor Edward Norton just didn’t have it in him to be as interesting as his counterpart. It was a very smart move to not have another origins film. Even though everyone can agree the Ang Lee film never did any justice to the Hulk, redoing the origins of a character we already know is questioning the fan’s love and knowledge.
Overall ranking: two Hulks hulking out on the hulking streets
9. Iron Man 3 – It was the ending to this film that places it so low on the list. We had been promised Mandarin. We had been promised Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin. Tell me there is better casting for that role (at least that particular interpretation)? There really isn’t. But to pull the worst bait and switch in comic cinema to date made every single movie-goer say “WTF” out loud. This act was so egregious that the only thing that saved this from being last on the list was the All Hail the King one shot available on the Captain America: The Winter Soldier home release. That made us all feel so much better inside. It made the bad things go away.
Overall ranking: take three shots of Extremis and call me in the morning
8. Thor: The Dark World – Let’s get one thing straight: it’s the title of this film that is the worst part about it. You could have named this anything else and it would have worked out much better. Seriously. Thor and Loki’s Excellent Adventure. Straight Outta Asgard. Weekend at Malekith’s. All of those are better options. They also managed to make Jane Foster annoying, which is really bothersome considering how much they improved the character with the first film. The film also cut out a major missing plot point, which was the true motive behind Malekith’s actions. A director’s cut of the Dark World would most likely bump this up a few notches. Thank goodness we got to see much needed depth to Thor and Loki’s characters, major damage to a city that is not New York, and deserved respect for the great side characters of Asgard.
Overall ranking: four lightning strikes to Malekith
7. Captain America: The First Avenger – This movie may have lacked the depth of Iron Man and the glory of Thor, but it made up for it by grasping the true nature of what a hero is. Evans’s first go as Captain America continued Marvel’s trend of perfectly casting their characters. He also managed to uphold everything that makes Captain America interesting and special. But the best reason to watch this film was unarguably Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull. His interpretation of the character was everything it needed to be: imposing, misguided, and terrifying. It’s the reason why his death is debated constantly among fans. We’re all overtly hoping he returns again despite every shred of evidence he will not.
Overall ranking: five shields to the Red Skull’s red skull
6. Thor – Asgard was beautiful. The costumes were beautiful. The effects were beautiful. Chris Hemsworth was beautiful. Okay, maybe not everyone is on board with that last bit, but everything else is true. This addition to the MCU brought us the first look into a world away from Earth, something that resonated throughout the MCU since. Director Kenneth Branagh took his Shakespearean background and elegant wit and baked it into a two hour long spectacle that was incredible to behold. It also introduced us to a man who has become the pride and joy of the MCU: Tom Hiddleston. His work as Loki has really been impressive. Not only has he gathered a fan base all on his own, but he has managed to take that popularity and force himself into other movies in the overall universe. No other villain has done that!
Overall ranking: six more shirtless scenes, thank you!
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron – The newest MCU addition lands right above the halfway point in our list. While many critics (most notably fan critics) take issue with the film, we don’t. For many reasons, the film achieved its purpose of being bigger, better, grander and it did all of that with the odds stacked against it. Since then the movie and director Joss Whedon have taken multiple beatings for complaint this and complaint that, which to us seem unnecessary. The Avengers faced challenges previously unknown to them and came out with more respect for each other and the world around them. While rumors of a three hour long director’s cut swirl, we were happy with what we got and what this film did to set up films to come.
Overall ranking: seven Ultrons on a floating city
4. Iron Man – While it is often lauded as the best Marvel film to date, Iron Man remains special because of its individuality. Never before had we seen such perfect casting. Never before had we seen such a well-thought out superhero movie. This movie proved to more than just the fans that comic book films could be taken as seriously as its sci-fi, drama, and action peers. This was the film that got the rest of the world watching superheroes. The credit for this film goes to everyone involved, but none more so that Robert Downey, Jr. Every minute that man was on screen, he loved it. And we all could tell. It makes the movie that much more enjoyable when an actor is just as big of a fan as the collective audience is. Not to mention this is the film that brought us Agent Coulson, which could have been enough.
Overall ranking: eight arc reactors built in a cave
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – There’s not really anything negative one can say about this film. This movie made Captain America more than the boy scout. It made him a bona fide superhero. Of course, he was heroic before, but this film made his character stand above the others. Watching Cap in his predecessor films was pleasing, but this one made him seem as if he legitimately can go toe-to-toe with Thor and Iron Man, something which neither The First Avenger or Avengers had done before. He was and always will be the fearless leader (it’s why everyone follows him so quickly, why we put our trust in him), but this film raised the bar for the Marvel movies to come. We now hold Captain America to a higher standard than he has been before and Marvel plots must match that standard too.
Overall ranking: nine Hydra agents exposed
2. Guardians of the Galaxy – The movie that was considered by so many to be Marvel’s first guaranteed flop came out of the gates kicking ass and destroyed box office numbers (it’s apparently a Chris Pratt thing). This epic ensemble took the overall ridiculous premise and ran with it, never looking back. From the beginning, viewers are strapped in and ready to adventure into the unknown with five of Marvel’s oddest characters to date. (Yes, we read comics. Yes, we know there’s weirder. Yes, we know the difference between weird and dumb.) Then without any warning, Sean Gunn brings us an emotional overload that no one was expecting. Who knew we’d ever get so attached to a tree? We’ve all got high hopes for that sequel!
Overall ranking: ten Groot hugs
That means that the number one spot goes to…
1. Avengers – That’s right. It totally had to be and you know it. This film was every nerd’s dream come true. This film was the culmination of our hopes and dreams (as far as movie magic goes; let’s not get ridiculous here). We got captivating characters who had come together in a logical, respectful, and interesting story. We got cheeky comic moments and nudges to fans of every hero of every medium. Joss Whedon, along with every actor, producer, and extra, poured his soul into making this film the glorious spectacle it needed to be, and we can’t thank him enough. It’s because of this movie that a Phase 2 was possible and why we’re going to finally see DC films create a universe of their own. This movie made it possible for ensemble action films to exist without lengthy exposition or dull segues.
Overall ranking: eleven more Avengers films!
Did we hit the nail on the head? Did we have things out of order? Tell us how you’d rank the Marvel films!