Ranking the MCU


As we anxiously await the arrival of Avengers: Endgame, scores of sites are ranking the 21 films of the MCU as we all prepare for this three-hour extravaganza. Therefore, I too have put together my ranking of the MCU films. Feel free to disagree (as I’m sure many of you will).

  1. The Avengers (2012) – The collaboration films seem to be the Super Bowl of the MCU, as the three Avengers flicks are most definitely in the top five, with the original Avengers still my personal favorite. Mark Ruffalo taking over as Banner/Hulk, more screen time for Black Widow and Hawkeye, and the final battle scene involving all parties makes this movie one I can still watch over and over.
  2. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – So many superheroes (and villains), so little time. The deaths of Loki, Vision, Heimdall, and Gamora were heartbreaking, but you had to know some wouldn’t make it. My chief complaint in this one was the lack of Black Widow screen time, but it looks like that might get rectified when Avengers: Endgame hits theaters.
  3. Iron Man (2008) – Still a personal favorite, the movie that introduced us to Tony Stark and his brilliance (including the creation of the first Iron Man suit while held hostage in a desert) is hard to top and is my favorite standalone film of the MCU.
  4. Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – This film was so much fun, and it is by far the best of the Thor films. Adding The Hulk, giving us another stellar performance from Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, and providing a respectable send-off for Odin were just a few of the features that made this film memorable.
  5. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – Brilliant follow-up to the first Avengers film, with new members of the team added to the fold by the end. The continued tease of the Infinity Stones was well done and foreshadowed what was to come in the later films.
  6. Captain America: Civil War (2016) – A semi-Avengers film (minus Thor and Hulk), the infighting amongst the rest of the band (to go along with their subsequent break-up) was exciting but also sort of a downer.
  7. Captain Marvel (2019) – If the whiny man-babies would put their fragile male egos aside, they would see that this origin film was extremely well done. Carol Danvers is a convincing superhero, and the return of Agent Coulson (aka – Phil) was a nice touch. My only complaint – THAT was how Fury lost his eye? Really?
  8. Black Panther (2018) – Good film with some incredible acting and strong fight scenes. I’m not sure what else I was expecting from this one (I wasn’t that familiar with the character going in), but I will say the Black Panther character has grown quite a bit in the three films in which he’s been featured.
  9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – I almost walked out of the theater when they teased Fury’s death (okay, I didn’t). It was hard to root against Bucky, especially since he was not acting of his own mind. It was, however, a nice addition to the MCU following the happenings of The Avengers.
  10. Iron Man 3 (2013) – I liked the story in this more than the seeming lack of Stark in his Iron Man gear for most of the film. People pan this film as one of the worst in the MCU, but as is usually the case, when the majority hates a movie, I probably like it.
  11. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) – Good follow-up not only to the original, but also to Ant Man’s involvement during the happenings of Civil War. I know the whole suspension of disbelief always has to be in play with super hero films, but I struggled not to simply shake my head at some of the whacky things going on in this one.
  12. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – I love the character, but the original Captain America film isn’t one that I rush to watch over and over. I mean, it’s good. Nice story, good acting, etc. But I seem to prefer the evolved Steve Rogers in the later films.
  13. Ant-Man (2015) – I have always liked Paul Rudd, and the personality of this character lined up well with his style. I need to watch this one again, as I think I will come to enjoy it more the second time around.
  14. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – I was a little more invested in this one than the original. Kurt Russell was a nice addition to the cast as Quill’s father, and the foreshadowing of a battle with Thanos made for an exciting story.
  15. Doctor Strange (2016) – This film started out lower on my list, but after rewatching, it was moved up a few spots. Good origin story of how Stephen Strange developed his powers and received the infamous time stone.
  16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – I’m a Tobey Maguire fan. That said, I do enjoy Tom Holland’s portrayal, especially in Infinity War and Civil War. His stand alone feature was watchable, but not one I’ve gone rushing to see a number of times. I am excited for Spider-Man: Far From Home, as it does look to be better than this entry.
  17. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – I almost forgot that Josh Brolin’s Thanos had his first true scene in this one. Other than that, though, I just didn’t get into this film as much as I thought I would (although Howard the Duck was a neat addition). How much does Vin Diesel get paid to say “I am Groot” over and over?
  18. The Incredible Hulk (2008) – The only film that featured Edward Norton as Banner/Hulk, the sole stand-alone featuring the big green guy was not well received, despite being a decent film. Definitely not near the top of the MCU, but it still deserves more respect than Norton received when it was announced he was out as Banner and would not be a part of the original Avengers movie. Ouch.
  19. Thor (2011) – It’s been a while since I’ve seen this film, and from what I remember, it wasn’t as memorable as most of the others in the MCU. An uncredited Hawkeye appearance was cool, though.
  20. Iron Man 2 (2010) – The weakest of the three Iron Man stand-alone films, I did like Mickey Rourke’s Ivan Vanko character, and it helped further establish Tony Stark as one (if not THE) top Avenger. The introduction of Black Widow was also a nice touch. The plot was just a little blah for me.
  21. Thor: The Dark World (2013) – I believe I’m in the majority who think this one just fell short. The actors are superb as always, but the story just wasn’t all that compelling.

Published by: Eric Woods

Eric Woods resides in Springfield, Illinois and has been writing since grade school. He has published five novels, two novellas, and has appeared in horror anthologies. He serves as a tour guide for the Lincoln Ghost Walk in Springfield and was a collegiate speech and debate coach for seven years. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Communication from the University of Illinois Springfield.

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