789’s Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Rankings

It’s here, it’s really almost here.

It’s almost time for the Endgame. With the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it coming this week, Chris and I decided it was time to do something that is totally original and has never been done before: Rank the MCU movies, from 21 to 1. Worst to best (in our opinion, of course.)

We got together and compiled our list of movies, and if there was a dispute, we talked it out and figured out where it should properly fall.

So we came away with our list and this is what we got ahead of the big day Thursday. Here. We. Go:

21. Thor: The Dark World

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CC: To put it simply, Thor’s sequel is just plain boring. You would think an ancient dark elf coming from another dimension to wreak havoc on all of reality would make for an interesting movie. But sadly, it does not. Even Tom Hiddleston’s return as Loki after his defeat in the original Avengers can’t salvage this mess of a movie.

TD: If you have never seen this movie before, let me start by telling you: 1. Don’t be mad, it ain’t great, and 2. Don’t listen to our good friend Mitch on this one, who swears it’s one of the best in the MCU. While it isn’t the best (it is actually the worst), it’s quite important. It’s got the Reality Stone, it’s explanation, and where it goes before Thanos forcefully takes it. But if you want to skip this one…go ahead, watch a recap video, you’ll save two hours.

20. The Incredible Hulk

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CC: This was fans first introduction to Bruce Banner in the MCU and while it does have its moments the movie is overall weak. Edward Norton does not do a terrible job as Bruce Banner, that being said the film could have been better written. Norton is even on record admitting as much. He has even gone as far to claim that his dislike for the film’s script is a big reason why he is no longer working with Marvel. This film does however show the Hulk in ways that fans are still dying to see again. The veracity he shows while fighting Abomination is something die hard Hulk fans would have loved to see against Thanos in Infinity War.

TD: I think for me the biggest qualm is the way it is largely ignored. I love Ruffalo as Hulk, he’s perfectly cast, and this movie isn’t my favorite. But, I would loved to see what happened with the Abomination and Betty Ross. It’s been nice to see that Thunderbolt has been back, even though he stinks. But, it helped bring us the Avengers, so I am cool with it. Other than that, eh.

19. Thor

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CC: While a better outing than his sequel, Thor’s introduction into the MCU suffers from a lot of the same problems, poor writing and a weak supervillain. Another big issue with the film is its mishandling of the film’s heroes. The film is actually the first time fans are introduced to Hawkeye, despite being one of the most famous members of the Avengers, he’s kept in the background for the entirety of the film serving as no more than a simple bodyguard. Along with Hawkeye, the fans are also introduced to Lady Sif and the Warriors 3, four of the deadliest warriors in the history of Asgard. Despite their famous reputations, the film does very little to show how these four made claim to their legendary title and status.

TD: Like Chris said, definitely better than the second one, and good to set up the Avengers and where he fits into it. However, Thor in this movie is incredibly campy, which I get, he’s a space Viking God from Asgard. Thor’s character development in the MCU is amazing, however, so this is a good start.

18. Iron Man 2

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CC: I’m sure you’re noticing a pattern here by now, Marvel has a problem bringing compelling villains to the screen, and Iron Man 2 is no different. Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash just cannot live up to Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane from the first Iron Man film. The film does introduce fans to Don Cheadle’s War Machine as well as Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow so there was some good that came from this film in the grand scheme of things.

TD: The intro to Black Widow, Don Cheadle as Rhodey, Robert Downey Jr. being the best cast character of ALL time. (Yes, I said it, you think the same thing to.) THE SUITCASE IRON MAN SUIT! But, the villain stinks and Sam Rockwell’s character is annoying. This movie is not as bad as you remember, and is still important in setting up the larger universe. Still the worst Iron Man though!

17. Iron Man 3

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CC: I will give Iron Man 3 its props for trying something different, but I personally have a huge vendetta with this film as a comic book fan. My biggest issue with this film is its take on one of Iron Man’s most iconic villain’s the Mandarin. The Mandarin is Iron Man’s archenemy, an ancient magician that uses mystical rings to give himself a multitude of different abilities to combat Tony Stark. However, in this film he is reduced to a being a failed scientist using the moniker of the Mandarin to cover up failed experiments as terrorists’ attacks.

TD: We’ve already approached “These Movies are all good just not as good as the others” realm. I like Iron Man 3, every time it’s on, I will happily watch it. Unlike Chris, I liked the villain twist and think it does a great job showing the after effects the Battle of New York had on Tony Stark and how he copes with it. Plus, his suit in this movie is fiiiiiiiiiiiiire.

16. Avengers: Age of Ultron

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CC: Yet another film I have a personal gripe with due to the depiction of a character, this time it’s Ultron. Ultron is one of the biggest enemy’s the Avengers have ever had to face, he is the ultimate killing machine. But in this film, he comes off as a whiny child who is throwing a temper tantrum at his dad. Ultron’s vendetta with his creator Iron Man makes him come off as extremely too emotional. While James Spader does a fantastic job voicing the iconic robot, he unfortunately cannot make up for the films poor writing of his character.

TD: This movie isn’t the strongest, but it holds up, and there a lot of important aspects to take from it. Like the mind stone, for example. It explains what it is, its purpose, shows that Thanos originally had it and then gave it away. It also shows how Vision came to be and how important he would be later on, as well as Wanda Maximoff. Ultron wasn’t the best, but I love the scenes when the Avengers are all just hanging out and slinging witty banter at each other. I eat that stuff up.

15. Captain America: The First Avenger

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CC: Steve Rogers’ introduction into the MCU is not a bad film. That being said, it’s not a great film either. Chris Evans, after previously starring as Johnny Storm/ The Human Torch in Fox’s Fantastic Four films, proved he was indeed the perfect candidate to play the star-spangled hero. The film is a nice start chronologically to the MCU even despite its minor flaws and sometimes slow pace at times.

TD: I like this one more than Chris. I love this origin story. Cap is one of my favorites and this movie is campy but does a great job setting itself up going into the Avengers. Plus, Bucky and Cap’s story is fascinating to me. And I will never ever get tired of watching Cap punch Red Skull all the way to Vormir.

14. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 

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CC: The Guardians second outing does not live up to the spectacle that was the original, but is still a pleasant film none the less. Returning with some of the same laughs, effects and old school music that made the Guardians a household name in the original. GOTG Vol.2 is great film to put on whenever you need a good laugh courtesy of a bunch of rambunctious spaceship flying a-holes.

TD: I just watched this one, and it is definitely not as good as the first. However, it may be the funniest of the MCU movies. Baby Groot is a delight, and if you ask my girlfriend, she’ll tell you he’s the most important character in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe because of how cute he is. It shows a heartwarming look at what a family is and what it means to be one.

13. Ant-Man 

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CC: If there was a true family film of the MCU Ant-Man would definitely be it. The film lacks the stakes and wild antics that make up most of the other films in the MCU. But Scott Lang’s attempt to better himself and make a good life for his daughter is the perfect film for family night on the couch.

TD: I. Love. Scott. Lang. He is going to beat Thanos, and it’s going to be glorious. But until then, he knocks it out of the park here. His best buddy Luis might be the single funniest character in MCU history, and T.I. being apart of the ANT-ourage is never not amazing. As my trusty writing partner says, this is perfect for a family night on the couch.

12. Doctor Strange

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CC: Dr. Strange was the MCU’s first step into the mystical world and it does not disappoint. Benedict Cumberbatch does a fantastic playing both the films hero Dr. Strange and voicing the film’s villain Dormammu. Cumberbatch’s performance as well as the film’s visual effects make for a fun eye popping outing every time out.

TD: This one broke my brain. Dr. Strange isn’t my personal favorite, but it is super trippy and I love Dr. Strange as a character. I think he was fantastic in Infinity War, and that he plays a key role in the MCU going forward. The villain stinks until you get to Dormammu, and they set themselves up well for future movies.

11. Captain Marvel 

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CC: Captain Marvel had a lot to live up to. Not only was she Nick Fury’s last line of defense at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, she is also the MCU’s first leading lady. Even with the high expectations Carol Danvers soars high in her MCU debut. Brie Larson captures the character greatly, her chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury truly makes the film. That coupled with the newly introduced alien species of Skrulls make for fun filled ride through the 1990’s.

TD: Captain Marvel caught a ton of crap from the internet, and as usual, the internet was wrong. This movie is a delight. Brie Larson knocks it out of the park, showing she is the strongest character the MCU has to offer. The mini twist of the Skulls being the victims was something I genuinely didn’t see coming and one I was delighted about. There were parts that were truly heart warming and they went great with the butt-kicking part. It got me even more excited for Endgame, which was out of this world to begin with.

10. Ant-Man and the Wasp 

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CC: Ant-Man and the Wasp takes all the aspects of the first film and improves on them all immensely. The film still has the humor and family feel of the first while also adding more action, better effects and fans finally got to see Hope van Dyne make her appearance as the Wasp. It is a nice short film that’s guaranteed to have viewers busting a gut laughing.

TD: I literally can’t say it any better than Chris did, it takes everything it did well in the first one and it expands on it. Hope Van Dyne is amazing and kicks a ton of butt. Scott Lang is back after his dust up in Civil War and is funnier than ever, and we get the ANT-ourage shenanigans again. The villain stinks again but is a little more layered, and the Quantum Realm stuff is CRAZY and is going to be vastly important when we get to the final battle this week.

9. Spider-Man: Homecoming 

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CC: Fans first got to see Tom Holland’s rendition of Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War. After seeing multiple renditions of Spider-Man over the years Holland entered the fray and easily made the case for being the best Spider-Man yet. Holland does a perfect job of portraying Peter’s intellect, teen problems as well as Spider-Man’s wise cracking quips and jokes. This film is a must see for any fan of web-slinging hero of Queens.

TD: The best Spider-Man. Don’t @ me. (But please do, my twitter is @tdowney_ sauce me a follow). Tom Holland is the PERFECT Spider-Man. The movie is perfectly grounded showing the nice balance between fighting an evil supervillian to neglecting studying for a science quiz. It has enough hints at the larger universe to satisfy your Easter Egg-wants and also is very low stakes, which makes for a perfect Spidey film.

8. Black Panther 

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CC: The movie that started a cultural movement. Not only is Black Panther a great film, it had one of the biggest impacts on pop culture the world has seen in quite a long time. T’Challa, who also made his debut in Civil War. is here trying to defend the throne of his nation in this action-packed film. The film is made up of an amazing African-American cast the likes of which is rarely seen in films of this magnitude. That along with the films amazing visuals and superb soundtrack make it very easy to see why the King of Wakanda holds the record for highest grossing solo superhero film of all time.

TD: See above^

7. Thor: Ragnarok 

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CC: THEY FINALLY DID IT!!! They made a Thor movie that doesn’t suck. Thor: Ragnarok is simply great in every aspect. Director Taika Waititi improved on what the previous Thor films failed to do in every way possible. The film is everything fans were looking for: it is action packed, hilarious and gave fans arguably the best villain the MCU has ever seen in Hela. That along with the new group the Revengers (consisting of Thor, Hulk, Valkyrie and Loki) made for easily one of Marvel’s best films ever.

TD: This movie rocks. It is laugh out loud funny, Thor and Bruce Banner is an amazing duo, and Korg is my president. Hela is great, and the way the story comes together at the end and ties everything together works flawlessly. It goes directly into Infinity War and shows just how far Thor has come from his first movie 6 years prior. It is absolutely tremendous.

6. Iron Man 

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CC: The movie that started it all Iron Man is easily one of the best executed origin stories’ ever in a superhero film. Many were skeptical of Marvel’s decision to cast Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Now picturing anyone else donning that iconic red and gold armor is nearly impossible. Iron Man was easily a b-list character prior to this film. RDJ sent Iron Man to another stratosphere with his performance. Even over a decade later the film still holds up fantastically. The scene of Iron Man shooting a tank with a missile and walking away will forever been an iconic moment in cinema.

TD: There really isn’t anything other to say other than that it is The OG, the granddaddy of them all, and the one that started the whole adventure. As Chris said, this holds up even better than ever, and only gets better each time you watch it. It’s an incredible film.

5. The Avengers 

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CC: The moment we were all waiting for finally arrived in 2012 when The Avengers hit theatres and what a moment it was. This film proved that Marvel’s epic experiment was all worth it when fans finally got see their favorite heroes all team-up on the big screen. Many, including myself, were skeptical if all these heroes could share the same screen without overshadowing one another. Director Joss Whedon proved all the doubters wrong, making a film that allowed each character to shine in their own right. While also showing how great of a character Tom Hiddleston’s Loki truly was.

TD: The Avengers literally changed my life. Until this movie, I had seen the Iron Man movies, and knew vaguely of everybody else, but this is the one that roped me in. From this movie on, I was OBSESSED with every movie and every character flaw and what made them tick. There had never been a movie like this until then and it truly changed the game, all while establishing Marvel as the dominant force it is today.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy

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CC: My personal favorite. I tell people all the time if you’re struggling to get into this massive film series, start here. GOTG is amazing, James Gunn introduced the MCU to space and did it in spectacular fashion. The chemistry among Chris Pratt, Zoë Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel is amazing. The film is also just beautiful, all the different worlds and creatures’ fans get to see all look amazing. That partnered with the films 60’s and 70’s soundtrack makes for a perfect union. This film is also the first time fans truly get to see a face they would know all to well later on, the mad titan himself Thanos.

TD: Another one that totally changed the game. When I first saw the preview of GOTG in theaters for another movie, I remember saying out loud: “That looks ridiculous, I am definitely not seeing that.” All those years later and that phrase gets dumber by the day. Every character is incredible and the way this group of misfits comes together never gets old. The cast is A+, we get our first real tease at Thanos, and learn about the Infinity Stones. A MUST see.

3. Captain America: Civil War

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CC: Civil War is another great example of Marvel’s ability to have multiple complex characters share the screen in an even bigger fashion than they had done before. But even more than that it shows the repercussions of being a superhero. One of the biggest gripes people have about superhero films is what happens after the heroes leave. There is no repercussions when these super powered beings level an entire city, it’s not realistic. If New York gets destroyed somebody has to answer for that. Civil War caters to this criticism by showing what the consequences of acting like a vigilante are both on the heroes themselves and the ones they’re attempting to protect.

TD: Raise your hand if you too have seen the airport battle scene 1,000 times! Good, so I am not the only one. This movie takes all of the boiled up tension that has been building between our heroes the previous 8 years and it all explodes on the screen. The way Tony finds out about his parents is truly heartbreaking even all of these years later. Going into Endgame it is still the reason the Avengers were scattered when Thanos attacked, and I can’t wait to see them all come together once more.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 

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CC: This movie is just an all-around perfect action flick. The film checks all categories when it comes to suspense, thrills, action, espionage you name it. While the first Captain America film lacked these qualities The Winter Soldier makes up for it by a landslide. The film is a suspense filled joy ride from the second it starts all the way until the end credits roll.

TD: I am going to be straight up, this is one of my favorite movies of all time. I have seen it over 200 times (rough estimate), and it still grabs my full attention anytime it’s on. It’s masterfully written and the action sequences are incredible, especially the fight between Cap and Bucky on the bridge. Bucky’s arc in the MCU is one of my favorites and seeing the beginning of his redemption is a great storyline.

1. Avengers: Infinity War

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CC: The only true way to describe this film is with the phrase utterly MIND BLOWING! This film was truly the culmination of over a decade of work and it shows. The film is over two and a half hours long and yet it still somehow manages to feel short. That is how immersed into this movie you feel while watching it. It is one of those moment in pop culture where you remember where you were and how you felt the first time you saw it. I myself doubted that Marvel could capitalize on a decade worth of planning with something that would truly resonate, and I was EXTREMELY wrong. I left the movie theatre in shock and awe, days after seeing the film I still couldn’t process what I saw transpire on the screen. That is why Infinity War is the best that Marvel has to offer… for now.

TD: It’s a feat that has never been accomplished before, and they’re about to do it AGAIN a year later. The MCU is the greatest movie universe that’s ever existed (sorry, Star Wars/Harry Potter). 10 years. 18 movies, and it flashes out every single character so that the snap makes it feels extremely personal for every single character. Like Chris said, you think about it for days, weeks after it’s over and no matter how many times you watch, it still requires your undivided attention. It’s that good. It’s the best movie Marvel has made. Check back with me in about 72 hours on that one, however.

Disagree with us? Let us know! @tdowney_ & @kaleemore

Tyler Downey

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