The MCU Ranked

The MCU Ranked

I’m a huge fan of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU). I think Disney and Marvel have done a great job releasing some great films that capture the imagination of viewers of all ages.

Some of the films are better than others. Some of them probably shouldn’t have been made at all.

Next year (2017), we’ll get three more so this list will be updated a few more times in the next 15 months. This list was last updated on 11/10/2016.

Here’s how I rank all of the MCU films, so far:

1. Guardians of the Galaxy

The MCU Ranked—Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy is far from a perfect film but Marvel gave James Gunn the freedom he needed to direct a fantastic movie. It broke out of the “Marvel Mold” and made going to see a superhero movie fun again.

2. Iron Man

The MCU Ranked—Iron Man
Until the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man topped my list of MCU films. It was the first one released and breathed life into the superhero genre. Unfortunately, it also led to Marvel trying to bottle their success, I’ll talk about that more later.

3. Marvel’s The Avengers

The MCU Ranked—The Avengers
The Avengers‘ release came nearly a full year after its predecessor. Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay and directed the film and browncoats everywhere weren’t disappointed even if Dr. Horrible 2 and more Firefly would be delayed or never see the light of day.

4. Captain America: The First Avenger

The MCU Ranked—Captain America: The First Avenger
The story of the hero out of time is one that has to be handled carefully. You can’t just drop a character from the 1940s into 2011 and crack jokes about how old-fashioned he is. The screenwriters nailed it for this one and that’s why I’m a fan of this film.

5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The MCU Ranked—Captain America: Winter Soldier
Captain America is an intriguing character to me. His guilt over losing Bucky and pain at finding out The Winter Soldier is his old friend could have made for a brilliant film. Unfortunately, Marvel had to apply their formula and make sure it contained the requisite amount of action and explosions. The lightning they caught in a bottle with Iron Man has started to fizzle.

6. Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War
For me, Civil War is now the baseline for a good MCU movie. If it’s not better than this one, they may as well have released it directly to DVD. The biggest problem with this movie is the fan service. The addition of Spider-Man is superfluous, at best. The action was nice and the plot was interesting but it should have been cut to 90 minutes.

7. Avengers: Age of Ultron

The MCU Ranked—Avengers: Age of UltronThe second MCU film directed by Joss Whedon didn’t fare as well in my eyes. Too many characters, too many little plot points and a script that fell flat. Whedon admitted in interviews there was tension between him and the studio. It shows. Ultron didn’t live up to the hype. Full video review here.

8. Iron Man 2

The MCU Ranked—Iron Man 2Following the box-office disaster (in MCU terms) of The incredible Hulk can’t be hard to do. I think after seeing Iron Man and then Hulk, many MCU fans ranked Iron Man 2 higher because they were glad they could forget about the big green disaster. It’s just above average but doesn’t push the all right buttons like the original.

9. Ant-Man

The MCU Ranked—Ant-manYou can read my full review of Ant-Man here. Suffice it to say that this movie tops the list of MCU films we could do without. Marvel’s “bottle of success” ran dry. It’s lukewarm, at best.

10. Doctor Strange

Doctor StrangeIn so many ways, Doctor Strange is a very “Marvel” movie but in other ways it is not. A lot of time is spent on Steven Strange’s motivation and ambition. The movie dives into the character of Doctor Strange in ways that MCU movies in the past have not. However, the misuse of magic as part of the plot really ruins it for me.

11. Thor

The MCU Ranked—ThorAnother film that the MCU could do without. I think Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of Thor is overdone and the whole romance angle is ridiculous. The lore that surrounds the character is lost and instead we get a long-haired muscle-head with bravado.

12. Iron Man 3

The MCU Ranked—Iron Man 3What was done with The Mandarin made me want to throw something at the movie screen. Making a game out of killing people at the end of the movie made things even worse.

12. Thor: The Dark World

The MCU Ranked—Thor:The Dark WorldTying Agents of SHIELD into the movie was a great idea. This movie was not. Half the time I was thinking to myself, “What’s going on here?”

14. The Incredible Hulk

The MCU Ranked—The Incredible HulkI haven’t seen this film yet so technically it’s unranked. Based on all the other reviews I’ve seen online I suspect that it would rank last anyway.

MCU films rank by U.S. total office as of 12/14/2016 (Source)

  1. Marvel’s The Avengers $623,357,910
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron $459,005,868
  3. Iron Man 3 $409,013,994
  4. Captain America: Civil War $408,081,341
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy $333,176,600
  6. Iron Man $318,412,101
  7. Iron Man 2 $312,433,331
  8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier $259,766,572
  9. Doctor Strange $232,185,345
  10. Thor: The Dark World $206,362,140
  11. Thor $181,030,624
  12. Ant-Man $180,202,163
  13. Captain America: The First Avenger $176,654,505
  14. The Incredible Hulk $134,806,913

Do you agree or disagree with my rankings? Let me know in the comments below.

Author: John

Husband, Dad, Podcaster, Blogger, Writer, and Speaker struggling every day to follow Jesus.

6 thoughts on “The MCU Ranked”

  1. Good list. Guardians was my favorite too.
    I would have put 1st Cap America as 2, Iron man 3, and both Avengers following. I actually liked Ant Man and that would be my #6. cap 2 as #7 and the others weren’t good at all.

    1. My biggest problem with Ant-Man is the wasted potential in this movie. They could have done so much more with the father-daughter relationship and the redemptive arc and instead the studio felt they needed giant booms in the 3rd act.

  2. I agree with Thor being low on the list, but on subsequent viewings I like it a lot more than I did the first time I saw it. Doctor Strange would be much higher on my list (I haven’t bothered ranking them). I thought it was very well done, but then again, I was a big fan of that “side” of the Marvel Comics Universe (the Midnight Sons, so to speak). I think I would put The Avengers first, as that was the first team-up flick and definitely had all of the excitement. GotG was awesome, and I’m so looking forward to GotG2. My wish is that they figure out how to include/bring in Warlock… one of my favorite characters. Maybe he’ll be part of the Infinity War (as he was a major part of it in the comics).

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Adam. I wonder if Disney has the rights for Warlock. Marvel sold off character rights to a lot of different studios years ago.

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