Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies Ranked
Here's our ranking of the MCU movies!
18. Thor: The Dark World
The weakest MCU entry is Thor's second solo outing because it doesn't progress the story or character in many meaningful ways. While Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth are both great in the lead roles, the rest of the cast seem to be wandering through the convoluted script. They do use action and effects well, especially in the last battle, but it lacks the heart of the original. It seems that it was a rushed production and unfortunately it's felt. Also, the villain is perhaps the most forgettable of them all.
17. Iron Man 2
Even with Jon Favreau back at the helm, the sequel to the MCU starter Iron Man is one of the worst yet. The heart is lost a bit due to over-the-top villains and a messy story overall. Visual effects are better though, even if they're overused, and so are the action sequences, but even Robert Downey Jr. has a tough time with the sometimes silly script. It was another fast-tracked sequel to a popular movie that would've been better had more time and attention been put on the screenplay. It does help set up and expand the universe more but focuses on that too much and not enough on the lead character of Tony Stark who's supposed to be the most interesting part.
16. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The follow-up to the sci-fi adventure is a deeper and more meaningful movie than anyone would've guessed. This MCU movie goes further into the mythology of the comics and expands on each character's role by giving them all more development and new relationships. Michael Rooker is the stand-out as Yondu's backstory is discovered and his connection to each of the main characters is explored. The visual effects team literally created new worlds for this movie with some of the most unique environments ever seen on film. It's one of the best sequels they've made yet.
15. Doctor Strange
This movie does a fantastic job of introducing the audience to the mystical side of the MCU, but fails to deliver on certain fronts. The supporting characters are somewhat forgettable for the most part and some of the major reveals are telegraphed too heavily. However, the film is a visual feast with the effects department really outdoing themselves here by warping reality itself in so many unique ways. Benedict Cumberbatch is superb in the lead role and while Mads Mikkelsen isn't a bad actor, his villain isn't given enough to do to make him memorable. It may go too far in the psychedelic for some, but overall it's handled quite well.
This is probably the most fun you'll have at a Marvel movie. It balances heart and humor very well and introduces characters you care about. However, there's still a lame villain and some of the supporting cast can be overused at times leaving you wanting more. The action sequences use his shrinking abilities very creatively and the visual effects are a big part of that. It's certainly funny, but the comedy can be overdone at times. This is still a good movie, though.
13. Captain America: The First Avenger
A throwback to classic WWII adventure movies, Joe Johnston delivers a knock-out of a movie here in one of the best origin stories so far. Chris Evans nails the role of Captain America bringing boyish innocence and charm to the role along with a real fighting spirit. The supporting cast is good here too even if they can be a bit underused, and the villain is one of the more memorable and terrifying. However, this is a bit of missed opportunity to say more about war and the effect it has on people. Regardless, this one stands apart from the MCU, in not only its setting, but also in it's morally upright lead character.
Kenneth Branagh's take on Shakespearean superhero Thor is a wonderful introduction to the god of thunder. Bringing audiences a character they can root for, Chris Hemsworth gives the titular hero an amazing arc. The action scenes and visual effects only help tell this story. Tom Hiddlston, of course, also introduces us to the villain Loki here who is still one of the most compelling characters in the entire MCU. While the supporting cast sometimes leaves a bit to be desired, there's still plenty of fun mixed in with the drama to satisfy all moviegoers.
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron
The sequel to the mega-hit The Avengers is a bit of a mess. However, the good far outweighs the bad . James Spader is outstanding in the role of Ultron who's the best and most complex villain we've had since Loki. Hawkeye's storyline is the reason to watch though, giving us more insight on the most underused and overlooked Avenger. Never has action been more compelling or effects looked better in the MCU movies and it all helps tell the story. These characters are developed further and their relationships progress in surprising ways.
10. Spider-Man: Homecoming
The character of Spider-Man is the most famous of them all and bringing him home to play with the rest of the Avengers is tons of fun. Having Iron Man act as his mentor is a stroke of genius. Playing the role to perfection is Tom Holland who was introduced in Captain America: Civil War and takes the starring role to new heights in this solo outing. The villain is maybe the best besides Loki since Michael Keaton plays The Vulture as an everyman with menace. Action is fun, effects are spectacular, and the music is spot on. It all plays out like a John Hughes-esque superhero movie making it stand apart from other MCU films.
9. The Incredible Hulk
Definitely the most underrated of all the MCU movies by far, The Incredible Hulk is expertly directed by action-junkie Louis Letterrier. However, the action isn't the highlight here, it's the characters, all of whom are well-played by this excellent cast. Ed Norton delivers a great performance as Dr. Bruce Banner who's on the run from the feds and trying to keep the green guy at bay while longing to be with his love Betty Ross, who's played by the incomparable Liv Tyler. Hulk looks cool and kicks butt here like you've never seen him before. It's an early MCU entry with little connection to the other films which is why it's rarely even mentioned, but people should really give this one another shot.
8. Thor: Ragnarok
This is the most fun Marvel movie thus far with director Taika Waititi's signature odd humor on full display. Here we see Chris Hemsworth having a blast as the titular character ad Mark Ruffalo enjoying every moment as Banner and Hulk giving him some welcome character development. Infact all of the characters have excellent arcs throughout the film including Tom Hiddleston's deceptive Loki and new characters like Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie and Karl Urban's Skurge. Also, Cate Blanchett delivers and outstanding performance as the sinister Hela. It's an action film filled with spectacle and comedy and it's visuals are unlike anything we've seen before. This one breathed new life into an increasingly stale and boring series.
7. Iron Man 3
One of the more daring outings of the MCU came when director and writer Shane Black took over the Iron Man franchise for it's third and final solo installment which was a character study on Tony Stark. Focusing the story on the lead character dealing with PTSD after the events of Avengers was a bold movie, and making one of the character's most iconic supervillains in the comics into something very different was an even bigger risk, but it all paid off in the end. RDJ does some of his best acting here as does the entire supporting cast. These action sequences are exhilarating and the visual effects are astounding making for an awesome time at the movies.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
The biggest gamble of them all, James Gunn's modern space opera is an MCU masterpiece. It's a humorous story, but one that's grounded in real emotion. Chris Pratt rocketed to super-stardom after he played Star-Lord and for good reason. However, it's the fact that two CGI characters became so beloved and were both fully-realized, three-dimensional characters that makes this such a surprising movie. While this one still features a throwaway villain, it doesn't matter as much because the focus is on this team of misfits. Here, we also have one of the best movie soundtracks of all time.
5. The Avengers
Never before had a movie studio taken all of their major franchise characters and brought them together for one super-team-extravaganza, but Marvel did and it worked. Bringing together all of these heroes was so much fun to watch because they couldn't stand each other at first, but grew to respect one another and fight for a common cause. Joss Whedon deserves all the credit for writing this incredible script and directing these actors, never letting one outshine the other and giving them all moments in the spotlight. Tom Hiddleston gives a deliciously twisted performance as a scorned Loki out for revenge while the rest of the cast each play their roles very well, especially Mark Ruffalo who brings his own nerdiness and anger to Bruce Banner and The Hulk. This one's such a fun movie with a lot of meaning and to this day the best action sequence ever put to film in the Battle of New York.
4. Iron Man
The one that started it all, Jon Favreau's Iron Man is to this day one of the best superhero movies, and maybe one of the best movies of the past decade. Robert Downey Jr. was born to play the role of Tony Stark since he not only looks just like the character from the comics, but also has personal history that connects with the character's rebellious and self-destructive ways. Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges both bring their A-game to the roles of his love Pepper Potts and business-partner-turned-enemy Obadiah Stane a.k.a. Iron Monger. It's got tons of great action, effects, music, and dialogue, but key to it all is the fact that the film-makers balanced the movie's action and humor with heart making it the ultimate crowd-pleaser.
3. Captain America: Civil War
A third entry in any franchise is usually when things start to go downhill, but not for Cap. This installment follows through on the previous film's cliffhanger with an intriguing story that feels both epic and intimate at once. This movie also has repercussions throughout the entire MCU making it the most important film since Avengers: Age of Ultron. From an intense fight scene, to an exhilarating foot/car chase, and a jaw-dropping battle royale at an airport, never has a Marvel movie dared to feature so many heroes all fighting on screen at once. Even with all the huge sequences and all the major characters, this one still manages to keep it's focus on Steve Rogers' journey and the difficult decisions he has to make regarding his closest relationships. The finale is heartbreaking and is sure to leave you wondering where these characters might go next.
2. Black Panther
This is one of the most revolutionary films in the MCU. It's a geo-political action thriller with James Bond-ian leanings about the leader (a brilliant Chadwick Boseman) of an isolated nation who is confronted with the horrors of his family's past and must forge a new legacy for himself and his people. It's a deeply emotional movie with an incredible cast including Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger, perhaps the best MCU villain ever thanks to his deadly, seductive swagger and intensely sympathetic backstory. Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright all bring their characters to life is magnificent ways and the production design, costumes, and cinematography is astounding. It's a writer/director Ryan Coogler's movie through and through and this represents what Marvel does best which is let it's directors fulfill their radical visions on screen.
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The MCU's best movie is the second Captain America film which has the titular hero in a modern day setting, working inside the intelligence community as he deals with the covert surveillance state. It's a political thriller like Three Days of the Condor disguised as a superhero movie which the Russo Brothers handle expertly. The movie has a lot to say about our current government system, but does so in a creative way that doesn't take you out of the movie. It's got the best hand-to-hand combat scenes and chase sequences ever filmed, a few shocking reveals, and a tightly woven, intricate story that isn't too difficult to follow. It's well-edited too and the cinematography is excellent in every scene. The script, music, acting, stunts, and visual effects all work together flawlessly here. It's Chris Evans best performance in the role, and features Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson at their best yet too. This is not just a great MCU or comic book movie, but a great film period.