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Every MCU Movie Ranked Worst To Best


Since 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe
has cemented its place as a pop culture juggernaut, but while some of those movies are great,
a few of them are just a good excuse to get some more popcorn during your 40-hour movie
marathon. Here’s every entry in the MCU, from the
superheroes to skip, down to the best must-see movies of the bunch. Thor: The Dark World In theory, 2013’s The Dark World has everything
you could want – except fun. Chris Hemsworth is as charming as ever, and
it’s based on one of the greatest comic book runs of all time. It’s got a Star Wars-style attack on Asgard
by spaceships flown by dark elves! The rock monsters from Thor’s very first comics
appearance! Thor and Loki teaming up for revenge against the villain that killed their mom,
climaxing in a fistfight in which Thor and Malekith are literally punching each other
so hard that they land in other dimensions! Unfortunately, while all of that sounds good
on paper, it’s actually both super boring, and confusing to boot. Traits it shares with… The Incredible Hulk When Nick Fury showed up at the end of Iron
Man and hinted at the idea of a full-on shared universe of superhero movies, fans were thrilled. And then The Incredible Hulk hit theaters
a month later and proved you should really be careful what you wish for. It’s not that the film is terrible. But it’s something almost worse: forgettable. Which is a real shame when you consider that
it does so much right. For one thing, if you’re going to make a movie
about a nerdy scientist with anger issues so powerful they could level a whole town,
getting the guy who starred in Fight Club to play Bruce Banner is a pretty solid move. For another, the filmmakers realized audiences
didn’t need a full-blown origin story to get up to speed. Tying the Hulk’s origin into Captain America
and the Super Soldier program was the first stumbling step towards building the full-on
shared universe. In the end, though, it just didn’t quite land. Iron Man 2 Sam Rockwell literally dancing across the
stage to present his army of Iron Man drones is endlessly delightful, but there’s a lot
in this movie that doesn’t involve Justin Hammer busting a move, too, and that’s where
it fails to measure up to its predecessor. Hammer and Whiplash both serve as evil versions
of Tony Stark, bringing unnecessary complications to the story. Even worse, the scene when Stark goes down
into his basement with a particle accelerator to somehow build a new element might be the
goofiest thing in the entire MCU, and those movies have a talking raccoon from space. At the same time, Iron Man 2 was a confident
stride towards the full MCU, introducing the Black Widow and War Machine, and even teasing
Thor’s arrival in the next film. There’s a lot there to like, and even if it’s
outweighed by the bad stuff, we’ll always have Justin Hammer’s dance moves. Thor Iron Man 2 might’ve been the first big step
towards fleshing out the Marvel Universe, but Thor was the first time we actually got
to see its scope in action. With Thor we got Asgard in all its glory,
complete with a rainbow laser bridge, epic battles against frost giants, and—perhaps
most importantly—those big ol’ Jack Kirby hats that Norse gods apparently love to wear. It even gave us a viking god robot with a
face made of death lasers. And it introduced us to arguably the best
villain in the whole MCU, Loki. Like Thor: The Dark World, though, the original
Thor film somehow ended up feeling like less than the sum of its parts. It should have been great, but it ended up
merely… okay. Iron Man 3 Iron Man 3 tried to do something different,
and it succeeded brilliantly. Unfortunately, what it was trying to do was
defy expectations by completely undermining everything fans loved about Iron Man and the
MCU. Iron Man 3 explores how the smartest guy in
the room deals with living in a world that’s becoming something he can’t predict. It’s a movie about a superhero with an anxiety
disorder, which results in Iron Man spending the entire movie not wanting to be Iron Man,
and thus being Iron Man as little as possible. Plus, there was the whole fake Mandarin thing,
which some people loved… but most fans were either confused or disappointed by. Director Shane Black deserves credit for his
bold vision, which made for a good movie – just not a good Marvel movie. Doctor Strange When 2016’s Doctor Strange was announced,
the big question for comics fans was how the mind-bending psychedelic sorcerer of the mystical
Marvel Universe was going to fit into the MCU. As comic fans know, things get pretty weird. And from a visual standpoint, the filmmakers
absolutely nailed it. The splitting realities in the movie’s fight
scenes were beautifully weird, and the ghostly ethereal plane where life-and-death battles
for the fate of the Earth could rage unseen was great for showing how different Stephen
Strange’s world was. From a story standpoint, though, it seemed
a little too familiar, as the story beats were basically Iron Man with magic. Still, you can do worse than copying one of
the most popular superhero films ever, and the fantastic climax, with Strange’s time-bending
bargain with Dormammu, is one of the best finales in the MCU to date. Avengers: Age of Ultron Juggling a massive cast of superheroes is
a difficult task, and while Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t manage it quite as well
as the other two Avengers films – or Captain America: Civil War – it does a pretty good
job of balancing character bits with all-out action. Sure, some parts seem half baked, like Tony
Stark apparently forgetting every lesson he learned in Iron Man 3, and Thor’s weird spirit
quest. But it boasts a great final battle… “Is that the best you can do!?” …not to mention the introduction of fan
favorite characters Vision and Scarlet Witch. Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t perfect, but
it still packs in a lot of fun. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie proved
that the MCU could get weird and cosmic and still be incredibly entertaining. The second one proved that wasn’t a fluke. If anything, it went even bigger. The first movie brought us stuff like the
Nova Corps and Ronan the Accuser, but Vol. 2 has about a half hour of superheroes battling
Ego the Living Planet. It’s got waves of space drones swarming into
starship battles, a warp drive sequence that knows exactly how silly it is, and it features
the best Stan Lee cameo in cinema history and the single best use of a Zune in anything,
ever. Ant-Man It’s tempting to say Ant-Man shouldn’t have
worked as well as it did, and that a second-tier superhero with the ability to get really tiny
and talk to ants was a big surprise when he started to rake in billions. Really, though, it’s not that unexpected. After all, Marvel’s first big movie success
came from a pretty obscure D-Lister from the pages of Tomb of Dracula. Audiences have always been interested in stories
that twist the expected superhero plot points around into something new, and that’s where
Ant-Man really delivers. As easy as it would’ve been to portray Scott
Lang as a microscopic version of Iron Man, his story felt different. “Hey, are we the good guys?” “Yeah.” “We’re the good guys, right?” “Yeah, we’re the good guys.” “Feels kinda weird, you know?” The movie has its missteps, like going out
of its way to justify not having the Wasp show up until the sequel, but on the other
hand, this is a movie in which the hero loses a fight with a toy train, and Chekhov’s Gun
is actually Chekhov’s 60-Ton Tank. The Avengers That The Avengers works at all is pretty impressive,
but that it works as well as it did? That’s basically a miracle. Even less than a decade later, it’s difficult
to remember that this was the first time that anything like this had been attempted: a movie
that combined characters who had been established in their own films, each with their own tone
and style. In bringing them together, Joss Whedon had
to balance the fantasy of Thor, the snarky sci-fi of Iron Man, and the sincere superheroics
of Captain America, combining them all—along with Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow—with
stakes that were high enough to bring everyone together for a single adventure. And this movie does it. Those big stakes mostly result from an army
of faceless aliens, but even that paid off years later in Avengers: Infinity War. And, Loki getting Hulk-Smashed like a Looney
Tunes character was the most fun superhero movies had ever been. “Puny god.” Iron Man It’s safe to say Iron Man surprised us all. It’s not that we expected it to be bad. Tony Stark’s origin story is a pretty good
fit for a Hollywood action movie, it had a great cast, and while director Jon Favreau
might’ve been best known for Elf, that wasn’t really a bad thing. But still, none of us expected it to be so
good that it would become the foundation of the entire MCU. To say that it was an exceptionally powerful
launch would be an understatement. “…one.” [crash and grunting] There are times when this feels less like
a “superhero” movie and more like a popcorn revenge flick where the hero just happens
to have a flying suit of armor, but it did its job so well that those shortcomings are
easy to forgive. Captain America: The First Avenger The First Avenger does origin stories better
than most, and a lot of that has to do with Chris Evans. In a franchise that’s full of amazing casting
choices, Evans pulls off the incredible feat of embodying a square-jawed, relentlessly
earnest product of the military-industrial complex in a way that makes him impossible
not to like. For all the super-strength, that’s a character
whose real super-power is making you believe in him, and that’s exactly what this movie
does. “I can do this all day.” As good as it was on its own, it also serves
as the proof-of-concept for the superhero movie as a period piece, and gave the MCU
a history that went further back than 2008 and Tony Stark’s cave. Guardians of the Galaxy The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie manages
to balance so much stuff going on that you almost don’t notice how complicated it is
for all the fun you’re having. It’s got a team of lovable misfits dealing
with their own issues while fighting against a massive threat, expansive interstellar empires,
and a retro feel supported by a classic rock soundtrack that doesn’t feel like it’s wallowing
in the past. All that, and still tells a story so fun that
it made Rocket Raccoon a household name. It breaks the formula in every way it can,
to the point where it’s a superhero team movie that ends with a dance-off and the heroes
literally saving the universe with the power of friendship. Captain America: The Winter Soldier Everything about The Winter Soldier reinforces
the idea that Captain America is exactly the guy you want to have the power to save the
world. The notebook full of pop culture references
that he needs to look up to understand the world around him. The friendship with Sam Wilson that starts
with bonding over their wartime experience. The loyalty to his friends that leads him
to risk his own life to save Bucky. He even gives his opponents one last chance
to back out before he beats up an elevator full of traitors. All of these pieces did add up to a whole
that’s incredible, even before you get to how much of the movie is based around Steve
Rogers just kicking the living hell out of bad guys. That stuff’s pretty fun, too. Captain America: Civil War Even though Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes
are unquestionably the focus of Civil War, there’s a pretty convincing argument to be
made that this movie should’ve been called Avengers: Civil War instead. It has everyone in it, and they aren’t just
cameos, either. Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and War Machine
all get huge, character-developing moments in the middle of a superheroic Royal Rumble,
while the Avengers are split by a villain who wound up getting exactly what he wanted. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also the movie
that introduced movie audiences to Black Panther and Spider-Man. The characters are never flattened out to
fit, and the three-way fight at the end has not only some of the best action in the MCU,
but some of the most emotional moments, too. Black Panther After a his debut in Civil War, T’Challa’s
first solo movie came with some pretty high expectations. Not only did it live up to them, it blew right
past them for one of the MCU’s best movies. Maybe it’s because Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa
is a character struggling with the weight of expectations himself. The Black Panther is more than up for the
challenge, but the journey he takes to get there is full of compelling complications,
from the reveal that his father wasn’t the flawlessly honorable man that he thought,
to a an enemy with some very justifiable anger at the world around him. It’s a superhero struggle that goes far
beyond the punch-out battle in the climax. Black Panther never shies away from its high-tech
comic book roots, but tells a story that’s very much rooted in the real world, and it
does it beautifully. Avengers: Infinity War More than any other superhero movie, Infinity
War captures the feeling of an epic comic book crossover. There are multiple interconnected stories
going on at the same time, each with its own flavor, bridging different story arcs and
making sure every single character gets a moment in the spotlight. When it comes together at the end, it’s
a fight across multiple planets where the unbelievably high stakes become very real
for both the characters and the fans who have been invested in these movies for a full ten
years. That’s a tough enough bit of storytelling
to pull off well even in comic books, and they’ve had decades of practice. Seeing it done here, in a single movie that
still has that feeling of encompassing a whole universe? No other movie has ever done that, and it’s
hard to imagine another one doing it this well. Thor: Ragnarok To say that Ragnarok lifts heavily from Walt
Simonson’s mid-’80s epic run on The Mighty Thor is putting it mildly. The only things in this movie that weren’t
directly inspired by Simonson are the pieces it pulls directly from Marvel’s more recent
Planet Hulk storyline, right down to the Hulk’s gladiator gear. The thing is, Taika Waititi’s film chops up
all those pieces and rearranges them into something that’s both different and genuinely
hilarious. “That’s exactly what Doug used to say. See you later, new Doug.” That part isn’t surprising, considering that
before Ragnarok, Waititi was probably best known for co-directing the vampire mockumentary
What We Do in the Shadows, but it takes advantage of Chris Hemsworth’s infuriatingly good comedic
timing. “Ow.” “Just had to be sure.” Spider-Man: Homecoming As good as it is on its own, the fact that
Peter Parker swings into action after 15 other movies means we don’t have to waste time with
an origin story. Thematically, Homecoming builds on everything
that came before in a truly incredible way, with direct callbacks to Tony Stark’s character
arc that show how different Peter Parker is from the hero he’s trying to impress. The idea of a superhero universe erupting
around otherwise normal people is the conflict that drives everything about the movie. Take that away and you’ve still got great
characters, great action, and one of the best scenes in the franchise. With it, though, you’ve got pure magic. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
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