Sorry it’s been awhile since my last post, if anyone has even kept track. This summer has been a busy one for me. However, I have found some time to make a quick post.
About two months ago, I ranked all 22 of the MCU films from Iron Man to the epic Avengers: Endgame. With the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, it’s time to add yet another MCU movie to the mix. I plan on doing a review for Spider-Man: Far From Home as well at some point. To save time, I’m keeping everything I said about the first 22 MCU films the same, the only change will be the addition of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Without further ado, here’s my updated rankings of all 23 films in the MCU.
**SPOILER WARNING FOR ALL 23 MCU MOVIES**
Be sure to leave your list of MCU movies in the comment section below. Let’s talk about it!
23. The Incredible Hulk
This movie will always come in last place for me. If an MCU movie beats this as the worst, the MCU should just end. Not that this is an awful movie, it just feels out of place. The plot is okay, but the biggest thing that feels off is watching Edward Norton play the Hulk after the phenomenal job Mark Ruffalo has done with the role.
Poor Mark Ruffalo, always finding a way to spoil movies before their release. With The Incredible Hulk though, he spoils it not because of his big mouth, but because of the depth and humor he brought to the character starting with The Avengers and various other MCU movies after that.
Don’t worry Mark Ruffalo, we still love you.
Pros: Stan Lee’s Cameo?
Cons: No Mark Ruffalo, no MCU implications, visuals don’t age well
22. Thor: The Dark World
For many people, this is the favorite for the worst MCU movie of all time. Rightfully so, it has a forgettable plot and the most poorly written villain in the MCU. The only reason why I have it ahead of The Incredible Hulk is because the Thor-Loki interactions are pretty good and it still feels like it has a place in the MCU. Especially with a callback to the movie in Avengers: Endgame.
It also has an infinity stone in it too which makes it pretty relevant for The Infinity Saga story line. Unfortunately, it still isn’t a very rewatchable movie.
Pros: Thor/Loki relationship, introduces the Reality Stone
Cons: Poorly written villain, forgettable story
21. Iron Man 2
I remember going to see this with my mom and my brother way back in 2010 when it came out in theaters. I was about 13 years old. I had no clue about where the MCU was going. Actually, I had no clue about the MCU in general. All I knew was that it’s a sequel to 2008’s Iron Man.
I was disappointed in the film back then, and my first impression hasn’t changed over 9 years. It’s plot is kinda all over the place and there’s technically like 2 villains that aren’t very well developed. I get that the writers were trying to set up the bigger MCU with this movie, but it just doesn’t accomplish that.
It’s not an awful movie to watch, mainly because Robert Downey Jr. makes any MCU movie better just with his presence. I still wouldn’t consider rewatching it unless I am going through the movies in order like I did to prepare for Infinity War and Endgame.
Pros: RDJ’s performance, introduces Black Widow
Cons: Messy plot, no MCU implications, weak villains
This is where my rankings start to get tricky. The previous three are in a category of their own as “the worst of the MCU”, but this is when I consider movies rewatchable and their rankings don’t really do them justice. This is because the MCU has soooo many good movies.
Anyway, I put Thor here because it’s a solid origin story, but pretty forgettable. Nothing major really happens. It’s just as much a developmental movie for Loki as it is for Thor. This movies leads right into the events of The Avengers, so this movie is pretty crucial for setting up Loki as the villain for the first big crossover of the MCU.
Pros: Good origin story for Thor, introduces Loki as the main villain of The Avengers
Cons: Not a memorable story, Thor/Jane romance
19. Captain Marvel
I’ve only watched this once so I may need to watch it a couple more times to really get a feel for where it belongs in my rankings. I thought the movie was okay, but I was mainly excited to see how they would set her character up for the events in Avengers: Endgame. However, she didn’t end up having a very big role in Endgame, which really doesn’t help with making Captain Marvel feel more like up-and-coming character in the MCU.
I’ve heard of the Secret Invasion storyline and was really looking forward to this being the movie that puts that in motion. One problem though, the Skrulls are actually the good guys. I don’t really like this because now it seems like they can’t really make the Secret Invasion storyline work unless they do something where the Skrulls become the villain again. Which would make me look at this movie even worse than I already do.
Most origins stories aren’t great in the MCU, but this one just feels bizarre. The humor feels off and the plot is just…weird. I hope in time this movie feels better than it does now.
I may seem pessimistic about this movie now, but it still hasn’t completely processed with me. Consider this a tentative rank.
Pros: Introduction to Captain Marvel/Skrulls, better insight on the Kree, Nick Fury
Cons: Weird storyline, weak humor/plot, side characters are forgettable, Endgame storyline overshadows it
18. Ant-Man and the Wasp
Paul Rudd as Ant-Man is a perfect match. I love the humor he brings to the MCU. This movie was made to be a light-hearted movie that followed up the dark ending of Avengers: Infinity War.
And it does exactly that, but not much more. It’s a funny and nice plot to get people to calm down after watching their favorite characters turn to dust after the snap in Infinity War.
I looked forward to this movie so much just to get more details on what happened in Infinity War. Like Captain Marvel, the hype for the next movie kind of creates too much hype for these movies and made me overlook the events that take place.
Maybe that’s my own mistake, but these are my rankings! Still though, I wouldn’t mind rewatching Ant-Man and the Wasp at some point in the future.
Pros: Paul Rudd’s performance, good light-hearted movie to follow up Infinity War
Cons: Not very memorable, Infinity War hype overshadows it
17. Doctor Strange
I might catch some hate for this one, but I wasn’t too impressed with this movie! I did not watch this in theaters, and it took me more than one sitting to get through it. I’m not really a fan of magic and wizards and sorcery stories.
However, after watching Avengers: Infinity War. I can’t help but love the character of Doctor Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch has an outstanding performance in this movie. The villains and other side characters are fairly weak. Although after watching Avengers: Endgame, I respect The Ancient One more.
The visuals are fantastic. It’s probably the first thing that pops into someone’s head when they think about this movie.
Pros: Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance, fantastic visuals
Cons: Poorly developed villains, not very memorable
This is the part of the list where all of the movies begin to become some of my favorites and are absolutely rewatchable at just about any time.
Like with Ant-Man and the Wasp. The original Ant-Man is just an introduction to a new and light-hearted character compared to rest of the MCU. I find the original to have a more interesting plot and more memorable quotes.
“Baskin Robbins always finds out”
I didn’t really know who Paul Rudd was before this movie, but since the release of Ant-Man, any movie I see on Netflix with Paul Rudd in it is a must-watch for me. He’s just so witty and so relatable it’s hard not to want to watch more movies with him in it.
Pros: Good humor, Paul Rudd’s performance, good introduction movie
Cons: No MCU implications, not a very compelling plot
15. Iron Man 3
This movie is so so good, except for the plot twist. Yeah, if you’ve seen this movie you know what I’m talking about.
This movie was the first movie in Phase 2 of the MCU and is really the first movie to show repercussions from a previous MCU movie. The way this movie portrays Tony Stark’s PTSD is remarkable and a key plot point for future movies.
The movie as a whole is good, but when they revealed that the Mandarin was a fake-out, I can’t help but think what could’ve been if they had just stuck to the original Mandarin. The tension was so high and Robert Downey Jr. gave a phenomenal performance, but I can’t help but feel it falls a little short. Easily could’ve been a top 10 MCU movie if it weren’t for that. The action is great and it truly is a classic MCU movie
Pros: RDJ’s performance, directly correlates with the aftermath of The Avengers, good action sequences, very rewatchable
Cons: Fake-out plot twist weakens the story
14. Captain America: The First Avenger
This movie is really the one that “started it all”. Although it’s not the first movie to be released in the MCU, it is the first in the MCU timeline as we know it. Chris Evans is perfect for the role of Captain America and this movie is just a classic, patriotic upcoming of an American hero.
There’s so much that happens in this movie that has implications throughout the entire MCU. It introduces an infinity stone to Earth (space stone). It shows us the origin of not only one, but two superheroes (The Winter Soldier. It also provides the main thing that keeps Captain America motivated throughout the MCU (his love for Peggy). It’s one of the better origin stories in the MCU.
Pros: Great origin story, introduces the Space Stone, Cap/Bucky and Cap/Peggy relationships
Cons: Messy plot, Red Skull isn’t very compelling
13. Black Panther
This is one, if not the most controversial movie to rank in the entire MCU. It’s got a tremendous story and a really compelling villain which we are not used to seeing in solo-character movies in the MCU.
It’s worth some of the praise, but not all of it. I do think it is overrated to a point. It’s not worthy of an Oscar, but it’s great that it got recognized. Superhero movies usually don’t get nominated for Academy Awards in today’s day and age.
Overall, it’s a very solid movie and will only age better as Black Panther becomes a more crucial part to the MCU. It’s right in the middle of the pack for me.
Pros: Very compelling villain, good origin story
Cons: Visuals get a little messy, no significant MCU implications
12. Spider-Man: Far From Home
The first MCU movie after the epic conclusion of Avengers: Endgame is middle of the pack for me. I knew going into it that Mysterio would become the villain, even though I don’t read the comics. You just had a feeling something was off through the first third of the movie.
I really wanted this movie to be better than Spider-Man: Homecoming, but it just feels a little off. I didn’t care for some of the special effects. This movie feels more like Iron Man 3 where the main character’s inner conflict is the most interesting part of the movie. The post credit scenes are interesting, but the MCU will definitely be slower after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Pros: Tom Holland’s performance, one of the most comedic MCU films, great character arc for Spider-Man
Cons: Weird special effects, not a ton of action
11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
This movie is by far one of the funniest in the MCU. I didn’t think Drax was particularly funny in the original, but he is the star of this one. So many one liners and quotes make this a very rewatchable entry in the MCU.
However, this movie was definitely just a fill-in and doesn’t really have that many implications on the rest of the MCU….for now. It’s a good movie with a great cast.
Pros: Hilarious movie, fantastic cast, Yondu’s character arc
Cons: Weird plot
10. Spider-Man: Homecoming
After introducing Spider-Man to the MCU in Civil War, Homecoming is a great entry in the MCU. Although it is an introductory film for an MCU character, it is not an origin story. I think it works better this way.
I never got into the Toby Maguire Spider-Man movies or the more recent Andrew Garfield movies. I went into this movie pretty fresh with the character. I love what Tom Holland brings to the table. He makes Spider-Man a young, naive, go-getter that just works so well in this universe.
The villain in this movie is really good, too. He’s just a guy that is trying to provide for his family and ends up going off the deep end a little bit. Although there are no real implications to the broader MCU as a whole, this movie is a great one to kick off my top 10.
Pros: Fantastic introduction movie for Spider-Man, Tom Holland’s performance, Iron Man/Spider-Man moments, compelling villain
Cons: no MCU implications
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I feel like I might catch heat for this one too, because I’ve seen people with this movie ranked all the way at the top of their lists. I didn’t get to experience this movie in theaters and it came out just around the time when I first realized the MCU is bigger than I ever imagined.
I feel that the plot twist that Bucky was alive and The Winter Soldier was dampened down for me seeing that I didn’t quite know what was going on at the time. I can see how this may be why my thoughts differ from so many others.
This movie has some REALLY big implications on the MCU. It sets up Civil War, shows the downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D., and really just sets up Captain America’s viewpoint on this new world he’s inhabited as well as introduce one of the better side characters in the MCU in Sam Wilson aka Falcon.
Pros: Good plot, introduces Falcon, Cap/Falcon and Cap/Bucky relationships, real MCU implications
Cons: Plot is somewhat hard to follow if you don’t know much about first film and what S.H.I.E.L.D. is
8. Avengers: Age Of Ultron
I see this movie really low on some people’s lists. Which I kinda get it. It’s a cluttered movie with a lot of moving parts that ultimately don’t matter by the time we get to Infinity War and Endgame (cough, Bruce Banner/Natasha Romanoff romance), but I still enjoy it.
I find it to be incredibly rewatchable and I always find another detail I didn’t notice before. It ages somewhat well with time. It’s action-packed and there is a lot of humor (sometimes too much). I was disappointed that they made Ultron such an intimidating villain in the trailers leading up to it’s release and then added too much humor to Ultron’s character, which made me take him not so seriously.
At the end of the day though, to me at least, watching and following the MCU is all about seeing all the characters come together in the Avengers movies. A not-so-great plot can still provide some great moments. This movie is a pivotal moment in the MCU as it sets up the fallout of Cap and Iron Man in Civil War and that ends up becoming a very big disadvantage when Infinity War comes around.
Pros: HUGE MCU implications, great character moments, crucial for the development of Tony Stark and Cap
Cons: Messy plot, Ultron’s character was disappointing
7. Iron Man
The movie that started it all. I remember going to see this movie with my dad back in 2008 when I was just 11 years old. I had no idea what was to come. Like I said before, I wasn’t much of a superhero fan growing up, but between Iron Man and The Dark Knight trilogy, I slowly started to come around.
This is a fantastic origin story. Looking back, it’s a pretty straightforward plot. I can’t really describe how I feel about it. As a movie alone, it holds up pretty good. But because it’s the beginning of an era, it gets so much praise.
Robert Downey Jr gives arguably his best performance in the MCU by making a superhero that was not well known into a common household name for many years to come. He makes this movie, and arguably, the MCU is all because of him.
“I am Iron Man”
Pros: Great origin story to kick off the MCU, Robert Downey Jr gives arguably his best performance ever, compelling villain
Cons: Honestly, can’t think of any
6. The Avengers
I feel like this ranking may catch some hate, but it’s so hard to rank these. They are all so close. Anyway, the first team-up of The Avengers is a great one. You get some great character moments as each of the heroes personalities and egos clash at the beginning and then team-up to defeat Loki and the army of the Chitauri.
The battle of New York is one, if not the most iconic moment in the MCU. There’s an argument that it’s one of the most iconic moments in cinematic history. No one had done what the MCU did up to that point. It’s such a memorable movie, but it is slow at times. The act in the aircraft carrier takes way too long in my opinion, but doesn’t take anything away from what this movie really is.
Pros: First time seeing characters interact with each other, good plot, iconic moments
Cons: Too much time spent in the S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft carrier
5. Thor: Ragnarok
I don’t know how anyone can hate on this movie. It’s so good and it completely rejuvenates Thor’s character. This movie, along with Guardians of the Galaxy (which is coming up here soon), were both movies I went in with very low expectations. With Thor: Ragnarok I expect just another Thor movie that would be just so-so.
Boy, was I wrong. The Thor/Loki relationship is at it’s best in this movie. Hela makes a very compelling villain and also makes how you look at Odin a little bit different. It’s hilarious too. This might be the funniest movie in the MCU. It’s so memorable and quotable. AND this movie leads directly into Infinity War. It may very well be the most rewatchable movie in the entire MCU.
Pros: A Thor movie that’s NOT bad, it’s hilarious, Thor/Loki and Thor/Hulk relationships are some of the best moments in the MCU, good plot with a great villain, leads directly into the events of Infinity War
Cons: Really there aren’t any, some people might think it’s too humorous, but I’m glad they made this a funny entry in the MCU because it gets really dark with Infinity War
4. Captain America: Civil War
This movie is basically Avengers 2.5. It happens directly after the events of Age of Ultron and the tensions between Tony Stark and Cap are at an all-time high. You just don’t see superhero movies like this (I know Batman v Superman came out right before this, but we all know how good of a movie that was..).
The Avengers completely split in half with one side wanting the freedom to protect the Earth at any time and the other side thinking they need to be in-check and responsible for their actions. The writers of this movie make each side so relatable that neither side is right or wrong. It’s very bittersweet to see our favorite heroes go against each other, but it creates one of the most unique experiences this movie genre has ever seen.
Pros: Fantastic plot, character interactions have never been better, a great mix of action and political perspectives
Cons: Somewhat slow at times, but not too bad
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
Like I said with Thor: Ragnarok, this movie is a very pleasant surprise. I remember before this movie came out people were saying that it would never work with the greater MCU. I had optimism going into it, but I went in completely fresh. I had no clue who these characters were and I may have only watched a trailer once.
That may be why this movie is so very high on my list. It just blew me away. The cast is perfect. The plot is good, villain is okay, but it gives us our first actually look at Thanos along the way, too. I had no idea a group of weird aliens could make such a compelling story. Kudos to James Gunn and the writers, because I don’t think there was been a movie with so much hanging on it that actually sticks the landing.
Pros: Fantastic cast, each character is distinctly different and brings a unique element to the group, gives us the first real look at the main villain of The Infinity Saga in Thanos, it’s funny, and it has a great theme
Cons: Ronan the Accuser would have worked better with a little more back-story
2. Avengers: Endgame *UPDATED*
I went and saw Avengers: Endgame again since my last MCU ranking. If you read my original ranking, you’d see that I was very critical of Endgame, but I still have it at #2.
I can now fully confirm that Avengers: Endgame is deserving of this spot, not higher and/or lower. It’s everything you want in an MCU “grand finale”, but it did come with some baggage.
Fat Thor didn’t click with me because it was made more for laughs than an actual character plot point. Thanos also felt watered down because it wasn’t the version of Thanos that just suffered through all the events of Avengers: Infinity War (not to mention 2014 Thanos is more powerful and can wield Stormbreaker…?)
The second half of Endgame makes up for any of its poor character decisions and somewhat confusing plot that gives us more questions than answers. Since this isn’t the very end of the MCU, that was to be expected. I will never forget all the iconic moments from this movie, but it isn’t a perfect film.
Pros: Second half is arguably the best in the MCU, so many good callbacks to iconic moments in the MCU, every remaining character after the snap has their moment to shine
Cons: Not a fan of “Fat Thor” and past-Thanos doesn’t feel like the Thanos from Infinity War, plot is somewhat all over the place, still tons of questions left to be answered
1. Avengers: Infinity War
The reason why I put Endgame at number 2 is because I knew once I walked out of the theater when it came out that Infinity War is the MCU at it’s absolute best. I just cannot do it justice in just a few paragraphs. So many characters coming together for the first time, seeing Tony Stark clash with Doctor Strange is a sight to see. It’s nonstop action. The plot is super straightforward and going into this movie I had no idea what was going to happen.
It wasn’t until I saw the post-credit scenes in The Avengers that I found out who Thanos was. Once I did my research and learned where the MCU was going, I couldn’t help but to look forward where it was heading next. I think just the build-up to this movie, with there being next-to-no information on who Thanos was really built up this tension. We had no idea what was coming, and this movie does an outstanding job living up to the hype. The experience I had in the movie theater the first time I saw this movie is easily the best experience at a theater I have ever had. It made my love for the MCU feel worth all the time and passion I had put into this masterpiece.
Pros: Thanos is the best villain of all-time, shows a superhero movie where the heroes DON’T WIN, you do not see the ending coming at all, very intense, character interactions are at it’s best in the MCU
Cons: None that are noteworthy
I feel very firm with my ranking of the 23 MCU films thus far. Far From Home is still very fresh with me, so that may change over time. However, finally getting clarity with how I felt about Avengers: Endgame feels nice.
Leave your rankings or thoughts in the comments below! Also, what MCU movies do you think are coming next?
Until next time,