Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies Ranked: Worst to Best
By Matt Chieco
The Marvel Cinematic Universe, like it or not is something to be applauded. Twenty-three individual movies telling one overarching story, and since we're now halfway through Wandavision, we as a group at the Pop! Pour! Review decided to rank all of the MCU movies thus far. As the years go on and phase 4 gets more underway this list is sure to change.
This was no easy task, not one movie in any of our lists lined up. Trying to sit down and negotiate which movie deserved which spot took some time. Let us know what you agree and disagree with! With that being said let's begin with the ranking:
23) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
This movie had a lot to live up to, with the first Guardians of the Galaxy being such a success. This movie had great moments but could have been reigned in a bit more by not veering from the plot as much as it did. A great thing this movie did was add the character Mantis to the MCU.
22) Iron Man 3
Robert Downey Jr's last solo movie as Tony Stark left us wanting more. With an idea setting up for a good story. Iron Man 3 is our least favorite of the three. The main problem is that they took Tony out of the suit for too long and took away one of the things that started his journey as Iron Man (the arc reactor, which they brought back in a new way during Avengers: Infinity War). Yet one of the biggest problems the movie faced was taking Iron Man's arch nemesis, the Mandarin, and completely changing it.
21) The Incredible Hulk
The forgotten movie of the MCU. Marvel Studios wanted to put the Hulk in their universe and this was the only way it was going to happen. Even though very little of what happened in this movie has transferred into the MCU (that might change with the new Disney+ show She-Hulk). If this wasn't released right after the hit Iron Man maybe this would have been higher on the list.
20) Thor: The Dark World
Thor: The Dark World is the black sheep of the Thor franchise. With a lot of behind the scenes issues, this movie had a steep mountain to climb before cameras even started to roll. I always wonder what could have been if Patty Jenkins, who was originally hired to direct, actually made the sequel.
19) Captain Marvel
The MCU's first solo female superhero movie was something to be excited about, yet it didn't live up to all the hype. This wasn't because of the character but, because of the directors vision (or lack thereof). Announced as a 90's film, but that didn't come through in the final product. With some highlights throughout, I think Captain Marvel's second outing is going to be lightyears ahead of its predecessor.
18) Avengers: Age of Ultron
Any Marvel list usually will have any movie with the word Avengers towards the top. So why is the second Avengers outing this low? Avengers: Age of Ultron had a great premise but, Marvel decided that this movie need to show the audience where the MCU was heading after phase two. It cast James Spader as Ultron, introduced Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as Vision, and had one of the best sequences in the MCU (Scarlet Witch putting all of the Avengers in a trance). Those highlights couldn't push past the lulls this movie had.
17) Iron Man 2
This movie gave us Don Cheadle as War Machine, Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow, and began to build upon the universe. Beyond that this movie didn't really excel, and like I said with The Incredible Hulk, that's because Iron Man 2 couldn't hold a candle to its predecessor.
16) Captain America: The First Avenger
The weakest of the Captain America franchise, but that didn't stop Steve Rogers from having one of the best character arcs in the MCU. Though not a bad movie it fell into the origin story trap. Yet at the same time being set so long before the "start" of everything, it was able to be separate and have its own vision.
15) Ant-Man and the Wasp
This movie was tasked with two things, being a sequel and also being the follow up to Infinity War and the lead into Endgame. While the end credit scene did get fans excited for Endgame, this movie went on a completely different journey than what Avengers: Infinity War showed. That's not a bad thing, but an oversight when figuring out where to place this movie in the timeline. One of the better parts of the sequel is Evangeline Lilly as Wasp and her back and fourth with Paul Rudd's Ant-Man.
With the changing of directors in the middle of pre-production, this movie turned out better than most would have thought. Though Peyton Reed didn't bring much creativity to the Ant-Man franchise, he brought a breath of fresh air to the MCU. The characters were more grounded into the everyday world and the stakes were not at the level of the Avengers.
13) Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange introduced us to the mystical arts. While magic was only briefly talked about in the Thor movies, Stephen Strange guided us deeper into that world (although it could have gone deeper). The visuals and the amount of weird that was allowed into this story adds to the hype for the future sequel.
An underrated movie in the MCU. If you look at Thor compared to the rest of the MCU, it stands out because of its Shakespearian approach. Just because it's underrated doesn't mean it has its flaws.
Let us not forget without this movie we would have never gotten to enjoy Tom Hiddleston as Loki.
11) Spider-Man: Homecoming
Tom Holland has arrived! Before this movie, rebooting Spider-Man had become a trend. Never did we think the character would be part of the MCU, and are dreams came true. Spider-Man: Homecoming showed us what it was like to be a kid living in a world full of superhero's.
It's also important to point out that this version of Peter Parker actually looked like a kid.
10) Black Panther
The story was rich, the characters were interesting, and every little detail had its own style. As different as it feels from the rest of the MCU, Black Panther does fall to some of the classic superhero moments, for better or for worse. Yet, very few movies (especially comic book movies) have had such a cultural impact on society like Black Panther did.
9) Guardians of the Galaxy
The biggest shock in the MCU. Who would have thought that a movie with a tree who only says three words and a talking raccoon would become the popular franchise it is today. Director James Gunn, brought a love of music and an appreciation for weird to Marvel in the best way.
8) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Marvel Studios is known for bending genres and the second installment in the Captain America series is the best example. One would never think a superhero movie could mix with a political thriller, but once again Marvel proves us wrong.
The Russo Brothers rightfully earned the opportunity to direct some of the studios biggest films.
7) Captain America: Civil War
Avengers 2.5? Steve Roger’s last solo outing was a movie that truly brought a comic book to the big screen. Just the airport fight sequence alone earns Captain America: Civil War a top spot on this list.
Team Iron Man and Team Cap still spark debate to this day.
6) Avengers: Endgame
The biggest movie in the world, do we even need to say more? Though at the number six spot (I think it should be number one) Avengers: Endgame provided a perfect ending to the eleven year, twenty-three movie infinity saga. This movie gave fans closure while also making us excited for the long future ahead.
5) Spider-Man: Far From Home
Spider-Man: Far From Home took what we all loved about Homecoming and doubled it, making the MCU’s Spider-Man even more beloved. Developing the characters in this still grounded franchise only made us more excited for Spider-Man 3 (please be a live action spider-verse).
Oh, and once again adding a great villain to the universe.
4) Thor: Ragnarok
One thing Guardians of the Galaxy taught us was, it’s okay to get weird in the MCU. Director Taika Waititi, took a more serious character and stripped him of everything. The result was Thor: Ragnarok, a funny and colorful space adventure (featuring the Hulk). Thor was changed for good and audiences were ecstatic with the new version.
3) Iron Man
The movie that started it all, Iron Man, led by the legendary Robert Downey Jr. and directed by Jon Favreau. The movie set a high bar on what a well-crafted superhero movie could be. From the super (no pun intended) grounded story from start to finish, the OG film will always be one of the greats.
2) The Avengers
Back in 2002 when Sam Rami’s Spider-Man was released who would have thought 10 years later there could be an idea to put together multiple different franchises into one single fleshed out, action packed movie. You can thank Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige for making this a reality, and changed the playing field for the future of movies making.
1) Avengers: Infinity War
If you think the first Avengers had to fit a lot of story into one movie, the Russo Brothers would agree to disagree. While Avengers: Endgame had a final battle scene with over thirty MCU characters, Avengers: Infinity War featured that and more throughout the whole movie. Perfectly balancing (see what I did there) the characters we grown to love over the years with the big bad Thanos.
Taking Infinity War and Endgame and combing them results in the one the best comic book movies of all time.