How Would You Rank the MCU Films?

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Ten years and nineteen films later, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has established itself as a juggernaut movie franchise in the era of film defined by major franchises. It is just a few years away from surpassing in quantity the most prolific film franchise of the modern era (James Bond), and as I write this Avengers: Infinity War is threatening to break box office records previously set by that other juggernaut movie franchise, Star Wars. Suffice to say, the MCU is big business, and the reason it is big business is because audiences have responded well to the films themselves and the overall direction of the franchise.

To understand how effective the MCU films have been so far, I asked our contributors to rank the 19 films that have been released thus far. Below you will find their rankings with comments regarding their selections. Following this discussion, I have taken everyone’s picks and averaged them to come up with a final ranking that you will find at the bottom of this article.

The main reason for the averaged ranking is the fact that opinions over the MCU films are both consistent and varied. There are films which simply did not resonate with audiences for whatever reason, and others which found all but universal praise. One reason for this is our own interactions with the comic books and characters on which the films are based. For some of us, there may be a preference to the film versions of the comic book heroes that you love the most. For others who may not have read comic books, we may take the films at face value and our opinions may be based simply on which ones entertained us the most. An average ranking is the best way to separate these different approaches, however we recognize that it is hampered by the limited sample size and the result ends up having less concrete meaning to each of us on a personal level.


 

  Garrett
Rank Film Notes
19 The Incredible Hulk Frankly I thought Ang Lee’s Hulk movie was more interesting.
18 Thor: The Dark World The generic non-human Marvel movie. Oh, and the humans are annoying.
17 Iron Man 2 I do like this film, I like Sam Rockwell, I like whiplash…but it’s boring compared to everything else.
16 Avengers: Age of Ulton Also not bad, just not as exciting as it should have been.
15 Iron Man 3 I still don’t understand the purpose of this film, to teach Tony a lesson about his ego? Didn’t work.
14 Captain America: The First Avenger A good jumping off point, but that’s about it.
13 Thor Compared to later films it seems so low key.
12 Ant-Man Oh what the Edgar Wright version could have been…
11 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 The middle section bogs down, but otherwise its solid.
10 Captain America: Civil War Definately raised the bar.
9 Doctor Strange I really enjoyed the creativity of this one.
8 Spider-Man: Homecoming I like the John Hughes-esque approach. Entertaining.
7 Captain America: Winter Soldier I had a few problems with it, but it was definately an improvement on the first film and one of the most well rounded MCU films.
6 Thor: Ragnarok Thor goes to cheesy sci-fi and ramps up the comedy. It worked.
5 Marvel’s The Avengers Whedon’s magic touch worked on this one.
4 Avengers: Infinity War They promised epic and delivered. This one changes everything.
3 Black Panther Superhero film unlike we’ve seen before. Bravo!
2 Iron Man Classic superhero film. One of the best ever made.
1 Guardians of the Galaxy Charming, action-packed, and exciting sci-fi flick. More like this please!

 


 

  Rob
Rank Film Notes
19 Thor: The Dark World crap. pure and simple.
18 Avengers: Age of Ulton kind of a jumbled mess with all the heroes tripping over each other.
17 Iron Man 3 The Spiderman 3 of the MCU … Change my mind.
16 Thor Meh, I never really liked Thor anyway.
15 The Incredible Hulk much better than the first one, decent flick.
14 Iron Man 2 More Sam Rockwell please.
13 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 pretty mediocre film compared to what came before it.
12 Captain America: The First Avenger basic origin story, it was ok.
11 Spider-Man: Homecoming if it wasnt for Michael Keaton this would be much lower
10 Doctor Strange for a comic I never liked this one very well done
9 Ant-Man another movie I first thought why are they making this, but it turned out to be pretty damn good.
8 Thor: Ragnarok Holy Crap they made a movie with Thor I freakin’ liked .. A LOT!
7 Iron Man I’ve liked RDJ as an actor since the 80’s, he is Tony Stark and thank god he got his shit together and landed this role.
6 Guardians of the Galaxy different team of Guardians than what I read as a kid, Awesome movie and soundtrack.
5 Marvel’s The Avengers Hulk meets Loki, that scene alone makes this movie worth it.
4 Captain America: Civil War Captain America Vs. Iron Man. you almost see one hero murder another one in teh final fight scene. Magniuficent
3 Captain America: Winter Soldier I honestly forgot about this movie until I rewatched it 2 years later and was just floored at how good it was.
2 Avengers: Infinity War 10 years of following your favorite heroes, now it’s time to watch them die. this movie is emotionally draining.
1 Black Panther This is easily the best movie from the MCU I have seen. It’s even changed the way nerds say hello now. 

 


 

  Justin (Casual Cinecast)
Rank Film Notes
  Spider-Man: Homecoming Haven’t Seen this one.
  Ant-Man Haven’t Seen this one.
  Thor: The Dark World Haven’t Seen this one.
16 Thor: Ragnarok Every piece of humor (most the movie) falls flat, bad villain. Just really hate this movie.
15 The Incredible Hulk Haven’t seen since theatres but remember meh CG and Hulk being uninteresting
14 Thor Unbelievably boring, where my distaste for Marvel truly began
13 Marvel’s The Avengers Apart from eating shwarma at the end, I only remember things I don’t like about this movie and can’t recall anything actually good about it. I checked my watch the whole time in theatres and haven’t seen it since.
12 Iron Man 3 Bad ending with Iron Man army, Enjoyed the marketing twist with Ben Kingsley being set up as bad guy but being a silly actor.
11 Iron Man 2 Where the list really starts to move into the “It was Okay” instead of “Didn’t Like It” section. Sam Rockwell can elevate any film he’s in and does so here.
10 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 WAYYY too much Drax trying to be funny, lots of the humor is trying too hard and falls flat. I enjoyed all the dysfunctional family issues and the idea that the Guardians have each other as family in the end. Very touching. Kurt Russel is always great too.
9 Captain America: Civil War Struggled to get through this despite Enjoying the idea of whether or not superheroes should be under government control, but they barely scratched the surface so I was a little unsatisfied.
8 Avengers: Age of Ulton I found this one relatively watchable and entertaining but not particularly good either. Too many bad attempts at humor that were poorly timed or seemed forced and out of place in their scenes. Particularly James Spader as Ultron tried to be funny far too much and maybe shouldn’t have had any attempts at humor at all.
7 Captain America: Winter Soldier I enjoyed the more spy movie vibe of this one but overall this one left me feeling underwhelmed apart from wondering what would happen next now that SHIELD was discovered as corrupt and was dissolved.
6 Guardians of the Galaxy We finally get into movies I consider at least “Good” with Guardians.This one was a lot of fun and one of the few that I flat out enjoyed. I think the villain is pretty average but the humor lands way more than most Marvel movies. Drax works well in this one when he’s more restrained and the butt of the jokes instead of making the jokes. Chris Pratt is likable and charming and funny as usual.
5 Black Panther By far the peak villain by Marvel. None of the humor works for me but Wakanda and it’s story combined with a villain that is completely relatable and who isn’t trying to destroy the Earth, humanity or the Galaxy was a breath of fresh air for me. Every Villain is the hero of their own story and they nailed that concept in Black Panther.
4 Avengers: Infinity War Lots and lots of characters to balance and they mostly did it very well. Enjoyed the amount of time spent developing Thanos into probably the second best Marvel villain behind Michael B Jordan in Black Panther. The humor didn’t feel forced or out of place but mostly right. The ending didn’t have the punch that I think they wanted it to have for me. I’ll leave it there to stay spoiler free.
3 Doctor Strange Outside of Doctor Strange being far too much a repeat of Tony Stark early in the movie and the villain being remarkably unremarkable, I really enjoyed this one. The visuals and action set pieces were cool and interesting to look at. Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Elfiojor and the guy who played the librarian were all very good characters that I enjoyed watching.
2 Iron Man The movie that blindsided me by actually being good. RDJ/Tony Stark was so enjoyable to watch and listen to that this movie was just a blast. Average villain but RDJ’s charisma carries the movie to a very enjoyable place.
1 Captain America: The First Avenger I love the vibe of this one with the anti-Hitler propaganda and WW II setting. The villain (although pretty average in terms of plan and motivation) works because he’s associated with the Nazis which most people see as pure evil so it’s okay that there isn’t much underneath the surface there. Movies are about the journeys the characters go on and the change they go through and this is Marvel’s best in that regard. Steve Rogers going from determined, scrawny weaking to super soldier but a laughing stock amongst real soldiers to proving himself as a real soldier is a journey I truly enjoy. 

 


 

 

  Matt
Rank Film Notes
19 Iron Man 3 This was the first MCU film that I felt like the studio didn’t know what they were doing. The Mandarin twist was unnecessary, RDJ seemed to sleep walk through it, and Guy Pierce was just awful. This film only serves to take shrapnel out of Tony’s chest and you could’ve done that in a short.
18 Thor: The Dark World The Dark World had the bones for a decent story, but just didn’t capitalize on it. Instead, poor execution and the unnecessary return of Natalie Portman made this unbearable. The Loki twist was cool, though.
17 The Incredible Hulk This film is down on my list because of three reasons, abomination was rough, they never went through with a sequel, and I hate the Edward Norton never continued being the Hulk. No disrespect to Mark Ruffalo but I cheered for Norton. It was better than Ang Lee’s mess.
16 Iron Man 2 Maybe it’s because I’ve been too overexposed to this movie or maybe it’s because of Mickey Rourke but I just have a sour taste in my mouth with this film. Cool action and the briefcase, but that’s about it.
15 Thor As far as origin stories are concerned, this one is the worst. Sure, it had its moments, but it felt like Thor hadn’t grown into himself, yet, and the result is an awkward angsty mess.
14 Avengers: Age of Ulton I had some high hopes for this film but too many chefs in the kitchen caused this film to be a jumbled mess from the start.
13 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 There is a lot to like about Guardians 2. It’s got great action, killer soundtrack, and several hilarious moments, but by the 3rd act it finds itself falling into a predictable, done-before plot.
12 Captain America: The First Avenger I love how Steve Rogers was portrayed in this movie and brought to life. They really made you understand that this was a good man just trying to serve his country. What gets me about this film is the pacing of it, it just feels slower than the others.
11 Spider-Man: Homecoming Tom Holland is a fantastic Spidey and I thought that was highlighted throughout this film. Plus, Michael Keaton was incredible as a one-off villain like Vulture. Add in that car scene and you’ve nearly got gold. What gets me is what BC pointed out to me, throughout the whole film, Peter never deals with any consequences for his actions
10 Iron Man For the past 10 years, we’ve witnessed some incredible Marvel origin stories but the first always stands out as one of the best. It’s not talked about a lot nowadays, but they really knocked it out of the park, from the get-go.
9 Doctor Strange I’ll admit, I have bias for Doctor Strange. Outside of Deadpool, he’s one of my favorite comic book characters. I love how his stories make everyone else’s problems seem puny by comparison. Benedict Cumberbatch was insanely good in this and the way they opened up the universe to magic made everything feel so much bigger.
8 Ant-Man Until the day I die, I will slam the table that Ant-Man is THE most underrated superhero film. It was just a fun film, with elements we hadn’t experienced in a superhero film, up to that point. Paul Rudd made for an unlikely superhero we could get behind and Michael Pena was simply sensational. I do wish the villain had been better but it set up for what could be a brilliant sequel.
7 Marvel’s The Avengers The first time every superhero came together for a common goal and it did not disappoint. The threat was put together well, there was balance between characters, and it made for some memorable moments. This is where the standard remains for superhero team-ups.
6 Guardians of the Galaxy No one could’ve predicted how good GOTG was going to be and it exceeded expectations by a WIDE margin. Putting these unlikely but lovable characters together in a Macguffin-type mission made for an uber-enjoyable movie.
5 Thor: Ragnarok After 2 ROUGH starts, Taika Waititi found a way to get Thor back on track and all it took was cutting his hair, giving him perspective, and highlighting the humor.
4 Black Panther The hype surrounding Black Panther was insane, but it was real. What made this film great was the entire ensemble, not just Chadwick Boseman. The entire cast excelled and made this film one of the best the MCU has ever produced. Hated what happened to Klaw, though.
3 Captain America: Winter Soldier The film with THE best fight choreography goes to Winter Soldier. When I think back on the best that MCU has to offer, this film is one of the first that come to mind. I could watch this film over and over again because the entire situation felt real. It felt like we were on the streets watching these two best friends fight. Plus, the story was solid. Here’s America’s hero, stripped of everything he holds dear and has to fight to get it all back. Definitely one of my favorites.
2 Avengers: Infinity War It’s still new and that’s what makes this film so hard to rank, but I have to give it the #2 spot, because of what they were able to accomplish. They broke down the constructs of the superhero genre and showed us what failure looks like. It’s got some of the most visceral moments of the film, and gives us a villain we can love to hate in Thanos.
1 Captain America: Civil War It’ll forever be hard to beat Civil War. This was the Avengers 2 we were hoping for with a well-balanced cast. Granted, it resulted in the Avengers breaking up, but that’s one of the reasons it made it so good. The raw emotion felt between the team and the cerebral chess-like moves by Zemo, made this the best of the best. I actually didn’t like his character, at first. I thought the villain was too soft and barely there. Upon a second viewing, I realized how wrong I was. Zemo was there the entire time. He didn’t have to be directly fighting the superheroes to beat them. He pit them against each other to do that.

 


  BC
Rank Film Notes
19 Iron Man 3 Absolute Gah-Bage. How do you have an Iron Man Movie with no Ac/Dc
18 Thor: The Dark World What drops this so low is the weak villain, and Natalie Portman sleeping through it
17 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 While repete viewings have raised my opinions of Vol 2, it can’t hold a candle to Vol 1
16 The Incredible Hulk My disdain for for Ed Norton is what drops this one. I love it other then knwoing he would eventual cry about not having creative control over the Avengers
15 Captain America: The First Avenger The First Avenger is a great WWII movie. Really the start of Marvel making differant genre films within the MCU
14 Iron Man 2 Sam Rockwell is the star of this. Him as Justin Hammer was so good, I just wish we had gotten more for Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash
13 Ant-Man Such a fun heist film, but it’s the side characters that make this film a class!
12 Doctor Strange An incredible twist on the “City destruction Fight Scene” plus Strange defeats the villain by annoying him to death
11 Avengers: Age of Ulton While everyone dislikes the romance between Banner and Widow, this is actually the only romance in a superhero film that I enjoy. Plys James Spader.
10 Thor For the longest time my favorite film in the MCU. While not the best, it was just a fun adventure.
9 Iron Man It gave us the MCU. At a time when no one knew what a Superhero film could be.
8 Spider-Man: Homecoming Toby was a great Peter. Garfield was a great Spidey. Holland is the best of both worlds. Exactly what I have always wanted from the wall crawler. ANd Michael Keaton yo!
7 Captain America: Civil War Who would’ve thought growing up, that one day we would see Cap and Stark lead a team of heroes to fight each other in a 15 minute battle on the big screen/1
6 Guardians of the Galaxy A walking tree, and a talking Racoon. Marvel declared in one motion, we can do whatever we want, and make it gold. A perfect mix of action and comedy and true love letter, to Star Wars and what was right about the 80’s
5 Thor: Ragnarok Possibly one of the most fun films in the entire franchise. A seemless blend of Taika Humor with the MCU, able to showcase Hemsworth’s incredible range. The best Hulk we have seen, and Korg.
4 Marvel’s The Avengers It changed film making. Thanks to the Avengers, the cinematic Universe was born. Everyone is trying to do it, but no one has perefected it like Marvel did with The Avengers
3 Avengers: Infinity War The most ambitious crossover of all time. To have this many characters, and none of them feel like they are lacking screen time, or that they are getting too much. A unique story, and great blend of action and heart.
2 Black Panther Black Panther showed Hollywood that anyone can be a superhero. Black Panther is arguably one of the best of the year, and rightfully at the top ont he list within the MCU, and all the Superhero Genre.
1 Captain America: Winter Soldier A well rounded multi layered villain, and Hero that is a true hero that doesnt lack flaws, but is heroic despite them. Well written, and executed perfectly. And if you ask me, the best score of the MCU.


  Chris (Casual Cinecast)
Rank Film Notes
19 The Incredible Hulk Made me question if the MCU would work
18 Iron Man 2 Feels like the forced stuff in here to get ready for the first Avengers movie
17 Thor: The Dark World Not a good bad guy incoherent macguffin
16 Thor They really hadn’t found the right voice for Thor until Ragnarok
15 Avengers: Age of Ulton Another case of jamming stuff in it for other movies
14 Iron Man 3 The idea of Tony Stark having PTSD is a really cool idea
13 Doctor Strange Cool visuals. They wasted Rachel Mcadams though
12 Ant-Man Fun jokes. Paul Rudd is always fun to watch
11 Captain America: The First Avenger Fun origin tale
10 Spider-Man: Homecoming Spider-Man that feels right. Michael Keaton as the villain is great
9 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 More of the same wonderful weirdness and humor as the first
8 Thor: Ragnarok Finally… A Thor movie that doesn’t take itself to seriously
7 Iron Man The one that started it all just a really fun ride
6 Captain America: Winter Soldier The first Russo brothers film fun action/spy thriller
5 Avengers: Infinity War The best comic crossover adaption of all time
4 Guardians of the Galaxy The first movie from the MCU that feels different and unique
3 Black Panther The villain makes this movie for me
2 Captain America: Civil War Black panther could have felt like he was being forced in here but it feels very natural
1 Marvel’s The Avengers The first crossover movie the battle of New York is great and whedons dialogue is great


  Mike (Casual Cinecast)
Rank Film Notes
19 The Incredible Hulk Very little about this movie works. Ed Norton doesn’t fit well here, but hey, William Hurt makes his first appearance, which is good.
18 Thor: The Dark World They clearly still had no idea what to do with Thor. They also tried their hand at a dark tone, but it does not work at all.
17 Iron Man 2 This one soured over time for me. It’s fine i supoose. It doesn’t add much except an intro to Black Widow.
16 Ant-Man This movie seems a little dull visually. Also the origin story is feeling old at this point.
15 Iron Man 3 Normally I like Shane Black, but this movies tone is very sloppy. Plus the third act trades the character growth it had built up for another fight with lots of suits.
14 Thor This one felt like interesting world building at the time, but it doesnt feel interesting now upon rewatch. It still works for the most part though… but not those dyed eyebrows.
13 Doctor Strange Strange feels too much like Stark and has too similar a journey, just but with magic instead of suits. This movie did have an interesting future villain set up though.
12 Avengers: Age of Ulton Ultron is a dull villian, who should not have been so wise-cracking. This has some good team-banter though.
11 Thor: Ragnarok Easily the best Thor, but maybe too much of a comedy for my own personal tastes. Because of that it feels like a less important installament.
10 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 I like the themes and the heart in this one. I also enjoy Kurt Russell. The jokes go on a bit long though.
9 Captain America: The First Avenger This made me not hate Chris Evans anymore. It also made Cap my favorite character.
8 Black Panther This has a great villain. It’s also feels very unique, thanks in no small part to Ryan Coogler being awesome.
7 Spider-Man: Homecoming Tim Holland is great. This also works as a better Iron Man sequel than Iron Man 2/3.
6 Guardians of the Galaxy This was a nice breath of fresh air in the MCU. Plus…the music!
5 Avengers: Infinity War This was bold, or whatever else you might want to call it, by adding so many characters. It paid off though, as I enjoy the somber tone.
4 Captain America: Winter Soldier This movie brought Steve Rogers into modern day with modern themes. It’s interesting to see Cap become disheartened with the modern version of the country he fought for.
3 Iron Man This movie had disaster written all over it, but then it came out and blew us all away. It still holds up and it’s perfect to start the whole MCU off of.
2 Marvel’s The Avengers I remember when this came out, we were all just so happy it seemed to work. It showed that this could be done.
1 Captain America: Civil War This is the peak of what, I feel, these movies can be so far. It’s all about fun action/character beats, but it also touches on bigger ideas.


  Jordan
Rank Film Notes
19 Thor I always felt Thor was the weakest of the “Phase 1” line-up and watching it again recently has cemented it’s place at the bottom for me.
18 Iron Man 2 Considering how much I LOVED the first Iron Man, I was bummed with how the sequel turned out. The villain had great potential, but too many setups for the MCU soured the story.
17 Iron Man 3 I know many people loved this one, but I couldn’t find interest. I great bored mid-way through and have felt no desire to watch it again since it released.
16 Ant-Man Ant-Man was the first Marvel film I skipped out on in theaters; I simply wasn’t interested. While the film is decent and fun, it’s a fairly generic origin story that I don’t care to come back to.
15 Doctor Strange Visually speaking, Doctor Strange is one of the most impressive Marvel films, and there are individual aspects that I love. On the whole, however, it’s kinda boring.
14 The Incredible Hulk I don’t know why Ed Norton’s Hulk film gets so little love, but I thoroughly enjoyed it when it released, and General Ross’ appearances in Civil War and Infinity War was a highlight for me.
13 Iron Man The film that started it all still holds up surprisingly well. While I didn’t love his sequels, the first Iron Man is still a film I can go back to and enjoy.
12 Captain America: The First Avenger First Avenger was definitely the best solo film in the first phase of the MCU and remains a fun origin story today.
11 Captain America: Winter Soldier So many seem to consider this one of the best MCU films period. While I enjoyed it, I felt the plot was a bit too formulaic and predictable.
10 Marvel’s The Avengers The first ensemble film is still a ridiculous amount of fun to come back to. Loki is a great villain, the action holds well, and the character interactions are perfect.
9 Avengers: Age of Ulton Age of Ultron feels misaligned this days, but it’s one I thoroughly enjoy. While the villain feels weaker, the movie has some of the best character moments in all of the MCU.
8 Thor: The Dark World I’ll never understand why so many hate this one. I didn’t care for Thor (the movie or the hero), but the sequel finally made him feel like a fully realized character.
7 Spider-Man: Homecoming Spider-Man has long been my favorite superhero and his MCU solo outing nailed the tone perfectly.
6 Black Panther Incredilbe cast, excellent villain, and great action make for one of the best MCU solo films in all of their phases.
5 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 The Guardians sequel manages to live up to some lofty expectations with a highly emotional story and humorous story.
4 Thor: Ragnarok Throughout all of the MCU, no hero has had such a strong arc as Thor. His last solo outing is one of the franchise’s best with both humor, action, stunning visuals, and surprisingly emotional character moments.
3 Avengers: Infinity War To be honest, I’m sure Infinity War will eventually end up being my number 1 or 2 spot. It’s INCREDIBLE…but I need a couple more viewings (and time) before I can cement it’s placement.
2 Captain America: Civil War Everything works so well in Civil War when it really shouldn’t. despite featuring all the Avengers (and then some), it’s still very much Captain America’s story, with an emotional punch.
1 Guardians of the Galaxy Considering how much I hated the film’s first trailer, and my lack of interest in the film, I was floored by how great it turned out to be. More than a great comic book film, it’s an incredible Sci-Fi movie with excellent characters. 


AVERAGED RATING:

Rank Film
19 Thor: The Dark World
18 The Incredible Hulk
17 Iron Man 3
16 Iron Man 2
15 Thor
14 Avengers: Age of Ulton
13 Ant-Man
12 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
11 Captain America: The First Avenger
10 Doctor Strange
9 Spider-Man: Homecoming
8 Thor: Ragnarok
7 Iron Man
6 Marvel’s The Avengers
5 Captain America: Winter Soldier
4 Captain America: Civil War
3 Guardians of the Galaxy
2 Black Panther
1 Avengers: Infinity War

How would you rank the Marvel Cinematic Universe films? Feel free to add your rankings and preferences in the comments below. How well do you think the averaged ranking reflects overall audience representation?