• Audrey Walter

A Total MCU Movie Ranking

Updated: Feb 5

Where Does Your Favorite Fit?

Since the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie hit the theaters in 2008, fans of the Marvel comics were already hooked. The iconic series of films first started with Iron Man and left off with Spider-Man: Far From Home. There has been a full set of 22 Marvel movies, or 23 if you count The Incredible Hulk. And there will be more to come. Fans are already anticipating the next rumored movies like Black Widow, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and more.

After binge-watching all the movies myself, I figured I would rank them. Who am I to rank them, you ask? Nobody. I'm only a fan. These are just my opinions!

I ranked each movie based on the acting, the sets, my enjoyment, and how Marvel-esque it was. Ranking all 22 movies is a difficult task and will no doubt cause a lot of critiques. Yes, I did like Iron Man 3 and I’m not afraid to admit it. No, I don’t think The Incredible Hulk is part of the MCU. And yes, Vision and Loki should still be alive like Gamora. Anyway, let’s get on with the ranking. I’ll start with the lowest ranking films.

22. Thor

Yes, I know. I don’t think Thor is not usually expected to be called the worst of the Marvel films. But compared to the release of Thor: Ragnarok, this first film pales in comparison.

Thor has little personality and I’m not sure if that was intentional or not. He seems like a boring god who wound up on Earth and had an instant romantic attraction with someone he just met. I guess learning Loki’s backstory is the best part. It’s a very plain movie and doesn’t hold up to other amazing Marvel movies.

Thor is my favorite Avenger, but I can’t let this movie slide. It’s drab and devoid of an interesting plot.

And why is Hogun always in the background with no lines?!

21. Black Panther

Yeah, this is probably the least expected.

I watched Black Panther for the first time during my Marvel movie binge and I was so excited to see it! There were amazing reviews and was the fifth highest-grossing Marvel film. My expectations were extremely high, so maybe that’s why I was extremely let down.

There were almost none of the funny one-liners that are so recognizable in Marvel films. And when there was comedy, it was just awkward. The accents of the residents in Wakanda all varied so much that it was distracting.

And man, I don’t expect to side with the villain but Killmonger made total sense. Knowing that Wakanda was silent during the struggles of black people around the world made Wakanda look terrible. How am I supposed to root for a country that abandoned its people? Wakanda seemed selfish and I wasn’t on their side.

However, despite the many negatives, I loved the different African cultures that the movie displayed. For example, the Himba tribe of Africa puts red clay on their hair as a protective style. The Mursi tribes adorn plates in their bottom lip. And even Erik Killmonger sported scars that resembled some tribes’ scarification.

This movie had the foundation to be amazing. Thankfully, many people thought that it was. Sadly, I did not. Was it revolutionary? Yes. Was it a good movie? No.

20. Ant-Man and the Wasp

In all honesty, this movie is entertaining, much like the first Ant-Man movie. But it just doesn’t “wow” me. Paul Rudd is hilarious as always and I loved the plot surrounding Janet Van Dyne. But it felt lackluster. It was almost like a filler movie. I heard no one talk about it, either.

The villain in this movie is Ava, also known as Ghost. She is always in pain because of a quantum realm accident when she was little (which is hard to explain even in the movie). She fades between the real world and the quantum realm. Cool backstory and all, but why do I care? It sounds harsh, but they made this character look like a means to an end. Why was she so sure Janet could heal her? How did she and Dr. Bill Foster know Hank Pym’s plan? It was all very convoluted.

And I still have no idea who Sonny Burch was and why he mattered. Confusing.

19. Ant-Man

I feel so bad putting this movie so low on the list. It’s fun and entertaining, no doubt. But it was mainly a comedy movie. Yet again it seemed like a filler to use between two big Marvel movies. This movie is far from bad, but really far from amazing. It’s a simple movie.

And one piece of advice: please get rid of T.I. and the Russian. It’s so cringy.

18. Iron Man 2

I watched this movie a long time ago and thought I loved it. But I actually just loved the scene where Ivan Vanko appears on the race track to intimidate Tony Stark. That scene is quite amazing. Mickey Rourke perfectly fits in the role of Ivan. But that was pretty much it.

And then Ivan blows himself up at the end.

Hmm...he could’ve killed Tony when he had the chance, to be honest. It was nice to see Natasha as Black Widow for the first time, though.

17. Thor 2

Yeah, this Thor sequel wasn’t great either. But it’s better than the first movie, at least!

In this film, there’s more grit and more purpose. I love to see Loki and Thor join forces. I wish Natalie Portman had more of a purpose as Jane Foster, though. But I believe the hammer has been passed on to her, so I can’t wait for that.

The best part of this movie is obviously Loki’s trickery. Tricking Thor into thinking he sacrificed himself was great and almost made me shed a tear. But him appearing as Odin on the throne made everything more exciting for the third installment of the series. Fans should watch this in order to learn about the Reality Stone or the Aether.

And no, Hogun still didn’t speak.

16. Guardians of the Galaxy

This movie does its job at introducing the guardians and Starlord. But the problem with this movie is that it is just so...forgettable. Especially compared to the sequel, which is miles ahead of the first.

Its redeemable quality is the ending where Groot shields the group, being reduced to a seed again. Then we get baby Groot! But other than that...I’d only watch it once. I do think it needs to be watched because it revolves around the Power Stone, which is important later in the series.

15. Avengers: Infinity War

Don’t get your pitchforks out.

In my head I’d like to think Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame are one big movie. But they aren’t and that’s this movie’s downfall. The movie follows Thanos as he successfully finds each infinity stone. Not much of a war, is it?

But this movie is absolutely unskippable when it comes to the MCU and it’s something I can watch over and over. The fight that commences in Wakanda is pretty legendary.

But that’s all this movie is--the first half of Avengers: Endgame.

14. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man used to be my favorite superhero and he still has a place in my heart (thank you, Tobey Maguire), so I was anticipating this movie! There were so many things I loved about it. One thing that has irked me every Spider-Man show or movie is that it has to show Uncle Ben’s death. It’s like Batman losing his parents--okay, we get it now. But this Spider-Man movie has simple nods to Uncle Ben without going into detail.

And although I was missing how he got his spider powers, I enjoyed the change of pace. It brought a fresh new look to the Spider-Man we know and love. But I couldn’t help but think of this movie as too...teeny-bopper. Although I think that was the point.

This movie gives such an iconic scene with Tom Holland and Michael Keaton that makes it impossible to skip. Casting Tom Holland was the perfect decision for the MCU.

13. Captain Marvel

This film had a lot of controversy for really no good reason. Many Marvel “fans” conjured up this evil persona for Brie Larson and ran with it.

Despite all the negative noise, I thought this film was pretty good. It was fun and had a great twist that’s very relative to the United States. Viewers will learn about Captain Marvel’s backstory and how she is one of the strongest Avengers. And we even get to see how Nick Fury got his eyepatch!

Overall, this movie is solid. It exceeded my expectations.

12. Spider-Man: Far From Home

The most recent Marvel movie definitely deserves a higher spot.

Although it kind of felt like the first Spider-Man, this has new elements to it, like Jake Gyllenhaal. He played an interesting villain. It was a very obvious twist, but it still felt fun to watch it play out.

The ending is what seals the deal. Spider-Man’s identity is shown to everyone! I’m interested in knowing how the next movie will deal with that.

And who knew J.K. Simmons would be making his surprise return/cameo?

11. Iron Man 3

People hate this movie. And I mean they really hate this movie. But for some reason, I never get an explanation as to why.

When I watched the movie, I was ready to get the worst pile of trash the MCU has ever put in theaters. But...it was actually a good movie.

I totally get the villain hiding behind someone else so they can take the blame. I loved how Tony Stark went through a tough time mentally and showed who he was without the suit. And who doesn’t want to watch a ton of Iron Man suits fighting all at once? We even get to see Pepper beat up the villain!

Can anyone tell me why this movie is so bad? I don't see it.

10. Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is a...strange...addition to the MCU. The setting is so different from Marvel movies yet it still keeps that same feeling that all Marvel movies should have. The comedy is up to par!

Seeing Dr. Stephen Strange go from a man desperately trying to make his hands work to finding a new purpose in life was fulfilling. The audience can watch some great character development that carries on into the later movies. And we can see the Time Stone in action.

Although this film didn’t come without controversy. Casting Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One had many viewers calling out “whitewashing,” which Hollywood has a big problem with. It’s not my place to speak on such an issue being a white woman myself.

At face value, I liked that The Ancient One was gender-neutral. And Tilda Swinton’s face gives off a lot of mystery.

This movie did what Black Panther failed to do: make a standout Marvel movie that still holds Marvel’s key elements.

9. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Who doesn’t like the movie that gives Vision life?

For years I thought this movie was called Avengers: The Scarlet Witch. I guess I was just eager to see Wanda in the MCU.

Anyway, this movie touches on a lot of different themes that are quite interesting. Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to create their own superhero. It involves AI plus a pinch of J.A.R.V.I.S. But what’s interesting is that Ultron isn’t for the greater good. But why? Well, Ultron looked over all the files about war, pollution, poverty, etc., and realized humans suck. And he’s not wrong...but he does need to be stopped so he doesn’t destroy the world.

During this, Tony tries to make another being to counteract Ultron. He takes what is leftover from J.A.R.V.I.S and creates Vision, who now has an infinity stone on his forehead. Oh, and Wanda is there with her brother, Quicksilver.

There’s a lot going on in this movie...maybe you should check it out for yourself!

8. Iron Man

I think everyone has to love this movie. It’s the first official MCU movie and Marvel took a risk with casting Robert Downey Jr. But man did it pay off. RDJ plays a fantastic Tony Stark.

Similar to things happening in the real world, Tony figures out that the weapons made at Stark Industries were being used to cause war and unrest in the middle east. Viewers get to see Tony Stark engineer his way out of a cave in the middle east and make the first Iron Man prototype.

This movie shows the beginnings of the lead Avenger and that’s why it’s so great. However, I don’t care for the villain, Obadiah Stane. The real conflict is Tony versus his own company.

And who can forget the iconic ending scene? “I am Iron Man.”

7. Guardians of the Galaxy 2

This movie is credited to be the movie that got people more interested in Marvel movies. The soundtrack is spectacular, the visuals are bright and colorful, the plotline is solid, and the comedy is on point. And it’s definitely a tear-jerker. It’s one of my favorite Marvel movies.

Kurt Russell as a villain? I couldn’t imagine it. But he plays such a vile person in this movie. A big theme in this film is “family.” The guardians are a family themselves, but Peter Quill realizes that it’s not blood that makes a family. Even Gamora and Nebula find their way to sisterly love. So many scenes are iconic and hilarious that it’s hard to pick a favorite. I will always recommend this movie to everyone.

6. The Avengers

Who doesn’t love the first Avengers movie?

It’s the first time the group as a whole has to protect the world (or just New York, let’s be real) from disaster. The fights near the end of the movie are exquisite. Who can forget Hulk smashing Loki into the ground multiple times? I remember it had everyone in the theater cracking up.

It also gave us a look at two of the infinity stones: the tesseract, otherwise known as the Space Stone, and the Mind Stone, which later is used in Vision. This movie has cemented itself as a very solid MCU movie that is unskippable.

5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

This movie carries the genius of the Russo brothers. The tone of this movie is a lot more serious than other Marvel movies. There aren’t many funny moments. Yet it doesn’t feel off-putting.

The villain is mysterious and unknown till later in the movie, which keeps the audience interested. Of course, the villain is a bit obvious, but I’ve known many people who had no clue until the reveal! The twist changes everything about the movie.

This film gets into Hydra and their current and later involvement with S.H.I.E.L.D. The choreography of the fight scenes is simply amazing. Marvel managed to make a movie that was gritty and intense, yet still hit the mark. It was actually very reminiscent of DC movies and how serious most of them strive to be. It’s easy to see why this movie is a huge hit and a favorite to many fans.

4. Captain America: Civil War

As you can see, Captain America fairs well on this list.

Civil War offers the same twists and turns that Winter Soldier had, but with more characters we love! And a little more humor.

It’s kind of hard to choose a side during the film. I understand both Team Stark and Team Cap and I don’t think either side should be reprimanded. Seeing the fight between both sides showed how powerful and useful everyone is in the Avengers. And I still love rewatching the snowy fight scene between Cap, Tony, and Bucky. Another amazingly choreographed fight directed by the Russo brothers.

Let’s let them direct all Marvel movies. I wouldn’t complain!

3. Captain America: The First Avenger

Cap has a pretty solid spot in the MCU with how great his movies are. And this one is my personal favorite. The technical side of this movie makes it even more amazing. Seeing Steve Rogers as a short and skinny man was insane. We all know Chris Evans is built, so making him look so tiny was definitely a feat. It looked so realistic.

Along with the technical side, the vintage feeling set this film apart from other Marvel films. The retro feel gives a whole new element that other MCU films don’t have. Since this movie is set in the 1940s, this is the “oldest” Marvel movie and the first to watch in chronological order.

It certainly sets the stage for the rest of the movies and proves that even with artificial strength, Captain America still has a heart of gold.

2. Thor: Ragnarok

This film lets Thor shine.

If I made this list purely on personal opinion, I would’ve put it at the number one spot. I love this movie and most Marvel fans do.

Taika Waititi was able to bring out the humor in Thor. Chris Hemsworth is already a funny guy, but the direction and the script gave him the leeway he needed.

There is no comparison between this movie and its two predecessors. This film is colorful, hilarious, sad, and has a great plot that is never boring to follow. And the addition of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” is the perfect touch.

Oh, and Hogan dies in this movie.

And last but not least, at #1...

1. Avengers: Endgame

I feel like this is an obvious choice, but a deserved one.

Endgame ties all the loose ends pertaining to Thanos and the infinity stones. If you think of all the Marvel movies as television episodes, this is no doubt the season finale that gets fans talking. This film had huge buzz surrounding it even from casual Marvel fans and simple moviegoers. Infinity War created a great lead up to its second and better half.

And although sad, it’s kind of satisfying seeing superheroes actually die for once. But where was the respect for Natasha? Why didn’t she get a huge funeral like Tony did? Why didn’t the Hulk get praised for essentially bringing back all mankind? Did Steve have kids with Peggy? And does that mean the kids she originally had don’t exist? Who knows!

Although loose ends were tied, many questions still remain. It was a great sendoff for the most recent Marvel phase and will affect future films and TV shows.

So, what’s your opinion on this list? I’m sure many readers strongly disagree. And I get it, no one will ever have the same taste! But we can all agree that Marvel puts out some amazing blockbusters. And there will be several more to come.

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