In 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe began with Iron Man. Eleven years and twenty-one films later, and the MCU has become the most successful franchise in film history. My name is Preston Moore, Editor-In-Chief of The Cinema Spot, and I recently rewatched every Marvel film and created a Twitter thread reviewing every one of them (follow me on Twitter here). Of course, these reviews are just a fraction of my opinions on each film, but I fit all I could into 280 characters! Here is my full ranking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, tweet at me to let me know what we agree/disagree on!
21. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
The worst MCU film, in my opinion. The CGI is poor, the acting is half-hearted, and Abomination is a weak villain. Also, showing Hulk’s origin in a quick little montage was a terrible mistake. That could’ve been very entertaining to see in the film. 4/10.
20. Thor (2011)
Another weak entry, Asgard’s attempt (and failure) to be Shakespearean drama-esque does not blend with the Earth characters. The CGI is awful, the villain is (again) weak, every Earth character is boring, and much of the comedy does not land. Also, fix his eyebrows! 5/10.
19. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Marvel did not learn from the mistakes of the first Thor. Instead, they made a similar film, but with an even worse villain. However, this film has some of the most memorable moments in the MCU, and there’s an Infinity Stone… so that’s cool. 5.5/10.
18. Iron Man 2 (2010)
Under. Rated. Sure, it’s not the best film, but it’s certainly not the worst. Ivan Vanko is one of the weakest MCU villains, but Tony’s character arc in this film is one of the best I’ve ever seen. He shines past the weak surrounding aspects of the film. 6/10.
17. Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)
Exactly what you expect from a Marvel movie: lighthearted fun. Despite great performances from Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and newcomer Hannah John-Kamen, the story seems to stagnate randomly and the Sonny Burch subplot feels meaningless. 7/10.
16. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Sequel to the massive blockbuster, Age of Ultron doesn’t fail in entertainment. This film is so enjoyable from start to finish. However, there are major filmmaking flaws in the script, the villain, and certain plot lines (i.e. Natasha + Bruce). 7/10.
15. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The first war film of the MCU, this movie suffers from a lackluster second act, although it really picks up in the third. Red Skull is menacing, Steve Rogers’ character is adorably pure, and the heartbreaking ending seals the deal. 7/10.
14. Doctor Strange (2016)
Despite pacing issues and a weaker villain, the Sorcerer Supreme’s debut film is a wild ride. With mind-boggling visual effects, and a great performance by lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange gave a solid contribution to the MCU. 7.5/10.
13. Ant-Man (2015)
They made a movie about Ant-Man… and it was awesome! Surprisingly still one of the stronger MCU entries, the weakest point is the villain (again). The dynamic between Scott’s two lives as a father and as a criminal adds intriguing layers to the film. 8/10.
12. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
One of the grestest cinematic feats in the history of moviemaking. Despite a few issues, the combination of a fun tone, super comic book-y visuals, and the first great villain of the MCU in Loki spelled success for the project. 8/10.
11. Captain Marvel (2019)
EPIC! Carol Danvers’ intro to the MCU is just that. Despite a slow start and the lack of an identity in artistic style, the characters are stellar (Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos in particular). Fury and Coulson’s de-aging CGI is the best work of its kind. 8.5/10.
10. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Just because it doesn’t follow the comics, doesn’t mean it’s a bad film. Iron Man’s finale deals with anxiety and PTSD in a way no other superhero film has. It’s real, it’s grounded, and it’s another great arc for Tony. The Mandarin twist is genius, too. 8.5/10.
9. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
It was going to take a complete re-imagining of the character to have a successful Thor movie. So that’s what they did. Ragnarok is hysterical (sometimes too much so), and the action/plot are fresh. A longer runtime could’ve helped, but the end result is still great. 8.5/10.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Creating the first film of its kind, madman director James Gunn blends classic music hits from his own childhood with a space comedy. With extraordinary characters, soundtrack, and cinematography, the only small weakness is the villain. 9/10.
7. Iron Man (2008)
A spectacular start to the universe. RDJ owns the role of Tony Stark like no other could, as this movie ushers in a new era of superhero films. Bridges’ Stone is a menacing villain with personal ties to Tony. The CGI still holds up well 10 years later. 9/10.
6. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
The culmination of every film prior, Infinity War induces scale like none other. Thanos is one of the best villains in cinematic history, and this film takes major risks. Despite the third act being a punch-fest, the movie is truly special. 9/10.
5. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
The MCU finally gets to take a crack at the iconic web-slinger, and they nail it. Marvel’s first attempt at Spidey tops every Sony attempt, truly capturing the essence of Peter Parker. Vulture is a chilling villain, and thrills from start to finish. 9.5/10.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Hello, Russo Brothers! The dynamic directors bring the best MCU film at the time, a political thriller with a captivating villain and jarring twists. The deep relationships between characters are expertly executed, adding huge layers. 10/10.
3. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Pitting Avengers against themselves is a bold move, and this star-studded film executes it perfectly. The introductions of T’Challa and Peter Parker are iconic, and the emotion behind RDJ’s performance is unparalleled in the MCU. 10/10.
2. Black Panther (2018)
Ryan Coogler’s directorial debut in the MCU is one of greatness. Wakanda is more entrancing than Asgard ever was, and Killmonger serves as the best MCU villain (for 2 months). With great score and characters, Black Panther was a massive hit. 10/10.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
The eccentric team of misfits returns in stellar fashion. This film features groundbreaking visual effects and cinematography, and Ego is the best villain the MCU has seen at the time of release. From hilarity to heartbreak, Guardians Vol. 2 has it all. 10/10.