Ranking every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie from worst to best20 min read
Ten years. Eighteen movies. One Cinematic Universe. Some movies have been excellent while some not up to the mark. Let us tally them up from the worst to the very best.
This April (27th) , the cinematic world is going to witness history. Avengers : Infinity War will unleash its glory to the fullest as Marvel will stop at nothing to make its biggest cinematic event , the grandest spectacle ever to grace the silver screen.
By that time it would have been whole ten years since the release of Iron Man and eighteen movies would have been released with the latest of them already having grossed a billion dollars in box-office. So before that happens , lets roll it back real quick and see where do all the movies rank from worst to best.
Before I delve in , two things that you should know-
- Spoiler alert for all the movies including Black Panther
- This is my personal viewpoint. You might or might not agree with it.Everyone has their favorites and we are expecting to see yours in the comments section below.
Eighteen ~ Iron Man 2
Quote to remember- “You were my greatest invention Tony” -Howard Stark
Even the ugliest looking Marvel movie is better than this. Not because this one is ugly to look at but because this is the messiest movie of the lot. A lot of things happen in one single movie.
After the success of Iron Man, Marvel studios (still in its nascent stage) wanted to crack the MCU open by introducing Black Widow, and reintroducing Nick Fury, namedropping the Avengers initiative, and bunch of other plot threads but ended up not doing justice to any of them.
Apart from the cool post credits scene featuring Mjolnir this movie was a total mess , of course !
Redeeming Quality- It is always a genuine pleasure to see Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.
Seventeen~ The Incredible Hulk
Quote to remember- “Hulk….Smash“. -Hulk
Not much is Incredible about this movie. Oh ! and by the way this is the ugliest looking movie of MCU so far and no one is going to take this trophy from this one.
But in its defense I have to say that this one was a huge step up from Ang Lee’s Hulk. Hulk is more than a philosophical drama you know ? Although Abomination remains one of the most awful looking designs of MCU.
On the whole , The Incredible Hulk gave the audience an ugly looking action movie which may have its pros but those are easily overshadowed by its cons. No wonder this is the lowest grossing MCU movie.
Redeeming Quality- Balls out Punch-fest between Hulk and Abomination.
Sixteen~ Thor The Dark World
Quote to remember- “I did not do it for him“. -Loki
Thor : The Dark world is a movie that you decide to re-watch on a Sunday afternoon and then decide to watch its prequel instead. It has one of the weakest villains in the nine realms. Also, tonally this movie is uneven as well.
Too much time was spent on earth compared to Asgard or other planets which diverted the movie from an Epic Space Opera with grand visuals to a normal fantasy action movie. Malekith was forgettable as well . Do you even remember what that little evil Elf was even trying to accomplish ?
Redeeming Qualities- Quite a few actually; Frigga’s funeral was really beautiful to look at accompanied by apt background score. Loki’s ark was great and Tom Hiddleston shined as the character , once again.
Fifteen~ Ant Man
Quote to remember- “I think we should call the Avengers.“-Scott Lang
Ant Man was a fun movie to enjoy with your loved ones and the shrinking visual effects were rad. But Hank Pym having nothing to do with the establishment of Avengers sucked big time , especially for the fans.
Scott Lang was fun to spend time with but somewhere between the MCU references and the predictable bland villain , the movie lost its uniqueness. However let’s not forget that Edgar Wright’s exit during the pre-production weakened the quality of the movie.
Redeeming Quality- Quantum Realm was sick.
Quote to remember- ” You are unworthy of these realms, you are unworthy of these titles…… I take from you your power, by my father, and his father before. I, Odin Allfather, cast you out!” – Odin
Thor was a solid first entry for the God of Thunder. So why is this movie here and not in the top ten? Well, firstly the MCU has put out great content regularly and secondly the movie was not the kind of epic movie fans were waiting for.
Thor is literally a God and he is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe but he was understandably watered down for the cinematic counterpart. That did not wok for me.
Redeeming Qualities- Thor becoming worthy of the hammer remains one of the most uplifting scenes of superhero movie genre.
Thirteen~ Captain America: The first Avenger
Quote to remember- “Because the strong man who has known power all his life, may lose respect for that power, but a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows… compassion.” – Dr. Abraham Erskine
This is one of the most underrated movies of MCU. At least this is what I think. Captain America actually represents the inherent message of MCU that it is more important to be good than powerful and that good always triumphs over evil. Seems corny right? Well, sometimes hope is all few people can afford. Also Captain was made at a time where people needed heroes like him. Unlike Superman or Batman , there is a length up to which you can modernize the character.
So, where is the problem?
To start with , the movie completely avoids any kind of political undertone. The howling commandos are underutilized. Red Skull was also wasted until he comes back in Infinity War. (May be ?)
Redeeming Quality- Chris Evans as Captain America nails it. Skinny Steve Rogers CGI still holds up remarkably.
Twelve~ Iron Man 3
Quote to remember- “You can take away my house , all my tricks and toys, one thing you can’t take away.I am IRON MAN!” – Tony Stark
I mean can I file a case against the creators for false advertisement ? If I could I would really consider it. The Mandarin reveal really destroyed the gravitas of the villain that Sir Ben Kingsley built throughout the movie.
Otherwise it is a solid finish for Marvel’s OG franchise. Robert Downey Jr again shines as Tony Stark/ Iron Man. All the supporting cast fill the frames gracefully.
Redeeming Quality- The ending battle sequence with numerous Iron Man suits still remains one of the coolest action scenes in CBMs.
Eleven ~ Doctor Strange
Quote to remember – “You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole. You’ve spent your life trying to widen it. Your work saved the lives of thousands. What if I told you that reality is one of many ?” – The Ancient One.
Doctor Strange introduced the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the mystical forces in the universe and did it with some insane visuals.
Benedict Cumberbatch was aptly cast as Doctor Stephen Strange. He really looked the part. Rachel Mcadams as well as Mads Mickkelson were completely wasted which also makes this Marvel movie another member of the bland villain club.
Redeeming Quality- Insane trippy visuals. Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One sells.
Ten~ Spider-Man Homecoming
Quote to remember – “Just a typical homecoming, on the outside of an invisible jet, fighting my girlfriends dad.” – Peter Parker.
Spider-Man’s first solo movie as a part of the MCU did not shoot for the stars. It was a high school movie showing the intricate little things a normal teenager goes through , if he had powers.
Michael Keaton as the Vulture totally kills it. I really appreciate the effort to make Toomes a relatable villain rather than a grumpy old man , like in the comics. Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man does not interfere with the main arc of the movie which is satisfying. Although one has to say the MCU spider-man had a lot of technological help the other incarnations did not . But still it is to be noted , the technological interference were astonishingly absent in the last part where Peter gets to prove himself.
What was great- Teen age Spider-Man ,Finally a good villain. Iron Man never dissapoints.
Nine~ Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
Quote to remember – “He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn’t your daddy.” – Yondu Udonta
Guardians of the Galaxy brought the cosmic side of MCU to the screen. The movie blew away the world.
The sequel gave the characters emotional depth, strengthened the bond between Quill and Gamora ,introduced baby groot (I have a crush on that squishy thing though James Gunn has confirmed that he is not actually Groot himself , which I thought he was ) and Yondu Udonta became Marry Poppins.
So why is it ranked lower than its predecessor? Well for the most part the humor and jokes did not land as well as the first part. Also the villain Ego did not live up to the expectations.
What was Great- Baby Groot, Yondu’s sacrifice was the most emotional scene of MCU so far.
Eight ~ Avengers : Age Of Ultron
Quotes to Remember – “Tony Stark: We’ll lose. Steve Rogers: Then we do that together too.“
Sequel to the grandest superhero movie till date, Avengers AoU had a lot of expectations riding on it.Objectively speaking , it is better than its predecessor in a lot of departments especially action.
It however loses out on an important position; Villain. Ultron started out alright but as the movie progressed he lost the plot completely.Corny jokes, set up for future movies and the ridiculous ark of Quicksilver….did not work.
What was great-Hulkbuster vs hulk, Scarlet Witch and Vision were great inclusions.
Seven~ Guardians Of The Galaxy
Quotes to remember – “We are Groot.” – Groot
James Gunn took the obscurest comic book characters and made them overnight sensations. So that must have taken an awesome movie right? Hell Yeah !
The humor, Awesome mix volume 1, Groot and Rocket, Cosmic MCU….everything was top notch except for one thing. The generic villain who died after falling at the hands of heroes.
What was great- Chris Pratt owned as Peter Quill. Batista as Drax was a welcome surprise.
Six~ Thor : Ragnarok
Quotes to remember – “Asgard is not a place..never was ! This could be Asgard ! Asgard is where our people stand.” – Odin
This will be brisk just like the movie. Ragnarok gave Thor everything the first two movies could not give him. Raised his power level and for the first time he was the god of thunder, gave the movie trippy Jack Kirby visuals, an awesome lady villain in Hela and character progression. Don’t forget Surtur , the fire demon.
The movie was so good that it even gave Hulk its own arc which was awesome.
So what the hell did it miss on?
Gravitas. Thor is a grand character , he does not crack jokes or be the butt of jokes. Here he did. Which worked but not in a thor kinda way. I guess if Taika Watiti is in helm you have to expect that.
What was great- Korg (Hi man !) stole the show for me , loved the corky humor ( except in some parts ) and let’s not forget that awesome 80’s era inspired soundtrack.
Five~ Iron Man
Quote to remember – “I am Iron Man” -Tony Stark
Top five time and we get to the film that started this all. A studio high on hopes but short on both cash and characters. So what do they do ? Cast an actor struggling with his own crisis in the industry to a C-listed comic book character , to be released in a year along with The Dark Knight. And what did it do ? It made the biggest franchise in hollywood giving birth to a score of movies with potentially no indication to slow down in the near future. Yeah , Iron Man reshaped the genre for good.
The movie was so good that Marvel has followed the pattern of this film while doing origin stories for other heroes.(looking at you Doctor Strange) Although the villain was not bad this movie started one bad ritual. The villain wearing same looking but some meaner version of the hero’s costume.
What was great- Iron Man suit CGI still holds up well to this day,Yinsen’s contribution to the plot should not be forgotten either. Nick Fury showing up in the post credits scene still gives me the chills.
Four~ Black Panther
Quote to remember – ” Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, ’cause they knew death was better than bondage.” – Eric “Killmonger” Stevens
Black Panther is the latest addition to the MCU. This movie continues the great run Marvel is having and adds a lot to that. And while we speak , the movie continues to advance in the billion dollar game.
For the first time , Marvel does not shy away from the real world political stuff and addresses it with clarity. Credit goes to director Ryan Coogler for speaking the truth as he shows that black people are not just there to die first in a horror movie. They can be kings too.Tip of the hat to Michael B Jordan for giving us a villain like Killmonger.
The CGi was not up to the mark. The last battle among the Wakandan forces did not live up to the quality of the whole movie.
What was great- The original soundtrack, Nakia-Shuri-Okoye trio was killing it.Literally.
One last thing to say- If somebody tells you that “Alas! The greatest African Nation is a fictional one.”
You can give this back to them- “How many African nations do you know that did not face oppression?
That same fictional one.”
Quotes to remember – “There was an idea…….. called the Avengers Initiative. The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people……..see if they could work together when we needed them to to fight the battles we never could.” – Nick Fury
Let me be honest. I never thought that this could be possible. But while I write this piece The Avengers is the highest grossing superhero movie of all time. Was it just because it was the first time people got to see their favorite superheroes together onscreen?
No. It is just a damn good team-up movie. A kind of movie that I am sure the rest of the world doesn’t knows how to make properly.
Re-watch this and you will understand that not only it has the brawn but the brain as well. I am not going to talk about specifics here but that one argument the team members have on the helli-carrier before mind-controlled Hawkeye attacks them….that is one gem right there. Kudos to Mr. Kevin Fiege and Joss Whedon.
What was great- The villain Loki was fantastic, Black Widow was sexy as hell.
Two~ Captain America : Civil War
Quotes to remember – “I’m saying there may be a causality. Our very strength invites challenge, challenge incites conflict, and conflict… breeds catastrophe.” -Vision
It gives me great pleasure to see Chris Evans and the Russo Brothers (directors) make Captain America great again. Even in a movie starring multiple Avengers including Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron man himself, the movie remained a captain america film in its core.
Along with the directors the writers should also get the credit for giving Captain America the best character arc in the MCU.
What was great – The airport scene was awesome , Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans shared a more emotional relationship on screen and the movie introduced both Black Panther and Spider-Man in the big screen.
One~ Captain America : The Winter Soldier
Quotes to remember – “I know I’m asking a lot. The price of freedom is high; it always has been. But it’s a price I’m willing to pay. And if I’m the only one, then so be it. But I’m willing to bet I’m not.” – Captain America
Captain America wakes up after a 70 year nap expecting his life had ended years ago. Where from you advance from there on ? Question whether his contribution meant anything while he struggles to fit into the world ! Bam ! There you have it…the greatest MCU movie ever made. Was it the grandest ? No ! Did it have actions like Thor : Ragnarok or Civil War ? Of course no , my friend ! Then what the hell are you talking about ?
Heart and grace ! That’s exactly what I am talking about . Edging on the point that is indigenous to Steve’s belief in America , the movie questions the survival of ideal beliefs in the modern world. The movie gives Captain a texture which was much required for the hero to shine ever since the first Avenger.
And above all that comes the Winter Soldier , walking down the streets like a messenger of death himself. And the thriller is complete.Accompanied by a music that feels like a dozen souls crying in agony from the depths of hell below. You are goddamn right ! I love Sebastian Stan as Winter Soldier.
I loved the relationship between Steve and Natasha , didn’t expect it to go anywhere but loved it. The plot was the buttered platform for both Captain America and Winter Soldier to slide in to action. Falcon and his part was perfect.
What was great – What was not ?
So there you have it , the Marvel Cinematic Universe ranked from top to bottom. Let me know , whether you accept the list or not. If not , what would be your list? Let us know in the comments section below.
We are nearing Avengers : Infinity War and along with a ton of news and excitement , it deserves the voice of the fans. Use our fan creativity platform , use our forums…let it bleed , let every visitor know how you feel . After all its Avengers : Infinity War !