Movies | Marvel Cinematic Universe Rankings
With the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp, there have now been twenty(!) films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so this seems like an appropriate time to rank them from worst to best.
20. Iron Man 2 (2010)
A movie made of what should've been sub-plots and having no strong central story, making it all feel more than a little disappointing.
19. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
I don't think this feel is particularly bad, but neither is it that good. Serviceable, but utterly unmemorable and, minor pieces aside, pretty much ignored by the other MCU films.
18. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
A sequel that is a step down from the original, despite what looks like an increased budget. Greater scale unfortunately doesn't mean greater quality here.
17. Thor (2011)
The fantastic cast that seem to be enjoying themselves is what lifts the movie above the others so far, although the MCU's early penny-pinching is probably at its most obvious here.
16. Ant-Man (2015)
The film couldn't quite escape its troubled production, and while it's still fun to watch, it's probably the least essential MCU movie so far.
15. Iron Man 3 (2013)
A disappointment following on from The Avengers, but most movies would've suffered in comparison to that pop-culture juggernaut. Shane Black's film is still a lot of fun.
14. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Suffers from similar issues to Iron Man 2 by trying to do too much, but to nowhere near the same degree - and it's still a lot of fun seeing all of the heroes assembled again.
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
I've grown to like this movie less and less over time, but can't really explain why. I love the cast, and the story is fine, it just lacks that spark of excitement to really click for me.
12. Doctor Strange (2016)
A pretty run-of-the-mill origin story, but an amazing cast, incredible visuals, and a plot resolution that comes from the hero out-thinking the antagonist make it better than it could've been.
11. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
As I said in the review on Friday, it feels wholly inessential like the original Ant-Man, but is still a lot of fun and I love Evangeline Lilly as the MCU's first female title movie character.
10. Iron Man (2008)
The movie where it all began is still great to watch, and astonishing to think how Marvel Studios got it so right on their first try, thanks to Jon Favreau and the amazing Robert Downey Jr.
9. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
This was the first of the MCU films to feel like a 'proper' comic-book movie. The World War Two setting, with the Tesseract-fuelled science-fiction action altered what MCU films could be.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
A worthy follow-up to the original, even if it's not quite as good as the first. Not needing to set up the characters means we can jump into the action right away and the film never stops moving.
7. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Proving how flexible the MCU can be, Taika Waititi completely tore up everything we knew about the Thor series of films and made one of the funniest films of the past few years.
6. Black Panther (2018)
Dealing with more serious issues than almost all of the other MCU films, Ryan Coogler's movie has a wonderful cast, astonishing world-building and one of the best villains of recent years.
5. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Thought of by many as Avengers 2.5, it's actually a constantly-entertaining direct sequel to Winter Soldier - it just happens to have a lot of other heroes in supporting roles.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
James Gunn took a group of unknowns and made them household names in a single movie. It helps that all the cast are amazing, with everyone stealing the scene from everyone else throughout.
3. The Avengers (2012)
The first twenty minutes or so are below-par, but once Thor joins the action, the movie just keeps ramping up to the final battle in New York and what is probably still the best third act in the MCU.
2. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
I'll admit that putting this movie so high might be recency bias, but I enjoyed it so much that I'll probably have it on repeat for a long time when the home version finally comes out in the UK.
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Still the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I genuinely can't see it being topped any time soon - also remarkably prescient showing how Nazis and fascists can hide in government organisations.