You have been waiting for this list haven't you? It's a list I've been wanting to do since I originally created the site. So after seeing other peoples lists, and just coming back from seeing Captain America Civil War, I've finally gotten round to it. Does the list surprise you?
Ah, the Marvel Studios logo. Do you get really pumped up when you see this come onto the screen?
15. The Incredible Hulk
When I originally watched the Incredible Hulk, I didn't like it at all. It wasn't terrible, but it did seem weak in a number of ways. After a rewatch, The Incredible Hulk isn’t all bad. The character of Bruce Banner is mysterious. We don't really know much, but get to find out bit by bit. The Hulk fight scenes are excellent, and I really like General Ross as the “villain”. But like Iron Man 2, for what is good, there are things that aren’t.
Mark Ruffalo is better than Edward Norton. There I said it. After his performance in The Avengers and future MCU films, I just couldn't warm to Norton. While the Abomination made for a good end battle sequence, I didn’t like the look of the character. And Betty, played by Liv Tyler is one of my least liked characters in the whole MCU.
14. Iron Man 2
Ah, Iron Man 2. A disappointment you are. It's frustrating as it's got quite a few good moments. The whole Monaco scene was really good, and the part where Tony suits up the Mark V is still one of my favourite moments from the whole of the MCU. I quite like the fight with Rodney, which was quite different to what we have seen before and after. It's not just the action scenes, the scene in the court was fun and the introduction of Black Widow was so cool.
But it’s the rest of the scenes that feels disjointed and boring. Many criticise Iron Man 2 for being a stop-gap to The Avengers, and up to a point I would agree. There should have been more Iron Man action and less unnecessary scenes, especially with Justin Hammer. Man, I hate that guy.
I'll hold my hand up now and admit that I've never been a huge Thor fan. To me, superheroes should be based on earth and have “earth-found” abilities. (That is until a 2014 movie changed my mind about that) I came into Thor thinking I wouldn't really like it, but found myself surprised. I did like it! But with so much competition, it’s still low down on my list.
I reckon having most of the story set on Earth was a good choice. With a familiar setting, plus the inclusion of SHIELD and Agent Coulson, makes it easier to introduce Thor into the MCU. Chris Hemsworth does an excellent job of bringing the character to life on screen, as he looks and sounds the part. Anthony Hopkins and the warriors three have good roles also, but it's Loki that is a highlight. Still one of the best villains in the MCU, even after all the other villains over the years.
12. Thor: the Dark World
The first Thor was good, this is more of the same, just a little bit different. Thor: The Dark World does get a little bogged down with the science stuff, and I did find some of the earth scenes to be unnecessary (do we really need to see Jane Foster dating?). And another MCU film, another weak villain. If only they spent a bit more time learning about him and his motives. Shame.
Although many fans dislike Darcy, I thought she was quite funny, bringing some much need humour to Thor. I quite like some of the action scenes (especially the end fight) and Loki is once again used to the fullest. The story doesn’t seem very “interesting”, and apart from the appearance of an infinity stone, and the last scene, it doesn’t have much to do with the MCU. Still an improvement over the original.
11. Iron Man 3
Fans were split on Tony Stark’s third outing so here is a bold statement: Iron Man 3 is a good film. “No way!?” I hear you cry out. Look again at those words, I said it's a good film, not a good Iron Man sequel.
Most of film involves round Tony finding the Mandarin. Which is fun to see for the most part, I just wish there was a little more Iron Man action. The Mailabu scene is fantastic and last act is awesome which includes an end fight that isn't two giant suits attacking. The mark 42 was a great improvement over previous suits, I just wished they stopped using the breaking apart gag. I also liked the Tony saves all those people on the plane scene. I think Tony was trying to prove Cap wrong who said: “the only person you care about is yourself” It could have been a great film with some edits and more Iron Man!
I’ll have to address the elephant in the room: the Mandarin. Did I like the great twist? I did actually, but I would of done slightly different. In the All Hail the King One-Shot, we find out at the end that the real Mandarin isn’t happy that someone has used his name. If that was placed as an after credit scene, I think the whole controversy of the character wouldn’t of happened.
10. Captain America: The First Avenger
When I re-watched Captain America: The First Avenger, I went from thinking the film was ok, to thinking it's a great film. Steve Evans is perfect in the role, with him nailing the part of skinny Steve and Cap in equal measures. “I’m just a guy from Brooklyn” he says and you believe him. A clear conscious, and a key figure of saving the world from Hydra and the Nazis during the second world war.
Peggy Carter is one of the strongest supporting characters in the MCU, and still one of the best female marvel actresses. She looks the part, acts like the part and the character continues to surprise me. (Especially in her TV show) I really like Tommy lee Jones, playing a similar role to his Men in Black counterpart, which works in the movies favour, with witty humour and quick one liners.
Revisiting Cap and Bucky after seeing their characters develop in Winter Solider and Civil War gives the film a different prospective, especially when we find out what happened to Bucky. The only thing I didn't really like was the Red Skull. He wasn't bad by any means, just wasn't as good as he should of been.
09. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Sequels in the MCU are a mixed bag. You have some that aren't as good, some that are on par and some that are a clearly better than the original album. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the difficult second album, can they match what they did before and better it?
No is the simple answer. The first was a surprise hit, with millions learning about the existence of Groot, Rocket, Star Lord and the others. But saying that, I would say that this is almost as good. There are loads of fun moments between all the main team, just like the first film, and the actors are all fantastic once again. The story has a few twists and turns, but the film is mainly focuses on developing the characters we know and love.
However, some of new characters aren't quite as polished as they should be, but this being part of the MCU, I’m certain we will see more in Avengers: Infinity War and beyond. Besides - how can I dislike a film that has Baby Groot?
08. Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Solider and Guardians of the Galaxy were all very well received with fans. Age of Ultron had a lot of hype, would it be able to match it? Not quite but it had a good darn try.
Age of Ultron has lots of fan favourite moments. Vision picking up Thor’s hammer, Stan Lees excelsior cameo, Captain America’s language gag and Hawkeye doesn’t like being brainwashed moment. With three new Avengers, an improved Hawkeye and a good villain in the form of Ultron, it does a lot of good stuff.
This film does have one major problem, and considering the nature of the series, it doesn’t creep up that often. It does spend too much time setting up future films, with lengthy dream sequences and Thor’s pool slowing down the action. It does more good than bad, but those bad points make it an excellent film, not a classic like it’s predecessor.
Now Ant-Man, the potential black sheep of the MCU. It's got a funny name (that even the character tries to change), a weird sounding power and has never been considered as one of Marvel's “good” characters. Many fans and the general public had doubts and thought this would be Marvel’s first flop. But boy, did Marvel prove them wrong.
You might of noticed I prefer this than Avengers: Age of Ultron. While that film has plenty of great moments, there was a few missed opportunities. Ant-Man doesn't have that problem. It's a great movie. It blends humour, action and heist scenes well. The shrinking and super strength superpowers of the suit are great on screen, with some ace special effects. Realistically, this is as good as they could of done with such a silly concept. While not the best film in the MCU, it’s definitively one of the more enjoyable ones.
06. Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Spider-Man movie series has had a lot of ups and downs in the past. For every Spider-Man 2, you have an Amazing Spider-Man 2. So when Marvel were developing Spider-Man: Homecoming with the help of Sony, not the other way around, I remained optimistic. Fresh from the cinema, I can tell you it’s a big improvement over the last few films, and for me, remains just behind Spider-Man 2 as the best Spidey film.
So what does the film do well? Well, Tom Holland nails both parts. He isn’t an unlovable nerd like Toby McGuire, yet he isn’t the more popular kid like Andrew Garfield. Tom also plays Spider-Man to perfection, with his trademarks quips during battle and doing a lot of his stunts helps the film in a lot of ways. Michael Keaton as the Vulture is my second favourite Spidey villain (behind Doc Ock) and it will be interesting if he returns in the sequel. I also like the fact that Tony Stark and Iron Man do appear, but don’t take over the movie.
What didn’t I like about it? Well two main things. The first is we don’t see him web swinging around New York like the other films. This Spidey still lives in downtown New York, hence we don’t see him around large skyscrapers. The other is Aunt May. I’ve got nothing against the actress, but it doesn’t seem to fit. I’m just glad to have another awesome Spider-Man film!
05. Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel have had great success taking what was B list super heroes (like Iron Man and Ant-Man) and making them as popular as A List Superheroes. But how about making C list super heroes into household names? On the outset, it seemed like Marvel were taking a massive gamble: but they did it again, what are the odds of that happening again?
To top it off, it's one of the best movies that Marvel have done so far. While it is set in the MCU, the whole movie (barring one scene) takes place in space, somewhere we have rarely seen meaning it makes for a quite different movie.
Three things make Guardians stand out: It’s characters (one is a talking Raccoon and another is a cool Tree!), the soundtrack (it's got the best use of popular songs and one of the best soundtrack complications of all time) and it’s really funny (with some great humour with great moments from all the guardians). Let’s not forget that it was this film that jump started Chris Pratt’s legendness and the whole dancing Groot craze.
04. Captain America: Civil War
There was a lot riding on this one. With an epic Captain America film and a slightly disappointing Age of Ultron, will this raise the bar or will be a great film? With 13 films in the bag, it only really seems like Marvel is now only stretching it’s legs. I don’t think it quite beat The Winter Solider but it's still Amazing and Spectacular.
Yes, those puns were intentional. The reintroduction of the Spider-Man character in the MCU was handled perfectly. We also have another new great on-screen character Black Panther, one of the best action sequences in the MCU to date, and lots of great moments along the way. What a great film, filled with all your favourite Marvel characters.
03. The Avengers
You have those landmark films in history. Films that captured something that had not seen on screen before and loved by millions. While Spider-Man and the Dark Knight are classed as such, it was this film that comic book nerds all over the world had been waiting for! It was the first assemble superhero movie, with different characters from different movies. It was truly a fantastic way to bring Marvel’s phase one to a close.
The Avengers is still the most successful superhero movie of all time and it's not hard to see why. I could write a whole list of all the great moments, with so many to choose from. Choose a character, and he or she will have a chance to shine. Marvel even managed to improve Hulk after the disappointing reception to The Incredible Hulk. The big question remains: Can Avengers: Infinity War top this?
02. Captain America: The Winter Solider
Now where do I start on this masterpiece. How about the story? Hands down the best story in the entire MCU. It has lots of unexpected twists and turns. Including, what I think, is best plot twist in the entire superhero genre – HYDRA! In one word, the whole MCU is changed forever. I still remember how shocked I was when I first saw this scene.
Elsewhere, Captain America 2 acts like a thriller, with Cap on the run for nearly the whole movie. With the help of the Black Widow and the Falcon (both are awesome), it's got excellent scene after excellent scene. It also includes one of my favourite MCU scenes: the one where Nick Fury gets attacked by “Police” and he uses his bulletproof self driving (modern day KITT? You bet!) car to survive the attack.
It’s not just the big scenes that are excellent, it’s also the little details too. Those combat scenes with tightly choreographed knife scenes are extremely impressive, considering the actors did that themselves. Nick Fury has a great one liner towards the end of the film, and Black Widow is obsessed on finding Steve Rodgers a date. Coming from a technical standpoint, Winter Solider is the best film Marvel have made, but coming from an enjoyable and fun factor, my No 1 pick has it beat.
01. Iron Man
Finally we are at number one. For many, one the best films in the MCU and one of the best superhero films ever. If it wasn't for Iron Man, the MCU wouldn't exist, we wouldn't have the perfect Iron Man, and the superhero genre would be a different place indeed.
It’s hard not to view Iron Man through nostalgia glasses, as I remember first watching this film around the same time that I had been disappointed with X-Men: The Last Stand and Spider-Man 3. This was so different to what I had seen before, and it didn’t fall into the trap that a lot of superhero movies make: it did not get bogged down by complicated stories and story arcs. It keeps the story simple and entertaining.
Superhero origin stories are generally well known by audiences, but because Tony Stark was classed as a B-list character, this one was important to get right. Unlike some origins where your just waiting for the alter-ego to make an appearance, this one is worth investing time in. The film involves Tony building and perfecting his Iron Man suit, and he does just so with entertaining scenes, witty one-liners and some bad-a** action to boot!
Robert Downing Jr. is a perfect choice of casting, and with a great AI named JARVIS, and with just a cool suit to see, this film has it all. Marvel turned the superhero into one of the most popular in the world. Iron Man, thank you for creating my favourite movie series of all time.
When people say that Marvel own the movie business at the moment, they aren't wrong. Even when do have a film that isn't as strong as some of the others, they are still considered successful and still add story arcs, character development and other things to the MCU universe.
With Doctor Strange now out (which I have yet to see) and Thor Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel incoming, there seems to be no stopping them. Which is great because they are doing a terrific job. Why slow down when the whole world loves what your doing?