Anyone who knows me knows that I am a HUGE fan of superheroes. I just love them. I can’t fully explain why. Maybe it’s because I grew up watching superhero cartoons like Justice League Unlimited, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Teen Titans, etc. Or it could be because the Spider-man, Batman, and X-Men movies were so popular when I was young.
For whatever reason, watching men and women in colorful costumes battling villainous threats, overcoming impossible odds, and saving the lives of countless innocent people brings me great joy. So, while I’m waiting for the next batch of superhero movies to come out this 2017 (There are SIX superhero movies coming out this year!), I thought I’d take a look back at all the movies in my current favorite superhero franchise (until the DCEU catches up–which I’m hopeful it will *fingers crossed*).
Let’s rank all 14 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies!
#14: The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Though I’ve enjoyed all of the MCU movies I’ve seen, there are some that I’ve liked a lot less than the others. I wouldn’t call it a bad movie but compared to the other films, The Incredible Hulk is probably the weakest link in an otherwise solid chain.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s lots to enjoy in the movie. Edward Norton is a solid Bruce Banner (though I do prefer Ruffalo in the role), Tim Roth is effectively menacing as the power-hungry Abomination, and the action sequences are fairly thrilling. The story was a bit too bland and generic for my taste, though.
#13: Iron Man 2 (2010)
What went wrong with Iron Man 2? Well, its plot was all over the place. The main plot was about Ivan Vanko, a man whose father had been wronged by Tony’s dad Howard, who wanted revenge. Then there was that other main plot about Tony being poisoned by his own arc reactor. Then there were various other subplots like Pepper becoming CEO of Stark Industries, Black Widow’s introduction , Justin Hammer’s greedy plot to best Tony in the arm’s race, Rhodey becoming War Machine, etc.
I guess what I’m saying is that the movie had no focus. There were a lot of great elements but they just never seemed to mesh well into a coherent movie. Anyway, it’s still pretty fun… as long as you don’t think too hard about the story.
#12: Thor: The Dark World (2013)
It’s hard for me to put this movie at the lower end of the list because I like it a lot. Anyway, it had to be done FOR THE GREATER GOOD!
Thor: The Dark World‘s greatest assets are its two leads Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Whenever the two are on-screen together, the movie is excellent. Thor and Loki’s complicated, tense, conflict-ridden, volatile but ultimately loving brotherly bond is a lot of fun to watch. It’s too bad that the rest of the movie couldn’t replicate the giddy energy that Thor and Loki’s interactions brought to the table.
Also, Thor: The Dark World has, in my opinion, the blandest villain ever. Christopher Eccleston’s considerable talents (see: Doctor Who) were wasted in his role as Malekith, the Dark Elf with insanely vague motivations.
#11: Iron Man 3 (2013)
What I loved most about this movie is that we actually got to see Tony Stark mature… a bit. His character development was one of the many things Iron Man 2 lacked. Instead of acting like a selfish jerk all the time (anyone up for dancing drunk in the Iron Man suit?), we actually see him feeling bruised and vulnerable for the first time since his days in the cave. Left with practically nothing, he had to rely more on his intelligence and creativity than on his not-fully-functional Mark 42 suit in order to complete his mission.
Good character development aside, the movie itself is a bit more hit-or-miss. The first act was rather bland. The middle part was a mixed bag with some parts being incredibly entertaining and others being a tad bit confusing. The third act was fun but failed to wrap up certain plot points in a satisfactory manner.
#10: Thor (2011)
I love this movie with a passion. It is invariably fun and entertaining. I’ve watched it a gazillion times and it still doesn’t cease to amuse me. But *sigh* some sacrifices must be made. Storywise, Thor is regrettably on the lower end of the totem pole. The scenes on Earth were considerably less captivating than the Asgard scenes, which is sad because a huge chunk of the movie takes place on Earth.
#9: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
It seems, dark and gritty superheroes are in these days (hullo, Batman). Cap, on the other hand, is probably the opposite. He’s just a regular kid from Brooklyn who wants to become a soldier. He doesn’t have some deep, wounded past that drives him to become a superhero. He simply wants to help because its the right thing to do…
Steve Rogers in himself is already remarkable, in my opinion. Captain America: The First Avenger benefits from its well-structured story and cool, retro vibe. The movie may be a little old-fashioned but hey, quoting Agent Phil, “maybe the world needs a little old-fashioned”.
#8: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
There’s lots to love in our Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ second outing. The ensemble cast is still top-notch. Every single team member gets a moment to shine, even new additions like Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver, and Paul Bettany’s Vision. The main villain Ultron (voiced by James Spader) is given a few more layers than the average MCU villain. The action is thrilling and the dialogue is as fun and quippy as ever.
However, Age of Ultron made the mistake of cramming too much into one film. A few subplots felt like they belonged in a different film or that they were only there to set up future movies (i.e. Thor’s magical jacuzzi).
(The Top 7 MCU films will be covered in part 2, which I will post soon. Stay tuned!)