Ranking The Marvel Cinematic Universe Films (so far)

So yeah, Captain America: Civil War is out in 14 days. There’s 12 films, you know what that means? Yup, it’s time for the as-yet-untitled Marvel Version of my hugely unsuccessful Nightmare A Day series. What, you don’t remember that? Don’t worry, shall all be explained tomorrow. But until then, I still have to blog today, so what will today’s be? Simple, this will be my last normal blog until Civil War is released, so is really my last chance to do this and make it relevant. So here goes, all opinions are my own, but if you disagree you are wrong.

12. Thor: The Dark World

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I saw this film at the cinema and yet can barely remember anything about it. The trouble was that it’s kinda dull and doesn’t fit in with the rest. Plus by this point it was obvious that the character of Thor isn’t as interesting as his own villain. Loki dominates this film, just as he did the previous film, only this time it’s a lot more clunky in terms of why he’s there. It also completely wastes Christopher Ecclestone. The first film to really be skippable.

11. The Incredible Hulk

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A film that only ranks so low because it doesn’t really mesh with the others. The only thing tying this into to the rest is the cameo of Tony Stark. If it wasn’t for that, (and if it was released first instead of second) then they could just ignore it and pretend it never happened, like the world does with Godfather III.

10. Thor

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Yeah, maybe my personal bias is showing, I don’t like Thor. Mainly because the rest of the MCU tries really hard to be realistic and scientific, and then suddenly this guy shows up and smashes that to pieces. Also I feel his character just displays wasted opportunities. They have a character who is a God, they could do films based on how the world reacts to this, how does religion react to the existence of A God, but not Their God? None of this is shown, at all. Oh, and Natalie Portman’s character has all the background and charisma of a see through piece of tissue paper. Oh, and they wasted Idris Elba. Plus, Thor basically tried to kill Captain America in Avengers movie. Yes, the shield stopped him from being smashed with a hammer, but Thor didn’t know that would happen! From his perspective he just jumped at someone and tried to smash their face in with an unbeatable weapon. That would be like me launching nuclear weapons at a school but it turns out it’s okay as Fuzzy Felt stops explosions (it doesn’t by the way, I can 100% confirm this, sorry Nagasaki).

9. Avengers: Age Of Ultron. 

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This film highlighted a problem with a lot of modern super hero movies: pointless fight scenes and action sequences. Not just that, but poorly made action sequences too. There’s so many moments in this where action sequences just happen for no reason other than the studio thought “Action sequence goes here!”. Which is a shame as other than those it’s actually an okay story. I mean, the trailer did that annoying thing where it showed an awful thing that turned out to be a dream sequence. If it wasn’t for those two things it would be rated much higher (probably top five).

8. Iron Man 2

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Mickey Rourke is good in this, as is Downey Jr. But that’s kind of the biggest problem too. It’s so heavily dependent on performance, that it forgets to carve a good enough story. The villain is too similar to the first one (although don’t get me wrong he is better). The scene where Tony Stark is called into congress to explain himself is fantastic and says a lot about the nature of heroes, but then it just dissolves into casual action fare. Plus it’s hard to imagine THIS Tony Stark being the same one who (maybe, if they go close to the source material) advocates government registration of superheroes.

7. Iron Man

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Ok now we’re getting into awesome stuff. This is the film that launched not only the MCU, but superhero movies being fun again. After Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy it looked like all future superhero movies would just be fifty shades of grey and dark blues (and just as painful as that sounds). A great origin story, brilliantly directed by Jon Favreau, and the casting of Robert Downey Jr. was a master stroke. It was a risky decision but one that paid off.

6. Ant-Man

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Very, very fun. Paul Rudd is very funny. Yes, it would have been better if Edgar Wright stayed on but still. I saw this soon after Age Of Ultron, and the action set pieces in this were a lot better, featuring the best use of Thomas The Tank Engine I’ve ever seen in film.

5. Iron Man 3

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F*ck you I liked it. I know a lot of people don’t, and I understand why. But this was the first time the series tricked me. I’m a pretentious film student so I recognise plot twists early, but this one genuinely came out of left field, but in a way that made sense, it wasn’t one of those “and the killer turned out to be the goldfish all along!”. Yes, it still sucks that Iron Man films have had the worst villains so far but meh. This one also should be commended for actually showing character growth, Tony Stark is haunted by the actions of the Avengers movie, he’s basically suffering PTSD, sadly this was pretty much forgotten about by Age Of Ultron, very disappointing.

4. Avengers Assemble

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I rate this higher than the second one only because the action sequences aren’t as long, and at the time it was new. Plus it resurrected The Hulk as a character after two previous attempts to make a live action film about the character. This film established Loki as THE best villain in the Marvel Universe, which counts both for and against it. For because in this film he’s a charismatic, logical villain. Against because they can never hope to do that again.

3. Captain America: The First Avenger

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Yes, other films have been better, but this was the moment where the series grew from “action fare” to “cinematic genius”. The first (and best) use of cinematic emotion in the series. Usually when people say “Superhero movies are grown up and mature” they show things like Deadpool etc, things which are “adult”, but not “mature” (and yes, there is a difference). This would be a better option, exploring themes of identity, loss, and the commercialisation of war heroes to raise money instead of winning the war. The casting of Tommy Lee Jones in it added authenticity to the film, oh, and Hayley Atwell is superb. This is the first time they went beyond the “superhero saves world” story and focused on the hero themselves, a truly touching tale that was a worthy introduction to the character.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Probably the best example of a comic book movie transcending the genre. This film is almost like a cold-war era spy movie. Has the best plot of any of the films, fantastic characterisation, and is just all round brilliant. Amazing but not too comical, this film is not “look at this ooooo moment”, it’s not spectacle, but it is spectacular.

1. Guardians Of The Galaxy

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A part of this is because everybody expected it to fail. When it was announced people were certain this would be the biggest flop in Marvel history, more so than SuperLee, a superhero who fights crime with sarcasm and bitterness, which was invented by me, in my head, just now. But this film is amazing, it’s funny, smart and perfectly acted. It’s odd that Marvel has made better characters from a tree that only says three words than a lot of films manage with entire monologues. A space opera which is definitely the most fun film from all of them, and overall that’s what films should be: fun. It’s not the film with the best story, or the best acting, but it is definitely the one you’ll want to watch the most.

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