MCU Movies: Best to Worst (in My Opinion)

by m_livingstone2000 | created - 21 Jan 2017 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is pretty much the king of comic book movies at the moment. Ever since 2008's Iron Man, nearly all these interconnected movies have been both critically and financially successful, and impressed legions of Marvel fans too. These movies understand their characters so well that everyone has their own personal favourites, usually based mainly on the characters alone. Now that Spider-Man: Far from Home is out and Phase Three of the franchise is over, the future of the MCU is not exactly certain. They do have future plans for other movies, but there's no set schedule for them or anything. There may eventually be enough to warrant a top ten of my personal favourites. But for now, here's the entire franchise, arranged in my personal order of preference. As with all my lists, I'd recommend you view this in reverse order, like a countdown.

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1. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

PG-13 | 181 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

78 Metascore

After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos' actions and restore balance to the universe.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth

Votes: 534,420 | Gross: $858.19M

Yep, the epic conclusion to the so-called "Infinity Saga" is, in my opinion, the absolute best of the bunch. It had to wrap up twenty-two movies spanning eleven years, and it went out with a *huge* bang. It serves as a tribute to the whole franchise in so many ways.

2. The Avengers (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

69 Metascore

Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner

Votes: 1,195,974 | Gross: $623.36M

Joss Whedon was the perfect choice for this original merger: his writing leads to some laugh-out-loud hilarious character-driven comedy. All the edge-of-your-seat action and character development you'd expect is delivered in spades. It's a pitch-perfect team-up that's immensely fun but not brainless, and it still remains one of Marvel's best.

3. Black Panther (2018)

PG-13 | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

88 Metascore

T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country's past.

Director: Ryan Coogler | Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira

Votes: 535,323 | Gross: $700.06M

This one is *great*. It boasts a full cast of instantly memorable characters, it has *outstanding* action scenes, and an intriguing story about the responsibilities of running an advanced nation and how different people choose to approach them. Furthermore, it's a self-contained movie with almost no references to the others.

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

PG-13 | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it's up to Earth's mightiest heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plan.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth

Votes: 678,230 | Gross: $459.01M

A little jam-packed perhaps, but "Avengers 2" is almost as good as the first one. It's the same wonderful characters, the dialogue is just as snappy, and there are breathtaking moments aplenty. Plus it constantly acknowledges the danger to civilians in what seems like a counter to "Man of Steel".

5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a "Super-Soldier serum". But being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a war monger and a terrorist organization.

Director: Joe Johnston | Stars: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell

Votes: 679,322 | Gross: $176.65M

Yes, I think this is one of the best in the entire franchise. Thanks to the meticulous build-up in the first two acts, you get a perfect sense of the character's ideals and root for him completely, and it all perfectly balances the line between legit drama and tongue-in-cheek fun.

6. Ant-Man (2015)

PG-13 | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

64 Metascore

Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Director: Peyton Reed | Stars: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Evangeline Lilly

Votes: 512,951 | Gross: $180.20M

This is another tremendously fun one, loaded with uproarious humour. It stands out from the crowd for two main reasons: it's a heist story, and it's the first time the MCU has seen two generations of the same hero, with the original Ant-Man acting as mentor to the new one.

7. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

PG-13 | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.

Director: Jon Watts | Stars: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei

Votes: 447,384 | Gross: $334.20M

This is easily the best depiction of Spider-Man we've ever seen in a movie: Tom Holland perfectly captures both the humble high school geek and the wisecracking crimefighter. It's about a lowly hero trying to prove he's worthy of the big leagues, and Michael Keaton's Vulture is an *excellent* villain.

8. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

PG-13 | 118 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

70 Metascore

As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.

Director: Peyton Reed | Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins

Votes: 257,237 | Gross: $216.65M

This sequel has its flaws, yes, but what I really like about it is how deft and straightforward the premise is: it's basically a race between several parties pursuing the same object. Plus, its handle on characters, humour, action and special effects is effortlessly on par with the first "Ant-Man".

9. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

PG-13 | 149 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

68 Metascore

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans

Votes: 699,619 | Gross: $678.82M

This all-out brawl is full of creative and thrilling action scenes, and the Russos' camerawork is light-years better than ever before. Though I do have issues with it at times, it is a thoroughly enjoyable escapade, making effective use of its huge cast, and the ending is a powerful cliffhanger.

10. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

PG-13 | 147 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

Political involvement in the Avengers' affairs causes a rift between Captain America and Iron Man.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan

Votes: 597,257 | Gross: $408.08M

This is more like "Avengers 2.5" than "Captain America 3". It focuses on politics tearing friendships apart, and both sides of the debate do raise good arguments. While the frenetic camerawork makes some early action scenes close to unwatchable, the massive central brawl at the airport is definitely a highlight.

11. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

PG-13 | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

54 Metascore

When Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) gets cursed with a powerful entity known as the Aether, Thor is heralded of the cosmic event known as the Convergence and the genocidal Dark Elves.

Director: Alan Taylor | Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård

Votes: 550,020 | Gross: $206.36M

I'm in a minority who considers this the best of the "Thor" movies. It's much more focused and consistent than the first one. Each scene adds to the previous one so seamlessly that your investment and excitement rises like a straight, constant incline, and the portal-hopping climax is a riot.

12. Iron Man (2008)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

79 Metascore

After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.

Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges

Votes: 877,067 | Gross: $318.41M

The movie that started it all is simply a blast. It treats its characters with respect but has an utterly gleeful sense of fun (despite the distractingly obvious CGI). But what holds it all together is Robert Downey Jr.; I think, with any other actor, this movie would have died.

13. Doctor Strange (2016)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

72 Metascore

While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong

Votes: 529,275 | Gross: $232.64M

Now we're definitely getting better. :-) The action scenes make terrific use of the newly introduced magic, and the final villain encounter is one of the cleverest I've ever seen. I was introduced to Doctor Strange through the 2007 animated film, but I have no problem recommending this one to newcomers.

14. Captain Marvel (2019)

PG-13 | 123 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

64 Metascore

Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck | Stars: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law

Votes: 349,563 | Gross: $426.83M

For the most part, I find this one just generally competent – nothing too special – but the last act is so much fun that it makes all the difference. The mystery of Carol's identity holds your interest, and Carol herself is a pretty fun character, as is the young Nick Fury.

15. Thor (2011)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

57 Metascore

The powerful but arrogant god Thor is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston

Votes: 693,658 | Gross: $181.03M

Director Kenneth Branagh somehow makes a story involving gods and magic far less epic than it could have been. It's when Thor loses his powers that makes the movie for me, as that's when his character truly shines through. Overall, not one of my personal favourites, but still pretty good.

16. Iron Man 2 (2010)

PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

57 Metascore

With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father's legacy.

Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Votes: 668,139 | Gross: $312.43M

This sequel is definitely inferior to the original, because it doesn't seem as tightly written. There are several subplots constantly vying for attention, lessening the effect of what, in theory, should have been a more personal story. But it all comes together near the end, resulting in a brilliant climax.

17. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

PG-13 | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

61 Metascore

Bruce Banner, a scientist on the run from the U.S. Government, must find a cure for the monster he turns into, whenever he loses his temper.

Director: Louis Leterrier | Stars: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt

Votes: 407,696 | Gross: $134.52M

Despite being a solid film and arguably the best Hulk movie ever made (*much* better than Ang Lee's "Hulk", anyway), it's become inconsequential to the MCU: Edward Norton was recast, and none of the events from this movie have been mentioned since. I'd recommend it just for its own merits.

18. Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

PG-13 | 129 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

69 Metascore

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.

Director: Jon Watts | Stars: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marisa Tomei

Votes: 154,685 | Gross: $378.07M

As a Spider-Man adventure, and especially as the final film in Phase Three, it's pretty underwhelming and kind of disposable. The story progression is sometimes discordant, and even the humour isn't really on par with its predecessors. But the highlight is Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, including one spectacular illusory sequence.

19. Iron Man 3 (2013)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

62 Metascore

When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

Director: Shane Black | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Votes: 702,928 | Gross: $409.01M

This one, while still decent, is easily my least favourite of the "Iron Man" trilogy. On one hand, the story has Tony at his lowest point, suffering from anxiety attacks and forced back to basics with minimal tech. On the other hand, the villains and their plan never impressed me.

20. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

74 Metascore

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, and must race against time to return to Asgard and stop Ragnarök, the destruction of his world, at the hands of the powerful and ruthless villain Hela (Cate Blanchett).

Director: Taika Waititi | Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo

Votes: 503,062 | Gross: $315.06M

Another one that everyone seems to love except me. While I do think it's well written and a worthy continuation of Thor's adventures, I *hate* the sudden full-on comedic approach after the first two movies took themselves fairly seriously – especially considering the movie is named after what's essentially the apocalypse.

21. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

67 Metascore

The Guardians struggle to keep together as a team while dealing with their personal family issues, notably Star-Lord's encounter with his father the ambitious celestial being Ego.

Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel

Votes: 498,970 | Gross: $389.81M

I like this sequel slightly more than its predecessor, mainly because the story is more interesting, the characters are fleshed out more and it sometimes addresses their flaws. All the same, they still didn't fully win me over. Again, I prefer the Telltale game, especially concerning the character of Mantis.

22. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

70 Metascore

As Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he teams up with a fellow Avenger and S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Black Widow, to battle a new threat from history: an assassin known as the Winter Soldier.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford

Votes: 677,537 | Gross: $259.77M

Another unpopular opinion here: this is definitely one of my least favourites. I know the idea was for Cap's beliefs to be challenged by a world where morality isn't so clear-cut anymore, but the film's overall form is a politically charged spy thriller, which doesn't interest me in the slightest.

23. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

76 Metascore

A group of intergalactic criminals must pull together to stop a fanatical warrior with plans to purge the universe.

Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana

Votes: 965,675 | Gross: $333.18M

Everyone except me seems to utterly *adore* this movie. It's not bad, but it's probably my least favourite MCU film of all. It has one of the clumsiest, most tonally jarring openings I've ever seen, and I simply never liked the characters. Now, the Telltale game, that's a different story! :-)

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