With the heavily anticipated release of “Avengers: Infinity War” on April 27, 2018, it is important to look back at the other superhero movies that have shaped the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All of the MCU movies leading up to “Avengers: Infinity War” can be ranked from worst to best using many factors including characters, plot, conflict, and action.
At the bottom of the list is “The Incredible Hulk,” which is an okay superhero movie, but just horrible compared to all other Marvel movies. Although the action in the film is very exciting, especially the fight between Hulk (Edward Norton) and The Abomination (Tim Roth), the plot is not creative and none of the acting stood out. The character development of Banner is interesting, though, and the visual effects are outstanding, but that could not save this stereotypical superhero film.
Freshman Dylon Ho says, “‘The Incredible Hulk’ is definitely the worst Marvel movie. The actor who plays Bruce Banner [Edward Norton] isn’t very good at portraying his character and the film seemed very rushed. Also, The Abomination is a very one-dimensional villain and doesn’t add much to the story.”
“Thor” is a fun movie full of heart about the powerful, but arrogant son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who is a likable character. However, the best part of the film is Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who is a comical character with many layers, both good and evil. Unfortunately, Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), is not very interesting, and the plot is very choppy, but overall it is a decent action movie.
Ending Phase Two of the MCU, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is somewhat of a disappointment. The main problem with this movie is Ultron (James Spader). He is not an intimidating or interesting villain at all, and he can even be annoying at points. Although Ultron did not live up to his expectations, the movie is action-packed and the fight scenes are phenomenal, but due to the many action scenes, the plot seems rushed.
The best part of the movie is when the audience learns that Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) has a family and the Avengers go to his home to regroup. The fans really learn a lot about Hawkeye’s character that they did not know from “The Avengers,” and it is a nice, peaceful scene in a time of chaos.
“Iron Man 2” is a decent follow up to “Iron Man,” but it has its flaws. The problem with this movie is that it simply is not memorable. Vanko (Mickey Rourke) is a cool villain, but in the end, he is not very dominant. This movie is much more serious than the first “Iron Man,” which makes it less fun. Luckily, Stark is still the arrogant, funny character everyone loves to watch, and the action in the movie is excellent. Overall, “Iron Man 2” is definitely interesting, but just not as memorable as most Marvel films.
The final movie in the trilogy, “Iron Man 3,” is almost like a redemption film for Stark. It is a very eventful film, and it is nice seeing Stark revert back into the character everyone loves. It is very funny and serious at the same time, and Downey Jr. continues to show his elite acting as Iron Man. The only downside to the film is that the action is not as impressive as other Marvel films.
Although the original did not set high expectations, “Thor: The Dark World” was humorous and action-packed. It is a very creative superhero movie and the fights are epic. Jane’s intern, Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), is the comic relief and is absolutely hilarious. This is an underrated Marvel movie, but it can be overcomplicated at some points. The villain, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), is also not very memorable.
Next up is “Black Panther.” The major problem with “Black Panther” is that it was too predictable. There are no surprises or twists, which makes the plot fairly bland. The beginning of the movie is slow and boring as well. Luckily, the fight scenes at the end of the movie are amazing and overall the movie is filled with action. The villain, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), is an extremely complicated character and, unlike most Marvel movies, very memorable. Although “Black Panther” is a bit overrated, it is an excellent film.
The third movie of the Thor trilogy, “Thor: Ragnarok” tops the previous two Thor movies. It is a very funny movie, but almost too funny for a superhero action movie. Sometimes the plot is difficult to believe, but it is still well-executed. Thor and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) have an unlikely, but hilarious connection, and the fight scene at the end with both of them is stellar. Even though this film could be mistaken for a comedy at some points, it is still a great Marvel movie.
Paul Rudd did an excellent job in “Ant-Man” at portraying Scott Lang, and his comedy in the film is very entertaining. All of the characters are interesting, with the exception of Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll), who is another example of subpar villains in MCU movies. The action and filming is creative as well, due to the characters changing size continuously.
Definitely a more unique Marvel movie, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is energetic and exciting with outstanding action scenes and great special effects. All of the characters have interesting connections, and the upbeat 70s music weirdly goes with the epic fights. There are not too many problems with the film, except for the somewhat forgetable villain, Ronan (Lee Pace), but, as we have seen, that is common in MCU movies. Overall, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a great Marvel movie and an outstanding action film.
The movie that started it all, “Iron Man,” is an unforgettable classic, driven by the amazing acting of Downey Jr. He portrays Stark’s cocky and arrogant, yet likable character to perfection. The action in this movie feels realistic, and the CGI effects put it over the top. Stark’s character development is excellent, showing Stark’s change of heart after a near-death experience. Although “Iron Man” is the first MCU movie, it is one of the bests and will always be a classic.
“Captain America: The First Avenger” is such a great movie because of its heart. The audience can really feel what is happening and sympathize with Rogers. It is a lot more than just fighting and action. Chris Evans is also very good at portraying the patriotism and bravery Captain America represents. Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) is actually a great villain in this movie and quite underrated because he feels like an actual threat to the main character.
Although this may seem high on the list, “Doctor Strange” is an extremely underrated movie. The great thing about “Doctor Strange” is that it could be a great stand-alone movie, and people do not need to know the other Marvel films to enjoy it. The development of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) from a cocky, rich surgeon to a humble sorcerer is a great story, and even though the movie can be serious, it is also very funny. The movie is also interesting because it lets the fans know that there are stakes in these movies and that people are going to die and not come back.
The second movie in the Captain America trilogy, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” does an excellent job at showing the friendship between Rogers and Bucky (Sebastian Stan). Even though Bucky is completely changed, Rogers still believes in him and thinks he can change. He refuses to give up on his old friend and it is truly inspirational. The action in this movie is definitely better than the original “Captain America,” and the fellow superheroes Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) are great sidekicks to Cap.
Marvel’s shot at the Spiderman franchise proved to be a big hit with “Spider-Man: Homecoming” being one of the best Marvel movies to date. It is very relatable for teenagers as Tom Holland does a great job at showing that even though Parker is a superhero, he struggles with all the other things regular students struggle with. Parker’s troubles feel so real, and the supporting cast in the movie is hilarious. Hands down what makes the movie so great is the villain, Vulture (Michael Keaton). The plot twists that surround the villain and the fact that the audience can sympathize with him makes him so great.
Surprisingly, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is an amazing movie that is better than the original. It has everything that made the original a great movie, but this film had a few things that really put it over the top. To start, the opening scene of the movie might be the funniest one ever created. The scene focuses on Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) dancing to Starlord’s playlist as the rest of the Guardians are vigorously fighting an alien creature in the background. Also, the movie is an emotional roller coaster, but in a good way. There are so many feelings of happiness, sadness, excitement, and anger throughout the film due to the family-like relationships between the Guardians.
Being the greatest superhero crossover up to this point, “Captain America: Civil War” is what “Avengers: Age of Ultron” should have been. The action scenes are phenomenal, and seeing that many superheroes on screen at the same time is breathtaking. It is crazy to see the change in relationships between characters throughout the movie as friends soon become foes, some more than others. Another great thing is that the audience understands both sides of the chaos, which makes it hard to see who it truly “right.”
The greatest overall MCU movie is “The Avengers,” as the dynamics between the different characters is so interesting, but not overdone, and seeing all of the superheroes from Phase One come together on one team is just so satisfying. The action in the movie is intense and filmed to perfection. The villain, Loki, is the greatest MCU villain ever, and makes people almost want to root for him. All of the characters in “The Avengers” have multiple dimensions and are not boring at all.
Freshman Sam Sharma says, “‘The Avengers’ is such a great action movie. The fights are incredibly well filmed and the plot moves along smoothly. All of the characters have such interesting relationships and it’s nice to see the Avengers grow together as a team.”
What is your favorite Marvel movie in the MCU and why?