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In the lead up to one of the largest movies ever attempted, Avengers Infinity War, I have compiled a few “definitive” list of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Starting things off with the MCU Movie Ranking. Obviously spoilers for all of the MCU and to be safe Marvel Comics as well.
18. Thor: Dark World (2013)
Thor Dark World sadly brings up the caboose of this incredible train of movies. While widely regarded as one of the worst of MCU movies it is still very well done and is very important for Infinity War because it introduces the Aether, the Reality Stone.
17. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
In this forgotten Marvel Movie Edward Norton originally played the Bruce Banner and the Hulk in the second MCU movie but was later recasted for Mark Ruffalo to take over the role. This movies post credit scene is the only important part of the film going forward and featured Tony Stark speaking with General Ross, talking with him about forming a team (The Avengers duh)
16. Thor (2011)
After his hammer being teased in the post credit scene in Iron Man 2 we get introduced to the beautiful Shakespearean world of Asgard. A stellar cast does not quite shine through in this movie that primarily took place in a tiny New Mexico town, but it did introduce us to the mischievous fan favorite character Loki.
15. Iron Man 2 (2010)
The first MCU hero to get a sequel , Iron Man's reoccurring theme of demons from his past coming back to haunt him begins. Though this movie was a slight let down compared to its predecessor, it was still a fun exciting tale showing off new Stark tech and is Don Cheadle's first film playing Colonel James Rhodes after replacing Terrence Howard in the role.
14. Iron Man 3 (2013)
As the first MCU movie post Avengers, Iron Man 3 was received with mixed reviews. Primarily because of the movie setting up Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin, one of Iron Man's oldest comic book villains, only to reveal him as fake set up by Aldrich Killian as a part of his revenge plan set up years after Tony Stark spurned him. The big change after this movie is how Tony Stark finally gets the shrapnel removed from his chest and no longer requires an arc reactor embedded in himself.
13. Ant-Man (2015)
Ant-Man had its own struggles getting off the ground with losing writer director Edgar Wright. Fans were very excited to see Wrights unique take on the super hero genre but were still happily surprised by Paul Rudd's take on Scott Lang. Scott Lang was just released from prison and is desperate for money to be able to see his young daughter and is swept up in a battle for control of world changing technology. Going forward the most important thing to take from this film is the Introduction of the Micro-Verse.
12. Captain America : The First Avenger (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger is Marvel's period piece set in the 1940's during World War II. The scrawny and feeble Steve Rodgers felt like it was his duty to join the fight against the Nazis but is rejected multiple times and he is recruited for the super soldier program for his integrity and courage. This movie established Hydra as an evil secret organization lead by the Redskull using the Tesseract (the Space Stone) to create advanced weaponry.
11. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
After Spider-Man was introduced in Civil War, Homecoming took the monumental task of fleshing out Spider-Man fully into the MCU. In a partnership with Sony, Marvel showed us the truest adaptation of Peter Parker we have ever seen. Peter Parker is finally played by an age appropriate actor in Tom Holland and he knocked it out of the park along side one of the MCU's best villains in Michael Keaton's Vulture.
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Age of Ultron was an immense feat accomplished by director Joss Whedon. In his sequel to The Avengers Whedon had to smash so many important ties in the movie it drove him out of film making for years. Between revealing Loki's Scepter to be containing the Mind Stone, introducing Scarlet Witch, Vision and briefly Quicksilver, he also teased the plot lines for Thor Ragnarok and Civil War. Immensely cluttered but extremely well done this Avengers movie just fell short of what it could have been.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
James Gunn followed up his shock hit Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 with another fun space romp lead by Chris Pratt's Star Lord. In this film we find out Peter Quill, Star Lord, is the son of Ego the Living Planet, Kurt Russell. With this celestial parentage it shows where Peter gets his strength from and questions the meaning of family. Probably one of the most important things from this movie going forward is the tease of Adam Warlock in the post credit scene, who is vital to the Infinity Gauntlet story line.
8. Doctor Strange (2016)
Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange was a magical acid trip. A character whose backstory admittedly is similar to Tony Stark's swapping the arrogant genius playboy weapons designer, for a genius playboy neurosurgeon. With great performances all around in this visually stunning movie it shows an entirely mystical side of the MCU we never knew existed. While also teasing the multiverse which could lead to interesting story lines and the possible bridge for the eventual Disney Fox merger. Importantly this film sets up the Time Stone being held within the Eye of Agamotto.
7. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
This third Thor film combined the Planet Hulk and Ragnarok story lines with Taika Waititi's eccentric personality in an exciting movie that is probably one of MCU's most hilarious. Bruce Banner has been in Hulk mode since his disappearance at the end of Age of Ultron and has become the gladiator champion of an alien planet where Thor finds himself. There are a few very impactful things left at the end of this film, Odin died, Asgard was destroyed, and Thor's hammer Mjolnir was destroyed by his long lost sister Hela the goddess of death. Interesting to note Marvel changed Hela's background to the goddess of death mimicking Mistress Death possibly, Thanos' love interest in Infinity Gauntlet story line.
6. Black Panther (2018)
Director Ryan Coogler delivered a beautiful mixture of traditional African culture mixed with future technology in this record breaking film. This film shows Wakanda as the hub of technology, wealth and power, setting it up as the possible battlegrounds for Infinity War. T'Challa, Black Panther, is faced with the burdens of a new king and fights with the difficult struggle of debate of whether Wakanda should reveal itself to the outside world to help it. Basically Black Panther learns “With great power comes great responsibility.”
5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 (2014)
James Gunn defied expectations with this wonderful space opera and he thrilled us with how quickly we fell in love with this motley crew of misfits. As the first MCU movie to truly take risks with unheard of characters from obscure comics unknown to the public, Gunn made us fall in love with a talking raccoon and tree! Important to note, this film is the most we have seen of Thanos prior to Infinity War and Introduces the Power Stone.
4. Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
Not much else can be said about this amazing movie that brought together multiple heroes from their own solo films, combining their strengths into a beautiful superhero mosaic never before seen on the big screen. This film was Mark Ruffalo's first as Bruce Banner. It brought back Loki and turned him into fan favorite villain while sowing seeds for Infinity War six years before its release with post credit tease of Thanos.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
This was more a spy film than super hero movie. With the return of the Nazi Science division Hydra from Captain America: The Fist Avenger, lead by Alexander Pierce this time, Hydra infiltrated the worlds largest Spy Intelligence agency Shield, forcing Cap to take down both. In this movie the long thought dead Bucky Barnes returns as the brainwashed Winter Soldier, Hydra's top Assassin. The Winter Soldier is not the only person introduced in this film, Sam Wilson's Falcon is teamed up with Cap and Black Widow in their mission to stop Hydra.
2. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Fondly referred to as Avengers 2.5 Civil War asked the tough questions of what right do the Avengers have to inflict their will on the world? And are they fully responsible for all the destruction left in their wake? This incredible adaptation of the Civil War comic book story is an astonishing achievement of cinema. A fight scene set piece that lasted around 15 minutes with 12 super heroes that was beautifully orchestrated and that can only be topped by emptying your childhood toy chest against smashing all your toys together. That is until Infinity War which is said to have over 60 main characters…
1. Iron Man (2008)
The Godfather of the MCU Robert Downey Jr. first brought to life billionaire playboy Tony Stark back in 2008. After dealing with his own demons RDJ embodied Tony Stark's struggle of overcoming ghosts and mistakes from his past. This film kicked off the MCU surprising fans with a cameo of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury breaking into Stark manor to talk to Tony about the 'Avenger Initiative', teasing the following ten years of amazing films we have so enjoyed.
Thanks for the read, tomorrow I will be posting my MCU Villain Ranking.
“We are Groot” - Groot