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Updated! Ranking The MCU Films (2019)

Avengers Ant

Now that “Avengers: Endgame” is breaking records left and right and dominating watercooler conversations, it felt like the right time to update my personal ranking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films (or MCU for short). There are three new additions to the list since I last updated and there’s a bit of shuffling in terms of order of other titles. Anyway, enough of my yammering. On with the list!

1. Spider-Man: Homecoming- Over the course of 15 years, I had been waiting for a Spider-Man film that fully encapsulated what I loved about the various comic book series. I enjoyed parts of the first 5 Spider-Man films, but as a whole, they all fell short for me. With ‘Homecoming,’ I finally got the Spidey film I had been waiting to see my whole life. Not only does it cleverly tie into the MCU, but it’s a fun, funny, heartfelt, and fast paced story that also features arguably the best MCU villain with the Vulture (expertly played by Michael Keaton). Oh, and Tom Holland is far and away the best actor to ever play Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier- A sequel that surpasses the original in every way. It’s an intense, timely, superbly scripted thriller that contains some of the very best best action scenes in a comic book film.

3. Black Panther- What is there to say about “Black Panther” that hasn’t already been said? Not only is this a groundbreaking comic book movie, but it’s an important, smart, relevant, and woke piece of cinema.

4. Avengers: Infinity War- Upon rewatching this prior to “Avengers: Endgame,” I discovered that I liked the film even more somehow. It’s dark, perfectly paced, and full of drama, action, and heartfelt character moments. It also boasts one of the best endings of recent memory.

5. Avengers: Endgame- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, ‘Endgame’ is an emotional ride. Not only are there plenty of payoffs, but you get to see things on screen that feel like they’re coming straight from your imagination.

6. The Incredible Hulk- I’ve been going to bat for this deeply underrated MCU film for over a decade now. It’s a great (yes, great) Hulk story that manages to pay tribute to all eras of the iconic character.

7. Guardians of the Galaxy- The ensemble cast of characters and hilarious humor made this once obscure sci-fi property a household name.

8. Iron Man- The first and still best Iron Man film that paved the way for the entire MCU.

9. The Avengers- I’m still not a fan of the clunky first hour, but the rest of the film is an utter thrill ride.

10. Captain Marvel- While clunky in parts, the first female hero led MCU film delivers plenty of humor, characterization, action, drama, inspiring moments, and a good old fashioned sci-fi story. It doesn’t hurt that the film includes the scene-stealing Goose and Talos either.

11. Thor- At one time this would have been much lower on my list, but on my last rewatch I was really captivated by it. I don’t think director Kenneth Branagh gets enough credit for making what could have been a campy and goofy character/mythology convincing.

12. Doctor Strange- Despite being rather rushed at times, this is a wild and trippy origin story filled with dazzling visuals and memorable characters.

13. Ant-Man- This is a very safe comic book movie that no doubt would have benefited from original director Edgar Wright’s vision, but it’s still a very enjoyable one thanks to the humor and excellent casting.

14. Captain America: Civil War- ‘Civil War’ (or Avengers 2.5 as some like to call it) is an odd movie. When it works, it really works. The introductions of Black Panther and Spider-Man are especially noteworthy. Story wise, however, the movie feels like a watered down version of the source material which had real stakes and consequences. This felt more like a skirmish before the big events of ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Endgame.’

15. Avengers: Age Of Ultron- With each viewing of this movie, I have a different opinion of it. As a whole, it’s a bit all over the place. I don’t really find Ultron to be a good villain, but there’s so much to admire here. The first half hour and the last half hour are particularly rewarding.

16. Captain America: The First Avenger- Director Joe Johnston’s movie has a lot of memorable WWII era moments and a wonderful ending, but the Red Skull plot never quite lives up to its potential.

17. Thor: Ragnarok- I know a lot of people love this movie, but I only just like it. Whenever Valkyrie, Korg, and Loki are on screen, I’m on board. The rest of the movie is rather hit-and-miss for me as a good chunk of the humor falls flat or undercuts the drama.

18. Iron Man 2- This sequel once ranked lower on my list, but on my last rewatch, I enjoyed it way more than I expected it to for one reason- Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer. Rockwell really livens up the movie and gives perhaps the most underappreciated performance of any MCU film.

19. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2- Much like “Thor: Ragnarok,” GOTG 2 is all over the place. In comparison to the first film, a lot of the humor feels weirdly infantile. On top of that, the story (and the film itself) feels like a bloated spectacle. With all of that said, Yondu, Mantis, Drax, Ego and all of the end credit scenes still manage to make this a perfectly watchable sequel.

20. Ant-Man And The Wasp- Aside from Wasp, Ghost, and the Baba Yaga bit, this was the most generic Marvel movie to date. Much like GOTG 2, the writers were trying way too hard with the humor which, again, tended to fall flat.

21. Iron Man 3- This is the most divisive MCU film and for good reason. People either love what Shane Black did or they don’t. While I do feel the film has its moments, it juggles far too many storylines for its own good. Additionally, I never felt like Shane Black’s vision aligned with the MCU. “Iron Man 3” almost feels like a separate entity.

22. Thor: The Dark World- It may be last on my list, but I don’t actually dislike this movie. Even the weakest MCU movies are still worthwhile. That’s how consistent the MCU is. The problem with “Thor: The Dark World” is that it just feels too by-the-numbers. Luckily, Tom Hiddelston (Loki) elevates the movie as he does with every “Thor” film.

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April 29, 2019 - Posted by | List | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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