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The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ranked Worst to Best

by Mica Shriver

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Incredible Hulk is not included in this list, as the writer has not seen the film.

#27 Eternals

Okay, I’ve seen most of this movie, but my Disney Plus subscription ended while I was in the middle of watching it. But don’t worry, I looked up the ending to see what I missed out on. To me, this movie is just lacking. I can’t quite explain it but it really did not grab my attention. I found myself pausing the movie to check my phone, take breaks, I even stopped completely towards the end and planned on watching it the next day. It wasn’t necessarily a bad plot, it just was not engaging to me. There didn’t seem to be much meaning to it, and it felt empty and pointless. I don’t mean this in a way that it didn’t connect or fit into other MCU movies, it just truly felt pointless.

#26 Thor: The Dark World

This is another, and the only other MCU movie, that feels a little bit empty to me. I don’t hate it as much as some other fans do, but I definitely do not love it. It feels as if it’s lacking excitement and life to it. It’s too simple, straightforward, and lacks depth.

#25 Iron Man 2

Stark’s attitude and personality in this film was almost too arrogant and pompous to handle. Along with this factor, the villain Ivan Vanko and his motivations were somewhat simple and shallow. However, the movie presents a great introduction to Natasha Romnoff’s character, although the portrayal of her in a sexualized manner is a little bit upsetting.

#24 Iron Man 3

This is not a bad movie, but it wasn’t my favorite. Whenever I’ve found myself watching this movie, I tend to get bored at parts. It’s just not that compelling to me. I did like a lot of the scenes, but there were ones that were not so interesting.

#23 Captain Marvel

I found this movie to be a little bit disappointing. As a woman, I had great expectations for the first female lead in a MCU movie. Simply, I felt as if it was a bit boring. I remember watching it in theaters and being largely uninterested at points. However, by the end of it, I did somewhat enjoy the overall plot line and I am looking forward to future movies with her.

#22 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

From what I remember, I was surprised at the direction this movie went in. I did not expect it to be about Peter’s heritage at all, but it made for a decent plot. The characters are humorous as usual and character development and relationships are seen, which add to the quality of the movie.

#21 Iron Man

This is a solid origin story. Robert Downey Jr. plays this role perfectly, making for a great Iron Man. It is by far the best movie in the Iron Man trilogy. However, the plot isn’t very interesting after Stark escapes captivity, in my opinion.

#20 Spiderman: No Way Home

This is by far the most disappointing MCU movie I’ve seen, if not most disappointing overall. They had so much potential and could have made an absolute masterpiece out of this movie, but hopes of that were denied with the lazy plot writing and plot holes. Some may argue that the plot was very fitting for Peter, and that it showcased his true character. Although I am sympathetic to this perspective, I just don’t agree with it and I think they could have come up with a much better, more complex plot line that addressed or showcased these qualities. However, (SPOILER) when all three Spidermans came into play, it truly was a magical moment. The movie was fantastic whenever the three were on scene, and it almost compensates for the lazy plot line. But, to me, and I understand that many people may not agree with this, the plot just brought the movie down. If they had a different underlying plot line and kept the same general gist of how all three Spidermans got together and executed it the way they did, it would definitely be my favorite MCU movie.

#19 Ant Man and the Wasp

I don’t really have any complaints about this movie. The characters are as funny as they are in the previous Ant-Man. The plot is entertaining and it never gets boring. I would have thought that Hope’s character was explored a bit more and a little less stereotypical, but she’s still a good character nonetheless. It wasn’t the best, most exciting movie in the MCU, but it certainly was good and entertaining.

#18 Thor

This was a solid movie. It showcased Thor in a pretty good way. In my opinion there isn’t a certain level of excitement or engagement that is seen in other MCU movies within the plot. But, I don’t think that it’s a bad plot at all. It’s interesting at most parts, although at some points I find myself getting bored. It’s a good introduction movie for Thor, but it probably could’ve been better.

#17 Captain America: The First Avenger

This is probably my favorite origin movie in the MCU. The way we see Steve come to be Captain America makes for an interesting story. Steve and Bucky’s relationship is also wonderfully shown, which makes The Winter Soldier that much better. The climax and ending wasn’t the most exciting, but there wasn’t really anything wrong with it.

#16 Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Simu Liu beautifully plays the role of Shang-Chi in this film. His character has a similar vibe to that of Peter Parker in the MCU, and it makes for a lovable character. The visuals are amazing and make for a beautiful movie. The plot was interesting as are the characters. The predominantly East Asian cast is another notable aspect. Comparable to the casting of Black Panther, it makes a great addition to the MCU in terms of diversity and representation of minority groups. There is something about this movie that made it feel as if it was lacking something, but I can’t really point out what it is.

#15 Avengers: Age of Ultron

I actually like this movie more than most people. I don’t quite know what it is about it, but for some reason I think they executed the somewhat cliche “artificial intelligence gets too smart” storyline in a solid way. It’s more of a traditional and basic plotline but the plot is interesting enough to make it good. Seeing the characters all fight together is totally entertaining and I really enjoyed the climax and final scenes of the movie.

#14 Guardians of the Galaxy

The characters truly make this a good film. They’re unique and zany and the way they interact at times is very humorous. The irreverent nature of this film makes for an amusing movie. The plot was all right, not too complex and a little bit basic, but the characters made it interesting and really enjoyable.

#13 Spiderman: Far From Home

I thought it was cool how we got to see settings from other countries in Europe for basically the entirety of the movie. I remember I watched it soon after going on Correia’s East Coast trip, so it was kind of cool to see that parallel in this movie. I thought the plot was pretty good, although maybe a bit cliché. It annoyed me how everyone believed Mysterio so easily, although I guess I understand it. I enjoyed the action scenes in this movie, especially the ending. I also thought it was cool that the makers of the film decided to let MJ in on the secret and she and Parker did end up getting together.

#12 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

This movie almost lost me as it almost got too weird at certain points. At times I thought it was going to have a lazy plot similar to that of Spiderman: No Way Home, and I questioned some of the choices the makers of the film made. But by the end of the movie, I was thoroughly satisfied and did enjoy the movie, and the good aspects certainly outweighed the negative, and sometimes cheesy ones. My boyfriend said it reminded him of a Rick and Morty episode at points, and I agree with this in the best way possible. I also appreciated the horror approach that Marvel took with this movie. It was surprising but it certainly worked out well.

#11 The Avengers

The way all the characters come together in this first Avengers film is powerful and makes for an impactful movie. The way they interact with one another is entertaining and makes the plot interesting. I certainly did not get bored during any parts of the movie. The battle in New York also effectively paves the way for future MCU movies in an entertaining, action packed way. And arguable, one of the best scenes of any MCU movie is in this film: when the Hulk continuously smashes Loki against the ground.

#10 Doctor Strange

I changed my mind, this is by far the best origin movie of the MCU. Strange’s character development in this film is magnificent. The visuals and action scenes are superb. The ending of this film was gripping and exciting, as it showed what Doctor Strange is capable of (even though that isn’t even the most of it).

#9 Ant-Man

This is another one of Marvel's less seriously-toned movies, as it adopts more of a comedic feel to it. Unlike some of their newer movies, I feel as if the comedy in this is appropriate and not cringe-worthy. The plot itself was intriguing and the movie itself never got boring. All of the characters together made the film interesting.

#8 Black Widow

A very much needed and deserved movie for Natasha Romanoff. Although I was expecting more of a backstory or storyline taking place towards the past, I was very satisfied with what Marvel made out of this movie. The casting made for wonderful characters and a family dynamic that captivated viewers. The plot technically didn’t contribute to the MCU timeline, but it didn’t need to. It was a great story on its own, especially given Natasha’s background with the Red Room. And I have to mention the intro to this film, it was absolutely chilling. The underlying themes and parallels of human-trafficking, and specifically child-trafficking, was very well executed. For just a single movie devoted to this character, I think Marvel made the best out of it and gave Natasha justice. My only complaint is that we didn’t see any other solo movies devoted to her in the past.

#7 Thor: Ragnorak

I know Marvel tends to get hate on their comedic choices in recent movies, and I agree with those critiques to an extent. But the comedy level in this movie, to me, is perfect. It was actually funny as opposed to cheesy, lame jokes. I also enjoyed the plot overall, with Thor finding the Hulk and him having to fight his sister, Hela. I have no complaints about this movie. It was weird to see a shift from the other more serious Thor movies, but I actually enjoyed it.

#6 Spiderman: Homecoming

Definitely the best MCU Spiderman movie, and in my opinion the best Spiderman movie overall. Tom Holland makes for a great Peter Parker and he is a truly lovable character. Peter and Ned’s friendship adds to the greatness of the movie, along with the rest of the supporting characters. Certain scenes in this movie are exciting and suspenseful, such as the Washington Monument scene. It’s also very funny as are the characters themselves. The plot is gripping and entertaining, making this an excellent movie.

#5 Captain America: Civil War

The plot of this movie was solid and it definitely made for a good movie. The fight between sides led to great action scenes. The introduction of Spiderman and Black Panther, and the appearance from Ant-Man, made these scenes, and the overall movie, even better. The way we see relationships between characters build and fall apart, along with character development in itself as seen with Wanda Maximoff, makes the characters truly feel real. The fact that this was more of an Avengers movie than just a Captain America movie, as the movie focused on many main characters, made it that much better in my opinion.

#4 Avengers: Infinity War

This movie was great all around. It started off with a bit of a shock, but I thought it was a great scene as it set the tone for the movie and that this wasn’t gonna play out like an average superhero movie. The interactions between so many characters was amusing. The sense of urgency throughout the movie made watchers feel encapsulated and allows for a truly gripping plot. I also thought the action and visuals such as with the battle in Wakanda was cool. The ending, although kind of expected, was still very impactful and well executed.

#3 Avengers: Endgame

The way they tied together this movie and the end of an era in the MCU was masterful. The plot was somehow perfect and not far fetched in a way so that they could actually have a chance to save everyone. This movie was captivating throughout the entirety of it, even with the depressing start. (SPOILERS) Natasha’s and Tony’s deaths were one of the most, if not the most, emotion-inducing scenes in the entire MCU. In my opinion this movie got better and better as it kept going, and the end battle was truly a spectacle with so much action going on. I don’t think Marvel could have made a better movie to end phase 3 with.

#2 Black Panther

This is a truly great movie. I only have positive things to say about it. The plot was intriguing and complex. The characters were deep and had layers to them which made them feel real and unique. The acting was superb and the casting was absolutely perfect. Additionally, the visuals were remarkable. And of course, the nearly all Black cast, along with multiple complex and meaningful female characters, was extremely refreshing and necessary to see in such a popular movie franchise.

#1 Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Where do I start with this movie? It’s one of the more serious and weighty movies in the MCU, and it is executed perfectly. The way we see Steve and Bucky’s relationship develop and rekindle throughout the movie is beautifully portrayed. Steve and Natasha’s friendship also really takes off here in a way that is also beautifully portrayed. The plot itself is interesting and there was never a dull moment in the movie. I’m also a fan of the action scenes and simply thought they were cool.


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