Avengers Anticipation

Turtle’s ranking of the MCU films 

Opens Friday, April 27! Yay!

So, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) turns ten years old this year. For a decade Marvel has been popping out movie after movie. None of them are great cinematic masterpieces that should win Best Picture, but are a lot of fun, quality movies that are sometimes pretty great. All have individually surpassed the $100 million line at the box office, but not all have been critically acclaimed. With Infinity War coming out in less than three weeks (18 days at the time this publishes; see trailer below), this is a great moment to rank all of the films released up until this point and a perfect moment to start an MCU binge (watch one movie a day from Iron Man to Black Panther). Without further ado, here is my ranking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

18) The Incredible Hulk (2008)

This movie is not terrible, it has some okay acting from Norton and a few good shots, but I don’t think it is controversial to call this the worst MCU movie. If you watch this as a standalone superhero flick, you can maybe enjoy parts but if you watch it as an MCU movie it is rather hard to sit through. The slow pacing, dull action, and poor CGI make this seem more like a DC movie and left a sour taste in my mouth when I saw it.

Rotten Tomato Score (RT): 67%
My Score: 63%*

17) Thor: The Dark World (2014)

To be honest, I remember very little of this movie because I might have fallen asleep on first watch. I saw it again and found it extremely underwhelming; it left me bored. I have very little to say about this, but I will say it has a few redeeming parts like Hemsworth’s unique charm and a few cool action bits, but overall, I found it very lackluster, just like its villain, whose name I can’t even remember.

RT: 66%
Me: 65%

16) Thor (2011)

Just like its sequel, this movie is littered with scenes that have slipped my mind completely. This origin story is so mind-numbingly dull that the most stand-out scene, Thor in the restaurant, is not even as good as the worst scene in other movies on this list. OK, OK, it’s no so bad; it does have a good ending battle and some okay jokes, but overall lacks the heart of the other movies higher up this list.

RT: 77%
Me: 71%

15) Iron Man 3 (2013)

I don’t think anyone will disagree when I say this is Shane Black’s worst film. I will say, however, that it is a pretty good one aside from its dark themes. The Mandarin twist is slightly dumb, but the rest is not as bad as others say. The writing is rather good and the acting from Downey is better than in the second.

RT: 80%
Me: 75%

14) Iron Man 2 (2010)

      Why do people hate this movie? The bird talk? Get over it.  If you forget that, this is a pretty solid movie. Is it amazing? No, don’t make me laugh. But overall this movie is pretty entertaining. Favreau really understands the character of Stark and that definitely shows here. It has some great acting from Rockwell, Downey, and Johansson; some good direction; and some pretty awesome action. I highly suggest you re-watch this.

RT: 73%
Me: 78%

13) Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

      Let me start off by saying that this is an extremely underrated movie. The acting from Evans is pretty good and the timeline adjustment is done well. My biggest issue is the villain Red Skull who was so awesome in the comics, yet here is the most boring guy who at times can be a real expository mouth piece. I do suggest it, but if you loved Red Skull in the comics, maybe hold off on this one.

RT: 80%
Me: 78%

12) The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Coming out of this, I called this the best MCU movie. That was my first reaction. After re-watching it several times, I wonder what the heck I was thinking. It does feature some cool action and some pretty great character moments but is a huge let down when compared to the first. You should still watch this but don’t expect a sequel as good as the beloved original.

RT: 75%
Me: 81%

11) Ant-Man (2015)

Even though I would have liked to see Edgar Wright make this movie, it was pretty cool to see an origin movie this late in the MCU still be good. Rudd brings a fun vibe to this role that was a nice breath of fresh air that it needed. It has some really unique aspects, like that final battle that makes up for the forgettable villain. I am actually really excited to see the sequel coming the summer. Anybody agree?

RT: 82%
Me: 85%

10) Doctor Strange (2016)

Like the previous film, I am surprised this didn’t stink. I expected a two-hour acid trip but I got a really entertaining intro to a hero I can’t wait to see team up with the Avengers soon. Tilda Swinton was a little quirky but the story and visuals make up for it. One noticeable problem is Marvel’s main difficulty: the villain. Mikkelsen does a great job but I left a little disappointed about his reasoning.

RT: 89%
Me: 85%

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

I don’t get the backlash against this movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it. From an action or comedy stand point, this gives the original a run for its money, though the story is a little lacking. I did like the directions they took some of the characters in, but again, the villain was very disappointing and the Sovereign race was really un-needed. Other than that, the movie was really fun and a great time.

RT: 83%
Me: 87%

8) Black Panther (2018)

I was expecting a preachy movie, but what I got was a pretty great one that took a lot of bold choices. It features some of the best action, some great writing, and Coogler’s epic direction as the cherry on top. This is still rather new so I need to avoid spoilers, but I will say this has one of Marvel’s best villains.


RT: 97%
Me: 89%

7) Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

This movie is the Spidey film I always wanted. The Tobey Maguire, web-slinging trilogy was pretty good (the first two were at least), but this was more entertaining in my opinion. It found a way to capture the character’s personality from the comics and put it together with a fun story and get a really immersive movie. If you liked Spidey in Civil War, you will love this.

RT: 92%
Me: 90%

6) Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Why this wasn’t call Avengers 2.5 beats me, but it is still really good. The combination of all these heroes is awesome to watch, though the small moments are what make this movie. The style, tone, and action are all superb. Plus, that airport scene is flawless. Sorry to say: the villain is pretty underdeveloped, but the rest of this movie more than makes up for that.

RT: 91%
Me: 92%

5) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

A political drama in the form of a fun summer movie? Heck yeah! This movie is so different from the others on the list and that is what makes it so good. The Russos did such a great job and it is no wonder they were chosen to make the culmination: Infinity War! If you think this sounds weird, trust me, it works. Please, go watch this extremely original film.

RT: 89%
Me: 93%

4) Iron Man (2008)

The one that started it all. Robert Downey, Jr. makes his famous comeback with this blockbuster landmark that has started the biggest franchise of all time. This is possibly the greatest origin superhero flick, featuring some amazing song choices and superb direction from Favreau. The villain is not the best but this is forgivable since this movie revolutionized the genre.

RT: 94%
Me: 94%

3) Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

      As you saw earlier on the list, I was really disappointed by the first two Thor flicks, but this is a whole different story. The fun tone and jokey attitude make this so much fun and eliminates all the problems the first entries experienced. Waititi revamped something I thought was dead and brought new life to the God of Thunder. I hope everyone gets a chance to experience this extremely thrilling movie, which also, by the way, has an awesome soundtrack.

RT: 92%
Me: 95%

2) The Avengers (2012)

This movie is an absolute game changer. The grand scope of this 2012 action-packed epic is utterly jaw dropping. The idea of bringing SIX heroes together seemed doomed from the beginning but Whedon, Feige, and the whole cast proved that idea wrong with this blockbuster record breaker. I really want to ruin nothing of this for those who haven’t seen it so please go see it.

RT: 92%
Me: 97%

1) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

      The first time I saw this, I didn’t really like it. I liked Iron Man 2 more. But then it topped list after list and so I watched it again. Ever since, no Marvel movie has come close to entertaining me more than this does. The acting is on point, the editing is superb, the jokes hit. It features amazing direction from Gunn, some of the best writing in recent years, and some jaw dropping visuals.

Most people had never heard of the Guardians before this, but this cinematic awesomeness put these fictional heroes on the map. Fast forward four years with the release of Infinity War approaching, and most people are talking about their anticipation to see them over Iron Man and friends.

Is this the greatest film ever made? No. Is it worthy of winning every single award at the Oscars? Absolutely not. Is it a great time and super kick butt? Yes. It isn’t trying to be the next Godfather or Citizen Kane, but as a cool summer blockbuster, it does a nearly perfect job.

RT: 91%
Me: 99%

So, that is my ranking of the MCU. Let me know down in the comment section your ranking and your thoughts on these flicks. I would love to interact and talk about these movies. Also, tell me if you would like to see an Infinity War predictions post and/or an in-depth review for one of these. Thank you so much for reading and of course hope you have fun re-visiting these in anticipation for Infinity War!

*My grades judge out of 100: the job they do telling the story they are trying to tell. I might give a drama a 95 and a blockbuster the same, but the drama will probably be a lot better. I judge an action thriller as that, and if it is action packed and very thrilling I will give it an amazing grade. A drama could be good but lacking and so I grade it an okay grade. That drama could still be a lot better than the superhero flick.

I often refer to it as The Nap World.

3 thoughts on “Avengers Anticipation

  1. Very clear, involving, and analytical criticism, Turtle. Well written with good comparisons and contrasts. I tend to agree with most of it. You’re right on about the Thor movies. But the reason people, me included, hated Iron Man 2 is because it was such a crashing disappointment after the brilliance of Iron Man (1).

  2. Rob

    Very entertaining reviews, thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed the GofG movies. Is there a particular order to watch these films in?

    1. Abdul

      You could watch it in order of release which goes likes so:

      Iron Man (2008)
      The Incredible Hulk (2008)
      Iron Man 2 (2010)
      Thor (2011)
      Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
      The Avengers (2012)
      Iron Man 3 (2013)
      Thor: The Dark World (2014)
      Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
      Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
      The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
      Ant-Man (2015)
      Captain America: Civil War (2016)
      Doctor Strange (2016)
      Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
      Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
      Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
      Black Panther (2018)

      However, I prefer, watching them in order of how they happened. If you want to do so to it goes like so:

      Captain America: The First Avenger
      Iron Man
      The Incredible Hulk
      Iron Man 2
      The Avengers
      Iron Man 3
      Thor: The Dark World
      Captain America: The Winter Soldier
      Guardians of the Galaxy
      Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
      The Avengers: Age of Ultron
      Captain America: Civil War
      Doctor Strange
      Spider-Man: Homecoming
      Thor: Ragnarok
      Black Panther

      Basically the same, but those two switches make a difference to me at least. Be aware however: there are flashbacks and certain bits an pieces in each movie that can jump. Overall though, this second list is the order they happen.

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