Avengers: Endgame (2019)

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After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe. (IMDb)
From the devastating opening scene to the goosebump-inducing climactic action sequence, the scope and spectacle here will blow you away. Rich with humour (Thor and Ant-Man are highlights but even stoic Cap hass his moments), emotion, and inside references, it brings the MCU to a remarkable climax and resolve. After the blockbuster-high wears off some issues emerge (the main plot concept is severely underexplained; some characters are–understandably–neglected), but it remains a monumental film.
8.5/10 (Amazing)

 

Captain Marvel (2019)

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Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. (IMDb)
Its CGI is just okay and it’s a little awkwardly scripted at times but its great humour, story, and lead sweep these concerns to the side. A truly surprising perspective shift along with a few Marvel-ous moments of self-actualization (see the tear-jerking “get back up” montage; “you guys have just been holding me back!”) are the highlights of a layered, emotional journey of discovery through past and present (with hints of the MCU future of course) with Carol and her enjoyably dry wit.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

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As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past. (IMDb)
The plot leaves a few things to be desired (namely, less of the increasingly convenient and far-fetched tech and its accompanying untethered babble; also, resolving things with the Ghost could’ve been done a lot earlier), but everything around it is quite satisfying: the characters are likeable, the jokes are frequent and funny (see the truth serum bit), and the size-changing action is lots of fun (the visual effects here are excellent and quite clever-see the final reveal at the drive-in).
7/10 (Good)

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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Thor is imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, and must race against time to return to Asgard and stop Ragnarök, the destruction of his world, which is at the hands of the powerful and ruthless villain Hela. (IMDb)
Thor is released from his cheesy-golden-Viking realm (“Asgard is not a place, it’s a people”) to super fun results: Hemsworth oozes goofy charm (“No, I won. Easily”) and serves as a solid lead for the fast-paced script. An eclectic supporting cast (the amiable Kiwi Korg and goofy Grandmaster are comedy gold-blum), fun cameos, a suitably intimidating villain, and just the right amount of trope subversions (see the opening scene) amidst the serious moments (see Loki’s final catch) fill it out.
8.5/10 (Amazing)

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

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Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. (IMDb)
A patient, layered narrative does a remarkable job at developing our beloved characters (though some arcs are better than others: Rocket, Yondu, and the touching epilogue > the crazy sisters). Add in shiploads of comedy (not all of it lands, but Drax is always a delight) and this sequel’s almost more like a quirky dramedy set in a colourful 80s-tinged space setting than a superhero flick at times (standard “blow it up” climax aside), which is refreshing–as is the more subtly sinister villain.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

RANKED: Marvel Cinematic Universe films

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There are a lot of superhero films coming out these days, but that’s not to say that there aren’t, or haven’t been a lot of good ones, especially the ones put out by Marvel Studios. They’re not always super deep and they’re sometimes formulaic, but you can almost always count on them being entertaining at the very least. Props must also be given to Marvel for their intentional crafting of a multi-character (even multi-world) narrative universe that is threaded through each of their films in subtle and explicit ways. It’s cool to have such an epic scope, and it’s always fun to anticipate their trademark mid- and/or after-credits scenes that give a little teaser as to what’s coming next.
What follows are my “Worst to Best” rankings for all the MCU feature films. As always, I would love to hear your feedback on how I rank the MCU films, and what your own rankings would be! Thanks for reading!
22. Thor (2011)
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My rating: 6.5/10 (Alright)

I just found everything from the story to the setting a little too cheesy to really make this anything more than an “alright” film.

Read my full review here.

21. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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My rating: 6.5/10 (Alright)

If I had bought the reason for the whole war, I certainly would have rated this much higher. But unfortunately, the writing just didn’t do it for me here. Hopefully that won’t negatively affect my perceptions of future Avengers movies to come!

Read my full review here.

20. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

My rating: 6.5/10 (Alright)

Again, just a little cheesy like the first Thor movie, and Portman’s character still adds pretty much nothing to the movie’s substance. And I hated the ending twist, but maybe I’m just a sucker for a happy ending.

Read my full review here.

19. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

My rating: 6.5/10 (Alright)

A little messy and ridiculous, plot-wise. With even more characters, it’s understandable, but at least there was a lot of good action again.

Read my full review here.

18. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

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My rating: 6.5/10 (Alright)

Norton’s mature turn and the solid first couple acts following him as he seeks to get rid of his power (a unique premise) elevate this to the top of the “alright” pile here. A kind of lame ending fight and mediocre supporting characters keep it just “alright” and not “good.”

Read my full review here.

17. Doctor Strange (2016)

My rating: 7/10 (Good)

A little cliche at points, and the humour that I’ve heard a lot of people talking about didn’t really do it for me, but overall it’s a solid origin story with enough fresh elements (like the non-violent end to the conflict) to entertain.

Read my full review here.

16. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

My rating: 7/10 (Good)

I really liked the first half or so: Captain America’s origins were quite compelling and different. The latter half didn’t do as well, in large part due to the whole Hydra premise that I’ve just continued to find cheesy in movies afterwards.

Read my full review here.

15. Ant-Man (2015)

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My rating: 7/10 (Good)

Still a lot of the same superhero-movie plot cliches, but Paul Rudd and Michael Pena as his sidekick are just a lot of fun throughout. The shrinking concept puts a cool twist on a lot of the action too.

Read my full review here.

14. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

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My rating: 7/10 (Good)

Follows up its predecessor with more of the same great humour and even more fun shrinking/growing action thanks to some great visual effects. The story has its good moments but bad ones too, much like the first Ant-Man.

Read my full review here.

13. Iron Man 2 (2010)

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My rating: 7/10 (Good)

Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man continues to be what I feel is the most well-fleshed out and intriguing character of the Marvel universe, so even though this script is quite messy, there’s a lot of good parts to hold on to.

Read my full review here.

12. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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My rating: 7/10 (Good)

I’ve seen this at the top of a lot of other people’s lists, and there certainly are some great elements-the fight choreography for the fun duo of Evans and Johansson being the most prominent-but the character work remains too underdeveloped to make this truly “great.”

Read my full review here.

11. Black Panther (2018)

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My rating: 7/10 (Good)

I didn’t think this was worthy of its 2019 Best Picture nomination–underneath its cultural importance and refreshing setting and set of characters was what turned out to be a fairly standard superhero flick–but it had enough sparks of unique greatness in its plot (Killmonger deserved a better fate both at the end and in the story as a whole) to elevate it to the top of my “Good” rated MCU flicks.

Read my full review here.

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

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My rating: 7.5/10 (Really Good)

Pretty much equals the surprisingly good first volume. A change in pace is able to dig into the psyche of our favourite characters a little more, which enables it to walk the fine line of giving us “more of the same” good stuff while not still simply treading on the same territory as its predecessor.

Read my full review here.

9. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

My rating: 7.5/10 (Really Good)

Ultimately it turned into a pretty standard “save the world” plot, but everything else here just felt so fresh, from the quirky rag-tag group of characters, the great humour, the colourful outer space-setting, and the just as colourful 80s pop soundtrack. Lots of fun.

Read my full review here.

8. Captain Marvel (2019)

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My rating: 7.5/10 (Really Good)

Had its share of hitches in the script and CGI, but I found myself very much enjoying this one. The story goes places you don’t expect, the humour is great, and of course Brie Larson’s lead character is excellent.

Read my full review here.

7. Iron Man (2008)

My rating: 7.5/10 (Really Good)

Like I said before, Tony Stark/Iron Man is by far the best character for me in the Marvel universe, so it should be no surprise for you to see that his origin story is near the top of the heap for me. I thought the way they portrayed his moral transformation while he still maintained his unabashed arrogance was brilliant.

Read my full review here.

6. The Avengers (2012)

My rating: 8/10 (Great)

Not perfect, but so entertaining. There was actually a moment during the final fight scene (which somehow so perfectly put the spotlight on each hero in turn) where I found myself just shaking my head in amazement. Just awesome, and there was enough good dramatic and comedic substance before that to make the entire film a great watch.

Read my full review here.

5. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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My rating: 8/10 (Great)

A breath of fresh air in the MCU, and just at the right time, as it injected into a world dominated by wild superpowers and cosmic world-saving some down-to-earth high school comedy, a teenage hero, and a blue-collar villain.

Read my full review here.

4. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

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My rating: 8/10 (Great)

I don’t know how they did it, but they did–balancing their largest cast of characters yet without ever feeling disjointed or disappointing. The cross-over of characters provided lots of laughs and some great action in this simply huge movie with, at that time, the biggest stakes yet in the MCU.

Read my full review here.

3. Iron Man 3 (2013)

My rating: 8/10 (Great)

The best character work of the MCU so far was in this film, no question. Add in one of its best villains (Kingsley was sooo good), and you have one of the top films of the MCU.

Read my full review here.

2. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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My rating: 8.5/10 (Amazing)

The funniest film in the MCU by far, as probably my previously least favourite hero, the eye-rollingly stoic Thor, gets a welcome comedic makeover within a colourful new setting. Taika Waititi and co. did wonders in rescuing the Thor storyline and character here.

Read my full review here.

1. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

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My rating: 8.5/10 (Amazing)

It just feels right to have this in the number one spot, you know? Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but I really couldn’t have asked for any better of a culmination of the MCU so far. The three hours simply flew by- I was thoroughly engaged throughout. Great humour, great action, great character work.

Read my full review here

 

Thanks for reading! Fellow MCU fans: How do you rank them? Let me know in the comments!

And if you’re interested, my other “RANKED” lists thus far are here:

Doctor Strange (2016)

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A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts. (IMDb)
Falls prey to a few tiresome cliches (an unremarkable villain played by Mads Mikkelsen; our hero finishing training just in time for a world catastrophe) but subverts others (see the brains over brawn climax). Thoughtful discourse on violence and “the greater good”, loads of ambitious and interesting visuals, a unique blend of ancient-exotic and modern America settings with the dashes of lightheartedness and unique situations that result (see The Ancient One in the hospital) are more pros.
7/10 (Good)

Ant-Man (2015)

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Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world. (IMDb)

The estranged father-daughter duo is a little too brooding at times; thankfully, Rudd’s likeably lighthearted Scott and his buds (Pena’s excitable yet dim Luis steals every scene he’s in) provide enough ant-ics to break up the predictable melodrama, not to mention keep the standard superhero plot (cue the power-hungry villain) in check. The shrinking premise, meanwhile, adds a cool element to the action and even briefly probes questions of time and space (see Scott’s sub-nuclear fall).

7/10 (Good)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

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When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it’s up to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans. (IMDb)

Another healthy dose of enormous and entertaining action make this a fun film to watch in spite of its mostly lazy writing (see Wanda and Pietro’s weak antagonist motivations–and Ultron’s, for that matter–and correspondingly cheap turn; the half-baked Hawkeye development; the far-fetched and only vaguely explained bad guy antics), with the aid of one well-timed bit of self-awareness: “The city’s flying, we’re fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense.”

6.7/10

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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As Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he teams up with a fellow Avenger and S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Black Widow, to battle a new threat from history: an assassin known as the Winter Soldier. (IMDb)
Certainly more ambitious than the original, though not perfect: The titular character is given hints of nuance (“What makes you happy?” “I don’t know”), as is the mysterious Fury (finally) but both remain underdeveloped; The Winter Soldier is a formidable opponent and the SHIELD internal drama adds some complexity to the antagonism, but both the villain reveal and the Hydra twist feel far-fetched and a little dumb. Above criticism though, is the fantastic action choreography found throughout.
7/10 (Good)