Marvel Cinematic Universe Ranked

by Pjtaylor-96-138044 | created - 26 Jul 2015 | updated - 17 hours ago | Public

This is how I rank the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies from best (#1) to worst.

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1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

76 Metascore

A group of intergalactic criminals must pull together to stop a fanatical warrior with plans to purge the universe.

Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana

Votes: 929,640 | Gross: $333.18M

This film is pure entertainment, fun from start to finish. Sure, the villain is pretty weak but the characters are very deep and expertly written and the feature has a lot of humour that doesn't feel forced - it really works too.

2. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

PG-13 | 147 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

Political involvement in the Avengers' affairs causes a rift between Captain America and Iron Man.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan

Votes: 565,246 | Gross: $408.08M

Our heroes aren't fighting nameless thugs, they're fighting their friends and it hurts. It's really remarkable. It's also really emotionally affecting, especially when the subversive climax rolls around.

3. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

PG-13 | 149 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

68 Metascore

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans

Votes: 625,147 | Gross: $678.82M

Bold, brazen and ballsy stuff that isn't afraid to go dark; incredibly thrilling, nail-bitingly tense and satisfyingly unconventional.

4. Black Panther (2018)

PG-13 | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

88 Metascore

T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country's past.

Director: Ryan Coogler | Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira

Votes: 495,526 | Gross: $700.06M

Refreshingly portrays a perspective so often missing from mainstream media; a vivid, accomplished piece of work.

5. The Avengers (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

69 Metascore

Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner

Votes: 1,165,146 | Gross: $623.36M

This is the film where the titular heroes first came together. It's driven by the characters, whom all feature in a fantastic script, and has some fantastic action set-pieces that really pay off.

6. Iron Man (2008)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

79 Metascore

After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.

Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges

Votes: 847,011 | Gross: $318.41M

The film that kicked off the cinematic universe is still one of the best, featuring a keen focus on character that trumps almost all others in the franchise. This focus on character combined with excellent writing, directing, acting and visual effects is what elevates this movie beyond 'just another origin story.'

7. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

PG-13 | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.

Director: Jon Watts | Stars: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei

Votes: 408,604 | Gross: $334.20M

It's the best Spider-Man film since Raimi's second instalment and is also one of the better MCU titles, presenting a smaller scale story for a less experienced hero to deal with while balancing it with his school life. It's really fun when it gets going and the believable villain is one of the very best that this cinematic universe has to offer.

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

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

67 Metascore

The Guardians struggle to keep together as a team while dealing with their personal family issues, notably Star-Lord's encounter with his father the ambitious celestial being Ego.

Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel

Votes: 465,008 | Gross: $389.81M

It isn't as good as the first and the finale gets too big for its own good, but this is still a fun film with a keen focus on character that stands mostly alone from the wider universe and as such provides an entertaining sequel experience that maintains the enjoyable rag-tag spirit of its predecessor (even though it never surpasses it in terms of quality.)

9. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

PG-13 | 118 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

70 Metascore

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.

Director: Peyton Reed | Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins

Votes: 223,857 | Gross: $216.65M

It's dedicated to being the best version of itself it can possibly be: a fantastically fun time.

10. Captain Marvel (2019)

PG-13 | 123 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

64 Metascore

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.

Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck | Stars: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law

Votes: 230,303 | Gross: $402.86M

It's not perfect but it's still a real marvel.

11. Doctor Strange (2016)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

72 Metascore

While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong

Votes: 497,916 | Gross: $232.64M

Some forced humour and a generally generic feel can't stop this from being an entertaining and engaging experience.

12. Ant-Man (2015)

PG-13 | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

64 Metascore

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.

Director: Peyton Reed | Stars: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Evangeline Lilly

Votes: 487,817 | Gross: $180.20M

It's less conventional than the others in the cinematic universe, with a smaller scale story and a refreshing focus on personal character moments rather than over-the-top CGI set-pieces. It's also very well written, funny and introduces a less known character whilst making him one of the best in the cinematic universe too.

13. Iron Man 3 (2013)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

62 Metascore

When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

Director: Shane Black | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Votes: 680,097 | Gross: $409.01M

Yeah, the Mandarin is kind of ruined and there's not as much Iron Man as you'd like but overall I think this is a pretty well rounded film that's fun from start to finish.

14. Iron Man 2 (2010)

PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

57 Metascore

With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father's legacy.

Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Votes: 645,574 | Gross: $312.43M

Again, I actually think this is under-rated and an overall enjoyable film. Some elements are contrived and make a little less sense than you'd like but the majority of the film is entertaining and fun. The characters are still great and there's some decent action too.

15. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a "Super-Soldier serum". But being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a war monger and a terrorist organization.

Director: Joe Johnston | Stars: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell

Votes: 652,075 | Gross: $176.65M

I think this is actually pretty under-rated, featuring a compelling story and more unique setting. It also features some pretty good action and delivers an origin story that's a little less conventional than usual. The red skull is pretty weak as a villain in the film iteration though.

16. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

74 Metascore

Thor is imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, and must race against time to return to Asgard and stop Ragnarök, the destruction of his world, at the hands of the powerful and ruthless villain Hela.

Director: Taika Waititi | Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo

Votes: 457,207 | Gross: $315.06M

It's the best solo 'Thor' movie for sure, but this entertaining and genuinely fun film is only enjoyable on a surface level as we are never given enough reason to care about any of the underdeveloped characters and as such simply sit back and watch things unfold; still, being fun is better than being boring so at least this gets one thing right.

17. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

70 Metascore

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.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford

Votes: 651,412 | Gross: $259.77M

Highly over-rated in my opinion, this attempt to 'Bourne' Captain America is still enjoyable overall but I feel it isn't as engaging as the other films featuring the titular hero and the action is too shaky for it's own good.

18. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

PG-13 | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

61 Metascore

Bruce Banner, a scientist on the run from the U.S. Government, must find a cure for the monster he turns into, whenever he loses his temper.

Director: Louis Leterrier | Stars: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt

Votes: 394,333 | Gross: $134.52M

Certainly better than Ang Lee's 2003 attempt at a 'Hulk' movie, this film is still not without flaws. I like it for what it is but it doesn't have as tight of a grasp on the source material as other films in the cinematic universe.

19. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

PG-13 | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

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 plan.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth

Votes: 645,805 | Gross: $459.01M

The second Avengers outing certainly has it's flaws, but the overall result is still highly enjoyable and the characters play off each other excellently. Ultron is a decent villain and the action sequences are great, too.

20. Thor (2011)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

57 Metascore

The powerful, but arrogant god Thor, is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston

Votes: 670,667 | Gross: $181.03M

I think Thor's first outing is a more mature affair than his second, with a relatively interesting and complete central character arc, but it is generally tedious and nothing more than a passive viewing experience - even though it did introduce the cinematic universe's best and most over-used villain, Loki.

21. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

PG-13 | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

54 Metascore

When Dr. Jane Foster gets cursed with a powerful entity known as the Aether, Thor is heralded of the cosmic event known as the Convergence and the genocidal Dark Elves.

Director: Alan Taylor | Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård

Votes: 530,741 | Gross: $206.36M

It seems as though the filmmakers were trying their very best to focus on everything other than the flick's eponymous hero, with large portions of the piece dedicated solely to it's incredibly annoying side-characters, and the villain is so bland, so unthreatening and so sincerely boring that you simply don't care about anything that happens - even the admittedly well-rendered CGI spectacle which the entire thing quickly devolves into.

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