The guys over at Front Row Movie Reviews challenged listeners to rank the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and assign each a score from 0-100. Being a writer, I couldn’t let it go at that. So here’s my list with a brief explanation for each movie’s ranking in the canon.
12. The Incredible Hulk — 65
The Incredible Hulk was actually a decent movie. In fact, it’d be rated higher, except for two things: Edward Norton, who turned in a good performance, walked away from the franchise, making this movie feel disjointed from the MCU. Also, Mark Ruffalo would later make, without question, the best onscreen Banner/Hulk ever.
11. Iron Man 2 — 70
This, IMO, was kind of a hot mess of a movie. There’s the jarring introduction of Don Cheadle as Brodie, Mickey Rourke as an okish villain who looked like he’d rather be lifting and too … many … flight suits.
10. Iron Man 3 — 71
I liked this better than some. I thought Ben Kingsley’s performance within a performance was a neat twist for those who were willing to go with it. Still, it seemed to go on and on.
9. Thor: The Dark World — 75
I’m an unabashed fan of Thor in the MCU, and this sequel didn’t disappoint. Christopher Eccleston does a baddie as well as fans would expect, and there’s some decent family drama.
8. Avengers: Age of Ultron — 80
It’s not going to be rated too low, because it’s a freaking Avengers movie. But one almost gets the feeling there’s too much going on. The other big ding against AofU: the absence of the brilliant, scene-stealing Evan Peters as Quicksilver. Damn property rights issues.
7. Captain America: The First Avenger — 84
I’ll be honest: I’m kind of meh on Cap as a superhero. He’s always seemed a little two-dimensional to me. But holy heck, this is a fun origin story. Side note: I’d really love to see a Howling Commandos flick.
6. Thor — 85
Loved it. And if I weren’t pretending to be objective, I’d have this rated higher. But I like Thor more than your average MCU fan. Anyway, the casting is spot-on, and Asgard is beautifully, breathtakingly rendered.
5.Captain America: The Winter Soldier — 88
As meh as I am on Cap as a character, this IMO is the finest MCU sequel. Indeed, it’s the first sequel that seems to totally get how to build on an original. Great action pieces. Cool story.
4.Guardians of the Galaxy — 90
This is the only MCU movie for which I was unfamiliar with the source material. As a result, I was unburdened with comparisons with the comic. It was a joy to meet the characters, and gosh dangit, what a fun flick. The sci-fi geek in me was pleased.
3.Ant-Man — 91
Perhaps a bit of a surprise here, but Ant-Man works so well because, more than any other film in the MCU, it succeeds as a plain old movie and, consequently, is accessible to comic and noncomic fans alike.
2.Iron Man — 95
Robert. Downey. Jr. Quite simply, he is the perfect actor to play Tony Stark, and Marvel couldn’t have picked a better kickoff to its grand design. Redemption story, origin story, action flick, comedy. “Iron Man” has it all, and it all works.
1.The Avengers — 96
This was the one we’d all been waiting for. And it was glorious: a full-on Comic Book Movie. The imagery enough was impressive, but oh yeah, there was the script by Joss Whedon. By the time The Hulk whipped Loki around, you could forgive Marvel fans for thinking this was as good as it would ever get. So far, it has been.