Today I saw Ant-Man for the second time and I now feel I have my feelings on the film fully in place to make a personal ranking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films after the conclusion of phase 2!
For the purposes of this list, my personal enjoyment of the film takes precedent but I also take into consideration my views on each film for quality from a film-making stand-point. So without further adieu, let's rank some Marvel movies!
#12 - Iron Man 2
While Iron Man 2 introduced us to Black Widow, it was ultimately the most lackluster attempt in the Marvel catalog. The villains were a mess and the storyline was all over the place. Robert Downey Jr was still great as the iron-suited hero but it wasn't enough to overcome the films many problems.
#11 - The Incredible Hulk
A HUGE improvement over the Ang Lee Hulk film, Marvel created an interesting and darker cinematic rendition of the giant green hero. Edward Norton was actually very good as Dr. Banner and the abomination was arguably one of the strongest Marvel villains to date. Ultimately, the version was bogged down in trying to explain the Hulk's origin story with questionable science and was too unevenly paced to be anything memorable.
#10 - Iron Man 3
I must admit that I don't loath Iron Man 3 as much as many others do. It was an over the top, action packed fun time. But the "twist" with the mandarin was cheap and unnecessary, the kid was annoying and Gwyneth Paltrow in the Iron Man suit . . . No thanks.
#9 - Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America made his debut in this ode to the origins of Avengers! Chris Evans quickly made us (almost) forget he was once Johnny Storm in those horrid Fantastic Four films by perfectly embodying Steve Rogers. Hayley Atwell was equally as captivating as his main gal Peggy Carter and Hugo Weaving was a fantastic Red Skull. With the perfect casting and light-hearted tone, The First Avenger was a good time. But its overall campy tone dropped the first Captain America film down a few notches.
#8 - Ant-Man
As the final film in "Phase Two", Ant-Man seemed oddly out of place in the Universe timeline. Luckily, they addressed the film's positioning by being perfectly self-aware of the actions that had taken place in all of the previous films. Ant-Man was funny and light-hearted, nearly a full throttle comedy/heist film rather than a comic book flick. Ant-Man is definitely enjoyable but yet again we are left with a sub-par villain and a script that relied too heavily on jokey atmosphere.
#7 - Thor: The Dark World
Full disclaimer: I like my heroes super and Thor is my favorite Avenger. Now that we have that out of the way, I really enjoyed The Dark World! Thor's sequel upped the ante on action and stakes, setting the stage for a grander scale for Marvel films. We get to experience more mystical happenings on Asgard, Idris Elba getting in on the action and a deeper development of the Thor/Jane Foster relationship. Unfortunately, we didn't get any type of decent villain and we were also delivered Kat Demings.
#6 - Guardians of the Galaxy
A new turn in the Marvel universe: anti-heroes! A band of misfits that no one in the general universe had heard of and even comic book fans were largely un-familiar with. Guardians was the biggest risk for Marvel but yet they didn't take much risk when it came to the formula and script. Yet again Marvel botched the villain and stuck to the safe Marvel stakes we had come to expect. Thankfully, enjoyable characters and charismatic performances make Guardians a true joy.
#5 - Avengers: Age of Ultron
The sequel to the biggest superhero film of all time had high expectations to live up to and for the most part it succeeded. Ultron wasn't a perfect villain by any means but proved to be a step-up from the usual Marvel baddie. Whedon strikes a perfect balance of witty humor with fantastic action set-pieces. Ultron introduces several new heroes very successfully but ultimately suffers from introducing too many storylines without having adequate time to flesh them all out properly.
#4 - Thor
Marvel admitted early that villains were not their strong suit: heir go Thor. But what Thor did right was establish a compelling origin story, mash it up with a fish-out-of-water romantic comedy and present it in a superhero package. Chris Hemsworth was spot-on casting an Natalie Portman brought some A-List starpower but it was Tom Hiddleston in a star making turn as Loki that really stole the show.
#3 - Iron Man
The film that started it all. Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe onto the map with Robert Downey Jr. impressing as the quick witted, sharp-tongued Tony Stark. The technology and effects were unlinke anything we had seen to that point and it established Marvel's signature brand of super-hero films that felt grounded but maintained a light-hearted tone. Truly the perfect first film to hook fans in.
#2 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier
A complete one eighty from the first Captain America, The Winter Soldier was an exhilarating spy/action film that unfolded new layers to the Marvel universe. The second best villain combo with the Winter Soldier and the SHIELD/Hydra organization help propel The Winter Soldier to the correlating second spot on this list. The script was brisk and elaborate, the action was wonderfully choreographed and it marked the first time that a stand-alone film felt like it belonged to the greater universe. Not to mention, the Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver post-credit scene was amazing!
#1 - The Avengers
Not only is this the best film in the Marvel catalog, it is one of the best superhero films of all time. The perfect blend of humor and action, The Avengers provided a wonderful film to match the chills of simply seeing the superhero team assemble on the big screen for the first time. Loki is still Marvel's best villain by far, the imminent danger was very real and the effects rippled across the entire MCU like we had yet to see. To date, The Avengers still stands as the benchmark for Marvel.
Well there you have it! My personal ranking of all of the Marvel films through phase 2. Do you agree with my list? What does your list look like? Let me in know in the comments! Thanks for reading!