15. THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)
The Incredible Hulk is a good film. It's just very difficult to make a Hulk film work. See Ang Lee's Hulk from 2003. The movie does a good job at bypassing any attempt at an origin story, and thrusts us right into Bruce Banner's dichotomy with his other half. The film's antagonists in General Thunderbolt Ross and the Abomination add fun layers to the story. However, the film feels the most disconnected from the rest of the MCU. Hopefully, Thunderbolt Ross' upcoming appearance in Captain America: Civil War can further strengthen the ties of this film with the rest of the series.
14. IRON MAN 2 (2010)
Yes, Iron Man 2 is all over the place. According to many, this gets the crown of being the worst film in the MCU. Well, not in my eyes. Yes, Iron Man 2 has many weaknesses. However, I've come to enjoy and appreciate this film because of its ties to the rest of the universe. The introduction of Black Widow, the references to the impending Thor film and the increased presence of S.H.I.E.L.D. give this film some importance. Don Cheadle being added in place of Terrence Howard was a brilliant move. Finally, there is some good action and plenty of moments with Robert Downey, Jr. dawning the Iron Man suit. This one ranks low because of the weak villain (a big problem in the MCU) and the forgettable plot.
13. MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013 - PRESENT)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., upon its debut, brought in massive ratings for ABC. However, ratings steadily declined as the show struggled to find its footing within the larger context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Despite this, the show has seen improvements in reviews for the second season, and has been renewed for a third season. Overall, I like the show, but the problem with this show is that it hasn't really focused on superheroes or heroes with power, which makes the characters seem ordinary. The show resolved this issue in its second season with the introduction of the Inhumans.
12. IRON MAN 3 (2013)
Iron Man 3 is an interesting film to analyze as a part of the larger contexts of the MCU. As the first film to kick of phase two, it had a tremendous responsibility in acknowledging the effects of what occurred in The Avengers. While it touched on this briefly, the rest of the film seemed uneven. I, personally, didn't care for how much screen time we got with Tony Stark outside of his Iron Man armor. Also, the reveal of who the true villain of the film was, while dismantling Iron Man's known archenemy the Mandarin was a bit disappointing. All in all, Iron Man 3 has its moments of classic Robert Downey Jr. comedy and charm, and delivers some satisfying action beats throughout.
11. MARVEL'S AGENT CARTER (2015)
After positive response from the Agent Carter One-Shot, a short series was ordered to air during the mid-season break of season two of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Additionally, Agent Carter has also received positive reviews from audiences and critics, and will return for a second season. The show had an impressive first outing and gave a stylish look at Peggy Carter's struggle in a post-WWII society in a world without Captain America. Agent Carter excels at expanding the scope and versatility of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and will surely lead to more enjoyable stories to come.
10. THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013)
Thor's third outing in the cinematic universe was good, but not great. I also enjoyed this film more than many people did, but I can admit that it fails to recapture the magic and emotion of the first. This film also suffers from a weak and forgettable villain, and has a finale that is anti-climactic. Despite that, there's a lot to enjoy about The Dark World. Thor's and Loki's relationship is further explored, and maintains its status as the most valuable relationship in the entire MCU. Additionally, there's a wonderful surprise in the middle of the film with an appearance from the First Avengers himself, Captain America.
9. IRON MAN (2008)
The godfather of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man introduced us to a brave and bold new expedition into an inter-connected universe that would team-up earth's mightiest heroes. The pure significance of this film warrants its place higher on the list. Director Jon Favreau had an enormous task at developing and bringing the universe to life. In hindsight, the movie is still very good, but just isn't as good compared to some of the later releases in the cinematic universe. Nonetheless, Iron Man will always be a special film. It serves as the blueprint for everything that we know and enjoy from Marvel films and television. seven years later.
8. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)
Captain America: The First Avengers is a movie that I appreciate a lot more now than I did when it was released. Because we hadn't seen the effects of the film come to fruition, it was difficult for me to like the movie back in 2011. However, looking back, it's not only an excellent introduction for the super soldier, but it's a terrific lead-in to The Avengers film. This film is a great look at the origins of Steve Rogers. It deserves more credit to its stylish look, excellent character development, and believable villain. One could argue that the characters from this film have had more of an impact than any other in the MCU. Peggy Carter, Bucky Barnes and Howard Stark all play pivotal roles in additional films and television shows as the universe continuously expands.
7. ANT-MAN (2015)
Ant-Man is probably Marvel's weirdest film to date, next to Guardians. But it's a good and enjoyable weird. The studio, as well as the writers utilized many of the characters in the most effective way. The uniqueness of the action sequences and titular hero make this a marketable film. Ant-Man has a lot of great moments, especially the shrinking sequences that reminded me a lot of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. The film's villain drags, and some of the script is a bit clunky. Marvel may discover that Ant-Man is a hero better suited as a part of a team, rather than have his own solo missions, similarly to the Hulk. Whether or not they go this route, I enjoyed Ant-Man. Its nowhere near being the best MCU film, but it's a welcomed addition to the rapidly growing universe of Marvel's iconic characters.
6. THOR (2011)
2011's Thor could've been a disaster. It's no easy feat to transfer the story of asgardian gods and deities from other cosmic worlds on to the silver screen. Luckily, director Kenneth Branagh and crew masterfully brought the world of Thor to life. This film has some of the best comedy in the entire MCU in the telling of Thor's fish-out-of-water story after he gets banished from Asgard by his father, Odin. Furthermore, the relationship between Thor and his adopted brother, Loki magnificently planted the seeds here that would play such an important role in The Avengers and Thor: The Dark World.
5. MARVEL'S DAREDEVIL (2015)
Marvel expanded their cinematic universe once again with Daredevil; a highly stylized, yet gritty look into Hell's Kitchen, NY. The series drew rave reviews from critics, and was renewed for a second season. Daredevil is also a part of a larger plan by Netflix to create a team up in The Defenders featuring street-level heroes. What the show did so well was give us an alternative to the more upbeat films that the MCU produces. The story arc of season one through the development of Matthew Murdock, and Wilson Fisk kept me invested the entire time. Sometimes, its hard to believe that Daredevil exists with the rest of these properties because its so different. That's a good thing.
4. MARVEL'S AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015)
Age of Ultron had the immeasurable pressure of following up behind its predecessor. Director Joss Whedon did marvelous job at balancing eleven main characters, while simultaneously pushing the story's conflict forward. The action in this film is pretty much nonstop, and grants us with the epic Hulk vs. Hulkbuster fight that we've been salivating for. An argument can be made that its the most 'comic-boomy' film ever made. We literally get the opportunity to see these colorful characters to perform action sequences that we've only dreamed of from reading Avengers comics. It;s truly spectacular, but it's not better than the first. But that's not a bad thing, Age of Ultron is a lot different from the first film. This is our second, third, fourth or maybe even fifth interaction with these characters. Therefore, we see a movie that focuses more on the fun than who these people are. Ultimately, we get a satisfying follow-up that plants the seeds for the gigantic Infinity War to take place in 2018 and 2019.
3. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)
This one is just different. It can really only be described as a triumph on the part of Marvel Studios and director James Gunn. Guardians of the Galaxy is an exuberant and energetic introduction to some of the most obscure characters from Marvel Comics lore. It can easily be said that this was the biggest risk that Marvel Studios had taken since the first Iron Man. That risk has turned into a monumental award. Guardians is a colorful and comedic space opera with some of the most charismatic heroes seen on-screen to date. Not to mention, the film's soundtrack is awesome! The influential nature of Guardians will be realized through the entirety of phase three with lesser-known characters receiving major motion picture treatment such as Black Panther, Captain Marvel and The Inhumans. Thank goodness this one paid off.
2. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)
Easily my personal favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe film. The Winter Soldier is something that nobody saw coming -- a Marvel film that raised the stakes like never before. While Captain America: The First Avenger did a good job at introducing the super soldier, The Winter Soldier took the superhero film genre to another level. Elements of spy and thriller films were present, and the heightened sense of paranoia after the Battle of New York in The Avengers presents legitimate consequences. Not only do we get an improved portrayal of Captain America from Chris Evans (who seems to have finally found his grove with the character), but we get an equally worthy villain in the form of Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. the Winter Soldier. The ninth film in the MCU gets just about everything right -- excellent character development, practical action, and major implications on the rest of the continuity that exists among the other MCU films. The Winter Soldier still stands tall as the best OVERALL film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
1. MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS (2012)
There was never anything like it before, and there will probably never be anything like it again. Marvel's The Avengers was the first time that we saw separate solo franchises come together for a team-up film that culminated the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For years, fans wondered if an Avengers film would ever happen. In 2012, we all got our wish. The Avengers is still one of the greatest in-theater experiences I've ever had. There were so many moments where I felt like a kid again watching my favorite heroes on-screen. Additionally, opposite of "Earth's Mightiest Heroes," was the vengeful adopted brother of Thor, Loki, who sought rule over the earth and its human inhabitants. Loki still holds up as the most entertaining and believable villain in the MCU. With excellent characters, witty humor, and one of the greatest on-screen battles ever produced, The Avengers made history. It's influence is still felt to this day, and will continue to be felt for the next generation. After grossing $1.5 billion at the box office, and legitimately becoming the biggest superhero film ever, The Avengers has prompted other studios to begin their own interconnected franchises. While The Winter Soldier is my favorite MCU film, The Avengers beats it out for pure significance and historical value.