This post was originally published on my blog www.bloggingwithbeer.net
I (finally) got to watch Captain America: Civil War last Tuesday (although, technically I didn’t, as it is called “The First Avenger: Civil War” for some stupid reason here in Germany ;/) and what can I say, I really, really loved it! But this is not my review about it – which I will post next week – but rather something the movie itself and all the hype surrounding it, and the MCU in general, inspired me to do.
One important thing to know for this list, is that the first MCU movie I watched was “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, which means I got into the MCU rather lately and also that the newer ones I watched at the cinema probably have a small bonus compared to the other ones, as it is a completely different experience to watch them years after they were released.
But without further ado, let me show you, how I rank all 13 MCU movies and why:
Oh, yeah: Spoilers for every MCU movie – this includes “Captain America: Civil War” – so if you haven’t watched one of the movies on the list, I would recommend doing so and just skipping my explanation for the time being.
13. The Incredible Hulk
This is the only movie on this list, that I only watched once. That is, because I didn’t like it particularly much (hence the rating) and I also can’t remember that much about it. This is one of the worst characteristics a movie can have: being forgettable. Another reason for it being my least favorite MCU movie is, that I just didn’t like Edward Norton as Bruce Banner and would pick Mark Ruffalo any day of the week. But one thing I want to point out, is that I don’t hate this movie, I don’t hate any movie on this list, but I just find some of them much more entertaining than other.
12. Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 suffers from the same problem as “The Incredible Hulk”, I don’t remember much about it. I recall the basics: Whiplash was the villain, Tony and Rhodey took down an army of drones in the end and that Tony almost died from radiation poisoning, but not much else. But there are two important things that made me put it higher than Hulk: Tony Stark/Iron Man is a far more interesting character than Hulk to me and is portrayed perfectly by Robert Downey Jr. The second thing that I loved about the movie was the introduction of Scarlett Johannsson as Natasha Romanov/Black Widow. Oh yeah, and it was good enough in my opinion, that I watched it two times!
11. Captain America: The First Avenger
First things first: I remember almost everything about this movie ;) and I am happy about it! This is the first movie on this list I could watch over and over again – IF I can skip certain scenes. The scenes I am talking about, are all those horrible dance and theatre ones. I know, some people like them, but I just hate them – maybe because I am not American and thus not patriotic enough to love them for their sheer amount of US flags ;) – and they are the one and only reason why this movie didn’t make it in my top 10! If these scenes were cut out, this would be a fantastic movie to me, because I love Captain America’s character as well as the way he is portrayed by Chris Evan! Red Skull is also one of my favorite villains in any MCU movie, as he doesn’t need a reason to be evil, he just is!
Yet another origin story this low on my list, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like origin stories. It only being #10, is mostly because it felt too eventless for my liking. If I had to sum up its plot, I could do so in these two short sentences: “Thor gets banned from Asgard because his half-brother Loki tricked him. Loki also sends the Destroyer to kill Thor, but fails and is defeated by Thor in the end!”. Everything else – apart from seeing the Tesseract for the first time – is rather unimportant in my opinion and doesn’t further the plot very much. But this movie managed to tell the story of gods and other realms without being cheesy, something it definitely should be praised for. Other things I also liked, are the interesting characters (especially Thor and Loki, but also Odin) and the way Asgard and the Rainbow Bridge were presented!
9. Iron Man 3
This – just like “The First Avenger” – is a movie I really liked, except for one thing. In “Iron Man 3” this one thing is not dancing or singing but a plot twist. More specifically, that Trevor turned out not to be the Mandarin, but nothing more than a façade for Aldrich Killian’s evil plans. The rest of the plot was very well written and performed in my opinion and I also liked Guy Pearce as Killian.
Extremis is also a very interesting idea, as it is a failed attempt to recreate the Super-Soldier Serum which “created” Captain America. One thing I just noticed writing this list, is that the Iron Man movies are the only ones without “real” titles but only numbers. Has anyone got an idea why this is the case? (I mean “Iron Man 3” could have also been called “Iron Man: Extremis” or “Iron Man: The 10 Rings”). But anyways, as much as I liked the plot and the character, this movie just couldn’t keep up with the original “Iron Man” (which I will talk about later).
8. Thor: The Dark World
This was probably the hardest one to rank, because it felt a bit half-baked to me. The ending definitely is one of the best and (at least to me) most surprising cliffhangers in movie history. This cliffhanger is also the reason why I am looking forward to “Thor: Ragnarok” so damn much! Malekith felt rather menacing, – especially compared to some other MCU villains – because he was able to kill Frigga (Odin’s wife) and also destroyed a fair bit of Asgard without even having the Aether at this time. But this is also something that bothers me: Malekith seemed to be quite powerful without the Aether, but once he had it, he didn’t seem to become more menacing and was defeated by Thor rather easily.
And though I liked the Jane Foster scene on Earth when the laws of physics were disrupted because of the Convergence, but the entire “Jane is possessed by the Aether”-stuff felt just to convenient to me. I think that the only reason for this was to have a reason for her to be in this movie, as Thor hadn’t even visited her for a year or so. Nevertheless, this was a very entertaining movie, with a great B-story (Loki) and a superb cliffhanger in the end.
7. Ant Man
Before I made this list, I didn’t think this movie would be that high on my list, but it is and it definitely earned it! One thing I loved about this movie was, that I didn’t expect much from it and so it was awesome. I really think not expecting much from a movie is the best thing you can do, to enjoy it as much as possible. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant Man was a perfect casting choice – just like almost any other character in the MCU. Seriously, I/we should give Marvel more praise for all the fantastic actor choices they made – I can’t think of any, that I would really disagree with, but a whole bunch I love: Robert Downey JR, Scarlett Johannsen, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, … I could go on and on.
But sorry for straggling, back to “Ant Man”. My favorite part of the movie is Michael Peña as Luis and because of this performance he is now one of my favorite comedic actors – and that although I didn’t know him before this. Scott’s whole crew is fantastically hilarious. The plot – as well as Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross – was ok, but nothing more, as it felt quite generic to me. But there were some great surprises in there as well. One of them is when Hank Pym re-inflates his pocket-sized tank to escape or of course Falcon showing up and battling Scott. All in all, this is a surprisingly great movie that is only held back by its plot and it being “only” #7 on this list just shows how incredible ranks 6-1 are!
6. Age of Ultron
I know a lot of people who didn’t like this movie, but I personally did. The opening sequence in which the Avengers take on Hydra and get back Loki’s scepter is one great piece of cinematography. I also like Ultron as a villain, although I think his character would have offered a lot more – especially with an actor of James Spader’s class breathing live into him. But I have to say that the plot – and thus the movie - felt a bit to stuffed, but this is easily made up for by how fantastic some of the individual scenes are. I could name dozens, but my favorite two are: Hulkbuster and Vision’s creation. But I have to admit that I made the mistake to watch every clip and sneak peek available, before watching the movie itself. This eliminated the element of surprise for some of the fantastic scenes I talked about above. Although the Thor sub-plot was unnecessary and Ultron’s plan to use Sokovia as a meteor was too complicated, considering that he could have controlled every electronic device on earth, I did enjoy “Age of Ultron” very much but not as much as the original “Avengers”.
This is the movie that gave us the whole team for the first time. It also had a good villain with Tom Hiddleston as Loki, although I don’t love him as much as many others seem to do. The pacing of the movie felt just right and compared to some of the other movies (lower) on the list, it had a unique feel of freshness and this very first shot of all the Avengers standing together to fight the Chitauri just can’t be recreated. Although this isn’t strictly a part of the movie, I also loved the post-credit scene, in which we got to see Thanos for the first time in the MCU.
One thing I didn’t love was that Loki’s plan build upon the rather generic idea to destroy the Avengers from the inside (by making Banner/Hulk angry), but for some reason this seems to be the blue-print for any other villain who tries to take on the Avengers. But at least this approach has been tried with various degrees of cleverness and success (Civil War!).
Another thing I liked about “Avengers” though, is how great the characters’ as well as the actors’ chemistry seems to work together. Their “team-building” is also very much thanks to Phil Coulson’s death. Though I liked the character, I am 100% ok with him “dying”, as this was the starting point for one of my favorite TV shows: “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”. All in all, this is a great movie, as it is highly entertaining and also sets up the larger MCU which we saw in Phase 2.
4. Iron Man
Whoo, the one that started it all, and also the one with the best and most iconic post-credit scene! But even apart from these things, “Iron Man” is a fantastic movie and the best Iron Man movie to date (still keeping my fingers crossed for Iron Man 4 with RDJ). It already had the rather light-hearted tone, the MCU has become famous for, and still managed not to make a billionaire in a metal suit look cheesy. I love the very first version of the Iron Man suit (the one Tony builds while being imprisoned). Now let me come to the best part, Robert Downey Jr. This guy was probably only born to play this role and as I mentioned above, Marvel has an excellent track-record of casting choices, but this very first one is THE best of them all. I, personally, can’t imagine ANYONE else playing this role, as RDJ just IS Tony Stark.
The plot of “Iron Man” is a rather simple one, but this is no problem at all, as this movie mostly lives from RDJ’s great performance, the idea itself and – of course – from being the first one! I can’t really explain why, but to me this is one of those movies that just feels flawless and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. I already watched it 4 times (within the last 3 years) and still it’s very high on my movies-to-watch (again) list. The only reason “Iron Man” isn’t #1 is because #3-1 are even more outstanding than this one!
3. Captain America – The Winter Soldier
Lately I heard many people (friends, but also podcasters and the likes) talking about how every/or at least most Marvel movie has its own genre, “Ant-Man” is a heist movie, “GotG” a space opera and Winter Soldier is a spy/political thriller. Although I agree, that there are these different genres, I am not sure I would classify WS as a “spy thriller”. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic movie and – as I already mentioned in the beginning – it was the first MCU movie I ever watched :o. Talk about nostalgia!
Maybe that’s the reason why this movie is so high on my list, but I think even if it wouldn’t have been my first, I would still love it. Bringing Zola back as a PC program was an interesting choice, and I really liked the concept of Hydra surviving all those decades by infiltrating SHIELD. I also liked Black Widow having a larger role in this movie. To me this movie isn’t great because of superb, individual scenes – although of course there were many of them (Nick Fury car chase, anyone? ;) – but more because these individual scenes form an awesome total artwork, that is this movie. Oh yeah, I also like the introduction of Falcon :)!
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
I watched this movie during holidays in California with my uncle. Then I watched it a second time three days later with my uncle and my cousins and after my holidays ended (:/) I watched it a third time with friends here in Germany and then two times at home since the Blu-ray was released. This alone should be a good indicator of just how damn much I love this movie!
It has everything: heroism, action, fun, and also sadness in the beginning and the (almost) end. I mean, after you watched this movie you are practically in love with a living tree that only says three words (five if you count one of the most emotional scenes in the movie) and a shouting raccoon with some anger management issues. I swear, I never was as sad because a character died in a movie as when Groot sacrificed himself for the team. Damn, I really should post a full review about this movie, as there are so, so many things I love about it. The cast is stellar, the script is fantastic, director James Gunn lives with all his heart and soul for this movie (you should really check out his – unfortunately very unregularly made – Periscope live streams, he is hilarious and seems to be a really cool guy!).
But to conclude this part, Guardians felt at least as perfect and flawless as “Iron Man” or “Winter Soldier”, but what gave it the edge though, was this emotional roller coaster your put through while watching, and the fact that it was able to make me like a living tree!
1. Captain America: Civil War
I watched this film last Tuesday and fortunately I didn’t make the same mistake, I made before I watched “Age of Ultron”. I watch only the two international trailers that were released + the Super Bowl commercial (you can find more on my opinion about trailer #2 HERE). This, in my opinion, is not only the best MCU or Marvel movie, but the best comic book movie EVER.
The Russo brothers, the directors of this movie as well as “The Winter Soldiers”, showed once again, how much they love the comic books, their characters and most importantly how well they can adapt all of this for the big screen. Just like Guardians, it has it all: humor, humongous fight scenes and most importantly a whole bunch of emotions. One thing most movies aren’t able to pull off, is making these emotions feel real and justified (BvS), but Civil War succeeded!
The fight between Iron Man, Cap and Bucky felt terrifying, because I never knew if one of them would die. The airport fight scene is on the other end of the scale in my opinion. It wasn’t dark, nor was I really worried, one of them would die in it (except for Rhodie in the end maybe), but it did a great job at showing of all the powers of both teams. Although I already knew it would happen beforehand – Ant-Man suddenly turning into Giant Man was breath-taking and Spider-Man’s witty humor and inexperience added the right amount of humor to it. This is also something very important about the movie: introducing two new – very important – super heroes to the MCU. Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Tom Holland as Spider-Man. The one thing I didn’t like though, was how underutilized Daniel Brühl’s Zemo felt, especially when compared to his comic book version. But even this isn’t a major complain, as I liked his motivation for his evil plan, because it wasn’t the typical I-want-power/world-domination thing, but revenge for his family that got killed in Sokovia.
As I already said, this is my favorite comic book movie of all time, but I am looking forward to all the future MCU movies, as I hope they will be even better.
I would like to end this post with two questions: Firstly, I would love to hear from you, how you would rank all the MCU movies (you don’t have to write a 3000-word blog post ;), so please tell me in the comments below or on Twitter (@beer_robin). Secondly, could anyone give me $178.99 to buy this “Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two” Blu-Ray collection?
Just kidding! But still, if anyone has about $200 and doesn’t know how to spend them, I would be happy ;)
Thanks again for reading this, it would be fantastic if you could like this post!
And never forget: WE ARE GROOT