About a month ago I took the Geeky Goddess and my brood of nerdspawn to see Ant-Man and ever since then I’ve been trying to figure out where I would place it amongst its brethren.
Admittedly I’ve been distracted from this task with other self-imposed tasks (such as the Live Streaming on the PolyNerdic Twitch channel, like the one I did at 9pm last night).
But I believe I’ve finally figured out my answer to the question no one asked me to answer.
What follows is my own personal rankings for the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
Oh and before you start crafting well worded hate-mail, understand that I truly love all these movies but feel some were much weaker than others.
12 ) Iron Man 3-There was a lot I didn’t like about this movie. I didn’t like the way Ben Kingsley was utilized. I didn’t care for the entire ending sequence. I didn’t care for (but totally understood from a money standpoint) the fact that RDJ spent the entire movie out of the suit. I did like the introduction of the different suits. I did like the Stark suffering from PTSD angle to the story. In the end I just felt this was the weakest MCU offering and a horrible start to Phase 2.
11 ) Thor- While not a bad film, I just didn’t get into the first Thor. It served well as an introduction for a number of characters and concepts though. It gave us Loki. It gave us Hawkeye. It gave us Jane Foster and Darcy. It gave us the Tesseract. For all those things I am thankful but at the end of the day I only liked this movie a tiny bit more than Iron Man 3.
10 ) The Incredible Hulk- I know many, many people who feel this is the worst thing Marvel has ever put out but I quite like the Edward Norton version of Bruce Banner. I felt the supporting cast was very strong, although I feel the ball has been dropped with Tim Blake Nelson’s “Mr. Blue” character who has completely disappeared from the MCU. As much as I liked Norton’s take on Banner I do feel Mark Ruffalo has him beat and definitely deserves his own film at some point.
9 ) Thor: The Dark World-Maybe I’m alone but I feel this is one of the rare (but not unheard of) instances where the sequel was better. It gave me more of the things I loved in the first film, more Loki, more Jane, more Darcy, more Heimdall. I do feel as though the ball was dropped in this film in the way Christopher Eccelston was utilized. Mind you I know nothing of Malekith in the comics but the way he was presented on screen just simply fell flat to me, I expected better from the man who chewed scenery in the Nicholas Cage version of Gone in 60 Seconds and was a great choice to restart Doctor Who.
8 ) Iron Man 2-These bottom tiered films were actually much, much harder to place than the ones near the top and are largely falling where they are based on what I think of the supporting cast or what they brought to the overall universe. I place Iron Man 2 at #9 because I feel just like the third film it misuses some talented actors in villainous roles. I wanted so much more of Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell, although the latter did feel a bit like a recycled Obidiah Stane from the first film. Iron Man 2 did give us Black Widow though and Ms. Johansson was amazing in her first go round with the character.
7 ) Avengers:Age of Ultron-The most recent Avengers film was absolutely fantastic but I feel it was a little disappointing when compared to the other films. James Spader absolutely killed it as Ulton and Elizabeth Olsen was great as Scarlett Witch. The seeds sown for Civil War were something I loved seeing and I’ll always remember that epic battle between the Hulk and Iron Man. But as much as I loved this sequel, I simply felt a half dozen other MCU films were better.
6 ) Captain America: The First Avenger-In the lead up to The Avengers, I found myself struggling to decide whether this or Iron Man would be my then favorite film in the series. I love Chris Evans as Steve Rogers. I love Hugo Weaving as Red Skull. I love the overall feel of this fill. I particularly loved Rogers’ character arc as he went from a 90 pound weakling to a legit super soldier. The movie was and is damn near perfect and the fact that it isn’t top five says volumes about the MCU overall.
5 ) Ant-Man-The fact that its the newest film in the MCU may or may not account for this film’s place on the list but I for one really enjoyed the mostly lighthearted, heist film. After the “world on the brink of destruction” stakes of Age of Ultron is was very refreshing to take in a superhero film with arguably much lower stakes (yeah I get it the shrinking tech getting in the wrong hands would have been bad). Plus it was the film that teased the Wasp finally entering the MCU which is a big deal given that the original Wasp was a founding Avenger.
4 ) Iron Man- Originally this was the film that rotated between 1 and 2 with the first Captain America film. This was the one that started it all, the one that proved how well a comic book film could do and introduced the masses to Tony Stark via Robert Downey Jr’s amazing performance.
3 ) The Avengers- The culmination of Phase 1 and the movie that proved once and for all that the plan could work. Of all the movies on this list I’ve probably watched this one the most. Watching the team come together and save the world from Loki’s borrowed army is still as entertaining today as it was the first time I saw it.
2 ) Guardians of the Galaxy- I know I’m not alone in saying this movie surprised the hell out of me. I did not expect much from a film with a bunch of characters I had no history with and as a result my mind was blown wide open. The movie was great and just like The Avengers is one that I can watch at any moment and still be entertained.
And that leaves….
1 ) Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier-I’ve noticed I like this movie quite a bit more than the average blogger, movie nerd or comic fan and I’m okay with that. Much like I loved the heist story in Ant-Man I loved the espionage, conspiracy tale CA:TWS wove. I loved the struggle Rogers went through as he tried to find a way for his personal values to work within the S.H.E.I.L.D. structure. The return of Bucky Barnes as his adversary was pitch perfect as was Anthony Mackie as the Falcon (and how much better was the movie version of that costume?). Maybe its the world we live in but the overreaching government agency, the “Big Brother is Watching” feel of it all just spoke to me in a way that the rest of them movies did not. The other 11 movies scratched the “I need to see awesome superhero movies” itch but this one went beyond that.