In my little review of Doctor Strange today, I referred to it landing in the middle of the pack in terms of the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, it seemed only fair that I put together an actual list ranking all 14 MCU films. This is a rare instance where I'll go from best to worst, so let's kick it off with...
1. Guardians of the Galaxy
No MCU film has been as much fun from beginning to end.
2. Captain America: Civil War
Winter Soldier MIGHT be a better film, but the best superhero fight scene of all time wins the day.
3. Iron Man
Gotta give props to the one that started it all, from the excellence of casting to elevating a lower-tiered superhero into the upper echelon.
Re-imagining a superhero film as a Seventies conspiracy thriller and then getting Redford to appear — genius.
Sure, there’s some sizable flaws and ball drops in the film, but seeing the first culmination of what Disney/Marvel had been aiming for was a true thrill. Plus: “puny god”.
6. Captain America: The First Avenger
A good old fashioned rip roaring WWII film that managed to pull off a character that could have come across as pure cornball cheese.
The only challenger to GotG as far as bringing the funny — which is little surprise with Rudd as the star. Plus, the most troubled film behind the scenes turns out to be pretty damn good after all. No "small" feat!
8. Doctor Strange
Cumberbatch continues a line of perfectly cast MCU heroes, just ends up being a little too lightweight for such a heavy character.
It was nice they gave Hawkeye something to do this time around, but the whole enterprise felt weighed down from beginning to end — as if decisions were made in a boardroom rather than in Whedon’s mind.
Props for even trying to do a film about the God of Thunder, and Hemsworth is a good fit for the role. And Loki remains the best MCU villain to date...
But a lot of the execution feels limited in scope and range for what should have been a much bigger undertaking, not to mention an Asgard that looks as though it was designed by Donald Trump.
11. Iron Man 2 / Iron Man 3 (tie)
Anything remotely commendable in IM2 is undone by the painfully embarrassing drunk Iron Man scene, which is on-par for sheer cringe-inducing awfulness with the insipid Emo-Spider-Man in SM3. Speaking of wasted, if you get Sam Rockwell to be in your film, that's what you don't do -- waste him!
As for IM3 — as much as people disliked the borderline offensive Ben Kingsley/Mandarin BS the film tries to get away with, I was far more annoyed by Guy Pearce's Killian having an origin that is beat-for-beat a bizarre imitation of how Jim Carrey becomes the Riddler in Batman Forever. Say what?
The biggest sin of all: an utterly forgettable film. The not-so Jolly Green Giant has been one of the best parts of both Avengers films, and signs look promising for his sizable role in the upcoming Thor flick, but I’ve seen video game commercials more memorable than this heaping pile of meh.
13. Thor: The Dark World
But…this one is a far bigger head-scratcher. After two previous film appearances, both Thor and Loki were so well established, well defined and well liked — this should have been easy money, and a vast improvement on the first wobbly effort. Instead, it’s a big loud dud. From meh to bleah...