Marvel Movies: My Favourite to Least

by rorymarsh00 | created - 05 Mar 2017 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

This is my personal opinion. List includes MCU movies as well as titles from the X-Men series.

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1. Logan (2017)

R | 137 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

77 Metascore

In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X. However, Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook

Votes: 523,383 | Gross: $226.28M

The final instalment from Hugh Jackman's Wolverine is also my favourite Marvel film to date. There is a tragic element to this film, a character who was once at the top of his game aging, vulnerable, and having everything that was ever dear to him taken away in a world where mutants have all but gone extinct. The stakes are high, you care for all the characters and cannot bear to see them go. The stakes are high and nobody is safe. Logan is an emotionally charged, gritty film that reveals the cost of what it means to love.

2. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy

Votes: 601,416 | Gross: $233.92M

In terms of a film just being pure fun, Days of Future Past doens't stray far from the mark. Armed with the responsibility of re-arranging a messy timeline and fleshing it out with a legitimatley intriuging narrative, this film put the franchise back on its feet, as well as re-introducing beloved characters we though were gone. It takes advantage of its limits and develops previously established characters successfully.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

76 Metascore

A group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe.

Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana

Votes: 892,161 | Gross: $333.18M

The reason Guardians of the Galaxy is my favourite MCU film is due to the huge risk it took, as well as the tonal shift, setting it aside from its contemporaries. The characters are unlike anything we'd seen before, and were amongst the most likeable in this universe. Besides this, it explored far beyond Earth and introduced a hugely diverse array of setpieces, as well as a whole new side to this cinematic universe. This is, in my opinion, due to the recruitment of James Gunn as director. A bold risk that well and truly paid off.

4. Black Panther (2018)

PG-13 | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

88 Metascore

T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country's past.

Director: Ryan Coogler | Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira

Votes: 424,277 | Gross: $700.06M

'Black Panther' has been the subject of much recent controversy, such as online petitions deliberately giving the film low scores. I enjoyed the character's debut in 'Civil War', but was not particularly excited for a solo film I originally thought would simply be used to tide fans over until 'Avengers: Infinity War'. Then Ryan Coogler came along and proved me wrong. This is doubtless the strongest solo film in the MCU (I count 'Guardians' as an ensemble piece). The afro-futurist aesthetic, coupled with the conflux of modern rap and traditional African soundtracks help build this alien world of Wakanda skilfully and subtly. The performances are stellar all around, especially those of Michael B. Jordan and Letitia Wright. The action scenes are well-executed, with a degree of creativity and technical prowess that differentiate them from other installments in the series, and the use of the film as a character study, rather than a bland origin story, culminates in one of the best MCU installments to date.

5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

PG-13 | 149 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

68 Metascore

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans

Votes: 538,486 | Gross: $678.82M

This film was advertised as the culmination of the MCU thus far, and in both scope and roster, it was dutifully achieved. The extensive, multi-faceted action scenes brimming with recognisable characters proves a cinematic marvel in itself due to the pure logistical aspect. Furthermore, the quality of these sequences cements these films as an example for others to follow. This film resolves the prevalent issue plaguing the MCU since 2008, as the stakes are raised significantly, and remain present throughout, culminating in a finale that's equally impressive as it is bold. Despite these clear strengths, it ended up feeling somewhat empty, largely due to the enormous cast limiting any development or progression, and since all character pursue a similar narrative thread, the plot takes priority. If it were to be condensed, this is very much a Thanos film, just as 'Iron Man' was about Tony Stark, or 'The First Avenger' about Steve Rogers. He proves a formidable enemy, and likely one of the best villains in the series, but his motivations may prove difficult to sympathise with. Nonetheless, this is a masterclass of logistics and spectacle, with its own lofty ambitions proving the only foil to an otherwise stellar cinematic event, boding well for the ever-improving, ever-bolder, Marvel Cinematic Universe.

6. Iron Man (2008)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

79 Metascore

After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.

Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges

Votes: 821,701 | Gross: $318.41M

The film that started off the MCU is also one of its best. The first origin story of the series, it felt fresh and brought with it a new hunger for superhero films. A lot of pressure was on this film to succeed, and it managed to tell a fairly constrained story, whilst also allowing for character development and the birth of Robert Downey Junior's career defining performance as Tony Stark. Plain and simple, we all owe Iron Man for the rest of the MCU.

7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

67 Metascore

The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage.

Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel

Votes: 427,967 | Gross: $389.81M

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 had lofty expectations after the original surprised global audiences with something we had never seen in this franchise before, and this follow-up carries the mantle of Marvel films that are just pure fun - a definition I find irritatingly rare amongst some of the overly-serious instalments we have recieved as of late. Once again, it has great performances from charismatic actors, a glorious soundtrack, and a tone that, whilst sometimes wavering, is mostly on track. It is the most emotionally impactful film in the series, and with its success I really look forward to the next film in this series.

8. X: First Class (2011)

PG-13 | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

65 Metascore

In 1962, the United States government enlists the help of Mutants with superhuman abilities to stop a malicious dictator who is determined to start World War III.

Director: Matthew Vaughn | Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon

Votes: 592,715 | Gross: $146.41M

After Brett Ratner's unsatisfying conclusion to the original X-Men timeline, as well as an undercooked Wolverine origin story, this franchise was in tatters. After the emergence of the MCU, X-Men could have become a stale property. Fortunatley, the recruitment of Matthew Vaughn as director, as well as the casting of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence, the X-Men series hit back with a bombastic punch that coulnd not be ignored and thus permitted a future for the franchise.

9. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

PG-13 | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.

Director: Jon Watts | Stars: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei

Votes: 374,879 | Gross: $334.20M

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a peculiar release for me in the MCU. I believed that Spider Man's inclusion in Civil War was one of its greatest moments, and Tom Holland is a charismatic lead, perhaps giving the best performance of all the actors who have played the titular role. Despite this, I waited until the film was released on home video to watch it, for some reason I had no desire to see yet another Spider Man film. Having seen it now, I believe this is a brilliant way to integrate the character into the MCU. As his origin has been told countless times, we are instead treated to an original story, which ties in neatly with the events preceding those in the film, such as how the fallout was dealt with in the wake of Avengers Assemble. Alongside a captivating, if underdeveloped villain, a relatable coming-of-age subplot, and its ability to simultaneously be its own film, whilst contributing to its cinematic universe, it is one of the strongest additions to the MCU thus far.

10. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

PG-13 | 147 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

Political involvement in the Avengers' activities causes a rift between Captain America and Iron Man.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan

Votes: 535,735 | Gross: $408.08M

Not unlike The Avengers, Civil War was the culmination of all the standalone films since Age of Ultron, as well as the expansion of the developments made in the rest of the MCU films. Watching tensions boil over and seeing beloved heroes pitted against one another was visually fantastic, and the introduction of Spider Man and Black Panther bodes well for future instalments. The only gripe I had with this film, and the MCU as a whole, is its low stake attitude. Our heroes fought, but we knew nobody was going to die, and thus all I see is a well-choreographed action scene, not an edge of my seat beatdown, concerned with the welfare of our characters.

11. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

74 Metascore

Thor is imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, and must race against time to return to Asgard and stop Ragnarök, the destruction of his world, at the hands of the powerful and ruthless villain Hela.

Director: Taika Waititi | Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo

Votes: 410,227 | Gross: $315.06M

Thor: Ragnarok is the Asgardian answer to 'Guardians of the Galaxy', brimming with colour, comedy and cosmic conquest. Whilst I think the comedy injected in the first act falls flat, it has several aspects that make it a standout in its own right, and craft the best Thor film thus far. Firstly, the addition of Taika Waititi as director injects an offbeat tone, unseen up to this point in the Marvel Universe. Cate Blanchette is a convincing villain, but often adopts the tropes previously seen in the less memorable antagonists of the MCU. The action is explosive, with high stakes and creatively constructed sequences (the finale is particularly effective). New characters are a joy to watch, such as Jeff Goldblum's 'The Grandmaster', and Korg, voiced by the director himself, and Tessa Thompson's character is another Black Widow-esque figure that these films need. Aside from the hit-or-miss comedy (in places), and sequences where crucial character moments are ruined by 'playing for laughs', this film has a strong voice, making the best installment in Thor's solo filmography.

12. X2 (2003)

PG-13 | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

68 Metascore

The X-Men band together to find a mutant assassin who has made an attempt on the President's life, while the Mutant Academy is attacked by military forces.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen

Votes: 467,949 | Gross: $214.95M

X-Men 2 is, put plainly, an excellent sequel. It develops the characters from the first film, adds new ones, and raises the stakes significantly, building tension for the third instalment. It also increases in scope, whilst the previous film was rather contained, it expands the issues our characters face to a global level and realistically expands the X-Men universe. It is a sequel done right, and shows Singer's desire to build a better franchise, rather than just to rake in the box office revenue.

13. Deadpool 2 (2018)

R | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

66 Metascore

Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling cyborg, Cable.

Director: David Leitch | Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison

Votes: 313,639 | Gross: $318.49M

As someone who didn't feel the seemingly universal affection toward the original, I held off watching Deadpool 2 for a while, presuming it to be a re-hash of the original. Whilst I was correct in some respects, with the humour failing to land on multiple counts, I was incorrect in many others. The widened scope works wonders for this series, with the introduction of Domino and Cable helping change the tone, as well as allowing for inventive action sequences that massively surpass the mediocre original. Furthermore, beneath this improved surface was genuine heart, with the emotional finale, whilst undercut by misplaced comedic dialogue, was genuine, concluding the film with an unexpected gut-punch that ultimately rescued Deadpool 2 from become another bland action comedy. As a result, it surpasses the original through the inclusion of new characters and emotional undertones, however, the broadened scope retains the serviceable, if uninspired framework of the original. Nonetheless, it has me intrigued for the next instalment.

14. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

PG-13 | 118 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

70 Metascore

As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.

Director: Peyton Reed | Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins

Votes: 163,718 | Gross: $216.65M

Whatever film destined to ride the coat-tails of 'Infinity War' was always likely to be a disappointment in comparison. 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' however, was a pleasant diversion. Superior to the original in almost every way, this sequel may have been unnecessary, contributing little to the overarching MCU narrative, but it is nonetheless a welcome, if small scale, addition. Rudd and Lilly are brilliant leads as in the original, and the otherwise tiresome Marvel comedy undergoes a sort of evolution with the addition of the brilliant Michael Pena. Nonetheless, it remains problematic, brimming with plot devices that make no sense and deus ex machinas to boot. However, if these can be put aside, 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' is suitably humble offering, but one that keeps the franchise in public attention well enough. It's nothing revolutionary in the series, but that's not derogatory either.

15. The Avengers (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

69 Metascore

Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner

Votes: 1,136,658 | Gross: $623.36M

Avengers Assemble was the first time we had seen Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk together in a film, and it was a groundbreaking event. The action was exciting and seeing everyone's powers combined, as well as the tension created between them, was great to experience. I believe that the ending could have been more creative, instead of the hole-in-the-sky, army of disposable enemies fight that we got. Besides all this, Avengers Assemble finished Phase 1 with a satisfied boom and got everyone excited for what was to come next.

16. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

PG-13 | 144 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

52 Metascore

After the re-emergence of the world's first mutant, the world-destroyer Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult

Votes: 336,879 | Gross: $155.44M

I am in the minority when I say I really enjoyed X-Men: Apocalypse. Upon its release, and after the critically acclaimed Days of Future Past, it was torn apart by critics and largely underappreciated by audiences. It is here that I get a little confused. I am aware it has many problems, but it remains an enjoyable film. Seeing the young X-Men, and Professor X's transition into what his character became in the earlier films was enthralling, and sequences such as Apocalypse's opening and Quicksilver's rescue were well-crafted. Characters such as Angel and Psylocke were underdeveloped, however, they served their purpose and the filmmakers did not try to pretend that they served any greater purpose, which may arouse the legitimate complaint that it is somewhat overstuffed. All in all, a perfectly solid film with some great performances and set pieces.

17. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

70 Metascore

As Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he teams up with a fellow Avenger and S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Black Widow, to battle a new threat from history: an assassin known as the Winter Soldier.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Stars: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford

Votes: 625,898 | Gross: $259.77M

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a special installment in the MCU, as it is by far one of the best of what I've unofficially titled the 'filler' movies. These are the solo films that tell a story starring one of the Avengers that lead up to the large-scale Avengers films at the end of each phase. Usually, these seem generic and solely intended to either show the origin of a hero, or take up time until the next big MCU film. The Winter Soldier, however, brought with it genuine surprises, visceral action, and a solid story that tied into future films very well. Serving as a genuine espionage thriller injects a feeling of freshness into what was on the verge of becoming a stale series.

18. The Wolverine (2013)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

61 Metascore

When Wolverine is summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, he is embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima

Votes: 388,916 | Gross: $132.56M

After the stupidity that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the studio decided to give X-Men's most popular character a shot at redemption, this time enlisting James Mangold to occupy the director's chair. What I appreciated about this film was how independent it was from the films that preceded it. It did not rely on the input from any other previously established characters besides from Logan, which is how it should've been. It forms its own tightly bound story, develops our protagonist with traits that contribute to later films, such as his guilt about Jean Grey. The final fight is farcical and somewhat unnecessary, but the different tone it adopted as well as the location culminated in a film that fulfilled its purpose in an entertaining fashion.

19. Doctor Strange (2016)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

72 Metascore

While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong

Votes: 464,033 | Gross: $232.64M

Doctor Strange is another run-of-the-mill MCU origin story that we've seen many times before, with a twist. Primarily, Marvel took viewers to a new place, introducing a new aspect to their universe in the shape of magic, and another risk that could have been seen as stupid, but paid off in the end. Cumberbatch is excellent in the title role, as well as Tilda Swinton. As is the case with MCU films, the fantastic Mads Mikklesen was criminally under-used as the villain. Scott Derrickson clearly had a bold vision for the film, and may have produced a genuine standout feature given the freedom, but due to the weight of the remainder of the franchise, was likely subdued. Despite all this, the visuals were fantastic and the ending was gleefully different and creative, but these alterations only obscure the generic Marvel tropes visible in previous films, instead of eliminating them.

20. Deadpool (2016)

R | 108 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

65 Metascore

A fast-talking mercenary with a morbid sense of humor is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers and a quest for revenge.

Director: Tim Miller | Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein

Votes: 780,798 | Gross: $363.07M

Another unpopular opinion I have is that Deadpool was not as good as everyone says it was. Let me justify this. I went in hugely excited, eagerly anticipating the film since its announcement, I really wanted to love it. The idea of an R rated superhero film did even more to increase my hunger for the film. I saw it, and it was good. That's all I had to say. Ryan Reynolds was hugely charismatic, and perfect for the role, and the addition of Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead was welcome. For me though, once again, the villain was one-dimensional and dull. The meta-comedy and breaking of the fourth wall was clever and funny, however, many of the other, basic jokes became tiring over time and lost their effect rather quickly. The action scenes were entertaining, especially when ingrained with comedy, but in the end, I was a little disappointed, whilst the rest of the world seemed to love it!

21. X-Men (2000)

PG-13 | 104 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

64 Metascore

Two mutants come to a private academy for their kind whose resident superhero team must oppose a terrorist organization with similar powers.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen

Votes: 521,298 | Gross: $157.30M

The way I see it, superhero films would be very different if it weren't for X-Men. It paved the way for future films and showed there was a market ready to see comic books adapted for the screen. It tells a small-scale story with large-scale ambitions, and doesn't try to multi-task. It tasks itself with the arrangement of characters and relationships with a straightforward story. The characters are well cast, the effects, though dated, do their job, and the end result is a fun ensemble film.

22. Ant-Man (2015)

PG-13 | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

64 Metascore

Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Director: Peyton Reed | Stars: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Evangeline Lilly

Votes: 461,285 | Gross: $180.20M

At first, I was excited for Ant-Man, with Edgar Wright attached to direct and Paul Rudd to star in what sounded like an interesting diversion from the formula. When Wright dropped out and Peyton Reed signed on, I predicted another undercooked origin story. Luckily, this was not the case. The changing scale, literally, and the lighter tone turned out a film that didn't take itself too seriously and was much more enjoyable as the result. My favourite aspect was the cast itself, Paul Rudd, Michael Peña, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly were all stellar. Once again, the villain sucked but I've come to expect that by this point, although I will acknowledge that his motivations, though generic, were clear. A pleasant diversion from usual fare with a lighter tone, one fo the better origin films.

23. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

PG-13 | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it's up to Earth's mightiest heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plan.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth

Votes: 616,481 | Gross: $459.01M

The second Avengers film arrived at the end of Marvel's Phase 2, and brought with it heavy expectations from the preceding films, tasked with delivering something better than the original Avengers. Unfortunatley, this was not the case. It's a solid film, and the villain, Ultron, was voiced perfectly by James Spader, despite his generic motivations. There's a lot more to love, including Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, with Quicksilver appearing very lacklustre after seeing an ideal interpretation of thr character in the X-Men series. The final battle is near identical to the finale of the first Avengers with our heroes fighting off waves of nameless drones, where they could have done much more. You can see Joss Whedon growing tired of the MCU and as a result the film lacks the spectacle and surprises of the first Avengers feature.

24. Iron Man 2 (2010)

PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Sci-Fi

57 Metascore

With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father's legacy.

Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Votes: 623,454 | Gross: $312.43M

Iron Man 2 is similar to a guilty pleasure film. I like the action, the new gadgets, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, and watching the progression of Robert Downey Junior's character, alongside the introduction of Don Cheadle's War Machine, and Scarlett Johanssen's Black Widow. Put plainly, there's a lot to like here, and on paper, could be one of the better 'filler' movies. The issue is that it is all bound together in such a way that its hard to focus on one aspect, there's too much to process. In one word, it could be described as over-stuffed. You have Tony dealing with his father and his past, his relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow, and his medical issues, alongside the foundation of Whiplash and his relationship with Sam Rockwell. There's too much content and this results in a somewhat messy film with missed potential. It is a decent film, but the way it is arranged leaves a lot of promising Iron Man mythology in its wake.

25. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

PG-13 | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

54 Metascore

When Dr. Jane Foster gets cursed with a powerful entity known as the Aether, Thor is heralded of the cosmic event known as the Convergence and the genocidal Dark Elves.

Director: Alan Taylor | Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård

Votes: 510,070 | Gross: $206.36M

The first Thor was hardly a success, granted it was early in the MCU and before the idea had really hit its stirde, but nevertheless, it went under the radar of most audience members. When the inevitable sequel arrived, it initially gained a positive welcome, that seemed to die down very quickly. I never saw that, and have since just considered this a deeply average film. Natalie Portman, though a fantastic actress, puts no effort into her performance, showing she doesn't want to be there. Hemsworth and Hiddleston play off each other very well once more, but if you have Loki in your film, why do you need another two-dimensional villain. It became irritating at this point that Marvel were just throwing pointless villains at us. They have no relevance outside their film, they are almost always destroyed in the end, and they have no ripple effect on the rest of the MCU. If you'r going to have a villain, either develop them, or allow them to leave some impact on the MCU, that's the advantage of a connected universe. Another passable film that does little to break the mould of samey 'filler' films.

26. Iron Man 3 (2013)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

62 Metascore

When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

Director: Shane Black | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Votes: 658,750 | Gross: $409.01M

Despite the MCU's shortcomings, it has always done a good job or hiring some of the best direcotrs out there, what with Kenneth Branagh, Jon Favreau, James Gunn, and in this case, legendary writer director Shane Black, responsible for some of the best films of the 90s. With Sir Ben Kingsley attached as the villain, it also looked like we may have a decent MCU villain on our hands, so this was a hot property going in. Now, I'm not going to rant on about the fake out villain and how stupid it was. I accept the descision made and the aftermath of Kingsley's unveiling did seem classic Shane Black. Unfortunatley, the rest of the film didn't. With such a talented and unique director at the helm, its a shame that the studio did not take a bigger risk with Iron Man 3. People complain about the lack of action, which would be fine aside from the fact that the characters have become stale, and besides from Robert Downey Junior, we had nothing to latch on to. This could have been an explosive finale to Iron Man's solo character arc, but instead, it was another dull retread of the same template we'd seen over and over again. Black's presence here is the most disappointing aspect, once again, a lot of missed potential.

27. Thor (2011)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

57 Metascore

The powerful, but arrogant god Thor, is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston

Votes: 646,833 | Gross: $181.03M

Thor was one of the first additions to the MCU, and despite all of its better moments, the emerging studio was still a little unsure of their ambitious plans. Primarily, the hiring of Kenneth Branagh was hugely exciting and to his credit, helped create the most visually stunning location of the MCU in the form of Asgard. The costume design in this film, though derived from established domains, is sensible yet stunning. The casting of Hemsworth and Hiddleston remians one of the best descisions made in he early days of the MCU and has established them as the A-List stars they are today. However, the usual gropes applied. Lacklustre villains (meaning the Frost Giants, not Loki), and a story that, aside from its arrangement of Asgard, wasn't all that interesting. I appreciate the aesthetic direction of Branagh here, as well as the attitude of the two stars, but otherwise, this is one of the most forgettable instalments in the MCU.

28. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a "Super-Soldier serum". But being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a war monger and a terrorist organization.

Director: Joe Johnston | Stars: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell

Votes: 625,929 | Gross: $176.65M

After Iron Man's critical and commercial success came Captain America. It was an intruiging perspective to see a superhero film take place in the World War 2 era, and provided a basis for lots of contemporary setpieces and imagery. Unfortuantley, instead of focusing on trench warfare and giving a fun spin on war films, it introduced a new Hydra mythology. I was not against the film taking a different path but found the motivation of the villain, despite his excellent portrayal by Hugo Weaving, to be muddled and in the end the narrative seemed convoluted. The recurring trope about my lack of care for the characters also reared its head. In the end, I praise it for the unique setting, but little else beyond that.

29. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

PG-13 | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

61 Metascore

Bruce Banner, a scientist on the run from the U.S. Government, must find a cure for the monster he turns into, whenever he loses his temper.

Director: Louis Leterrier | Stars: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt

Votes: 382,894 | Gross: $134.52M

This was the second major attempt at a Hulk film, after the atrocious Ang Lee attempt, and whilst it is an improvement, it was not significant enought to justify further solo films featuring the character. Whilst the Hulk has become a bankable character, the poor reception of his solo films have caused denial as to wether it is worth expanding the character outside of the Avengers films. This film was another promising prospect before its release, with both Edward Norton and Tim Roth attached, it could have been another feayher in the MCU cap before the cinematic universe got off to a real start. Unfortunatley, it fell flat. It's not a bad film, but it feels somewhat empty, and I found it hard to resonate with the characters, the majority of which seemed one dimensional, and the inclusion of Abomination, whilst and interesting choice, seemed somewhat tied in and something the film could have done without. Nevertheless, the final sequence is entertaining, but the overall product remained a somewhat underwhelming experience.

30. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

40 Metascore

A look at Wolverine's early life, in particular his time with the government squad Team X and the impact it will have on his later years.

Director: Gavin Hood | Stars: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, Danny Huston

Votes: 423,841 | Gross: $179.88M

Everyone loved Wolverine up to this point, and have gone on to love him since, but if there was ever a moment of doubt, it was more than likely caused by this. It could have been the nail in the X-Men franchise coffin after The Last Stand, but the idea of a solo Wolverine film sounded fantastic. Hugh Jackman still does a great job, and it is always entertaining to see him on screen, however, the overall plot and its construction make for a muddled experience that has dampened several beloved characters. The CGI is horrible, the portrayal of Gambit and Deadpool were both poorly handled and somewhat unjustified, as though the studio did not know what it was doing. Looking back now, it was just a speedbump before the franchise kicked into gear again, but such a significant one that fans are still expressing their hatred towards it today. Let's just thank god for James Mangold, and try and forget this one.



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