With Spider-Man: Homecoming currently in theatres, I figured it would be a good idea to look back at the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and rank each film from my least favourite to my favourite. Beginning in 2008 with Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe shows no signs of slowing down and now consists of sixteen movies, including the web-slingers latest reboot.
Note: Since I last created one of these lists I have completely re-watched the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This means that my opinion on some movies may have changed.
16. The Incredible Hulk
Director: Louis Leterrier Release Date: 2008 My Rating: 5/10
Cast: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell.
For years, Bruce (Edward Norton) has been living in the shadows, pursued by the military and haunted by the rage within. But travelling the world in secrecy isn’t easy, and as hard as he tries Bruce can’t get Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) off his mind. The daughter of Bruce’s nemesis Gen. Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt), Betty represents everything that is beautiful in the world to a man who lives his life on the run. Eventually, Bruce returns to civilisation and faces the wrath of The Abomination. While the Hulk may be a formidable force of nature, The Abomination is decidedly more powerful and determined to destroy Bruce Banner.
15. Iron Man 3
Director: Shane Black Release Date: 2013 My Rating: 5/10
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Rebecca Hall, Ty Simpkins, Paul Bettany.
Plagued with worry and insomnia since saving New York from destruction, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), now, is more dependent on the suits that give him his Iron Man persona — so much so that every aspect of his life is affected, including his relationship with Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). After a malevolent enemy known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) reduces his personal world to rubble, Tony must rely solely on instinct and ingenuity to avenge his losses and protect the people he loves.
14. Thor: The Dark World
Director: Alan Taylor Release Date: 2013 My Rating: 5/10
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Stellan Skarsgård.
Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s “Thor” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
13. Iron Man 2
Director: Jon Favreau Release Date: 2010 My Rating: 6/10
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Rockwell, Clark Gregg, Paul Bettany.
In Iron Man 2 the world is aware that billionaire inventor Tony Stark is the armoured Super Hero Iron Man. Under pressure from the government, the press and the public to share his technology with the military, Tony is unwilling to divulge the secrets behind the Iron Man armour because he fears the information will slip into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts and James “Rhodey” Rhodes at his side, Tony forges new alliances and confronts powerful new forces.
Director: Kenneth Branagh Release Date: 2011 My Score: 5.5/10
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Stellan Skarsgård, Clark Gregg, Kat Dennings.
As the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), king of the Norse gods, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will soon inherit the throne of Asgard from his ageing father. However, on the day that he is to be crowned, Thor reacts with brutality when the gods’ enemies, the Frost Giants, enter the palace in violation of their treaty. As punishment, Odin banishes Thor to Earth. While Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s brother, plots mischief in Asgard, Thor, now stripped of his powers, faces his greatest threat.
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon Release Date: 2015 My Score: 6/10
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Elizabeth Olsen, James Spader, Paul Bettany, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Andy Serkis.
When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jumpstarts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the rest of the Avengers to reassemble. As the fate of Earth hangs in the balance, the team is put to the ultimate test as they battle Ultron, a technological terror hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they encounter two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff.
10. Captain America: The First Avenger
Director: Joe Johnston Release Date: 2011 My Score: 6/10
Cast: Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Samuel L. Jackson.
It is 1941 and the world is in the throes of war. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wants to do his part and join America’s armed forces, but the military rejects him because of his small stature. Finally, Steve gets his chance when he is accepted into an experimental program that turns him into a supersoldier called Captain America. Joining forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Captain America leads the fight against the Nazi-backed HYDRA organisation.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
Director: James Gunn Release Date: 2017 My Score: 7/10
Cast: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki.
Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.
Director: Peyton Reed Release Date: 2015 My Score: 7/10
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer.
Forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) recruits the talents of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a master thief just released from prison. Lang becomes Ant-Man, trained by Pym and armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants. The miniature hero must use his new skills to prevent Cross, also known as Yellowjacket, from perfecting the same technology and using it as a weapon for evil.
7. Doctor Strange
Director: Scott Derrickson Release Date: 2016 My Score: 7/10
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tilda Swinton, Benjamin Bratt.
Dr. Stephen Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Director: Jon Watts Release Date: 2017 My Score: 8.5/10
Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Bokeem Woodbine, Michael Chernus, Robert Downey Jr.
Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the watchful eye of mentor Tony Stark, Parker starts to embrace his newfound identity as Spider-Man. He also tries to return to his normal daily routine — distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a friendly neighbourhood superhero. Peter must soon put his powers to the test when the evil Vulture emerges to threaten everything that he holds dear.
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Director: The Russo Brothers Release Date: 2014 My Score: 8.5/10
Cast: Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Frank Grillo, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford.
After the cataclysmic events in New York with his fellow Avengers, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), lives in the nation’s capital as he tries to adjust to modern times. An attack on a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague throws Rogers into a web of intrigue that places the whole world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a new ally, the Falcon, Rogers struggles to expose an ever-widening conspiracy, but he and his team soon come up against an unexpected enemy.
4. Avengers Assemble
Director: Joss Whedon Release Date: 2012 My Score: 9/10
Cast: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg, Tom Hiddleston.
When Thor’s evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), gains access to the unlimited power of the energy cube called the Tesseract, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D., initiates a superhero recruitment effort to defeat the unprecedented threat to Earth. Joining Fury’s “dream team” are Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
3. Iron Man
Director: Jon Favreau Release Date: 2008 My Score: 8.5/10
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Terrence Howard, Paul Bettany, Jeff Bridges, Clark Gregg.
A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him to force him to build a devastating weapon. Instead, he builds an armoured suit and upends his captors. Returning to America, Stark refines the suit and uses it to combat crime and terrorism.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn Release Date: 2014 My Score: 9/10
Cast: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Lee Pace, Benicio del Toro.
Brash space adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) finds himself the quarry of relentless bounty hunters after he steals an orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain. To evade Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with four disparate misfits: gun-toting Rocket Raccoon, treelike-humanoid Groot, enigmatic Gamora, and vengeance-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when he discovers the orb’s true power and the cosmic threat it poses, Quill must rally his ragtag group to save the universe.
1. Captain America: Civil War
Director: The Russo Brothers Release Date: 2016 My Score: 9.5/10
Cast: Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Robert Downey Jr, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Holland, Paul Rudd, Paul Bettany, Chadwick Boseman, Daniel Brühl, William Hurt.
Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side.
Do you agree with my ranking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Be sure to let me know in the comments section below!