The MCU: Ranked

The MCU is a cinematic universe of 23+ feature-length films and 2 TV Shows based on Marvel comic book superheroes – one that began with the release of ‘Iron Man’ in 2008.

Plot Synopsis: The Red Logo that’s grown to world-domination by the power of 21st-century blockbuster moviemaking & dark-horse studio bets on characters ~nobody knew/wanted pre-’08, Marvel isn’t the first superhero brand [copying nearly every hero from DC’s pre-established mythology of comics] and its movies are wildly-overrated – the reason we got into film reviewing to correct as an injustice. Ranked.

CLC’s Official Marvel Cinematic Universe Ranking

1. Wandavision+ (2021)

The beginning of a new TV-era for the MCU & type of creative avant-garde innovation we’ve craved by the franchise for years beyond safe blockbuster formula, WV+ is a beautifully-stylized canvas of TV-nostalgia and authentic period-detail set-design/touches paying homage and deconstructing its entire medium – a meta-sitcom/CBM/mystery of ignis fatuus, phantasmagoria, pure experiential joy, domestic life charm, Americana, cutting-edge innovation, slow-burn villainous intent, twists, & more of Elizabeth Olsen’s fantastic Scarlet Witch. 9.4/10.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

A political, artistic interpretation of government corruption and Cap’s fight to restore freedom with swift pacing, phenomenal direction by the talented Russo brothers, and an incredible villain, CA: TWS is Marvel’s 2nd best film ever. 9.2/10.

3. Loki (2021)

A sybaritic, dark romance/comedy/mystery/scifi/adventure CBM with identity, ego, hedonism, religion, time, and megalomaniacal themes alongside a cavalcade of paradoxical variants, ’70’s synthesizer minor key chords, epic visual world-building & cinematography technical canvas amongst franchise-best, character-growth with a decadent TH performance juxtaposed by felicitous O.W. & Sophia Di Martino reciprocity, & unpredictable multiversal twists of glorious purpose and hyperaddictive detective storytelling, Loki is a synergized apotheosis of the god of mischievous trickery and first major villain of the MCU – one that takes us back in time to its early days with the modernized diversification & skillset since-acquired to overcome sidelines-miscastings, a ~stilted narrative, & mixed comedy-stylization. 8.9/10.

4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Expansive in scope and detailed in execution with a praise-worthy (mostly) non-childish tone, political undertones in its smart deliberation of superheroicism casualties/side effects, thrilling pacing, great new additions, and a stunning final Iron Man/Cap battle, despite a much smaller scale than the comics’ Civil War and few jarring joke placements, this version delivers a powerful and important contribution to the MCU. 8.9/10.

5. Iron Man (2008)

A new era of comic book movies skyrocketed back in 2008, the MCU being born by this ambitious blockbuster as sleek, zealous, and AC/DC as its protagonist. Perfectly cast in Robert Downey Jr.’s wry, sarcastic genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist with futuristic tech, energy, (mechanized) heart, and a responsibility/weapons arc vital to the New Age of 21st Century Technology and America, Iron Man is the MCU at its most mature & Malibu-cliff bedrock a franchise could be built upon. 8.9/10.

6. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

A neon-colored, pop-infused sci-fi/fantasy epic from the wildly-imaginative mind of Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok boldly reimagines the CBM & MCU – with nice Hulk v. Thor action, bleeding-edge Led Zeppelin-fueled idiosyncrasy, apocalypica, and [though at-times juvenile and with a continually-miscast Ruffalo Hulk] good comedy reframing dark Norse mythology. 8.6/10.

7. Black Panther (2018)

Culturally-authentic, powerfully anchored by Chadwick Boseman’s royalty of presence, fluid in action sequences, afrofuturistic, & one of the most compelling villains in the villain-problematic MCU by Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger, Black Panther is one of the best MCU movies – and a groundbreaking milestone for representation & cinematic globalism. 8.5/10.

8. The Avengers (2012)

Expertly weaving multiple superheroes for the first time on the big-screen in live-action – with amazing set pieces, skilled character balances, psychologically-tricky villain, & epic action scenes, The Avengers innovates blockbuster moviemaking – the Marvel comic book you read as a kid come to life. 8.5/10.

9. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

The end of an era, Endgame wraps up the Infinity Saga in epic style with massive fandom service, emotional gravitas, a darker Thanos, psychological war-aftermath reflection, & one of the wildest and best final acts in blockbuster history – despite a safe exploration of IW’s cliffhanger potential, ~clichéd time-travel arc, and Fat Thor/dabbing Hulk. 8/10.

10. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Epic and action-packed with a monstrous canvas of superheroicism, reality-wielding tyrannical villain, & stunning ending, Infinity War overcomes pacing, Thanos design, and narrative-overstuffing problems to deliver a colossal crossover event. 7.5/10.

11. Guardians of The Galaxy (2012)

An imaginative sci-fi saga respectably developing complete unknown characters into a plucky antihero cast by Gunn with a fantastic funk ’80’s soundtrack, but joke of a villain, juvenile comedy oversaturation, and moronic dance-off ending amongst the most anticlimactic & puerile in movie history. 7.2/10.

12. Iron Man 3 (2013)

A shockingly-indie feel for a Marvel movie with mega-ambitious action sequences, phenomenal new castings, and fantastic trilogy-ending character development, challenged by one of the most inane twists in movie history – wasting Kingsley & insulting comics-lore. Mixed. 7.1/10.

13. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Locationally-diverse with a better + more-accurate (independent) Spidey, stunning VFX, personal-growth arcs, romance with a softer MJ, & brilliant Gyllenhaal Mysterio, FFH corrects most of Homecoming’s flaws for fresh Euro-adventure. 6.5/10.

14. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Despite strict formula blockbusterisms with an entirely-forgettable villain, IM2 skates just above the passability line by the magnetism of its lifetime RDJ casting, tonal balance before getting overly-childish and irreverent later on, vibrance of visuals, and fine introductions for Black Widow & War Machine. 6/10.

15. Thor (2010)

Respectably serious tone with arguably the best and most dazzling visuals and cinematography of any Marvel movie to date, plus a well-cast mighty lead in Hemsworth and snakey Loki, Thor is almost passable but flawed, esoteric, & ~boring in contrived storyline. 5.2/10.

16. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

An extremely weak AI-vision of Ultron & generic plot hold back AOU from its predecessor’s heights: decent popcorn entertainment with a surprisingly darker tone & great new characters led by Olson’s Scarlet Witch, but a mess of tonal gratings, direction, and antagonism. 4.2/10.

17. Black Widow (2021)

A decade too-late for one of the original [& most forgotten] Avengers.. yet the 4th MCU release mercilessly-manufactured in a mere four months to prove the studio had no problem sexistly giving every D-lister from GoTG to Ant-Man trilogies until only WW saved her, BW is somehow-still not the grisly spy-thriller sendoff NR deserved – a lazy, heavily-clichéd, overactioned, choppily-toned, formulaic watered-down counterfeit with a selling-out Pugh, messy theme exposition, & apocryphal Taskmaster. 4/10.

18. Ant-Man (2015)

Although funny with fine size-shifting VFX and good casting in Rudd against the hilarious Michael Pena, it’s downright impossible to take this (poorly-designed) bug copy of DC’s original shrinking hero The Atom, or lame yellow-jacket villain, remotely seriously. Adjusted ~4/10.

19. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

A retro military film vibe with a career-role lead casting in the charismatic Chris Evans and jubilant nostalgic Americana, but wasted potential having Cap go around campaigning instead of fighting Nazi’s the whole time – and criminally-underutilized Red Skull. 4/10.

20. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

A pretentiously-named revisionism of Marvel’s greatest superhero to a tech-laden Iron Man’s lackey with overloaded cringey jokes, mixed villain, stilted narrative, & miscasts in everyone but Holland, the aptly-acronymed SMH is an insult to real Spider-Man fans and lore. 4/10.

21. Doctor Strange (2016)

Trippy in good visual-FX with a perfectly-cast Benedict Cumberbatch-neurosurgeon and refreshing eulogization to the Medical world, Doctor Strange doesn’t live up to its hippocratic oath of genre-innovation/evolution: a formulaic origin, entirely-forgettable joke of a Kaecilius villain wasting Mads Mikkelsen, white-washing of Asian culture, & tonal inconsistencies. 3.7/10.

22. Captain Marvel (2019)

An unoriginal WW/Supergirl/Green Lantern-ripoff with ultra-politicized one-liners, weak (contrived) origin-clichéd plotting, complete waste of the legendary Skrulls, gimmicky cat-pandering, & absolute *trainwreck* casting in Brie Larson wasting an important hero. 3.2/10.

23. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Marvel’s forgotten film but one that not only boasts strong lead acting by the incredible Norton but thrilling, bigger-than-life action and sets, Hulk may lack a strong villain and directorial finesse but does the More-Jekyll-Than-Hyde doctor serviceably. 3/10.

24. The Falcon & The Winter Soldier (2021)

A corporatized reversion to Marvel formula & sterile exec. calculations betraying everything WandaVision+ promised in a CBM-innovative/avant-garde future-MCU, FAWS: one of the biggest, most disappointing & pointless franchise-retcons ever – worse: boring, D-list characters unnecessarily matched & given a TV show from 5 minutes in Civil War. 3/10.

25. Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018)

A silly, cancerous D-superhero rom-com that, despite a decent (but underdeveloped) villain & quantum CGI, is awful in its overbearing uber-cringy ant humor, almost non-existent plotting, misused cast, razor thin-stretching, & Walmart-generic scoring. 2.1/10.

26. Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017)

Filled with an overload of cheesy, cheap forced MCU humor like nipple sensitivity, turd size, & the appalling pander display of Baby Groot, plus subpar CGI, forced dramatics, & cast of has-beens, despite Mantis and a slightly better villain than Vol. 1 (although that wasn’t hard), GoTG Vol. 2 is absolutely awful. 2/10.

27. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Perhaps the worst villain *ever* in a blockbuster movie alongside a genericized, uninteresting, dull plot, slow pacing, and lifeless visuals, TDW is a painful step back from its predecessor whose flaws it exacerbates – by far: worst MCU movie. 1.5/10.