With the recent release of Marvel Studio’s Guardians of the Galaxy, it became the tenth installment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that we’re grown to love over the course of the last six years when it all began with the man in the can Tony Stark. In this ramble I shall be ranking the ten MCU films in the order of my preference, you may have the ordering of the films differently, this is just my personal opinion on what I enjoyed personally. So what’s rundown the list of the Top 10 Marvel Studios Films.
10. Iron Man 2 (2010)
I’ve never been more letdown in a Marvel Studio film more than Iron Man 2 (some will argue Iron Man 3, but I’ll get to that in the IM3 entry). Following up from the terrific Iron Man film that essentially started it all and with a very good early start in the film, up to the Monaco racing scene, I thought we were in for something special…and yet it never came. Too much was pushed into the film to outline the plot details for the upcoming Avengers Assemble by bringing in SHIELD and Back Widow, Tony Starks alcoholism wasn’t tackled like I would’ve hoped and the film really couldn’t decide to balance on who was the main villain between Micky Rourke’s Whiplash (visually impressive, though cop out villain comeuppance) and Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer. It’s not one of the worst comic book films made by any means, just one of the most disappointing.
9. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
At number nine is the second Incredible Hulk film we got in the 2000’s and though this is more of a reboot but with a quick recap of the origin in the opening of the film. I really liked Edward Norton as Bruce Banner in this film, showing how he nails the tortured version of Banner here in this one and thought Tim Roth done well in the role of Emil Blonsky/Abomination, showing the opposite of Banner and how he embraces the transformation. Pity that the behind the scenes issues seem to cost Norton’s return and the film not getting as much credit as it deserves, though hopefully one day we’ll get to see what Mark Ruffalo can bring to the table in a full length Hulk feature from Marvel, rather than Avengers appearances.
8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
At number 8 is the Thor sequel ‘The Dark World’ which still in itself is a decent film, it is nowhere near as good as it’s predecessor mainly due to the main villain this time round being Malekith, who is evil for the sake of being evil, which is fine in itself, but at least give Christopher Eccleston something more to work with here. The obvious bright sparks would be the interactions between Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston probably playing out the most fleshed out villain in the MCU at the moment), the attack on Asgard by the Dark Elves and the funerals sequence that takes place after.
7. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Number 7 we have Steve Rodgers in Captain America, which I must admit, I didn’t like that much the first time I watched it, thought it dragged out too much at the start, but after a few views since it’s DVD release, I enjoyed it a lot and the pacing wasn’t as big an issue as what I originally made it out to be. Chris Evans is great as Rodgers as we see the transformation of this little man into this genetically modified super soldier and his relationships between Bucky Barnes and Peggy Carter keep you invested throughout the film. Schmidt/Red Skull is a formidable villain but is displaced too easy (one would say, too easy) but for Marvel Studios period piece, it was a nice step to have us invested in Cap and setup nicely for Avengers Assemble.
6. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Probably the most controversial Marvel Studios film to date on the list is Iron Man 3, with Shane Black at the helm instead of Jon Favreau. Here we got to witness more about Tony Stark the man, rather than the man in a can, as he begins to struggle with the aftermath of Avengers Assemble. The dialogue for Stark’s quirks are as fast paced as they are witty with the Black/Downey Jr collaborating once again after Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. The main grips everyone has with this film is this is more 00Stark than it is Iron Man and also for the fact of the character that they were nailing in The Mandarin and then…..yeah, they twisted that. But for the twist in the way that the film was going, some, like myself, bought it and others understandably checked out at that point and were done with the film.
5. Thor (2011)
Before Guardians of the Galaxy, you could argue that Thor was Marvel Studios biggest risk in trying to create a film with Thor, the God of Thunder, played by Chris Hemsworth who is still unknown to the film going audience and somehow make this God a character that audiences can relate to and yep Marvel and director Kenneth Branagh pulled it off nicely by having Thor cast out from Asgard onto Earth without his God-like abilities. Hemsworth is Thor, literally, and carries the film alongside Tom Hiddleston as Loki, who became an instant sensation and scene stealer. The overall cast assemble is great as well as the action sequences.
4. Iron Man (2008)
The one that kickstarted it all, Iron Man comes in at number 4. Back in 2008 robert Downey Jr was still considered a risk, Favreau was never considered an action type filmmaker and Iron Man wasn’t even considered as a household name….what a difference one film makes. Downey Jr is born to play Tony Stark, with terrific special effects and heart, with good chemistry between RDJ and Gywneth Paltrow, as well as his interactions with original Rhodey and who doesn’t love that The Dude Jeff Bridges is the bald bad guy here?
3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
A film that balances the fun with the serious, comedy with action, a talking raccoon with a talking tree, Marvel Studios biggest risk to date has been embraced with open arms by the film going audience so much that Marvel now can literally bring forth ANY characters from their catalogue to the bring screen, Guardians of the Galaxy is the funniest film from the Studio to date and also the one with the most heart. The cast gel effortlessly together on the big screen, Chris Pratt is 40% Han Solo and 60% himself as Star Lord, Saldana is good as Gamora, Bautista is hilarious as Drax who just can’t quite grasp metaphor’s and the obvious standout is the interactions between Rocket and Groot. Fantastic set pieces, a decent villain but really it’s all about the group of A-holes themselves and now the fan cry for an assemble of The Avengers with the Guardians of the Galaxy shall be heard for the next few years.
2. Avengers Assemble (2012)
Before 2014, this film was number 1 on the list and thought it wouldn’t be bettered until I went to a double header screening with this and the inevitable number 1, Avengers Assemble was a terrific event film experience. To see these superheroes band together to fight a big world threat just had the inner child screaming out. Fast forward a few years later and it still holds as a very good film, though the shine of the event has worn off and the story isn’t as good as the next film. The interactions between the characters are Whedonesque, every character gets their moment to shine on the big screen, which is no easy feat and the action set pieces are well directed by Joss Whedon. Sure the Chitauri may be taken out too easily, but the main focus of the villain piece is of course Loki, though when thinking of his overall plan, as Stark points out later, is ‘not a great plan’.
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Number 1 is a film that really surprised me, not in terms of comic film sequels, but in how comic films can be any genre that it wants to be and still be intriguing throughout, as The Winter Soldier places our Superhero Cap into an espionage thriller that feels like a throwback to that genre. Here as Rodgers adapts to life in the modern world, he begins to see the world isn’t as black and white as it used to be and so isn’t as much of the boy scout he used to be either, beginning to question Nick Fury’s motives as well as S.H.I.E.L.D’s. It’s the most mature film in the MCU, with a game changing reveal halfway through the film. Evans is at his best as Cap and Johansson essentially is the co-lead as Black Widow who is more fleshed out here than she has been in Iron Man 2 and Avengers combined and Mackie’s Falcon is a welcome addition. As for The Winter Solider? He’s great and I ain’t going to spoil who it is for you, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
So do you agree with the order of the list? How would the rank the 10 Marvel Studio films to date?