Road to Infinity War: Nikko Ranks the MCU Films

Ladies and gentlemen, we are just two days from Avengers: Infinity War. This has been 10 years in the making. No doubt that the Russo brothers will deliver a fantastic film that will propel the MCU to even greater success. However, not all of the movies in this universe have been received well. Marvel has since learned from a lot of their mistakes early on and have delivered some amazing movies. It’s only fitting to look back on all the films that are considered to be a part of the MCU and rank them. Please not that this ranking system is 100 percent my opinion.

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18. Incredible Hulk

Let’s just get this one out of the way. I still don’t understand why they thought Edward Norton would play a convincing Bruce Banner. Even though this movie sought to redeem the flop that was Hulk, resulted in a movie that focused less on plot development and more on action. I can’t even say I remember anything that happens in this movie other than the post-credit scene that feature Tony Stark.

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17. Iron Man 2

No matter what anyone says, Robert Downey Jr. was born to play Tony Stark. However, had he not done this film, the whole project would have failed. The movie spent too much time setting up the Avengers movie, which made the story itself feel rushed. For some reason, Jon Favreau thought that it was a good idea to include Mickey Rourke to this movie was a good idea. His character seemed like another generic villain that was needed. By the end of it, he became what I like to call a “Forgettable Movie Villain”. The one of the good things about this film that it introduced Natasha Romanoff and gave Rhodey his Iron Patriot suit. But this was definitely a low point for the MCU.

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16. Iron Man 3

With the success of Marvel’s The Avengers and seeing many heroes in one movie, all the hyped moved on to Iron Man 3. Many hoped that this movie would be a lot better than its predecessor. It delivered, on certain aspects. When it was announced that The Mandarin would be the villain of the film, I was excited. He was the main villain in the Iron Man animated series, which I grew up watching. I had full faith that Sir Ben Kingsley would deliver a great performance as that character but it was strange to me that they went with a non Chinese actor. And when it was revealed that he wasn’t really The Mandarin but merely an actor pretending to be him, I was devastated. I’m still hoping that they do The Mandarin justice in a future film. After all, it was revealed in the Marvel One Shot short All Hail the King that an actual Mandarin exists.

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15. Thor

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t watched this film until a few weeks ago while doing the Marvel Movie Friday Challenge. I knew very little about Thor around the time the film came out and even after years of the movie’s release, I never really thought I needed to watch it. However, I do think that the film did a great job of introducing several things like S.H.I.E.L.D. and how everything would be connected. I also thought that Thor’s introduction to many of Earth’s customs was done well. Ultimately, this still doesn’t seem like a movie I’d go back and watch.

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14. Thor: The Dark World

*insert a long sigh here* Like with Thor, I didn’t watch this when it was originally released. But once I watched it, I’m sort of glad I waited to see it. The plot in this film seems all over the place and the possibility of Thor having some comedic moments in further films was killed in this film. This movie also includes “Forgettable Movie Villains” that don’t seem to have any long lasting impact on the MCU in general. This is also one of the two films that has not been certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

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13. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Oh Joss Whedon, what were you thinking? This movie was full of controversial choices. Before we can even talk about these choices, we need to talk about the film itself. There are many storylines in this film, which made the film messy. It all felt really rushed and I found myself wanting more. Whedon’s decision to have the Black Widow and Hulk storyline was unnecessary. I’m glad that they included the Maximoff siblings but I wanted them to be Magneto’s children. I also don’t understand why Pietro had to die. Just sayin’.

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12. Captain America: The First Avenger

The movie that introduced Steve Rogers to the big screen. It sets up his origin story super well without all the propaganda that the character was based on. What I didn’t like was that the film made him the ultimate hero, or at least the embodiment of one. I couldn’t really feel that the character really struggled throughout the film. He did lose his friend Bucky but I just couldn’t really feel like he cared. Yes, this film was his introduction but it lacked in a few areas. But if you’re interested in learning more about the character, make sure you check out the episode that our hosts recently put out!

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11. Marvel’s The Avengers

“Does mother know you weareth her drapes?” That has to be one of my favorite lines from the film, or quite possibly from the entire MCU. This film was what many fans had wanted, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes coming together on a live-action film. All heroes in the film get their own time to shine on screen, which was a step in the right direction. Loki proved to be a great villain and it introduced Thanos as the main villain that they would all need to go against eventually.

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10. Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2

If this were a list of ranking soundtracks, this would automatically take the #1 spot. The soundtrack for this film is one that I listen to at least once a month. As for the film, it sought to follow the success of its previous film. However, it focused way too much on the jokes and silliness that flowed perfectly in the first film. It was funny, but it got annoying at times. I had wished that they would’ve had the plot revolve around the infinity stones or something related to Thanos. The reveal of Peter’s father and his real intentions was predictable. What made this film memorable for me was the development in the relationship between Gamora and her sister Nebula.

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9. Doctor Strange

I wasn’t really sure what this movie would bring to the MCU or how I’d feel about it. What this ended up being was Iron Man but with magic. Both show an egotistical genius who discovers who he really is after a major event in their lives and that they both have potential to be heroes. The scene where he travels through different dimensions for the first time has to be one of the most captivating things I’ve seen. The writing, however, seems to lack in some areas and I also don’t understand why Kaecilius couldn’t be the only villain. I also have an issue with having Tilda Swinton play the Ancient One.

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8. Guardians of the Galaxy

A rag-tag team of heroes that came together and introduced us to the more cosmic aspects in the MCU. I was overjoyed when I heard that Chris Pratt had signed on to be Starlord. Like a lot of people who watched the film, I didn’t know a lot about these characters. But I grew to love them and read some of their comic arcs. All of these actors do an amazing job bringing these characters to life and won the hearts of many fans. And no James Gunn, I won’t accept that Groot actually died.

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7. Ant-Man

Ant-Man was another hero I did not know much about. I was also on the fence of watching this film since Edgar Wright left the project and Peyton Reed took over. After watching it, I was fully onboard with Paul Rudd playing Scott Lang. One of my complaints was that the villain, yet again, is forgettable. I didn’t quite understand his motives for being a villain other than wanting more power. Michael Peña’s character is probably one of my favorite characters in all the MCU. I’m hoping that he has at least a cameo in Infinity War. Michael Douglas is the perfect choice to play Hank Pym. I’m excited to see Evangeline Lily with her Wasp outfit in the sequel.

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6. Thor: Ragnaork

I wasn’t too sure if I would watch this. Like I’ve said, my track record with watching Thor films hasn’t been that great. However, once it was leaked that Hulk would be in the film and pictures of his armor were shown, I was in. The trailer was way different from anything I had seen before. I liked seeing Thor with shorter hair; it seemed like the right fit. The entire cast does a phenomenal job throughout the film. Cate Blanchett as Hela was truly amazing to watch. Seeing Tessa Thompson in her Valkyrie outfit and seeing her kick ass was fantastic. The film also used a lot of humor but it worked, unlike with what GOTG Vol 2.

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5. Spider-Man: Homecoming

One of my favorite super heroes is Spider-Man. I grew up watching the animated series and made my parents buy me a Spider-Man lunchbox. I was overjoyed when it was announced that he would be a part of the MCU. His appearance in Civil War solidified my belief that he plays the best Peter Parker and Spider-Man. While his solo film does have its falls, I was just happy to see his character getting justice. Michael Keaton’s portrayal of The Vulture was perfect. I’m excited to see what the sequel will bring. But I’m hoping that they’ll fix his Iron Spider suit.

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4. Captain America: The Civil War

This was a film that I never thought they’d make. However, this was such a huge event in Marvel comics that there was no way that they could avoid doing this film. This film introduced Black Panther and Spider-Man into the MCU. Seeing Ant-Man ride one of Hawkeye’s arrows was incredible to see. Even though Giant-Man was spoiled because of merchandise, it was still awesome to see. There were a few things that I didn’t like about the film. I don’t understand why the conflict had to revolve around Bucky. I also don’t understand why Zemo was the main villain. I think that this film could have just focused on the conflict and the Registration Act.

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3. Captain America: Winter Soldier

This was my favorite MCU film for a long time. I was dethroned after I was into the Marvel Movie Friday Challenge. The progression of the story flowed perfectly and it made sense. There may be flaws but I think the story outweighs them. It gave birth to Crossbones and the friendship between Sam and Steve. The fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the perfect plot for the film. It set up the idea that the Avengers were on their own. To think that the Russo Brothers went from directing episodes of Community to this fantastic film is mind blowing. This is a film I got back to at least twice a year and will never get tired of watching.

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2. Black Panther

This movie will go down in history as one of the greatest super hero films ever. It’s broken records and proven that people of color have what it takes to not only carry movies but bring out box-office hits. Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Kilmonger is done extremely well. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia was such a badass character. Letitia Wright as Shuri became another one of my favorite characters in the entire MCU. All of these actors did a fantastic job. I could sit here and write endless praise for this film. The soundtrack for this film is amazing. Highly recommend to check it out if you still haven’t done so already.

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1. Iron Man

The movie that started it all. The idea to bring forth a not-so-known hero and have him be played by an actor who Hollywood had cast aside was a huge risk, which ultimately succeeded. RDJ was born to play Tony Stark. He is Iron Man. The emotion that he conveyed during his scenes in the cave were so genuine and so compelling to watch. This film means so much to many people. This film made it possible for us to be where we are today, waiting two more days for Infinity War. I watched the Iron Man animated series and had played him in the Marvel vs Capcom games when I was younger. I was so happy that this film was getting made.

After 10 long years, Infinity War is right around the corner. This film will be a brand new chapter in the MCU. But it would not have been possible if it weren’t for the previous films. Thank you, Marvel Studious, for allowing many fans to enjoy these films and make memories.

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Author: Nikko Soto

Just a Sith Lord who loves Harry Potter, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Trollhunters, Comics, Anime, Scary Movies, and all sorts of other pop culture things. Oh, and someone once named me "The Batman of English majors". Twitter and Instagram: @DarthNikkuhl

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