Monday, May 8, 2017

Ranking the Marvel movies

Vox has ranked all the Marvel movies, and since I don't agree, I want to do my own ranking. This will be a quick one.

The Avengers
About as close to perfection as you can come with an ensemble action movie.

Black Panther
I mean, seriously, this movie is fucking great. The setting, the plot, the characters, the EVERYTHING. 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I just love this movie and I think it's crisp and brillant in what it does.

Thor Ragnarok
This movie is funny as hell, and it contains one of the best thematic arcs of the whole universe. Google "Thor Ragnarok colonialism". 

Captain America: Civil War
That one was a blast, too. Really, the top spots could be arranged in any order and I'll sign on.

Iron Man
Really good first and second acts, but the third act struggles because the villain doesn't connect at all and the final fight is...meh.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Ok, now I'm cheating, haven't seen this one yet, so I'll take Vox at their word.

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron
Better than its reputation, this movie really wins out because of the relentless focus on the human cost and ethical issues.

Guardians of the Galaxy
This movie was a fun-fest from start to finish.

Iron Man 3
I like the Manadrin-reveal more than many people, and the middle part of the movie is exceptionally strong. The finale suffers, once again.

Captain America: First Avenger
Once again, strong first and second act, but villain and third act are real doozies and the supporting cast is dropped like a hot potato.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
It was fine, with nice jokes, tight pacing, good character work and all, but it never overwhelmed me or anything. 

The scenes in Asgard are great, but the stuff in the little town in the desert is too corny for my tastes and and the giant robot thing is just yawn-inducing.

The Incredible Hulk
This movie also suffers from a bland end-game baddie. As long as the guy is a soldier, he's interesting enough, but the monster fight doesn't catch on at all, and the casting is off as well, with little chemistry between the main leads.

Iron Man 2
Yeah, well, that's one a structural mess. Marvel's first baby-steps at building the MCU, and it shows.

Thor 2
This is also all over the place, and they didn't seem to have known what to do with the characters other than "we need a second Thor with Loki in it".

The first Marvel movie to really leave me cold. Not a bad movie, but I was bored.

Doctor Strange
The first Marvel movie I actually disliked. I found the writing atrocious, the story forced, and the tricks didn't sell me enough on the small screen to overlook all these issues.


  1. I like your list. A few comments:

    Iron Man: You say he doesn't work, but I think Jeff Bridges just has so much charisma that he's one of the better villains. Almost all Marvel villains ultimately suck, especially at the plot level (where they are simply obstacles to be overcome). One of the few things DC does better. Since they start with such a low bar, I think having a charismatic actor instill some life into the villain is often the best you can hope for, and Obie achieves this, at least in the 1st/2nd act. You're correct that the 3rd act is silly, but I think it still works well enough because Bridges/ Downey are both so good.

    I'm not sure I would rank Thor 2 higher on the list, but I find it more memorable than Iron Man 2, 3, and Incredible Hulk. Nothing about it works much except for Loki (and some of Thor's early maturation/development is necessary and fine). But Loki is such an exceptional character, basically the only Marvel villain with three dimensions (I liked Ultron, but still not sure he counts...). The Loki scenes in this movie are memorable enough that the whole movie is elevated above some of the other soft duds, which were perhaps slightly better overall but had nothing memorable in them at all.

    Dr. Strange: I agree with you about most of the film, except I think the first act is one of the best. Everything until he gets to the Training Temple is a really interesting character building origin story... it reminds me a lot of Iron Man 1, actually. Then it utterly falls apart.


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