Monday, May 9, 2016

Ranking The MCU- Iron Man, Dardevil, Civil War, and Everything In between

13 Films and 4 TV Shows In, I Personally Rank Them From Worst To Best

Captain America: Civil War came blasting into theaters this weekend and for many it lived up to all expectations, and for others it failed to leave such impression. Regardless, I have decided it was a good time to go through and rank the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) as a whole, including television shows, from worst to best. 

Honorable Mention: The One Shots 

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There are 5 Marvel One-Shots to date, and unfortunately no more planned for now, and while they aren't really connected to each other and act more as companions to a specific film, I have decided to include them here in an honorable mention since they are too hard for me to ignore. 
The 5 One Shots:
The Consultant - Follows Coulson and Sitwell and explains Stark in TiH
A Funny Thing Happened on The Way To Thor's Hammer - Coulson just being badass
Item 47 -  A standalone follow up to The Avengers
Agent Carter -  A Peggy Carter story
All Hail The King - Trevor Slattery isn't the real Mandarin? Justin Hammer? Whats not to like

Also not included but totally canon in my mind is the Coke commercial with Ant-Man and The Hulk. Deserves a mentions at least.

17. Thor: The Dark World

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Thor: The Dark World isn't a terrible movie, but something had to take this spot and unfortunately this fit best. It is clumsy and full of plot holes, has too much humor and not much of it actually funny, and filled with annoying supporting characters. The stakes of this film also feel way too small and going on from here this film hasn't really made an impact in the universe at all, hopefully the Loki/Odin storyline will continue. Plus who even really remembers Malkeith?

16. Iron Man 2

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Used as an extensive trailer for the impending Avengers' movie, Iron Man 2's actual story takes a backseat here. The movie is still packed with a lot to love, but Whiplash is a weak villain and the Demon in a Bottle storyline is put to waste. On a positive note, Black Widow, Fury, and Justin Hammer all shine in this movie and War Machine makes an entertaining debut as well.

15. Iron Man 3

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This movie is actually quite good. In fact I would say this might be a great film. Too bad it is a lackluster Iron Man movie. Two great plots were completely changed here, for the average audience nothing is wrong here, for comic fans we are given a watered-down extremis plot and extreme mishandling of the Mandarin story. What makes this all the more sad is that the trailers looked amazing, and the 10 Rings organization hinted at in the previous films was a perfect start to give us the real Mandarin, but now we are just left with more questions. Also, the ending was completely pointless with the removal of the arc and the destruction of his suits.

14. Agent Carter

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Agent Carter is a great freaking show. Marvel's Hayley Atwell led, 1940s crime-thriller is pure fun. It shows so much in terms of the greater MCU and has its own stories that are just as exiting. With appearances from many returning stars, including 'Howard Stark' and 'Arnim Zola', the show really feels like a necessary branch of the ever expanding universe around it. The reason it ranks so low though is that it never really feels impactful and more just insightful. We know the major players futures and that takes away from the show a bit. Also noted is that the lack of real heroes, while refreshing, also makes it less interesting.

13. Thor

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The lowest ranking first solo-outing of any Avenger, Thor suffers from too much time spent on Earth and not enough on Asgard. The film itself, like everything on this list, is still a good movie. It is fun and has a heart and sense of adventure, plus Tom Hiddleston steals the show. 

12. Jessica Jones

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Jessica Jones delivers us with an interesting dynamic between Luke and Jessica that is entertaining as hell to watch and the supporting cast isn't entirely boring. On the brightest note Killgrave is the most terrifying villain Marvel has to date, just a twisted and demented bastard. Unfortunately the show feels a little predictable towards the end and drags on for too long in the middle. 

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron

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When did Tony get more suits and get over his PTSD? When did Banner and Romanov become involved and have time to train together, even using a 'lullaby'? How many missions have The Avengers actually been on together then? So many questions as the film opens and even more as it ends, Ultron suffers from just being a good film when it should be a great one. Once you get over the new origins for Ultron, Scarlett Witch, Quicksilver, and Vision, you appreciate the film more. That said this is still a movie with a lot of flaws when it should have ranked amongst the best.


                               10. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

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This show receives a lot of undeserved hate from those who quit after a few episodes, because once The Winter Soldier came into play the show took one of the best turn arounds I've ever witnessed. Now coming to the close of its third season we see every little seed the show planted in its lackluster first few episodes come to fruition. The show is action packed, emotional, smart, has real stakes, and amazing character development. Grant Ward is also one of my personal favorite villains in the MCU.

9. The Incredible Hulk

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The most underrated film in the MCU arsenal, this is a film that deserved better. Bruce Banner is played by one of my favorite actors, Edward Norton, as a man on the run and just trying to cure himself. We have nods to S.H.I.E.L.D and the greater MCU, a true Stark cameo, one of the MCU's best third act fight scenes, and a stellar performance from William Hurt as General Ross. Too bad this seems to be the film that gets ignored the most, even in the MCU, at least Agents and Civil War have tried to change that. 

8. Ant-Man

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The most recent and only 'origin' film of Phase 2 brought things back down to a personal and singular level as this film is one that for the most part really could standalone. We are treated with an extremely likable supporting cast and the ever charming Rudd in the starring role. It is the closest thing to a true comedy from Marvel and while many have been critical of that this film really benefits from not taking itself too seriously. 
Also, quick note, are we ever going to learn more about the 10 Rings member in the film or about Mitchell Carson getting away Cross Particles for Hydra? 

7. Captain America: The First Avenger

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The first film of arguably one of the greatest trilogies of all time, The First Avenger plants so many seeds for the future as well as letting a few that were previously planted finally blossom. This movie has the distinction of being a WWII set period-piece. We see the origin of Cap and the fall of Bucky, who plays a huge role in Cap's next solo outings. Peggy and Steve also have Marvel's best relationship and Weaving plays an amazing Red Skull (it is a true shame he doesn't appreciate it). I believe if people went out again and watched the whole Cap trilogy from start-to-finish that they would grow a greater appreciation for this movie. 

6. Marvel's The Avengers

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20 years ago nobody thought this movie would ever happen. Another huge Marvel game changer. This film's release was truly an event. Nobody could wait for the movie and Joss Whedon really had to deliver on this one. Fortunately for everybody he did, balancing almost every hero (sorry Hawkeye) and bringing back Marvel's best villain at the time, Loki, The Avengers  was smart, funny, and just thoroughly entertaining. This may not be the movie I enjoyed the most but 50 years from now this will be the one that goes down with the classics. 

5. Guardians of The Galaxy 

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The one that changed the perceptive of the MCU, it showed that Marvel can make a success out of a bunch of unknowns. Literally even a lot of comic fans weren't aware of who these guys were ( I had some prior knowledge, but not a lot) and it showed us a completely new side ot the always expanding universe. This is one of the most just outright fun movies to fun, and Groot and Rocket blast their way to the top of most everyone's favorite character list. Ronan isn't as great as he could be, but the film leaves you still anticipating the return of this ragtag team of A-holes.

4. Iron Man

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A game-changer for hero films, it popped out of the shadow of The Dark Knight and paved its own lane. It started a universe, and had this film failed this list may have ended with 2 films (The Incredible Hulk was also released in 2008). One of the most personal and singular films in the MCU, Iron Man succeeds on its own merits and not on the films that come before it. The entire cast of the film was on their A-game and Robert Downey Jr. proved himself to be Iron Man right off the bat. 

3. Daredevil

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A definitive MCU show, though it differs from the movies in that humor is almost nonexistent here. Action and brutality are in full effect and the world stays grounded and also shows us some of the most out-there issues in this universe so far. Season 1 might have been in this spot on its own, but once Season 2 introduces the best showings of Punisher and Elektra so far then it was solidified. Don't miss this show, one of the best t.v. shows I have seen, on par with Breaking Bad and Dexter (through season 4). Plus Fisk is one of the greatest on screen villains in recent memory.

2. Captain America: Civil War

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Many are hailing this as Marvel's best film to date, and it is hard to argue that. The film has amazing action scenes, emotional depth, great acting, and strong new additions. The airport fight scene is arguably the best fight scene in any comic book movie, ever. Seeing all The Avengers is a real treat and Black Panther and Spider-Man steal the show. We also see more of one of the MCU's most interesting characters, The Winter Soldier. Though this film still has glaring questions (did Spidey have to sign the accords? If not does that make Tony a hypocrite the whole film? If he didn't have to sign because he isn't an Avenger then why would Ant'Man be arrested for breaking them? How can we get no mention of Inhumans or even S.H.I.E.L.D.?) Another problem I had was a slight pacing issue, the movie really loses some steam thanks to its long run time, perhaps as i see it a 3rd and 4th time my opinion will change, it just seems the number 1 spot has an immense replay value that this one lacks.

1. Captain America: The Winter Solider 

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The Winter Soldier is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. Take away the character;s names and costumes and you are left with a very solid political thriller, add all of that and you are given an even greater universe behind it, with huge stakes felt and more emotional connection than any of the Marvel films before it. The replay value of this is spectacular, the film never really drags and Pierce and The Winter Soldier are two of the most threatening villains the MCU has had. I thought Civil War may top this film, but unfortunately I was wrong. I am not sure if Marvel will ever get this close to perfect again, but I am looking forward to the day they do.  

So this is my list, I want to here yours! Tell me your thoughts, opinions, and overall rankings in the comments below!

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