If one notices a recurring theme of some of my more recent posts… hey, it’s an excellent time for updating all things Marvel-ous! 😉
When I produced the original Marvel Countdown a few yeas ago, ranking my personal favorites of the first two phases of the MCU, I always intended, in due time, to add the Phase 3 movies to the ranking. Mind you, at the time I had thought there would only be eight of these additions, not a full eleven, but, plans change! It’s a been a fun, rip-roaring ride, to say the least! 😀
Now, it must be said, again, that I am not making any statements about the quality of any of these movies. Some may be arguably “better” than others, but they are all absolutely superb and a great deal of fun! 🙂
This is merely a list of how I would rank them as my “favorites,” according to no opinions other than my own.
That comes with double-difficulties, though. Not only was I left trying to arrange all eleven of the Phase 3 movies in relation to each other, but also in relation to the first twelve movies of the first two phases. There was a lot of back and forth and shuffling that went into this list.
Finally, while I won’t bother commenting on the older movies, other than to simply include them in the list, I will comment on the newer ones, and I won’t be holding any spoilers back, so…
And now that that’s done, let’s get to it! 😀
23) Thor: The Dark World
22) Iron Man 2
21) Incredible Hulk
20) Iron Man 3
19) Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Man, the lowest-ranked of the new additions is a sequel again. At this rate, one might start thinking that I dislike sequels! 😉
If I had to have any points to knock this one lower than one might expect, I suppose it could be the overdone theme of found families coupled with how Star-Lord’s father is an evil dad of cosmic proportions. But, really, that doesn’t actually bother me.
It’s a fun, funny, tender, touching, action-packed movie that does not shy away from horrific things like Ego’s murder of all his progeny, and a woman he claimed to love, as well as a massive Ravager mutiny, with the better portion of Yondu’s crew being jettisoned into space, like the space version of walking the plank. It was a tragic scene, that was paid off brilliantly in Yondu’s annihilation of his entire mutinous, murderous crew. He died redeemed and had a magnificent, touching funeral.
I also loved the entire relationship of Nebula and Gamora finally coming to sisterly fruition.
It is only unfortunate, I think, that the third installment of this trilogy will include a Gamora that is not Star-Lord’s Gamora. 😦
16) Doctor Strange
The origin story of Doctor Stephen Strange, who will become the Sorcerer Supreme, has its pros and its cons. It tells as riveting and entertaining a tale as any other origin story, with visuals unlike any yet seen in any other MCU movie. The characters are more complicated as well, from the villain to the mentor figure to the parter/sidekick to the hero himself. It’s fascinating to see how it all plays out.
One small detail, though: I think we’ve graduated beyond the need for the hero to start out as an overgrown man-child before being bitterly humbled and then becoming a hero, ya know?
That said, there is very little else to complain about in this movie. 🙂
Though… I am incredibly wary of the horror genre, so to hear that the sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is going to be a horror story, has me a little… unsettled.
15) Ant-Man and the Wasp
A sequel that truly builds on the thread of the hero’s previous adventures, and presents a solid story wherein a proper partnership between two similar heroes is formed? Now that sounds like fun!
I thoroughly love the story of Scott Lang simply trying to do right by both his family and his friends. It wrestles with questions of right and wrong, of how most people are just trying to get by in spite of past mistakes. The officers of the law may be honorable, and honor-bound to stand in Scott’s way, but the law is not always right, especially once it’s been corrupted. One could even argue that the usual superpowered villain isn’t really a villain at all, just a misguided victim trying to survive.
That is a level of complexity, and humanity, that most films, even in the MCU, do not always explore. And all of this in the midst of zany, wild action, a much-needed comedic relief in the year between Infinity War and Endgame. 🙂
14) Captain America: Civil War
Wherein Captain America spends almost the entire movie just trying to keep his friends from killing each other.
It has one of the best, albeit most humble, of the MCU’s villains, in my opinion. It has intrigue and political discussion, and an exploration of the consequences of heroism. Most of all… it has awesome hero vs hero fights!
The fight at the airport is among my favorite moments in the MCU, hands down. 🙂
I’m actually a little surprised at myself for not placing this one a bit higher on the list. I suppose, as much as I enjoy this movie, it just doesn’t quite hit home as much as the others. The crisis that splits the Avengers feels very contrived, and it ends with the promise that they’ll come back together again. Kind of an odd sort of let-down, ya know?
13) Black Panther
He is not the first black leading character in the MCU, and he is not the first black superhero in the MCU, but he is the first to have the movie named after him. That is not as momentous, I think, as it was made out to be, but it was still pretty great.
A king, new to the throne, must govern his nation and navigate a crisis as the ghosts of his father’s reign come immediately to haunt him and threaten his nation, his family, and the world. It’s a fantastic action-adventure, drawing obviously on African culture, to create another unique addition to the MCU.
And I really liked Killmonger. Not as a person, of course, or even as much of a visionary, but as a figure who could, with a slight tweaking of the lens, as history tends to do, be considered a cultural and national hero… who just happened to also be a raging, murderous psychopath with a lot of blood on his hands. If he had succeeded, that is.
There were some ways it could have been a little more fleshed-out, though, and it felt a little like the movie had a racial chip on its shoulder, but it was still a great movie. 🙂
12) Spider-Man: Homecoming
Peter Parker’s coming of age story, or at least part of it, as he tries to rise up while the world pushes him down, and even the ground under him can’t seem to stay in place. It’s fantastic!
The Vulture is one my favorite villains in the MCU, simply because they made it easy to connect with him as a person. They did the same thing with Peter, as a person, giving both hero and villain some truly human depths to explore.
Ultimately, in order to eventually soar among the stars, Peter had to learn the value of keeping his feet on the ground, and he made some real personal sacrifices in order to do what was right, for the right reasons.
What’s not to love about that? 😉
11) Captain America: The First Avenger
10) Iron Man
9) The Avengers: Age of Ultron
8) Thor: Ragnarok
The God of Thunder… is thoroughly humbled!
They did so well with both Thor and Loki in this movie. They stripped Thor of his grandeur, and made him magnificent, via his struggles. And they finally redeemed Loki, without turning him into a saint, but, rather, into a brother.
Hela’s part as Asgard’s conqueror may have been the weakest part of the movie, but the principle of sacrificing a place in order to save its people was pulled off brilliantly.
And who could help but love both the redemption of a drunkard Valkyrie, as well as the dual role of Bruce Banner and the Hulk, eh?
It’s only tragic that they escaped one mass-murderer just to flee unwittingly straight into the path of another. Of all the rotten luck!
7) Captain Marvel
Unlike DC, Marvel has no need to make tons of noise over their female superheroes. 😉
The story of Carol Danvers’ origin as Captain Marvel is intricate and complicated. They told it exceptionally well, starting at one point and reaching back to unveil the past as well as make promises for the future. It was a great balance of fun action, witty humor, and compelling drama. Marvelous! (Sorry, I had to make the pun…)
I had feared it might have had some ridiculous, overblown feminist message, but I didn’t notice any such thing. It was simply a strong, beautiful (but not overly-sexualized) woman kicking butt and coming to grips with her own identity.
The villain might have been a little lackluster, though, and the climax felt more like the beginning of the fireworks, with the promise of more to come, rather than the conclusion of such.
Still, I loved it! 😀
6) Spider-Man: Far From Home
Wow. Just… wow.
Spider-Man’s world is turned upside-down, as he tries to be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man while the world wants him to be the next Iron Man. He’s thrust into an epic fight when all he wants to do is enjoy his vacation and tell the girl he likes how he feels. But with great power comes great responsibility, and he can’t avoid it forever.
The villain, Mysterio, is new and unique, with an unusual power set that Spidey has to use his all his wits, power, and will to match. Even more, just when things seem to be settled, he lands one last sucker punch that is sure to have dire consequences for the web-slinger from here on out.
I know they haven’t announced the next Spider-Man movie, but if it’s not the first one out in 2022, if not earlier, then Marvel be slipping up! 😉
5) The Avengers
4) Guardians of the Galaxy
3) Avengers: Infinity War
2) Avengers: Endgame
Let’s be honest: these two movies function best as two halves of one extended feature. 😉
Together, they make for the ultimate cinematic crossover event of the MCU! Not only by bringing all of the previous heroes together, but even intersecting with all of the previous movies in surprising ways. It is a fantastic, marvelous, glorious ride, the grand crescendo of all that has come before, and a crucial pivoting point for all that is to follow!
It has all the action! All the plot! All the suspense! All the tragedy! All the triumph! All the epic mastery of the MCU in one place!
And even a good deal of humor! 😉
I absolutely, rabidly love these two movies!
…still, they fell just one inch shy of the top spot, just in my personal preference.
1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The winner, and still champion! 🙂