Elshadai Aberra and Tara Martin | Social Media Editor and Web Editor-in-Chief
Methodology: A holistic grading scale was used where intrigue and seamlessness of the storyline was weighted the heaviest. Factors such as animation and production were considered but to a lesser degree.
The Top Tier, 1-7:
1. Avengers: Endgame
Reason for placement: This movie easily had the most debate around it’s placing. All in all, Endgame deserves the number one spot as it is a beautiful, three hours and one minute ode to nearly every character Marvel has crafted for fans over the past 11 years. No other movie had us quite literally falling out of our seats like Endgame.
Best Moments: There are way too many amazing moments in this movie and we cannot possibly unpack them all, but some of our favorites include: Captain America wielding Mjolnir, the entrance of all the characters in the final battle, female superheroes assemble, and “I am Iron Man.”
2. Avengers: Infinity War
Reason for placement: This movie floated between number one and number two for much of this list’s construction. Ultimately, it was placed at number two not because of its own downfall, but because Endgame was just that good.
Best Moments: Thor’s insane entrance in Wakanda with Rocket and Groot, “I hope they remember you,” and Steve Rogers’ beard. The beard was especially important. Like, vital.
3. Thor: Ragnarok
Reason for placement: Who doesn’t love Ragnarok? It finally redeemed Thor and gave him a movie that didn’t put the audience to sleep, advanced his own plot, and was funny on top of it all. During Ragnarok, we laughed, we cried, we prayed. Additionally, we met Korg and Miek, universal treasures to us all.
Best Moments: Korg’s “revolution”, the arena fight between The Hulk and Thor, all scenes with the Grandmaster.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy
Reason for placement: What’s not to love about The Guardians? Sure, Rocket is a kleptomaniac specializing in body parts and Groot’s vocabulary consists almost entirely of his own name, but that’s why they’re so special. With a diverse set of characters plus the bangin’ 70’s soundtrack, this movie is fun for the whole family.
Best moments: The Guardians’ prison breakout, Groot’s sacrifice, and the dance-off to save the universe.
5. Captain Marvel
Reason for placement: The Kree-Skrull War storyline was classic but the 90’s setting and soundtrack gave it a refreshing twist. The ending was satisfying while still leaving so much more to be desired in terms of the who/what the Supreme Intelligence is and their placement in the MCU in the future. Also, Marvel finally produced a solo movie for a female superhero, and it’s Carol Freakin’ Danvers.
Best moments: Carol absorbing the power of the Space Stone, “I’m Just a Girl” fight scene, and Fury typing the original Avengers Initiative.
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Reason for placement: They did it. Marvel finally got the casting of Peter Parker right. Homecoming finds its place at number six because, yet not limited to, Tom Holland, that scene at the deli where Peter speaks Spanish, and have we already mentioned Tom Holland?
Best moments: Peter Parker webbing Donald Glover, Peter Parker talking to The Vulture on the way to homecoming, and Aunt May finding out Peter is Spider-Man.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Reason for placement: This was another movie that’s placement shifted quite a bit throughout the making of this list, particularly switching with its own prequel. While the addition of Mantis and Baby Groot (who we would die for) sends this movie over the top in terms of characters, the Ego plot line falls short when compared to the original Guardians.
Best moments: Groot looking for Yondu’s fin, Rocket teaching Groot how to use the wires, and Yondu becoming a Guardian.
The Middle Tier, 8-13
8. The Avengers
Reason for placement: No other movie on this list is as iconic as the first Avengers. To see all of our favorite heroes come together as one single entity is nothing short of a cinematic revolution. This film opened the doors for more recent team-up hits such as Infinity War, starring 76 characters that spans across the entirety of the MCU. Despite the film’s impact, Marvel only improved upon themselves as time went on, landing The Avengers in the middle tier of our list.
Best moments: The original Avengers assembling, Hulk smashing Loki, and Tony throwing the missile into space. That foreshadowing hit a little too close to home, though.
9. Doctor Strange
Reason for placement: In the end, we like Doctor Strange, but it’s a long, long journey there. His constant desire to heal his hands contrast with his resistance to the Ancient One almost to the point of exhaustion. However, exploring realms outside of what seems possible switched up the plot line that, which in the MCU can come off as formulaic. Also, that cape is really cool.
Best moments: The Ancient One’s death, the out of body hospital fight, and “Dormammu, I’ve come to bargain.”
10. Captain America: Civil War
Reason for placement: This was not a war between Iron Man and Cap, this was between right or wrong. I’m sorry your parents are dead but you’re not yourself when you’re hungry, Tony. Eat a Snickers bar and get over it. In contrast, the Sokovia Accords story line was a different problem from what we had ever seen the Avengers tackle before and it set the stage nicely for Infinity war.
Best moments: Spider-man and Black Panther’s introduction, the entire airport fight scene, and Bucky finally being granted the asylum that he deserves.
11. Iron Man
Reason for placement: The one that started it all, 2008’s Iron Man. There is so much to be grateful for in this movie, mostly that Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of a cocky, billionaire turned superhero just so happened to be perfect. Without this movie’s initial success, who knows where the MCU might be today. Probably somewhere in the trash with the DCEU.
Best moments: Tony skipping the Apogee Awards to go to the casino, Tony building the Iron Man suit inside the cave, and “I am Iron Man.”
12. Captain America: Winter Soldier
Reason for placement: So, we’re back with the weird Hydra plot. We could’ve changed tracks, we could’ve jumped ship altogether, but no, we decided to resort once more to Alien Nazis. However, the addition of Bucky as the Winter Soldier thickens the plot of the entire MCU for years to come. It’s a little messy here and there, specifically with past and present transitions for Steve Rogers, but like the other two Captain America movies, it pulls through at the end with lots of solid battle scenes in between.
Best moments: “On your left,” Steve visiting his museum, the elevator fight, and “Who the hell is Bucky?”
13. Black Panther
Reason for placement: A mostly black cast, smooth transitions between Wakanda and the rest of world, and a protagonist you can’t help but love place Black Panther at number 13 on our list. Holding it back from higher ranks wasn’t the movie itself, but rather how overhyped the promotion for the movie was.
Best moments: Erik Killmonger as a child, Killmonger challenging T’Challa at his coronation, and Killmonger shirtless.
The Bottom Tier, 14-22
14. Iron Man 3
Reason for placement: In this movie there is a lot of good but just as much bad. On one hand, Tony Stark is forced to deal with the ramifications of his previous actions and that internal conflict makes for good screen time. On the other hand, The Mandarin is one of the least menacing villains of the entire MCU.
Best moments: Iron Man rescuing the people from the plane, Tony meeting Harley, and Pepper saving Tony.
15. Captain America: The First Avenger
Reason for placement: So, they took World War II in an interesting direction. Definitely was original. However, original is not always better. Still, this movie showed us how good of a guy Steve Rogers truly is and gave us a super cool female character in Peggy who was not there just to play the lead’s love interest.
Best moments: Steve jumping on the grenade, Peggy touching Steve’s newly born abs (girl, we feel you), and every precious moment of Steve Rogers singing and dancing.
16. Ant-Man and The Wasp
Reason for placement: Just as with the first Ant-Man, Ant-Man and The Wasp does not exactly deliver the thrill it should, or not until the very, very last minute. For playing such a crucial part in the MCU, the vast majority of this movie is anti-climatic and should be put on your ‘Watch if You Have Time or are Really Really Bored List.’
Best moments: “Cap…tain America”, all scenes with Luis, and Thanos’ snap while Scott is in the Quantum Realm.
Reason for placement: Ant-Man in such an amazing character in each and every movie he’s been in. Civil War and Endgame both showed how quick-witted and smart this character truly is. Though Paul Rudd plays him flawlessly, the story lines of his solo movies suck.
Best moments: That Baskin Robbins story line could’ve milked another fifteen minutes.
18. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Reason for placement: What is this movie? I mean, seriously, can anyone give me a straight answer or what is going on at any point in time after Ultron is created? This movie is doing way too much and Ultron’s voice was weird. Ending on a slightly more positive note, this is one of the funnier Avengers movies.
Best moments: The Avengers trying to lift Thor’s hammer, the creation of Vision, and Steve and Tony rationalizing why Vision could lift the hammer.
19. Iron Man 2
Reason for placement: This movie was hilarious and captured some of Tony Stark’s best one-liners. Jokes aside, Iron Man 2’s story line is pretty dry and at times, just odd. Iron Man 2’s villain, Ivan, can join the ranks of The Mandarin in villains that just don’t work. On a lighter note, this is the first time audiences meet main character Natasha Romanoff.
Best moments: Natasha beating up Happy Hogan and Tony, Natasha, and Fury in the Donut Shop.
Reason for placement: This movie did not in any way, shape, or form, make us care about Thor, Loki, Jane, the old dude, or the old dude’s van, and somehow we have gathered a distaste for desert climates. Any movie that makes an audience believe that Loki is anything less than perfection is not really worth the time.
Best moments: Thor eating breakfast?
21. Thor: The Dark World
Reason for placement: We really did not think it could get any worse for poor Thor, but here we are, with The Dark World. One of us actually had to watch this movie three times because she fell asleep the first two. She’s still not quite sure what went down in The Dark World.
Best moments: Nothing is coming to mind and we’re not watching the movie for a fourth time.
22. The Incredible Hulk
Reason for placement: This film honestly doesn’t deserve a place on our list and serves as a horrific injustice to the beauty and grace that is Mark Ruffalo. Nonetheless, it is still apart of the MCU, no matter how much we deny it, and if it must be on our list, it might as well be dead last.
Best moments: Honestly, none of the moments follow the criteria to be considered good let alone the best.