The Marvel Cinematic Universe Films Ranked No. 17 - 12


 In a new series of articles where I rank the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films, last week I ranked films 23-18 (The Marvel Cinematic Universe Films Ranked No. 23-18).  This week I will be talking about films ranked 17 through 12, as with last week's article this one will contain spoilers.  This ranking is purely based on my thoughts and I am sure others will disagree with some of my choices.  My list was interesting to write about because I was surprised by myself of where some of these films ended up on my list.  There has not been an MCU film that I disliked, but there are films that I just enjoyed more than others.  The MCU will continue to grow and with several new franchises launching over the next few years, I will need to revisit my list.  Phase four of the MCU is a giant question mark right now and that is the first time since Avengers that I have no clue what to expect.  Spider-Man: Far From Home gave us a hint at what the next Avengers film might be in its post-credits scene (Kree-Skrull war) and that might not even be an Avengers film.  This year (2020) is the first year that fans will not have any MCU film or TV show debut, hopefully by 2021 we will get to see everything we missed this year.

17) Iron Man (2008)

The film that started all of this, Iron Man, the film everyone thought would suck and instead it started a film universe with 23 titles and many more on the way.  Robert Downey Jr. being cast as Tony Stark was at the time a risky choice but now over 20 years later it might have been the best or at worst third best.  Tony Stark is instantly shown to be full of himself but also a lot of fun and a character you like even though you know he is a bit of a jerk.  The Tony Stark at the beginning of the film and the one at the end shows us his journey from selfish billionaire to hero.  The film is great and is always fun to re-watch, though the movie feels small compared to what has come afterwards.  The original Iron Man is the best of the three Iron Man films and introduces fans to Nick Fury (post-credit scene) and Agent Phil Coulson (who would go on to lead the Agents of Shield tv series).  The tone of the film brings the right amount of levity, warmth and adventure while also keeping the movie about something.  The villain played by the always great Jeff Bridges, Obadiah Stane was a human villain and was the representation of Tony earlier in the film.  I do wish in future films we got to see more of Stane, he was a father figure to Tony but in all of the wrong way and their relationship would have been something interesting to explore in a sequel.  Stane though was killed off (we think) in a fun action sequence that seems cute compared to some of the sequences they have pulled off in other films.  The movie is low on my list for just one main reason, the scope of the film feels small.  

16) Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

In 2015 after seeing Age of Ultron I remember thinking "that was okay" but I was not wowed like I was in the first Avengers film.  In 2020 my thoughts have changed as now I feel Age of Ultron was the superior film.  Ultron (voiced by James Spader) was an artificial intelligence (AI) treated by our heroes to protect the earth; Ultron though realized the earth needed protection from humans.  Ultron was an AI, but he was also incredibly human and had some human-like emotions, and his undoing was because of his human-like emotions.  The Avengers in this film are now joined by Vision, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver who all have great introductions.  Age of Ultron looks a lot better than the first Avengers movie and the action is better, likely due to a higher budget.  My favourite scene in the movie is when the Hulk and Iron Man (now in his Hulkbuster armor) fight, it was an awesome fight and was visually so cool.  If I had a bone to pick with the film, it would be that we never get confirmation that Ultron is still alive (hopefully he is) and that Quicksilver dies saving a Hawkeye and a civilian.  I get Marvel killing off Quicksilver only because the version we saw of Quicksilver in the X-Men: Days of Future Past has one of the best scenes in the film, but regardless of the X-Men I think the MCU should have kept Quicksilver alive.  It is weird to think of Age of Ultron as the last Avengers film before Infinity War, though in a lot of ways Captain America: Civil War (more on that film in a future article) was like another Avengers film.  

15) Captain Marvel (2019)

The MCU film that opened before Avengers: Infinity War had to be Captain Marvel, if only because of the post-credits scene with Nick Fury.  I had mixed feelings about Brie Larson being cast as Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), I was worried she would not be intimidating and intense.  I was wrong, the writers and director did a good job of letting Brie Larson play the character as a strong, smart, tough, and arrogant hero.  I think they can expand on Brie Larson's acting skills in future sequels, this film just focuses on her origin and her return to earth as a now superpowered hero.  I was never taken out of the film by the digitally altered Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) but was made to look younger.  I liked seeing Nick Fury and Carol Danvers starring in a buddy cop MCU film, and the villain twist was great.  I admit that I never even considered that the Skrulls might not be the bad guys in the film, though having the Kree in the film as an intergalactic police force added to my confusion.  By the end of the film, we are treated to the reveal that the Kree are bad guys, which was already seen in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film and on the Agents of Shield tv series.  The movie had lots of humor and finally seeing how Nick Fury lost his eye was one of the best running gags in the film.  I am looking forward to the sequel and to another appearance of Carol Danvers in the current MCU timeline.

14) Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Like Captain Marvel (which opened before Endgame), Ant-Man and the Wasp opened right after Infinity War.  The Ant-Man films are possibly the smallest (pun intended) scope in the entire MCU, but they are likely the funniest films in the entire MCU.  The reveal of the Wasp costume at the end of Ant-Man had me excited for this film and seeing the Wasp in action was awesome.  The film though small in scope has some great action set pieces and I cannot explain how cool the villain's powers looked.  The film featured an improved villain from the first film, but the film used a lot of similar humor from the first film.  I think if the Ant-Man films had more direct ties to the rest of the MCU I think these would easily have made my top ten.  I have heard some things about the third Ant-Man film that makes me incredibly excited and there finally could be some direct ties to the next Avengers film.  The chemistry between all the characters is great and that is what makes the film so much of a blast to watch.

13) Doctor Strange (2016)

The mystical realm of the MCU was introduced in Doctor Strange and things have never been the same since.  The visuals to Doctor Strange are probably the most unique in the MCU and it was the visuals that got me hooked at the beginning of the film.  Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, Benedict Wong as Wong, Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecillius and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo were all great casting choices.  The two characters that stand out the most for me were Mordo and The Ancient One, Mordo starts out as an ally but by the end of the film, you see him start to become an adversary.  The Ancient One played by Tilda Swinton had some of the best scenes in the film, and it was great that we got to see her again in Endgame.  Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange was possibly the least interesting character in the movie, but the character does grow a lot by the end of the movie.  It was not that Cumberbatch was not good, but he played a character so similar to Tony Stark but a lot less fun and likeable that you did not connect to him as quick.  My favourite scene is when Strange and The Ancient One are having a conversation on a hospital balcony in the astral plane while The Ancient One is dying on an operating table.  Something about the look of that scene, the dialogue and the acting makes it one of the top scenes in all of the MCU, and it is the main reason Doctor Strange is so high on the list.

12) Ant-Man (2018)

The smallest of the avengers is also the funniest, Ant-Man to me is the funniest film in the MCU and has some of the most unique action sequences.  The casting of Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym, Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne and Michael Pena as Luis were all great casting.  At the time of the cast announcement, I was a little unsure of everyone but after watching the film, I think the chemistry between all of them was great.  Paul Rudd was a great choice because he is just so likeable and his reactions to the things happening were always funny.  Michael Pena stole the film for me, he was just so funny, and I would have loved to see more of him in other MCU films.  The way the film played with size was just something that led to cool moments while also being played for laughs.  The fact that Ant-Man plays more like a comedic heist film than a superhero film works in its favour as it had a unique feel to it.  The only bad thing I can say about the film is the villain was very weak, but it is just a heist film, so the villain did not need to be great. 

That was MCU movies ranked 17 through 12, when I set out to write the list, I had issues with feeling I was ranking some movies too low and I kept having that feeling with Iron Man.  No matter how many times I adjusted the list Iron Man kept coming up at 17, and Ant-Man kept moving up because I just like the movie so much.  This ranking is my personal taste, and I am okay if people disagree with my choices but they are my choices, I have a habit of liking movies others say are not good.  Join me next when I cover MCU films ranked 11 through 7.

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