After the release of Thor: Ragnarok last year, I put forth my first ranking of every film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s time for an update now that Marvel’s busy 2018 is nearing its end. 

10 years. 20 movies. 20 #1 hits.

That’s the Marvel Studios record. What began as a foolhardy attempt to finance a slate of movies built around Marvel’s B-squad as a way to simply prop up toy sales has transformed into an industry-altering run of success. However, not every MCU movie is actually worth watching. Sorry, Incredible Hulk.

Still, even with its lowpoints the MCU has richly become the world’s biggest film franchise and arguably also its most-watched TV show, since Marvel’s gang of filmmakers are often stuck making glorified TV episodes to a story with no foreseeable end.

As such, when I sit down to rank the films in the MCU I feel more like I’m ranking the episodes of a TV show. I end up asking myself questions like, “Is that actually a good, complete story? Or is just, basically, the best season finale ever?” And my thoughts on that vary from year to year. In truth, though, there are only two MCU movies I outright dislike. So, let’s start there.

From worst to best:

20. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Unchanged

What I Said Then: “It’s a perfectly ho-hum mid-2000s superhero movie, the kind Fox was churning out at the time. There’s no real hint of Batman Begins-style gravitas nor of the signature, Marvel Studios blend of comedy and action. That makes Hulk a film without a country or identity and thus easily the most skippable in MCU history.”

What I’ll Say Now: Probably everyone’s least-watched MCU movie.

19. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Unchanged

What I Said Then: “It all lacks the vibrancy and certainty of purpose of the first Iron Man. You leave the film only barely remembering Mickey Rourke was even in it.”

What I’ll Say Now: Such a shame the wonderful Sam Rockwell got his MCU shot in Iron Man 2. He could have been a great addition to the universe in a better movie.

18. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Unchanged

What I Said Then: “This overstuffed sequel does everything it can to start laying the groundwork for Civil War, Black Panther, Ragnarok, and even Infinity War while also trying to be a satisfying sequel to one of the biggest films of all time. Not surprisingly, it struggles under all of that weight and leans a little too much on expecting us to actually care about Hawkeye and his secret family.”

What I’ll Say Now: Remember Quicksilver? Anyone? No, seriously, what this film does with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver might soon prove to be the template for how Marvel will introduce mutants and thus the X-Men – namely, they’ll get their powers from the Infinity Stones, probably as some sort of universe-wide event when Thanos is inevitably defeated.

17. Doctor Strange (2016)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Back one spot.

What I Said Then: “If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then what about self-imitation? Is that just you patting yourself on the back? This is the trap Doctor Strange does its best to avoid. It doesn’t always succeed.”

What I’ll Say Now: Marvel has produced three official Iron Man movies, but they’ve also arguably made three un-official Iron Man origin stories: Iron Man, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. Point being: both Ant-Man and Doctor Strange are just re-dos of the Iron Man formula. Of the three, I prefer Doctor Strange the least. That being said, the Dormammu sequence is easily one of the better final fights in MCU history.

16. Iron Man 3 (2013)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Back 6 spots.

What I Said Then: “If the Iron Man franchise is ultimately the story of a man accepting responsibility for his actions and coming to terms with who exactly he is without his most famous creation then Iron Man 3 is the perfect encapsulation of that journey.”

What I’ll Say Now: My opinion of Iron Man 3 keeps slipping with each passing year, possibly because much of the film’s initial power has been completely lost at this point. Shane Black made the end to a trilogy about Tony Stark’s personal journey and love affair with Pepper Potts, yet Age of Ultron, Civil War, Homecoming, and Infinity War have had to evolve Iron Man 3‘s ending. Now, the days when Tony Stark put Iron Man behind him and fully committed to Pepper seem so, so long ago, especially since the two of them are still having that same basic “stay”/”I have to go” argument in Infinity War. Still, as a clever, slightly throwback detective story told in the distinctly Shane Black mold Iron Man 3 has an overabundance of charm.

15. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Up 2 spots.

What I Said Then: “Perhaps all you need to know about The Dark World is its critical and financial reception caused Marvel to wait four years to release a sequel, the longest gap to date for any of the MCU’s sub-franchises.”

What I’ll Say Now: I like this movie more than I probably should.

14. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

I have seen this three times now, and with each re-watch, I’ve become more and more aware of just how barely stitched together the plot actually is. It’s, basically, a madcap “Scott, Hope and Hank’s Very Busy Day” adventure, and in the immediate aftermath of Infinity War this is exactly the light-hearted change of pace we needed as an audience. However, in the years to come, I predict the film’s many weaknesses will look all the more glaring when not viewed through “I just need a really good laugh right now”-colored glasses.

That being said, laughter and maybe a mad case of the feels over the various relationships on the screen is all Ant-Man and the Wasp really wants from its audience, and it pulls that off beautifully. Plus, I have so much goodwill for these specific characters in this little arm of the MCU I will watch and enjoy just about anything they do, and I can’t come down too hard on any movie featuring an ant playing electric drums and a giant man using a flatbed truck like a scooter.

13. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Back 8 spots.

What I Said Then: “The trick with The Avengers, at this point, is to remember what it was like to see it for the first time. With each new Avengers sequel or superhero team-up movie, the genius accomplishment of Joss Whedon’s original seems less and less special. Moreover, the sluggishness of the film’s first half becomes harder to ignore.”

What I’ll Say Now: When the main draw of your movie is “watch all the heroes working together for the first time” and you’ve done that countless times with better storylines, pacing, and action since then it’s hard to look back so favorably.

12. Thor (2011)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Back 2 spots.

What I Said Then: “The best part of Thor is the mid-movie humbling of the conceited, titular hero when he is exiled to Earth and forced to learn the true nature of heroism; the worst part of Thor is everything you have to sit through to finally get to Earth.”

What I’ll Say Now: Still the best origin story for any MCU villain and one of the most emotional endings.

11. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Back 1 spot.

What I Said Then:Homecoming is one of the most joyous films in the entire MCU and possibly its most post-modern. This is a film about a 15-year-old kid who has grown up in a world full of superheroes, which gives his modified origin story a refreshingly original “just trying out for the big team” feel. Tom Holland plays the extreme exuberance and anxiety of the scenario to perfection, and slings into his own colorful cast of villains and co-stars which promises great things for years to come from the inevitable sequels.”

What I’ll Say Now: Damn, that reveal of Michael Keaton as Liz’s dad is killer.

10. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

All the hype. All the theorizing over who was going to die. All the years upon years of mythology leading up to this. After all of that, we somehow ended up with a genuinely surprising film that, though imperfect and ultimately incomplete, ranks as the most stunning displays of cinematic spectacle ever recorded on film. It feels wrong, though, to even rank it since despite everything Marvel has said this is clearly part one of a two-part story. Where Infinity War falls in any MCU ranking will ultimately be determined by how Avengers 4 finishes the story.

9. Iron Man (2008)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Back 4 spots.

What I Said Then:Iron Man is actually about as good as it gets for superhero origin stories, giving us a selfish man forced in selfless action by circumstance and, more importantly, conscience. Robert Downey, Jr. owns the role instantly and shows us something we’d never seen before: a superhero tinkering and testing his costume like a good engineer, and a hero who ultimately decides against hiding behind a secret identity. The villain might eventually go crazy for no good reason, a common MCU problem, but the hero was strong enough to build an entire universe out of nothing but spare parts found in a cave somewhere. Feels like an apt metaphor for the entire MCU.”

What I’ll Say Now: The problem with Iron Man, for me, is and has always been the uninspired mech suit vs. mech suit finale against a villain who goes crazy for no good reason. Otherwise, it’s flawless superhero storytelling.

8. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Back 4 spots.

What I Said Then: “There was and remains something remarkably charming about First Avenger’s unabashed idealism landing smack dab in the age of cynicism. That kind of naked sincerity is usually missing in the MCU. Not here, though.”

What I’ll Say Now: Still works even though it’s since been repurposed to bigger acclaim in Wonder Woman.

7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Unchanged.

What I Said Then: “James Gunn’s approach to a second adventure with the Guardians is to tear them apart. However, unlike Ultron Gunn does this in the most low-key way possible, delivering a movie where nothing much of consequence actually happens until the inevitable universe-threatening finale. Bickering, crazy outer space action, and groovy tunes ensue, and the pleasure of being in the company of these characters again is more than enough to make it worthwhile.”

What I’ll Say Now: Will always hold a special place in my heart for all the times I got to watch my niece joyously re-enact Baby Groot’s opening dance number in sync with the movie on Netflix.

6. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Back 6 spots.

What I Said Then: “The first moment an innocent civilian died during one of the MCU’s climactic battles, Civil War became inevitable, and our engagement in the conflict was always going to be greatly enhanced by the relationships we’ve formed with these characters (and they with each other).Thus, Civil War is less a movie, more the season finale to one of the best TV shows ever. So much drama over Bucky.”

What I’ll Say Now: So much of Civil War is depressingly analogous to the political direction of the world right now. The best way to defeat someone, apparently, is to manipulate them into a series of self-inflicted wounds.

5. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Up 3 spots.

What I Said Then: “New-to-the-franchise director Taika Waititi doesn’t take any of it seriously nor does he expect us to, and new additions like Cate Blanchette’s Hela, Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster, and Tessa Thompson Valkyrie up the fun factor considerably. However, there is a disposable element to it all which wasn’t there before, and the action scenes are decidedly ho-hum. Ragnarok is the rare trilogy-capper which seems to have been made for people who didn’t really like or never even saw the first two films in the trilogy.”

What I’ll Say Now: One of the best choices available if you simply want to put on a Marvel movie guaranteed to make you smile.

4. Black Panther (2018)

This is what a traditional superhero movie is supposed to do, dammit. It’s not about hitting all four-quadrants, selling toys, setting up sequels, and fitting neatly into familiar story structures and language-neutral action beats; it’s about finding the truth inside the fantastical and presenting the world with something new and hopeful. Only real downside: Black Panther’s the least interesting character in his own movie.

3. Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Unchanged.

What I Said Then: “This is a more mature, politically topical, and intricately plotted effort from Marvel than usual. Impressively, it never forgets to also be fun and emotionally affecting, with Chris Evans coming into his own as a man out of time whose idealism is perfectly checked by Scarlett Johansson’s amorality.”

What I’ll Say Now: Would maybe be my favorite if not for the “Nick Fury’s not really dead! Can’t believe you fell for that” twist.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Unchanged.

What I Said Then:Guardians of the Galaxy, like much of the MCU, has a villain problem. Heck, it has an MCU problem in general. Lee Pace’s Ronan is forgettable and the hamfisted injection of Thanos into the storyline is regrettable. Apart from that, Guardians is nearly flawless – perfectly cast, impeccably paced and directed and sneakily heartbreaking. Underneath all of Guardians’ irreverence, 80s nostalgia and jukebox soundtrack beats a sentimental heart, one which celebrates the formation of a group of damaged people and weeps when the least verbose among them makes the ultimate sacrifice.”

What I’ll Say Now: Marvel’s best realization of its unique formula. Also, I actually enjoy Lee Pace’s extreme hamminess now.

1. Ant-Man (2015)

Ranking Compared to Last Year: Up 12 spots.

What I Said Then: “Edgar Wright would have undoubtedly made a more visually inventive film, but one wonders if he would have leaned as hard into the sentiment as his replacement, Peyton Reed. Ant-Man might have been the poorer for it since the most effective material on display is Rudd striving to be a better father to his young daughter and Douglas struggling to explain himself to his adult daughter. Reed crafts a suitably smaller film than usual for the MCU. It focuses more on character than circumstance and dutifully executes a heist story that leans on a rich supporting cast.”

What I’ll Say Now: The older I get the more I gravitate toward this film’s simpler, family friendly slant and message about fatherhood. Also, when watched in comparison to Ant-Man and the Wasp I have a higher appreciation for just how tightly/perfectly constructed Ant-Man‘s plot is. It does repeat the Iron Man formula, right down to the suit vs. suit finale, but the deeper personal connections between the characters and sheer visual inventiveness gives Ant-Man the edge between the two for me. Is it truly the best, bravest or most impressive MCU movie? Maybe not. But it’s the most charming and the one I most connect to right now.

What does your MCU ranking look like? Let me know in the comments.

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

5 Comments

  1. Honestly, I have kind of given up to rank single movies and have started ranking Franchises….so far it is:

    1. Captain America
    Honestly this Franchise it close to perfect. It has my favourite origin story in the whole MCU with The First Avenger, my favourite Team-Up movie with Civil War and my favourite movie overall with The Winter Soldier. And, as you pointed out, it has a tendency to be really topical. I admit, if they make another one of those I am kind of afraid of what it will be about (since this franchise is very prophetic), but if there is any franchise in the MCU I don’t want to stop ever it is this one.

    2. GotG
    well, this is the franchise which most likely won’t ever stop since they can just exchange characters however they want. But what Captain America is for political commentary is GotG when it comes to exploring complicated feelings. The first movie is pretty simple, but it does manage to address of trauma can shape someone life and how important it is to overcome it. The second one is a wonderful exploration of the effects of abuse. And has the best funeral scene ever! Look forward to the third one. If it knocks it out of the park too, I might be persuaded to put it on place one (except, not really).

    3. Spider-Man: Homecoming
    This gets difficult now because I am starting to mix franchises which had only one movie (and hence less time to prove themselves) with franchises which had multiple ones (and hence time to really mess it up). It is strange because initially, I really wasn’t into Homecoming all that much, but the more time passes, the more I am into the movie. The school setting, the villain, but above all the relationship between Peter and Tony (yeah, I guess Infinity War plays into my changed feelings). In any case, I can’t wait to see more of this Peter Parker, the best live action Spider-Man ever!

    4. Ant-man (and the Wasp)
    I haven’t seen the newest release yet, but, well, I have a good feeling about this. This is supposed to be the palette cleanser and offers some really simple fun. I like the characters, I like how they play around with the powers, my only problem is that the first movie was kind of a mess in narrative terms. I was actually hoping that the second one wouldn’t have that issue….

    5. Black Panther
    Honestly, I had kind of trouble to figure out where to put this one because frankly, I am not all over this movie as most people are. I always feel left out watching it, as if the movie is talking about something I just don’t get regarding the relationship between African Americans and Africans. And, well, I was kind of disappointed by a lot of aspects of it. I actually wanted to see how the whole “let’s pretend to be a third world country” actually works (like, I wanted to see how they fool a foreign visitor), and the last thing I wanted to see was the whole “ritual combat for the throne” nonsense. Plus, the action scenes in this one really, really bored me. They just did. But there is enough good in it (I especially dig the ape tribe), that I would put it above some of the other franchises.

    6. Thor
    I considered putting it lower because it is easily the most uneven franchise of them all. I especially HATE the way each movie disregards what was painstakingly set up beforehand. But it also did give us Loki who is still my favourite Villain in the MCU (please, don’t be dead!) and maybe the most complex character of them all. And a nice arc for the Hulk. So, yeah, I am ready to wave away some of the problems for the good stuff.

    7. Doctor Strange
    I am confident that this franchise will sneak higher with time as soon as they pick better writers. But I still love the mind-bending effects in it, and naturally the crazy visuals. Usually I wouldn’t give a movie a pass for special effects, but in this case I kind of do. I just wish there were more of the kind of craziness we see when the Ancient one pushes Doctor Strange out of his body. I also happen to like the themes of the movie (I guess this is supposed to be the philosophical franchise…more of that!).

    8. Iron-man
    Yeah, kind of strange that the franchise which started it all is so low, especially since Tony is one of my favourite characters (but then, most of the Avengers are my favourite characters…I can only do without Rhodey). But I guess it also has the problem that because it was the first, what came after improved on what it did. It will always be groundbreaking though. Anyway, the first movie is the second best origin story in the MCU, but, as you pointed out, the third act is a huge problem. I actually like the cross-over stuff in the second movie, but narratively it is a mess and the villain plot is entirely disconnected from what Tony actually goes through. And the third one had an excellent idea, but a terrible execution. Plus, where was the heavy metal? Just because it is a Christmas movie, there is not reason to remove it, there are heavy metal versions of Christmas songs.

    9. The Incredible Hulk
    The most forgettable and inconsequential of the movies to this day. It might not be the worst on a technical level, but it is soooo bland. And the two protagonists are miscast. Hulk works better in combo with other heroes anyway.

    The Avengers movies I have decided aren’t really movies, they are more events. Two worked perfectly, one struggled a little bit (guess which one). Anyway, as events it is hard to judge them compared to the other movies. They just fulfil a different purpose.

    Reply

    1. “The Avengers movies I have decided aren’t really movies, they are more events. Two worked perfectly, one struggled a little bit (guess which one). Anyway, as events it is hard to judge them compared to the other movies. They just fulfill a different purpose.”

      Perfectly put. They just serve a totally different purpose than a normal MCU movie.

      “9. The Incredible Hulk
      The most forgettable and inconsequential of the movies to this day. It might not be the worst on a technical level, but it is soooo bland. And the two protagonists are miscast. Hulk works better in combo with other heroes anyway.”

      If they cast Liv Tyler to play someone in Doctor Strange 2 or Far From Home or whatever I bet a good chunk of people would forget she’s already a part of the MCU, technically, thanks to Hulk. So, so, forgettable.

      “Plus, where was the heavy metal? Just because it is a Christmas movie, there is not reason to remove it, there are heavy metal versions of Christmas songs.”

      I guess Shane Black just doesn’t like heavy metal? I dunno. It’s a fair point since that was a franchise calling card.

      “But I still love the mind-bending effects in it, and naturally the crazy visuals. Usually I wouldn’t give a movie a pass for special effects, but in this case I kind of do.”

      The visuals are certainly the best part of the whole thing.

      “I especially HATE the way each movie disregards what was painstakingly set up beforehand”

      Watching the three in a marathon is sure to give anyone narrative whiplash.

      “the last thing I wanted to see was the whole “ritual combat for the throne” nonsense. Plus, the action scenes in this one really, really bored me. They just did. But there is enough good in it (I especially dig the ape tribe), that I would put it above some of the other franchises.”

      Fair points. And, hey, we get not one but two ritual combat for the throne sequences. I actually agree about the action scenes, or at least the action in the finale. Black Panther vs. Killmonger never really turns into the epic fight it should have. Honestly, it reminds me a bit of Rocky 3, The Dark Knight Rises, or any other movie where the hero loses to the bad guy halfway through and then beats him at the end. Since they’ve already had one fight to a conclusion the second one always struggles to come up with something compelling and new (thus Bane being defeated so quickly and not even by Batman in DKR).

      “I like the characters, I like how they play around with the powers, my only problem is that the first movie was kind of a mess in narrative terms. I was actually hoping that the second one wouldn’t have that issue….”

      If you think the first film is a mess narratively then prepare for Ant-Man and the Wasp to…actually, I’ll let you make up your own mind on that one when you see it. I happen to think the first Ant-Man is pretty solid, narratively. So, if I think the sequel is a mess you might end up thinking quite the opposite.

      “1. Captain America
      Honestly this Franchise it close to perfect. It has my favourite origin story in the whole MCU with The First Avenger, my favourite Team-Up movie with Civil War and my favourite movie overall with The Winter Soldier. And, as you pointed out, it has a tendency to be really topical. I admit, if they make another one of those I am kind of afraid of what it will be about (since this franchise is very prophetic), but if there is any franchise in the MCU I don’t want to stop ever it is this one.”

      Agreed. Cap is so perfect as a sub-franchise I’m weary of the idea of Falcon or Winter Soldier taking the title and continuing on their own political thrillers. In truth, outside of Cap the MCU franchises barely ever display any ambition to talk about the state of the world today, at least not so directly. Black Panther comes closest and might be best positioned to be the new moral and political center of the MCU should they opt against continuing on with Sam or Bucky taking Cap’s shield once he dies or retires in Infinity War.

      Reply

      1. I hope that Cap won’t die at the very least. Having the possibility of another Cap movie or arc is not something they should give up.

  2. You really surprised me with the # 1! Wow! I’ve been trying to re-write/re-rank my list but maybe after I saw Antman & Wasp or maybe until Capt. Marvel. Glad to find GotG’s appeal doesn’t wear off for you. Sorry, this is quite long

    Age of Ultron:
    “Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver might soon prove to be the template for how Marvel will introduce mutants and thus the X-Men – namely, they’ll get their powers from the Infinity Stones, probably as some sort of universe-wide event when Thanos is inevitably defeated.”

    I don’t like this idea. Sounds like Smallville to me. The X-Men/Mutants were made to be that way—born “gifted” or develops mutation—only so no explanation for their powers was needed. I would like it if they’re revealed to be there, that there were mutants all along, from the start of the MCU, just kept secret, hidden.

    Thor 2:
    “What I Said Then: “Perhaps all you need to know about The Dark World is its critical and financial reception caused Marvel to wait four years to release a sequel, the longest gap to date for any of the MCU’s sub-franchises.”
    What I’ll Say Now: I like this movie more than I probably should.”

    I think you weight in those things too much. Me, I don’t care. I like this movie. The earlier part is actually boring. But once Thor and Loki teams up, it’s very entertaining.

    The Avengers:
    “Moreover, the sluggishness of the film’s first half becomes harder to ignore.”
    What I’ll Say Now: When the main draw of your movie is “watch all the heroes working together for the first time” and you’ve done that countless times with better storylines, pacing, and action since then it’s hard to look back so favorably.”

    What you consider sluggishness, is probably why I like it over Infinity War and Civil War. Maybe it’s age but I like movies that has rising and falling action, proper build up, tension and suspense. It can’t be all tension (like Infinity War), otherwise it all feels monotonous. And I consider The Winter Soldier one for the ADHD crowd. Me and my wife rewatched Age of Ultron after watching Infinity War and there was this little exchange between Vision and Ultron (“you’re so naive”) and I kinda miss that kind of thing in Infinity War, where every lines feels functional, where every dialog should forward the plot or just give information and doesn’t even linger on moments (again, like the one I mentioned in AoU).

    Iron-Man:
    “What I’ll Say Now: The problem with Iron Man, for me, is and has always been the uninspired mech suit vs. mech suit finale against a villain who goes crazy for no good reason. Otherwise, it’s flawless superhero storytelling.”

    I won’t defend Stane going crazy and I also find the final fight weak. But you know what, between this and the final fight in Homecoming, Black Panther, Thor or Winter Soldier, I actually find Iron-Man’s coherently staged/shot/edited action sequence quite admirable. It has a few surprises as well: Iron Man lifting a car with a mother and her kids inside. There’s none of that in all of those I mentioned above.

    Reply

    1. “You really surprised me with the # 1! Wow! I’ve been trying to re-write/re-rank my list but maybe after I saw Antman & Wasp or maybe until Capt. Marvel. Glad to find GotG’s appeal doesn’t wear off for you.”

      Surprised myself too. I went not with which movie do I think is actually the best and more which movie do I most want to re-watch. Last year, I picked Civil War as my #1 as a “this is the movie that represents everything about the MCU” pick; this year, I went with “which movie do I always want to put in if I think about re-watching an MCU entry.”

      “I don’t like this idea. Sounds like Smallville to me. The X-Men/Mutants were made to be that way—born “gifted” or develops mutation—only so no explanation for their powers was needed. I would like it if they’re revealed to be there, that there were mutants all along, from the start of the MCU, just kept secret, hidden.”

      I’m not crazy about it either. To be honest, it’s not even my own theory. It’s one I overheard at Denver Comic Con last month. There was a panel about the future of the MCU and one of the panelists who’s read far more comics than I ever will explained this kind of thing has actually been done before in the comics. And the truth is MCU already has two mutant characters who were changed into “born from Infinity Stone.” So, when you start connecting the dots it makes sense and would certainly be something new and different for the X-Men compared to the earlier films. If they, however, run with “these people have been here this entire time” it introduces a whole bunch of questions, like, “Then why haven’t seen them before? Why haven’t they tried to help? Do the framers of the Sokovia Accords know about them?” It’s not that those questions can’t be answers; it’s more that it’s cleaner to have them somehow created as a side effect of the destruction of the Infinity Stones.

      “But once Thor and Loki teams up, it’s very entertaining.”

      Thor and Loki’s teamup is great. I like the heck out of the movie. Remember, I said at the start I only truly dislike two MCU movies, and The Dark World isn’t one of them. It’s more I think Dark World is let down by a weak villain, some messy plotting, and tonal inconsistencies. Similar to Ant-Man and the Wasp, though, I enjoy the characters in that sub-franchise I have no problem ignoring all of that and having a good time with it.

      “I kinda miss that kind of thing in Infinity War, where every line feels functional, where every dialog should forward the plot or just give information and doesn’t even linger on moments (again, like the one I mentioned in AoU).”

      The problem here is, well, Infinity War isn’t really a complete movie. Avengers is a movie. Age of Ultron, even with all of its Ragnarok/Civil War/Infinity War set-up, manages to tell a complete story. Infinity War is a Part 1, and it is supremely overloaded with character and incident. What I respond to is the experience of it all, though. It is just pure spectacle on a scale I’ve never seen before.

      “But you know what, between this and the final fight in Homecoming, Black Panther, Thor or Winter Soldier, I actually find Iron-Man’s coherently staged/shot/edited action sequence quite admirable. It has a few surprises as well: Iron Man lifting a car with a mother and her kids inside. There’s none of that in all of those I mentioned above.”

      To be fair, I did rank Iron Man higher than two of the four you mentioned – Homecoming and Thor. Homecoming’s finale is especially forgettable. However, so many of the MCU finales blend together for me, and over time I respond less to which had the best editing and more which had the better emotional stakes. That’s partially why I forgive any of the cinematic sins in the Thor finale – the Thor/Loki/Odin dynamic lands exactly the way it needs to. As for, Winter Soldier, Cap’s speech to SHIELD and the series of mini-battles between Falcon/Crossbones, Cap/Winter Soldier, Black Widow and Fury/Robert Redford works for me because the emotional stakes are perfectly communicated, even if the actual action is a bit on the ADHD side.

      Reply

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