Super Specific | Diana’s MCU movie ranking list

Super Specific is a bi-weekly blog about superheroes in pop culture.

By Diana Velasquez, Contributing Editor

Did I copy and paste most of this from the notes app on my iPhone? Maybe, but I cleaned up my ramblings for everyone, and took out all of the pictures of Chris Evans.

The MCU is now approaching the 30-movie mark, a fantastic feat for a company that in the early 2000s was struggling to make money on its big-name properties and characters. While the MCU might be facing some recent competition from DC, as “The Batman” received box-office and critical acclaim in the past month, there is no doubt in my mind that it’ll go strong for another 10 years. So to celebrate their success, I’ll copy what almost every other comic book website has done and rank the MCU movies.

There are 27 of them, with two more on the way this year. I’ll leave the Disney+ streaming series out of these rankings for consistency’s sake, but you should definitely go give “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” a watch if you haven’t already. 

I’ll list these in ascending order, to keep you all in anticipation. If you’ve read any of my Marvel reviews before it shouldn’t be a surprise what movie I listed as number one, but I have my reasons — and I swear I’ve curbed some of my favoritism.

  1. “The Incredible Hulk” (2008)

Yes, this is an MCU movie. No, you do not need to see it. “The Incredible Hulk” is tied to the movie universe by the thinnest of threads, and while that might be refreshing for some, there’s no real point to this movie in the MCU.

26. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (2017)

This movie is actually really bad. The villain just gives some Starlord unneeded daddy issues, the jokes land only about half the time and there’s not much info in it that you need to understand for future films. Mantis is cool, though.

  1. “Thor: The Dark World” (2013)

Dark elves and Natalie Portman possessed by an Infinity Stone in liquid form? Skippable, unless you’re interested in some Thor and Loki banter.

  1. “Captain Marvel” (2019)

I’m all for Brie Larson kicking ass, but I haven’t seen this movie more than two or three times because of how bored I usually get watching it. The ‘90s nostalgia is nice, but the villains are forgettable and there are much better origin stories to watch in this universe.

  1. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (2018)

I would rename this movie “Pre-Endgame.” It’s a fun flick, as all Ant-Man appearances are, but there’s little sustenance to the main plot of “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” All you need to know is that Scott and the Pym family start experimenting with the “Quantum Realm,” which sets up time-travel shenanigans in future movies.

  1. “Iron Man 3” (2013)

Back before Marvel fixed its Mandarin in “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings,” it completely butchered him in “Iron Man 3.” If you ignore how he’s handled in this movie though, “Iron Man 3” is an intriguing post-Avengers adventure with a PTSD-riddled Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr. is this movie’s saving grace.

  1. “Iron Man 2” (2010)

It’s better than the third one, just because Black Widow is introduced. The hallway scene rocks and the rest of it is midtier.

  1. “Ant-Man” (2015)

Truthfully, I forgot about most of this movie, except for the cool battle at the end where Scott Lang and the Yellowjacket guy fight in miniature on Hope Lang’s train set. Nothing bad, but nothing to brag about either.

  1. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (2019)

I, for one, am a fan of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man sticking to New York’s five boroughs in his solo outings, so his European vacation did little to hold my attention.

  1. “Black Widow” (2021)

A movie released too little, too late, Natasha Romanoff and the breakout star Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) are given their time to shine in an awkwardly placed midquel that should have been made a decade prior.

  1. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015)

Justice for Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver! “Age of Ultron” isn’t as bad as some people might make it out to be. Ultron is intimidating, we’re introduced to the oddly lovable Vision, and we get to see Chris Evans rip apart a piece of wood with his bare hands. Win-win!

  1. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017)

An origin story that’s not really an origin story, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a cute little interlude into Peter Parker’s daily life, and Tom Holland excels in the role as always.

  1. “Thor” (2011)

It’s nice to see the great god of thunder humbled! While some might knock “Thor’s” debut down the list for pacing issues, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston’s early performances in their iconic roles are always a treat for me to watch.

  1. “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011)

The MCU’s prime period piece, “Captain America: The First Avenger” has a lot to offer once it kicks up the speed in its second act. A bit campy, but it gives the Star-Spangled Man an emotional origin story.

  1. “Doctor Strange” (2016)

The Marvel movie most likely to mimic an acid trip, “Doctor Strange” introduced a new superpowered playing field into the MCU. The Sorcerer Supreme has powers beyond our imagination, and his debut would be ranked higher on the list if it weren’t for such a bad and forgettable villain.

  1. “The Eternals” (2021)

I know someone might come for me since I ranked this movie this high, but I don’t care. I cried the first time I saw “Eternals.” It doesn’t get enough credit for the character-building it gives its cast. Its slower pace allows for an in-depth exploration of the Eternals team dynamics, and it introduced my new favorite couple in the MCU — the beautiful, beautiful Drukkari.

  1. “Captain America: Civil War” (2016)

This movie can be summarized as, “Damn, can Bucky get a break?” — and no, no he cannot. “Captain America: Civil War” is the only third movie in the original trilogies — Thor’s, Iron Man’s and Cap’s — that lands on solid thematic feet, tying up Cap’s story with a nice little bow. 

  1. “The Avengers” (2012)

It’s hard to beat the standard this movie set for future superhero films, the beginning of the multi-movie character team-up. “The Avengers” is where the MCU’s success really started. It hasn’t aged the most gracefully, but there are plenty of moments to enjoy.

  1. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (2021)

The movie is a feast for the eyes, one of the most visually stunning and well-choreographed in terms of fight scenes. The second-best origin story in the MCU, after the next movie on this list, Shang-Chi makes an unforgettable debut to the multiverse.

  1. “Iron Man” (2008)

The Godfather of the MCU indeed. Here, Robert Downey Jr. heralded the coming of an empire, and more than a decade later, the movie still holds up well with its repertoire of ACDC songs and RDJ’s return to form in Hollywood.

  1. “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)

All praise Taika Waititi for his revamping of Thor. “Thor: Ragnarok” is one of the MCU’s funniest, and the chemistry between the cast is absolutely simmering — it’s probably one of the best lineups in the films.

  1. “Avengers: Endgame” (2019)

The reason this isn’t higher is because of some poor writing decisions. While I understand how the due date on acting contracts might affect scripts, there is no universe in which I will ever accept that Steve Rogers skips off to the past leaving all his friends behind for a woman he only ever kissed once.

That being said, “Endgame” was overall a heavy hitting and triumphant end to the Infinity Saga, and I did indeed sob through the end when I saw it in theaters for the first time. Alan Silvestri’s “Portals” theme and scene almost makes up for the movie’s faults.

  1. “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014)

This is hands-down the MCU’s funniest film, and one of the best examples of the “misfits come together and make their own family” trope. Who would have thought that Marvel would take D-list comic characters and make them into a multi-million dollar franchise?

  1. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021) 

Peter 1, Peter 2, Peter 3 — there could never be enough to the Maguire, Garfield and Holland spidey-trio for me. Months later, and the internet is still obsessed with the movie — and rightfully so. A love letter to Peter Parker and all of his multiversal iterations, there isn’t a moment in this movie you won’t be laughing, smiling or crying at.

  1. “Black Panther” (2018)

A history-making film, Black Panther decidedly pushed aside the racist notion held by many that Black-led films didn’t make any money. Led by the much-missed Chadwick Boseman, “Black Panther” is an unabashed celebration of Black culture that makes the audience feel warm and contemplative by the movie’s end.

  1. “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018)

“Infinity War” is better than “Endgame.” Hate to tell you, but this is the movie that gets me the most excited and keeps me engaged the whole way through. We’re treated to a buffet of battle scenes and character interactions in the film, whether it’s some bickering between Bucky Barnes and Rocket Racoon on the fields of Wakanda or a Infinity Stone-fueled showdown with Thanos and Doctor Strange on the alien planet Titan.

Nothing can compare to how I, and many others, felt at the “Infinity War” premiere when all our characters were laid to dust by Thanos, and left the dark theater full of anguished screaming fans.

  1. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014)

A movie I could quote by heart, and a film that truly captures the essence of Steve Rogers. It’s not as flashy as “Civil War,” and not as campy as “The First Avenger” — and it’s made far better than both by introducing Steve to the modern world as a lost soldier unsure of how to deal with his grief.

Plenty of MCU characters have come face-to-face with the skeletons in their closets, but nothing is more heartbreaking than watching Steve go hand-to-hand with his closest friend in the world — who barely remembers him. It’s something we can all relate to at some point, feeling lonely and unmoored, when the world seems to be doing fine without you in it. The MCU’s most serious film is by far its best, and with every watch has something new to say.