The Keys to the Universe: Ranking the Movies in the MCU

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) spans all the movies that have been released by Marvel Studios, based on their wildly successful comic books. These incredible films started with the release of Iron Man in 2008, and this year celebrates their 10th anniversary. The shared universe only continues to expand as more comic books are released, and more crossovers between worlds are made possible through both movie and superhero magic.

While some of the movies have shown us new possibilities for the genre, others have only flailed in their attempt to mimic the elements that have made other movies successful. Today we’re going to rank the movies in the MCU (from worst to best) and talk about what made them so successful, or not.

Iron Man 2

Released in 2010, two years after Iron Man, Iron Man 2 struggles where the first movie thrived.

This movie follows Tony Stark as he tries to keep his technology out of the hands of the military and featured a cast of Marvel favorites like Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson. The movie’s villain was played by Mickey Rourke. Despite being one of the most interesting actors of this century, Rourke’s portrayal of Whiplash was an unmitigated flop.

Plus, the script just tries to do too much, and the movie suffers as a result.


Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World was released in 2013, and is the sequel to the original Thor film, which was released two years prior.

This film focuses on the relationship between Loki and Thor — played by Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth respectively — and it’s where the film gets much of its energy. Natalie Portman also stars as Thor’s human love interest, Jane Foster, which sees her getting infested with a mystical substance called Aether that jump-starts the main plot of the movie.

Overall, this movie is dour and could definitely use some humor. The overwhelmingly sad beginning of the movie unbalances it from action movie to drama.

Iron Man 3

The Iron Man films really tend to populate the lower end of this list, with the exception of the original. Iron Man 3, which was released in 2013, is the seventh movie in the MCU.

Coming off the heels of The Avengers, this movie focuses on Tony Stark coming to terms with almost dying in the climax of the former, all while he fights his old rival Aldrich Killian. A lot of fans were disappointed in Guy Pearce’s portrayal of Killian and the reveal that he was legendary Iron Man villain, the Mandarin. Despite the disappointment over Pearce and the Mandarin, Iron Man 3 did have a lot of great character moments that later movies were able to build upon.

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