It is a peak time to be a Marvel fan right now. Avengers: Age of Ultron is coming close to finally opening. Agent Carter was an awesome miniseries, and Daredevil is blowing up social media. I figured I would countdown all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe properties, including both the television and movie properties. However, this list only includes the actual MCU, not just Marvel characters or teams, which means no X-Men or Spiderman.
13. The Incredible Hulk. I do find the Hulk and Bruce Banner to be compelling characters. I just do not find this movie as a compelling way to tell the story. The only good thing to come out of this was the after-credits scene in which Tony Stark and Nick Fury mention the Avengers Initiative for the first time.
12. Iron Man 2. Just kind of a boring run-of-the-mill action film. Mickey Rourke was phoning in his villain role the whole time. Black Widow’s introduction is the only thing that saves this movie from being the worst.
11. Iron Man 3. Extremis is a cool story in the comics. The adaption was ok, it just felt way too long. All the suits in remote action were cool. I realize this was used to set up Tony building the Ultron AI. The Mandarin story line was kind of weird and funny. I liked the change they did with him, though. Sometimes we’ve just got to cop to racist stereotypes and try to reinvent them for the better.
10. Iron Man. The first movie in the MCU delivered a compelling origin story for Tony. It fizzled with the whole battle at the end of the movie; I think because Iron Monger wasn’t in the top 5 Iron Man bad guys. Iron Man wasn’t even most people’s favorite Avenger, so Marvel did a good job getting Robert to make Tony interesting.
9. Captain America: The First Avenger. This movie wanted to be better. I really enjoyed it, but it felt slow in parts. It did give us Hayley Atwell, Chris Evans, and Sebastian Stan. Chris Evans is a great Captain America. He was actually the only good part of the crappy Fantastic Four movies made by Fox. I remember when John Krasinski was brought into read for Captain America — imagine living in that reality! This movie does deliver Captain America beating up Nazis. I mean, it makes a great double feature with Inglourious Basterds.
8. Thor. I like Thor a lot. He is pretty to look at. This movie didn’t feel as slow as any of the other origin story films in the MCU. Also, this is the first MCU film my wife and I saw together in the theatre, so it has a special place in my heart.
7. Thor: The Dark World. This should be called “Loki and Thor team up to save the world for different reasons.” I really liked the chemistry between Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth in this movie. It made a great sequel to the first Thor. The only downside is that it definitely isn’t a feminist movie. It seemed like this was definitely the traditional “hero has girl, hero loses girl, hero defeats villain to get girl back” story. Natalie Portman is great in these movies too; I hope she has more to do in the third film. I have conflicting feelings about Erik Selvig’s scene in the mental illness ward; it’s funny but I can’t decide if its funny because he is crazy or if it’s the situation he is in that’s funny.
6. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Given my original feelings, the fact it made it this high should say a lot. It got way better after episode 9 of the first season. It has been much-watch TV for those of us who stuck around. This season has seen great improvements for Skye’s character, which was one of the main issues in the first season. Less Grant Ward helps, too.
5. Daredevil. WTF TV at its finest. The acting is great but holy shit those action scenes are brutal. I can see why Marvel would want it to go to Netflix or somewhere where the violence can be done the way it’s been done. Daredevil has always been a brutal and violent comic probably second only to The Punisher. The casting was spot-on and D’Onfrio is scary good as Wilson Fisk.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy. For most people this movie came out of nowhere. I am one of the lucky ones who followed the comics in the 90s and 2000s. When they announced they were doing a Guardians movie, I leapt for joy. James Gunn is the perfect director for this movie; it was definitely better because they had a weirdo direct a film full of weirdos. Bradley Cooper as Rocket was a surprisingly awesome casting choice. I was very happy to see how Rocket came to life on screen. Chris Pratt, of course, is part of the trio of Hot Marvel Chrises.
3. The Avengers. I remember where I was when I found out Joss Whedon was signed on to direct and write the Avengers movie. Carolina and I were hanging out with our friend Duane. I had read it on the internet and I told him. We all kind of anticipated the coming two years then. It delivered mightily on its premise. Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner proved to be way better than the preceding two people who had been cast as Bruce Banner. Black Widow fucking killed it in this movie. Hawkeye was only semi-useless. Marvel using the Chitauri over the Kree or Skrulls was an interesting choice. The Kree have since been introduced on both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Guardians.
2. Agent Carter. Eight episodes of perfection. Hayley Atwell is my favorite. I want more, please Marvel?
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier. My personal favorite MCU movie. It basically is Black Widow and Captain America teaming up. It is the closest we’re getting to a female-led superhero movie until Captain Marvel comes out. I thought Anthony Mackie was great as Falcon too. I have a thing for spy thrillers so this movie was right up my alley. I loved that Maria Hill got a decent bit in this movie too. We cannot forget my huge crush on the Winter Soldier himself, Sebastian Stan. He looks really hot with eyeliner and long hair, and his performance also helped my huge crush grow. He has great chemistry with Chris Evans.
I cannot wait for most of the rest of the MCU films to come out. At some point, of course, all movies will be comic book movies, just like all restaurants are Taco Bell. In all seriousness, I know the fun comic book movie bubble will burst at some point, but I’ll stick around. I mean, as a child I suffered through Howard the Duck. I cannot wait for May 4th; Age of Ultron is going to be amazing.