Even a bad MCU movie has at least one aspect that makes it worth seeing at least once and are watchable if nothing else. Good and bad MCU movies are all across the board and what fans consider a good and bad one does vary in opinion. But there are few that people would consider a great MCU movie. This article takes a look at my top 5 favorite MCU movies. And once again bear in mind this is strictly my personal opinion so don’t get too angry if your favorite isn’t here or your non-favorite is here…even if you are 100% wrong. At this point there are so many good Marvel movies in and outside the MCU that I don’t think any top 5 could fully do it justice.
Honorable mention 1: Iron Man and Captain America: The First Avenger
Both these movies provided the humble beginnings for two gentlemen who would become titans among the MCU’s vast array of movie superheroes and prove to be great…adventures. I use that word specifically because once the movie gets into the action department, while nothing of it is particularly awful, nothing of the action is particularly has that “wow” to it. And their villains while built up well at first and played by good actors who give good performances, become nothing more than just another obstacle in the climax rather than someone fully humanized. But both these movies established such solid characters and making them into unique superheroes over the course of these journeys and the ones that followed. And looking back on these two men from now to Endgame it is a marvel (pun totally intended) in who these people were then and who they grew into physically and mentally.
Honorable mention 2: Thor Ragnarok
Easily the best of the Thor movies and while it’s not particularly too dramatic or deep it knows how to be so just enough to make us root for our heroes and enjoy the humor and the charm of the characters when it comes. It’s also what I consider the best we will get to a Hulk movie with its commentary about him being him and him being Banner. However, Hela, as much as Cate Blanchett was having fun as the character was one-dimensional and there are a couple scenes with her that could have been cut out. A crazy fun movie that goes all out but still knows its restrictions.
5. Spider-Man: Far From Home
This one was a tough toss-up between this and Homecoming. While some of the best aspects of Homecoming are gone from here including the villain, the role of Ned, and the nice slice of life as Peter Parker those aspects are sacrificed to improve on many flaws of its predecessor. Tom Holland once again nailed it as Peter/Spider-Man and his performance while it lacks the traditional Spider-Man snarky humor, does well in defining the emotional layers of the character not merely with him missing Iron Man but also him wanting to be….well him whereas the last movie was him all over wanting to be an Avenger. I also found Zendaya’s Michelle Jones a lot stronger of a heroine this time around and while neither she nor is the rest of their relationship are the most in depth, she and Peter have cute chemistry and I genuinely wanted to see the two together. The action had improved vastly and I did like that Peter doesn’t use any gadgets in this one and it falls far more to his natural Spider-Man abilities against these big threats. So why is it lowest on the list? Well the comedy, while not bad by MCU standards could have been better particularly when it came to stuff involving the kids on the field trip. And Quentin Beck aka Mysterio, while Jake Gylenhall’s performance was good, his motives, while there and do come full circle in an unexpected way, could have been better defined (that reveal scene is almost if not on par of Rami levels of goofy. Feel free to disagree). Overall though neither of these things are enough to take me out of the movie, this movie did well to expand upon Spider-Man and thank god for Sony and Marvel coming to an agreement for more adventures for this guy.
4. The Avengers
This movie is the absolute definition of a mindless popcorn flick done RIGHT! Its plot is simple: Bad guy Loki wants world domination and a bunch of heroes have come together to stop him. But these heroes had already come off of their own hit movies and have established such clear personalities that there’s a great deal of wit to how they interact off of each other and a great deal of awe in how they fight when they go into action. Even newcomers like Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk proved to be capable of establishing themselves on the same level of the others. And others like Black Widow and Hawkeye were well expanded upon from their debuts and a good taste of what would come of them later. This movie just proved you just put these characters in a room and just talking to each other for the whole thing and it would probably be just as entertaining. This was the end of the beginning for the Infinity Saga. It closed one door but opened a million more. And those doors led down many directions.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 & Vol. 2
These movies are truly one of a kind in the MCU with a very refreshing feel from any other Marvel movie out there. From the moment we leave Earth it’s very much a comedy in space but there are layers to a deeper dramatic story to get invested in and a sense of going into the unknown. Both movies are similar in this regard but are very nuanced in how they do so. There’s always a sense of joy in being in the world of these guys. The character of Peter Quill (as well as the fellow Guardians) in particular is a huge embodiment of all this. And the overall visual style of this movie with the colors really leave an impact. So much of this world has a vibe of the mysteries and wonders of outer space. But overall both these movies are incredible in capturing the free-spirited humor that Marvel does so well. They took me to places that I didn’t expect and I enjoy coming back and can’t wait to see what number three will do.
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War
Both these Marvel movies, at the time, did what I expected NO Marvel movie to do: They challenged the viewer. These movies provided a very realistic and interesting commentary on our mass surveillance era and questioned when is it seen as freedom and when is it seen as safety? I found Cap’s character expanded upon greatly through the ethical challenges he’s faced with and the choices he makes. Steve’s moral compass is truly challenged in these movies that provide great commentaries on ethics, morality, and personal freedom which is not only bold but also just what a modern Captain America ought to be about. And Captain America showed through all this he would always do what was right. You have some cool action scenes in both these movies such as the elevator scene in Winter Soldier and the airport battle in Civil War but at the core of these battles are these commentaries and these characters as friendships and trusts are broken. And we feel the heavy emotional weight of each of these Avengers as this happens. During these movies I wondered how the heroes were going to win? And even though our heroes do win in some ways they also lose in others. This really shines in the final battle of Civil War against Tony and Steve and Bucky. There are no jokes, no one-liners. Just pure hate and rage through every blow of this fight. And something that is still felt even with light at the end of the tunnel. These are without a doubt Marvel’s heaviest movies. And through all that they still managed to show something incredibly thought provoking that lasts among fans even to this day.
1.Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame
Yeah yeah I know I’m predictable and I’m sure a lot of you are going to comment just how trash I am for thinking this and how overrated these movies are. Go right ahead. I won’t fight back and it doesn’t change my outlook on these movies. Infinity War brought the mighty Thanos, a villain built up over so many post-credits scenes that we thought he’d be a joke given Marvel’s rather average streak in villains, in all his glory. And someone who could have easily been a big bad on a level of Yellowjacket is well far from that. Josh Brolin not only played this character through impressive motion capture but also this is pretty much his movie. The movie paints a frightening image of just what kind of guy this character is with and without the gauntlet and makes him an interesting character in his connections to both his daughters, his psyche, his motives, and how he executes them. On top of that the way he delivers his dialogue, he doesn’t sound so much overly villainous in fighting our heroes as much as he is genuine in what he wants to do and how he sees himself as salvation. This really shines when he arrives on Titan and is conversing with Dr. Strange about it. This is so much Thanos’ movie that the Avengers (and pretty much Earth’s other heroes as well) are pretty much secondary characters in comparison to him. There’s little time devoted to delving into these characters but we’ve had so much time devoted to them in the past that they’re more than capable of leaving an impact in within minutes. A prime example of this is Captain America who has all of less than seven minutes in this movie and yet it feels like so much longer with him seeing him interact with all these people and go in action given what we’ve known about him. And we get a fine mix of the old interactions and new ones with over 40 characters of complex backstories and motives that had to be juggled in this movie. That’s no easy task. Yet it works. It ended on a chilling note with no excitement or empowerment but it was so heart-pounding seeing these heroes come so close yet move so far from victory in every moment.
Endgame (or Infinity War part 2 rather) is an interesting case. Now back when I first wrote my review of Endgame here it had just come out and I rightfully was not about to put in spoilers for those who hadn’t seen it. But now it’s been out long enough I can talk about it. During the beginning after they first defeat an at peace Thanos within minutes and the movie skips five years later I almost thought the movie was joking. But it uses this time skip well to build on the emotional state of several of our heroes whether it be Tony and Pepper having raised a daughter named Morgan, Earth’s remaining heroes trying hard to move on without their loved ones, Ant-Man escaping from the quantum realm reuniting with his now-teenage daughter having missed out on her life again, heck even fat Thor which is played for laughs is quite depressing at its core after all that’s happened and how he pretty much has nothing left at this point. The only real thing that’s played for laughs is Professor Hulk which as silly as it is, I wouldn’t mind seeing a movie entailing the five years of how exactly it happened. While the time travel logic is confusing and doesn’t always make sense, it does well to give us a good balance of heart, humor, and action just about everywhere our heroes go. And this all culminates in the Battle for Earth and its aftermath which truly shows the legacy of the MCU in all its scale, its ambition, all its development. Oh, and if you’re wondering my thoughts on the scene in the final battle where all the women team against Thanos I say LET EM HAVE IT! It was only about a minute long and didn’t cause any harm to anyone. My only complaint is that Black Widow wasn’t there. But what’s important that you take away from that is that the experience of watching this movie is an experience equivalent of watching something like Mockingjay Part 2 or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on the big screen (especially if you read the books). Not everything logically makes sense but everything if not most of the movie emotionally makes sense. And movie experiences like these two movies don’t often come by me often even with other MCU movies or even other movies in general. But when you do have any experience like these movies what I’ve had is unforgettable.
While some may be tired of Marvel movies, I am fine with it continuing. It always gives me a thrill and a rush of energy like almost I want to go into action as if I were some of these characters (don’t judge me). And it is amazing that these big budget popcorn flicks, through all the bright colors, light-heartedness, and family friendly nature and fun there is a sense of deep character moments, adult themes and situations, and character driven relationships that challenge the viewers in multiple respects that don’t feel like they’re talking down to their audience. And I feel that was very well exemplified within these movies. They may not be as fresh as they used to be in some regards but they put a smile on my face in more than enough aspects. Are there any other Marvel movies you think I missed? Any you disagree with? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.