DrDoom Ranks The MARVEL Cinematic Universe

DrDoom Ranks The MARVEL Cinematic Universe

CBM contributor DrDoom loves the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but which films does he consider the best? After much deliberation, he is ready to reveal all, and offer analysis of each movie. Click on for more..

It's no secret that I consider the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be the best thing to happen to CBMs in a long time. Plenty of fans agree, some don't. However, there is no denying the impact that the MCU has had on not just CBMs, but the face of entertainment media as well. Now, I used to stray away from rankings like this, mainly because I actually do like every film in the MCU, and I don't consider any of them to be bad movies. However, I felt like it would be a good time to take a look back and chart out the progress of Marvel Studios' film efforts. I've put a lot of thought into this, and it certainly wasn't easy, but here it is: DrDoom's definitive Marvel Cinematic Universe ranking list. Let's get started.

8. Iron Man 2

When I first started conceptualizing this list, Iron Man 2 was the only movie that I knew was going to be in a particular place, and that is in last. However, this does not mean that I think that Iron Man 2 is a bad film, just lackluster compared to its peers. Whether it was from learning how to handle the shared universe, or just a lack of focus on what they wanted to accomplish, Jon Favreau and company simply underdelivered when it came to the sequel to one of the most praised CBM origin films of all time. The acting was pretty good all around (with Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer easily stealing the show), but Mickey Rourke's Whiplash is easily the weakest villain in the MCU, and the unfocused plot based on an undercooked Atlas Shrugged allegory was very underwhelming. As well, the script just wasn't as strong as it should have been. Overall, an okay film, but definitely the weakest link in the MCU canon.

7. Thor

My heart is already breaking, because I really do like this movie. However, after pain staking thoughts I've finally decided that Thor had the weakest origin effort in the MCU. This doesn't have anything to do with the performances, for Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and even Natalie Portman pulled in solid efforts (why Portman gets hated on so much for this role is beyond me). Rather, this has to do with a general lack of vision in terms of the scale this film should have had. A Thor film should feel like a grand, epic fantasy that fully pulls you into another world. However, the film spends way too much of its time on Earth, and the underwhelming non-battle between Thor and the Destroyer cancelled out a lot of the momentum the movie had going for it. While the movie that is there is well done, it wasn't necessarily the fantasy epic that the franchise deserved as a starting point.

6. Captain America: The First Avenger

Once again, I feel like I'm being harsh to films I really do like. When I first watched this movie in the theater, I thought it was very well done, and I still do believe that. The performances all around are fantastic, with Chris Evans really embodying the character, as well as Atwell, Weaving and Stan all bringing their characters to life. On top of that, the aesthetic of the film is simply brilliant, perfectly capturing the 40's atmosphere while also instilling the sense of fantasy wonder that defines the Marvel brand. However, there are some hindrances that keep it from being amongst Marvel's best efforts. The pacing of the movie is somewhat of an issue, with a little too much time being devoted to Rogers pre-transformation, and not enough time showing him becoming Captain America. Also, the score for the movie is mostly forgettable, with the exceptions being the music accompanying the Howling Commandos montage and the incredible 'Star Spangled Man' sequence. Overall, a great movie that deserves another look from those who don't like the character.

5. The Incredible Hulk

I feel like this movie is the epitome of an 'underrated' film. Released to relatively little fanfare back in 2008, the movie was a moderate financial success and mostly dismissed by critics and the general audience who were still reeling from the atrocity that was Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk movie. The failure of that movie mostly painted this one, but it truly is a gem. Even though I think Mark Ruffalo did a great job as Bruce Banner in The Avengers, I still feel that Edward Norton captured the character better than anyone ever has. Norton's performance in this movie is simply flawless, and you truly do feel the sense of loss and depression that encapsulates the life of a man on the run from both his enemies and himself. Tyler, Hurt and Roth all turn in good performances as well, even if Betty Ross isn't given enough to do. The final battle with Abomination is simply a masterpiece of action, and cemented this movie as the Hulk film I had been waiting for. Anyone who feels that Marvel Studios can't do a 'serious' movie just needs to watch this to see that they can change the tone to suit the character. I also recommended checking out the Extended Edition if you get the chance.

4. Iron Man

I imagine this is where I'm going to lose some readers. The start of the MCU also happens to be one of the finest films in the whole franchise, but I don't think it's the absolute best. The movie certainly does deliver the best origin story we've seen in the MCU so far. When this movie was on its way, I had almost completely given up on CBMs. My favourite hero, Spider-Man, but been trashed on the big screen with Spider-Man 3. Ghost Rider debuted with Nicholas Cage, X-Men 3 had crashed and burned, and the Fantastic Four sequel managed to ruin Doctor Doom even further. There seemed to be no hope in sight for Marvel at the movies. Then, when I saw Iron Man, I realized that there was hope. I had never seen a CBM up to that point that so truly understood the central character. Robert Downey Jr. WAS Tony Stark, and the acting and writing all around were top notch. Still a personal favourite for many of us, and an excellent film to kick off one of the biggest franchises in modern entertainment.

3. The Avengers

I imagine I'm going to lose even more readers here, but please, stay with me. This was finally the movie that realized the true dream of the MCU: to have a film where all the fan favourite characters would appear on the big screen next to each other. Team films had been done before in the superhero genre, with X-Men and Fantastic Four, but those characters debuted as a team in the comics, unlike the members of the Avengers (the fact that those movies were bad didn't help their case either). As well, the build-up to this movie was monumental, and did it deliver. Joss Whedon, who has ascended to godlike status on the internet, was able to weave characters and plots from five previous movies into a cohesive whole, while still telling a self-contained and intriguing story. All of the big heroes delivered stellar performances (with the sole exception being Scarlett Johansson, who has never sold the Black Widow character, in my opinion). The action and writing were also incredibly solid, with the film always knowing the best way to maintain the sense of fun that these characters are meant to achieve. Truly, an exemplar for the genre.

2. Iron Man 3

Most likely the most controversial film of the MCU, I still believe to be one of its finest achievements. Even if you don't like the way the Mandarin was portrayed (I even wrote a fanscript for the film that played the Mandarin straight), this film has one of the tightest scripts in recent CBM history, as well as some of its finest performances. Robert Downey Jr. continues to be a stellar lead, with Gwyneth Paltrow overdelivering as Pepper Potts, Guy Pearce playing a fantastic villain and Ben Kingsley being just amazing. On top of that, it features some incredible action and cinematography work (the Malibu attack should be considered a masterpiece onto itself), a phenomenal musical score, and it managed to be one of the funniest and also one of the darkest Marvel films yet. While it displeased some fans, I'm glad Marvel was willing to take the risk on this one.

1. Thor: The Dark World

Yes, I believe that Marvel's latest outing is also their finest. During the production of this movie, I began to fear that perhaps Marvel was going to break their streak. There were (now debunked) rumours of internal development struggles and script issues, and even I was terrified that the relatively low running time would hamper the film. However, upon seeing the movie, all of my fears were put to rest. Thor, one of my personal favourite Marvel heroes, finally received the epic he deserved. Unlike the first film, this movie took its time to turn Asgard into a living, breathing world, and truly captured the majesty of being transported to a different realm while still feeling like it was part of a larger universe. All of the actors turned in their finest performances within the franchise, with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in particular getting even more in depth characterization. While Malekith felt underdeveloped for sure (I'm hoping for more Malekith scenes on the Blu-Ray release), he was still an intimidating villain, and Kurse was simply phenomenal. If I have one true complaint, it's that I would have liked to have spent more time with Sif and the Warriors Three, but if my only real issue with a movie is that I wanted more of it, then I don't really consider it a strike against it. Overall, this is my favourite MCU film, and I simply cannot wait for more. Excelsior!
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Pasto - 11/28/2013, 4:10 PM
After reading your article I feel as if there were more Marvel films that were released. But back to the subject I feel that Captain America: The First Avengers and The Incredible Hulk should have been moved up to the spots 3 and 4. Those were both very solid films which I enjoyed very much. All in all, this is a solid editorial.
NovaCorpsFan - 11/28/2013, 4:14 PM
My top 5 would be:

Thor: The Dark World
The Incredible Hulk
Captain America: The First Avenger
The Avengers
Iron Man

Next year it'll be:

Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy
Niklander - 11/28/2013, 4:18 PM
Still havent seen the dark world but DrDoom's word is law so yeah I think I will have a blast
Abary - 11/28/2013, 4:21 PM
1. Avengers
2. Thor: TDW
3. Thor
4. Iron Man
5. Cap America: TFA
6. TIH
7. Iron Man 2
8. Iron Man 3
GuardianDevil - 11/28/2013, 4:27 PM
7. Captain America: The First Avenger-I'm sorry guys, but this movie is really poor IMO. The first half hour was great because it set up the characters nicely but then it didn't do anything with those characters, they didn't do anything with them or take them anywhere. To say the characters are all wooden is insulting to useful building material. The plot is just as weak. You see some films are driven by compelling characters like Iron Man Trilogy, Thor, Man of Steel, etc. and some are driven by compelling plots and stories like X-Men 1 & 2 and The Dark Knight Trilogy. Captain America isn't driven by either, but that's just it. It's not driven at ALL! By anything! The characters aren't developed at all, nothing interesting is done with them they just exist physically. The plot is the same, it has no meaning stuff just happens. Acting is good, but the underutilization of Weaving is a crime I can't forgive this film for. Weaving's portrayal was amazing, he had the potential to better than Heath Ledger. But that potential is blown, as is all the potential this film had. Just a movie filled with a ton of wooden characters and a lifeless story.

6. Iron Man 2-isn't bad, just OK. Story sucked, villain was a big waste but it works purely as an action movie.

5. Iron Man 3-Is a step up from 2, has a decent story with a lot of emotion. But the villain's character was just a rehash of the previous villains. Visually he was something fresh and I loved that.

4. Thor-I used to hate this film, but with time it's grown. I still think that all the scenes on Earth are flat out HORRIBLE. Romance was forced. But the character development, plot and villain were top notch. Action was OK.

3. The Incredible Hulk-great story, great action, great acting, great character arc, only issue is the villain is too one-dimensional.

2. The Avengers-lacks a definite plot, but the actors breathe life into it and bring depth into it. Action was amazing, acting was amazing, soundtrack was amazing, villain was epic.

1. Iron Man-has the best plot, character arc and love story out of all of them. It doesn't lack in the action department either. Great kick off to the MCU.

MexicanSexyman - 11/28/2013, 4:30 PM
1. The Incredible Hulk
2. Captain America The First Avenger
3. Thor The Dark World
4. Ironman 3
5. Ironman
6. The Avengers
7. Thor
8. Ironman 2
Lindsey35 - 11/28/2013, 4:40 PM
(haven't seen Thor: TDW)

and just because you hate The Amazing Spider-Man,

The Amazing Spider-Man is my favorite superhero movie EVER (until TASM2 comes out, IF i enjoy it more than the first)

:) cool article Doom.
Lindsey35 - 11/28/2013, 4:43 PM
I love all Marvel movies, shame TASM series won't be attached to the MCU anytime soon :( :( :(
GuardianDevil - 11/28/2013, 4:44 PM
^ lol, but you have to realize Doom hates any Marvel film that isn't MCU. (and you can correct me if I'm wrong Doom, but that's just how I see you act)
GuardianDevil - 11/28/2013, 4:45 PM
Agreed. I like all of Marvel movies except for both Ghost Riders, Elektra the first Hulk and CA:TFA.
DrDoom - 11/28/2013, 4:50 PM

I don't automatically hate non-MCU Marvel movies. I like the first two Blades, Spider-Man 2 and X-Men 2. It's just that I feel that in general, non-MCU Marvel movies tend to range from passable to terrible.
Lindsey35 - 11/28/2013, 4:52 PM

True. I just like to be a pain sometimes LOL!

I haven't seen any of the Ghost Riders, Daredevil or Eletra movies. Strangely I DO enjoy the first Hulk. I won't call it a good movie but I freakin love to watch it. Personally, I enjoy it more than Incredible Hulk. lol don't ask me why.
GuardianDevil - 11/28/2013, 4:56 PM
Well sorry then, I stand corrected. But to me the only MUST-SEE films in MCU are Iron Man and Avengers. The rest are passable if you think about it, most are good but still passable. To me the only MCU films that compare to X-Men 1 &2, Spider-Man 1 & 2 and First Class are Avengers and Iron Man. I guess that's opinion though.
Platinum - 11/28/2013, 5:02 PM
Personally I think Iron Man is still their strongest solo film. It's a real circus act of a film that balances everything so nicely. IM3 is really fun but Iron Man is downright thrilling.

That whole first act with the terrorists is some tense stuff and I still get chills when Mk.I finally shows up.

1.Iron Man
2.Iron Man 3
4.The Avengers (First act is a chore to sit through)
5.Captain America
6.The Incredible Hulk
8.Iron Man 2

Wolf38 - 11/28/2013, 5:03 PM
This is a fun thread. Regarding Marvel, it is difficult for me to rank them, because I think that most of them have been good...not many masterpieces, but not any true train wrecks. Marvel is nothing if not consistent.

8. Thor: TDW (IMO extremely uninteresting plot, no substantive character development)
7. Iron Man 2
6. The Incredible Hulk (I'm an Ang Lee Hulk fan)
5. The Avengers (in terms of pure fun, it is great)
4. Thor
3. Captain America: TFA
2. Iron Man 3 (really; the most enjoyable MCU film for me)
1. Iron Man
Lindsey35 - 11/28/2013, 5:06 PM
I agree. I enjoy Iron Man and Thor equally, but out of the MCU, i enjoy TIH the most when it comes to the solo movies.
I need to watch Iron Man and Avengers again. Have been wanting to watch Avengers for a while, can't seem to get around to it xD

Besides TASM, the only 'Marvel' movies I think are as good as Avengers and the likes of Thor, Iron Man and TIH, are XMEN1 & 2 and Spider-Man1.
Lindsey35 - 11/28/2013, 5:09 PM
Oh Lord!!! DrDoom's on the front page!
Lindsey35 - 11/28/2013, 5:09 PM

Poolio - 11/28/2013, 5:11 PM
Iron Man 3....at number 2!? WTF is wrong with.....never mind, it's Thanksgiving.
anthonyEstark - 11/28/2013, 5:11 PM
Iron Man 3 higher than The Avengers?

ALmazing - 11/28/2013, 5:12 PM
I respect your opinion but nothing tops the Avengers.
Maestro - 11/28/2013, 5:14 PM
Solid editorial. Very well done. Disagree slightly though

1. Thor: TDW
2. Avengers
3. IM3
4. Thor
5. Iron Man
6. CA: TFA
7. TIH
8. IM2
ndwwrestler2 - 11/28/2013, 5:14 PM
8. Captain America: The First Avenger

7. Iron Man 2

6. The Incredible Hulk

5. Thor

4.Thor The Dark World

3. Iron Man 3

2. Iron Man

1. The Avengers

I love/like them all though.
Maestro - 11/28/2013, 5:15 PM
Still blown away by Thor: TDW. Haven't felt so satisfied in a film since Avengers and IM1. Was just amazing.
ndwwrestler2 - 11/28/2013, 5:16 PM
This list is pretty good. Personally I believe that the Avengers should be 1, but I can sort of understand those who wouldn't put it at that spot.
Nick56 - 11/28/2013, 5:20 PM
Hahaha Iron Man 3? Seriously. Ok then. The Mandarin "twist" wasn't even the biggest problem of the film. How about the paper-thin supporting characters, the messy tone, and the misguided directing?

1. Iron Man (great movie)
2. Avengers (overrated but solid fun)
3. Incredible Hulk (fun time)
4. Thor 2 (fun time)
5. Cap (has some great moments but also a few bad ones)
6. Iron Man 2 (stupid fun)
7. Thor (lame)
8. Iron Man 3 (awful)
Platinum - 11/28/2013, 5:20 PM
Mjölnir trying to find his way back to Thor while they teleport and fight across the realms was really fun to watch. I was really blown away by the creativity in that movie.
AnthonyLantern - 11/28/2013, 5:23 PM
8. Iron Man 3
7. Incredible Hulk
6. Thor
5. Iron Man 2
4. Iron Man
3. Thor The Dark World
2. Avengers
1. Captain America the First Avenger

I know it may seem crazy to put Iron Man 2 so high and not have Avengers as my number 1 but I just have so much fun with the Cap movie, and same goes for Iron Man 2.
Inhuman - 11/28/2013, 5:24 PM
1. The Avengers
2. Thor: The Dark World
3. Iron Man 3
4. Thor
5. Captain America
6. Iron Man
7. The Incredible Hulk
8. Iron Man 2
Brady1138 - 11/28/2013, 5:24 PM
1. Avengers
2. Iron Man
3. Iron Man 3
4. Incredible Hulk
5. Iron Man 2
6. Captain America
7. Thor
8. Thor: The Dark World

I was completely unimpressed with TDW.
ScarletSpidey - 11/28/2013, 5:25 PM
1. The Avengers
2. Iron Man 3
3. Thor
4. Captain America
5. Iron Man
6. Thor: The Dark World
7. Incredible Hulk
8. Iron Man 2

*I don't hate Iron Man 2. I actually still find it very enjoyable, but I do agree that it's the weakest of the MCU films.

**Strange how it seems like The Avengers is sliding down the list of so many people's lists now. Is it becoming "cool" to rag on it now?

***I have to see Thor: TDW again to really figure out what I think of it. During my only viewing of it I was simultaneously hit with a tooth-ache and cold at the same time. I was quite miserable for most of the film.
Maestro - 11/28/2013, 5:27 PM
Also, so glad to HAVE these movies. It's been a joy! Time to reminisce!

harley2011 - 11/28/2013, 5:28 PM
The only thing right is the Avengers is not #1, that overrated video game should not be.

By the way X-men first class, is better than all of them except IM1, and thankfully Sony has not let Spiderman go the way of Disney. The last thing those movies need is SHIELD.
McNyagano - 11/28/2013, 5:31 PM
1) Iron man 3
2) The Avengers
3) Thor: The Dark World
4) Iron Man
5) Thor
5) Captain America: The First Avenger
6) The Incredible Hulk
7) Iron Man 2
Interestein - 11/28/2013, 5:36 PM
1. The Avengers
2. Iron Man
3. Thor: The Dark World
4. The Incredible Hulk/Captain America: TFA
5. Iron Man 2/Iron Man 3
6. Thor

I honestly love all of them so much, and I do think Iron Man 3 was amazing, but I do like Iron Man 2 (or as I like to call it IRON MAN: AGENTS OF SHIELD) more and more with each viewing. Kind of hard to rate these because I love them all so much.
TheRebellion - 11/28/2013, 5:36 PM
1. The Avengers - Shows how a blockbuster is really suppose to be.

2. Iron Man - Easily the best solo movie with one of the best hero origins on screen.

3. Incredible Hulk - Underrated and Norton is still my favorite Banner.

4. Captain America- Second favorite origin story and packed with heart.

5. Iron Man 3 - Closest thing to being as fun like the Avengers but suffers from a few flaws.

6. Iron Man 2 - Decent flick with some cool moments.

7. Thor TDW - Easily the most lazy Marvel film with bland characters, decent action, and one of the worst villains I can think of.

8. Thor - Just plain boring.
Maestro - 11/28/2013, 5:40 PM
It's funny, on this thanksgiving, as with almost all thanksgivings, I was watching cbms. Watched The Avengers earlier, followed with Batman Begins, going to watch Iron Man, and then MoS.

When I was rewatching the Avengers for the 15th+ time, I STILL was geeking out when Cap said "hulk, smash", and Hulk just DESTROYED shit. Then seeing Iron Man use his energy beams on cap's shield to take out some chitauri was the ultimate fan service.

But even after that battle, my favorite part of the movie HAS to be the whole argument scene. Just seeing the characters interact was amazing.

Tony: Yea because a nuclear deterrent just calms everything right down

Fury: Remind me again how you made your fortune stark.

Cap: I'm sure if tony was still making weapons he'll be neck deep but-

Stark: Wait, how is this now about me?

Cap: I'm sorry, isn't everything?

Probably my favorite 10 minute span in ANY film i've ever seen. The dialogue was perfection.
SpideyQuad - 11/28/2013, 5:42 PM
Harley2011, let's just say we agreed to disagree. Oh yeah, thanks for the good laugh!
Poolio - 11/28/2013, 5:43 PM
Iron Man 3 is a piece of flaming shit! It is the worst film from Marvel Studios, Iron Man deserved better trilogy overall.
Ramiel - 11/28/2013, 5:44 PM
1. Avengers
2. Iron Man
3. Thor: TDW
4. Thor
5. Incredible Hulk
6. Iron Man 3
7. Captain America: TFA
8. Iron Man 2
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