Best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Here’s RunPee Jilly’s list of the best-to-worst films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since so many of these movies are good, and there are so many of them, I’ve chosen to rank the films by “tier”. Top Tier, Middle Tier, and Bottom Tier. (And one that is simply Bad.) I’m not going to stress over exactly which ones are better than the others within the tiers.

Keep in mind this list only goes as far as The Black Panther at this point in time. This is pre-Infinity Wars. Keep mindful also: this is my personal opinion of the best/worst MCU films — I expect everyone will have their own list. Scribble down your top to bottom tiers in the comments below.

Top Tier

These are the BEST MCU offerings, IMO (of course). The most cohesive plots, solid connections to the through-story, best character pieces (whether solo or in ensemble form), prettiest filmation/scenery, and most enjoyable films that hold up to re-watches. Notice that the ensemble pieces largely wound up on top.

  • Avengers: Assemble — (Top notch; Joss Whedon got everything right. Including Shwarma, mmmmm.)
  • Captain America: Civil War — (Basically an Avengers ensemble piece, and perfectly executed. The airport set piece is as good as the hype surrounding it. More like this, please!)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1 — (My personal favorite movie in the entire MCU. And one of my new top five all-time films. I need this movie when I feel down. The humor, characters, music, and general story are everything I look for in a fun, feel-good, groovy film.)
  • Thor 3: Ragnarok — (I have to admit, I didn’t think anything in the MCU would approach the likability factor of GotG 1. Well…this one does. Chris Hemsworth is hysterical, for one thing. And while ostensibly a solo film for Thor, it’s more like an ensemble piece for the spacefaring MCU characters. I expect the Grandmaster’s ship  – nay, now Thor’s ship – is how we scoop up the Guardians in time for Infinity Wars.)
  • Spiderman: Homecoming — (Everything in this movie went right. And the villain, usually the sore spot in the MCU, just rocked it! <—- finally)
  • Black Panther — (Beautiful scenery, good characters, solid storytelling and a compelling connection to the larger universe).
  • Iron Man 1 — (The movie that kickstarted the entire decade’s-worth franchise…and rebooted the bank-ability factor to a personable, funny, and charismatic star that redefined how Superhero films could be writ. Can’t forget this moment: “I am Iron Man.” And the world leaned back in their seats, satisfied.)

Middle Tier

  •  Captain America: The Winter Soldier — (I know. This one is top tier for many. As a spy movie, it’s just not to my taste, and this is MY list.)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 — (I wanted to place this one in the top tier, but will concede it doesn’t hit all the marks it should have. If the first GotG is perfect, this one does show up and make the effort, in spite of not quite getting somewhere great.)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron — (Another one just shy of greatness. I wanted to place it top tier, but there are just better ones to choose from.)
  • Ant-Man — (not an ‘epic story’, but fun ‘small tale’ with decent humor and a strong likability factor.)

Bottom Tier

  • Thor 1 — (Not a bad movie; just not awesome. The MCU was still figuring out their formula.)
  • Thor 2: The Dark World — (This one is easily one of the least exciting Marvel films, but on a rewatch it’s better served.)
  • Iron Man 2 — (Dull.)
  • Iron Man 3 — (Dull again, bummer.)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger — (It’s okay. Like Thor, movies with Cap improve as his trilogy progresses.)
  • Dr. Strange — (I wish I could place this one higher. It’s just a bit derivative and…well…strange. Not likable or particularly exciting…but we HAD to have the Gem of Amarra in place for Avengers: Infinity War).

Just Bad

  • The Incredible Hulk — (Edward Norton’s outing is the bottom of the MCU barrel. I can’t even sit through this film in its entirety. I’m ashamed to admit it…but, well, there it is. I love Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, but anyone else falls flat.)

Movie Review – I, Tonya

This movie surprised me: I teared up and cried a little for Tonya Harding. She’s been known as an Olympic villain for so long…and here we see that she may have been unfairly painted by history. If this story is an accurate representation, then I feel bad for believing the worst of this girl. I hated seeing her crummy life, the abuse, and how she couldn’t seem to get a break. But I also reveled in her Triple Axle Jump, and obvious adoration of the sport. It’s clear her first and real love is figure skating.

But how were the actors? Really, top notch. We got to see how well they inhabited their roles during the credit reels. Margot Robbie was absolutely believable, if much much taller than the real Harding – but who cares about that? She pulled off a difficult role, carrying 90% of the film. I look forward to seeing this actor mature.

Sabastian Stan was almost unrecognizable. This is the freaking WINTER SOLDIER, folks (he even gets a funny little line about superheroes), but in I, Tonya, he’s a detestable, bumbling, moronic boob.

The best work by far — no shock here — was by Allison Janney. I hated her character with the fire of a sun, but her iron gravitas and mean wit was undeniable. She’s awful. She’s great. Janney has been underrated since her work in The West Wing, and I’d love to see her garner some awards and bigger roles after this.

The conceit of the character interviews (it’s not “4th wall breaking” if the character is filmed within the film) added a deft and light touch to an otherwise sad, desperate plot. I did like the 80s/90s musical cues and outfits. The direction was pretty standard, as anything more stylish would have only called attention to itself.

I personally didn’t love I, Tonya, since it’s pretty bleak; not my idea of a fun time. I wouldn’t have seen it if I didn’t need to get Peetimes. But it does tell an interesting tale. I’m not sure it needed to be told after all this time, but it does have that nostalgia factor and really excellent acting. I expect there will be awards aplenty.

Movie Grade: A-