The Flickering Myth writing staff rank the Marvel Cinematic Universe for 2017…
2017 saw three new releases in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok – as well as our first looks at next year’s Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. As is tradition, we here at Flickering Myth polled our writers and asked them to rank the MCU from best to worst. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy has won the poll the last two years [here and here], but can it make it three years on top?
As a change from last year, we are no longer counting the TV or Netflix shows. It was fun when we tried it last year, but it got too messy and there have been so many new additions this year that it’s hard to keep track of everything! Plus, it means we don’t have to watch every episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Inhumans…
So here we go, let’s rank the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
17. Iron Man 2 (47 points)
Once again bottom of the pile is Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2, the supposed black sheep of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man 2 is thought to be an unfortunate film, a bump in the road while the MCU headed towards The Avengers. It was a product of the old studio system, where successful movies just got sequels greenlit, not realising the bigger picture the MCU was trying to create. It’s not awful, but it is very forgettable.
16. Thor: The Dark World (50 points)
Just missing out on last place for another year is Thor: The Dark World, which suffered from being sandwiched between the the most forgettable movie in Phase Two, which also included Captain America: The Winter Solider, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy. A well-documented troubled production (which saw Joss Whedon fill in for some direction) results in a messy movie with a poorly-written villain. Although, the final act is a lot of fun.
15. The Incredible Hulk (67 points)
The other black sheep of the MCU – certainly in Phase One – is the infamous ‘is it canon?’ The Incredible Hulk from 2008. Ed Norton stars as Bruce Banner in this dark melodrama that at the very least, was far and away better than 2003’s Hulk. Sadly a now confusing post-credit sequence where Tony Stark seemingly teams up with General Ross to take on Banner (a scene that was to set up the original plot of The Avengers before it changed dramatically) has put a sour taste on this movie. That and the all-CGI finale is a sore-spot for some.
14. Thor (108 points)
Thor drops three places this year in our rankings, which is surprising as it is still a really fun movie. Perhaps as time has gone on and the MCU has expanded it doesn’t reach the same heights for our writers as other solo movies, but there is a lot to like in Kenneth Branagh’s 2010 fantasy outing. Chris Hemsworth is a blast, Tom Hiddleston is thoroughly enjoyable and the comedy beats land almost every time.
13. Doctor Strange (115 points)
Scott Derrickson’s 2016 effort Doctor Strange polarised fans upon its release, and once again our writers have again voted it lower down the pecking order of the MCU (although last year it was lower than Thor). Many however did love its psychedelic visuals and the comedy from Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong.
12. Iron Man 3 (119 points)
Only four points ahead of Doctor Strange is the equally polarising Iron Man 3. It’s incredible every year to see where Iron Man 3 sits in writer’s lists. It’s topped one of our writers, and yet found itself at the bottom of the pile on several others – even lower than Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World in some cases. And, really, your enjoyment of the movie comes from the twist. There are those who love it, and those who are wrong. I’m kidding, obviously.
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (124 points)
Time and reflection has not been helped 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, as the film finds itself once again in the middle of Flickering Myth’s ranking. Whedon’s second outing as director on an Avengers movie had a lot of hype around it following on from the rabid reception to 2012’s team-up movie, but it failed to live up to expectations. An underdeveloped villain, poor writing and a rushed story mean that Avengers: Age of Ultron is less Empire Strikes Back and Godfather II, and more Ace Venture: When Nature Calls.
10. Ant-Man (135 points)
Falling from last year’s rankings by one place is Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man. Whether it was rejected because it supposed to be directed by Edgar Wright, the failed promise of a ‘heist movie’, or the overt comedy from Paul Rudd, some fans just didn’t’ take to Ant-Man. It will be interesting to see the audience turn out for Ant-Man and The Wasp next year given the box office performance…