Having written almost seven hundred columns (currently sitting at 683!) one might find it difficult to recall every subject they’ve covered on their website. Seven hundred is a massive number, one I’m quite proud of, and I just don’t have the memory retention to remember each and every I Am Geek column. I wish I could though. I’m not sure if this is because I’m getting older or maybe it’s because I have what my father called “CSR Disease” (Can’t Remember Shit) or maybe there’s just so much going around this noggin of mine that things are just getting buried under all that new information I’m obtaining. That’s the one I like to go with almost like my brain is an episode of Hoarders waiting to happen. Folks, it’s not easy riffling through this brain which makes it easy to forget things like picking up a specific item from the food store or what’s for dinner tonight or if I wrote a specific column. It’s my cross to bear.
Luckily, I don’t have to remember on my own. When you have that many columns written that means you now have a library so I did what any self-respecting writer with memory problems would have done… I checked my archives. Which is one of the coolest things ever. I Am Geek has archives, how effin’ cool is that?! It makes my heart happy unlike my findings though. After six hundred eighty-three columns I couldn’t find what I was looking for. This was a column I had never written about which is kind of surprising considering the amount I spend talking about this subject. So, I checked my archives again and sure enough, it still wasn’t there.
Well, that’s about to change Geeklings. The time has come. No more putting it off. It is time that I bring you the I Am Geek MCU movie rankings.
(insert dramatic music here)
Seriously, I can’t believe we haven’t covered this yet. Going through the archives it looks like the closest we came was the Road to Infinity War, outside of that, nothing that I could find. If I end up being wrong please send me a link, I’d like to see how the two lists compare but like I said, I’m pretty sure there isn’t one.
So the rules of this list. For starters, this is my list that I composed based on my personal enjoyment of the MCU films and re-watchability. I mean, that’s basic list making 101. I don’t expect my list to match yours and I fully anticipate some blowback and discussions. In fact, I welcome them. What’s the point of making a list if you can’t discuss it? I made this list yesterday and on instinct put them in order without overthinking. I allowed them to sit and marinate overnight and went back to it this morning making some minor adjustments. I didn’t want to rush into a list of this magnitude. Some things are just too important.
On top of that, I’ll give a brief explanation as to why each film falls where it does. This is in no way a final list. This is how I feel right now. Any good list should allow itself to change and this one is no different. Expect adjustments once Endgame and Far From Home are released, but for now, this is it and I stand by my choices.
Without further ado, we’ve got twenty-one films to break down and little time to waste. Strap yourselves in and get ready for possibly the biggest I Am Geek list yet!
21. The Incredible Hulk– Kind of the outsider of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hulk isn’t a bad movie it just feels incredibly different compared to the rest of the MCU. Part of that is because the color pallet is a little grittier and not as polished but it all boils down to Edward Norton. It’s hard to imagine a Hulk who isn’t Mark Ruffalo at this point, and while Norton’s Banner was good, it just feels strange and outdated when watching now. It did give us General Ross who has made a resurgence so there’s that.
20. Thor The Dark World- When I first saw Dark World, I loved it! I found the film to be a great deal of fun and would often re-watch when it was time to “throw” a movie on. When I re-watched Dark World during my Road to Infinity War I noticed that this doesn’t hold up… like at all. What a mess. This is a film that looks even worse when compared to the excellence of Ragnarok. Outside of the attack on Asgard and most things Loki, I think it’s okay if we keep this one in the dark.
19. Iron Man 2– I just wanted this one to be better. It’s not as bad as I remembered but when compared to the great films within the MCU library, Iron Man 2 falls short of expectations. The ideas were there but the execution was not. Some very important MCU characters/moments were introduced that would come into play in later films. Things like Black Widow, Thor’s hammer, Peter Parker (kid in the mask), and Larry Sanders Hydra but at the end of the day Iron Man 2 just couldn’t live up to the success of the original.
18. Ant-Man and The Wasp- I enjoyed this movie. I sat in the theater and laughed along and got swept up in this isolated MCU side quest. With that being said, I really couldn’t tell you much about this movie outside of Goliath, a drum-playing ant, and the post-credit scene. Ant-Man and The Wasp was exactly the pallet cleanser we needed after Infinity War but it suffers because it barely touches on those events. All fans wanted was to see what happened next and the Ant-Man sequel did not deliver on that front. It’s an entertaining victim of a poor release schedule.
17. Doctor Strange- I feel like I’m going to take some guff for this one’s location, but I’m sorry, I’m not crazy about Doctor Strange. Visually, it’s stunning. The introduction of magic to the MCU is fantastic and really gives the universe a bunch of new set pieces to play with. Outside of that, it kind of felt like Tony Stark with magic. Benedict Cumberbatch is fantastic and well cast, but I felt this was a story I had seen already. Not to mention that they totally drop the ball with Mads Mikkelsen, so much wasted potential. Strange is one of those characters that works better when he doesn’t have to carry a film which can be seen later on in this list.
16. Thor– I like the first Thor movie. Is it perfect? No, but that doesn’t take away from its entertainment. We get our first look at Asgard and the Rainbow Bridge. Both Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston steal our hearts as Thor and Loki. I mean, Hiddleston just steals the show here. On top of that, we start to expand the Marvel Universe a bit as we see more of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a dash of Hawkeye and some of the other realms. Thor is one of those MCU movies that’s essential to things that happen down the road and can often get overlooked. Loki’s throne room scene alone makes it worth this spot.
15. Iron Man 3- For an Iron Man movie, Stark sure spends a great deal of time out of the suit. This one has improved over time for me. I really enjoy the deep dive it takes into Tony. He’s kind of stripped away of everything, suffering from PTSD (flying through a hole in the sky will do that), and on this continued quest to redeem himself. Shane Black’s only Marvel movie is a solid edition with some pretty great character study, and while the Mandarin ended up being a sham the door was certainly left open for the true Mandarin to step out of the shadows.
14. Ant-Man– You would think that a character like Ant-Man wouldn’t work but even when Marvel Studios gambles on lesser-known entities they win. This movie is an absolute blast centered on the magnetic Paul Rudd and shows us that not everything within the MCU has to be focused around Infinity Stones. Ant-Man is such a welcome addition to this universe and everything about this film is fun. It’s kind of the MCU equivalent of a hug. Michael Pena’s Luis is a treasure who I wish would show up in more Marvel movies.
13. Avengers Age of Ultron- I feel that Ultron takes a bad rap. Look at all that we get from it- Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, Vision, the Black Widow/Hulk romance (which I have zero problems with), the final nail in the coffin towards Civil War, the first crack in the Avengers armor, the freakin’ Hulkbuster suit, “Language”, the loss of the Hulk, and our first real death within the MCU. With the first Avengers movie being so wildly successful in every possible way it’s an almost impossible task for Ultron to live up to expectations. I thought this was a strong movie for Cap that is instrumental for the next Phase of Marvel films. Plus, it might be when I fully fell in love with the MCU so it holds a special place in my heart.
12. Captain America The First Avenger– Captain America is a special character and his first feature film is a special movie. Marvel Studios decides to go backward in time before the release of the first Avengers movie to introduce us to Steve Rogers a kid from Brooklyn who just wants to stand up for what’s right. What follows is a moving period piece that propels Captain America to the center of the MCU. Chris Evans was born to play Captain America and does so with heart, compassion, and leadership. Steve Rogers is the heart of the MCU and The First Avenger shows us why. If you ever needed an example of Caps character just watch that grenade scene. All questions will be answered.
11. Iron Man– It was tough keeping this out of the Top Ten but as I made the list I found it right on the outside. Iron Man is what started it all. Without Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau perhaps we live in a world where we’re not excited about Endgame. Seems unlikely, but the importance of the first Iron Man movie cannot be denied. It was exciting and refreshing while taking what some considered to be a second tier hero and catapulting him to the top of the heap. Arguably the most important film in the MCU because without it who knows where we are today.
Alright, take a breath and get ready because it’s time that we jump into…
The I Am Geek MCU Movie Top Ten
10. Captain Marvel– I know, I know the movie literally just came out but after some soul searching I couldn’t keep it out of the top ten. There was a version of this list where the MCU’s latest fell to 11 or 12 but I think it deserves to crack the Top Ten. The fact that its Marvel Studio’s first female-led superhero movie cannot be ignored. On top of that, the rewatchability of the film is high. I’ve already seen the movie twice and would love to see it again before it gets released to DVD. This feels like a new era of the MCU as we start to look to life in the post-Endgame era, and it’s beyond exciting. Larson is fantastic as Carol Danvers and will only continue to grow into the role, I really enjoyed the Nick Fury origin story, we got our first look at Skrulls, Goose the cat (!!!), and more Kree mythology. Captain Marvel just made me happy inside and I already can’t wait to see her again in Endgame.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2– Don’t you dare sleep on Vol. 2. This might be the most emotionally charged film in the entire MCU catalog. Seriously. The last shot of the movie is a crying raccoon for Christ’s sake! For those who were looking for a carbon copy of the first Guardians film probably left disappointed, but what we got instead is something a bit more layered. Rich with character, heavy with the importance of family, the adorableness of baby Groot, and space adventures for all, Vol. 2 is the emotional centerpiece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and deserves another watch. It’s visually stunning (Gamora sitting in the field is breathtaking) and takes our loveable group of misfits and turns them into something even more awesome.
8. The Avengers- It’s hard to imagine a world without these shared universe event movies, the MCU has spoiled us in that regard, but back in the day, The Avengers was the very first one. The pressure and expectations were high and Marvel with the help of Joss Whedon gave us a movie that surpassed our wildest expectations. Here were all the heroes that we loved growing up, on the screen together at the same time fighting to save the world. It was an incredible experience, one I’m not sure can ever be duplicated, that delivered on all fronts. It was action-packed, it was funny, it set up the next fifteen films, it was everything we had imagined. Nothing has been the same since.
7. Spider-Man Homecoming– This was the toughest movie to place on the list and the one that moved around the most. I had zero doubt that this would fall within the Top Ten, I just had a tough time figuring out where. Homecoming is without a shadow of a doubt my favorite live-action Spider-Man movie. Tom Holland is the cinematic Spider-Man I’ve been waiting my entire life for. Homecoming has all those John Hughes feels to it while connecting Spider-Man to the larger MCU without re-hashing his origin story. They used the perfect amounts of Tony Stark and Happy to tie him to the greater scene but still allowed Peter Parker to stand on his own. What followed was a movie that spoke to my inner child. The one who would run around the house pretending to shoot webs from his hands.
6. Captain America Civil War– Or Avengers 2.5. The Captain America trilogy is hands down the best trilogy in the MCU and it’s capped by the most excellent Civil War. This is a movie that introduces both Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU. This is a movie that completely changes the board by dividing our heroes in ways we didn’t think possible. This is a movie that gives us one of the most spectacular fights in movie history. All this and it’s still able to maintain the heart and integrity that drives the Captain America movies. Civil War makes Ultron a better movie and sets the table for the last half of Phase Three where everything changes. At the center of that change is Captain America… just like he should be.
5. Black Panther- The only MCU movie to be nominated for Best Picture, Blank Panther rounds off the top five. What’s incredible about Black Panther, besides the massive impact it had pop culture and everyday life, is the fact that they take this fictional country of Wakanda and made it seem like it has existed forever. From the culture of the country, the language, the traditions, Wakanda is just as big of a character as T’Challa. Much like Captain Marvel, Black Panther is the future of the MCU and his first solo film raised the bar high with a kickass slightly sympathetic villain, that might be one of Marvel’s best, and an underlining current of hope throughout the film. Black Panther changed the game, not only for the MCU, but for superhero movies as a whole.
4. Thor Ragnarok– Man, this movie is crazy town banana pants and I love every second of it. This another MCU movie that takes the events of Ultron and helps make them better. The Planet Hulk storyline may have differed from the comic but that didn’t stop it from being super entertaining and adding a new layer to not only the Hulk but Bruce Banner. We got a Thor movie that seemed to be more centered on Thor opposed to Loki, even though he had parts to play. I just love how we strip Thor of everything we know about him, and he still is able to show why he’s one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU. On top of that, this movie is funny as hell. Korg, Jeff Goldblum, the color choices, Hela, and the use of Led Zepplin make this one of Marvel’s best.
3. Captain America The Winter Soldier– This is arguably the most important movie within the MCU. I think this is when everything turned for Marvel Studios as people started to learn that these movies could be more than just superheroes. Winter Soldier is part political thriller, part spy movie, and all awesome. Learning that Hydra had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. is a mega reveal and changed everything within the MCU going forward. It seems that all the big MCU events are either centered around Captain America or happen in his movies and Soldier was the first. As far as Marvel movies goes this could very well be the best of the best.
2. Avengers Infinity War– Here we go! This was a tough one to rank but at the end of the day, Infinity War’s importance could not be ignored. This movie is ten years in the making covering a cast of characters that is borderline ridiculous in size. By all accounts this should not have worked… but it did! Infinity War is a celebration of what makes the MCU amazing while also propelling it forward. It’s not quite the end of an era, that will be Endgame, but it sure felt like it. Thanos was the villain we’d been hoping for and exceeded any and all expectations. Infinity War is the very definition of what a comic book movie could be. It’s been almost a year and I still haven’t been able to shake it. This is an event and one that might not ever be duplicated.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy– There is no other movie in the MCU that brings me more joy than the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Centered around a cast of characters that no one knew anything about at the time and now they’ve all become household names. Guardians has the most heart of any MCU movie. The characters are tremendously fleshed out and real, and that’s saying something considering two of them are a talking raccoon and tree. We get our first true look at Thanos and the cosmos here. It’s connected but not really connected to the rest of the MCU. And it just makes me happy. Every time I put it on. That’s the main reason why Guardians of the Galaxy is my favorite Marvel Studios film. That, and the bitchin’ soundtrack.
Phew… give me a second. Alright… there you have it Geeklings. That is the I Am Geek MCU Movie Rankings list. I fully expect you to have to some discrepancies so let them rip. My part here is done. Let the great debate begin! Be sure to throw your thoughts or lists in the comments or throw me a line on Twitter @iamgeek32. I want to hear your order and I want to defend mine. This is my list… until Endgame drops anyway.