MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE – FILM FRANCHISE RANKING 2018

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(Updated October 2018)

20. Thor: The Dark World
Pretty much a repeat of the first Thor but worse. Instead of Thor battling in space he again returns to earth to swoon over Natalie Portman. Forgettable villain and Loki is wasted in the film. No one looks like they are even trying. At least they got it right the third time around.
D-

19. Thor (2011)
Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston deliver good performances as brothers Thor and Loki. But the rest is pretty boring and clichéd. When we should have been given an epic fantasy we got a fish out of water comedy. Asgard was beautifully designed however we are only there for a quarter of the film and we are left in deserted Texas for the rest of the film. Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Anthony Hopkins, and Idris Elba deserve better. One of the weaker entries in the Marvel Universe.
D+

18. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
I actually liked Edward Norton as the Hulk. I don’t think he was given a chance to shine in this film. He is one of my favourite actors check out Primal Fear, American History X, and Fight Club. He did a good job however the film feels dated perhaps it’s the special effects or just the bare bones plot. I enjoyed the action in the opening scenes reminiscent of the Jason Bourne films or Fast & Furious 5 when they’re in Rio. The sequence in the University is also a great showcase for the Hulk’s true powers. It’s a good entry in the series but seems to now been forgotten since Mark Ruffalo took over as the Hulk in the Avengers.
C-

17. Iron Man 2 (2010)
Still love Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man and enjoyed Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. I also actually enjoyed Mickey Rourke as Whiplash and Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer. However the film got bogged down with too many setups to future films and seemed a bit aimless. Should have been a stronger sequel to the first-rate original.
C

16. Ant-Man (2016)
Pretty small entry (pun intended) entry in the Marvel Universe. Paul Rudd is great as Scott Lang/Ant-Man with his usual style of laid back humour. Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly are fine but the stand out is definitely Michael Pena as his con man buddy. Great visuals when he shrinks. Another generic villain. Would’ve loved to see Edgar Wright’s version. Fun entry but definitely in the lower end of the MCU
B-

15. Doctor Strange (2016)
Enjoyable and trippy entry in the MCU. With dashes of Inception and Batman Begins. Benedict Cumberbatch is good as Steven Strange. Overall pretty formulaic origin story though.
B

14. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Underrated entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Robert Downey Jr is still great as Tony Stark/Iron Man. I love how he has to depend on his wits instead of his suit to solve the crime. Also his chemistry with the little boy really shines. I love Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin and the twist that follows. Also the first Christmas Marvel film. Great action and great performances all around.
B-

13. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Enjoyable sequel to the original smash hit. Delves deeper into each characters past and also introduces new enjoyable characters. Lots of daddy issues in this film. Soundtrack and action scenes are great too. Cast is awesome. Very funny and entertaining but doesn’t surpass the original for me.
B-

12. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Excellent opening scene featuring great action and fun banter between our favourite team. Also another classic scene is the crew having a chill out party all attempting to lift Thor’s hammer. 🔨 I love James Spader as the titular villain Ultron. However overall it is rather long, formulaic and relies too much on sub-plots to play out in future films.
B-

11. Ant-Man & the Wasp
Another fun adventure with Ant-Man! Great creative action sequences with the micro hero going from large to tiny and the film explored all the possibilities with that concept. Evangeline Lilly also kicked ass as the Wasp creating another bad ass Marvel hero after Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Great sympathetic villain with Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost. The supporting cast were also brilliant again with Michael Pena, Randall Park, Walton Goggins and the cute Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie, Scott Lang’s daughter. MCU knocked it out of the park in 2018.
B+

10. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Really funny third entry in the Thor series. I love the 80s cheesy fantasy vibe. Chris Hemsworth leans into his comedy side we saw from Ghostbusters and SNL. Tessa Thompson is great. The real standout is Korg voiced by director Taika Waititi. Great action and visuals. I was very surprised by this entry.
B+

9. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Tom Holland is great as the new Spider-Man and I love the 80s high school romantic comedy vibe. Michael Keaton is an excellent villain and Marissa Tomei is cute as Aunt May. The action scenes are pretty average. However I still really enjoyed this one.
B+

8. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers in space! Epic action from start to finish. Lots of surprises and real heart. The consistent fun banter between our heroes is still present and Thanos makes an excellent villain. However I was left wanting more. Seems like the first in a trilogy. Extremely reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings with multiple character arcs, the epic scope and large scale battle sequences.
B+

7. Iron Man (2008)
The introduction to the Marvel Universe. Again perfect casting of Robert Downey Jr as the cocky, sleazy billionaire Tony Stark who loses his heart but gains a soul. Jon Favreau crafted a unique origin story for a character honestly I barely knew about. When I was a kid I was raised on Spider-Man and Batman comics. However Favreau took all the tropes of the 90s comic book films and created something very special and timely dealing with the still at the time war in the Middle East. This was an origin story which was different – quirky, funny, action packed and still had heart. Great introduction to this universe.
A

6. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America is perfect casting. He brings a physicality and nobility I can’t see any other actor bringing to this role. I also love the supporting cast of Sebastian Stan, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving and Hayley Atwell. I love the WW11 setting and this is a great introduction to my favourite onscreen Marvel character.
A

5. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Great film. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista turn in excellent performances and Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel are awesome as the voices of Rocket Racoon and Groot respectively. Really fun space adventure in the groove of the original Star Wars.
A

4. Avengers (2012)
Great ensemble team movie getting the band together. Captain America, Thor, Loki, Iron Man, Black Widow and especially Mark Ruffalo as the new Hulk all knock it out of the park. Great action and funny quips from beginning to end. I miss Joss Whedon’s sensibilities in the Marvel Universe. This was the first true beginning of the Marvel we know today.
A

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Previously my favourite Marvel film. So many epic action sequences including the elevator fight, the car chases and the opening. However it is the chemistry between Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson. Then Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie. However especially Chris Evans and his long time friend turned enemy Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier. The Russo Brothers really surprised everyone with their realistic direction and staging of each scene. Chris Evans is perfect in this film as the stoic and noble Captain America.
A+

2. Black Panther (2018)
Strong Marvel film with a diverse cast and a whole new aesthetic to the formulaic Marvel mode which has grown over the years. This is bold, daring and gives the African Americans a true hero to see on screen instead of another white actor named Chris. Only since Blade has their been a strong black superhero lead (not counting Luke Cage on Netflix). Top acting from Chadwick Boseman and especially Michael B. Jordan as the conflicted villain. Brilliant direction from Ryan Coogler (Creed) and beautiful production design. The special effects and action sequences could have been better however the characters and plot overcome those quibbles. Excellent Marvel film and could be the best film of 2018.
A+

1. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
My favourite entry in the Marvel Universe thus far. Excellent performances from everyone in the cast especially Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. Brilliant action sequences from start to finish and the Airport face off is possibly the best sequence in all of the films. Excellent introductions to Black Panther and Spider-Man (3.0). The Russo Brothers deliver on every level. Also plenty of twists which really changes the characters and their dynamics for future films. Excellent film!
A+

Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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Slough of Despond 3: Advanced Blogging

In order to write a review for the film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I got information about the film, behind the scenes information, release dates and trailers via my RSS feed from my account on theoldreader.com

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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Plot synopsis: After being frozen for over 50 years, Captain America struggles with his new life in modern day America. While working for the secret agency S.H.I.E.L.D under Nick Fury, his growing concerns of corruption come to a fold when an old threat returns.

Review:

The seventh film from the Marvel Studios is surprisingly one of their best. In 2014 the Marvel brand is as strong as ever. This year we will see four blockbusters based on Marvel properties, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spiderman 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past and Guardians of the Galaxy. However only Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are produced in the Marvel Studios and follow the timeline of other Marvel Studios properties such as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and The Avengers. Following these films adds extra weight as we have gotten to know these characters, and minor characters, over seven films now. After playing Captain America for the third time, Chris Evans appears comfortable in the role and takes the character to places he hasn’t been before. Supporting characters such as Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Bucky Barnes (Sebastion Stan), Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), and Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) are fleshed out and given higher stakes to play with. New supporting characters including Sam Wilson aka The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Kate/Sharon Carter aka Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp) also bring gravitas to the film. This all adds to the films overall tension and development. The writing also helps these characters shine with their witty banter to each other keeping things light in the right moments.

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The film is different to other superhero properties as it plays with the genre conventions of the paranoid spy thrillers of the 70s, while also staying faithful to the genre conventions of the modern action superhero film. The film is a rush from beginning to end. With breathtaking action sequences including hand-to-hand combat, car chases and city street shoot-outs, every scene keeps you engaged and hungry for more.

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The direction of brothers Anthony and Joe Russo is superb showing an eye for incredible action set pieces as well as tender moments between characters coming to terms with the films twists and turns. The score by Henry Jackman also helps to amplify the tension, especially in the action set piece on the city street where we are introduced to the winter soldier, a high frequency pitch is played which jars the audience and gives the soldier an extra edge. Cinematography from Trent Opaloch is also top notch. This film is an excellent addition to the Marvel franchise and superhero films in general.

This is the 2014 action film to beat, with three more Marvel films on the way this will be hard to top.

Rating: 4 Stars

Cast & Crew

  • Director: Anthony & Joe Russo
  • Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson
  • Screenplay: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
  • Producer: Kevin Feige
  • Music: Henry Jackman
  • Cinematography: Trent Opaloch
  • Editor: Jeffrey Ford
  • Studio: Marvel Studios