All its 19 movies, 11 TV shows, and 5 one-shots.
Who knew that a guy making a super suit to escape from terrorists would pave the way for fictional characters and superheroes to dominate the world? Marvel Studios definitely hit the nail on the head when they made a 10-year continuous filmic narrative of what was a “substandard comics compared to DC,” (agree? disagree?), starting with the most-loved OG Avenger – genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark.
What Marvel built was a cinematic rarity, that prompted even the non-comics fans (myself included) to dive into the world that was MCU, and operate on 2 levers of nerd-ery.
If you’ve finished all the movies on the big screen, you might want to binge-watch all their TV series and one-shots. The connection between the TV and movies might be thinner than ever, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less worth the watch.
First off, here’s the chronological order of the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe:
Well… I finished everything in a considerably “long” period of time (4 months). But you can watch all, if you take the whole summer off 😉
1. Avengers: Infinity War – Rating: GOOD. Many fans would put this “penultimate showdown with the baddest villain” somewhere in the Top 3, but not as #1. However, I can’t help but feel that this is the most engrossing, if not the best, MCU film there is. Thanos is a remarkable villain, and this movie is all about him. He believes he’s doing the world a noble favor by killing off half of existence. The unlikely team ups, comical banter, and fight scenes were all so incredibly done, and the ending… GOSH. Instead of putting a very sad score, the movie served us SILENCE, and it was accompanied by our very loud thoughts of “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING???”. Confusion, worry, sadness, and emptiness. A rush of all these feelings. I don’t think I’ve ever raised so many questions and emotions for any other MCU movie unlike in Infinity War. Wew.
2. Captain America: Civil War – Rating: GOOD. Before Infinity War was released, this topped my list for a couple of reasons — it has the best fight sequence (airport scene), realistic political pressures, the heroes’ own unshakeable beliefs, and a long-buried secret. Zemo’s line at the end of the movie encapsulates everything, “An empire toppled by its enemies can rise again. But one that crumbles from within, that’s dead. Forever.”
3. Iron Man – Rating: GOOD. Need I say more? The technologically advanced suit certainly became a breath of fresh air to the usual cape and tights we see superheroes wear. A usual question we hear is whether RDJ is portraying Tony Stark, or if it’s the other way around. I guess he’s simply the perfect fit. Many heroes in the MCU have no clear motivations, but instead have selfish ambitions.. Iron Man was bigger than any other hero (for me). He was no “I-need-to-prove-I’m-a-hero” or “Let’s-stick-to-the-right-way” kind of guy, he was simply aggressive in protecting as many people as he can. Marvel can give us bigger and bolder movies as we enter Phase 4, but this is the movie we’ll always come back to. A classic.
4. Captain America: The First Avenger – Rating: GOOD. The film is set in the 90’s (during WW2), and it’s basically the origin story of the star spangled man, and the world’s first super soldier. The Red Skull makes for a riveting antagonist, and Peggy Carter? Oh boy, she’s a hero in her own right. Total badass. This film was big on Steve’s patriotic character, and it shines in all scenes.
5. The Avengers – Rating: GOOD. If you ask me what I like best about the first Avengers movie, I’d say that I couldn’t get the epic tie-in shot of the team (click here for the video!) out of my head. It was absolutely brilliant. Even after the failed attempt to “assemble” at first, the Avengers eventually worked their way to win The Battle of New York. And did I mention — Loki slays in his portrayal as the villain.
6. Iron Man 2 – Rating: GOOD. Tony suffers from palladium poisoning, and is on the brink of dying, until he creates a new element called the “Vibranium,” which also powers his new suit. I think more than the villain (Vanko was a forgettable one), I enjoyed watching the rich, egocentric guy deal with his personal problem and legacy. This film also sees Natasha’s first appearance; I don’t know about you, but I remember seeing her and being so excited for the future of MCU. Comparing Iron Man 2 to the other films based on very definite factors, this probably would fall down to the tenth. But still, it was very entertaining.
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming – Rating: GOOD. Being true to the “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” nature, this movie is refreshing, and truthfully, entertaining to watch. The easily excited and overly talkative Spider-Man was also funny, but not to the point of overkill, thanks to KAREN. This film didn’t have the usual Uncle Ben death scene, but Peter Parker trying to find his inner hero definitely moves us. The only thing that seemed off was Michelle Jones, or is it just me?
8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Rating: GOOD. Yes, I liked this better than the first. Who doesn’t? The whole concept of finding your dad, realizing he is a Celestial, and that he’s the “crazy person” you have to fight at the end is all messed up – in a good way. The team’s more like a family now. There’s Baby Groot (who undoubtedly steals the whole show). Wacky humor is thrown around naturally and almost in every scene by the characters. The predictability level was average (I knew at some point that Ego would turn out to be evil, but Yondu’s endgame got me so emotional. The Father and Son song as the background during the Ravagers’ funeral? It was a major tearjerker). The Guardians seem like the group who won’t do much and don’t belong together, but their differences and imperfections are what makes them so relatable. Forget about the goody-good superheroes. Outlaws rule the galaxy!
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Rating: GOOD. I’ve always assumed that all Captain America movies are good. So far, every film lived up to the expectations – breaking it, even. However, I’d say that the Captain America: The Winter Soldier is not just a very good movie, but also a haunting one, as it sees the HYDRA Uprising. Imagine that for several decades, HYDRA grew within S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ranks, manipulating world events, and using the resources to suit their plans. The infiltration is a very scary concept, especially because it goes all the way back to Zola’s time. This movie was a definite game-changer. There is no one to trust. Not even the top security agency that claims to be the world’s first line of defense.
10. Black Panther – Rating: GOOD. I won’t pretend that I didn’t like this movie just because it was cool. Many critics say that Black Panther lives up to the hype as “one of the most daring and culturally significant films in the genre’s history.” This movie has an astounding world development (no other Marvel film has tackled this, actually), the villain’s motivation had an emotional depth, that at some point, you second guess who the villain really is, the music was certainly on a whole new level, and the cast were superb! What’s not to like?
11. Iron Man 3 – Rating: GOOD. Even though the fake ideological terrorist leader or “The Mandarin,” was a disappointment, the film didn’t fall short of funny jokes, amazing action scenes, and high stakes for the main lead. Iron Man 3 shows Tony’s existential problems after The Avengers, such as his bigger purpose in life. What was he supposed to do, and is he supposed to do more?
12. Thor: Ragnarok – Rating: GOOD. The only reason why I had to rank this movie lower than I wished, was because of the jokes that were put in scenes that didn’t really need any comical relief… Thor’s lack of feelings other than being happy and a joke-ster bothered me (he lost his three closest friends from Asgard, and he didn’t even cry or mourn. There had to be some kind of emotion, right). Funny Thor aside, I like this movie because I appreciate the pop of colors in Xandar (something Asgard lacked), the fun portrayal of the Grandmaster (first lost and first found), Cate Blanchett as Hela (beautiful villain), Hela’s bloodlust, the battle with the Hulk, and lastly… the Ragnarok prophecy.
13. Guardians of the Galaxy – Rating: GOOD. Who else was hooked right after watching this “unlikely blockbuster?” The answer is me! Okay, to start, I never meant to give such a judgmental opinion about this movie, but really… come on. If this wasn’t the age of all things MCU and superheroes, who would bother to watch a movie with a talking tree, and an arrogant raccoon? This movie raked in $773.3 million in the box office, and the success can be attributed to Marvel Studios’ credibility in making top-notch movies. GoTG was fun, colorful, and interestingly light for a film with gargantuan issues (Remember Ronan trying to take over the world when he had the power stone?). Star Lord was the epitome of funny because Chris Pratt’s own personality truly shines. The 70’s soundtrack was on point. I never knew I needed songs like “Hooked on a Feeling,” or “Come and Get Your Love” in my life until this very film. As I said, I was hooked.
14. Doctor Strange – Rating: GOOD. Considering that I’m pretty much into the power of the mind, and the movie suggests there is more to the natural world as we recognize it -this – for me, is immediately a good movie! Doctor Strange had a wonderful depiction of the mystic arts – from the battles with Kaecilius, down to the small details of Stephen’s transformation from a neurosurgeon to sorcerer. Also touted as one that is at par with with Inception – the movie served special effects wizardry that’s out of this world. The visual feast, gosh. Although one thing I noticed was its plot. Even the effects can’t cover for the mess. Scenes just jump from one scene to another. Plus, they didn’t really have to give Strange a love interest *ehem, underserved Rachel McAdams* just to tick off something from the “Superhero Movie List.”
15. Avengers: Age of Ultron – Rating: BAD. It’s not that I totally disliked the movie, but it has (or rather, had) the potential to become something MORE. Just like in any Marvel movie, Ultron was a bad villain with a catastrophic purpose, but in the end, he’s still a one-and-done. As reviewed by a guy in MetaCritic, the movie was “suffering from excess characters and delivering more of the same without much news.”
16. Thor – Rating: BAD. The movie showed Thor as a hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder… but it also shied away from the original Shakespearean theme it originally had in the comics (not my words, but Captain Midnight’s!). Asgard seemed pretty dull. The final scene with The Destroyer was forgettable. Only Loki was worth watching.
17. Thor: The Dark World – Rating: BAD. The little chemistry between Thor and Jane completely disappeared. It was understandable considering that for some time, they were planets apart. But their reunion makes me cringe. Their “catching up moments” feel too pretentious and stuffed. I admit that the action scenes were much better than the first movie, but that’s all there is. Thor: The Dark World gave us literal colorless storytelling, that you wonder at how and why this movie took such a dark turn.
18. Ant Man – Rating: BAD. I find this pretty average, because we’ve seen almost all scenes from existing superhero movies. But to be fair, this operated on a much smaller scale, compared to Avengers’ alien invasion dilemma, or Strange’s calling to keep the planet from being consumed by Dormammu. Ant Man was fun to watch, sure. But it was a simple heist story with cool shrinking technology effects.
19. The Incredible Hulk – Rating: BAD. Though I will definitely agree if you say that the battle between The Hulk and The Abomination was scary and exciting as hell, I personally think that The Hulk doesn’t need an origin story, or a movie all about how he came to be. As much as we love him for always SMASHIN,’ the movie was disposable fun.
1. Agent Carter – Rating: GOOD. When Marvel announced that there would be a Captain America spin-off TV show, I’m pretty sure all fans were excited. This TV show stars Peggy Carter – Captain America’s love interest – or rather, SSR secretary on a secret mission, face the full fury of her enemies to save the world. We also get a closer look at Howard Stark (how can anyone not be interested at Tony’s dad?), and the real man behind the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S., Edwin Jarvis (FYI: Tony named his AI after his dad’s most trusted butler). Peggy serves glorious feminist moments. She’s such a cool, and legitimate hero, I’d pay to see her on the big screen. You don’t need to have powers to be awesome. Be like Peggy Carter. Just like in the Captain America movie, this has been in a pre-S.H.I.E.L.D. era, and only needs cursory knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Planning to do a Marvel Marathon? This show is a good start. Want to kill time by watching a good detective/spy film? The option is yours. I’m practically obsessed with Agent Carter, I was sooooo disappointed that this show had a short run with only two seasons. I NEED MORE. WE NEED MORE.
2. The Punisher – Rating: GOOD. I had a hard time trying to decide which was better – Jessica Jones or The Punisher. I can’t help but choose this one. Frank Castle is easily one of the most admirable characters in the MCU, because he was a brave and elite soldier to the core. Frank’s a vigilante, yes, but I find it within reason. I don’t believe the whole MCU is interconnected, and this show right here, is the proof. The Punisher has its own world – built on military, CIA/NSA investigations, and waging wars. The slew of actors was nothing short of perfect. The intensity, the violence, and the action – these we get a lot, but never too much. Frank Castle is neither a celebrated hero nor a villain. He was just a guy trying to give justice to all the wrongs, including to what was done to his family. He is deadly, not because he has a glowing fist, a handy hammer, nor earthquake-producing powers… but because HE IS THE PUNISHER, and he won’t let anything get in his way. Here’s the kind of show you can watch for about 4 times, and still like. There’s nothing more dangerous than a man who fights, and has nothing to lose (although we don’t know if that will change because of Karen). Last point – anybody there who’s also in love with Dinah Madani and Billy Russo????
3. Jessica Jones – Rating: GOOD. A hero who doesn’t want to be a hero. Jessica Jones just wants to get with her private investigator life, than to attract more “duty-calls-scenarios.” Jones has a hard time trying to move on from the trauma she suffered from Kilgrave – abuser, and rapist, but she braved her fears in order to stop the lunatic from killing more people. I got to say, David Tennant did such an amazing job portraying Kilgrave. His obsession with Jessica was both a delightful torture, and a personal flaw. I mean, that’s how he died. A day in the life of Jessica was filled with booze, temporary pleasures, guilt, sadness, and overwhelming disgust for Kilgrave. Each episode draws you in, a little more each time. She has this IDGAF attitude, and it just becomes so amusing.
4. Daredevil – Rating: GOOD. Truthfully, I watch this for the ninjas of the Hand, and the amazing fight sequences. While the story gets weirder and weirder by the episode, every action scene in this series feels so realistic and brutal, that it’s addictive to watch. The Hallway Brawl sort of gives a “The Raid” feeling, doesn’t it? Wilson Fisk seemed more like a bully than a real villain, until his crossover with Frank Castle! Ugh!
5. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Rating: GOOD. Phil Coulson’s “death” in the Avengers movie gave birth to this TV show (Lowkey thanking the heavens for Loki stabbing Phil) with the promise to always reinvent. I think their work involves everything that’s below the Avengers’ pay grade, but honestly, their problems are more pressing. The Destroyer of Worlds. The alternate universe in The Framework. Deep shit! This show is always diving into ambitious full-on science fiction. There will be moments (take note: plural) where you’d unexpectedly bawl your eyes out and pray that this will be a cliche show that doesn’t just kill off the main characters. Have you seen Season 5? It broke my Fitz-Simmons heart!
6. Luke Cage – Rating: GOOD. The man with unbreakable skin. While the show didn’t dwell on his pre-fugitive life, I think it still served some good episodes! I do remember that Luke Cage is a good show, but the scenes don’t really make a mark. It’s more of the story and the flaws of the city of Harlem. Amazing three: music, the villain (Cottonmouth), and the politics (Mariah Dillard). Plus, the women in this show can really kick ass!
7. Runaways – Rating: GOOD. Six very different teenagers get the shock of their life when they realize their parents are villains. The superpowers-as-coming-of-age theme was intriguing, and crazy, to say the least. The show may have a slow pacing, but I still find it really grounded. Never overboard. The show doesn’t try to be something it’s not.
8. The Defenders – Rating: BAD. If you’re going to watch this, you need to be familiar with the Iron Fist, and the holdovers from Daredevil, because… The Hand. The elements of this story carry over the scenes from the two other shows. Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones… I’d say they were the most likable here. I appreciate the brevity of the whole story – with just 8 episodes. They just need to align together, get a deeper understanding of The Hand (its cult-like weirdness), and defeat evil! If Danny Rand and Colleen Wing weren’t with the forced team-up, I’d probably think this was actually a good show.
9. Cloak and Dagger – Rating: BAD. We’re just 3 episodes in, because this is a completely new show! First off, I love the music and the characters. It feels very teen soap-y. But…. I’m not so sure about the pacing of the whole story. The magical mystery behind the tragic accidents of Tyrone and Tandy, envelopes the whole show. I’m not digging the too-artistic-for-my-liking scenes, because I just want to know all the hows, whats, and whys. I’m probably giving an unfair ranking, given that the show is in no hurry to get to its “peak,” and give a proper introduction of the teen superheroes. This ranking, and rating is just as of the moment.
10. Iron Fist – Rating: BAD. Weak show, weak plot. If you compare it to the other Marvel shows, you’d feel the significant step down in terms of quality. I expected more from an intriguing start (Rand, dressed in a grey, loose linen and looking like a hobo, is on his way to the billion-dollar Rand corporation his late father put up), but the episodes will bore you. The fight scenes were “meh,” and all that fuss for his glowing fist wasn’t worth it.
11. Inhumans – Rating: BAD. Weaker than weak. The set-up looked cheap. The story didn’t make any sense. The special effects were lame. The characters didn’t have any chemistry. No quotable lines. Seriously, if you can skip on this show, do it. This is the worst Marvel show. Google the name, and you’ll already get links to articles explaining why this is the worst of the worst.
1. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer – Rating: GOOD. A.k.a. what happened before the post-credits scene in Iron Man 2, wherein Phil Coulson subdued armed robbers inside a store. Phil is a well-loved character in the Marvel universe, and this is one of the reasons why. Simple and funny one shot says he’s a baby-faced badass.
2. Agent Carter – Rating: GOOD. More of Peggy Carter, yes. She’s gone three months without an assignment, so she steals the lead in the pursuit of “Zodiac.” Can I say that she’s done a wonderful job doing a mission that required 3-5 agents? This is the game-changer for Peggy, as she was later asked to run S.H.I.E.L.D. with Stark! How I wish there was a show that focused more on building S.H.I.E.L.D.
3. The Consultant – Rating: GOOD. This was a very funny one-shot, without even trying. Of course Ross tastes a dose of the consultant – Tony Stark. Stark annoys Ross so much that he tries to have him removed from the bar. And what did Tony do? He buys the bar and immediately schedules it for demolition. Good laugh!
4. Item 47 – Rating: GOOD. A mischief-loving couple found a Chitauri gun, or an “Item 47,” and used it to rob banks! You know what happens to people like this, right? Left underground, or erased from existence. Instead, Jasper Sitwell recruits them into S.H.I.E.L.D. (it’s not like it’s legitimate, cause he’s HYDRA), to become part of the R&D ‘think-tank’ that’s tasked to reverse engineer the Chitauri tech. I almost thought Claire Wise was Jane’s best friend from Thor! Did you catch the similarities?
5. All Hail the King – Rating: BAD. We already established that Trevor is a fake terrorist from the Iron Man movie. But then he was interviewed by someone who is really part of 10 Rings, and tells him that “someone whose name he’s been using wants to see him,” or something to that effect. He was a SIMPLE actor. That we know. So was his character wronged in here? It feels as if a previous writer worked on The Mandarin in Iron Man, then another one fixed it to work going forward. But did it?? I don’t know.
That’s it for my honest ranking and reviews! I’m finding someone who I can geek out with, so just leave a comment below, or send me a message lol!