17 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies as Ranked by IMDb Usersby IMDb-Contributing-Writers | last updated - 1 month ago
Now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is well into Phase 3, how do they rate? You may not be surprised by the top-rated and lowest-rated films on this list, but there are definitely some plot twists in the middle rankings. If you don't agree with the results, go forth and rate your favorites higher. (Updated 12/10/2017)
17. The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Rating: 6.8
Edward Norton took on the role of Bruce Banner/The Hulk from Eric Bana but was recast by fan favorite Mark Ruffalo after negotiations between Marvel and Norton fell apart. Of the 12 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Incredible Hulk has the lowest box office gross, with a respectable $161 million (adjusted for inflation) and is the only MCU film from Phase 1 and 2 without the trademark mid or post-credit scenes or an appearance from Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
16. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – Rating: 6.9
Our first introduction to Steve Rogers, the noble military reject who transforms into super soldier Captain America, received mixed reviews from fans. Chris Evans and Hayley Atwell earned high praise as Steve and Agent Peggy Carter (she even landed her own TV show), but IMDb users rated the movie itself much lower than its sequel, The Winter Soldier. Jon Favreau was an early choice to direct this film and intended to frame it as a comedy. But he instead chose to direct Iron Man. Joe Johnston was picked as director due to the strength of his work on early 20th century period films like The Rocketeer and October Sky.
15. Iron Man 2 (2010) – Rating: 7
The first Iron Man was such an adrenaline rush — launching the whole MCU — that there was almost no way the follow-up could avoid a sophomore slump. However, it did introduce Scarlett Johansson's irreplaceable Natasha/Black Widow and the recast of Don Cheadle as Lt. Colonel James Rhodes. Of the three Iron Man films, Iron Man 2 has the lowest domestic box office total coming in at $337 million and the lowest ranking among IMDb users.
14. Thor (2011) – Rating: 7
Thor’s casting was met with resounding approval, especially for Tom Hiddleston as dastardly new villain Loki. Hiddleston initially auditioned for Thor, but director Kenneth Branagh, who had just worked with Hiddleston in a London play, thought he’d be better as the villain. After doing some research on the Marvel character, Hiddleston said he based his Loki on three different actors: Peter O’Toole, Jack Nicholson, and Clint Eastwood. Meanwhile, the battle to cast Thor came down (appropriately enough) to brother vs. brother between Liam and Chris Hemsworth. IMDb users rated Thor slightly lower than its sequel, as you will see, and in terms of box office gross, Thor pulled in a domestic gross of $192.8 million compared to its sequel, which drew a $212.3 million (adjusted for inflation).
13. Thor: The Dark World (2013) – Rating: 7
The MCU is the rare place in the cinematic universe where sequels are occasionally preferred to the originals. This slightly higher rating for Thor 2 may be an encouraging sign for Thor: Ragnarok, which is coming in November. But this film is still being debated on the IMDb message boards, with some fans arguing that it's underrated at 7.1, naming it their favorite film of Phase 2. Others think it's weaker than the original. The Dark World is also the first MCU film not set in the United States.
12. Iron Man 3 (2013) – Rating: 7.2
Jon Favreau ultimately turned down the opportunity to return for Iron Man 3, leaving the job to Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black, whose first directing gig was with Robert Downey Jr. in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Critics and audiences both preferred Iron Man 3 to the second film. However, this is still another polarizing one. Many viewers praised the whip-smart dialogue and spectacular action, and appreciated the more serious, vulnerable side of Tony Stark. However, some fans really did not like that big twist, even saying it ruined the movie for them. So, those frustrated fans may be the ones keeping this from actually being higher, rivaling the original's ranking.
11. Ant-Man (2015) – Rating: 7.3
Everybody loves Paul Rudd, right? This charming, smaller (groan) Marvel film is the most recent of the batch and closed out Phase 2. It's possible this one benefited from lower expectations, since some folks squinted and tilted their heads at the casting and whole idea of the movie. Even Rudd's own 9-year-old son Jack was not impressed when dad told him he would play Ant-Man. As Rudd told Entertainment Tonight, "What he actually said was, 'Wow, I can’t wait to see how stupid that'll be.'" Well, the joke was on Jack and all other doubters: IMDb users rate it highly. Paul Rudd reprises his role as Scott Lang, in Captain America: Civil War.
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – Rating: 7.4
Age of Ultron introduced Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlett Witch and Paul Bettany’s Vision to the MCU and the Avengers roster, both of whom have pivotal roles in Captain America: Civil War. Overall, fans approved of Whedon's job, but he won't be back to direct Avengers: Infinity War - Part I (2018) and Part II (2019). That job now goes to the Russo brothers, Anthony and Joe, who also directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War.
9. Doctor Strange (2016) – Rating: 7.5
Doctor Strange introduced magic and sorcery to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although this is Doctor Strange's first outing in a MCU solo movie, the character has been teased in earlier movies, including in Thor, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Solder. Doctor Strange is the second live action adaptation of the Marvel comic. The first was the 1978 film, Doctor Strange.
8. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – Rating: 7.6
Spider-Man: Homecoming is the penultimate film in Marvel's Phase 3 and the long-awaited arrival of Peter Parker (Tom Holland) into the MCU after being spectacularly introduced in Captain America: Civil War. We won't have long to wait for more of our friendly neighborhood webslinger, as he will return in the Phase 4 Avengers: Infinity War in 2018 and the follow-up to Homecoming in 2019.
6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – Rating: 7.8
Marvel honcho Kevin Feige described The Winter Soldier as a "1970s political thriller masquerading as a big superhero movie," and they even cast Robert Redford to emphasize the point. In step with MCU sequels ranking higher than previous films, Winter Soldier topped The First Avenger in the box office, as well, taking in a domestic gross of $267.6 million, which tops The First Avenger’s $191 million. Scarlett Johansson is a kickass standout in Winter Soldier, along with Anthony Mackie as Falcon, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and Sebastian Stan as Steve’s dark, troubled friend from the past, Bucky Barnes.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – Rating: 7.8
The follow-up to the well-recieved and highly rated Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) proved to be just as popular, and just as highly regarded. Director James Gunn confirmed that a third film in the series is in the works, though it's still in its early stages.
5. Iron Man (2008) – Rating: 7.9
The man. The myth. The legend. The first film in Phase 1 set the tone for (most of) what was to come. Director Jon Favreau actually had to fight to cast RDJ, telling a radio station, “I remember when we cast Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man, and I was told 'no' several times … It was my job as a director to show that it was the best choice creatively. And now the Marvel Universe is the biggest franchise in film history.”
4. Captain America: Civil War (2016) – Rating: 7.9
The release of Captain America: Civil War coincided with the 75th anniversary of Captain America. 2016 also marked the 10th anniversary of the original Civil War comic book and Black Panther's 50th anniversary. Captain America: Civil War is also the first appearance of T'Challa, Black Panther's alter ego and the central character of his own MCU film due out in 2018.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Rating: 8.1
Fans were hooked on a feeling for this one, high on believing that they loved the crazy space comedy and wanted more. It was refreshing to have new characters to follow beyond the usual Avengers, especially Chris Pratt, who knocked it out of the park as Star-Lord. (He was reportedly influenced by Han Solo and Marty McFly.) Guardians took home multiple awards in 2014 including Critic’s Choice Awards for Best Action Movie and an Empire Award for Karen Gillan for Best Female Newcomer. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 is slated for release in 2017.
2. The Avengers (2012) – Rating: 8.1
Although The Avengers shares an 8.1 rating with Guardians, it has garnered a larger volume of total votes and, thus, the top spot. It’s also the highest-grossing film in the MCU, with a total domestic (adjusted for inflation) take of $659.6 million, which is $200 million more than next highest-grossing film, Age of Ultron. To be honest, this film does deserve to be No. 1 for the shawarma scene alone. It wasn't a guaranteed success going in, but the brilliant script, crisp action, likable heroes, perfect love-to-hate-to-love villain in Loki, and unmatched team chemistry just set this thing apart. Nothin' but net. Actually, nothin’ but “HULK SMASH” right at the perfect moment.
1. Thor: Ragnarok (2017) - Rating: 8.2
The mix of action, adventure, and the signature sense of humor of director Taika Waititi has definitely proved popular. Thor: Ragnarok, the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has dethroned them all, with only a .1 rating advantage, to become the top-rated movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
So which one do you think is better? Or do you think Black Panther, just around the corner in February 2018, will take the top spot? We'll have to wait and see what fans rate it, and see if it retains that rating by the end of Phase 3.