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Uncanny Nerd’s MCU Ranking

by Mike Slade,  Founder of Uncanny Nerd

Uncanny Nerd- MCU Ranking

So Avengers: Infinity War has come and gone now.

We’ve had time to absorb it, and the inevitable question we must face is where to place it on the list of Best MCU movies.

First off- there’s no need for a list. It’s perfectly acceptable to just enjoy all of these movies and not care at all that one if supposedly better than another in someone’s point of view… But- I do get asked this one a lot, so I’m going to just go ahead and answer it, post this up, and hope you don’t get too pissy.

There’s no need to rank things like… 6-15. It really doesn’t matter at that point, so I’m going to give you my TOP 5 MCU movies (as of June 2018).

No. 5- Captain America: Civil War

This movie was entirely a sum of its parts. For starters, it somehow introduced both Spider-Man and Black Panther into the MCU, but neither of them felt rushed or unsubstantial. In fact, both of them absolutely stole the show and instantly became some of the more interesting characters in the universe.
But then there’s the airport scene. Holy sweet baby Thor that airport scene. It was incredible, it was funny, it was intense. The airport fight was a brilliant piece of cinematography and digital effects only to really be outdone, (yes i’m saying outdone), by the END fight between Iron Man and Cap/Bucky.
That final showdown legit gave me chills, and there are few visuals in the entire 10 years of the MCU more spectacular than the Iron Man – Cap blast.

No. 4- Black Panther

Ok I was looking forward to this movie, but I wasn’t expecting THIS MOVIE.
I’ll be honest, I think a lot of my own personal praise for Black Panther even comes from the cultural importance of the flick. It was refreshing as all hell to not only see African culture done in such a positive way, but to see Afrofuturism realized so amazingly.
This one ranks up there with Winter Soldier and GotG1 for me when I talk about “complete films”. The music, the acting, the scenery, all of it was perfect. People talk about the costumes a lot, but I go on about the architecture in Wakanda and how incredibly that was all designed. As a stand alone, or as a part of a larger universe, Black Panther is superb.

No. 3- Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Speaking of a films ability to be a stand alone.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is number one on a LOT of people’s lists for very good reasons. It’s a complex spy thriller and really doesn’t feel like any other movie in the entire MCU. Anyone who enjoys James Bond or Mission Impossible will feel right at home watching this one. Winter Soldier comes off more like a Bourne movie than a Super Hero flick, and that’s exactly why most people love it because it doesn’t fall into the trap of being too exotic that so many of these features do.

No. 2- Thor: Ragnarok

Speaking of a film being exotic,Thor: Ragnarok went all in.
While I am one of the 4 people on planet Earth to actually enjoy the other Thor movies, this one put away all pretense of trying to be artsy Shakespearean drama and simply decided to be a Kirby/Simonson love child. It was colorful and it was quirky. It was silly and it was hilarious, but it was also meaningful and intense. This, more so maybe than any other movie in the MCU, felt like I was viewing a comic book come to life. And that’s what this is all about isn’t it? Comic books are one liners. Comic Books are awkward inappropriate jokes thrown in while in the middle of a large battle. Comics are funky aliens and space deities and stories about good and evil and redemption and a realization of potential. Thor: Ragnarok was the perfect “comic book” movie to me.

No.1- Avengers: Infinity War

I couldn’t in good conscious rank this anywhere else. The absolute grandeur of Infinity War is mind boggling.
This Avengers movie isn’t even really an Avengers movie. It’s a Thanos movie with a whole lot of antagonists trying to stop him.
This movie only works because of the build up. It only works because we’ve had ten years of character development and story building. It only works because of everything that came before it, but even then the task at hand was nearly impossible.
How in the world could they ever tie in all of these movies and create something which seems like an honest story that could deliver on the expectations is something I couldn’t even imagine.
I was there on preview night watching this, and people cheered when it started. The audience then clapped and hollered when Captain America appeared and they were “Oooing” and “Aahhing” during the fight on Titan. Then Thor rode the Bifrost to Wakanda and did the superhero landing to outdo any and every superhero landing that will ever be and the crowd lost their shit. People were out of their chairs screaming and just absolutely ecstatic and it was magic.
Then… the ending. There was no sound. No one said a word, you could tell more than not wanting to breathe, so many people forgot how to. The only indications of any sound from the audience at all were the stifles of a few cries… but mostly people just watched in absolute amazement that they did it. He did it. Thanos snapped his freaking fingers.
We all always knew it were possible somewhere in the recesses of our thoughts, but not a single person I talked to actually thought he would get all 6 infinity stones and actually do it.
EVEN IF he did it in the original comic series… this was different.. this was the movies and they could never in a million years pull that off.
And he did it.

Honestly one of the most satisfying feelings I’ve ever had in a movie theater was right there at the end of Infinity War. Thanos triumphant and finally at rest after he had accomplished his goal. He’s retired now and at peace. He relaxes finally, just staring out over his farm into the horizon.
This was such a beautiful call back to the comics, and an absolute pleasure to witness.

Now, I’m sure this list will get totally shook up once Avengers 4 comes out. Hell, there’s a chance Captain Marvel will shake it all up, who knows?
I’ve even heard the theory that the end of Infinity War, with Thanos at peace is actually a flash FORWARD to the end of Avengers 4, showing how it all ends similarly to the comic mini-series. We’ll have to see, but i’m just so amazingly terrified for Avengers 4 and how Marvel will wrap this all up because there is the very real chance they just ruin it all.
I’ll trust them though- they’ve done a great job so far.

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One comment

  1. I consider the best Avengers movies to be the solo movies (for example, and not in ranked order): Guardians of the Galaxy 1, Ant-man, Dr. Strange, Captain America, Black Panther.

    The bigger the Marvel Movie, the less engaging they are. Civil War was an interesting concept, but it didn’t succeed in execution. The promise was to give the viewer real emotional or intellectual conflict over which side — Iron Man or Captain America’s — to take. Or to find that both sides existed in tension. But it didn’t pull it off. The movie gave us only Captain America’s side to really believe in, with some sympathy for Iron Man’s childhood-drama induced letter-of-law-ism. Civil War suffers further pales compared to TV shows that succeed at doing this: “The Colony” or “The Expanse” which really create interesting drama around conflicting but compelling alternate views.

    And I guess I’m in the minority, but the Avengers movies are wanting. They’re technically impressive, as a demonstration of how to make a coherent movie around 20-some leads. But as a movie to be enjoyed i the moment. they’re just action figures smashing together. In accomplishing the technical precision of juggling a zillion protagonists, they have inadequate character, heart. Infinity Wars.

    As for the cliffhanger of IW…the movie started off by promising to be dangerously bold, to be willing to kill off multiple major characters. That set it on course to be the most daring, and audacious big-budget action movies in a long time. And then we get to the ending…and see there obviously a giant “Reset Button” coming to obviate it. IW pretends to be audacious, but isn’t. That killed the thrill and drama of the entire movie for me. A movie that sets low expectations and then improbably over-exceeds (e.g. Guardians 1) is often a great fit for a favorites list. But movies that over-promise and under-deliver, like Civil War and Infinity War, they skew down towards the bottom of my lists.