Tag Archives: Avengers

Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe

© Marvel Disney

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Marvel Studios and Disney will continue to print their own money with the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron today. In preparation for the movie, which has already made over $200 million overseas, I’ve been rewatching the previous entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I put more planning into this months-long marathon than I do into what I eat. I usually hope patrons will bring us cookies or something equally tasty.

Anyway, top ten lists are always fun (and it’s been a while since I did a top ten list) so, without further delay, I present my ranking of the films of the MCU.

Warning: These are only the films since, apparently, the television shows, tie-in comics and one-shots only complicate the movies.
Warning: This is only my preference. Save your nerd-rage for something else.
Warning: This list contains spoilers.

10. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

I’m probably one of the only people who enjoyed Ang Lee’s 2003 iteration of the big green monster. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen it, but I remember that it at least it tried to be cerebral. Louis Leterrier’s version, on the other hand, is bland; I feel like he only makes horribly average movies for people who hate movies (see Clash of the Titans, The Transporter and Now You See Me). He’s like a French Michael Bay. This film is clearly the black sheep of the MCU as it’s hardly ever referenced, save for the one-shot The Consultant and a line in an episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I promised to keep this cinematic. I think it would be incredible (see what I did there?) if the Hulk just stayed in Avengers films or other team-up films in the future.

9. Thor (2011)

I think this is the only film in the MCU that I didn’t see in the theaters. I’ll openly admit that I don’t particularly care for fantasy/mythology stuff. I realize that may seem a bit hypocritical when I’m listing off comic book movies, but let’s move past that. When Kenneth Branagh was announced as the director, I thought it was a match made in heaven. For a time it seemed like Branagh was set on adapting all of Shakespeare’s plays and I’ve always felt the story of Thor is inherently Shakespearean. While the finished product never reaches the Shakespearean epic I had in mind, there are snippets of it bubbling below the surface, specifically when you watch Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston act off each other. You really feel for them as brothers and I’m not just saying that because my brother is blonde and muscular whereas I am dark haired and, well, not (see my earlier comment about eating).

8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Again, knowing that Alan Taylor (someone who’s directed six episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones) was directing this sequel got me excited. I’ve never seen the show–I’m not that kind of nerd–but people really seem to enjoy it and it seems pretty similar in tone to Thor’s mythology. Again, I was disappointed. It’s super-close, but I’m ranking this sequel above Thor because of the Guardians of the Galaxy midcredits tag, the expansion of Thor and Loki’s relationship and because this scene had me cracking up in the theater. I could watch Tom Hiddleston all day.

7. Iron Man 2 (2010)

I know, I know, after I spoke so highly of Robert Downey Jr in my last post, how could I possibly list one of his films so low? Of the three Iron Man films, this is the one I feel like watching the least. It seems there’s a need in sequels to escalate everything so I will give credit to Jon Favreau and company for making the action of the climax less end-of-the-world-threatening than other sequels (see: Thor: The Dark World). Still, the ending was essentially the same as the first Iron Man–people in metal suits fight each other and blow stuff up. Also, Sam Rockwell was wasted in this movie, but  it was a delight to see him pop up in the All Hail the King one-shot (Sorry! I’ll stop venturing from the cinematic part of the MCU).

6. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Let me say this right off the bat: I’ve never really been a fan of Captain America. I like my heroes flawed and Cap’s always seemed too good. An argument could be made that he’s essentially a junkie because he gets his powers from a series of injections, but that is a blog post for another day. Also, I agree with Tocqueville about patriotism; overly showy displays annoy me. That said, I actually do enjoy this film. The World War II setting is great because it forced the writers to deal (to an extent) with technological hindrances of the day. It’s also not a time period we normally see in these types of films and in a market that is quickly becoming saturated with comic book movies, being different is important.

But more on that later …

Which films made the top five? Click through to find out!


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Spotlight On A Classic: Avengers Annual #10

  I happened to be perusing my comic book collection the other day and I came across one of my copies of the now classic Avengers Annual #10.  Yes, I own two.  You see, you have one for reading, and one…never mind.  Anyway, I firmly believe that this now 31 year old story stands as one of the single best tales of the modern era of comics.

Bearing the evocative title of “By Friends Betrayed,” this story features the creative talents of Chris Claremont (writer), Michael Golden (penciller, colorist), and Armando Gil (inker).  While Mr. Claremont enjoys most of his industry notoriety for his work on the X-Men, he really fires on all cylinders with this story of the Avengers, Marvel’s flagship super-team.  You can find this story beautifully reprinted in the hardcover collection Chris Claremontan assemblage of stories featuring the different stages of this incredibly successful creator’s long career.

Here are four reasons comic book fans should check this story out:

  1. The very first appearance of Rogue.
  2. Michael Golden at the height of his artistic powers.
  3. One of the best superhero slugfests ever scripted or drawn.
  4. Spider-Woman!

Here are four reasons why non-comic book fans might want to check this story out:

  1. Explores themes of loss and betrayal.
  2. Provides a great window into how comics developed in the 1980’s.
  3. Golden and Gil’s awesome artwork “transcends” the medium.
  4. Provides a good starting point for tackling more “modern” graphic novels.

Check back tomorrow for Melissa’s smart and distinctly feminine take on graphic novels!


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Quick Avengers Primer

Marvel’s The Avengers continues to pack them in at the theaters, so I thought it might be a good idea to provide folks new to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes a quick, three title reading list of some key (and by “key” I mean my favorite) stories in the team’s long existence.

Avengers. Legion Of The Unliving

This sweet collection offers stories from the late Silver Age (1970’s) to the post Iron Age (early 2000’s) and features creative giants like Steve Englehart and George Perez.  The stories focus on ex-Avengers and Avenger foes returning from the dead to plague the current team. Before it was fashionable to make superheroes into zombies, these stories blazed the trail!

The Avengers. Kree/Skrull War

Nothing embodies the essence of the 1970’s era Avengers tales like this magical pairing of writer Roy Thomas and artist Neal Adams.  The Avengers find themselves embroiled in an interstellar war between two alien races who both see the Earth as little more than a pawn in some grand cosmic game.  Adams’ layouts and colors on these issues will blow you away.

Avengers Forever

This one ranks as one of the greatest epics in Avengers history!  Writer Kurt Busiek and artist Carlos Pacheco take seven time-crossed Avengers from different eras of the book’s long run and throw them into a war for time itself!  Classic foes, plenty of plot twists, and gorgeous artwork made this one  an instant classic when it was released as a twelve issue limited series from December 1998 to November 1999.

Picking only three Avengers collections was not easy, but that assures a return engagement for this topic sometime in the not too distant future!



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