Tag Archives: The Dark Knight

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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The Dark Knight

“I dont want to kill you.  You complete me.” -Heath Ledger’s the Joker, The Dark Knight

This quote was perhaps my favorite from the movie.  It stuck in my head for hours after I watched the thrilling Dark Knight in July.  Hearing someone say that ‘you complete them,’ you imagine it coming from a lover.  Lovers complement each other in every way, bringing about a continuity of bliss.   Batman and the Joker in the newly released film The Dark Knight  are far from a pair of bright-eyed lovers, and yet the Joker, in all his insanity, speaks an interesting truth.  Batman and the Joker, though not lovers, have a relationship that would not exist without either one of them.

The strong sense of order and chaos is blatant in Christopher Nolan’s latest Batman film.  Batman, our penitent hero, represents the good and orderly in Gotham.   Our caped crusader, despite his own tortured nature, continues to do good and struggles within himself to not stray from that mindset and become the exact opposite of himself, his own personal demon, brought to life through the Joker. 

The Joker, on the other hand, is a sadistic, pleasant and cheerful little bugger.  He has no moral qualms, or any qualms really, about any action that he undertakes.  The chase is most appealling to him, and the chaotic nature of it all (that may in fact make no sense to anyone else) always finds a place in his own demented world.

This is, of course, but a taste of the many philosophical ideas that come from the world of the Batman.   Undoubtedly you’ll want to learn more.  Who wouldn’t?? In that case allow us, your friendly neighborhood library, to point you in the right direction.

First I recommend, for the academic at heart, Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul, which is a wonderful collection of essays written by modern-day philosophers.  The essays center around the world presented through the comics, and not just the movies.

If that doesn’t quench your thirst and you’re dying to know more, I recommend some of my personal favorites:

  • The Essential Batman Encyclopediaprovides an excellent reference for any reader who lacks the time to read the large collection of Batman graphic novels available at CLP.
  • The DC Comics Encyclopedia is also an excellent reference book for those of us whose lives run on the New York minute.
  • Showcase Presents Batmanis a collection of Batman comics, and we have it at CLP in two volumes!  If you don’t have the time or the money to hunt down all the old comics, this is the book for you!
  • Batman: The Killing Joke is a newer graphic novel that I found by chance in the library.  It has some of the best artwork that I’ve seen to date!
  • Batman Cover to Cover This one isn’t a graphic novel, but it is an excellent collection of the best comic covers throughout the ages.

Finally, to truly understand the troubled and tormented relationship between Batman and the Joker, I suggest you check out my personal favorite, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.

On top of all this we have dozens of Batman graphic novels at the library.  Simply search our network, or come on in for a nice cup of joe while you meander our graphic novels section.

In the meantime, enjoy the release of the latest Batman feature in the comfort of your own home with a delicious bowl of popcorn!!!


Marianne, a/k/a MA, is the newest member of the Eleventh Stack blog team.  This is her first post.


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