The Big Picture: Ranking the Marvel Movies

Chris Mosher

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startrekmike said:
I don't know, I mean, I largely agree with the list (though I would put Iron Man 1 a bit higher to be honest) but I just can't help but feel that Bob's love for the 'The winter soldier' is a bit hypocritical.

I understand what you are saying here, but I agree with Bob because I think that the difference is that Cap never felt to me like he was changed to fit inside the new darker world. I fact his motivation seemed to be standing against that change and trying to keep to more idealist character. This Cap as basically a paladin standing against the darker world. Basically they put Cap in a darker world without affecting the character and his deals and the fun of the movie to me was him trying to live up to his standards but still be effective in the new world. Where as Superman, well I just felt that the only character development he got was the three or four lines from the trailer about hope and better humanity. I know that they tried to develop him by connecting the events of his childhood to the struggles of his adult life. It was an admirable attempt but it felt flat for me and lost my interest. This lead into a boring third act beat em up where I cared more for Zod than Superman.
 

Sanunes

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Its interesting to see so many divergent lists for these nine movies, I tend to agree with the ranking of one or two movies on each list. I guess that is what makes lists like this interesting is you get to see how people feel about the different movies, its been a while since I have seen the "Phase 1" movies I don't think I would be able to compile an accurate list for I would be remembers more of the good then bad in those movies.
 

lord.jeff

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1. Iron Man 3
2. Avengers
3. Captain America
4. Iron Man
5. Thor: Dark world
6. Iron Man 2
7. Thor

Still none of them are bad movies.
 

DrOswald

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Fappy said:
I loved the film as well (a big fan of the original arc and some of Brubaker's stuff afterwards), but I honestly don't know why this film was called 'Winter Soldier'. Bucky's actual role in the story is little more than a boss-level henchman. His story is only hinted at and left to be explored in the next film. Considering the content of the plot (and some of the stories it borrowed ideas from) I'd have sooner named it something like 'Secret War' or 'Secret Warriors'. Something the evokes the SHIELD/Hydra aspect of the plot rather than Bucky.
I think it is called The Winter Soldier because they had to base the marketing around something and the Winter Soldier was the only thing they could feature prominently in the trailers without spoiling everything.
 

Spaceman Spiff

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I completely agree with number 1. Winter Soldier was amazing. I wish it had more of the Winter Soldier in it, but the scenes he did have he completely stole from the rest of the characters.

Number 4 is the spot I most strongly disagree with. Iron Man 3 felt plot-hole-y, could have done without the kid sidekick, and made the Iron Man suits look fragile and disposable.

I'd have gone with:

Winter Soldier
Avengers
Iron Man
Captain America
Thor
Iron Man 2
Dark World
Iron Man 3
Hulk
 

shogunblade

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I haven't seen Winter Soldier, Thor: Dark World or Iron Man 3, so with those in mind (Might hate them, might love them, not going to guess which right now), here's my list:

Best to Worst:
1. Iron Man 1 - This is the best written Superhero movie, personally. RDJ feels invisible to me, and I only see Tony Stark. It kicks off the Avengers initiative but most importantly, it feels well rounded. Tony Stark has personality and character development, even with just sarcasms and wit. Iron Man 2 had more development of Tony's background, but was more a reason to set up Thor.
2. Captain America: First Avenger - This was just a lot of fun. Cap could have been boring, and to some people, he was, but to me, he's an amazing hero that I liked more than I had any reason to. Chris Evans plays the character so honestly, I really wanted to believe a soldier like Captain America actually existed, and the Red Skull is badass.
and.... they all go downhill to me after this...
3. Thor - Thor is just a fun movie. Loki is a wonderful villain, but Thor is just a bore. The things that save the movie are the fact he's so silly in parts, otherwise the movie would be much lower on the list.
4. The Incredible Hulk - This movie was just boring. Barring the last few minutes, and with the fact I like the cast so much (Tim Blake Nelson, Edward Norton, Tim Roth, William Hurt and Liv Tyler. Yes, Liv Tyler was actually a good actress in this to me), This movie is almost the worst of the Marvel franchise, if not for...
5. Iron Man 2 - Bob has my opinion of this movie on the video, no need to duplicate why.

and why I didn't include Avengers: Honestly, I'm almost certain I need to watch it again. I go love/hate with it all the time and so often, I should watch it again on Netflix, just to see why it soured on me so bad. Who knows, it could be better then I previously thought. As for where it stands now, it's probably better than Thor, but for now, it's out of the running.
 

MovieBob

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I like Thor the best for some reason. Maybe because I like TV series more than ow-shit-look-mega-big-budget blocbuster movies and Thor felt more like a piece that actually had a story to tell rather than just blow everything up.

Next is probably Iron Man together with CapAm for basically the same reasons.

Next Iron Man 2 where it was beginning to fall apart with needing to make more blockbuster movies but it was still funny.

Next the Avengers, for the same reason.

And last, the sequels: Iron Man 3, Thor 2, CapAm 2 which are just disappointing combination of comic book campiness and more need to blow everything up in the big summer movies. So forgettable.

Hulk I didn't see.
 

GladiatorUA

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startrekmike said:
Now, to get back on track, 'Winter soldier' is doing the exact same thing as films he often rails against ('Man of steel', The Nolan Batman trilogy) but he gives it a free pass because he enjoyed it personally, this is why I can't really take his reviews or opinions on films without a pretty significant chunk of salt.
Huh? What are you talking about? He praised Nolan's trilogy. Yes, he called TDKR's the weakest of the three, but not because of grittiness. He criticized MoS aping Nolan's trilogy for a character that doesn't exactly fit the hero. Is Superman supposed to be a mix of Batman and Hulk?

Don't agree with some positions on his list, but what's with IM3 "hate" from people?
 

jdarksun

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danimal1384 said:
[Iron Man 3] Removing Pepper's power and Tony's heart shrapnel in the end neuters both of them, and leaves the characters with no where to go. Tony's "arc" in this movie comes to an abrupt end when he solves his panic attacks by "just building something" under the advice of the kid... Wait, isn't that what he was doing the whole time?!

I'm not going to get into the whole Mandarin thing, but whether you like it or not, it's still just as much of a waste to a villain as Malekith in in Thor 2; serving no purpose within the struggles of the characters, rather just an obstacle to overcome with a "twist" because "why not".
You're missing a few big points here. MCU spoilers in general, including IM3, CAtWS, Hail to the King, and forward speculation:
1) There may not be an Iron Man 4, so it makes sense to wrap up those character arcs. Expect Cap 3, Dr. Strange, and either GotG2 or Thor 3 for 2016, Ant-Man 2, a new property (Black Panther was the initial guess, but I think Ms. Marvel or another female cosmic-level character is more likely), and the other half of GotG2/Thor 3 in 2017, and then Phase Three wrapping with Avengers 3 in 2018. It looks like Cap 3 is going to be the last Cap with Chris Evans as the lead, and they've nicely set up a successor for him... there's every reason to expect individual character movie trilogies with an Avengers team-up movie every few years wrapping up each phase going forward.

2) The Mandarin is damaged goods. He's got the Yellow Scare stigma attached to him, and they subverted that "scary foreign bad guy" trope deliciously in IM3 - they even preserved the concept a real "mandarin" leading the Ten Rings from behind the scenes in Hail to the King. Perfect!
 

ungothicdove

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It's a been a while since I've seen some of them but my list goes as follows:

9) Iron Man 2 - Not a bad movie, but not really one I feel like I need to see again for my own enjoyment. Only watching it if it's part of a marvel Marathon before the 2nd Avengers.

8) The Incredible Hulk - Pretty much the same as IM 2. I think Edward Norton was miscast, Mark Ruffalo was a good replacement.

7) Iron Man 3 - I enjoyed the movie, but I don't love the Iron Man movies as much as some others.

6) Thor: The Dark World - Pretty good, not great. It was fun to catch up with Asgard.

5)Iron Man - This was a nice opening movie, I think it set the stage pretty well for what Marvel eventually wanted to do.

4)Thor - I enjoyed it quite a bit. Good balance of the fantastical planes along with the earthly.

3)Captain America - Felt like a fun throwback to times when superheroes didn't need to be edgy.

2)Avengers - Kicked so much ass, good humor, tied the characters together well.

1)Captain America: Winter Soldier - I think they transitioned well from Captain America being a boy scout to him being a boy scout that has some serious questions about the morality of SHIELD's actions.
 

Ralancian

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Sorry IM3 completely fails in third act, it's a great movie up to that point but it just fails. They've been setting up all movie that Tony is suffering from some form of post-traumatic stress and it's directly linked to his worry that something will happen to Pepper. Which is handled brilliantly until the point he thinks he's lost Pepper you'd expect some level of crisis of confidence or the stress to inflict him during the final battle which he then overcomes however there's zero hint of that within the film he just acts his normal self and 'saves the day'.

Also added into the fact the final act special effect's montage with tons of different suits has very few individual suit moments and just is a bunch of blur's hitting one another. Great set up very poorly executed.
 

LoneEagle013

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@Startrekmike:

I think I might have to side with Bob here for the following reasons (Spoilers Heavy discussion, warning):

1. With respect to the source material, I think Ed Brubaker's run on the Winter Soldier story arc is pretty dark as it is. In fact, I dare to say that Ed Brubaker's run circa Marvel Civil War is one of the very serious, conspiracy thriller comic book run with Cap that can almost be ported into a Batman story arc without skipping a beat. In my view, I don't think the movie is taking itself too dark and too seriously compared to Man of Steel, as I will discuss next.

2. With Man of Steel, Bob pointed out so many good points on why the movie is flawed as a whole. Man of Steel simply failed to grasp Superman as a character. If you read Superman comic books, you'll see that there's many Superman stories where Superman becomes a dark character and it works as a whole. See Superman: Red Son and the Injustice Year One & Two (ongoing).

3. Captain America: Winter Soldier works because the movie consistently gets Cap as a character: idealist hero archetype, lost in time, physically superhuman, but mentally young idealist (Cap is 95, but probably physically 25-26 yrs old when he was frozen in '45). You can see Steve being playful with Sam Wilson, awkward/odd couple moments with Natasha, and deferential as a soldier yet stern on his principles with Nick Fury. Last not least, cares and totally bro with Winter Soldier once he realized who he is. Even if the source materials and the movie are dark, in both cases the dark nature of the materials contrast nicely with Cap's bright ideals.

4. Now look again at Man of Steel. Clark is a scared and confused kid. Pa Kent had one of the most pointless sacrifices in superhero movie history, and Clark is a brooding individual (not even superhero) throughout the movie. Jor-El was more of a father figure as a computer AI in roughly a day than Pa Kent in 18 years of raising Clark. Zod was killed because Superman ran out of options on what to do with his "eye beams", even when he could have blocked his eyes with his hands and fly away to the moon or something. Man of Steel is disappointing not because it's taking itself too seriously; it's a failure because the movie fails to connect on a fundamental level with its source material.

5. I give credit where it's due, however. I agree with you on Bob's short-hand conclusion of "taking itself too seriously" is not a viable blanket term when a movie deviates from the source material and becomes bad as a result. Too many times when I see his reviews, I feel like the terms is being used to criticize things that don't work well in the movie because it took a wrong turn from the original source for the worse.

6. If you like, we should wait and see how Bob sees both of Michael Bay's movies this year: Transformers 4 and TMNT. Both have their own interpretation of the source material, and both are prime candidates for "taking itself too seriously." From the trailers, I can say TMNT "takes itself too seriously" when it's trying to be a dark, realistic action movie from what originally meant to be a dark parody of '90s hyper-violent and dark comics (dark knight returns, spawn, etc.) and playing it straight. The original animated series (adapted from the dark comic book) realized that the strongest market at the time was the kiddie demographic, went running in that direction and totally worked as a result. Subsequent TMNT runs hover in between, and find different successes accordingly. We'll see how this one turns out. But if Bob says "takes itself too seriously" as a short hand, call him out on that.




startrekmike said:
I don't know, I mean, I largely agree with the list (though I would put Iron Man 1 a bit higher to be honest) but I just can't help but feel that Bob's love for the 'The winter soldier' is a bit hypocritical.

I have been watching Bob's videos for a good bit of time (a couple of years at least) and it seems like the common thread that he has latched on to as of late is his dislike of "gritty", "edgy" and "dark" movies that "take themselves too seriously" when compared to their source material, especially in comic book/geek targeted films, now, when I look at that standpoint at face value, I can't help but find some serious logical flaws (comics being oftentimes darker than the films based on them, characters like Superman being handled with less levity and "joy" in comics than they are handled in films, etc, etc).

Now, to get back on track, 'Winter soldier' is doing the exact same thing as films he often rails against ('Man of steel', The Nolan Batman trilogy) but he gives it a free pass because he enjoyed it personally, this is why I can't really take his reviews or opinions on films without a pretty significant chunk of salt.

N ow, I know, a film critic relies on opinions as part of the job but that needs to be tempered with a understanding that they are not the only audience, that there opinions should always be balanced with some degree of objective observation, he does this in some films but only ones that don't really fit into his specific interest set, when you get a comic book movie, he goes in with a set of expectations that are not always based on "is this a good film?" and more "does this fit my personal vision of the character?"

So, when he gives 'The winter soldier' not only a free pass but a top spot on his list, I wonder if perhaps it is time for him to get a partner (think Half in the bag, Siskel and Ebert, etc) that can keep him on track, someone that can balance out the bias a bit and provide a means for actual discussion about the films and not just "this movie did not do exactly what I wanted it to do!".

Seriously, Bob, if you are reading this, I think you have reached a point with your reviews (at least your comic book franchise film reviews) where you need someone else to keep you on track.
 

RJ Dalton

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I don't know if I've said this here before, but if so, I'll say it again.

Do not like Loki in these movies. Nope, not a bit. Oh, he's got a good actor for him, I'll give you that, but I cannot take him seriously as a bad guy because he's just a mopey twerp with daddy issues. Loki is based on the god of mischief. He is a trickster. Tricksters are supposed to be really fun. They break social norms, break wind in the halls of the mighty, and turn themselves into nurse-maids so they can trick their stupid older brothers into drinking twenty doses of a laxative and then stick a cork up his butt. Loki is no fun at all. He doesn't come across as clever - if you really think about it, his plans never make any sense and only work as far as they do because the heros are written to be conveniently stupid when he needs to trick them - and he doesn't feel threatening. That scene where Hulk beats Loki with ease could have been a way to show just how much of a powerhouse the Hulk actually is, but because Loki never feels like a real threat, all it does is thoroughly reinforce him to be a powerless, whiny loser.

Do not like Loki. At all.
 

Robot Number V

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This would be my list:

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier-Quite possibly the first and only Marvel movie to actually have a brain.

2. The Avengers-Come on, we all know why this is so high on the list.

3. Iron Man-See above.

[It should be noted that everything below this point was pretty meh and nothing special, so ranking them is basically splitting mediocre hairs]

4. Thor: The Dark World-Not exactly a miracle of filmmaking, but it embraced it's own universe and I had fun watching it.

5. Thor- Basically just a lesser version of it's sequel.

6. Captain America: The First Avenger- I don't know, I guess this one had just a little too much wide-eyed, simplistic black-and-white moralizing for me. Cap just didn't really interest me as a character (not until his sequel, anyway)

7. Iron Man 3-This movie was bad. The whole "kid" subplot felt like it was pulled from a different movie, the new Mandarin was no more interesting than the old one, so the bait-and-switch is kind of meaningless, no matter how great Ben Kingsley was. Also, this movie takes all the awesomeness of the Iron Man suit that the first movie established and literally tears it apart. Remember when he could take a hit from a tank and shrug it off?

8. The Incredible Hulk- Saw it a long time ago, don't remember much about it. But it's been longer since I saw Iron Man, and I still remember that movie.

9. Iron Man 2- Come on, you know why this is so low on the list.
 

TheMemoman

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The thing about The Avengers though, is that it gets you to a place of pure stupid glee. It's a tsunami of talent with the entire audience in the theater laughing and cheering in complete marvel of the spectacle projected on the giant screen.

On the other hand, just as rare, The Winter Soldier had me gripped to my seat, intensely involved in the plot and enjoying so much the physical action and creativity in storytelling devices.

On such a list, number 1 and 2 can fluctuate depending on your mood; The Winter Soldier is technically more impressive on account of the rawness of the action. The Avengers is less concerned about elegant structure than about being the greatest show in the history of cinema.

I'm one who didn't mind the Mandarin controversy, so without taking that into account I greatly enjoyed Iron Man 3. In retrospect I'd say that, like Thor 2, it didn't really advanced of gave us more insight into the Marvel Universe in a way that felt game-changing, I liked them both, but they felt like nice isolated romps, adventures. And it seems rather pompous or arrogant to demand such a thing, but Marvel has really spoiled us with their success at crafting a Cinematic Universe with so much care and love for the subject matter.

I can't wait for Guardians Of The Galaxy, I can't believe it's going to be out so soon! I've been reading the comics, to see why everyone says "Everything about that is weird!" and I can only say that everything about that is weird. And it's so awesome that it's getting a movie with all the bells and whistles. If Guardians Of The Galaxy is any good, I'll support it by going to the theater 4 times. FOUR!
 

Ickabod

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It's make a list day. I liked them all, didn't see Hulk. Mine are

1) Winter Soldier - While not perfect it actually had something to say, and the whole idea of America spying on everyone hits pretty close to home. It's disturbing when you think that what took place in the movie is not too far from where they are today.

2) Avengers - It was just a ton of fun to watch

3) Thor - Again, lots of fun to watch

4) Captain America - Loved the character development of Cap.

5) Dark world - Fun, but the movie seemed a little shallow. Not bad by any means

6) Iron Man 3 - Personally I liked the twist, I thought it was great. I was also ok with Tony and the kid. Act 3 got a little crazy with all of the suits.

7) Iron Man - Good, but slow

8) Iron Man 2 - It just didn't seem like half of the people in the movie were taking it seriously.
 

Darth Sea Bass

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I haven't seen them all so I'm only going to list the ones I have...

(1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
(2) The Avengers
(3) Captain America: The First Avenger
(4) Iron Man
(5) Thor
(6) Iron Man 2
(7) Iron Man 3

I was really expecting something better than what Iron Man 3 delivered, really disappointing.
 

Banzaiman

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Well, there's a whole bunch of lists on here. Too bad I don't have one to add. So instead I'll react to stuff.

I'm honestly surprised that Thor was put above its sequel, not because it was bad but because a couple of disappointing elements are shared between the two. Thor's redemption arc was rushed in the same way Thor: The Dark World's more interesting plot points were - I can see how he was redeemed, I just don't get why he did it, as in I don't really believe that he went through enough to be convinced that being a dick was being wrong. Maybe I'm just missing something, someone fill me in.

And I'm going to come out and say I enjoyed Iron Man 3 a great deal. Whole loads of it didn't make sense, and it was a bit disappointing that we didn't get to see a space-weapon China-man fight an Iron Man suit or five, but I still think it was good. Tony's arc was believable for the most part, Pepper's was.... enh, and I liked Killian as a bad guy. Just wish they had more time to straighten things out with it.

Also noticed some gripes that Winter Soldier was gritty-gritty, and... well, I have to agree with you. But do keep in mind that Captain America himself still acted like that paragon of virtue he's supposed to be, and he even got that bright blue suit back by the end of it. Although I wish Falcon's wingsuit weren't so drab and grey, or at the very least they spruce it up with a bit of color when we see him next. As for the content itself, well, it was dark. Dark things about dark stuff. Didn't feel that way in the theater though - it's hard to explain, but the gravity of what was being talked about didn't quite hit me.

Anyway, enough yapping. Someone else say something.
 

DrOswald

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Iron Man 3 was such a good movie. I don't know what is wrong with all the people in the thread.

1. Iron Man 3 - This is the first movie that felt like Iron Man was actually up against a real threat. And it is nice to see a super hero movie built around a hero that is deeply flawed. I also liked to see Tony Starks incredibly self destructive behavior called out for what it is. Tony Stark is a fundamentally broken person. I like that they would actually acknowledge that instead of just playing it off as quirky humor. Beyond that, supporting cast was great, Good villains, great action.

2. Captain America: Winter Soldier - Very good movie. I don't want to spoil, but it was very good. As a side note, this movie convinced me that Black Widow is an interesting enough character that I think she could hold her own movie, which is something I would really like to see.

those two might switch positions later on, I have only been able to see Cap 2 once and I want to see how it holds up under repeated viewing.

3. Captain America: The First Avenger - Good action and good performances all around. The only thing that really fell flat for me was the crash at the end.

4. Iron Man - Very solid movie. I think the character of Tony Stark carries the movie very well. If it had a more effective villain and a better final action scene it would probably be the top of the list.

5. The Avengers - I really like the Avengers, but it was a bit shallow in story and character moments for my tastes.

6. Thor 2 - I found this one just a good bit of fun. Nothing special, but very entertaining in its own right. A waste of a villain, but frankly the movie was not about the villain. They just needed someone to be evil so Thor and Loki would have to team up, and he served that end very well.

7. Thor - Good but not as fun as Thor 2. It just lacked interesting content. It's a buy the numbers super hero origin story and it does that well enough, but it never really worked for me beyond that. A decent movie that never really got past being decent.

8. Iron Man 2 - This movie has good action (I would say technically better than Iron Man 1) but lacks a competently executed story to give the action any weight. Some of the humor was good but was overall I think it had the weakest jokes in the MCU. The conflict felt forced and stupid, the resolution was almost insultingly dumb. Overall the best thing in this movie was Scarlett Johansson looking absolutely stunning as always. It is not exactly a bad movie, I enjoyed it well enough, but it barely gets a passing grade.

I have not yet seen the Hulk. I plan to get around to it eventually.
 

schwegburt

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I'm joining in with the lists.

1)Captain America Winter Soldier - They took morally gray, modern espionage world of the Bourne Identity . . . and threw the Boy Scout of Boy Scouts, Captain America, into the mix. Then they have the balls to refer back to the original movie and use it to throw a monkey wrench into the whole damn world. It all fucking works somehow. It wins in terms of ambition and execution. Something very few movies pull off.

2) Captain America - They made this fucker work. I hated the idea of Captain America as some flag waving douche. The perfect blonde blue eyed Aryan ironically made to fight Nazis. But I love this movie. They made just a good old action movie with a guy who convincingly exudes the sort of decency that patriotism should represent.

3) The Avengers - Who the fuck takes 4 main characters and 5 movies only to bring them together for an ensemble movie, a comic book movie no less. It was pure gold. Not quite of the raw quality the Colonel USA movies pulled off but still.

4) Iron Man - He works. It's great. It was the first movie to just have so much swagger in its step and had so much fun doing it. Not quite matched in ambition or quality as the top 3 but still.

5) Thor - They pulled off a techno viking god running across rainbow laser bridges to do battle with mythical alien giants on Hoth. They used Kenneth "Henry V" Brannagh as a director and he made it work. Not the best movie in terms of narrative or act 3, but goddammit when you have such mind bogglingly difficult material then you just swing for the fences and it works . . . well that deserves an A. Don't be fooled, Iron Man edges Thor out but not by much in my list.

6)Iron Man 3 - Great movie, awesome villain twist. Has some bumps here in there. I liked it a lot but I liked the other movies that much better. What can I say? I'm not gaga over Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr like others. Captain America resonates with me far better and Thor's boldness elevates the movie by bounds.

7) Thor the Dark World - Decent movie but Bob's right. The Dark Elves and Malekith had so much potential, but they focused on Thor + Loki too much.

8) Iron Man 2 - Not a bad movie, but it wasn't memorable. I have a hard time giving a crap about this one.

NA) Hulk - No clue, haven't seen it yet. I know that's a travesty.