The Big Picture: Ranking the Marvel Movies

TheMemoman

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Ralancian said:
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.
I really enjoyed Iron Man 3 and I agree with everything you said. Iron Man 3 excelled in giving us creative action set-pieces all through out the movie, playing with who's wearing the suit, the suit malfunctions, the suit is worn partially, the suit is remote-controlled, there's no suit, etc. I thought it was fun. But the final action sequence was completely mishandled. They just threw everything and the kitchen-sink in and set it all to blaze. It was a mess and it wasn't rewarding or fulfilling in any narrative way. You mentioned that the resolution of the Tony arc was rushed. I agree, by that point the movie was so much into the Lethal Weapon style of fun action that it forgot about Riggs' depression.

All and all the sloppy third act didn't ruin the rest of the movie for me. I still rather enjoyed the funny banter, the clever action, but it did end up feeling a bit underwhelming, inconsequential coming off The Avengers. It just didn't know how to end.
 

Comic Sans

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I haven't seen The Incredible Hulk so I can't really speak to it, but so far none of the movies have been bad, at worst they have been only okay. And that's a big thing that impresses me about these movies. You would think they would have run out of steam by now, but they still keep trucking, and even improving. It shows how much planning these things ahead can help.

Anyhoo, my list, worst to best.

Iron Man 2
Iron Man
Iron Man 3
Thor
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The First Avenger
The Avengers
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
 

SNCommand

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I was a bit disappointed in Winter Soldier because the main villain wasn't very surprising for a supposed disguised one, especially with how the early scenes around the character were setup, especially if you know the comics as well every twist in the movie becomes evident, it then becomes a checklist of what the comics have gone through before

I just sort of wish they had thrown something in there which broke with the comics as well, then again I know how comic fans act when you go against the lore so perhaps I can see why they didn't
 

Trishbot

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As an Iron Man fan... I liked Iron Man 3 just fine.
I'm actually more upset with the forced "girl-power" moment at the end than the Mandarin twist (which "Hail to the King" corrects, for anyone disappointed in it). I just cannot accept bad-ass Gwyneth Paltrow... my brain can't accept it.

But since everyone is doing THEIR list, here's mine:
1. The Avengers - I don't think it's a better movie than The Winter Soldier... but, gosh, it's just so much fun!
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - This movie elevated Captain America to one of my favorite heroes
3. Iron Man - The action, wit, humor, character development... loved it.
4. The Incredible Hulk - I thought it was a blast, though I struggle to revisit it now that Mark Ruffalo is the Hulk
5. Iron Man 3 - I loved it, twists and all. Great action and humor, though I'm unsure of its ending...
6. Captain America - Also loved it. Truly establishes why Steve Rogers is such a great hero. Just too many montages...
7. Thor: The Dark World - Weak villains, terrible romance, great action and humor. Loki stole the whole show.
8. Iron Man 2 - I still enjoy it, but it feels like it's a director's cut away from greatness and settles for being good.
9. Thor 1 - I LIKE it, but the stuff in Asgard is so much better than the stuff on earth

Also, of note, I find it so strange how DC movies seem almost ASHAMED to be associated with their comic book versions, ESPECIALLY their "old-fashioned" morals and "simple" ethics.

And then The Winter Soldier comes out. A noble, heroic, selfless American icon of truth and justice tries to find his way in a modern world of moral ambiguity and shady governments all without compromising his integrity... The Winter Soldier is a better Superman movie than Man of Steel was.
 

TheMemoman

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Banzaiman said:
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.
That surprised me as well. I couldn't talk to you about my favorite Thor scenes or lines because Thor isn't really that memorable of a movie. He still is the weakest character to me, the less interesting, but I did feel that Thor 2 improved greatly on everything that Thor 1 did.
 

Scarim Coral

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I will give it time Bob until your opinion of Captain America 2 The Winter Soldier will changed again. I'm not saying I'm against it as I did enjoyed The Winter Soldier but look at what he said to Iron Man 2 when it first come out compared to today.
 

deathbydeath

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How is The Winter Soldier any good? There's no character development, the villains are straight-up worse than Stane and Whiplash (at least they had motivation), nothing changes (except for adding Sam Wilson and maybe the Winter Soldier to the MCU), and the whole thing reeks of Marvel not being brave enough to try anything new (ironic, I know). As a result, we're stuck with a sickening, kindergarten-level message that tells us that relative morality is actually absolute. Plus the antagonists were shit in every way I can think of.

It's still worth seeing for the spectacle and references they throw in (Samuel L. Jackson's headstone is the best thing in the movie, hands down), but film doesn't lead us to the Promised Land like you all are saying it does for some reason.
 

Ralancian

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TheMemoman said:
Ralancian said:
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.
I really enjoyed Iron Man 3 and I agree with everything you said. Iron Man 3 excelled in giving us creative action set-pieces all through out the movie, playing with who's wearing the suit, the suit malfunctions, the suit is worn partially, the suit is remote-controlled, there's no suit, etc. I thought it was fun. But the final action sequence was completely mishandled. They just threw everything and the kitchen-sink in and set it all to blaze. It was a mess and it wasn't rewarding or fulfilling in any narrative way. You mentioned that the resolution of the Tony arc was rushed. I agree, by that point the movie was so much into the Lethal Weapon style of fun action that it forgot about Riggs' depression.

All and all the sloppy third act didn't ruin the rest of the movie for me. I still rather enjoyed the funny banter, the clever action, but it did end up feeling a bit underwhelming, inconsequential coming off The Avengers. It just didn't know how to end.
I really enjoyed the film but it's discussions I've had post seeing it that make me feel it was a waste. As Bob alluded to Marvel has actually been continuously failing in the third act. I don't even belive Avengers did much better. Only Thor and the two Captain America films actually have final battles which feel right. Nothing terrible about any of the films as a whole but I do find the whole thing over praised.
 

Smiley Face

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Well that was enjoyable to watch. A lot of the time when I watch Bob's stuff, I feel like I have to read between the lines because he lets his love of the Avengers blind him when it comes to superhero stuff, and sometimes it can spill over into other stuff, so it was nice to see this more clear-sighted look at the Marvel-verse, and by and large I agree with his assessments. I put different weights on different qualities; Iron Man 1 probably ends up higher on my list because I put a higher value on all the world-building that comes with origin stories in general, but I still agree with his general analysis.
 

Strain42

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I disagree most with Iron Man being as high as it was.

I personally think Iron Man not only had a really good villain with Jeff Bridges Iron Monger, but I'd argue he's actually the best villain in the MCU to date.

Now before Loki fans try to jump me, lemme say that I love Loki, and I think he's a great character.

But he is a SUCKY villain. A good villain is supposed to be threatening, to have some triumph, to give the audience a reason to want to see them taken down (or in some cases like Loki's, actually succeed) but Loki just doesn't have that.

In The Avengers he was literally a punching bag. His ONE moment of success was killing Coulson, and look how that turned out. Outside of that he was constantly outwitted, outmatched, and just got the crap kicked out of him. Not good qualities for a fearsome villain to have.
 

azriel2422

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I think the bottom half of this list can be mixed and matched with no real "loser" per se...but man do I ever agree with the top 3 choices. I also am glad to hear MovieBob list Chris Evans as perhaps the tie that is binding this whole universe together. It looks like RDJ may be one of the biggest star power draws, but Evans seems to be the character that we are all meant to relate with. He is a better Superman (in terms of character) than we got in Man of Steel lol...bravo Chris Evans. Great list MovieBob
 

PunkRex

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1. Captain America: The First Avenger
2. The Avengers
3. Thor
4. Iron Man
5. Captain America: The Winter Soilder
6. The Incredible Hulk
7. Iron Man 3
8. Iron Man 2
9. Thor: The Dark World

I havn't not enjoyed a single one of these, lets hope GotG doesn't break this.

Winter Soilder has balls, like huge, steel balls.
SHEILD was the perfect tool to fit these films together and the maniacs blew it up.

Such huge balls!
 

Soviet Heavy

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I'd rank The Avengers much lower on the lists. Joss Whedon supplanted Tony Stark and Black Widow with two of his stock archetypes (roguish male lead and tiny girl who everyone is in awe of) *Cough*Mal Reynolds and River Tam*Cough*, and let the rest of the cast suffer for it. It felt like another Iron Man movie with the other Avengers playing as a sideshow. Captain America got shafted, Thor was back to being a complete jackass despite his newfound humility at the end of his movie, and Banner really didn't have a lot to do apart from making awkward scenes or hitting stuff.
 

RedDeadFred

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Wow, my list is very different:

1. The Avengers -obvious choice but it really is by far the best IMO (even though extreme suspension of disbelief is required and there are plot holes galore). Cap was a lot more interesting in this movie than in his debut film IMO. Anyway, this movie is probably the definition of what a great summer popcorn flick should be. Also, "puny God" is one of the best one-liners ever.
2. Iron Man -the one that brought back RDJ and was cool to boot. Yes, Bob's arguments about it are true but I think that's just the case with almost all Marvel movies.
3. Thor -incredibly silly but I loved it. Seems like more of a guilty pleasure kind of movie.
4. The Incredibly Hulk -Norton was great but I like his replacement even more.
5. Thor 2 -This is pretty close to being bad IMO. However, the Loki-Thor team up made it up for a lot of the missteps.
From here on out, it's the movies I didn't care for and are all pretty close as far as my dislike of them so I didn't bother numbering them.
Captain America -Pure boredom. I found Cap to be the epitome of bland and generic in this movie. Granted, I pretty much universally dislike war movies so this one didn't really have a fighting chance.
Iron Man 3 -Contrary to the popular opinion of the Mandarin twist knocking the movie down a peg, I think it's the only thing that save the movie from being garbage. There's only so much stupidity that I can take crammed into one movie.
Iron Man 2 -I remember almost nothing about this movie. It was incredibly boring, and almost nothing happened.

Note: I haven't seen the Winter Soldier yet but the trailers, reactions, and general premise are all leading me to believe that it will land somewhere near, if not at, the top. What can I say? Cap is a lot more interesting when he's trying to deal with the modern world.
 

Evonisia

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I've only seen The Winter Soldier, feel kinda left out on this one, but I loved that film so much.
 

softclocks

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Captain America: The first Avenger in top 3? hahahahaah, jesus christ.

I knew Bob was out of his mind when he kept endorsing the SHIELD series past the first episode but wow...
 

Yojoo

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I don't get the hate for Iron Man 3 here. I absolutely loved it. Iron Man has always been the funniest of the Avengers, and Iron Man 3 made me laugh more than most comedies I've seen recently. Bob wrote an article about how "superhero" isn't a genre, but rather the MCU films fit into several different genres, and I think part of the hate Iron Man 3 receives is because people simply can't handle the central humor of the film alongside the other more serious movies. On its own, it's great, and I personally love it in the context of MCU as well.

Anyway, my list, best to worst:

1. The Avengers. It simply might be the most fun I've had in a movie theater ever.
2. Captain America: Winter Soldier. For all the reasons Bob loved it.
3. Iron Man. For jumpstarting the franchise and introducing me to Robert Downey Jr.'s genius.
4. Iron Man 3, for the above reasons.
5. Thor 2. I dunno, I just really appreciated the Loki scenes post-Avengers and Thor's evident character evolution.
6. Captain America: The First Avenger. Solid film, though sorely lacking in humor.
7. Thor. It wasn't bad, but I didn't like the small scale of the finale on Earth. The action let me down.
8. Iron Man 2. As Bob said, it just didn't work right. Still had its moments, though.

I don't really consider The Incredible Hulk to be part of the MCU any more. Nothing from that movie has been acknowledged in any way I'm aware of by any of the other films. And Tony Stark's cameo in the post-credits scene is clearly anachronistic, since Stark wasn't part of the Avenger program at all until the Avengers film. If Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner calls up Liv Tyler for a chat in an upcoming film, I will be extremely surprised.
 

Gorrath

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GladiatorUA said:
Don't agree with some positions on his list, but what's with IM3 "hate" from people?
I'll take a stab at your question there. Outside of some pretty glaring plot holes (all the movies suffer from this syndrome in one way or another, IM3 is just particularly riddled) I think the problems people have with it range depending on what their expectations were.

For the hardcore comic fan, seeing Mandarin reduced to nothing more than a joke was irksome. Maybe that change was for the best, but purists aren't going to take kindly to it.

For your Marvel fan who maybe isn't as deep into it as the hardcore comic geek, the whole movie seriously retread many of the exact same ideas that were in the first two. Tony Stark battles his personal demons? Seen it twice already. Tony Stark battles the military industrial complex? Seen it twice already. The guy behind the menace Tony's up against is actually a rich white industrialist? Seen it twice already.

IM3 could have used Mandarin to tread new ground, to give something for Tony to fight that he hadn't already and to tie in more of the alien/mystical elements that were being expanded in the other movies. Instead, we got an annoying kid (mileage there may vary), a watered down version of the very excellent extremis story, and a rehash of ideas we've already been served twice.

Anywho, that's my take on why IM3 is considered the worst (or close) of the 9 films.

As for my own list:

Avengers
Winter Soldier
Iron Man
Dark World
First Avenger
IM2
Thor
IM3
Boring Hulk being Boring and Boring
 

Gerardo Vazquez

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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 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.
I've seen people call him on this before, and his answer makes a lot of sense. The difference between CA:TWS, and MoS, or TDK is that the latter movies make their characters darker to fit into more dramatic settings. Batman is a gruff vigilante and Superman is much more somber and contemplative, whereas the The Winter Soldier puts Captain America in an otherwise dark spy film, but the character is completely unchanged. He's still the constantly optimistic, trusting, unflinchingly moral hero he was in past films, and a good part of the film is characters reacting to the fact that behind all the lies and duplicity, Captain America doesn't budge from his good guy standpoint. At least I think that's how it goes....
 

Gorrath

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Yojoo said:
I don't really consider The Incredible Hulk to be part of the MCU any more. Nothing from that movie has been acknowledged in any way I'm aware of by any of the other films. And Tony Stark's cameo in the post-credits scene is clearly anachronistic, since Stark wasn't part of the Avenger program at all until the Avengers film. If Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner calls up Liv Tyler for a chat in an upcoming film, I will be extremely surprised.
Hate to be "that guy" but the events of the Hulk movie are mentioned in The Avengers when Black Widow is trying to recruit Bruce to the team. Specifically, they talk about the destruction of Manhattan. Still, I'd rather forget that awful film too and just roll with Mark "Best Hulk Evar" Ruffalo. As for IM3 hate, check my post above this reply. I honestly don't think it was the comedy that made it so mediocre, it was the rehash of the same ideas we got in IM1-2.