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Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

The four phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe include movies, TV and Netflix shows, one-shots, and shorts.

The four phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe include movies, TV and Netflix shows, one-shots, and shorts.

2008's Iron Man started out as a risky move for Marvel Studios, but the film catapulted viewers into the greatest shared universe of all time. Marvel went all in, expanding their ever-growing universe into multiple platforms.

We're over a decade removed from Tony Stark getting injured in Afghanistan and beginning his journey to Iron Man. So, I thought I'd retake the MCU journey. In this article, I rank the best and worst of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, including movies, TV and Netflix shows, one-shots, and shorts—for a grand total of 79 releases.

THE BEST

1. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Beautiful, full of joy and tears, and teeming with heart, No Way Home is a celebration of three generations of cinema. The score, cinematography, humor, dialogue—all of it was magnificent. This is not just the perfect Spider-Man film; this is the perfect superhero film.

4 out of 4.

2. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Unpredictable and full of tension, Infinity War ups the stakes like never been before. Full of humor and heartbreak, this was the peak of the MCU's first decade.

4 out of 4.

3. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Wanda has fallen into a pit of grief and madness after using the Darkhold for so long. Elizabeth Olsen shines and so does director Sam Raimi's vision of the multiverse.

4 out of 4.

4. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

A fantastic new origin story about a martial arts master at war with his father. I love how it links up to the greater universe with two can't-miss end credit scenes.

4 out of 4.

5. Black Panther (2018)

The first Marvel Studios film with a Black director (Ryan Coogler) and a predominantly Black cast, Black Panther features the late Chadwick Boseman in the title role. Respectful and deep with a powerful message, Black Panther rises above most of the MCU as a new kind of film, one that relies on message and story more than flash and action.

4 out of 4.

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6. Eternals (2021)

Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals questions faith vs. dogma and man's relationship to God. Film critics and Rotten Tomatoes users have bashed the film, so it's become clear to me that the film was too smart for them. Eternals is a brilliant love letter to humanity, even a celebration of it.

4 out of 4.

7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

With S.H.I.E.L.D. compromised and HYDRA taken over from the inside, Captain America goes on the run with Black Widow to find out the identity of the mysterious Winter Soldier and to take down HYDRA once and for all. Everyone is in top form, especially Sebastian Stan, who steals every scene.

4 out of 4.

8. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Reeling from the events of Endgame, Peter is struggling with whether he should continue being Spider-Man. When the mysterious Quentin Beck shows up with an unbelievable story, Peter is roped into another battle, one he doesn't yet realize is much more than life or death: It's life as Spidey or a love life with MJ.

4 out of 4.

9. Loki – Season 1 (2021)

After escaping his timeline in 2012, Loki is captured by the mysterious TVA. They reluctantly agree to collaborate in order to capture Sylvie, a Loki variant from another timeline.

4 out of 4.

10. Moon Knight – Season 1 (2022)

Moon Knight is an extraordinary tale of a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder. One of his personalities is a superhero and the other is a regular, witless man. The depth of emotion this show reached was beautiful and absolutely astonished me.

4 out of 4.

11. Captain Marvel (2019)

Full of heart, soul, and humor, Captain Marvel stands tall as one of the best entries in the MCU and sets the stage for Avengers: Endgame.

4 out of 4.

12. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 4 (2016–17)

Three incredible storylines—or pods—blended together to make one unforgettable season. The first eight episodes introduce Ghost Rider into the MCU, then we move into LMD: Life Model Decoy, and finally Agents of Hydra. Everything comes full circle in the final few episodes, giving us a glimpse into Season 5, which promises to be off-the-rails incredible.

4 out of 4.

13. WandaVision (2021)

This miniseries details Wanda's grief in the aftermath of Endgame, using classic sitcoms as a framing device. The series has emotion, comedy, and a lot of twists and turns. It's a perfect series for any true Marvel fan.

4 out of 4.

14. Daredevil – Season 2 (2016)

Daredevil continues his journey as a vigilante, facing his biggest challenge yet: The Punisher. The Punisher lost his family at the hands of killers, so he has dedicated his life to killing those who hurt others. Daredevil is either going to talk sense into him or take him down.

Jon Bernthal has proved that he is a fantastic actor and dedicates himself to every role. Charlie Cox has improved since Season 1 and really dives into his character. What makes this season great is that the line between Daredevil and Punisher is grey, which makes the audience think about where we stand not only as individuals, but as a society.

4 out of 4.

15. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)

The series has so many twists and turns, you almost need Falcon's wings to navigate the terrain. Sam Wilson gives up Cap's shield, the U.S. government introduces John Walker as the new Captain America, Bucky's pissed at Sam, and all the while, Bucky and Sam work together (with Zemo!) to bring down a new terrorist group called the Flag-Smashers.

4 out of 4.

16. Ms. Marvel (2022)

The series has introduced Kamala Khan to the MCU, a young Muslim in America with a complicated family history. There aren't a ton of action scenes, but that's ok because Kamala is still trying to find her place in the universe. Excellent origin story and excellent performance from newcomer Iman Vellani.

4 out of 4.

17. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

In the second Avengers film, Tony Stark creates a global peacekeeping program named Ultron. However, Ultron sees humanity as a disease that needs to be extinguished off the face of the earth. The Avengers unite once again to stop Ultron from achieving his goal. I personally find Ultron to be the best villain of the MCU. He's omnipresent, untraceable, ruthless, and perfectly voiced by James Spader.

4 out of 4.

18. Iron Man (2008)

The film that started it all follows Tony Stark, a weapons manufacturer who witnesses war up close and decides that it's time to make a change. The film is still astonishing and groundbreaking all these years later. Robert Downey Jr. made his greatest comeback with this film, sobering up and becoming a hero to adults and kids both.

4 out of 4.

19. The Punisher – Season 2 (2019)

Frank Castle is trying to live out his life in peace, but unfortunately, things never seem to go the way he wants. A young girl is in deep with some bad people and he steps in to help. It turns out there's more to it than just a few henchmen, and Frank becomes her bodyguard. On top of it all, an old enemy resurfaces, giving Frank something else to handle. All in all, this season was outstanding and improved on the first.

4 out of 4.

20. Luke Cage – Season 1 (2016)

After an experiment is sabotaged, Luke Cage develops impenetrable skin and amazing brute strength. Mike Colter was the perfect choice for Luke. His acting, form, and overall attitude was perfect and fit the character completely.

4 out of 4.

21. Daredevil – Season 1 (2015)

Daredevil's origin story is told the way it should be: dark, contemplative, and deep. Marvel revived the character in this Netflix series with amazing storytelling and perfect casting with Charlie Cox starring as Matt Murdock/Daredevil.

4 out of 4.

22. The Defenders – Season 1 (2017)

Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist team up to combat The Hand, an organization that's even deadlier than HYDRA. The team-up we've been waiting for finally happened and it was outstanding. The way everyone was brought together was brilliant. The acting was fun and genius.

4 out of 4.

23. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

After an attack on the United Nations, the government questions the effectiveness of The Avengers and each member of the team takes a side for or against the newly enacted Sokovia Accords.

The film had its heartbreaking moments and the action was spectacular. Robert Downey Jr. showed his emotional range in this film and dominates all of his scenes.

4 out of 4.

24. Doctor Strange (2016)

After losing most of the use of his hands in a car accident, world-renowed neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange seeks help in the most unlikely of places and discovers worlds he never knew existed.

Benedict Cumberbatch was the perfect choice to play Strange. He really researched the character and dove into his role. Mads Mikkelsen always plays a good bad guy and doesn't disappoint. Tilda Swinton wasn't The Ancient One that die-hard fans expected, but she made the role her own and didn't shy away from the backlash. It definitely paid off.

The effects were the best part of the film, ushering in a new age of special effects.

4 out of 4.

25. One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer (2011)

This short was hilarious, showing a side of Agent Coulson that we didn't see in the films. Clark Gregg has made Coulson my favorite underdog in the MCU.

4 out of 4.

26. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

This surprise hit came out of nowhere and put Chris Pratt on the map as an action hero and superstar. Who knew we'd love a tree and a talking raccoon so much?

4 out of 4.

27. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor must defeat Hela the Goddess of Death in order to prevent Ragnarok, the Norse Apocalypse. I thought that the humor would be an issue, but it actually fit perfectly and the story was well done. The only real issue I had with the film was that Lady Sif wasn't in it. She's a huge part of the Thor universe and for her not be present—or even mentioned—was a major issue for me.

3.5 out of 4.

28. The Punisher – Season 1 (2017)

Frank Castle's story of vengeance and retribution continues from Season 2. Frank is trying to move on with his life, but he just can't ignore crime and returns to his killing ways. Jon Bernthal has come a long way in his career and keeps getting better and better.

3.5 out of 4.

29. Hawkeye (2021)

Introducing Kate Bishop, a villain from the netherworld of cancelled shows, Hawkeye has been one surprise after another. Hailee Steinfeld is perfection as Kate and her chemistry with Jeremy Renner is nothing short of amazing.

3.5 out of 4.

30. Black Widow (2021)

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow spends this film on the run from the U.S. government for violating the Sokovia Accords. The emotion is raw and heavy and the action is stellar. Fantastic performances by Florence Pugh, Scarlett Johansson, and Ray Winstone.

3.5 out of 4.

31. The Avengers (2012)

The team up that nerds everywhere thought would never hit the big screen finally happened and it surpassed all expectations. The only downside was the dialogue was a bit awkward at times. It tried to be for all ages and came off a bit iffy. Otherwise, it was well-made.

3.5 out of 4.

32. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

EVERYONE comes back for the final film in the Infinity Saga (aka Phases 1–3), wrapping up the first twenty-two films in the MCU in breathtaking and spectacular fashion. The one issue I had was turning Thor into a self-parody rather than a useful hero.

3.5 out of 4.

33. Daredevil – Season 3 (2018)

Matt Murdock awakes in a convent, recovering from his near-death at the end of The Defenders. The season tackles Matt's vulnerability and loss of faith. As he recovers, an old threat discovers his double-life as Daredevil and a new threat is determined to take him down.

3.5 out of 4.

34. Thor: Love and Thunder

I walked away from this film with mixed feelings. Not negative feelings, just mixed. Thor: Love and Thunder was definitely a fun film and it gave us one of the best villains of all time, but there were times when I felt that the humor didn't hit the mark like it did in Thor: Ragnarok. But, on the flipside, there was so much more depth and meaning in this film that redeemed the flat humor.

The film follows Thor, picking up after Endgame, showing that he's been travelling with the Guardians of the Galaxy and has come to a point in his life where he doesn't know who he truly is or what it is he's meant to do. His father, mother, and brother are all three dead and he's given the role of King to his good friend Valkyrie. So what is it he's meant to do now that peace has been restored post-Thanos? As if being called by the universe itself, he receives a distress call from Lady Sif. She tells him that Gorr the God Butcher has been moving from planet to planet, killing the gods of old and new alike. Thor takes it upon himself to hunt down Gorr and stop him. To complicate matters, Jane shows up in New Asgard with a now reassembled Mjolnir and full Thor get-up. How did she receive this power and why? Thor has to find that out too. Classic Thor adventure!

The thing that's done well in this film is Gorr. Even though he was underused, a crime within itself, he was one the audience could sympathize with even though he's done horrible things. The opening scene of the film depicts why Gorr undertakes his mission and, honestly, I felt bad for him and couldn't really fault him for his actions. Portrayed phenomenally by Christian Bale, this was a character I wanted to see more of and less of the silliness with Zeus in Omnipotence City.

Natalie Portman made a brilliant comeback to the Thor franchise as the Mighty Thor Jane Foster. She was the second-best part of the film, clearly bulking up a bit to be the Goddess of Thunder for this film.

The soundtrack was fantastic, bringing us some incredible instrumentals from the brilliant mind of Michael Giacchino and also an almost all Guns N Roses song selection, save for two.

I did love the depth this film had. Despite the action and humor that Ragnarok had, it didn't feel as emotional as it should have, especially with Odin's death. Love and Thunder, however, went the opposite direction. This film made you sympathize with the Gorr, Thor, and Jane too. There was some fantastic storytelling when the film was being serious and heartfelt.

In conclusion, I truly believe that if Christian Bale hadn't been Gorr and Natalie Portman hadn't come back, the film would have flopped. This was definitely one that the actors carried rather than the writing. Taika, you're a fantastic writer and director, but this one could have been so, so much better. I'm still giving the film a 3.5 out of 4 for Bale and Portman's performances, and the fact that Russell Crowe was pretty amazing as a wimpy version of Zeus.

35. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Paul Rudd returns as Ant-Man/Giant-Man after the events of Civil War. Evangeline Lilly takes on a more central role as Ant-Man's partner, The Wasp. The story is better than the first film, keeping the key elements that made Ant-Man so good: heart and humor.

The villains are well-done and the chemistry between Paul and Evangeline is electric. The only negative about the film is Walton Goggins, whose character feels like Justin Hammer and Trevor Slattery rolled into one person.

3.5 out of 4.

36. Iron Fist – Season 2 (2018)

After the events of The Defenders, Danny Rand/Iron Fist has been keeping his promise to Matt Murdock/Daredevil, all while facing the Triads. Davos and Joy Meachum have something else in mind, which spells disaster for Danny and Colleen Wing.

This season is a much needed improvement over Season 1. Danny shows real growth as a character and person.

3.5 out of 4.

37. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 5 (2017–18)

This season picks up where season 4 left off. We see Coulson and team trapped in a future where the world's been destroyed and the last of the human race is being ruled by the Kree. Coulson and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have to find a way back to their time and stop the world from being destroyed. It's slow in a few places, but otherwise a brilliant season.

3.5 out of 4.

38. WHiH Newsfront: Attack in Lagos (2016)

With Christine Everhart leading the news story, we get the perfect setup to Civil War. Christine is opposing the Avengers, saying that they need to be put in check. This sets the mood for the film. The only issue I had with the episode was it showed the same two seconds of footage on repeat. They weren't allowed to use a bigger clip than that???

3.5 out of 4.

39. Ant-Man (2015)

Scott Lang is an ex-con who needs to pay child support so he can see his daughter. He can't land a job with his criminal record, so he pulls off one last heist thinking he'll get the money he needs. Instead, he finds a future he never expected. Ant-Man has tons of laughs and a lot of heart.

Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly have great chemistry as Ant-Man and Hope van Dyne, respectively. Michael Douglas is wonderful as Hope's father and mentor to Scott. Anthony Mackie has a nice cameo as Sam Wilson/Falcon, cleverly linking up with other MCU films.

3.5 out of 4.

40. Agent Carter – Season 2 (2016)

Hayley Atwell returns once again as Agent Peggy Carter, this time trying to figure out the nature of Dark Matter and why HYDRA wants their hands on it.

It's a shame the series was cancelled after two seasons. Hayley was fantastic as Peggy and the writing was strong. The only reason I gave it a half-point deduction is because it ended on an unresolved cliffhanger.

3.5 out of 4.

41. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Tom Holland gets his own film as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Thankfully, it isn't another origin story, but continues the story after Civil War. The dynamic between Spider-Man and Iron Man is fantastic, with Tony showing a gentle side we haven't seen in a long time.

The humor is steady and ever-present, which sometimes doesn't land, but other times comes as a relief. Vulture is a good, relatable villain. Of course, it helps that he's played by Michael Keaton, who has incredible range as an actor, playing ruthless and caring with equal relish.

3 out of 4.

42. Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021)

A ton of fun and full of action, the Venom sequel brings Carnage to the big screen in a spectacular way. It has issues, but it's a major improvement over the first film.

3 out of 4.

43. Morbius

I get so sick of the toxic fandom. And I don't mean just Marvel. Toxic people are in every fandom. Marvel, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek....you name it, there's some purist out there who hates something about the extended universe instead of just being grateful they're even getting more content in the first place. Kevin Smith once said he would never say a bad thing about a comic book movie because he grew up wishing they existed on the level they do today. When Spider-Man and X-Men were coming out back in the early 2000s, it was like a dream come true. The the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off in 2008 and we started getting 2 a year, then three a year plus a show....now, it's insane the amount of content being made. Somewhere along the way, people that dreamed and wished for Nerd Culture to become mainstream lost their sense of wonder and hate on everything that comes out.
Morbius is no exception. It received more hate than Venom did and honestly both of them were fine for what they were. Would it be awesome to have an R-rated bloodbath? Sure. But Disney owns Marvel and Marvel's deal with Sony only permits so much. So, we get what we get. I enjoyed Morbius and I'm tired of people hating on it for literally no reason. You ever notice how people who hate on it all say the same thing? CGI was bad, story was dull. Almost word for word exactly what the original hater said. The CGI was NOT bad. In fact, it was pretty terrifying at times. Matt Smith's CGI could have been better, sure, but I have seen much much worse in far bigger budget films. The story was solid and kept a good pace throughout. It had a beautiful dynamic of good vs evil with the good being tempted to go past that line. There's a great theme there, one that those toxic people I was talking about need to think about while looking in the mirror.

Jared Leto is a brilliant actor and his work in Dallas Buyers Club proves that. Had Morbius not been plagued with rewrites and being pushed back three times due to the pandemic, it probably would have been received better. Sony doesn't seem to care what people think as they are moving ahead with Kraven and Madame Web. Big middle-finger to you, haters.

I give Morbius a 3 out of 4 and I'm not ashamed of liking it.

44. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 6 (2019)

The one thing hindering this season from being amazing—and it's not a small issue—is the fact that it doesn't explain what's going on outside of the agents' lives. They're part of the MCU too, guys!

Season 6 takes place after The Decimation, but before The Return. Are we to believe that literally none of the agents were decimated? Not even one??? Is there really no communication whatsoever within Marvel to make this more coherent with the films?

3 out of 4.

45. Jessica Jones – Season 2 (2018)

Jessica Jones is recovering from the events of Season 1 and her fight alongside The Defenders. She's working through PTSD, mainly by self-medicating through alcohol. She also gets hate from people who view the super-powered as dangerous thanks to the Sokovia Accords.

The villain in this season isn't as great as Kilgrave, but Season 2 has better performances, better pacing, and more intrigue than the first season.

3 out of 4.

46. Jessica Jones – Season 1 (2015)

Jessica Jones used to be the superhero Jewel, but quit after enduring a trauma. She instead became a self-loathing, nihilistic private investigator with a crippling case of PTSD. The season introduces Luke Cage, who eventually earned his own series.

Krysten Ritter brings Jessica Jones to life, brilliantly mastering her attitude and personality. The only real issue I have is the slow pacing. The acting is fantastic, but the story drags out longer than it should have.

3 out of 4.

47. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 3 (2015–16)

The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents discover Simmons has been sent to a remote planet where Hive dwells, a parasitic Inhuman who possesses the corpses of dead humans to control other Inhumans through a hive mind. HYDRA wants to release Hive on Earth so the Inhumans can control of the planet.

This season's storyline kept me engaged and the acting was even better than the two previous seasons. My biggest complaint is that the set design for the planet where Simmons was transported was not believable in the least.

3 out of 4.

48. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Steve Rogers was a small man who signed up to fight for his country during World War Two. He was chosen to be the guinea pig in the government's Super Soldier Program, which transformed Steve into the heroic Captain America. First Avenger is slow at times and skips important details, but overall, it's still a success.

When I first heard that Chris Evans was cast in the role, I immediately thought, "The guy that turned Human Torch into a joke?" But, I was happily proven wrong. Chris embodied the spirit of Captain America, showing his dramatic and emotional side, and keeping his comedic chops under wraps.

3 out of 4.

49. Runaways – Season 3 (2019)

Season 3 ends the series' short run on a high note, making us wonder what could have been had the show not ended.

3 out of 4.

50. Iron Fist – Season 1 (2017)

Danny Rand returns to New York after 15 years. As the new Iron Fist, he takes a stand against the evil underground crime organization, The Hand.

Finn Jones was a good casting choice for Danny Rand, but I wish he had been written more like a warrior and less like a snotty brat. Also, how many times does he need to tell the same people, "I'm the Immortal Iron Fist, protector of Kun-Lun"? We KNOW!

Jessica Henwick is fantastic as Colleen and, in many ways, is better than Danny. Maybe she should've had her own series! David Wenham is utterly creepy as the series villain, something I haven't seen from him before.

3 out of 4.

51. Agent Carter – Season 1 (2015)

Hayley Atwell brings Agent Peggy Carter to the small screen, hunting down the people responsible for setting up Howard Stark. Season 1 was fun and immersive and I enjoyed Agent Carter's quick-wit and constant banter with Jarvis and Howard. However, there could have been more substance.

3 out of 4.

52. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor returns to prevent Malekith and the Dark Elves from obtaining the Aether, one of the six powerful Infinity Stones. Thor's continued humility leads him to work with Loki, his war criminal brother, in an attempt to save the universe. This film was much better than the first. It had a better villain, better humor, and more heart.

Chris Hemsworth has really grown into his role as the God of Thunder and Tom Hiddleston has improved as Loki since the first Thor movie.

3 out of 4.

53. One-Shot: Agent Carter (2013)

This short shows us Peggy Carter shortly after Steve Rogers went into the ice. She's grieving, hurt, and treated like a stepping stool at work. That is, until Howard Stark calls, demanding she help him head S.H.I.E.L.D. The short is a good setup for the TV series and I like that we get to see the sensitive side of Peggy.

3 out of 4.

54. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 1 (2014)

The debut season focuses on agents searching for people with special gifts. Skye, a skilled hacker, is recruited by Agent Coulson to help them track down these people. The storyline is good, even if the explanation for Coulson staying alive was a bit flimsy. That said, the show redeemed itself later on in the season.

3 out of 4.

55. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 7 (2020)

The final season is proof that the show lost steam, as it relies on time travel to stop the Chronicoms from changing history. There's also an LMD Agent Coulson. It's not terrible, but it's certainly not what the show was when it hit its peak in Season 4.

3 out of 4.

56. Runaways – Season 2 (2018)

Season 2 moved at a better pace than season 1 and stayed interesting throughout. It's no Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but it's getting better.

3 out of 4.

57. Cloak and Dagger – Season 2 (2019)

Season 2 is only slightly better than Season 1. It's the same quality with consistent storytelling and the chemistry between Tandy Bowen (Dagger) and Tyrone Johnson (Cloak) gets better and better.

3 out of 4.

58. Cloak and Dagger – Season 1 (2018)

Tandy and Tyrone are teenagers—and complete strangers—when they both experience life-altering traumas. Years later, they discover that their newfound abilities connect themselves to each other.

It's a good story, but it's very drawn out, especially considering there are only 10 episodes. Once it catches its stride, it gradually gets better.

3 out of 4.

THE WORST

Remember: The "Worst" section is ranked from my least favorite to most favorite.

1. WHiH Newsfront: Top Stories (2015)

Christine basically introduces Newsfront. Nothing's really accomplished aside from setting up the short stories.

1 out of 4.

2. Inhumans – Season 1 (2017)

Black Bolt. Medusa. Lockjaw. These are just a few of the names that got fans excited for Inhumans. What they got was a near-exact copy of Thor's story: A boy becomes king, a jealous sibling frames his brother in order to steal the throne, and there's an exile to Earth.

Loki was a much better manipulative brother than Maximus. Also, the setup that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did for Inhumans was rendered moot because it was explained completely differently in this show. I wasn't a fan of the sets and costumes, but at least the acting was pretty good. It was definitely the best part of the show.

1.5 out of 4.

3. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot (2016)

This side story set during Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is decent, but unnecessary. It challenges the Sokovia Accords, which I like, but there isn't much beyond that.

2 out of 4.

4. Iron Man 2 (2010)

The sequel to the 2008 blockbuster finds Tony Stark facing off against Justin Hammer and Whiplash. The film could have been amazing, but it was hindered by the constant arguing between Tony and Pepper. It did nothing for the film or the characters and that time could've been used to expand on Whiplash's character, or to give us more backstory on Nick Fury or Agent Coulson.

2 out of 4.

5. Iron Man 3 (2013)

The film follows Tony Stark as he not only battles PTSD after the Battle of New York, but also Trevor Slattery/The Mandarin and his evil puppeteer, Aldrich Killian. The film starts out good, but the "twist" is a huge disappointment. From that point forward, Iron Man 3 is just another action flick.

2.5 out of 4.

6. WHiH Newsfront: Avengers Impact (2016)

Christine and her co-anchor Will Adams set up their upcoming debate by each taking a stance: for or against the Avengers. The debate is just heating up when it stops. I like it as a setup, but these shorts really need to be a couple minutes longer.

2.5 out of 4.

7. WHiH Newsfront: The Cost of Saving the World (2016)

Again, this is an interesting debate about whether the Avengers are good or bad for society, but it should have gone on longer.

2.5 out of 4.

8. WHiH Newsfront: The Avengers and the White House (2016)

Christine Everhart simply states she's going to interview the President. She continues to stand against The Avengers while Will Adams supports them. There is some entertaining banter in there, but that's about it.

2.5 out of 4.

9. WHiH Newsfront: President Ellis Discusses The Avengers (2016)

Christine Everhart interviews the President of the United States about what he thinks should be done about the Avengers. It's a straightforward interview and the President says nothing new.

2.5 out of 4.

10. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The film focuses on Bruce Banner (Edward Norton), a nuclear physicist and biochemist searching for a cure to rid himself of the Hulk. The love story between Bruce and Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) is the best part of the film.

There's a couple problems with The Incredible Hulk. The villain, Emil Blonsky/Abomination (Tim Roth), is not very well-established, and a few of the storylines don't continue in any other MCU films.

2.5 out of 4.

11. Thor (2011)

Thor goes up against the Frost Giants and his manipulative brother Loki. Chris Hemsworth has the look and build of Thor and Tom Hiddleston is definitely the perfect choice for Loki.

The problem with the film is that the villain, Laufey, is totally underwhelming. Loki is awesome, as he proved in The Avengers, but having him subjugate himself to Laufey (his biological father) makes him look weak by comparison.

2.5 out of 4.

12. WHiH Newsfront: Darren Cross Interview (2015)

Christine Everhart interviews Darren Cross, the new head of PymTech, about his advances in technology. While this sets up the villain in Ant-Man, the short doesn't really tell us much beyond the setup.

2.5 out of 4.

13. One-Shot: The Consultant (2011)

This one-shot basically expands on the end scene in The Incredible Hulk. As fun as it is, it really serves no purpose except to give closure about The Abomination and set up Hulk's appearance in The Avengers.

2.5 out of 4.

14. WHiH Newsfront: VistaCorp Break-in Security Footage (2015)

This is footage of the break-in that landed Scott Lang in prison.

2.5 out of 4.

15. One-Shot: All Hail the King (2014)

A newsman interviews Trevor Slattery/Mandarin in prison after the events of Iron Man 3. This was the last One-Shot that Marvel released.

Fans were excited to finally see The Mandarin in Iron Man 3, but were let down by the lame twist. In this one-shot, we're given hope that the real Mandarin will show up at some point, but with this phase of the MCU done, that is doubtful.

2.5 out of 4.

16. Jessica Jones – Season 3 (2019)

This season felt more like a Dexter spin-off than a superhero show. This is the season where Jessica and Trish team up to hunt down a killer. That's it. The villain isn't introduced until Episode 4, giving the first three episodes plenty of time to reintroduce us to the various characters.

I love Jessica's vulnerability and the general setup. The show goes downhill from there, stretching out a simple plot that probably could've been tied up in a few episodes.

2.5 out of 4.

17. Luke Cage – Season 2 (2018)

This season was a huge disappointment compared to the first season. For the first few episodes, all we see is Luke walking around Harlem boasting that he can't be beaten or stopped, and he threatens anyone using his name to sell heroin.

It starts to get interesting when the season's villain is introduced (Bushmaster), only for the show to set him aside and slow to a crawl again. I loved the Heroes for Hire tease and what little story there was, I just expected more than we got.

2.5 out of 4.

18. One-Shot: Item 47 (2012)

After the events of The Avengers, a couple steals one of the alien weapons and uses it to go on a bankrobbing spree. This was entertaining, but the ending is a cop-out. That kind of thing hardly ever happens. We also never saw these people again, which is a huge disappointment.

2.5 out of 4.

19. WHiH Newsfront: Scott Lang Interview (2015)

Christine Everhart interviews Scott Lang about the VistaCorp heist that landed him in prison. As funny as it is, it doesn't really accomplish anything except set the mood for Ant-Man.

2.5 out of 4.

20. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 2 (2014–15)

This season was all over the place. It dealt with the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA, as Skye discovered her father and dealt with changes of her own. The season jumped from HYDRA to Inhumans to Skye to Inhumans again. It's just a scrambled mess.

2.5 out of 4.

21. Runaways – Season 1 (2017–18)

The show took a few episodes to get going, hitting its stride about halfway through the season. At times, though, it was almost excruciatingly slow. The mystery is fairly well executed, but the story could have used a bit more substance. Now that the Runaways have had their origin story, maybe Season 2 will be more interesting.

2.5 out of 4.

22. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Starlord discovers that his father is Ego the Living Planet, a Celestial with a diabolical plan involving the deaths of trillions. While the story is good, several elements make the film suffer.

The soundtrack is outstanding, but the songs are completely misplaced. The humor is also awkward, making light during serious moments. For example, Starlord makes his mom's death sound no more important than a broken Walkman.

2.5 out of 4.

23. Venom (2018)

Venom wasn't the best anti-superhero movie ever made—in fact, it's almost exactly average, hence its placement here—but it didn't deserve the hate it got. Some of the issues had to with editing and reshoots because of Sony's decision to go from R to PG-13.

2.8 out of 4.

Conclusion

When Marvel announced they were making Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr would be the star, people got pretty excited and for good reason. The film debuted in 2008 and it astonished billions and launched the MCU with major success. Now, here we are, 14 years later and still going strong. It's been an incredible fourteen years and I look forward to what Feige has planned next.

© 2017 Nathan Jasper

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