When the first trailer for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ landed on the cyberspace, fans all around the globe went wild. Everyone began speculating about who is going to die, what is the location of the Soul Stone and where the hell is Hawkeye. But when the euphoria simmered down a bit, everyone came to the realisation how we’ve been on this journey for 10 years.
None of us knew what would happen when Nick Fury announced the Avengers Initiative. Nevertheless, Kevin Feige, along with a diverse and talented cast of people, kept us hooked with their bold moves. The road wasn’t a smooth one, but due to the franchise’s sincerity towards its fans, it persevered and stands where it’s now.
So, let’s take a look at the movies that made the Marvel Cinematic Universe and see where they stand quality-wise.
18. ‘Thor: The Dark World’
This Phase 2 film marked Chris Hemsworth’s second solo outing as the God of Thunder and introduced us to another Infinity Stone, the Reality Gem. While Thor and Loki’s camaraderie was a sight to behold, the rest of the movie couldn’t match up to that energy. Alan Taylor did try to salvage the film with the planet-jumping fight sequence, but it came a little too late as the audience had dozed off by then thanks to Malekith’s cliched lines.
17. ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’
Joe Johnston’s take on Captain America was a massive throwback to Steven Spielberg’s older movies. It also revived Chris Evans’ superhero image and featured one of the most menacing villains in MCU history, Red Skull. However, the movie lost all its steam as it crammed most of Cap’s heroics into a montage. Although the Russos managed to revamp Steve Rogers completely, while keeping his values intact, his first step was a boring drag.
After seeing a lot of Earth, fans were excited to see the cosmic side of things. And the movie delivered in that aspect with its lavish production design and glorious special effects. But it was short-lived as Thor had to spend much of his time on Earth cracking mugs and showing off his abs. Still, the movie is watchable due to its Shakespearean themes and the ever-enjoyable Tom Hiddleston as Loki.
15. ‘The Incredible Hulk’
Now, I know that the events of Harlem are like skid marks in the history of the MCU. Heck, even the actor has been recast. Yet, this movie stands out due to its grimy aesthetic and some outstanding cinematography to show the scale and danger of the Hulk. And while it features some more forgettable villains, Edward Norton is bound to keep you engaged with his acting chops and make you sympathise with Bruce Banner.
The story about the tiniest hero in the MCU is more about what it could’ve been than what it’s. Nevertheless, the final product ended up surpassing expectations because of Paul Rudd’s charm and the blue-print that Edgar Wright had left behind. It has some unique action scenes to highlight Ant-Man’s many powers. And in case you watch it high, Scott Lang’s trip into the Quantum Realm will remain with you long after the movie’s over.
13. ‘Thor: Ragnarok’
As both of the ‘Avengers’ movies had hinted at Thor’s hidden humor, Taika Waiti decided to dial it up to 11, mix it with some neon-filled visuals and let Jeff Goldblum do the rest. Additionally, it features some top-class performances by its stars and some great character arcs for Loki, Thor and the Hulk. However, the movie’s over-reliance on jokes undermines its serious moments, thereby holding it back from being anything more than just “fun”.
12. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’
While ‘The Avengers’ brought the team together, ‘Avengers 2’ challenged them by stripping away their support system. It was tonally darker and raised the stakes by not just threatening to take over the world, but destroying it. And although the movie detracts from its main plot to set up future films, it earns positive points for Wanda’s nightmares, Hulk vs. Hulkbuster and making us care for Hawkeye.
11. ‘Doctor Strange’
At this point in the MCU, we had already seen the science of Earth and other planets. Now, it was time for magic, and Scott Derrickson presented it faithfully by taking a lot of inspiration from Steve Ditko’s psychedelic artwork. While Strange’s arc seems very familiar to Tony Stark’s, Benedict Cumberbatch’s baritone is bound to make you forget all about it. And if that’s not enough, the movie subverts Marvel’s characteristic endings oh so effectively.
10. ‘Iron Man 2’
Deriving heavily from Iron Man’s “Demon in a Bottle” story-line, this movie dove deeper into Tony’s troubled relationship with his father, Howard Stark. Additionally, Jon Favreau showed the repercussions of the Stark legacy in the form of Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash. It also has one of the dopest entry scenes in a Marvel movie and then, what’s there not to love about Robert Downey Jr.’s effortless portrayal of Tony Stark.
9. ‘Black Panther’
After capturing everyone’s attention in ‘Civil War’, Chadwick Boseman returned in style as T’Challa. While Ryan Coogler brought Wakanda alive and moved everybody through Killmonger, Marvel proved once again that it won’t stop surprising us anytime soon. And although the CGI-heavy fight sequences appears wonky, the movie’s deep philosophy about African culture will make you ignore it and have you introspecting for a long time.
8. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2’
A lot of movies have been compared to ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ but this is the only one that emulates its themes properly, while exploring the psyche of these quirky characters. It possesses none of Marvel’s usual complaints about muddy visuals or bland villains, all thanks to James Gunn’s brilliance. And if you weren’t a sobbing mess when Yondu died, I sincerely think that you’ve no soul.
7. ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’
Tom Holland had already won over everyone with his cameo in ‘Civil War’. So, when he donned the suit again, it was no surprise when people lauded him and the movie for its light-hearted take on the hero. Also, Jon Watts managed to keep Michael Keaton’s Vulture tangible and scary, thereby delivering one of the greatest twists of all time.
6. ‘Iron Man 3’
Talking about twists, Shane Black’s adventure with Iron Man was considered hella divisive when it released. However, with time, majority of the fandom has realised the genius of using Ben Kingsley as the fake Mandarin. Additionally, the movie also deserves a lot of praise for dealing with Tony Stark’s P.T.S.D. and further fleshing out the character that was already so interesting.
5. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
From a killer soundtrack full of 80’s music to cosmic beings with relatable character traits, this Marvel experiment stands out as the one of the best films of all time. This movie’s a treat to look at as James Gunn takes you from one planet to another with Star Lord and Co. And despite having all the elements needed for a blockbuster, it packs so much emotion that you’ll be in tears even if you’ve an arc-reactor for a heart.
4. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’
Before appearing in this film, Captain America was all but a side character while RDJ’s Stark was hogging the limelight. But after the Russos took Rogers through a personal journey which had him doubting everything that he stood for, Cap was right up there among the favorites. This movie mirrored real-life threats in the form of HYDRA and was an instant classic due to its exhilarating hand-to-hand fight sequences.
3. ‘Iron Man’
The one that started it all. This movie must be considered as one of the riskiest ventures in cinematic history, because it featured a nobody in its central role and was released when comic-book movies weren’t the talk of the town. However, despite all the odds, Marvel’s gamble paid off gloriously and the guy who was once a nobody became one of the greatest stars in Hollywood. As for the movie itself, it oozes style and substance in every frame.
2. ‘The Avengers’
If ambition has a face, it must be the poster of Joss Whedon’s ‘The Avengers’. This movie brought together characters who had rarely been with each other under a banner that was only hinted at. But with a solid script, whole-hearted performances, beautifully choreographed set-pieces, Alan Silvestri’s score and one rotating shot of the team, Marvel changed franchise film-making forever.
1. ‘Captain America: Civil War’
There is no doubt that there a lot of fans of Cap, but nobody’s a bigger fan of the patriotic hero than the Russos. After revamping him for the modern world, the director duo pushed Rogers into another dilemma that split the Avengers right down the middle. This movie stands out as the best Marvel has to offer because of Tony Stark’s gut-wrenching plot, Zemo’s heart-breaking backstory and a combo of the airport and Siberia fight sequences.
Watch the 10-year journey here:
‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is not just one movie. It’s the culmination of every single story and character arc from these 18 movies. And considering how this hasn’t been tried before, Marvel is every bit deserving of the praise it’s getting. So, which of these movies are your favorite and who’ll you be looking out for once Thanos lands on Earth?