Grierson and I do our own movie rankings, and we’re going to keep doing them, but he’s so wrong about the Marvel movies so often that I feel obliged to do my own list, independent of him. It’s a lazy July afternoon, Spider-Man: Homecoming just came out and I’ve got a kid napping in the next room. Let’s rev it up.
16. The Incredible Hulk (2008), directed by Louis Leterrier
The one movie I bet they’d love to have back. Also: Sorta emo Hulk, no?
15. Iron Man 2 (2010), directed by Jon Favreau
I loved the Mickey Rourkeannisance as much as anybody, but this is without question the worst villain of the whole series.
14. Ant-Man (2015), directed by Peyton Reed
Feels compromised, and ultimately, seriously, the dude’s power is to be come the size of an ant.
13. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), directed by James Gunn
Fun, but still derivative and a little nervous. Gunn got a lot more comfortable with the superior second one.
12. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), directed by Joe Johnston
Has its moments, and I like the period setting, but still feels like more an outline for a franchise than a movie.
11. Doctor Strange (2016), directed by Scott Derrickson
I remember liking this at the time, but honestly, I’m having a hard time conjuring up much recollection of it right now, just one year later, at all. It looked great, that I can recollect.
10. Thor: The Dark World (2013), directed by Alan Taylor
I know this is the one everyone hates, but I dunno, I liked it, I thought it was funny. The part where Thor tries to hang his hammer on the apartment door magnet made me laugh.
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.
Chris Evans is better every film as Captain America, but I’m sorry, three films in and I still don’t care about the Winter Soldier.
8. Thor (2011), directed by Kenneth Branagh
Light, funny, appropriately silly. Kenneth Branagh is actually the perfect director for a movie like Thor.
7. Captain America: Civil War (2016), directed by Anthony and Joe Russo
Insanely overstuffed, but this is one I always find myself checking back in on: The airport scene alone is worth it.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017), directed by James Gunn
Assured, satisfying and surprisingly touching. And if you are waiting for me to be sick of Baby Groot, you are going to be waiting a long time.
5. Iron Man 3 (2013), directed by Shane Black
Shane Black should write every word Robert Downey Jr. says, ever.
4. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), directed by Joss Whedon
Got a bum rap, I think, because we weren’t yet used to how stuffed these movies have to be. But juggles more, and with more heart, than the Russo brothers films that are always being praised for being so allegedly breezy. As you’ll see, Whedon is my North Star for Marvel films.
3. Iron Man (2008), directed by Jon Favreau
Almost feels quaint and simple to watch today; it’s before these movies were weaponized. But it set down the template for everything and remains a giddy blast.
2. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), directed by Jon Watts
I won’t get into too much detail on this until this week’s podcast comes out, but this movie is fun fun fun fun fun.
1. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012), directed by Joss Whedon
Five years later, still feels like a magic trick. It does everything right. Target angry!