Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge fan of Marvel, and obviously, that includes the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and TV shows! In the following series, I’ve ranked all forty-some entries in order of my enjoyment (not necessarily in quality) from worst to best.
#25. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Objectively, Age of Ultron was a pretty bad movie. Between the butchering of Hawkeye, the whitewashing of Wanda and Pietro, the downright misogynistic treatment of Black Widow, and the cringeworthy Black Widow/Hulk relationship (not to mention the weirdly emotional Ultron) the movie had a lot dragging it down.
However, this movie was far closer than the original at capturing the spirit of the Avengers. It was thrilling seeing Vision (a favorite of mine) on the big screen, and the climactic battle was a ton of fun.
#24. Captain America: the first avenger
This is one of the few MCU movies which I enjoy watching over and over again. The First Avenger has a classic feel to it, a charismatic lead in Chris Evans, and of course, the phenomenal Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter. The First Avenger wasn’t the best or most interesting MCU entry, but it was one of the most solid and a lot of fun to watch.
#23. Luke Cage (Season 1)
An extremely strong debut that trailed off around its second half, Luke Cage’s first season was immersive, complex, and kept the viewers guessing at every turn. Much like the preceding entry, the origin had a classic feel to it, and the supporting cast and rich world of Harlem created something truly different in the MCU.
#22. Jessica Jones (Season 2)
An admittedly uneven run, especially compared to Jessica Jones’ classic first season, JJ S2 is weighed down by odd plotting, a thoroughly unlikable supporting cast (especially Trish) and an occasionally aimless quality… however, Krysten Ritter is talented enough that the series is worth a watch. Her Jessica Jones considers to be a high point in the MCU, snarky, complex, and damaged; enough to pull this season up from a much lower rating.
#21. Iron Man
I admittedly don’t remember this movie that well, but Iron Man was the first MCU movie I saw and it was a worthy beginning to the franchise. Self-contained and engrossing with hints of a larger universe, its easy to see how Iron Man jumpstarted such a beloved and long-running franchise.
#20. Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War was the first MCU movie to successfully juggle a large cast of characters, and was a wondrous spectacle to experience, but it was dragged down by the mis-characterization of the Vision and Scarlet Witch, an overemphasis on Iron Man, and an underwhelming final act that painted Tony Stark as hypocritical and villainous. It had a lot of things to love, but it also had many frustrating elements that held it back from a higher score.
#19. Agent Carter (Season 1)
Agent Carter’s first season was one of the best entries in the MCU- tightly plotted, immersive, and one-of-a-kind. Featuring the perfect balance between espionage and character work, drama and humor, Agent Carter was riddled with twists and turns and lovable characters I cannot recommend this season highly enough.
(Yes, this entry should probably be higher. Its an imperfect science).
#18. Captain America: The WInter Soldier
The Winter Soldier is often considered to be one of the strongest entries in the MCU and for good reason- it successfully painted Steve Rogers as a badass, dropped one of the biggest plot twists in the MCU, and transcended the superhero genre to deliver a powerful statement on liberty and freedom. Little things, such as the weird characterization of Black Widow, prevent this otherwise brilliant movie from ranking higher on my list.
#17. Runaways (Season 1)
Runaways is somewhat more uneven than, say, Agent Carter, but it also takes many more risks. The first season of this unique show made the controversial choice to delay the actual running away, creating a colorful and rich teen drama that felt truly special and set up more interesting things to come.
#16. Runaways (Season 2)
Runaways’ action-packed second season improved on the former in a number of ways, giving us brilliant superhero and street-level drama while offering echoes of the wider MCU and really allowing the characters to start gelling as a family. Just as impulsive and unexpected as its previous season, Runaways’ second outing upped the stakes and kept the viewers and characters alike on the edge of their seats.