Nothing like a good rest and relaxation to chill the nerves. Now what was happening again? If you haven’t already, check out part one of this countdown to get up to snuff on the adequate contenders. Most were strong enough to place higher than 16th, but there was sudden death over these next 8. All of them did so much more right than wrong and now it feels like selecting your favorite child. But let’s finish this before heading off to Infinity War. Thanos isn’t a patient tyrant. These are the Top 16 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies Part 2.
Up to this point, earth heroes were the closest thing to realism this journey was gonna get, which in hindsight isn’t the worst after what the late 2000’s did to Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Still, how far could this be taken when dealing with a god? Sci-fi technology is one thing, but mythology is a whole different ballpark.
Thankfully Kenneth Branagh’s grand Shakespearean scope made a hell of a first impression on branching out to new worlds. Why he didn’t stay for the sequels is anyone’s guess? Yeah, it could’ve taken place away from mundane Earth and its mundane sidekicks, but when it does cut back to Asgard there’s always that insignificance vibe trying to measure up to the organ pipe palace or the frost giants. Even Chris Hemsworth is jarring with the mind of a reckless warrior instead of a wise king. But of course, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki was always stealing the attention from the beginning. Only this time it’s with tears of empathy, not laughter. This sibling rivalry never gets old.
#7 Iron Man
Believe it or not, there was a time when superheroes were leashed to their own reality even if they were cut from the same cloth. Christopher Reeve’s Superman couldn’t occupy the same timeline as Michael Keaton’s Batman despite the two characters debating their ideologies on more than one occasion. Iron Man looked like it wasn’t breaking tradition. And this was right after Spider-Man, X-Men and Fantastic Four floundered into the sunset.
So much may have change since the following years, but this is more than just a picture reminding everyone of humble beginnings. Lots of action entertainment didn’t combine story, character and natural comedy fluidly a much as the director of Elf did. You were either and emo bullet fest that ticked off fans with empty liberties or too removed from the real world to relate to people. This ran the gambit with both. It’s also hard to imagine Iron Man without Robert Downey Jr. since this pulled him out of a gutter and turned this into an eerily uncanny auto-biography. Who’s the character and who’s the actor?
#6 Captain America: The First Avenger
Poor Captain America. Right off the heels of Thor, he was seen as table scraps before the main course, but anticipating what was around the corner was part of the excitement. While beat-for-beat like Iron Man, Joe Johnston took Jon Favreau’s formula and cranked up the volume on everything: Story, characters, drama, laughs and especially action. After all, this is world war two. It might not have been as much a passion project compared to Robert Downey Jr, but the final solo adventure in phase one left present day in the back and let history take the wheel with a different kind of nostalgia. One that puts a sad light on Steve Rogers when he wakes up after his sacrificial hibernation. He’s only know learning how to dance.
#5 Captain America: Civil War
If Man of Steel shed a new perspective on anything, it’s the routinely ignored collateral damage. Heroes always save the day, but what happens to the fallen debris and damaged streets when everyone fly’s off?
If we waited for an authentic Civil War adaption, we’d all be in our 50’s by the time it hit screens. And if Thor Ragnarok’s compromise on Planet Hulk taught us anything, it’s that some things need to change to fit in this universe. Not even half the cast from the comic is present here, yet the spirit of choosing your side is never lost when it left a crater in the Avengers status. The villain does feel pointless in comparison when the heroes themselves are the best villains. We’ve gotten to know them for a long time and know where they’re coming from when debating the Sokovia Accords amongst each other in words or punches. This is the climate change people were expecting in Age of Ultron. It just took two more movies to get there.
#4 Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2
Oh Guardians of the Galaxy. Once you were the paramecium on the Marvel map. Now everyone is mimicking your style and tone to a tee. So how do we solve this oversaturation dilemma? Add more fuel to the fire of course! Nothing can beat the inspiration.
More or less the same but in greater quantity, this sequel upped the fun with twice the absurdity, twice the space battles and twice the character evolutions. Those who say the original is better state that this lost the element of surprise. To that I ask Does anyone even remember Ronan? The first was a curveball, but not perfect in pacing or it’s main antagonist, which was a big criticism for a long time until very recently. Now with Quill’s father troubles, the bond between friends, family and frenemies goes through more jumps than Rocket and Yandu can stomach. Despite separating on their own paths, their interconnecting destination aids the pacing when it needs to take a break from rapid-firing jokes so the dramatic moments don’t feel out of place. And in the end, there’s nothing but fireworks to celebrate the little improvements that go a long way. You’ll live on in all of us Mary Poppins.
#3 Black Panther
Over the course of each phase, Marvel’s bread and butter has been humor to lighten any tense situation. But as we draw closer to the main event, that reassuring laugh seems to be fading away. Then again it’s equally hard to keep a consistent tone as it is for a good man to be a king.
Coming off of his clever cameo during the painful Avengers divorce, Bryan Coogler brought back diversity into the cinematic universe after Wesley Snipe’s Blade faded from memory. In its place sits Wakanda with a rich economy, green landscapes, varied animals and cultural traditions blending the best of fiction and non-fiction so you never ask where are the jokes? Civil War may have blood on its hands, but there was still room for one-liners. They’re an endangered species in these parts. The villains were also receiving more development at this point and Killonger is the epidemy of a layered antagonist. Not siding with him is gut-wrenching when he brings up the close to home real world problems, but doing the opposite doesn’t feel like a proper solution. It sucks being in the middle.
#2 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Black Panther might be the most serious of all the contenders, but it’s hardly the first to risk the lighter tone for something darker. Gone was Joe Johnston when the past became the future and in his place came the Russo Brothers, Anthony and Joe. And the rest is history.
A sequel that nobody expected much from, Captain America: The Winter Soldier reinvented the game in one fell swoop compared to the Iron Man sequels. The twist aren’t hard to guess in this post-world war two era (Gee I wonder if he’s really dead?), but the war on the inside plot is pumped with enough steroids that set off goosebumps at the snap of the fingers. Hydra doesn’t fool around. The editing is quick with the soundtrack to keep the tension high when bullets fly, cars crash and the Winter Soldier’s metal arm leaves bruises. On the other side, Steve’s fish out of water story equally shares tense incognito chases with somber moments like his reunion with an aged Peggy Carter. Sandwich these two together and you’ve got the next action classic that’ll still shine 20 years from now. Terminator 2 is looking incredibly jealous.
#1 The Avengers
If you didn’t already see this coming, the congratulations for living under a rock for the past ten years. Or at the DCEU (shots fired). What more is there to say about this since that fateful midnight screening six years ago? It’s simple plot surrounded by all the egos trying to one up another worked twice and led to so many memorable moments, even as brief as watching Galaga. The helicarrier losing it’s engines, Iron Man’s cat and mouse game with one of the aliens, Hulk’s puny god “talk” with Loki and that now iconic 360 degree shot of the team assembling to take down the Chitauri. None of this was new to television, but for movies it set a new standard. So much so that every franchise from Ghostbusters to the Universal Studios’ monsters are still trying to crack this risky pot-of-gold trick. You already have the minions Universal? Aren’t those monsters enough?
This is TheCinematicBandicoot thanking you for your patience in waiting for part 2 and before heading out to Infinity War, I ask those who comment on this to keep the discussions to the past 18 movies, and not the recent release. There’s already too many trolls out there looking to ruin everyone’s fun on social media when an event like this comes once in a lifetime. You wouldn’t like me or anyone else when we’re angry.