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Ranking the MCU
Posted 20 July 2018 - 08:07 AM
Posted 19 September 2018 - 02:39 PM
My updated ranking.
1. Captain America: The First Avenger
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
3. Black Panther
4. Captain America: Civil War
5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
6. Avengers: Infinity War
7. The Avengers
8. Guardians of the Galaxy
9. Thor: Ragnarok
11. Iron Man
12. Avengers: Age of Ultron
13. Doctor Strange
14. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
15. Iron Man 3
17. Iron Man 2
18. Thor: The Dark World
19. The Incredible Hulk
Posted 17 October 2018 - 04:47 PM
Saw six more of these and re-watched a handful of them, so, as has been long overdue for quite a while, well, time to ♫ ADJUUUUST THE RANKINGS ♫
19. The Incredible Hulk
This'n's the worst! Don't believe the contrarians. I'm not so sure where the fault lies here but I think it's with one among the following :
a) Ed Norton re-wrote the script to fit with his particular obsession w/playing roles defined by the idea of a divided self and just botched the job.
b) It was real early days for the script formulae of Typical Marvel Movie (I don't think there's even a tease for Hulk returning in the Avengers like there is for Thor, Cap, and Iron Man - just an RDJ cameo and that's it, maybe they hadn't quite thought that far ahead yet) and they hadn't quite worked all the kinks out.
c) Needed more money/time/what-have-you to make Hulk and Abomination put in a passable appearance - they both look horrible, nearly video game cutscene level bad.
d) Steve Tyler's Daughter hadn't quite come into her own as an actress yet (she's great nowadays) and these films live and die by the romantic lead.
e) They inexplicably refused to have Tim Roth in full monkey make-up stick his fingers in an extra's mouth and crane open their throat and then bellow out "Is there a SOUL in there!?" like he did in that bad Planet of the Apes re-boot.
18 & 17. Guardians of the Galaxy / More Guardians of the Galaxies
I see no difference in their level of quality. There's a grand total of one (1) cool looking spaceship between them - that's the little mining rig with the portable puzzle piece exterior gizmos. The presence of John Travolta, Michelle Yeoh, and Ving Rhames as the OG Guardians doesn't feel like a welcome tease for the future but somewhere between a threat directed at the main cast and an over-eager executive planning for a spin-off, I'm not sure where exactly it lies, in any case, these movies vastly overestimate how much I'll care about Space Pirate Politics. By the by, putting down my marker here, after re-watching the first one after seeing the sequel, pretty sure the mom's not actually dead. She's coming back for the threequel, same as John Wick's wife for JWIII. Count on it! (P.S. If I am wrong about either of these please do not penalize me in the official standings.)
16. Dr. Strange
I'm not quite sure if I'm right or wrong about this but I kinda figure if I had gone to college about, say, three years earlier than I actually did (in other words, if I had graduated on time and then hadn't gone overseas to study the ancient holy texts of my people) then me and Rachel MacAdams' time at York University would have overlapped. See, I'm just like Stephen Strange, my time studying under the Ancient One also kept us apart too! Stan Lee sure was right, eh, the Marvel Universe really IS the world outside My window!!!!
There's a video essay out there floating around on Vimeo pointing out how Peyton Reed makes these raw and viscerally uncomfortable romantic comedies in the tradition of Mike Nichols and Elaine May (which he does, yeah, that movie he made where Vince Vaughn yells at Rachel from Friends off and on for an hour and a half wasn't an enjoyable watch at all, it has one single decent joke re: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel but everything else is just nails-on-a-chalkboard level excruciatingly uncomfortable; somebody got fooled early on that Vince Vaughn has a place in dramatic or even semi-dramatic roles, he doesn't, you idiots, he's a comic actor, he's not good in serious roles, don't take him seriously just because he's tall) and that's what this felt like to me : just a really tough watch about the difficulties of avoiding recidivism, the trauma of broken families, the way our mentors and inspirations inevitably let us down, just painful. The jokes and the heists never distracted me from the emotional core of the film, except for the training montage and Paul Rudd's early exploration of his Ant-powers, those were the only two bright spots of Reed's work (well, unless I'm wrong about who did what and Peña's narration gimmick was his contribution and not a hold-out from Wright --- which could, of course, easily be the case).
14. Avengers III
Replicates just how confusing mainstream corporate-owned interconnected superhero comics can feel. I don't know, I really don't. Every big blockbuster make'em'up nowadays seems to have a part of them, a little piece of business here or there, that feels like a complete lie. A lie told by a kid in grade school, a kid who usually goes on about how his uncle works for Nintendo or he owns a complete set of Goosebumps books, I don't know, for kids today just update this to Minecraft and Forkknife, or what-have-you, anyway, the big movies always have a bit in them that feels like a kid lying about having seen the movie early and he's describing the movie to you now. When the little raptor ran around on the T.Rex's back in one of the new Jurassic Park films, yeah, that felt like a lie. When Wonder Woman's mom and the rest of her family were playing keep-away with the motherbox by, like, throwing it to each other and tying it to a rope and shooting an arrow attached to that rope, yes, that too felt like a lie. Later on in the film when the Justice League resurrected Superman by dropping that motherbox into a pool and touching it at the same time with electricity powers or whatever it was, yeah, lie. In this film that moment came when Thor whirled around an escape pod with Rocket Raccoon in it to restart a space foundry. I don't know, screenwriters, your first thought isn't always your best thought. The lies came thick and fast in this one, I don't believe they spent all those millions of dollars making a team of CGI bad guys for the CGI good guys to fight but couldn't be bothered to develop the CGI bad guys into something distinctive. I don't believe Spider-Man killed a guy, I saw that happen and sure the guy was bad (the only new bad guy they bothered to define!!) but still, killing him seems wrong. I didn't believe so much of what I saw on screen with this, I don't remember any of it now, maybe I'll revisit this before the sequel, probably not.
13. Thor Ragnarok
Look, I like Gene Hackman and The Beatles a whole lot but that didn't make me like The Royal Tenenbaums too much and I like Jeff Goldblum and Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin a whole lot too but that didn't make me like this movie. There's one nice piece of business in it, when Korgg throws a little piece of space garbage at Huddleston's projection and snaps out "Piss off, ghost", but everything else in that particular vein didn't work at all for me, did the opposite of working, really, the movie's very consistent tone unworked the clear and direct appeal the Thor character and the Thorvelt, the Thoriverse, the Thorosophistry, look, I read all one hundred and nineteen issues of Gerry Conway's Celestial Saga, I like Thor, I like Thor comics, I like the Thor movies, you don't have to work too hard to get me to like a Thor movie. I'm not like the rest of them. I understand that not everything can be for me, sure. And I'm okay with that. But jettisoning the minor characters from the two previous films, the romantic lead (and back-up romantic lead, for good measure) from the previous two films, outright killing three minor-to-major characters, I don't know, I understand that it's commercially viable, I understand that they know they have my Thordollars so why not reach out for the rest of the Nine Worlds', okay, go with god(s). I liked the little bartender robot. I liked how Hulk gets his own crowd of people dressed like him, but with Tony & Steve those got to be hot girls in impeccably coiffed uniforms doing elaborately choreographed dance routines whereas for poor ol' Hulk it's a crowd of aliens dressed up in makeshift papier-mâché sportsfan accoutrements, I liked Tessa Thompson. Just about everything else in it designed to be likable fell flat with me, except for the ending, which I rather liked as well.
11. Iron Man II
10. Iron Man
9. Die Formica-Menschen und the Wiessen Anglo-Saxon Protestantische Maidel
A substantial improvement over the first one! I should probably give it another watch to pin down specifically why that is, I don't know, I nearly always enjoy sequels more than the originals (like, for example, the new Planet-of-the-Apes flicks, the two sequels are lightyears better than the one that started off the new series; the conventional wisdom about sequels being worse is kind of reversed for me, one supposes). I don't much like how they've muddled the execution of Peña's narration gimmick by also including a sequence where an actor in-textually imitates another actor (Paul Rudd doing Michelle Pfeiffer) in addition to having the actors extra-textually imitate others (the aforesaid narration thingie). When they do the next Avengers movie after the upcoming one, once they've cleared the deck by killing off a bunch of 'em for real, they should for sure stick Evangeline Lily in there too along w/Tessa Thompson, Captain Marvel, whomever else is contractually obligated to show up, you know.
8. Iron Man II
Some combination of the introduction of a bunch of materials in this I really like (the red-and-silver costume, Jackson's Fury, Johannsen's Widow) back when that stuff appearing on the big screen still had a novelty combined with the sparseness of the script thanks to the Writer's Strike really creates a space where everything works out good for me.
7, 6. Avengers II and Avengers I
5. Cap II
4. Thor II
2. Black Panther
I suspect this may drop a lot if I ever see it again but here and now, for this moment, yeah, it's the real deal. I don't even mind the bad car chase, the sketchy politics (it's just an unending series of to-the-manner-borne aristocrats squabbling over their own personal approaches to the correct utilization of power), the fact that it's basically just a James Bond film with a less lascivious and somewhat dorkier protagonist, y'know, this lived up to the hype. Should have had T'Challa kill a few Nazis if they wanted me to put it at #1, though I suppose the Andy Serkis character does come a mite close.
1. It's Still Captain America, That's Unlikely To Change; If I Were Programming A Super-Hero Film Series For A Film Festival Or Recommending A Real List This Is The Only MCU One To Make The Grade, Well, So Far, Who Knows, Maybe Captain Marvel Will Surprise Me