Broker Check


June 05, 2023

Pre-pandemic, one of my favorite activities was always pub trivia. Every week, a few friends and I would go to a bar for trivia competitions. (Fewer bars do it now and our preferred location closed, so somebody find me the best place to start this up again.) We were always very competitive and one more than we lost, but we collectively had two blind spots: comic books and comic book movies. It took a worldwide pandemic to get me to immerse myself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but once I did and watched them all (basically), the top of that list for me is Avengers: Infinity War (2018, dir. Anthony and Joe Russo).

Infinity War opens moments after the end of Thor: Ragnarok and brings us up to date with Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) plan to wipe out half of all life on Earth. He needs to gather all six infinity stones in order to do this. Most of what follows is his attempt to get them all (he gets the second stone in the first scene) and the Avengers’ efforts to stop him.

The characters are well established as Infinity War is the penultimate film in the MCU first section of films. All the content that got us to this point took years to release and takes hours to view, but sticking the landing is paramount for any series of films. This crushes that moment. You have the trademark MCU humor mostly courtesy of Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). You have the beginnings of crossover from the various universes – Thor gets picked up by the Guardians of the Galaxy, Hulk crash lands in the lap of Dr. Strange, and Vision ends up in Wakanda for some technical wizardry. These have become essential elements lest all these movie franchises within a movie franchise serve their own needs over the central through line.

In building up those links, this film becomes all about the climax. The final fight is second to none in the MCU (with a possible argument for the final fight in Endgame), and the ending moments are so well done and such a shock to your expectations that it truly is hard to describe how that hits not knowing anything about what is to come. (If this tops your list, too, then you also prefer a darker tinge to your action-adventure films.) Of course, watching them now, you probably have some idea what might happen afterwards, but that did not cheapen my viewing of it (I saw it after I saw Endgame and it is still my number one). To that end, it may be unfair to call it my top-rated MCU film as it is basically saying the MCU is amazing and as it ties up the primary long story, it does so extremely well. Taken as a standalone film, it probably cannot be considered the best. Taken as a near final chapter is one of the greatest film series achievements of all time, it certainly qualifies.

FUN FACT – As an obsessive list maker myself, I applaud the person who created a list of non-MCU films that feature MCU actors on IMDB. The film with the most is The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. It features seven MCU actors including Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Martin Freeman, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Hugo Weaving, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Since I know you want to know the entire list of MCU films, here it is with the overall rank in parentheses and a few comments on some. Remember that my rankings tend to prioritize acting over anything else, so action movies consequently fall behind.

  1. Avengers: Infinity War (170)
  2. Captain America: Civil War (237) When the MCU really starts to get a little dark. Plus, it’s the introduction of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, which is awesome.
  3. Avengers: Endgame (245) A little lower than Infinity War because the first hour really takes a while to get going, but it’s hard to imagine a more satisfying ending.
  4. Spider-Man: No Way Home (263) Spider-Man is a STRONG trilogy, but this is the best one for me due to the multi-verse twist.
  5. The Avengers (265)
  6. Black Panther (306)
  7. Iron Man (351)
  8. Thor: Ragnarok (374) Easily the funniest MCU film. In rewatches, it suffers a bit in the middle before it picks up at the end. Also my favorite non-Thanos villain.
  9. Spiderman: Homecoming (381)
  10. Spiderman: Far from Home (391)
  11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (413)
  12. Ant-Man (453) Paul Rudd is a treasure. This and the sequel both feel much lighter than the others, so I knock them down a peg based on that, but they are a ton of fun.
  13. Guardians of the Galaxy (456)
  14. Captain Marvel (525)
  15. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (529)
  16. Doctor Strange (540)
  17. Captain America: The First Avenger (546)
  18. Ant-Man and the Wasp (549)
  19. Black Widow (580)
  20. Avengers: Age of Ultron (584)
  21. Thor (604) Quality really drops off here. I just don’t care about Thor outside of the Avengers movies very much. His world bores me for some reason.
  22. Iron Man 3 (667)
  23. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (698)
  24. Thor: Love and Thunder (732)
  25. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (782)
  26. Iron Man 2 (925)
  27. Thor: The Dark World (940)

Still meaning to see many of the recent ones. I expect the two I am choosing to skip (The Incredible Hulk and Eternals) would likely fall at the bottom of the list from what I have heard. But I will give the others I have yet to see a viewing eventually.

Just Watch says that Infinity War (like all the MCU films now that Sony has settled its silly rights issue regarding Spiderman content) is currently streaming on Disney+. It is also available to rent or buy on most platforms, including AppleTV, Redbox, and Amazon Prime.

As a reminder, here is the original post that details the scores and weighting system.