Marvel’s unprecedented experiment, the 22-film arc is finally coming to a close with Avengers: Endgame. We thought it’d be fun to take a look at every Marvel movie for Phase 3 and rank them from worst to best. Let’s be honest though, when it comes to Marvel, the word “worst” just means, “not as good“. Let’s jump in.
This post was originally published ahead of Avengers: Infinity War on March 21, 2018. It was updated April 25, 2019.
8. Dr. Strange
We’re not saying Dr. Strange was boring, but it was the weakest movie coming out of Marvel Studios’ Phase 3. It was a bold move to jump into the “mystical” world that Dr. Strange is centered around, but so was the cosmic jump they took with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1. We’re given a psychedelic intro to the mystic arts and the visuals are outstanding.
Although Dr. Strange was an okay film, it is a victim of the underdeveloped villain syndrome. However, the story was clever and necessary in the grand scheme of things, as Dr. Strange served as an intro for the Time Stone. As you know, the Time Stone is one of the Infinity Stones which this entire decade-long journey are built around.
One thing I was not fond of was the pacing of the movie. I understand that there is a lot of ground to cover and the timeline is confusing, but it wasn’t done gracefully. Steven Strange’s journey from a self-centered doctor to Master of the Mystic Arts happens too fast. Not enough time was given for the audience to become emotionally invested in Strange. The writers chalk it up to the fact Steven Strange is a scholar and fast learner, but it’s not a very satisfying explanation.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
This is definitely an unpopular opinion with other Marvel fans. Just like the first movie, GotG V2 is fun and quirky. The characters are lovable as ever and fans will pretty much watch anything they do. However, in the larger picture of Phase 3, not much is added to Marvel’s overarching narrative. Yes, each movie in the MCU should stand on its own, but it’s safe to say that a huge portion of fans are there for answers.
I enjoyed the amount of characters added into the mix, and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Ego. Peter Quill also got some enhanced abilities, although confusing, so he’s not just a useless team member. Another great soundtrack and intriguing end-credit scene are brought to the table once again. GotG Vol.2 is fun, but not great.
6. Captain Marvel
Marvel’s first female hero to get a standalone film, Captain Marvel, is truly a badass. The film brings nostalgia and easter eggs galore throughout. However, as a standalone, this movie wouldn’t have been very good. It’s vibrant, loud and funny, but it was lacking substance.
Although it didn’t have an incredibly intriguing story, it served as more of a prequel. Captain Marvel can be seen as a prequel to the first Avengers film, as it takes place in familiar locations and features familiar faces. All in all, it was fun and added a lot to the tapestry the MCU has created, filling in some holes in the narrative.
5. Thor: Ragnarok
It’s not a surprise the Thor movies were the least interesting for fans. What was surprising was how good Thor: Ragnarok turned out to be! Taika Waititi did an outstanding job making the hammer-wielding hero more relatable. With humor and a little help from Hulk, this movie knocked it out of the park.
Watching Ragnarok is almost like watching Guardians of the Galaxy starring Thor. The premise of the movie was promising, but it took half the movie for both narratives meet. We had Thor trapped on Sakaar with Hulk with no way out and then we had Hela, Thor’s sister, causing havoc on Asgard.
Hela was a great villain that could be near the top of the MCU’s most powerful list. Everything in the film was great except for her motives. All we see her do is kill a bunch of people on Asgard and really nothing else. I mean, it’s cool, but I can’t help but think she was used as a means for Thor and Loki to team up. The movie ended on a great note but the climax was a bit underwhelming.
We initially thought Hela will be Thanos’ love interest in Infinity War, but we were wrong. However, for all we know, she may show up in Endgame, as her fate was never clear at the end of Ragnarok. As most fans know, comic Thanos is known to be in love with Death itself, and she is the Goddess of Death. She would make a great stand-in for Death, and we won’t have to deal with the corniness of Thanos being in love with the concept of death.
4. Spider-Man: Homecoming
I mean, it’s a no-brainer that ANY Spider-Man movie will be near the top of everyone’s list. We were very pleased to not have to watch Uncle Ben murdered on screen another time. Instead, we got a wholesome teen rom-com starring a very lovable Tom Holland as Peter Parker!
It was a great story to have the movie centered around Peter Parker’s eagerness to join the Avengers instead of being fueled by Uncle Ben’s death. Michael Keaton played a great Vulture and the Iron-Man cameo helped bring the excitement. Everyone loves to see crossovers!
The movie ended on a great note with Stark offering a position for Peter to join the Avengers and even showed off the Iron-Spider suit. Homecoming was funny, suspenseful and was everything a Spider-Man movie should be.
3. Black Panther
Black Panther was incredible, although we don’t share everyone’s level of love for the film. The story was outstanding and I love Black Panther as a superhero in general. The turnoff for me was Michael B. Jordan’s very over-the-top performance. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why he’s doing what he’s doing, but I feel that his actions didn’t match the motives.
It seemed like a weak explanation for the level of evil he was prepared to do to the world. If his plan was a bit on the smaller scale I’d believe it. World domination and government leader assassinations just don’t seem like the logical response to losing his father. Especially when this is set in the MCU and you know someone would have stopped him if it wasn’t Black Panther.
You can boo me all you want but it’s true!
That aside, the movie was a massive success in every way, but mostly culturally. It’s genuinely pleasing that African-American children have a superhero to look up to. And if we’re being honest, Black Panther is the coolest Avenger, right?
2. Captain America: Civil War
If Captain America: Civil War is not near the top of your list when it comes to Marvel movies, then you’re wrong and you should feel bad about it. Civil War was able to bring the same magic that the original Avengers movie had.
Civil War seems like one of those “What If” scenarios where you would fantasize about who would win if you pit two heroes against each other. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m Team Cap, and if you’re Team Iron Man, you should rethink your life choices. No, that’s not bias, it’s FACT.
The events of Civil War were necessary to further the narrative of a world where an increasing amount of super-powered people are appearing. Although the MCU is comprised of a bunch of superheroes, we have to remember their universe is still somewhat realistic. So it’s easy to see why Civil War was bound to happen sooner or later, as our heroes can’t run rampant without supervision.
It makes sense that at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron we see both Thor and Hulk leave the team to embark on their own journeys because honestly if either of them had been present during the events of Civil War, the outcome would have been VERY different. This was incredibly smart of the writers to set up so far in advance.
The most important thing that happened in Civil War was the introduction of Black Panther. He really stole the show in my opinion, more so than Spider-Man. Civil War is very close to being a masterpiece of comic book movies, joining the likes of 2012’s Avengers. The bad part? This schism happens right before Avengers: Infinity War, separating our heroes in a time the world needed them most.
1. Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers: Infinity War was a spectacle from start to finish. We’ve spent ten years dying to catch a glimpse of Thanos and we finally got it. Thanos proved to be very different from what we expected, with the movie painting him in a sympathetic manner. We feel for Thanos, relate to him and sort of root for him. Infinity War was essentially Thanos’ own movie.
His ambitions are extreme, but they needed to be because he had the whole universe in mind. The Russo Bros. gave us a taste of just how powerful Thanos is within the first five minutes of the film. We see the Mad Titan manhandle Hulk with little effort and frightening speed. The scary part is he did that without the help of any Infinity Stone.
Infinity War made audiences grasp what was at stake here. They needed to pull out everything in their arsenal to step up to Thanos. He’s relentless and shows no ounce of fear. We all know how it ends. But what was Dr. Strange’s plan?
The film left audiences awestruck. The ending is a gut-punch we saw coming, but didn’t want to accept. Infinity War masterfully gave us one of the biggest cliffhangers in cinematic history. Now, a year later we will finally see the aftermath of the Decimation Thanos left in his wake.
That’s our list and we’re sticking to it. Do you agree? If not, let us know what order you would rank Marvel’s Phase 3 movies!