With the release of Thor: Ragnarok the Marvel Cinematic Universe has completed the God of Thunder’s trilogy of movies and the third trilogy after Iron Man and Captain America. But which of these triplets are the best of the bunch?
Today redmangoreviews will have the MCU’s trilogies battling it out for cinematic supremacy. Three will enter. Well, all three will come out, but in descending order. With a SPOILER ALERT for everything other than Thor: Ragnarok let us get to the ranking:
#3 Bringing the Thunder: Thor, Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok
Oh Thor. I was hoping that Ragnarok would finally be the outing worthy of an Asgardian God. And while a decent film it failed to deliver the epic adventure it promised. New characters like Valkyrie and the Grandmaster were great, the addition of Hulk was fun, and Cate Blanchett delivered a powerful baddie in Hela. But the movie took a page from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and went humour heavy which did not mesh well with the story’s darker elements. Nothing is wrong with the laughs but there was just a bit too much of it, and that diminished the impact of the more dramatic scenes. And while Thor himself had some great moments the character was too comic, especially for someone facing the destruction of his world.
In terms of quality Ragnarok is smack dab in the middle of the Thor trilogy. The original was a fun, witty, adventure romp and Tom Hiddelston’s devious Loki completely stole the show. Director Kenneth Branagh approached the battle of brothers and their distant father Odin as a Shakespearean conflict and it worked quite well for the story. And then we had Thor: The Dark World which was style over substance and a poor effort. Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster spent the movie looking confused and Christopher Eccleston’s Dark Elf Malekith was the most dry, forgettable villain in all of the MCU. By Odin’s beard he was boring!
Ranking: Thor 3.5 stars, Dark World 2 stars, Ragnarok 3 stars, Trilogy Total 8.5/15
#2 Real Steel: Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3
When you are going to launch a cinematic universe you have to come strong right out of the gates, and the MCU could not have had a better start than 2008’s Iron Man. We had Robert Downey Jr. as the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist and it was a role he was born to play. It not only cemented a return to form for the actor but lifted the Iron Man character from second tier to super stardom. He was ably supported by Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Jeff Bridges as the scheming Obadiah Stane. The movie was witty, the action and effects were fantastic and the story arc was strong as vibranium. It is not only the best of the Iron Man trilogy but one of the best films in all of the MCU.
And then we had the sequels. Iron Man 2 was just a filler movie for The Avengers. Tony gets drunk, parties, goes to a race and sits on a giant donut. We meet Black Widow and War Machine but they barely do anything. Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash is a ridiculous, annoying, generic waste of a villain. With this sequel we went from one of the best of the MCU to the one of the worst of the MCU. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Iron Man 3 was a lot better but still not perfect. The action was cool, Aldrich Killian was an okay villain and I actually enjoyed the Mandarin twist. An entertaining, if flawed outing.
Ranking: Original is 5 stars, part 2 gets 1.5 stars and part 3 gets 2.5, Trilogy Total 9/15
#1 Born in the USA – Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War
For the MCU it’s the Captain who makes it happen. While the Iron Man trilogy burst out the gates and then stumbled, Cap started slow and then finished with a flourish. The First Avenger was an okay time. Chris Evans was solid in the role, Hugo Weaving chewed up all the scenery available as Red Skull and Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter was so cool they gave her a TV series. And then they cancelled it. Please bring back Agent Carter. Anywho the World War II setting was a cool change and there was some sweet action but overall it is a moderate, somewhat cheesy affair.
And then we had Winter Soldier and it blew everyone out of their seats and then blew them off the ground for good measure. We were not prepared for this 12 flavours of awesome sauce! The sequel flipped the script from superhero war romp to a superhero spy flick and it was brilliant. A fantastic story with multiple twists, mind-blowing action and an indomitable villain in Sebastian Stan’s titular baddie. We also had Black Widow and newcomer Falcon getting good play and being terrific. One of the best if not the best MCU movie ever!
The final entry, Civil War, was pretty great but was more Avengers 2.5 than a true Captain America movie. Still the story was interesting, the balancing of all the characters was done well, Black Panther was introduced and he was soooooo good, the final battle is poignant and the airport scene resulted in multiple nerdgasms. Sorry Thor and Tony but Captain Steve Rogers takes the crown for the best MCU trilogy.
Ranking: The First Avenger gets 2.5 stars, Winter Soldier 5, Civil War 4, Total 11.5/15
For my ranking of the Top 13 MCU villains you can click here.