For about a decade now, I’ve updated my Marvel Cinematic Universe power rankings with each new movie and TV series release. I’ve also preposterously avoided putting those rankings in one consistent place, so as the list hits 50 entries, it’s time to rectify that!
Below you’ll find my favorite MCU movies and TV ranked in order from best to worst. Before you begin picking nits, yes, I’ve included Marvel TV shows published during the MCU that aren’t considered MCU canon, and no, I won’t change that.
Tier 1: The Best
My absolute favorites, the true cream of the crop, the only selections on here that I’d stack against other personal favorites in their respective mediums. Added weight here given to the decade-long buildup and payoff of “Infinity War” and “Endgame,” and several hundred bonus points awarded for David Tennant. I also break up the seasons of Netflix Jessica Jones because there’s a chasm between the quality of season one and season two!
1) Avengers: Infinity War
2) Avengers: Endgame
3) Jessica Jones (Season 1)
4) Thor: Ragnarok
Tier 2: Great
The second tier is the place to note that I place weighted value on the importance of a movie as it pertains to the big picture of the MCU. For example, because of their earlier release dates, both Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers had enormous impact on what the MCU could and would become (see also: Iron Man in the following tier).
5) Guardians of the Galaxy
6) Captain America 3: Civil War
7) Black Panther
8) Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
9) Spider-Man: No Way Home
11) Daredevil (Seasons 1,2,3)
12) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Tier 3: Good
I like all these, but I don’t love them. Shouts to “The First Avenger” for steadily climbing my rankings more than any other entry, as one of the rare MCU films that appreciates with age.
14) Captain America: The First Avenger
15) Spider-Man: Far From Home
16) Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
17) Iron Man
18) Spider-Man: Homecoming
19) Shang Chi
20) Werewolf by Night
21) Loki (Season One)
22) Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
Tier 4: Perfectly Average
I had a good time with all of these, but I know rewatching them would definitely not do them any favors. Iron Man 3 is the clearest example here because I really loved the movie the first time I saw it in theaters, but when I watched years later, found it far more underwhelming. The lesson of course is never rewatch anything!
23) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
24) Iron Man 3
26) Ms. Marvel
27) Black Widow
28) Ant-Man & The Wasp
29) Thor: Love and Thunder
31) Captain Marvel
32) Avengers 2: Age of Ultron
Tier 5: Mixed Feelings
Selections here means there are elements I like, but there’s also a lot I didn’t enjoy. A bunch of interesting messes, although less so than the prior the tier. No, you’re not mistaken, I do indeed think “The Dark World” belongs among this group, as I still quite enjoy the Loki portions of the film!
34) Moon Knight
35) Doctor Strange
37) Falcon and the Winter Soldier
38) Luke Cage (Seasons 1 & 2)
39) Agent Carter (Seasons 1 & 2)
41) The Punisher (S1, S2)
42) Thor 2: The Dark World
43) Cloak & Dagger
Tier 6: I’ll Only Watch With a Comic In Hand
If I am somehow compelled to watch one of these again, I will only do so if I can simultaneously read some comics and look up when something interesting appears to be happening. Also a friendly reminder that comics? Comics are the best.
44) What If?
45) Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
48) Agents of SHIELD
49) Iron Fist Season Two
50) Incredible Hulk
Tier 7: Nope
There is no conceivable situation in which I could be compelled to rewatch one of these, save torture, sudden residence in Lucifer’s domain, or my wife asking weirdly adamantly.
51) Iron Man 2
52) Jessica Jones (Season Two)
53) You’re halfway home and realize your forgot an ingredient from the grocery store
54) Iron Fist Season 1
55) Car parked under tooty birds
The “There is No Mandarin Award” Award Show
The other recurring update I’ve made throughout MCU reviews is the “There is no Mandarin Award” for villain most thoroughly wasted in service of the plot. Generally it means a Marvel Universe villain that the MCU uses in name only, but has no real plans for. It’s a consistently competitive list since the MCU also has a habit of killing off all its best villains.
This one’s been updated since 2013, and Iron Man 3, and I’m excited to codify these results in one home destination!
2013: The (Not) Mandarin
2014: Ronan the Accuser
2015: Baron Von Strucker
2018: The Black Order
2019: Ronan the Accuser
2022: Gorr the God Butcher