For the first time since 2008. The world will not be entertained by any new MCU content. Sadly, but in the meantime, let us run through the entire MCU run, from start to finish!
Well, here we are. 23 movies down, in the most impressive franchise runs in cinema history. So why not take a stroll down memory lane? Starting at the beginning. Just a few thoughts about each flick, followed by a review (out of 5 stars!)
Iron Man. Director: Jon Favreau. Box Office 585.2 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Release Date: May 2nd, 2008
The movie that started it all! Can you believe they originally wanted Tom Cruise to play the playboy billionaire? How crazy would have that been? Is the MCU as successful as it is today? I can’t really see Cruise playing Iron Man nearly as well as Downey Jr. in fact I think the execs over at Disney and Marvel probably get down on their hands and knees every day and thank god he got this role. Well, it was Favreau who convinced them that he would be perfect after he saw RDJ in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Actually directed by Shane Black, more on that later. Plain and simple, this is the most important movie of the century. It literally changed how we as an audience watch movies. It was a herculean task, the idea of the MCU, but with proper guidance and the perfect casting, everything worked out. It even started the “stinger” craze, the little snip-it at the end of the credits. Iron Man has aged beautifully and is among of one the best MCU movies in the entire run.
I’m sorry but I don’t see Tony Stark being a Burger King kind of guy. That never sat well with me.
The Incredible Hulk. Director: Louis Leterrier .Box-Office: 264.8 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Release Date: June 8th, 2008.
Kind of the black sheep of the MCU family? The long and forgotten solo Hulk film. The only solo Hulk film to date in the MCU, and don’t plan anymore in the future because of some copyright issues. I’m going to say it, this is vastly underrated and under-appreciated. There’s a lot of good in the first half of this film. Norton is ripe for the role, and Tim Roth as Blonsky/Abomination is fantastic. Just creative differences really faltered this into the ground. The Hulk still remains a staple in the MCU and it will be interesting to see where they take his character next. Feels like Ruffalo is getting checked out of his role.
How does he manage to stretch his pants? Maybe he’s been in touch with a certain individual who is a little fantastic……..
Iron Man 2. Director: Jon Favreau. Box Office: 623.9 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 73% Release Date: May 7th, 2010
When you’re following up the most important movie this century, well those are pretty big shoes to fill! Iron Man 2 suffers from what I call, lack of preparation. They had no idea what to expect from Iron Man, and when it became a worldwide phenomenon they start prep on its sequel rather quickly. I think this movie suffers from a lackluster plot and a rush script. But even in the weakest of times, the MCU remains top-notch. It’s like pizza, even when pizza is bad, it’s still pizza. They really start to world build here, with the tease of Caps shield and the great stinger of Thor’s hammer at the very end. It just felt so rushed and wasted the great Mickey Rourke and the finale of this movie is mere seconds long. If you blink it’s over. Honestly, it might have the least amount of action out of any MCU movie to date.
Justin Hammer played by the legend Sam Rockwell, is the bright spot here, and I truly hope that bird was taken care of. All Ivan wanted was a friend and his pet bird.
Thor. Director: Kenneth Branagh. Box Office: 449.3 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Release Date: May 6th, 2011
I NEED A HORSE! One of the best lines delivered in the entire MCU. A Shakespearean tale, directed so beautifully by Branagh, who really encapsulates the essence of Asgard, their power, size, and mortality, but also can show the humble and more dignified part of their existence. Chris Hemsworth much like every original member of the Avengers was so perfectly cast, right alongside his brother, the God of Mischief Loki. Both play off one another so well, Hiddleston stealing the show, without him and his portrayal of Loki, I’m not sure what happens with the MCU. Thor’s “clueless” side is the driving force in the second half and that’s really where Hemsworth shines. This movie truly is like a fine Asgardian wine, it keeps getting better with age.
Do you think they had pancakes on Asgard?
Captain America: The First Avenger. Director: Joe Johnson. Box Office: 370.6 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Release Date: July 22nd, 2011
The first outing for the unanimous MVP of the MCU! It’s pretty obvious from the get-go that Chris Evans and his Captain America was going to be special. From his boyish charisma, and world-class heart, it was another role that the actor who landed it was born to play. I would say his growth is among the best of our heroes and each time we see him on screen, he’s almost a completely different Cap. His friendship with Bucky is special and he hates bullies, most importantly Nazi bullies with a Red Skull. It’s sad we never got another showdown between these two, but we now know it’s possible. By far the most violet MCU flick, and has the most shocking a violent death in the series, when a man is inhaled by an airplane propeller. You just didn’t see much more of that in the MCU.
The biggest question throughout all of the MCU and it is an important one. Is Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, a virgin?
The Avengers. Director: Joss Whedon. Box Office: 1.519 Billion. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Release Date: May 4th, 2012
How much is that group shot worth? A billion? Two billion? The true team-up movie the world had been waiting for. Planned for 6 long years after Nick Fury stood in Tony Starks living room telling him about The Avengers Initiative. This is the MCU at its finest, one of the best comic-book movies Disney and Marvel have ever produced. It gave us the ultimate tease with their best post-credit stinger ever with the all mighty Thanos. We wouldn’t see him in action for years to come, but it reminded us that Marvel had a plan and they were going to stick with it. The 3rd act is peak comic-book movie making and The Avengers is a very important movie for popular culture lore and what it meant to go to the movies.
I’ve always wondered what Pepper whispers into Tony’s ear in the beginning…..?
Iron Man 3. Director: Shane Black. Box Office: 1.215 Billion. Rotten Tomatoes: 79% Release Date: May 3rd, 2013
Hollywood is a circle man. If it wasn’t for Shane Black, maybe RDJ doesn’t even become Iron Man. Considering he wasn’t even the highest-paid actor in the original and now he was making whatever amount he asked for and got to handpick the director for the end of the trilogy, speaks volumes for how important he was to the MCU. This movie comes down to one thing for most fans. How do you feel about the Mandarin twist? For me, it just didn’t sit well, and the movie is just all over the place tonally. Shane Black adds some of his charm and comedy into the mix but overall this just again feels so inferior to Iron Man. But hey, where your movie grosses over a billion, who cares right?
You know how I know you’re still reading this? Because we’re connected….
Thor: The Dark World. Director: Alan Taylor. Box Office: 644.4 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 66%. Release Date: November 8th, 2013
Someone has to finish last in a race and unfortunately for Thor: The Dark World, they are that person. I wonder what this movie would have looked like if Patty Jenkins would have stayed on and directed? It just loses everything that made it special from the first and it’s due to the change of director. This just feels like one big shoe-horn to introduce another Infinity Stone into the MCU. Which is fine but at least makes the movie somewhat entertaining. It’s one of the lone duds of the MCU and when you make 23 movies, it’s hard to hit a home run each time. Weak villain, terrible pacing, and not enough Thor being an idiot.
Chris Evans probably made like 500K for his 30 second bit.
Captain America: The Winter Solider. Director: Anthony & Joe Russo. Box Office 714.3 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Release Date: April 4th, 2014
Again here comes the MVP! Phase 2 of the MCU wasn’t off to the start they were hoping for. With back to back so-so films and they needed a pick me up. Enter, The Winter Soldier. This movie feels like the MCU homage to the brilliant Heat. It’s a fantastic spy thriller that sets us the best friendship of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Buck and Caps relationship is such an important cog that moves this universe. We get introduced to another pair that would steer the MCU into a new director, the Russo brothers. Responsible for some of the best content they came in hot and delivered one of the best comic-book sequels ever. The most rewatchable MCU movie in my opinion.
When I’m out on runs, I always say “on your left” when running by someone.
Guardians of The Galaxy. Director: James Gunn. Box Office: 773.3 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Release Date: August 1st, 2014
The misfits are the MCU! You know you’re on a serious roll when you can have a successful movie that involves a talking tree and a maniac racoon. But Marvel knew what they were doing at this point and nothing would slow them down. Add in another perfect round of casting and a director that actually cared about the source material. The reason why GOTG works so damn well is the chemistry between all of these fascinating characters. They each are unique in their own way and all get a moment to shine at some point. Weaker villain but the Guardians carry this thing, along with its kick ass soundtrack. We also get to see Thanos in action a little bit, building on the suspend of his power.
I think this is my favourite Groot so far.
Avengers: Age of Ultron. Director: Joss Whedon. Box Office: 1.405 Billion. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Release Date: May 1st, 2015
The boys are back in town! The trailers for Ultron are some of the very best in the MCU cannon. I remember thinking, this movie is going to be dark and maybe someone might not make it out alive. Don’t get me wrong, Ultron is vastly under-appreciated and undervalued. It just didn’t coincide with the tone of the trailers. Ultron seemed like he was going to be a tough task to take and at least menacing. But neither of those things occurred and I think that’s where the movie lost itself. The addition of the Maximoff twins and Vision are great and this is just a ton of fun, but being the sequel within the movie realm, sequels tend to be much darker and this just isn’t that.
Please bring back Quicksilver
Ant-Man. Director: Peyton Reed. Box Office: 519.3 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Release Date: July 15th, 2015
When you can make Ant-Man cool and enjoyable, you know what you’re doing. Paul Rudd shines as Scott Lang, he even gets a little ripped! The most unique movie so far and it’s actually not a bad re-watch. A better than average villain with some of more funny/ impressive fight sequences. The film sets the stage for arguably the most important aspects of the MCU, the quantum realm. We all know how important that will ultimately become. So it’s kind of like one giant shoe-horn that happened to be squished between a few Ant-Man movies
Baskin Robins anyone?
Captain America: Civil War. Director: Anthony & Joe Russo. Box Office: 1.153 Billion. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Release Date: May 6th, 2016
The movie that altered the entire landscape of the MCU. It’s like a mini-Avengers movie. Instead of a big bad guy, it’s just all our favourite heroes kicking the living snot out of one another. Of course they took away the two strongest Avengers at this point, Hulk and Thor have nowhere to be seen, probably for the best. How the Russo Brothers incorporate and introduce two MASSIVE comic-book characters, Black Panther and Spider-Man into the mix and make it seem to effortless and seamless is so impressive. This is one of the most emotional movies in the MCU, especially between Cap and Tony and the final showdown just always hits you right in the gut.
You were either Team Cap or Team Iron Man, which one was it?
Doctor Strange. Director: Scott Derrickson. Box Office: 677.7 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Release Date: November 4th, 2016
The Master of the Mystic Arts! Another Superhero that would have not even sniffed a movie theatre a decade ago is now getting a sequel. Kind of the low-key most powerful Avenger that doesn’t really flex his guns all that much. The man can control time and he was the soul reason they even defeated Thanos in the first place. Now that’s power. But for this movie, it’s just overall well done. Great villains, Benedict is so damn good in this role. There aren’t any real flaws, but when you’re competing against all the other MCU movies, it’s hard to be at the top, considering this followed Civil War. You just know that whatever they have cooking up in the MCU lab for his next outing will be special.
You think Wong is a Beyonce fanatic by now?
Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2. Director: James Gunn. Box Office 863.6 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Release Date: May 5th, 2017
The idiots are back and you know that means trouble. I misjudged this movie the first I saw it. Looking back at my initial review, I was kind to GOTG 2. It’s grown on me so much over these last few years, because they characters have grown on me. Maybe it’s because how great the Guardians are in Infinity War and I realized how special this group of heroes really is. This movie really is driven by its tremendous heart and all the little emotions packed throughout it. So many relationships blossoming and crumbling and finding out what the true meaning of what a family is. Chris Pratt is so good in this and follows it up with such a phenomenal performance in Infinity War. The Guardians are expanding and their newest member is well……Thor!
Some how they gotta incorporate Mary Poppins into Vol 3.
Spider-Man Homecoming. Director. Jon Watts. Box Office: 879.7 Million. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Release Date: July 7th, 2017
The best part of the MCU Spider-Man is when he is part of a team. Civil War and Infinity War are among his best showings, because I think they are struggling with how to deal with his character in his own little universe. Everything with MCU Spidey revolves around one thing, Tony Stark. That’s just not what we have come to expect from this character and we want his own universe to build because of him, on his back, not on the back of Tony’s. That being said Homecoming is a ton of fun and by far the better of the two solo Spider-Man flicks. Michael Keaton as Vulture is really great and his twist always gets you. Tom Holland is making a great case for best live action Spider-Man.
Thor: Ragnarok. Director: Taika Waititi. Box Office: 854 Million. Release Date: October 10th, 2017
Talk about a 180 from the last time we saw Thor. Everything changed, even his hair. From one of the lowest of MCU lows, to a pretty big high with Thor: Ragnarok. Even Hulk decided to show back up after being absent for quite sometime. After this movie and the epic run that would follow for Thor, for me, he is by far the most compelling character in the entire MCU. He’s changing every film and Hemsworth just goes along for the ride. Everyone in this movie is having an absolute blast making it, Hela is terrific villain who brings out the best in both Loki and Thor. We even get a little cozier with Loki has we see him in a new light. Awesome soundtrack, some fun action and one of the more hilarious MCU movies, Hulk being just dumb and big and angry is the highlight for me when it comes to his character. Because it’s about to be all down hill for the big green guy.
Just when you were starting to like Loki…….
Black Panther. Director: Ryan Coogler. Box Office: 1.347 Billion. Release Date: February 16th, 2018
This movie just hits differently now with the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman. The MCU will be forever altered. It’s an epic tale of sacrifice, family, loyalty and what it means to truly be a King. It’s so full of heart and beauty and emotion and that stems from the films villain. Michael B Jordan gives us one of the best comic-book move villains ever, because he’s so invested in the role. Killmonger is incredible and even his motive makes you wonder if he has a point. This movie means so much to so many people and it feels wrong that we will never get to see Chadwick in this role again, I’m not sure where they go from here with the character but I know it will be a tough decision to make. Black Panther remains the heart of the MCU for now and forever.
Can I get me some of his royal sandals though?
Avengers: Infinity War. Director: Russo Brothers. Box Office: 2.048 Billion. Release Date: April 23rd, 2018
The moment we were all waiting for. It was inevitable. Much like Thanos. This movie kicks off with a bang. One of the best opening scenes in any comic-book movie, holy crap they wanted to showcase Thanos straight away. Even his four horseman are awesome. This is the best of the MCU, it’s crowning jewel. It doesn’t get any better than this right here. It may never get any better than this. The entire roster is present and everyone is fighting for their lives. We get team ups we never knew we wanted, new friendships are made, bonds are broken and we were left with the best ending. After the dust was settled on screen and in your eyes, you knew the MCU would never be the same again. Infinity War is perfect.
Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good……
Ant-Man & The Wasp. Director: Peyton Reed. Box Office: 622.7 Million. Release Date July 6th, 2018
Who knew that this little guy would go on and save the entire universe? He didn’t know the gigantic role he would ultimately play in saving humanity, but before that, he needed to be trapped in quantum realm. Crazy enough we got one Ant-Man movie, even crazier that we got a worthy sequel. It’s fun, it hits all the MCU beats, Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly are really quite the pair. They work so well together and it’s their chemistry that drives this movie forward.
I think the next Ant-Man is going to be epic and another huge step for the MCU going forward.
Captain Marvel. Director: Anna Boben & Ryan Fleck. Box Office: 1.128 Billion. Release Date: March 8th, 2019.
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Honestly, how many giant portals in the sky needed to happen on Earth in order for Captain Marvel to show back up? I think that’s the most frustrating thing about this character in the MCU. She’s so powerful, and the ultimate warrior, played perfectly by Brie Larson, but she wasn’t around at all? It’s just one plot hole that is simply unforgivable in the MCU cannon. As for her origin, it’s just a ton of fun. One of the more down-to-earth film considering she’s an all powering space cop. But this story is meant to tell her humility and her heart rather than showcase her power, that comes later. Goose steals the show, the very best kitty in the MCU!
I miss Blockbuster…
Avengers Endgame. Director: Russo Brothers. Box Office: 2.798 Billion. Release Date: April 26th, 2019
Going to see this in theatres was a rock concert. There’s no other way to describe it. Everything that was being built since 2008. Since Tony Stark uttered the words “I am Iron Man.” It was all building to this. So many memorable moments, Cap picking up Mjolnir, Thor turning into a party dude, the Black Widow sacrifice. Moments you wont forget as a movie goer. It’s so difficult to follow up your most prized possession with Infinity War, but Endgame does an excellent job closing all the doors, while opening new ones that will drive the MCU forward for years to come. It’s a movie that reminds you how epic this entire journey has been, sort of a like a “best of” rundown of so many cool moments that have transpired over the last decade. So curious to see where the MCU goes from here!
That portal sequence is all time movie moment.
Spider-Man: Far From Home. Director Jon Watts. Box Office: 1.132 Billion. Release Date: July 2nd, 2019
The first Post-Endgame movie. It was somber seeing Peter trying to deal with the fact that five years have passed in his life and also his mentor and best hero Tony Stark is no longer with us. It’s a battle of him discovering that he is more of a hero than he knows, and much more like his own hero than he realizes. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a quirky performance has Mysterio, and some of the altercations between the two are stunning to look at. It’s clearly building to Spider-Man versus the Sinister Six. His relationship with MJ grows as her finally tells her about his secret identity. We get an amazing stinger at the end of the credits, and Spider-Man 3 plans on being completely BONKERS!
I hope Ned becomes a future bad guy for Peter. Would be interesting to see.
What a magical journey this has been. On the movie screen and right here on this blog! The MCU is still so strong, 4 out of their last 5 movies have grossed a billion dollars or more. The future of movies is currently up in the air, but one thing that remains certain. The MCU is the Royal Family of Hollywood and expect many more amazing moments and movies to come!
2 thoughts on “Running Down The MCU!”
Agreed that the Hulk one is a little undervalued. However, I find the First Avenger a little bland overall – despite all the goodness later on.
And, yes… ON YOUR LEFT
Knew you might enjoy the running comment!