Audiences and critics everywhere are falling in love with Marvel Studios' latest effort, Captain America: Civil War. The thirteenth film in Marvel's Cinematic Universe brought together everyone's favorite heroes for a film no one will forget. A great film certainly deserves to rank highly among it's Marvel peers, right? Of course. The real question, however, is exactly how high?
That's when we turn to the ComicBook.com Composite.
The ComicBook.com Composite is a proprietary algorithm that compiles ratings listed in the public domain by the major media services and user ratings from the ComicBook.com community, creating the industry's most comprehensive and unbiased movie ratings and rankings. While we don't cover every movie under the sun like other sites do, we are confident that we know how to cover our superhero films. C'mon, it's our specialty.
So, where does Civil War really rank among it's fellow Marvel films. Take a look as we rank each MCU film by it's composite score. We'll kick things off at the bottom of the barrel, with unlucky number 13.
Then - later this week, stay tuned as the ComicBook.com staff sounds off with our own personal ranking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
13. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
One of the first films in the MCU is ranked as the very worst. Now, let's remember, worst is a relative term. While it scores lower than every other film on this list, it's still a 65 overall. Not great, but it could be much worse.
The story found itself a little out of whack at times, and the characters weren't exactly the most believable. I like Ed Norton and Liv Tyler, but couldn't they have cast a couple with just a little more chemistry? They were almost as hard to believe as Anakin and Padme in Star Wars: Episode One. I don't blame the actors for that one, both are phenomenal at their craft, but it seemed like they had no real dialogue or direction to work with. This movie is remembered more for being lifeless and flat than for helping to launch the biggest film franchise in the world. Let's be really honest here, it's barely remembered at all.
Want to end on a slightly better note? It seems director Louis Leterrier found his stride over the last couple of years while at the helm of magic thriller Now You See Me. He did so well, in fact, that the sequel hits theaters this summer. I wasn't such a fan of his work with Hulk, but I'll definitely be in line for this blockbuster.
12. Iron Man 2 (2010)
In some trilogies, the second film is the strongest outing. In others, the second film just seems like a waste of time; a placeholder, on the way to a better third act. The Iron Man franchise belongs to the latter.
While the film kept much of the charm and charisma of Jon Favreau's first effort, it still came up short. The villains felt random and out of place, Tony and Pepper's relationship was a little harder to watch, and the action just seemed kind of lackluster. When you have an actor like Jeff Bridges commandeering a giant Iron Man suit, it's hard to back that up with a snarky Sam Rockwell and electric Mickey Rourke. Both actors played their roles well, but were the roles really even necessary? There were much better villains and story lines this film could have followed, and that is evident. Can you even remember what the film was even about? Nope. We can't either. It just didn't matter in the long run.
On the flip side, this movie gave us two of our beloved Avengers. Don Cheadle's War Machine debuted in the film, as well as fan-favorite Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow. Even if the movie did nothing else right, introducing Black Widow makes up for all of the wrong doing in our book.
11. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
This movie came in less than a point ahead of Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk, showing that Mighty Marvel Studios doesn't always get better with age.
The Dark World took us to some new places, introduced us to some interesting new species, but didn't really do much else. The choppy dialogue was a plenty, and the great action was few and far between. As I'm sitting here writing, I'm realizing there's just not much to talk about with this movie period. There wasn't much there.
Even though it wasn't great, this movie is an important one to Marvel fans for two stand out scenes in the film. First, that Captain America cameo no one saw coming still makes my jaw drop. Second, none of us will ever forget that after credits scene where we meet The Collector and the MCU teases Guardians of The Galaxy for the first time. Two priceless moments in a film that maybe doesn't measure up.
10. Iron Man 3 (2013)
It's a little surprising that Iron Man 3 is this far down the list. Sure, it was almost five full points higher than the last film, I'm sure the mishandling of The Mandarin brought the fan vote down significantly.
This is the first film on the list where there seem to be more positives than negatives. Pepper finally got to kick some ass like we all knew she could, Tony got to command an entire fleet of his suits, War Machine had some great action sequences, and RDJ gave us one of Tony's most heartfelt scenes when he was in the garage with the kid. Shane Black brought his unique brand of storytelling to the MCU and it paid off; for the most part.
A fan of gags and misdirection, Black pulled the ultimate wool over the eyes of comic fans when he revealed that The Mandarin (played by the revolutionary Ben Kingsley) was, in fact, just a hoax. He was an actor being paid to pose as The Mandarin in order to give the real villain a way around Tony. I love the concept here, and I feel like it would've worked better with any other villain. But, The Mandarin is Iron Man's arch nemesis. If there was one person we've all wanted to see Tony face head to head, it's Mandarin. This was a wasted opportunity and huge disappointment in an otherwise fun and action packed movie.
9. Thor (2011)
Thor hasn't had the best go of his solo movies, has he? With both films in the bottom five, it's easy to see why we're waiting four years to get a third.
This movie was our first glance at the other worlds in the MCU, and that was a cool trip to take. We got some fun, but ultimately uninteresting characters in Natalie Portman and her science buddies, a fan favorite in Heimdall, and the greatest villain in the MCU; Loki. Some of the scenes in this film didn't exactly hit the mark (mainly those who attempted humor or lengthy dialogue) but they were redeemed with some incredible action sequences. The scene when Thor goes after his hammer and has to take on Hawkeye and SHIELD? Kicked major ass. Plus, there was that wild west show down where The Warriors Three come down and join the fight, and we all loved that too.
Ultimately, this movie can be described by a simple "meh" and a gentle shrug of the shoulder. We're glad we have it, but we also know we could live without it. As long as we still got Loki, that is.
8. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Coming in at number eight on our list, we get our lowest scoring MCU team-up, Age of Ultron. This movie was a great summer blockbuster, don't get me wrong, but it certainly wasn't the best the MCU or Joss Whedon had to offer.
There were some really big shoes to fill following a film as great as The Avengers, and this movie delivered to some extent. We saw bigger destruction, bigger fights, and bigger consequences than we had in any other MCU film. Ultron was kind of intimidating, the Maximoff twins were a great addition, and we finally got the freaking HulkBuster scene we'd all been waiting for. This film even gave us a really cool cameo with Ulysses Klaw that hinted to the Black Panther movie down the road. All of this is really cool, but bigger doesn't always mean better.
Ultron failed to deliver on the heart and humor that made us fall in love with the first Avengers film. It had great moments, but the entire first movie was a great moment. We all enjoyed Age of Ultron, but it didn't stand up to many of it's MCU counterparts.
7. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Barely beating out Age of Ultron and coming in at the middle of the pack is Captain America's origin tale, The First Avenger. This film took us back to WWII where we got to meet a young Steve Rogers and his pal Bucky Barnes, as they told tales of enlisting and serving our country. Little did we know how far their friendship would go.
I think the best aspect of this movie was it's ability to transport us back in time. Instead of heavily using flashbacks, like most origin stories will do, The First Avenger takes place almost entirely in the 1940's. This allows us to see the birth of superheroes as we know them today, as well as a much needed change of pace from modern society. This movie also gave us a believable couple in Cap and Agent Carter, as well as one of the MCU's stronger villains in The Red Skull.
Captain America was a far cry from a perfect movie, but it told a story that we all wanted to see, and kept us entertained in the process. We can't complain too much about that, right?
6. Ant-Man (2015)
Now, this is where the MCU starts getting really good. Every film from here on out is loved by fans and critics alike, and we're beginning with number 6, Ant-Man.
Many fans and critics were skeptical when this film was announced. Luckily, Ant-Man turned out to be one of Marvel's best surprises. After Edgar Wright exited the picture, Peyton Reed came in and handled the story beautifully. With a genuine lead like Paul Rudd it's hard not to have some heart in your movie, and Ant-Man was no exception. Pair that with believable co-stars in Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas, a hilarious trio of robbers led by Michael Pena, and an above average villain played by Corey Stoll, and you have one of the better ensembles of the MCU. Playing off of the ant-sized gig was definitely a risk, but Reed handled it brilliantly and brought us some great scenes, like the third act fight on the train set.
A perfect blend of comedy and action, Ant-Man is a film that comic and film fans alike will be re-watching for generations.
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
The Winter Soldier is the first film to break into the "Put That Score On The Fridge" club, and it's also our first big surprise. While a score of 80 or higher is certainly commendable, many consider Winter Soldier to be one of the greatest superhero movies of all time. I wonder why it comes in at only number five. My guess? The top four are just that good.
Blending elements of a political thriller with every one's favorite comic heroes, Joe and Anothony Russo broke the mold to bring us a once in a lifetime kind of action movie. It was like watching a Bourne movie starring Captain America. For two hours I couldn't take my eyes off of the screen as I was taken on wild chases through the streets of downtown D.C. There was an aura of suspense in this film that had escaped even it's greatest MCU predecessors, and fans couldn't get enough. From the Nick Fury car chase, to the Bucky Barnes shield catch, this movie had everything we'd ever wanted from the franchise.
The Russo's were rewarded for their excellent work by being handed the reigns of the MCU going forward. Not only did they get to direct Civil War, but they will be taking over The Avengers franchise for Infinity War. These guys have a lot of work ahead of them, and we can't wait to see what they bring us.
4. The Avengers (2012)
What was once hailed as the biggest superhero movie of all time, Marvel's The Avengers clocks in at number four on our list.
For the first time in movie history, comic book fans got to see their favorite team of heroes join forces and fight together. We all remember that moment when we first saw the trailer for Avengers and knew our lives would never be the same. We got to watch Tony's sarcasm play off of Cap's sincerity, and it worked perfectly. That final battle in New York was enough to make us want to watch the film over and over; and most of us did just that. Even the subtle moments of the film had us all giddy. Remember when Bruce Banner starts marching toward the chaos and looks back, declaring, "I'm always angry"? That was such a small line of dialogue within an enormous movie, but it was so memorable because the film was so relatable. Joss Whedon did the impossible and brought Earth's greatest heroes together, without ruining the heart of the film.
Not only a great movie, The Avengers became an unforgettable movie-going experience for millions of fans across the world.
3. Iron Man (2008)
Marvel has grown a lot over the years, and it's put out a lot of great movies. Even with it's incredible success, the studio has had a hard time beating the original MCU film; Iron Man.
That opening scene with Tony in the Hummer with a couple of soldiers set the tone for the film, as well as the rest of the MCU going forward. You had Tony being sarcastic and making light-hearted jokes with the soldiers, immediately followed by a sequence of intense action. Director Jon Favreau discovered the perfect balance between light and heavy, and he rode it for the film's entirety. The one thing about this movie better than Favreau's direction? Robert Downey Junior. Trying to make a comeback after a ton of heavy drug issues and multiple run-ins with the law, RDJ's story perfectly aligned with Tony's, making him perfect for the role. Nowadays, the two names are synonymous with one another. You can't bring up Downey without talking Iron Man, and no one cares about Iron Man unless it's RDJ. The bond formed between actor and character took superhero films to new heights, and the MCU has never looked back.
While two movies have scored higher than Iron Man, it's still difficult to stand up to the original. Many have tried, very few have succeeded.
2. Guardians of The Galaxy (2014)
Coming in at number two in the MCU composite rankings (and number three in the overall movie rankings) is James Gunn's masterpiece, Guardians of The Galaxy.
Not since Star Wars has a sci-fi film taken pop culture by storm. Just days after Guardians was released in theaters, you couldn't go anywhere without seeing a Star Lord t-shirt, or a Dancing Groot action figure. The Guardians were inescapable, and for good reason. James Gunn took everything we loved about the MCU, brought in the ultimate classic rock compilation, and took us all to space. The comedic timing in this film was flawless, the set designs were gorgeous, costuming was unbelievable; everything about this movie was spot on. One of the best things about Guardians was it's casting. Each of the five leads had impeccable chemistry with the other four, and their dialogue blended together so seamlessly that it all actually felt real. Led by Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana, the cast of Guardians made an obscure story work better than anyone could have ever dreamed it would.
Looking back, it's hard to find anything in this movie I would change. Well, except the ending. I just wouldn't have ended it, period.
1. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Well, there you have it. Civil War is in fact ranked highest among all movies in the MCU. The surprising part, it isn't even close. Civil War's composite score is almost four points higher than second-place Guardians of The Galaxy. The only movie in our database that has a higher score than Civil War is Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, which is widely held as one of the greatest films of all time. Not bad company to be in.
Civil War was the Marvel film that finally had everything. We got the biggest hero team-up to date, great hero-on-hero fight scenes, SPIDER-MAN(!!!!), the political backdrop from Winter Soldier; there wasn't anything else we could've asked for. Even director and nerd Kevin Smith called Civil War the "greatest comic book movie of all time." That kind of praise from someone that involved in nerd culture his hard to come by, but the film deserved it. Every moment of Civil War had audiences on the edge of their seats, and it didn't let up until the credits rolled.
You want some good news? Since it's only two weeks old, Civil War's composite ranking can continue to rise. The even better news, it's dominating the box office so you can still go see it again and again!
Curious where the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies stand just with the ComicBook.com staff? Stay tuned for when we release our own rankings!