With “Doctor Strange,” the 14th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, hitting theaters on Friday, it’s time to look back on the studio’s ever-expanding catalog of films. Variety film critics Peter Debruge and Owen Gleiberman have ranked all the movies that exist within the MCU (that means “X-Men” and “Spider-Man” films aren’t included) from worst to best. Check out the list below to see how the solo superhero adventures stack up against the team-ups, where the origin stories stand, and how the three “Iron Man” pics compare to the three “Captain America” ones.
Here’s a taste of what to expect. Gleiberman ranks “Thor” (2011) in eighth place.
At first, the idea of Kenneth Branagh grabbing the directorial reins of a special-effects-driven Marvel origin story — featuring a hero whose main claim to fame is the awesome heaviness of his hammer — sounded as incongruous as Jerry Bruckheimer mounting his own version of “Macbeth.” But Branagh knew the challenges and proved to be more than up to them. He doesn’t leave the FX to others; he makes them lighthearted and majestic at the same time, so that they always serve the story (not the case in far too many of these films). And maybe it took an impish Shakespearean adventurer to find both the comedy and the drama of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Norse-blond alien stud-god, crash-landing from Asgard into the New Mexico desert, where he turns out to be an absurdly polite invincible who speaks the King’s English. The plot is all about Thor retrieving his hammer (which builds a lot of suspense into the moment he finally gets to use it), but it’s really about Thor figuring out where he belongs: the classic Marvel psychological split, embodied by Hemsworth with a playfully solemn twinkle.
|Ranking Marvel’s Movies: From ‘Iron Man’ to ‘Doctor Strange’|