The Best 5 Movies in the MCU: Infinity Saga

July 6, 2020 at 1:00 am (Reviews, TV/movie review)

All these lists are incredibly hard to rank, and this one I had to cheat a little. The twinned films of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are extraordinary. The first two times I watched them, I could hardly pay attention because I was so blown away by the brilliant writing: the quiet moments; the emotional hits; the way the films introduced characters and their personalities both speedily and with action rather than exposition. But part of the reason they work is the other twenty-one movies behind them.

So. I would have made them number one, but instead I left them off this list.

This pic is Rocket, Nebula, Rhodes, Natasha, Thor, Stark, Steve, Banner, Clint, Scott, Carol, and Okoye. There are so many characters missing from this: King T’Challa, Dr Strange, Sam Wilson, Peter Quill, Peter Parker. . .

5. Iron Man

If this film wasn’t brilliant, the Marvel Cinematic Universe would not have happened. Brilliant main character, brilliant opening, brilliant script, brilliant twists. The baddie is very clear from the beginning, but that just adds a sense of menace. Obadiah Stone isn’t all that great as a villain, but his creepy “affection” for Stark and Pepper, and his touchiness to everyone does add a lot. And, as I may have mentioned, this film was fun.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy

It was Marvel that got us in the door to see this wacky space movie with a talking racoon, but by the second scene we were all thoroughly hooked. My son loves Spider-Man with the passion of someone with nerd parents who introduced him to superheroes before he could roll over… but after watching bits of many MCU films, his favourites are now the Guardians of the Galaxy. Brilliant opening; brilliant balance and mix of characters; brilliant themes; brilliant ending. The baddies are numerous and Yondu is a good one (the rest are forgettable). My only quibble is that Quill’s mother appearing at the “hold my hand” climax was uneccessary.

This was the tenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this was the point at which we knew Marvel could do anything, and do it well.

They were more than twenty hours into this saga, and they were still just so freaking fun—again.

“We are Groot.”

3. Thor: Ragnarok

Thor is a jock. He’s big and strong and. . . not dumb, but dumb compared to the geniuses around him (not to mention dumb compared to the god of mischief). Ragnarok brought him back to life, for both Chris Hemsworth and for the audience.

From the hilarious opening scene onwards, this movie is a technicolour delight. There is surprising depth to it, from the destruction of Thor’s hammer to the prophesied destruction of his home realm.

After so, so many films, this film changed the game yet again. It also introduced ever so many fan-favourite characters: Hela, goddess of war. Grandmaster. Valkyrie. Korg. And Stan Lee as a hairdresser who advises Thor to stay still since “my hands aren’t as steady as they used to be.”

All the other films on this list are origin stories, which are relatively easy to write. This one deserves all its praise for taking a sequel tale and making it so, so good.

2. Black Panther

The tomatometer scores this at 96%. The only reason it’s not #1 on my list is that the opening scene, although beautifully animated, is pure exposition and I have a personal dislike of any obvious exposition.

Speaking of brilliant characters though? All of them. The tolkien white guys are brilliant; Killmonger is brilliant; Okoye and W’Kabi and Nakia and Ayo and M’Baku are brilliant. T’Challa is exquisite. Even T’Chaka, the king who died before the film began, still manages to be more interesting than many living characters from lesser films. Also the world-building, costumes, and use of language are brilliant. This film is all perfection, except maybe for some of the fight between T’Challa and Killmonger, which is potent on the waterfall and devastating at its end, but a bit blah on the train track. (Still better than many many superhero climax scenes.)

Honorable mentions:

Marvel’s Avengers: I love it, and Loki and the Chitauri are both exquisite villains. But the opening scene is baddies talking exposition, which I find very dull. So, in such a list, that lost it a spot.

Winter Soldier: Again a brilliant villain, and the climax actually matters. I know there’s a lot going on, but to me and everyone else it’s all about Steve putting everything on the line to try to reach his best friend. In a world of dull CGI climaxes, it stands out. The only reason it didn’t make the list is that I don’t buy the idea that Hydra could really infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. for so many years. Obviously that’s from the comics, and it’s a huge twist which is fun… but I still just don’t buy it.

Captain Marvel: Another climax that really, really works—and all the more so because the film has a relatively slow start and spends so much time with an amnesiac hero. But I still penalised it for that slow start and amnesiac hero. Yeah, I was looking for reasons to take films off my main list.

Captain America: The film means even more than it did when it first came out, because Captain America is still the noble, selfless hero that he was before he became Captain America. I love this character, and I love that the writers (and Chris Evans) keep him from being so good he’s dull.

Nazis are always good villains, but perhaps there was a missed opportunity to have a Nazi villain who didn’t spend all their time being eeevil and chewing scenery. These days, Nazis are much scarier than they are in this film, because a Nazi who lives next door is a real and present danger.

And finally. . .

 

 

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1. Spider-Man: Homecoming

I did not expect this film to end up as #1. It’s just a silly little bit of fun, isn’t it? It didn’t reinvent the concept of theatre or make anyone think more deeply about real-life issues. But as far as I can tell, this movie is perfect. Perfect hero, perfect villain, perfect beginning, climax, and end. I can’t think of a way to make it better. And it’s hilarious too.

It’s so good I have hardly anything to say. Kudos to Tom Holland, who is extremely funny, great at action scenes, and can then break down in tears and rip out the audience’s heart. Because that’s the heart of Spider-Man, isn’t it? He’s just a kid.

So there you go. What’s your #1 pick?

1 Comment

  1. Summary of a Saga | crazy talk said,

    […] Best 5 Movies in the Infinity Saga […]

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