Ranking all 21 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies: Part 5

In anticipation of “Avengers: Endgame,” The Amherst Wire entertainment staff team up to tackle the pop culture phenomenon.


(Screenshot from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” trailer / YouTube)

In anticipation of “Avengers: Endgame,” Amherst Wire’s mightiest writers came together to take on the daunting task of ranking all 21 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. There was blood, sweat and tears put into the making of this list. Every day up to the release of “Endgame” on April 26, we’ll be releasing a part of the rankings. Be sure to check out part four if you missed it.

Now without further adieu, here is part five of seven in our MCU movie rankings.

9. Doctor Strange

By Patrick Kline

Most Memorable Moment: “Dormammu I’ve come to bargain.”

Doctor Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme and master of the mystic arts makes his debut as one of Marvel’s most powerful heroes in “Doctor Strange.” He is the sole defender of Earth from threats from other dimensions, such as Dormammu. As a result of his powers’ effects on reality, this movie has some of the best special effects in the MCU. Once Strange reaches Kamar-Taj there are few, if any scenes in the movie that don’t have a ton of special effects.

The effects are amazing. Several dimensions are shown on screen with powers used by Stephen Strange, the Ancient One and all the other sorcerers. The special effects bring the film to life and create spectacular fight scenes within the mirror dimensions.

Strange’s greatest power in the movie comes from the Eye of Agamotto and the infinity stone, both contained inside his necklace. Strange is the second hero to wield an infinity stone after Vision. Loki doesn’t count because of his malintentions to use the tesseract and mind stone. Strange only learns of the existence of the stones at the end of the movie from Wong, who only briefly mentions it and doesn’t explain any further before the movie ends.

The one part of “Dr. Strange” that I am not satisfied with is the first end credit scene. In every previous Marvel movie, each end credit scene is unique, not in the case of “Doctor Strange.” Instead of creating a new scene that could include another hero, this movie takes a scene from a movie that wouldn’t come out for another year. “Thor: Ragnarok” has a scene where Thor and Loki encounter Doctor Strange. After containing Loki, Thor and Doctor Strange have a chat. This end credit scene is actually one of the early scenes in Ragnarok, which fits well in the movie but not so much as an end credit scene.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy

By Trevor Wilson

Most Memorable Scene: Starlord has a dance-off with Ronan

Clocking in at the eight spot on our list is the Marvel movie that, in my opinion, has the best soundtrack of any of the Marvel films. Packed with tracks from the 60s and 70s, “Guardians of the Galaxy” ushers in refreshing and contrasting sounds with “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, “I Want You Back” by the Jackson Five and much more.

But, I digress, let’s talk about the movie. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is LOADED with action, comedy and entertainment. The cast of characters, from Starlord (Chris Pratt) to the gunslinging raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper), build a unique and dynamic chemistry as they’re thrown into a galactic prison after squabbling over an orb (which we later discover contains an infinity stone). The gang plans a massive escape and all of them play a major role, developing their characters and chemistry as well.

The battle scenes in “Guardians of the Galaxy” are a true spectacle. Thanks to spectacular CGI effects, the final battle on the planet Xandar is packed with a variety of action scenes. From aerial dogfights with futuristic spacecrafts to the close-handed combat inside Ronan’s ship, the action-dense scenes truly draw you in.

What’s more is how well the writers of the film incorporate comedy into the work. Overall, the comedic relief throughout the film establishes a sense of humanity (despite most of the team being alien). The comedy never feels corny, and in fact serves as a crucial means of character development throughout the film. “Guardians of the Galaxy,” for me, is one of my favorite Marvel films and will always have me “Hooked on a Feeling.”

7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

By Jonathan Kermah

Memorable moment: Captain America takes on a gang of S.H.I.E.L.D agents in an elevator

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve never been a fan of Captain America. This disdain predates the films and has more to do with the cookie cutter, Boy Scout arc type that Cap shares with equally vanilla characters like Superman and Hulk Hogan.

So when “Captain America: The First Avenger” hit the theaters in 2011, I passed and waited for it to come out on Redbox. My 14-year-old self was glad I didn’t waste my money on a ticket after I fell asleep watching it at home. Needless to say, when I went to the theater to see “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” in 2014, my expectations were at an all-time low for a Marvel film.

My expectations were shattered. The change in setting from the 1940s to the 21st century is like a superhero serum injected into the Captain America franchise. Steve Rodgers (Chris Evans)  is a fish out of water still adjusting to the world around him. This makes him a much more interesting character in my eyes.

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) acts as the perfect supporting character in this superhero fugitive/spy movie. While I expected her to be Cap’s new love interest, she works even better as the friend pushing Captain America to get back out there.

Along with strong chemistry from Evans and Johansson, the non-stop action and introduction of new characters in the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) make this a must-see MCU film. Captain America is still a Boy Scout, but everything else makes it tolerable.

Email Patrick at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @paterickkline.

Email Jonathan at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @JKermah98.

Email Trevor at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @TrevorWilsonOG.

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