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There isn't much to do these days. In these uncertain and frankly scary times most of us are living in lockdown and that means the days often play out the same. Wake up, have breakfast, go outside for your state approved daily walk, have some lunch, maybe have a drink or 10 in the house, have dinner, then go to bed. Some of you may even read a book or do some exercise. However what many of us do in isolation is embrace our inner couch potato, binging old and new TV series, watching movies, staring at our phone screens desperately holding on to what life was like before the global covid-19 pandemic. Basically just stare at a screen most of the day. For me, what isolation and the release of Disney Plus has allowed me to do is grab a drink, relax and watch every MCU film released so far. It has not only been a good way to pass time, but it has also allowed me to revisit movies I'd seen seven or even five years ago, and look at them with a new mindset and fresh perspective. During my rewatch I found films that on one hand I'd really enjoyed when I first saw them, but now fall asleep watching, and on the other hand, movies I didn't think much of but now think is some of Marvels best. So I thought I'd now give you my take on what the five best MCU films are, in my own opinion. Some spoilers ahead.
My number five pick has to be Spider-man: Far from Home. Yes, I'm aware this one isn't on Disney Plus but it still has a place on this list. Far from Home was the last Marvel movie to come out in theaters and thus one of the last films I saw in theaters, however that isn't why it's so memorable. From Tom Holland's performance as an increasingly under pressure Spider-Man, to Jake Gylenhalls unique and spot on performance as villian Mysterio, this film proved that not only is Far from Home one of the MCU's best, but one of the best Spider-Man movies of all-time. The movie explore's Peter Parker's life post Avengers: Endgame, and the doubt he feels about being superhero Spider-Man, and the prospect of being something more than a friendly neighbourhood hero. However as the plot progresses Peter learns to let go of his doubts and fears, fully realizing his potential as Spider-Man and the hero he has to become. The film itself is filled with the classic Spider-Man/MCU humour we've come to love and is filled with fantastic action sequences; Notably, the Mysterio action sequences were spectacular and a spot on interpretation of the characters abilities, making him memorable and intimidating. Everything about this film makes it a joy to watch and a great story about becoming your own person, and thus has made it on my top five list.
Number four I think is quite a controversial pick, mainly because it is one of the MCU's earliest entries and hasn't been too memorable. However for me, Captain America: The First Avenger is one of the best Marvel, and also superhero films of all time. here's why. I'd all but forgotten the first Captain America film, only remembering a couple of scenes and roughly what the plot was, but when rewatching the all-American hero's first appearance in the MCU I was glued to the screen. What I loved about this film wasn't it's action or acting or cinematography, but the story and ideas it promotes. The story is of course about the origin of hero, Captain America, and how scrawny, five foot nothing wannabe soldier Steve Rogers, gets his chance to fight against the evil Nazi's during World War Two when he is selected as the guinea pig for an American super soldier programme. Steve, after being rejected multiple times when enlisting for the US army, is then allowed to enlist after being approached by Dr Abraham Erskine, the man behind the super soldier programme in the film. Erskine chooses Steve to undergo the procedure not because of his physical or intellectual qualities, but because in his own words, he has a good heart. When asked if he wants to kill Nazis, Steve responds saying "I don't want to kill anyone. I just don't like bullies"; When Tommy Lee Curtis' Col. Chester Philips tosses a dummy grenade to test the soldiers during training, instead of running away like everyone else, Steve launches himself on top of it, ready to die to save those around him; and when asked why he was chosen, Steve is told that it is his capacity for compassion and kindness that was the reason. What the movie tries to emphasise is that having great power, talents and skills aren't what makes a hero, but its being a good person that truly defines what a hero should be, and that to me is inspiring. If it weren't for the fact certain parts of the film are bland and lazy (yes, I'm talking about the crappy action montage) then this film would be higher on my list, maybe even making it to the first place spot.
My number three pick is one that is almost definitely in any Marvel fans top five, and that of course is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I feel this was the first movie in the MCU that effectively set itself apart from the rest of the MCU, bringing together a variety of interesting concepts, well executed action sequences, and even a little hint of spy movie influence. The plot follows Cap post Avengers, where he now acts as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. However Cap begins to question the role of S.H.I.E.L.D and their methods which then leads to him uncovering a sinister conspiracy which forces him to bring down the once great intelligence agency. The film also feature existing characters like Black Widow and Nick Fury, while also introducing new ones, most notably Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon and soon to be new Captain America. Watching the movie again helped me warm up to Sam Wilson as a character, and even though he wasn't in the movie often he still stood out as one of my favourite characters in the film. What I especially like about this film is the theme behind it. Steve Rogers remains a beacon of altruism throughout the movie, questioning S.H.I.E.L.D's new method of "preserving peace" by constantly watching everyone around the world to essentially stop threats before they happen. This of course is a blatant obstruction of people's privacy and frankly the product of extremely flawed logic, something Steve points out early on saying "This isn't freedom. This is fear". The movie is not afraid to be subtly political and I feel it is a key part of what made this movie a stand out among its MCU peers. The difference between both Captain America and antagonist, The Winter Soldier (formerly Steve Rogers' best friend Bucky Barnes) is in itself another important part of the movie, one that is fully characterized in the pair's final confrontation of the movie. Laying beaten and bloody on the floor, Cap refuses to fight The Winter Soldier adamant that he can make him remember who he was, however the Soldier merely say "You're my mission" with Cap's response simply being, "Then finish it. Cause I'm with you till the end of the line", a line he once said to his former friend in the first Captain America. This echo's the message of Captain America: The First Avenger that it shouldn't matter how good a soldier you are, its about being a good person and doing the right thing. The movie does a fantastic job of creating it's own unique identity, not shying away from very complex conceptions of justice peace and the difference between being a good man and a good soldier and that for me is why it deserves a place on any top five marvel movie list.
My second pick is a no brainer; The Avengers. My god what a movie. I can still remember the excitement 12 year old me felt going to see this movie for the first time, and how epic it was seeing all of the heroes of the movie come together as one team. This film was what propelled the MCU into the cinematic stratosphere it now rests in today, bringing together characters never before seen together on screen and making them some of the most iconic characters in cinema history. Everything from the chemistry between characters, to the action scenes, to even the soundtrack make this film categorically one of Marvels best, and one that will forever stand the test of time. Watching this film is a delight and if you haven't already seen it, go and watch it. I'm not going to tell you again.
However, despite how good The Avengers is, it isn't my number one MCU film. No that honour goes to the one, the only, Thor: Ragnarok. This was a film I really wanted to see in theaters but never got the chance too, and man do I regret it. For me this movie is a cut above the rest, it's unique, funny, and breathes new life into the rotting corpse of the Thor movie franchise, something I'm sure we all thought impossible. The plot follows Thor trying to save his home of Asgard from his evil sister, Hela, who is unleashed following the death of His father, Odin. Thor's Hammer, Mjolnir, is destroyed by Hela and he is cast out to a junk planet called Sakaar, where Thor gathers a new team he calls "The Revengers" to go and save Asgard, and very possibly, the whole universe. So a pretty campy sounding, Sci-Fi plot, however a fun one at that. What was unique about this film was the vibrant, and retro sci-fi aesthetic director Taika Waititi attributed to this film. Every location is distinct and frankly gorgeous to look at, keeping the film fresh and exciting throughout. The vibrancy of the film almost feels like over-compensation for how dull the previous Thor movies were, that of course is not a bad thing, the over compensation is more than welcome. The chemistry between characters is wonderful and often hilarious, especially between Hulk and Thor. New characters like Valkyrie and Jeff Goldblum's the Grandmaster were also fantastic additions to the movie and only elevate this film further. Taika Waititi's character Korg was also an unexpected but memorable addition to the movie, with his candid delivery to his indifferent tone and New Zealand accent. However if there was one element of this movie that makes it such a blast to watch, it would be the many amazing action scenes littered throughout. Whether it be Thor fighting of hordes of demons while Led Zeppelin plays in the background, Thor and Hulk's gladiator match or even Thor's 'god of thunder' moment on Asgard this movie is action packed, exciting and a thrill ride of a watch; and that is why Thor Ragnarok is, in my opinion, the best MCU film so far.
So there you have it, my 5 best MCU movies. Do you agree with my picks? wondering where infinity war and endgame are? are you actually a fan of Thor the Dark World?? regardless I hope you enjoyed hearing what I had to say about the MCU and make sure to stay safe out there.