Listen, I know a Marvel list might seem a little overdone at this point, but we swear, this is the most definitive, objective list Joe could come up with. Which is to say, it's still pretty personal and opinionated. Either way, have fun!
19. Thor: The Dark World
This one damn near ruined Thor for me. It also almost ruined Natalie Portman for me, which is the most sinister crime.
18. The Incredible Hulk
Edward Norton can *almost* do no wrong. Maybe if this had been a Wes Anderson flick, the world would be a much different place. Quirkier, at least.
Kenneth Branagh can definitely do some wrong, and directing the first Thor film was just the tip of the iceberg. #TeamEmmaThompson
16. Doctor Strange
So, it’s Iron Man, but his hands hurt. The writing is piss poor, but at least it’s super pretty and has Chiwetel Ejiofor. But even then.
15. Iron Man 2
Okay, confession time. I loved this one as a kid. There were electro-whips, dancing Sam Rockwells, and briefcase supersuits. That said, this aged like a boxed rosé strapped to a camel in the Sahara.
14. Ant Man
This one was a lot of fun. Do I forget most of what’s going on? Sure. Is the villain just a carbon copy of the good guy but in yellow? I can’t actually remember.
13. Iron Man 3
As an Iron Man movie, this one is pretty okay. As a Shane Black movie, it’s also just pretty okay. The internet outrage over that Mandarin twist, though? Hilarious. Honestly, fan anger is one of my favorite things (unless it’s angry The Marquee fans).
12. Captain America: The First Avenger
This was a fun period piece, and Chris Evans was perfectly cast. Is it lower on my list because of my own body insecurities in comparison to Evans’ gloriously perfect physique? Stop asking questions.
This was a unique moment in cinema history, but it’s not the film I find myself returning to. It reminds me of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Two thirds of the film wade through introductions and plot swamp for the coolest final act. Is it worth it? Of course. But it could’ve been better. And it set up my favorite hero, Hawkeye, for mediocre arc after mediocre arc.
“Joe, you idiot. This is the most classic, bestest super movie.” Oh yeah? Then where is Heath Ledger in the cast? I rest my case.
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron
*prepping my shower before I bathe in internet hate*
Okay, here’s the deal. Age of Ultron has a complicated villain, that I rank among Marvel’s best while others keep him at the bottom. It also balances the divide emerging amongst the Avengers well. On top of that, it has some of the most visually appealing fight scenes out of any superhero film on this list. I genuinely enjoy it more than the first Avengers, even if I want to kill off Hawkeye's family for the sake of giving him a real story.
9. Thor: Ragnarok
Finally! Thor is made into something actually fun, a score that isn’t lost in the scenery makes it to the screen, and motherbleeping Korg! This film was the first since the Guardians films to feel organic, and not bred in a committee of suits and super shiny tables. Taika Waititi brought forth a fun, if occasionally too casual flick that stands out against all other Marvel films.
8. Captain America: Civil War
A.k.a. Diet Avengers, and that’s mostly a good thing. Steve Rodgers has one of the best arcs through all these films, alongside Tony Stark. To see both of those clash in honest, impactful ways is delightful. Pair it with each hero picking sides and an airport attack that gives each character their own moment, and the Russo brothers have a real hit on their hands.
7. Spider-man: Homecoming
Is this only the second best Spiderman movie to ever come out? Sure, but it’s still damn good. Tom Holland performs brilliantly as the awkward, excitable Peter Parker AND the quip-heavy, confident Spiderman, where previous actors seemed to only capture one or the other. The film is grounded, with the world finally getting a break from all the villainous domination. Also, Michael Keaton is the best thing you can add to any movie, period (looking at you, The Other Guys).
6. Avengers: Infinity War
When you need 18 films of setup for stakes and emotions, you better deliver (although I guess you didn't need Ant Man). Infinity War freaking delivers. Making 2.5 hours feel like a commercial break, Infinity War jams just about everything it can into this comic book spectacle, all while balancing several storylines and even finding times for me to cry. Moments of tonal mismatch and underserved characters? Sure, but overall, a monumental achievement.
5. Black Panther
Holy crap, I was not ready for this film. Never a more perfect cast, a more perfect villain, or even a more perfect score. When the only thing I can complain about in a film is a lookalike villain fight and CGI rhinos not exactly fitting into the world, then I’d say that’s a pretty damn fine film. And while the soundtrack might be the weakest Kendrick album, even then, it’s still a good album. My weakest blog posts are the weakest because they were straight-up awful, not “barely worse than sheer greatness.”
4. Guardians of the Galaxy
At a time in my life where superhero fatigue was setting in and I was considering making the switch over to classical literature as my primary form of entertainment, James Gunn came flying in to save the day and take my money. The performances, exceptional. The script, hilariously original. The casting of Bradley Cooper to play Rocket Racoon over yours truly, forgivable. Everything about this was so much fun, and the soundtrack was as great as the blue dude with the hammer was stupid.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
If you told me that the directors behind much of Arrested Development and Community were being given a Captain America movie, I would’ve told you that you said “ElastiMan” wrong. Turns out, I was wrong, and that’s a very good thing. The Winter Soldier is a high stakes action thriller with grounded characters, a complicated villain, and moments that made me wish I had thrown more frisbee out at the Quad in college. Take away the Marvel elements, and you still have an exceptional piece of filmmaking.
2. Iron Man
Can Jon Favreau do no wrong, besides #15 on this list? No, he can’t. Swingers? Great. Elf? Also great. Chef? Now I’m hungry. Zathur-uhhhh, we’ll just leave it there. Iron Man kickstarted this universe, and without Robert Downey Jr’s superb performance and Favreau’s audacious, yet crowd-pleasing direction, this universe would look something more like *cough* DCEU *cough*.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Hold your horses, internet. This is Joe’s list. So please hate on Joe specifically and not The Marquee in general. And also, don’t hate on Joe, because he’s right.
*clears third person voices out of throat*
This film is very personal to me for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s a dad story, and I love dad stories. They tug at every heart string and even a few lung strings. Not only does this film hit you with the Good Dad, Bad Dad routine, but it also has a soundtrack of artists that MY OWN DAD INTRODUCED TO ME. You try listening to “Mr. Blue Sky” or “Father and Son” and not cry, remembering that your dad would play those on the old CD player he kept in your basement/room for your first 18 years of life. In addition to the personal appeal, Vol. 2 is just as sharp as the first Guardians film, with all the quips and characters you’ve grown to love. Objectively, it’s Top Five. But I’m subjective AF up in here. You want objective? Go to Rotten Tomatoes and upset Martin Scorsese, then.
BONUS: Superhero Proposal
Deep within a college town right outside a midwestern city, a young Joe Peppermint is just your normal, average college graduate without a job. Or at least, he was, until a thrift store accident leaves Joe with the unique powers of jean clothing. Able to make a fashion statement while breaking in a new pair of Levi’s, Joe becomes the caped crusader DENIM MAN. (He fights off Corduroys or something. We’re still working on it).
Joe Brueggemeyer hosts and edits The Marquee podcast with Logan, and has an unhealthy obsession with baking.