Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and its franchises has grown into a giant behemoth of a cinematic universe in the entire movie industry. Since 2008, Marvel Studios has released around 29 films within the MCU, from Iron Man (2008) to Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), and eight television series since 2021, from WandaVision (2021) to She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022). The television series What If…? (2021) is the studio’s first animated property. These films and television series all share continuity with each other. Here we attempt to rank the MCU franchises that have so far released a minimum of 3 entries i.e. Avengers, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and Spiderman. So, Let’s begin.
The one that started it all. back in 2008, Iron Man began the MCU as we know it today. It starred the then-struggling actor – Robert Downey Jr. in the titular role. The actor and the Marvel brand skyrocketed with the release of the movie. It was a well-balanced superhero flick, with just the right amount of drama, wit, humor, and amazing action. It was directed by Jon Favreau who also acted in the movie as Iron Man aka Tony Stark’s bodyguard – Happy Hogan.
However, it all went downhill from that point. The next two entries in the Iron Man franchise – Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3, did not land well with the critics and the audiences. Iron Man 2 focused on Tony’s life post his revelation of being Iron Man, while Iron Man 3 focused on Tony’s PTSD after the events of Avengers and his legacy. The themes and performances of both movies were good but the screenplay seemed to lag a bit in comparison to other high-profile Marvel projects. Hence Iron Man franchise comes at the last place in our ranking of MCU franchises.
Marvel never misses the Bullseye, when it comes to making the casting choices for its characters. Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, and Sir Anthony Hopkins were perfectly cast as Thor, Loki, and Odin respectively for the Thor (2011). Thor had a very Shalesperean storyline and established firmly the Asgardian lore and Thor’s character. However, the next entry Thor: The Dark World (2013) was a huge disaster. It featured a very forgetful villain in Malekith and a very disconnected storyline. After that Thor was also featured in Avengers movies, where it felt that he was just reduced to a joke. The character of Thor seemed unredeemable now.
Then arrived Taika Waititi’s take on character. He took the director mantle for Thor: Ragnarok in 2017. With hilarious jokes, unmatchable action, and colorful photography, Taika returned Thor to his full glory. Chris embraced this new Avatar with ease and perfection. Thereafter, Thor: Love & Thunder (2022) was released and it also flagged the character further as one of the most loved MCU heroes. This makes the Thor franchise have 4th place in our ranking of MCU franchises.
3. Spiderman – Homecoming, Far From Home, No Way Home
The world was afresh with the memories of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man trilogy and Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spider-Man duology. They both were under Sony Pictures. Then debuted a young Peter Parker and Aunt May in the face of Tom Holland and Marisa Tomei in Captain America: Civil War. Tom Holland won everyone’s hearts instantly with his innocent and pure take on the character. However, he seemed pretty young for the huge mantle he was carrying. Then Marvel released his first solo movie under the Marvel banner under the name ‘Homecoming’ in 2017.
The world loved the small-town superhero story of a regular high school student. However, as the series progressed with two more entries – Far From Home and No Way Home, the character grew up. Facing bigger threats, bigger decisions, and bigger sacrifices, Peter grew to be SpiderMan from just a SpiderBoy. And the world loved him. All three movies were smashing hits, bringing this franchise at the 3rd place in our ranking.
Chris Evan portrayed the character of Steve Rogers aka Captain America on screen. From a patriotic man in The First Avengers (2011) to a self-righteous man in Civil War (2016), the trilogy portrayed an amazing arc for the character. Chris Evans played the character with utter ease and perfection. Evan’s Rogers became an instant hit among fans and garnered a dedicated fan following.
Along with Chris Evans, other regulars like Sebastian Stan’s Buck Barnes were also praised for their performances. Russo Brother’s take on Winter Soldier and Civil War turned the table on the character, breathing in it the elements of genres like spy-thrillers. To date, it is considered one of the well-made and most successful trilogies in the movie industry ever. This brings the Captain America franchise at the 2nd rank in our list of MCU franchises.
When Marvel announced that they will be making a movie on Avengers – an ensemble movie of all Marvel superheroes, people sighed. It seemed an impossible task. However, when it was released in 2012, audiences were left in awe. Many saw their childhood dreams getting materialized in front of them. They screamed, hooted, cheered, and celebrated. The movie was a raving success.
Then followed Age Of Ultron (2015) with equal success. Thereafter followed two huge entries – Infinity War(2018) and Endgame(2019). Both of them were directed by The Russo Brothers and served as a culmination of 10 years of ‘The Infinity Saga’. Needless to remind, they both were gigantic in their gross earnings worldwide and ratings. Unmatched and undefeated in any entry, the Avengers franchise sits at the top in our ranking of MCU franchises.