10-List: Firewater’s Top-10 MCU Properties (New and Improved!!)

I assembled a comprehensive list of movies and television series that I believe would be considered to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not just motion pictures this time.

This included the various Marvel One-Shot short films but excluded the pre-Tom Holland Spider-Man movies and the X-Men and Fantastic Four movies. I look forward to these other properties becoming a part of the MCU, but we’re not there yet.

When I was finished making my list, I had fifty-two titles to choose my Top 10 from.

Lists are subjective things. I previously published a 10-List ranking my top ten MCU motion pictures. It was an accurate list depicting my mindset at that particular time. It reflects what I call proximity bias. I had recently seen Captain Marvel when I compiled that list, and, because of this, it ranked pretty high on my list—at #4, in fact. It is now conspicuous in its absence from this list. I still like the movie. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. It’s just that time has mellowed my feelings towards the film and the character, just a bit, and the inclusion of television/streaming properties in my consideration has altered the landscape.

Captain Marvel isn’t the only movie that disappeared from the list. It was just the highest ranked. Guardians of the Galaxy, which previously finished up the list in the #10 spot, is no longer here. Neither are Thor: Ragnarok (formerly #9) or the combined opus Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame (formerly #7).

No big countdown this time. My top-three didn’t change, so this list starts there and works its way down to #10.

#1 The Avengers (2012)

The first of the Avengers movies remains my favorite of all the MCU entries. It’s difficult to believe that this was already a decade ago. Joss Whedon demonstrated that his particular brand of teamup magic meshes well with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Avengers are basically an extension of BTVS‘s Scooby Gang, only with superpowers.

#2 Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Still my second-favorite movie. Chris Evans makes an even better Captain America than he did a Human Torch (although he could play Johnny Storm again now in the MCU, couldn’t he? Propbably won’t happen, but it’s a pleasant thought). This movie also introduced Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, which was icing on the already delicious cake that was this WWII-era origin story.

#3 Iron Man (2008)

Rounding out my personal top-three MCU projects—unchanged since my previous MCU movie list—is the one that kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe itself. This movie blew me away the first time I saw it, and I’ve enjoyed it during several rewatches since. Director Jon Favreau is on my short list of the Super-Nerds who have shaped our current pop culture (a future 10-List subject, no doubt).

#4 Agent Carter (2015-16) (ABC television)

This is where time and the inclusion of television and streaming MCU properties begins to change my list. Previously, Captain Marvel had been in the #4 spot, and now she’s no longer on the list. Maybe she’s still in the top-twenty. I don’t know. I didn’t bother to rank whatever comes after ten this time. I recently completed a rewatch of the Agent Carter television series (there’s that proximity bias again, I’m sure), which only served to reinforce how much I enjoyed this show the first time around, and how much I love Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter.

#5 The Punisher (2017-19) (Netflix)

Another new entry on this list. This Netflix series breathed new life into the character of Frank Castle. Other actors have played The Punisher in films, including Thomas Jane, Dolph Lundgren and Ray Stevenson, but Jon Bernthal has become the definitive version of the character in my mind. After much reflection, I’ve decided that this was my favorite of the Netflix Marvel series, all of which ended too soon. Another Netflix show made this new 10-List as well, but it wasn’t the one I expected.

#6 Doctor Strange (2016)

The origin tale of Dr. Stephen Strange was at #5 on my previous list, so it has dropped a place in the ranking. This is purely because of the inclusion of television/streaming properties. I still think very highly of this movie. I was already a Benedict Cumberbatch fan because of Sherlock. His casting as the Sorceror Supreme of the MCU was inspired.

#7 Jessica Jones (2015-19) (Netflix)

Here’s that other Netflix series I was talking about. Daredevil was close to breaking my top-ten. Very close. But this one has become my second-favorite of the Netflix series. I knew nothing about Jessica Jones before watching this series. I had fallen out of comic-book continuity long before she appeared in the pages of Marvel comics. Krysten Ritter brings a raw, gritty reality (for want of a better word) to the world of superhero comics, and David Tennant’s bravura performance as Kilgrave the Purple Man didn’t hurt either.

#8 Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

This movie occupies the same slot as in my previous list. The first Tom Holland outing as Peter Parker/Spider-Man genuinely felt like a homecoming as the webslinger made his way into the MCU. I was a fan of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies (the first one more than the others) but prefer Tom Holland in the role. He reminds me that superhero comics and live-action properties were once the sole province of younger people, instead of older guys like me who refuse to completely grow up. The folding-in of Spider-Man into the MCU also made other youth-oriented properties such as the Disney + series Ms. Marvel possible.

#9 Hawkeye (2021) (Disney +)

Speaking of youth-oriented properties. By this point in time, we’ve had quite a few Disney + Marvel series introduced, and I’ve liked all of them. But this is the only one that cracked my personal top-ten. This is due in no small part to the introduction of Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, another younger character who shares the name Hawkeye with Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton. I never expected to like this series as much as I did (and still do). Like Jessica Jones, Kate Bishop was an unknown quantity to me before I watched this Disney + series. Since then, I’ve read a couple of trade collections of her adventures. While I enjoyed them, I think I prefer the Disney + version of the character.

#10 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Last but not least. Believe it or not, Captain America was never one of my favorite Marvel superheroes back during the time I was actively collecting comic books. I remember collecting some of the Jack Kirby 1970s run, and during that short stretch when John Byrne was at the helm, but that was the extent of my fandom. The imprint of the character is all over four of the titles on my top-ten list. I’m counting The Avengers and Agent Carter in this. In many ways, Cap is the heart of the MCU, a throwback to those simpler times when good guys were good and bad guys were bad. This movie, reintroducing Cap’s old sidekick Bucky Barnes as the Manchurian candidate the Winter Soldier, was in many ways bridging the gap between the Gold and Silver Age do-gooders and our modern penchant for antiheroes like Wolverine and the Punisher. Or even Iron Man and Doctor Strange, who share a similar darkness even if it’s kept in check (usually).

This is my new MCU top-ten list, valid as of the date it is published.

Full disclosure: While I am mostly current on Phase 4 of the MCU, I still haven’t watched Thor: Love & Thunder (2022). While I remain an optimistic person in most situations, I seriously doubt it will crack my top-ten. If I am wrong, I will admit it later.

I also haven’t watched the television series Cloak & Dagger or Runaways, either. Yet. If they blow me away when I do, I’ll let you know that as well.

This particular 10-List will remain an evolving entity as long as the MCU is a thing. I will update it when it seems necessary.


2 thoughts on “10-List: Firewater’s Top-10 MCU Properties (New and Improved!!)

  1. Agent Carter was a solid series, and it was nice to see you give it some love here. Agents Of Shield was another ABC TV series I thought did a pretty good job for the most part. I would not have it in a top ten of mine, but I did enjoy most of its seasons. I would most likely list The Avengers as my first choice and yes, hard to believe ten years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was also a huge fan of Agents of SHIELD. At least for a couple of seasons, maybe three. Gradually, my enjoyment of the series declined, but I watched every season. No, not top ten. Certainly top half of the list, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.