Which Marvel Cinematic Universe sequels are we still going to be talking about in 10 years?
The MCU has now been around for a decade, and it now has a ridiculously huge repertoire of quality films. At this point, there’s pretty much a movie for every find of fan. Some people are partial to the origin stories of their favorite characters while some Marvel fans live for the ensemble Avengers movies. And then, there are the sequels.
It’s great that the MCU allows our favorite characters to live on outside of their origin story and the team films, but let’s be honest, the sequels are rarely anyone’s favorite. Outside of a few exceptions, these movies are usually fairly forgettable. So, which ones have managed to forge their own place in the MCU, and which ones are going to be all but forgotten in 10 years? Here’s our ranking of the sequels from most to least forgettable.
Disclaimer: We have not included the Avengers sequels in this list, only the single named character sequels.
8. ‘Iron Man 2
The fact that Iron Man 2 managed to introduce Natasha Romanoff as Black Widow and James Rhodes as War Machine and still managed to be the most forgettable MCU sequel is impressive…in an unfortunate way. I had to have my memory jogged to even remember that those things took place in this movie!
It’s not a bad movie, but I doubt it makes anyone’s (aside from the most hardcore Tony Stark fans) list of top 10 Marvel movies. There are some fun and heartfelt moments, but nothing that really stands out enough to remember, or that greatly affects the greater MCU. At the end of the day, Iron Man 2 is just one more adventure between the origin of Iron Man and the budding of his story arc in Avengers.
7. ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’
That’s right, the most recent Marvel sequel ranks just above the most forgettable. In fact, I saw it very recently, and I’ve pretty much forgotten about it already.
This isn’t to say that it’s not a fun movie which is worth seeing. It definitely is! However, in the grand scheme of things, Ant-Man and the Wasp will likely go the way of Iron Man 2. Quickly into MCU oblivion.
The movie does a great job of introducing The Wasp as the badass hero that she is, but other than that, the movie’s lack of a villain lightened the stakes a bit too much. The sequel served as a great reprieve from the bloodbath (kind of) that was Infinity War, but it’s certainly not one of the most memorable Marvel movies.
6. ‘Thor: The Dark World’
Despite featuring the emergence of one of the infinity stones, Dark World just isn’t that important in the grand scheme of the MCU. Also, many fans really didn’t like it all that much. Perhaps they took the whole “dark” world thing a little too literally.
The Thor sequel definitely had its stand out moments, most of which had to do with Loki. The movie dealt with the brothers’ fallout post-Avengers, and gave Loki a chance to prove himself. Of course, in the end, he simply proved himself to be the master of chaos who we’d always known him to be, which might have something to do with why this movie isn’t higher on the list.
5. ‘Iron Man 3’
The final installment in the Iron Man trilogy makes out a little better than its predecessor. Tony’s PTSD, the Mandarin, and Pepper’s involvement all combined to make Iron Man 3 both a better, and more memorable cinematic experience.
Had this movie actually been the end of Tony Stark’s story in the MCU, it likely would have ranked much higher, considering the extraordinary character development and the fact that, at the end of the movie, he decides to walk away from the suit. However, since it doesn’t seem like Tony even took a short break from Iron Man in the greater MCU, Iron Man 3 fades to the background.
4. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’
The Guardians of the Galaxy movies are definitely fan favorites within the MCU, which helps the sequel gain a higher than average spot on this list. The hilarious combination of the Guardians and the fact that the movies take place entirely in space help them stand out from the rest of Marvel’s offerings.
The Guardians sequel kind of blends into the first installment, but baby Groot, the addition of Mantis, and the character development of both Rocket and Yondu help the sequel stand on its own.
3. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’
With Winter Soldier, the Russo brothers showed just how good a Marvel movie could be. This one remains a favorite for many Marvel fans, mostly due to the first appearance of Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier, but also because of the amazing blend of mystery, action, stakes and humor that the brothers managed to achieve.
Where the Captain America franchise could’ve easily gone stale with the sequel, it was instead revitalized. That’s why we’re counting Winter Soldier as one of the most unforgettable MCU sequels!
2. ‘Thor: Ragnarok’
After they went a little too dark with the Thor sequel, Ragnarok lightened things up considerably. The film employed a completely different style and humor than any of the other MCU films, and because of that, it will always stand out among the pack.
While they were making jokes and living out insane space fantasies, they still managed to develop the characters of Thor and Loki just as much as the other Thor movies. Ragnarok also gave us a better insight into Hulk, and introduced amazing characters like Valkyrie!
1. ‘Captain America: Civil War’
Basically an Avengers movie in a star-spangled suit, Civil War takes the cake for least forgettable MCU sequel. Boasting almost as many characters as Infinity War, the third Cap movie introduced Spider-Man and Black Panther, began Bucky’s rehabilitation, showcased the budding romance between Scarlet Witch and Vision, and so much more.
This movie had huge implications for the MCU, not only because of the new characters that were brought into the Avengers, but also because of the relationships that were fortified and damaged during the Accords. All of that combined with the humor and amazing action sequences make Civil War more than deserving of the number one, least forgettable sequel, slot.