The films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe lend themselves especially well to ranking. In addition to the fact that there are 22 of them to choose from, the MCU’s varied approach to genre within the general confines of “superhero movie” means the collected filmography has something for just about everyone, and individual movies are going to play better for some than others. Even so, there does tend to be something of a consensus among Marvel fans about which films stand out and which are duds: Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Pretty Good! Thor: The Dark World? Meh.
Unless, that is, you’re doing the most internet thing possible and ranking the MCU films by whether or not they have trains in them, which is exactly what Tumblr user Evelyn, a.k.a. tilt-shift-blur, has done, to great effect.
By Evelyn’s rail-based rubric, the MCU gets off to a painfully slow start. The original Iron Man, the film that started it all and is generally considered to stand among the best Marvel efforts, gets a zero out of 10 for having no trains at all. The oft-forgotten, Ed Norton-starring The Incredible Hulk fares little better, earning a one out of 10 for featuring a verbal reference to the subway. The first Thor gets a zero as well since, as Evelyn notes, there are no trains in space. Iron Man 2 goes, well, completely off the rails, earning a negative 100 out of 10 for featuring a cameo by noted train and public-transit hater Elon Musk.
Things begin to look up from there, however, as Captain America: The First Avenger features a well-done train heist, The Avengers gives us at least a look at a freight train, and then Thor: The Dark World blows the doors off the series, earning the first perfect 10 out of 10 with a scene of Thor taking a ride on the London Underground.
Other high-water marks for the MCU include Antman’s Thomas The Tank Engine fight scene, Captain Marvel finally bringing trains into space, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, as “Peter ‘Numtot’ Parker rides on the train several times and also crashes a car for good measure.” (Though we can’t help but feel that Black Panther, which features a goddamn vibranium train in its finale, gets a bit cheated here with just a seven out of 10.)
So there you have it: As long as you are grading on a very specific scale, the best Marvel movies include Antman and Thor: The Dark World. As the MCU continues to chug along, hopefully Marvel will take these rankings to heart and give the fans more of what they want in upcoming releases.
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