Often considered to be Marvel’s answer to Superman, Captain America has had a seasoned history as not only a comic book character, but also a film star. For years, the character was known mostly only to ardent comic fans, but that changed overnight when Captain America was included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU for short. Not only does he appear in many of the films, but he also has his own trilogy which began in 2011. Although I personally believe they’re of equal quality, the list requests I rank them individually. Without further ado, here are the Captain America films ranked!
3. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
In the earlier days of the MCU, the films were often accused of being vehicles to promote future stories, with The First Avenger certainly not being immune to such criticism. Does it deserve this type of scrutiny? While the answer to me is no, it can be easy to see why this is the weakest film in the trilogy.
As far as plots go, The First Avenger is the fairly run-of-the-mill origin story. In it, starry-eyed Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a young man from Brooklyn, during the Second World War. Deemed too weak for service, he is selected to undergo an experimental procedure, which renders him super strong, super powerful, you get the idea. He begins to serve as a propaganda figure much like Uncle Sam, aptly titled Captain America. But trouble arises when the malevolent Red Skull launches an evil plot that could change all. Can Captain America prove that a kid from Brooklyn can save the day?
Although it functions mostly exposition for later movies, The First Avenger is a pleasantly charming throwback piece to the war-time era, with an aesthetic that captures this feeling nicely. It’s not the most action-packed or laugh-out-loud venture for Caps, but it’s a lot of fun regardless.
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
After the success of The Avengers, some found Captain America painfully out of touch and outclassed by his contemporaries. To that, I say…that’s kinda the point. Until this film, Captain America is supposed to be the eternally sunny kid in a man’s body, who fights for truth, justice and..yeah, this is sounding awfully familiar.
Fresh off of the victory in New York, Steve Rogers has been enjoying his new life for SHIELD. That is, until an old friend re-emerges, unaware of his surroundings. Enlisting the help of ally Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Rogers has to track down the threat and for the first time, questions if the government he held in such high esteem might be right in this case. Will Rogers stay as hopeful as ever, or will his world view turn upside down?
The Winter Soldier ups the ante not only in terms of dazzling action sequences but also in terms of the gripping story. Ideals are tested, friends appear to be foes and foes appear to be friends. Amidst this narrative ambiguity, we get a solidly engrossing story that stands the test of time.#
1. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
While it might seem cliche to rank the third film in a trilogy as either the absolute best or the absolute worst title in a series, to that I have two answers. One, some cliches have justification. Two, this is no ordinary third installment. In fact, it is probably the most pivotal film in the MCU and upon viewing it, it’s very easy to see why.
After yet another fiasco amidst the usual heroics, Rogers is faced with a choice. Either he and his allies can register their information within the government he has grown to firmly distrust, or they can become outlaws with a cause. To complicate matters further, enter Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Rogers’ ally and a fellow superhero. When Stark demands that Rogers and friends undergo registration, the stubborn Rogers refuses and a feud ensues. Will Rogers prevail over the authorities in charge, or is something far worse yet to occur?
There is no question that Civil War is the best Captain America film and one of the best MCU films overall. It’s not only jam-packed with the usual wisecracks, but also thoughtful concepts that challenge the viewers’ outlook. Smart and stylish, it is a fantastic film.