The Best And Worst [MCU Heroes]

Greetings, LRM readers. You probably don’t recognize my name here and that’s because this is my first article. Like you, I’m a fellow movie, TV and pop culture fan. I’ve been coming to this site for years and years, back when it was known only as Latino Review and focused on studio moles to provide spoilers for upcoming movies. I’m happy for the change to a broader, news based format, which is why I’ve decided to step out of the fanboy shadows and take an active part in the discussion by posting some articles of my own. We’ll see how that goes! LOL. By the way, I also love debating with fellow fans and look forward to engaging with readers in the comment sections, as well.

Now let’s cut to the chase. My first article is what I hope will be an ongoing series. I know you’ve seen top five lists before, but I thought I would try something different this go round. Rather than list the best OR worst, I thought I would do a compare and contrast of the best AND worst. This first column is an easy one where I take on the MCU’s heroes. I hope you enjoy and if you have time, drop me a line in the comments and let me know your thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Maybe you have a different list?

Now, onto the list…

First up we have the best MCU heroes (current roster edition):

This is a tough one. Marvel is generally regarded as having done an overall better job with it’s heroes than it’s villains. Therefore, coming up with a top 5 required a lot of thought and a little re-watching to help narrow it down.

Anyway, here goes:

5. Star Lord- What can I say, Chris Pratt brings the funny. Along with Paul Rudd as the grossly underrated Ant-man, Pratt as Star Lord gives the MCU a comical lift that keeps things from being overly dour even as universe ending threats reign down upon our heroes. His chemistry with those around him elevates the material beyond the page, and there’s an earnestness to his every-man performance that makes him so darn likeable. I mean, how great were those scenes in the last two Avengers with Thor and him verbally sparring over who got to be the alpha? I know I was rooting for Star Lord, the MCU’s greatest underdog.

4. Black Panther- As you read further, you may notice that the best and worst heroes list comes down to several key factors. One, the performance of the actor playing them. Two, does the character bring something special to the MCU and it’s potential for ongoing and future stories? Three, the hero must be well rounded with a great, emotional backstory we can emphasize with. Four, does the script hold up and allow them to shine? With Black Panther, the answer to all of these is yes. Chadwick Boseman absolutely crushed it as T’Challa. So much so that he was being talked about as the next leader of the Avengers – big shoes to fill. To say he will be missed is an understatement, but it would be a shame for Marvel to let the character himself go, too.

3. Loki- Yes, yes, I know he started out as a villain, but he ended up as a hero and in between the two he spent a good deal of time operating as an anti-hero, so I’m counting him. The fact that he started as a bad guy and became a good guy is in itself a testament to the strength of the character, and, chiefly, Tom Hiddleston’s performance. As Loki, he is simply mesmerizing to watch. He’s a wild card, whose unpredictability creates a whole new dynamic in any movie he’s in. Hiddleston plays him with such joy and relish you almost want him to win. Because of this, the fans simply won’t let Marvel kill him off. In this case, the fans are right, and Loki will finally get his own stand alone adventure on Disney Plus soon.

2. Captain America- I suppose the most mainstream and on the nose of all my picks far, but with good reason. Of all the heroes on this list, he has had the most time to develop as a character. And he has not disappointed. Time and again, his values, morals and belief system have all been thrown into doubt, yet he has always emerged stronger. Theoretically, Cap should play in today’s topsy turvy US as cheesy and outdated, but instead he oozes pure American badassery that is almost enough to make even the most hardened liberal stand up and shout “I love Trump!”. He is both the defender of American ideals and their spokesman. Under Chris Evans, Cap was elevated from a B lister to an A list hero, someone more Superman in today’s world than Superman himself. I simply find it impossible that the Cap we know and love won’t somehow return.

1.Doctor Strange- Were you expecting Iron Man, perhaps? Or Thor? Don’t get me wrong, I adore both of them, but this isn’t a “my favorite hero” list. Stephen Strange finds himself here because he is the most unique of the MCU heroes. While so much of the MCU is based in science, the good doctor brings magic to the fold, thus giving audiences a whole new playing field to explore. I expect the science vs magic debate that he and Tony Stark began to continue and, in fact, take on a more important role going forward. As the multiverse begins to take shape in the MCU, no doubt Doctor Strange will be an entertaining guide. He also happens to have the oddest of side kicks: a self aware cape. Take that, talking raccoon!

And now, the worst heroes in the MCU (current roster edition):

5. Spiderman. Wha???? First, let me clarify that Tom Holland has crushed it in the role. He’s a great Peter Parker and a great Spiderman. He simply blows Andrew Garfield out of the water (not hard to do, granted). My issue is with the material he has been given. Marvel has played him as second fiddle to all the other heroes. While on one hand, I like the contrast of having him as the local sup compared to the global powerhouses of Iron Man and, say, Hulk, Spiderman himself is simply too big for that. He needs to be treated the way Sony treated him when Tobey MacGuire had the role – as an A list hero. In other words, less John Hughes, more James Cameron. It also feels like Marvel is trying too hard to avoid brushing up against Sony’s Spidermen, going so far as talking around his origin story and purposely avoiding anything to do with Uncle Ben and any villains Sony already used. That’s a lot of wasted story and opportunities. In many cases, being different isn’t better. For example, having Aunt May learn of his identity did little for the story and, again, felt like nothing more than an attempt to be different than Sony. I’m not sure suddenly bringing all the elements together in the multiverse in Spidey 3 is the right way to correct this, either. Perhaps Doctor Strange will somehow use his magic to give the MCU spidey franchise a soft reset, especially now that the world knows who Peter Parker is. Maybe Strange can use some kind of spell to wipe everyone’s memory of that fact? If so, I hope Marvel finally treats Spider-man as the big leaguer he deserves to be.

4. Captain Marvel. Brie Larson doesn’t cut it. She is too bland in the role and seems more like she is acting tough than actually is tough. She is desperate to imbue the role with grrrl power, but her performance just comes out stiff. Imagine someone with the depth of Charlize Theron in the part? Carol Danvers is also simply too overpowered, and Marvel is going to have to start bending over backward just to avoid having her around so she can’t dispatch the villains too quickly.

3. War Machine. Another character failed by someone trying too hard. Don Cheadle is simply playing him as too cocky and a bit of an unlikeable jerk. He’s an entirely different person than Rhodes was in the first Iron Man, as portrayed by Terence Howard. As such, I’m not sure “Rhodey” is going to be able to handle his own show (the forthcoming Armor Wars) given how super serious and un-fun the character currently is. War Machine also just can’t shake the fact he is essentially a boot-leg Iron Man. Now that Tony is gone, War Machine is going to have to get some more depth to fill that armor. To fix him, Marvel needs to put him through the emotional ringers. Let us see him dealing with the fall out of his decision to turn his back on the government in Infinity War. How does that weigh on someone who has spent their whole life following orders to a T? What’s it like living in Tony’s shadow? And strip him of some of that smug self assurance. It also wouldn’t hurt to give him a fun sidekick to play off.

2. Wasp. I hate that there is another woman on the list. It implies that Marvel hasn’t done a good job with it’s female heroes, but Gamorra, Mantis, Black Widow and a slew of others have shown that isn’t the case. And this isn’t to say I don’t like Evangelline Lilly. I thought she was perfect in the first Ant-Man film, but for some reason when she put on the costume in part 2, she ran into the same problem that plagues Captain Marvel: the character turned rigid. She’s just trying a little too hard to be a badass in the suit and it feels unnatural. Tone it down and this character has a lot of potential.

1. Smart Hulk. True, Smart Hulk is the Hulk, but he is so different from the OG Hulk that he’s almost an entirely different character. The concept of him is good. The idea of bringing a freshness to the character of the Hulk is good. And there’s a lot of potential for comedy gold with him, especially in light of the news he is scheduled to appear in She-Hulk (is he sued for all the destruction he has caused?). But how much funnier would it be if his temper was still unchecked. Can you imagine Hulk in the courtroom trying to keep his cool as all those puny humans cross examine him? What isn’t so good, then? His introduction, for one. Too much, too fast. Infinity War ends with Banner and Hulk needing to come to an arrangement. Hulk is scared to come out and fight. And with Smart Hulk, he is still scared in a way. We never got to see the conflict play out between Banner and Hulk, showing us how he essentially comes out of his shell as set up in Infinity War. Instead, we are shown the aftermath of regular Hulk just giving up. I don’t buy the idea of him giving in to Banner so easily considering their antagonistic history. For me, Endgame didn’t earn the merging between the two personalities. There’s also the fact when he shows up in the fourth Avengers he is a big time celebrity (and loves it). That seems at odds with both characters. And you’re telling me he’s so popular those kids in the diner would have ignored Captain America completely? Aside from a few laughs, he’s basically Banner in the Hulk body and it wasn’t interesting enough. In other words, he’s lost his edge. And without his edge, Hulk just doesn’t cut it.

Well, that’s it. I’m sure some of you disagree. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments. What did I get wrong? Or am I not completely crazy?

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