Sick of films from Marvel Studios? Think list articles are cliche? If your answer to either of those questions is ‘no,’ then there is a chance you will not hate this countdown of the best (and only) films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
In some ways, Captain America is a weaker film than the films in the Iron Man series. Our hero has an overly-simplified notion of right and wrong, and he’s in a conflict without much grey area in terms of which side is in the right. The villain (Red Skull) is literally a Nazi. Even more than the first Iron Man, there’s just a feeling that this film purely exists to give the backstory of Captain America before he goes on more important adventures in bigger films.
Steve Rogers does not even really have much of an arc in terms of personal growth (emotionally at least). He starts off the film (literally) willing to fall on a grenade to save people, and he ends the film (metaphorically) willing to fall on a grenade to save people.
The trials and tribulations he goes through really lacked impact. The most problematic of them of course being the “death” of Bucky Barnes. Bucky didn’t make much of an impression on screen beforehand, and the way his death was handled on screen made it seem unimportant and perfunctory (“He’s just going to come back next film anyway! No need to make people sad that he’s died now!”).
With all that said, I give this film the edge over the Iron Man series because I just enjoy being in this corner of the MCU more now. That’s not entirely fair, but The Winter Soldier and Agent Carter have absolutely made me more invested in The First Avenger when I go back and re-watch it. In comparison, I’ve grown less and less interested in the Iron Man series as time goes on. That may seem like stupid reasoning to some, but it’s definitely led to me preferring The First Avenger to any of the films above it on this list.