This week we kick off our annual “Mouse Madness” voting bracket to determine… the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! With this being the tenth anniversary of Marvel Studios and the climatic Avengers: Infinity War about to hit theaters, it seemed right that we shift our attention in this direction and focus on the greatest heroes in the universe. However, with 18 entries into the MCU so far and only 16 slots, we needed to eliminate two films off the bat. With The Incredible Hulk being released by Universal and Sony putting out Spider-Man: Homecoming, they were the obvious choices to leave out this time around.
Voting begins on Thursday. This year’s divisions will feature three of the core MCU heroes and two amazing ensembles.
Division 1 — Iron Man and Challenger
Without Iron Man, there would be no Avengers. Tony Stark is the financial backer for many of the their operations, is a genius at tech, mentors Peter Parker, and has one of the best superhero origin stories ever. His two sequels introduce us to new Avengers and further inform us of the evil dangers that are hiding out just beyond our planet.
His challenger is Ant-Man because they both have “man” in their titles. Well not entirely for that reason, but it was one of the deciding factors! Ant-Man is a smart guy who manages to get himself involved in some not so great situations, but he’s trying hard to redeem himself. What’s great about Ant-Man is his ability to change sizes via a special suit that alters his atomic structure. He’s a worthy and dangerous adversary because you might not see him coming, or you might not be able to get out of his way! (Lest we forget, Ant-Man was also Team Cap in Civil War.)
Division 2 — Captain America and Challenger
Captain America is one of Marvel’s oldest heroes and a true American standard. Too scrawny to do much on the battlefield, Steve Rogers volunteered to help the Army the only way he could, by becoming a test subject. Injected with a special serum, the young Rogers transforms into the Shield wielding Captain we know and love. His sequels put him in direct conflict with his best friend and half of the Avengers as well as introduce us to his challenger.
Black Panther and Captain America have a few things in common. Love and pride for their country, an incredible sense of responsibility to protect their family and friends, and vibranium. The newly crowned king is at an advantage when it comes to vibranium. Black Panther’s home country of Wakanda contains the world’s supply of the substance and has used it in many different forms to advance their technology and build amazing weapons. He also has a really cool suit. And claws. Did we mention the claws???
Division 3 — Thor and Challenger
Our next hero lives far away from Earth on the planet Asgard. The mighty Thor, God of Thunder has not had it easy. Kicked out of Asgard by his father and banished to Earth without his hammer — all because of his arrogance — was a painful lesson for the god. However, he sacrifices himself to protect others proving his worth and his hammer returns. Thor’s sequels take us back to Asgard, among other planets, and has him working with and against his bothersome brother Loki.
Since Thor lives in a different realm from Earth, it seemed right that his challenger has the ability to travel through space (and time) and has also been taught a lesson in humility. Doctor Stephen Strange was a skilled surgeon who’s hands were badly damaged in a car accident. Unable to perform surgery, Strange seeks a cure for himself and finds magic. Along with the magic comes the ability to cast spells, move from place to place instantaneously, a cape that has a mind of its own, and the job of protecting Earth from otherworldly things…
Division 4 — Ensembles Battle
Not only is it fun to say “Avengers Assemble” but it’s fun to watch when it happens. This team of heroes that formed a family-like bond while protecting NYC made us wish we had powers too. They work together to fight the treats of Loki and his mysterious boss, and then team up again to battle the artificial intelligence, Ultron.
And speaking of family bonds, our second ensemble comes from a little further away. Ok, little is an understatement. We’re talking about the Guardians of the Galaxy! This mismatched group of weirdos become the unabashed protectors of the universe and we love them for it. With a range of skill sets and some crazy technology, these heroes might not be your go-to problem solvers, but they get job done. On their terms. How do they hold up compared to the Earthbound Avengers? That’s up to you to decide.
Join us this Thursday, March 15th and everyday after as we seek to crown the ultimate Marvel Cinematic Universe film so far.