The “Thor Method” Is The Best Way To Rank Every Movie In The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Wanna know if a Marvel movie sucks or not? Just insert Thor into it.
Scientists believe that by the year 2030, every film will be a superhero film, and most of them will be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. By that time, we’ll have reached a critical mass of Marvel movies and the world will be crying out for a way of determining which ones are actually worth watching.
But just how will we sort through, categorise and rank the glut of Marvel movies? Enter ‘The Thor Method’.
Updated: 2019, to include Captain Marvel!
What The Dickens Is The Thor Method?
Glad you asked. The Thor Method, or simply ‘The MeThord’, is a technique patented by Junkee which theorises that any movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be ranked using the hypothetical inclusion of the character of Thor.
The Thor Method basically just involves inserting Thor into a movie to evaluate the strength of its plot. Does this film still retain its stakes and drama if it must also bear the weight of the God of Thunder? Does it still make sense? Or does Thor highlight how weak the narrative is?
Example: does the plot of the first Captain America movie hold up if Thor was helping old Cap out? Not really — Thor would literally flatten both the Red Skull, Hitler and the entire German Army. He would make mincemeat of all the foes, and therefore the competition that the comparatively-weaker Steve Rogers is fighting against would become… ludicrous.
Thor invalidates the struggle. The film would be over in about five minutes. Steve might not even get his muscle juice, because Thor had already ended WWII.
But Why Thor?
The reason Thor is chosen for this unique honour is because he is the most insanely overpowered hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
To begin with, he’s the Asgardian God of Thunder himself, able to wield the awesome power of thunder and lightning. That in itself would make him qualified to be amongst the more powerful chaps in the Avengers.
But, let’s add his extreme super strength, imperviousness to most harm, the ability to fly, and a magic hammer, and you’ve got an absolute unit of a hero. A real chunky muscle boy. Let’s not even talk about his power upgrade in Thor: Ragnarok.
The only other Avenger who comes close in sheer power is the Hulk, but despite some confusing sequences from the first Avengers movie, The Hulk cannot be controlled in any way — he’s a bit of a liability. Thor is the saner, equally powerful option.
There’s a reason why Thor wasn’t invited to the Civil War — he would have just wiped the floor with that entire cast.
So Let’s Rank All 18 Marvel Movies According To The Thor Method, I Guess
#21. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Thor would fly in, fight The Hulk a whole bunch and probably forcibly get him under control way before Bruce Banner can get his own house in order.
Basically take that Thor VS Hulk scene in Thor: Ragnarok, strip it of all fun and that’s what the movie would be. Not good.
#20. Iron Man 2 (2010)
In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark basically fights against a rogue scientist and deals with his poisoned heart still being full of metal. Also, the government is trying to control his technology. Tony Stark is basically a very scary start-up bro in this film.
Can you even imagine that lame electric whip boy flipping his doo-dads at Thor? It’s LAUGHABLE. Thor would smash up the entire premise of this film, and probably the US government too.
#19. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Obviously Thor is already in this film, and several other ones. But, in order to properly rate every film in the Marvel Universe, we’re going to rate whether or not the film uses the Thor they already have to good effect.
Spoiler: many films do not use Thor well.
Yikes. This film is wildly forgettable, and basically tries to deal with Thor’s extra-ness by proliferating a bunch of portals, forgettable villains, mysterious red gases and… blergh. The only real attempt at personalising the stakes is burdening Thor with working with his brother Loki.
#18. Doctor Strange (2016)
Doctor Strange was a mess, with a series of flimsy plot props based on magic and time stones. It’s unclear whether Thor would immediately invalidate those stakes — they’re all kind of too murky and confusing to really be properly categorised, but he certainly would have been a big help. Thor is a good boy, who always tries his best.
I think the thing is that nothing can really make the story better, so Thor’s introduction would not be out of place. He would probably smash Dormammu right out of this dimension.
#17. Thor (2011)
In Thor, our magic boy is banished to Earth by his stern dad, without any of his perks. The way that Thor deals with the overwhelming power of Thor is by structuring the entire movie around stripping him of his strength, magic and birthright. It’s a decent way of dealing with the issue, but the film still struggles in a bunch of other ways.
If ANOTHER Thor was to join Thor in Thor, the entire film would be finished in a hot minute. And maybe they’d kiss…
#16. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Thor is in Age of Ultron too, and the film basically attempts to engineer stakes by making Thor disappear for a bunch of this movie. Then when he gets back with the Avengers, they’re all really stroppy at each other.
This feels like a rather contrived attempt at bringing the Avengers back to their original state of not being friends to diminish their effectiveness. It’s only an okay way of managing Thor, and only an okay movie.
#15. Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018)
The major plot line of Ant-Man And The Wasp is a daring plan to rescue a beautiful older woman from the Quantum Realm, an endeavour that Thor would simply be no help with at all! He’s too big! Famously a chonky god!
However, most of this film is spent fighting a lady whose powers are “not always quite being there” which tbh, sounds like me emotionally in relationships.
Thor would be VERY adept at fighting her, allowing the tiny people to go and rescue Michell Pfeiffer with alacrity, diminishing the length of this film to about 30 hot minutes.
#14. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Weirdly, in terms of actual power, there is a god more powerful in this film than Thor — Kurt Russell. He’s an entire planet!
But because that Celestial dude is so excessively powerful they limited his abilities in a bunch of different ways, which means that Thor coming in would FUCK. SHIT. UP action wise. Let’s put it this way — they made a raccoon feel included, so Thor would absolutely be appreciated. The worst part of the film is the contrived scenarios they came up with to keep all the Guardians feeling involved and useful.
However, the main thrust of the story is between Starlord and his bad daddy, and nothing can change that — showing that, at its heart, there is a reasonably strong core to this film.
#13. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The first Captain America was a perfectly cromulent origin story — about a young patriotic boy having an absolute glow-up thanks to science, and bashing up some Nazis. I enjoyed it.
But, unfortunately, the hypothetical arrival of Thor into the situation does show that it’s a fairly weak story. Thor would smash the entire third Reich to pieces, beat the Red Skull into a paste and probably make it completely unnecessary for Cap to sacrifice himself and live in an iceberg.
# 12. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Listen, Thor is famously IN Avengers: Infinity War — and he can’t stop all the bad stuff from going on. He does his best. He does the most!
This movie is basically the most neutral example of the Thor Method — they’ve put him up against a foe convincingly powerful enough to provide Thor with a fight. No change! This movie exists as is.
#11. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
There’s a reason that Thor and Hulk were the only Avengers not invited to this party — they would absolutely ruin the stakes of this movie.
Frankly, Thor could mop the floor with pretty much every B-level hero in this film without breaking a sweat, making the entire premise of the titular showdown pointless. Whatever side Thor picked would immediately win, effectively stopping the war in its tracks.
Civil War was a fun movie, but the Thor Method illustrates that it’s shaky on premise.
However, the reason it creeps into the top 10 is because Captain America spends a lot of this film trying to save his mate Bucky, and it’s their personal connection that makes this uniquely possible. Thor would not be able to help the metal-armed sad friend.
#10. Iron Man (2008)
When billionaire arms dealer Tony Stark gets captured by terrorists, he builds his own suit of armour to both escape and save his life from the shrapnel threatening his heart.
This is a good film — if you shove Thor into it, he can easily beat the terrorists and other bad guys, but frankly, so can Iron Man. Thor can do absolutely nothing to save Tony Stark from the true villains in the piece, namely the shards of metal embedded in his chest, and his own troubled conscience.
#9. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy is a really fun movie with a rambling, messy story. Thor’s addition to the mix would honestly be pretty cool, and while some of the action scenes would become a bit skewed towards the Guardian’s side, the whole thing is ridic enough to kinda accept him.
There’s a reason why Thor is going to be hanging out with them in the Infinity War film — he fits right in.
#8. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
Thor’s inclusion in this film is managed pretty well, despite the fact that he out-powers several of his friends.
The real hurdle is getting the superheroes to work together as a team, and until they do that, their true potential remains un-utilised. The Avengers was an important turning point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it deserves its place in the top 10 for many reasons. The moral of this film is friendship, and Thor loves his buddies.
The foes are also powerful and numerous enough in scope to require both a Thor and a Hulk — it’s a full-on alien invasion. Also, the engineer of the entire event is another Asgardian God, who has a specifically personal connection to Thor — he’s his sneaky, handsome brother. Thor is needed in this movie to handle his difficult family, tbh.
#7. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Iron Man 3 is one of the best character studies in the Marvel Universe, because the majority of the arc is about Tony Stark dealing with complex PTSD in the wake of literally fighting off an alien invasion in The Avengers.
“Ever since that big guy with the hammer fell out of the sky, the rules have changed,” says Stark, acknowledging both that gods walking among mortals changes everything, and the premise of this entire article.
Adding Thor into this film would definitely help Iron Man out in smashing up some bad guys, but once again — Iron Man was perfectly capable of doing this himself. It’s the internal struggle that creates the true stakes, and even 1000 Thors couldn’t really help Tony Stark battle his internal demons. Good movie.
#6. Ant-Man (2015)
Okay, Ant-Man manages to slip through the cracks on a technicality, due to the fact that Thor is too, well, big to actually really be involved with this entire storyline. Honestly, it doesn’t say much about the merits of the STORY of Ant-Man which is… just fine, I guess. Ant-Man cheats its way into the top five, frankly.
But Thor in this movie would be about as useless as a thumb on your butt.
#5. Captain Marvel (2019)
Well, Marvel really had to go and do it — create a superhero as equally (if not MORE) overpowered as Thor.
Captain Marvel really is THAT binch — she would give Thor a run for his money. I don’t know who would win — we might even find out in Avengers: End Game, we just don’t know.
Therefore, Thor being included in the Captain Marvel would be a weird addition, but not inherently ruinous — if he was in opposition, they would fight. If he helped her out, it wouldn’t change anything. She could already do it — and more.
Captain Marvel at its heart is about an already powerful hero discovering who they are, reclaiming their memories and their own agency — Thor would love that for her! He wouldn’t really change anything.
#4. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
The strength of Thor: Ragnarok lies in finding someone stronger than Thor, having Cate Blanchett wipe the floor with him and then watching Thor lose all sense of self once he realises he’s not the strongest boy around anymore.
It’s not the best story in the world, but it’s a really fun and dramatic way of dealing with his strength, and totally leans into the clash of massive archetypical forces of myth and doom rather than inventing more mortal stakes. And the music! Melts your face off.
#3. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming is probably the best origin film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically because that adorable little bouncing boy Peter Parker totally has access to the heavyweight Avengers team (specifically Iron Man) but chooses not to use them.
It’s his pride and secretive nature that creates the stakes in the whole situation. The Vulture is a perfectly scary villain for a Spiderman still coming into his own powers. Even if Thor was around, the whole premise of the movie is that Parker wouldn’t ask him for help. Thor would change nothing.
#2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
In The Winter Soldier, the majority of the action revolves around the fact that an evil organisation has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D, including their ultra invasive network of giant gun-filled helicopters, which they will use to kill all the goodies. Furthermore, Hydra is using a scary assassin named The Winter Soldier to take out director Nick Fury, as well as attack Cap himself.
While there would be benefits to Thor’s involvement in this film — some of the fight scenes would be over quicker, maybe even the heli-carriers’ danger minimised. The main drive of the movie is around the double-crossing espionage, which not only would Thor not be able to stop, but he’d probably be horribly baffled by the concept. He would probably even be a liability!
The other big reason why Thor would be useless is that Captain America is probably quite capable of killing or dramatically stopping the Winter Soldier — but because it’s his brainwashed friend Bucky Barnes, he’s fighting to both save him from death and stop him from causing more damage.
Thor would come in and just blow up Bucky with lightning.
#1. Black Panther (2018)
There are parts of Black Panther that would dramatically change with the inclusion of Thor, such as a bunch of the fight scenes at the beginning. Obviously Thor would be a big help. However the defining point of the film is centred around a ritual combat which T’Challa loses — Thor’s involvement would just be as a startlingly Aryan bystander.
The most important parts of Black Panther are always based around concepts of personal responsibility and individual honour, which we see manifested through the ritual combat at the centre of the plot. Even the question of Wakanda’s role as a force in the outside world is manifested through the very personal clash between T’Challa and Killmonger, which spills out into a Wakandan civil war.
Thor’s involvement would be both unwelcome and unneeded for the majority of the film, showing that the stakes and the internal themes of the movie are interweaved and inseparable. Black Panther wins the Thor test.
Patrick Lenton is an author and staff writer at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.