Seahawks Assemble: Gadsden talks and ranks the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Brandon Sans, Sports Editor

After 21 films over 11 years, the finale of this incarnation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will conclude on April 26 with the premiere of Avengers: Endgame.

In anticipation of this worldwide blockbuster that’s almost assured to rake in over $200 million during its opening weekend, The Seahawk sat down with UNC Wilmington men’s basketball’s resident Marvel fan Ty Gadsden.

Gadsden wasn’t a Marvel fan prior to the movies but came to love all of Stan Lee’s characters through the MCU films. He took the time to answer some questions about the MCU and ranked all 21 of the films leading up to Endgame.

Q: Who is your favorite Marvel character?

Ty Gadsden: “I would say Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), but before Infinity War it was probably Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). I just liked his humor. I always thought he was funny. He was just a regular person going around space doing random stuff.”

Q: Which ones have you watched the most?

 TG: “Probably a tie between the first Guardians of the Galaxy and Civil War. I watch everything more than once, but those two are probably the most I’ve seen. I only see them once in the theater though.”

Q: There was a lot of speculation of the ‘Avengers 4’ title. They made everyone wait for it. Did you like the choice of Endgame? 

TG: “They wanted people not to think it was Endgame. It’s been said in a couple of movies, so for them to wait that long was odd. I thought it was going to be ‘Annihilation.’ I was rooting for Endgame.”

Q: Whether it be expiring contracts or just too many years of one role, several actors are expected to depart from the MCU after Endgame. What death do you expect to see in the movie?

TG: “Man, I don’t know which one to say. Probably Captain America (Chris Evans). I think they’ll keep Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) for Spider-Man stuff. Him being a mentor to Peter Parker (Tom Holland) sort of like a Nick Fury-type character.”

Q: As the MCU shifts away from characters like Captain America and Iron Man, what are some other characters you’d like to see take a more prominent role in the franchise?

TG: “Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) even though I’d like to see more of Black Panther. The way Infinity War ended, Strange was a bigger part of that movie than I expected.”

Q: If someone at Disney or Marvel asked you to star in a movie what character would you like to play?

 TG: “Miles Morales. I still haven’t seen [Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.]”

Q: What Infinity Stone do you want to own?

TG: “The Time Stone. No more shot clock violations. You could always change something that was embarrassing or you can go into the future. There’s a lot of stuff you can do with that stone.”

Without further ado, Gadsden ranks the MCU movies. (I added some explanations that he and I discussed.)

Ty Gadsden’s Marvel Movies

21.Thor: The Dark World (2013)

One of these movies had to be ranked last. It made a total of $644.6 million worldwide and had a 67% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

20. Iron Man 2 (2010)

This one didn’t stand much of a chance to be ranked higher as Gadsden had to be reminded of the movie’s plot. That’s what happens when over 10 other blockbusters come right after it.

19. Iron Man 3 (2013)

A toss-up with Iron Man 2, neither of the Iron Man sequels had much of the impact as the first one.

18. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Like most people who grew up watching Tobey Macguire climb buildings and spin webs, there’s not as much emotional connection to Holland’s awkwardly loveable portrayal of everyone’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

17. Captain Marvel (2019)

This one may be a bit low to some, but remember Gadsden has only seen it once in theaters. I’ll assume it will be ranked higher after a second viewing or if Carol Devers (Brie Larson) kicks Thanos’ butt in Endgame.

16. Thor (2011)

Aside from the titular character, this is where all fans begin a love-hate relationship with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) for almost a decade.

15. Iron Man (2008)

That the O.G. of the MCU franchise falls this low has more to do with how outstanding each of these films is rather than an indictment of the one that started it all.

14. Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Imagine your long-lost father turns out to be a planet that killed your mom. Then remember that Daddy Ego was played by Kurt Russell. (I can’t believe it either.)

13. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) is first introduced to the MCU in a post-credits scene at the end of Ant-Man. Instead of having the character debut on screen in Infinity War, Marvel waited until this movie to show the female counterpart to Ant-Man. Both will appear in Endgame.

12. The Avengers (2012)

A bold idea to put several A-List actors headlining their own franchises inside the MCU paid off and put us all on the path to Thanos.

11. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

After playing a similar Thor in several MCU films, Hemsworth wanted to stretch the character a bit. The result was a short-haired, hammerless and comical God of Thunder that was so successful, parts of Infinity War were rewritten to add humorous Thor.

10. Doctor Strange (2016)

An arrogant neurosurgeon becomes a Master of the Mystic Arts after a deadly car accident. Just a normal day for Benedict Cumberbatch.

9. Ant-Man (2015)

Paul Rudd adds to the list of casting decisions Marvel knocked out of the park.

8. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

In a minor upset, the big green monster comes into Gadsden’s top 10. Most people put this lower in their rankings due to Edward Norton’s poor acting, but Gadsden called it “fun to watch.” He does agree that the switch from Norton to Mark Ruffalo was for the better.

7. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

We first meet Steve Rogers as a weak-yet-brave New Yorker who wants to serve his country in World War II. A steroid shot and the longest power nap in history brings Captain America into the modern-day world.

6. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Fans are first introduced to Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) in the direct sequel to The Avengers.

5.Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

This was the first MCU film Gadsden saw after Hulk. He wasn’t into the movies until he saw Winter Solider on television. That changed quick.

4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Gadsden would have sided with the Steve Rogers-led faction of the Avengers because he didn’t think the government should have a say in whether the Avengers could save the world or not.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

This was Gadsden’s initial favorite film in the franchise. He enjoyed the Space setting as opposed to all the Earth-based superhero movies usually shown on the big screen.

2. Black Panther (2018)

Gadsden found it difficult not to root for Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan), the cousin of King T’Challa who attempts to seize the throne himself. Black Panther highlights the ethnic diversity Marvel has purposely brought to the MCU.

1. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

There was never any doubt what film would take the top spot, though it will likely move down a peg after the release of Endgame.

Sports Editor Brandon Sans can be found on Twitter @bsans10. Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to