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Only 7% Of People Thought This Marvel Movie Had The Best Special Effects

Everybody loves the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it's not just because they're special effects-heavy blockbusters featuring our favorite superheroes. The vast majority of the films of Marvel Studios are special because, for all their spectacle, they're character-driven movies, crafted by creatives who care about the material, and cast impeccably with actors who never fail to absolutely inhabit their roles. Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, the late, great Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther — these are all the kinds of matchups of actor with role that other franchise-minded studios can only dream of, and Marvel seems to hit that particular bullseye over and over, year after year, without fail.

Having said that, do we also love Marvel's flicks for their astonishing, brain-bending visual effects and bang-up superhero brawls? Of course we do, and since its inception, the MCU's special effects have been nothing to sneeze at. In fact, 23 films in and counting, it can be downright tough to pin down which entry's special effects are the most spectacular — so we decided to put the question to our readers. We took a survey of 650 fans across the U.S. with a stumper of a query: Which MCU film has the best special effects? The result surprised us so much that this time around, we're starting with the film that garnered the fewest number of votes: Captain America: Civil War, with only 6.92 percent of respondents naming it the best.

This is a film with some spectacular set pieces, from the opening pursuit of Brock "Crossbones" Rumlow in Lagos, to the legendary airport brawl between opposing factions of Avengers, to the final three-way battle between Cap, Iron Man, and Bucky Barnes. Somehow, though, our survey's respondents pegged it as the Marvel flick with the least noteworthy special effects by a fairly large margin.

A pair of trippy Marvel movies didn't fare too well in Looper's survey

Another big surprise: Thor: Ragnarok, a super-trippy VFX showcase which also underperformed in our survey by bringing in only 9.54 percent of the vote. The film boasts an absurd number of brilliant special effects sequences: the opening scene, the epic slug-fest between Thor and the Hulk in the Grandmaster's arena, Valkyrie's harrowing flashback to her first encounter with Hela, and the massive clash of forces on the Bifrost Bridge in the third act all come to mind. Ragnarok's remarkably assured retro visual aesthetic — courtesy of first-time Marvel director Taika Waititi — helps to tie all of those effects-heavy sequences together, and even the flick's CGI characters, like the genial blue rock monster Korg and the giant, Asgard-destroying behemoth Surtur, are amazingly realized.

Perhaps even more shocking than Ragnarok's low placement is the movie with the next-fewest number of votes: Doctor Strange, which was crowned Marvel's VFX champion by only 14.15 percent of respondents. We'll admit to being puzzled in the extreme by this one: from its brain-breaking opening sequence to its eye-popping trip through the multiverse to the good Doctor's final battle with the dread Dormammu, the film's visual effects are uniformly inventive, expertly rendered, and totally bonkers. Apparently, it takes more than pure mind-blowing trippiness to impress Looper's readers — because otherwise, Doctor Strange would likely have clobbered every other movie in the MCU in a walk, with Ragnarok a close second.

The Guardians and the Wakandans' VFX wowed Looper readers

The next two films on the list garnered significantly more respectable vote totals, beginning with director James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, which placed next, with 17.54 percent of the vote. We can definitely get behind this one — just think about how your jaw hit the floor when the Guardians, David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" blaring on the soundtrack, approached the interstellar outpost known as Knowhere for the first time. Or, how about the all-out, Star Wars style battle as the forces of Xandar attempted to hold off Ronan the Accuser's armies — or the final battle between the Guardians and Ronan himself, with its fantastic visual illustration of the immense... well, power of the Power Stone?

One would be hard-pressed to come up with a reason to leave Guardians out of the "best special effects" discussion, but the film which scored the second-highest number of votes — 20.15 percent of the total — might come as a bit of a surprise. Black Panther is a fantastic, critically acclaimed winner of three Academy Awards which nevertheless is also famous for a couple of pretty dodgy visual effects moments (via Engadget). In particular, the third-act battle between T'Challa and Erik "Killmonger" Stevens on a Wakandan hyperloop track uses CGI character models that (to put it charitably) could have used a little more work, and even the famous sequence in which T'Challa pursues a vehicle driven by Ulysses Klaue through the streets of Busan, South Korea contains a few moments wherein it's pretty obvious we're looking at CGI models, and not actual people and objects. 

Having said that, Black Panther does contain some truly breathtaking VFX moments — like our first proper introduction to Wakanda, and T'Challa's visit to his deceased father T'Chaka on the ancestral plane. But when it comes to staggeringly awesome special effects, Looper's readers placed one Marvel film in a familiar position: above all the rest.

Survey says: Marvel's biggest movie had its best special effects

26.2 percent of our survey's respondents — over 1 in 4 — named Avengers: Endgame as Marvel's biggest, best special effects extravaganza. It's tough to argue with this one — the film's third act alone, in which all of Earth's Mightiest Heroes assemble to take on a time-traveling Thanos and his armies, contains more iconic, effects-driven moments than any number of other superhero films contain during their entire run times. You've got Doctor Strange opening up dozens of sling ring portals to transport all of the previously dusted heroes to the battlefield. Captain Marvel arriving on the scene to promptly take down an enormous starship all by herself. A Mjolnir-wielding Captain America calling down the lightning while going toe-to-toe with Thanos. Spider-Man's panicked ride aboard Valkyrie's winged steed. And so, so much more.

There may never be another movie, let alone another Marvel flick, with Endgame's sheer volume of visual effects shots designed to leave your mouth agape and your eyes the size of dinner plates, so its position at the head of the pack in our survey isn't all too terribly surprising. What is rather surprising: among the 5.08 percent of respondents who selected "Other," not one of them named their favorite, only responding with variations of "I don't know." (What, nobody went to bat for Ant-Man?) 

We suppose we get it. Picking the best of anything Marvel is sort of like choosing a favorite ice cream flavor. Sure, everybody might have one or two preferences, but at the end of the day, it's all ice cream.