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Every Marvel One-Shot Short Film Ranked Worst To Best

The vast lore of the Marvel Cinematic Universe today spans over two dozen feature films and a growing list of streaming series. But a more niche aspect of the MCU that some fans might not even be aware of (or at least don't revisit as often as the tentpole projects) is the Marvel One-Shot program.

A Marvel One-Shot is a stand-alone short film meant to tell its own, self-contained story beyond the confines of a full-length movie. As the book "The Story of Marvel Studios" shares, MCU producer Brad Winderbaum created the One-Shot program, inspired by the storytelling of Pixar short films and the language Marvel Comics uses for individual issues that aren't part of a recurring series.

From the program's inception, One-Shots were a perfect fit for Marvel's ongoing experimental filmmaking. The shorts could feature characters familiar to audiences from the films, they could introduce new faces, or they could land somewhere in the middle to build more nuanced backstories for comparatively minor characters. The sky was the limit with this ambitious endeavor.

Between 2011 through 2018, Marvel produced a total of eight One-Shots. Since most of them made their debut as bonus features on the Marvel home video releases, not all audiences have even gotten to see them. Fortunately, fans can now find all of them streaming on Disney+, conveniently located in their own tidy collection. As a bit of a guide to these hidden gems of the MCU, here's a look at all of the One-Shots, ranked from worst to best.

9. Honorable Mention: Peter's To-Do List (2019)

Debuting with the 2019 home video release of "Spider-Man: Far From Home," "Peter's To-Do List" is technically billed as a short film and serves essentially the same function as other One-Shots, but is not officially part of the One-Shot program. Director Jon Watts conceded that "Peter's To-Do List" was actually salvaged from deleted scenes intended for the main feature. The scenes depict Peter Parker running errands the day before his big European vacation, among them retrieving his passport (including a line featured in the "Far From Home" trailer, "Peter Parker here to pick up a passport, please") and stopping by the bodega of Mr. Delmar, who is otherwise absent from "Far From Home."

The result is an amalgamation of vignettes that feel haphazardly strung together by an odd motion graphic between each scene. While extra footage of Tom Holland as Peter Parker is never a bad thing, "Peter's To-Do List" very much feels like what it is — a collection of deleted scenes — rather than its own standalone story.

8. The Consultant (2011)

"The Consultant," debuting with the 2011 home video release of "Thor," is little more than Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Agent Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) conversing in a restaurant booth for three minutes, with the mid-credits scene from 2008's "The Incredible Hulk" sandwiched in for context. That scene, featuring Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) approaching General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt) about a new hero joining the Avenger Initiative, is the very premise of the entire short film. It seems that the World Security Council thinks Emil Blonsky, aka the Abomination, would be a worthy addition to the team of heroes they're assembling, but Coulson and Sitwell disagree. They need someone to pitch Blonsky's recruitment who Ross is likely to refuse. Enter Stark, aka "The Consultant."

This inaugural One-Shot barely justifies its existence and finds itself at a point in the MCU timeline where anyone unfamiliar with the franchise likely won't get it. One could argue that this is the very purpose of the One-Shot program — to expand the MCU by filling in gaps with smaller stories that don't have to appeal to the masses. Still, the script of "The Consultant" is bogged down with fast dialogue and name-drops that only hardcore fans will be able to follow, and at barely three minutes, it hardly has time to make that much of an impression. Regardless, as the first time up to bat for the One-Shot program, it's a perfectly acceptable proof of concept.

7. Item 47 (2012)

"Item 47" debuted on the 2012 Blu-ray and digital release of "The Avengers." Taking place immediately after the events of the film, this Marvel One-Shot is the tale of a couple, Bennie (Jesse Bradford) and Claire (Lizzy Caplan), who steal a Chitauri weapon in the aftermath of the big Battle of New York. Using the weapon as leverage, they scour the East Coast and rob bank after bank to rack up cash. Agent Sitwell makes it his mission to track them down — but rather than punishing them, he gives them jobs at S.H.I.E.L.D. instead.

At 11 minutes, "Item 47" has time to flesh out its story and two main characters, both of whom make their Marvel debut here, and are subsequently never seen again in any further MCU production. Director Louis D'Esposito shares in the book "The Story of Marvel Studios" that then-Disney CEO Bob Iger liked the pitch for "Item 47" so much that he suggested it be expanded into a television series, which led to "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." on ABC. Oddly, though, Bennie and Claire never appeared on that show. "Item 47" inherently feels like it's building toward something, but never really arrives anywhere. However, that feeling might only be thanks to most Marvel projects training viewers to expect everything to lead into the next film.

6. Team Thor: Part One (2016)

This mockumentary is a fun subversion of the typical tone of the MCU and feels more like an episode of "The Office." "Team Thor: Part One" was released alongside the 2016 home video debut of "Captain America: Civil War," but was also widely circulated on an official Marvel YouTube channel. The majority of MCU superheroes at the time were divided into either Team Iron Man or Team Captain America as the two Avengers faced off against each other in "Captain America: Civil War." This One-Shot attempts to explain the absence of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and subsequently Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), from the "Civil War" action.

It turns out Thor has settled down in an apartment in Australia, living a relatively subdued life in comparison to his heroic feats of yore. He's content to form a team of his own, mainly consisting of himself and his new roommate, Darryl. Directed by Taika Waititi, who would later helm "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Thor: Love and Thunder," this One-Shot is an irreverent deviation from the norm of a Marvel story in style, technique, and narrative.

With an appearance by Mark Ruffalo, the story of "Team Thor" might break the continuity of Hulk's arc, depending on if Marvel considers this One-Shot canon. At the end of "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Hulk blasts into space and seems to stay there until the events of "Thor: Ragnarok." This One-Shot takes place between those films, but features Hulk on Earth.

5. A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor's Hammer (2011)

The second One-Shot ever made, "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor's Hammer" debuted with the 2011 home video release of "Captain America: The First Avenger" and takes place just prior to the events of "Thor." Agent Coulson travels to the middle of the American desert to examine Thor's hammer, which at this point in the story had just dropped from the sky with unexplained mystical properties. Mjolnir's owner had not yet arrived on Earth, and Agent Coulson's team was managing its care.

En route to the hammer, Coulson stops at a gas station, where he inadvertently breaks up a robbery in true S.H.I.E.L.D. fashion. While brief, this One-Shot features a fun action scene for Agent Coulson. It's an example of something that works within the context of the MCU timeline while simultaneously making for an enjoyable, low-stakes short film, even if viewed by someone detached from any familiarity with Coulson or even Marvel itself.

4. Team Thor: Part Two (2017)

A similarly styled follow-up to its predecessor, "Team Thor: Part Two" is a mockumentary showing Thor biding out his time on Earth during the events of "Captain America: Civil War." In a way, this proves that Thor could have thrived in the laid-back atmosphere of New Asgard we see him in during the middle of "Avengers: Endgame." The scenarios in that film and this One-Shot are the same: Thor grounding himself in the minutiae of non-hero living. The difference is whether he chooses to put mind over matter. In "Team Thor," he seems to thrive. In "Avengers: Endgame," he wallows in self-pity.

Given the straight-laced mockumentary format of "Team Thor," it's fascinating to see the intellectual property of Marvel and the A-list talent of Chris Hemsworth at the center of a short film that could, with the right equipment, be produced by any of us in our own apartments. This gives "Team Thor" a homegrown, indie quality that's quite the contrast to the typically action-packed, effects-heavy Marvel stories, even among the One-Shots.

In this second installment, which debuted in 2017 alongside the Blu-ray and digital releases of "Doctor Strange," Thor is having trouble keeping up his end of the rent alongside his roommate, Darryl (Daley Pearson). After all, Thor only has Asgardian money. So Thor hires an assistant, who he pays in Asgard gold, to go out and get a job so that he can pay Darryl. Nailed it.

3. Team Darryl (2018)

The last of the mockumentary-style One-Shots, "Team Darryl" stars Jeff Goldblum reprising his role as Grandmaster from "Thor: Ragnarok." It's a wonderful creative exercise in showing a hyperbolic Marvel character — somehow even zanier than Thor — grounded in the doldrums of everyday life, presented without the fanfare or spectacle that most big-budget MCU projects have. Goldblum is terrific and completely committed to the part. Given that "Ragnarok" was his first and only appearance in the MCU thus far, it's fun to have another opportunity to see him shine as this character.

Grandmaster has decided to take over Earth, and as luck would have it, his first stop is Australia, where he moves in with Darryl, Thor's former roommate from the "Team Thor" One-Shots. Amusingly, Darryl never makes the connection that Grandmaster is an enemy of his former roommate, nor does Grandmaster realize his new home was previously occupied by Thor.

Directed by Taika Waititi, "Team Darryl" debuted in 2018 with the home video release of "Thor: Ragnarok." With streaming services on the rise by then, many fans were no longer purchasing physical (or even digital) copies of movies when this film was released, making "Team Darryl" tantalizing new content for those who have yet to discover this gem on Disney+.

2. All Hail the King (2014)

Starring Sir Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery, "All Hail The King" bridges the gap between 2013's "Iron Man 3" and 2021's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" — albeit, in true Marvel fashion, seven years before "Shang-Chi" debuted. Marvel presented this One-Shot alongside the 2014 home video release of "Thor: The Dark World," and it might just be better than the feature film it was attached to.

Following his stint pretending to be the Mandarin, leader of the terrorist group the Ten Rings, actor Trevor Slattery is in jail, where he's something of a celebrity among his fellow prisoners. Eccentric and nostalgic, Trevor isn't above reciting lines he made famous as the faux Mandarin or reflecting back on failed television pilots.

To Trevor's surprise, the real Mandarin actually exists, and he'd like a word with the man who culturally appropriated and shamed his image. His accomplices pose as documentary interviewers and break Trevor out of prison — not to free him, but to deliver him to the Mandarin himself, Xu Wenwu.

With a dedicated performance from Kingsley and some fantastically elaborate cut-aways, "All Hail The King" stands on its own as more than just supplemental material. It even has a fun cameo from Sam Rockwell, reprising his role as Justin Hammer, a villain from "Iron Man 2," living out his sentence in the same jail as Trevor.

1. Agent Carter (2013)

The longest One-Shot to date at 15 minutes, "Agent Carter" gives Hayley Atwell the opportunity to shine as she carries Peggy Carter beyond the confines of a supporting character from "Captain America: The First Avenger" and into the role of a protagonist. "Agent Carter" first debuted in 2013 with the Blu-ray and digital release of "Iron Man 3."

One year after Steve Rogers crashed his plane and died (or so everyone thought), World War II is over and Peggy Carter works as the sole female agent in the office of the Strategic Scientific Reserve. Though her male colleagues are sent into the field to complete missions, all of her assignments are clerical work. But when an emergency calls for immediate action, Peggy accomplishes an espionage mission completely on her own. Howard Stark takes notice and invites Peggy to come run S.H.I.E.L.D. alongside him. This comes much to the dismay of Peggy's sexist boss John Flynn, played by Bradley Whitford in his MCU debut, further proving the credibility of the One-Shot program.

This One-Shot served as a precursor to the "Agent Carter" television series, which premiered on ABC in 2015 and ran for two seasons. It's legitimately entertaining, even for those with no familiarity with Marvel, and delivers in spades for fans who love Peggy.