The year was 2008. Mankind had already seen and enjoyed dozens of superiors up until this point... but something was on the horizon. Something HUGE. Something game-changing. Few knew at the time how the cinematic landscape was about to change. With the release (and success) of Iron Man, the superhero genre began to morph and grow into the juggernaut it is today. And every time we think we've seen it all, the writers and directors over at Marvel give us something brand new and exciting. We thought we had seen it all in Avengers: Infinity War, but that was nothing compared to Avengers: Endgame. But then 2021 saw the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home! How could they ever top it? Well, with the brand new release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, 2022 seems poised to give 2021 a run for its money. So with all this hype to lead up to, I thought it was time to take a look at the MCU as a whole! Here is my personal ranking of all of the MCU films so far!
First, a Shout Out!
29. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
An amazing animation style, spectacular voice acting, and an ultimate take on the spiderverse won this movie a 2019 Oscar for best animated film. We finally get a black spider-man on screen (even though it’s animated) when Shameik Moore voices Miles Morales without flaw. There are many Spidey cameos with voice actors like Jake Johnson (Peter B Parker), John Mulaney (Spider-Ham), Hailee Stienfeld (Gwen Stacy), Nicholas Cage (Spider-Noir), Mahershala Ali as the Prowler (aka Uncle Aaron) and many more. Who knows, with Doctor Strange breaking open the multi-verse this year, we very well may see some of these characters make the transition to live-action!
The sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse - Part One arrives in 2023!
28. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
This is my least favorite of the MCU, but as a film it still stands as a solid 66% on Rotten Tomatoes which speaks wonders for the MCU. The film's worst enemy is the plot. It may be entertaining enough to hold attention, but it's just bland and predictable and falls short of the normal Marvel formula. This left me wanting a bigger, more exciting villain and final battle. However, I did really appreciate the design of a Malekith the Accursed.
27. Captain Marvel (2019)
Captain Marvel is one of my favorite comic book characters, but it didn’t deliver on the big screen. The Skrulls are some of the most powerful and terrifying villains (they have even infiltrated the Fantastic 4 and The Avengers). In this film they were almost made into a joke. As it stands, this movie came off as more forced than planned in order to fit Captain Marvel into Avengers: Endgame.
26. Eternals (2021)
While I do think this movie is necessary in the coming change of the MCU I do think it fell short in many ways. It makes you excited for a sequel while leaving a lot of questions about where some of our heroes lie in the end. It lacks a proper ending and it is hard to tell where to focus sometimes.
25. Black Widow (2021)
I waited a long time to see Black Widow get her debut in a solo film only to be let down by a small insignificant (to the big picture) story line and a sad take on one of my favorite villains, Taskmaster. It has an amazing spy/espionage theme that Marvel itself has never attempted and I do think they pulled it off. It was just too little too late. It would have made a great film in one of the earlier phases of the MCU.
24. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017)
I loved the first one so much that the sequel felt like a sad imitation. It holds its own with great comedy, visuals, and action sequences, but feels like a small side story on something much bigger: Celestials. It is the middle film of the trilogy and it shows. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 is coming to theaters on May 5, 2023, but is subject to change.
23. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
This movie is great in so many different ways, but it fails to provide a memorable villain and leaves me underwhelmed in the final battle. I had high expectations for the leader of the Ten Rings aka The Mandarin (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) after being let down by Iron Man 3 and they simply were not met. However, there are great hand-to-hand combat scenes throughout the entire movie and Simu Liu embodies Shang-Chi perfectly.
22. Iron Man 2 (2010)
Everyone’s performance in this movie is steller and there are so many cameos from (Samuel L. Jackson) Nick Fury to (Scarlett Johanson) Natasha Rominoff undercover as Tony Stark's assistant Natalie Rushman. The device keeping Iron Man alive is also killing him and Nick Fury seems to be the only one with an answer until Tony Stark does what he does best, tunker, and creates a new element to keep himself alive. Proving once again that the real power of Iron Man is his brain.
21. Thor (2011)
This movie brings some great Marvel characters to the big screen like Thor himself of course, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) the greatest villain ever, and of course the watchful Hawkeye (Jeremey Renner). We are also introduced to Thor's father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). But even with an all-star cast the movie is underwhelming.
20. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ultron is easily defeated here as compared to the comics, where he is basically indestructible and can download his consciousness almost anywhere including inter-dimensional travel. He is able to kill Thanos, and even keep up with The Watcher. However, this movie does bring some new characters like Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) to the MCU.
19. Doctor Strange (2016)
This movie feels like a total stand alone film until we meet Doctor Strange again down the line, but it is visually flawless and the portrayal of Doctor Strange from Benedict Cumberbatch is even more flawless. While I did just say this movie was flawless, I did find the lack of Dormammu, and the total duration of the battle to be disappointing.
18. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
This movie is extremely important to the events starting in Avenger: Endgame and once again Paul Rudd delivers a hysterical performance, but it seems they took the playful side of Ant-Man a little too far. Some of the goofy scenes make this film less impactful compared to other MCU films. I was a big fan of the Ghost however.
17. Iron Man 3 (2013)
While this movie sits as one of my favorite Marvel films, it has always upset me that the main villain (The Mandarin) was made into a joke. As we come to see in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) The Mandarin is the leader of the Ten Rings who was imitated in Iron Man 3 by Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) who was hired by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). While it does work itself out in the end, there is a 8 year gap between Iron Man 3 and Shang-Chi leaving too many questions unanswered for too long.
16. The Avengers (2012)
Some of the Avenger’s come off as a little too comic accurate, specifically Captain America’s suit throughout the movie. However, Loki finally gets his big villian moment after an appearance in Thor. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) makes his mark as the most intimidating Marvel villain taking over minds with his scepter, like Hawkeye (Jeremey Renner) and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and taking on all the Avengers with his Chitiari army.
15. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Chris Evans brings Captain America to life as he takes on the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and HYDRA (combined with the Nazis). While this movie brings a very comic accurate story to life, sometimes the graphics seem to fall short, but the more I watch this film the more it appears to be on purpose to fit 1942.
14. Ant-Man (2015)
This Marvel film screens as one of the more playful movies in the franchise and really lets loose to have fun with such an amusing character. Paul Rudd delivers a hilarious performance and all of the co-stars like Michael Pena and David Dastmalchian do as well. Corey Stoll portrays a very convincing Darren Cross and will put chaotic fear into our hearts with some of his powerful scenes.
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
This film finally brings spider-man to the MCU in his solo film after an appearance in Captain America: Civil War. Tom Holland plays both Peter Parker and Spider-Man amazingly and leaves me wanting more every time he comes on screen. The Vulture (Michael Keaton) is also finally brought to the big screen and, like spider-man, leaves us terrified.
12. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
This movie is incredible and I wish we got more (Tim Roth) Abomination. However, the choice in actor (Edward Norton) and the failure to ever explain the sudden change to Mark Ruffalo will change the MCU forever and always leave us wondering “what happened?”.
11. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
The epic conclusion to 10 years of films! I consider it a Part Two to Infinity War and wow is it action packed! We are taken through ups and downs as our heroes face off against Thanos one last time in the final epic battle. There are many times you would think it is too overwhelming, but they learned from Avengers: Infinity War and created a very strong balance with this film.
10. Black Panther (2018)
Black Panther is my favorite superhero from the animated film Ultimate Avengers. I had waited so long to finally see him on the big screen in live action and the GOAT Chadwick Boseman portrayed him perfectly in Civil War, and then brought it home in his solo film. He faces off against Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) in multiple epic battles culminating in a massive fight between two Wakandan armies. This movie also gives us Shuri, both the smartest woman on Earth and a skilled warrior.
**She is rumored to have taken up the Black Panther mantle after the unfortunate passing of Chadwhich Boseman on August 28, 2020.**
09. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio is what does it for me in this film. From the suit to the portrayal, I could not imagine a better live action representation of the character. I spent the first half of the movie actually believing he was good because he played it so well. Then the second half, sick to my stomach because he played evil so well too! I only wish we could see more of him.
08. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
I was presently surprised by the original Sam Raimi style of this film. It was unlike any other MCU movie and felt a lot like watching a superhero movie from 2000, but with modern graphics. Even down to the transitions between scenes. The movie was amazing, but it could’ve been so much more with a longer run time and a better pace. Even still, it is one of the most rewatchable Marvel movies of all time.
07. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
This movie speaks for itself! It's a great film with the biggest twist in Marvel history. When the villain wins, this upset creates a tone for the Marvel universe that will last forever. Sometimes it can feel a little too overwhelming.
06. Iron Man (2008)
The movie that started it all. Robert Downey Jr. comes for redemption via his take on Tony Stark. He absolutely kills it and the memorable line “I am Iron Man” was completely improvised by Downey himself, changing the MCU forever. Imagine the MCU with secret identities instead of the path they chose. I can't imagine any other actor playing Tony Stark and it is all together one of the best films of all time. They adapted the comic to fit the current climate and started Marvel on a path of making their movies fit a more realistic take on super heroes.
05. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
This is Marvel’s first dark film and it fits the theme of action thrillers, never leaving me bored. It is clearly no surprise now, but I remember watching this film for the first time and not knowing it was the same actor (Sebatian Stan) until his mask was removed. What a great twist and start to a huge feud between the avengers and the Winter Soldier.
04. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
This is the movie that brought us Spider-Man. (Thank you Sony!) It is also Black Panther's first appearance. They manage to fit almost every current Marvel character into one movie in a battle against each other without being an Avengers movie. This film delivers a dark and mysterious back story on James (Bucky) Barnes AKA the Winter Soldier he has become. It also touches on Iron Man’s past while still focing on Captain America. I personally think it is the MCU’s darkest film yet.
03. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
This film finally takes the MCU cosmic (which the Thor franchise failed to do) with a misfit band of aliens led by a half-celestial half-earthling named Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). Writer/director James Gunn delivers amazing action and space battles while filling the audience with laughter from characters like Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper) and Drax (Dave Bautista). Gomora (Zoe Saldana), daughter of Thanos, puts fear in our hearts with her action packed battles, yet manages to be beautiful even while green.
02. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Finally, a good Thor movie! After two failed attempts to make Thor a strong trilogy for the MCU, writer/director Taika Waititi takes over and absolutely crushes it. I can’t help, but get the feeling of Planet Hulk vibes as I watch this film. While finally giving Thor justice it also serves as a story arc for Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and fills in some gaps from prior films (Civil War).
01. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
This is the movie that will make any Marvel fan scream! It brings every universe together and allows us to finally see all of our favorite heroes as children join the MCU again. It brings closure and happy ending to villains and heroes from past Spider-Men, and sets Tom Holland’s Spider-Man on a path of darkness and loneliness. This film also opens up a million doors for multiversal madness and directly sets up Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6, 2022).