The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has taken the world by storm since 2008 when the first Iron Man movie was released. Since then, Marvel Studios has released 23 films, each with their own unique storylines, characters, and themes. Ranking every Marvel movie from worst to best is a difficult task, but here’s our attempt at categorizing them based on factors such as storyline, character development, action choreography, and overall entertainment value.
The Subpar Marvel Movies:
23. The Incredible Hulk (2008): While it’s not a terrible movie, it falls short compared to the others, especially with a weak storyline and poor characterization.
22. Thor: The Dark World (2013): Thor: The Dark World has some redeeming qualities, such as the introduction of the Reality Stone, but the weak storyline and mediocre villain don’t make it one of the better Marvel movies.
21. Iron Man 2 (2010): Iron Man 2 suffers from sequelitis, attempting to do too much and losing its focus on a single coherent story. However, it did give us an introduction to Black Widow and War Machine.
20. Thor (2011): While Thor introduces one of the most powerful characters in the MCU, the movie suffers from an uninteresting villain and mediocre plot.
The Mediocre Marvel Movies:
19. Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018): While Ant-Man and The Wasp have its moments of action and humor, it doesn’t feel like it added much to the overall MCU narrative.
18. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017): Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an enjoyable movie with great humor and action, but suffers from a weaker storyline compared to the original.
17. Captain Marvel (2019): With an exhilarating 90s setting and solid performances, Captain Marvel is a decent movie that falls short due to predictable plot twists and some lackluster action scenes.
16. Iron Man 3 (2013): Iron Man 3 has some great action set-pieces, but the inclusion of the Mandarin (who wasn’t the real villain) and a lack of follow-through on Tony Stark’s PTSD robbed the film of some potential.
The Good Marvel Movies:
15. Doctor Strange (2016): Doctor Strange loses some points for its formulaic origin story, but the film is visually stunning and expands the MCU in a supernatural direction.
14. Spider-Man Homecoming (2017): Spider-Man Homecoming is a fun, coming-of-age superhero story that successfully blends humor, action, and high school drama.
13. Black Panther (2018): Not just a great superhero movie, but a cultural phenomenon, Black Panther features a memorable villain, complex characters, and fantastic world-building.
12. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): While not living up to its predecessor, Avengers: Age of Ultron still delivers great action and character moments, as well as setting up the next phase of the MCU.
11. Thor: Ragnarok (2017): Thor: Ragnarok is a hilarious, bright, and action-packed film that reinvigorates the Thor character for the MCU.
The Great Marvel Movies:
10. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): Captain America: The First Avenger may be a little cheesy, but it’s also an incredibly effective origin story that captures the spirit of the character’s World War II roots.
9. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019): Spider-Man: Far From Home nails Peter Parker’s characterization while further expanding the MCU’s narrative and featuring a great villain.
8. Avengers: Endgame (2019): Avengers: Endgame is an epic, satisfying conclusion to the Infinity Saga that delivers some of the MCU’s most memorable moments, characters, and action set-pieces.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Guardians of the Galaxy offers a fresh, comedic take on the superhero genre, with memorable characters, a great soundtrack, and plenty of heart.
6. Iron Man (2008): The movie that started it all, Iron Man remains a masterclass in origin story filmmaking, featuring a charismatic Robert Downey Jr. and incredible action scenes.
The Epic Marvel Movies:
5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018): Avengers: Infinity War does the impossible, balancing a massive ensemble cast and delivering one of the MCU’s greatest villains with Thanos.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): Captain America: The Winter Soldier elevates the espionage genre within the MCU, with tight action sequences and a great political thriller storyline.
3. The Avengers (2012): The culmination of the MCU’s Phase One, The Avengers features memorable performances and allows each hero to showcase their unique abilities in the midst of an epic battle.
2. Avengers: Endgame (2019): Avengers: Endgame may be on this list twice, but it rightfully earns a separate spot as the ultimate payoff for over a decade of storytelling and world-building.
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018): While not a part of the MCU, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse deserves to be ranked as the best Marvel movie yet. Everything about the film, from the animation style to the story and characters, is innovative, fresh, and incredibly well done.
In conclusion, ranking every Marvel movie is a daunting task, but the MCU has produced some of the most entertaining and memorable superhero films in recent history. While opinions will vary, it’s hard to argue that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the Avengers movies are some of the best Marvel movies to date. Here’s hoping the MCU’s Phase Four can continue to deliver exciting and innovative superhero stories.