What is the Best Movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
With 23 movies under the MCU’s belt, choosing which movie to watch is a daunting task. To make life a little easier for you when you’re about to start your next Marvel Watch Party, I decided to rank every MCU movie from worst to best. This is the correct order for these movies, and if you disagree, you’re wrong. That being said, let’s get ranking!
23. “The Incredible Hulk”
Um. . . is this movie even part of the MCU? It has pre-Mark Ruffulo Bruce Banner and is completely forgettable. If you ever think to yourself, Hey, I want to watch “The Incredible Hulk,” please take a moment and reconsider your life choices because you are doing something very wrong. 100% skip this movie.
22. “Iron Man 3”
Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man is incredible, but this movie is not. Kevin Feige was trying to milk a few extra bucks out of the character that launched the MCU into pop culture, and he failed miserably. I’m not saying that there weren’t good parts of this movie (any movie with Iron Man has quippy one-liners), but this movie was not it and brought a dark cloud over this monumental trilogy.
21. “Thor: The Dark World”
The only reason this movie is above “Iron Man 2” is because of that one scene where Chris Evans impersonates Tom Hiddleson playing Loki impersonating Captain America. If you don’t know the scene, that was a very confusing sentence, but if you know what I’m talking about, you know how hilarious that scene is. Besides that, the plot was confusing, not fully thought out and there is no real reason to watch this movie unless you’re watching the whole “Thor” trilogy.
20. “Iron Man 2”
After the first “Iron Man” movie, people were expecting something amazing and this movie did not live up to the hype. Was it bad? No, not necessarily. But when you think of MCU quality movies, “Iron Man 2” does not come to mind. Given how it was followed by the monstrosity that is “Iron Man 3,” this movie looks not terrible, but I’d suggest that you stick to watching “Iron Man” and pretending that the following two movies were never made.
19. “Guardians of the Galaxy: 2”
After the surprise first movie, people were expecting something amazing, and they got this. Was it actively bad? No. Was it at all meaningful or impactful to the MCU in any way? Also, no. It was pretty forgettable, and I may or may not have gone on my phone half-way through and only kind of watched the rest because it really wasn’t doing it for me. I felt like it was a waste of the characters and not a great way to spend your time.
18. “Doctor Strange”
I like the idea of “Doctor Strange,” and I think there were some good parts of this movie, but, overall, I didn’t like it enough to form an opinion. I thought it set up a few good things, and Doctor Strange is going to be a great character in the future, but in this movie, he’s pretty meh (which is a good way to sum up this movie as a whole).
17. “Ant-Man and the Wasp”
After “Avengers: Infinity War,” everyone wanted answers, and, instead, we got a fun movie that didn’t really impact the MCU at large (besides the end credit scene where they discover the powers of the Quantum Realm). This movie was enjoyable, but it felt like a letdown because it didn’t give us anything after “Infinity War.” However, we did get to meet Marvel icon Jimmy Woo in this movie, definitely a brightside.
16. “Avengers: Infinity War”
No one could expect the end of this movie, but, besides that, it was pretty all right. “Avengers: Infinity War” is mainly fighting, and there isn’t a lot of character development. The best part was the Tony Stark/Peter Parker relationship, and they totally underutilized all the characters they sent to Wakanda (mainly Captain America because, despite his awesome entrance, he did very little). Marvel had trouble juggling all the characters and storylines it had going with the result a somewhat confusing and easy-to-zone-out-on plot. Overall, this movie just felt like a very long set-up for “Endgame,” with very few oh, my god moments.
15. “Spider-Man: Far From Home”
I love Spider-Man, I really do, but for the movie following “Avengers: Endgame” and the end of Phase Four, I was expecting more. The movie didn’t even feel like it was about Spider-Man; it felt like it was more focused on Tony Stark, even though he wasn’t even in the movie. I felt like it lost the lighthearted humor and charm that made “Spider-Man: Homecoming” so great, and since humor is essential to Peter Parker’s character, the somber tone didn’t do him justice. Yes, there are some good moments but not enough to put this higher on the list.
This is a good movie. It was a truly solid introduction to Thor, and we got to meet Loki for the first time. Yes, the Shakespearean-ness made it feel less like an MCU movie, but there were still great jokes that are still quoted (“Another!”), and it starts a good trilogy (if you’re in the mood to watch all three).
13. “Captain Marvel”
Captain Marvel is a really good character, but I didn’t feel like her movie did her justice. For the first female solo film in the MCU, I was expecting something much more than what we got. I liked the idea that the villains weren’t actually the villains (the good guys were), but this movie didn’t blow my mind like I thought it would. Also, the reason Fury lost his eye was kind of a letdown.
12. “Avengers: Endgame”
Okay, I’m super mixed on “Avengers: Endgame.” On the one hand, it was every Marvel fan’s wildest dream. I mean, I spent my entire sophomore year theorizing with my friend about what was going to happen, and it was way more than anything I ever expected. It was so fun to see them go back in time and interact with scenes from past movies, and no one can forget the moment in the final battle where Captain America lifted Mjolnir (I legitimately screamed in the movie theater when I first saw it). On the other hand, the whole time travel thing was poorly thought out and never really explained. Also, they chose to kill Black Widow, instead of the entirely useless Hawkeye, and they destroyed Captain America’s character arc. The we-have-women-in-this-movie-so-they’re-all-going-to-have-a-fight-scene-together scene felt unnecessary, and it only highlighted how underutilized the female characters were. This movie had some really good parts but also parts that I would love to change, so it falls pretty squarely in the middle for me.
“Ant-Man” is a good movie. It was somewhat underestimated because Ant-Man wasn’t a very popular character, and I mean, Ant-Man? It’s not the most exciting name in the world. The movie has a plot that holds together and is a great choice to watch when you’re looking for something fun and lighthearted.
10. “Captain America: The First Avenger”
This was the first movie I ever saw in the MCU, and it was a great introduction. For many people, it’s the starting point when they begin to watch the MCU because, chronologically, it’s the first movie in the franchise. It’s a perfectly acceptable movie, but it’s not super special in the scheme of things. There is no shame in watching “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and it’s always fun to go back in time and watch the origin of Steve and Bucky’s relationship.
9. “Avengers: Age of Ultron”
This is often hailed as the worst Avengers movie, which I think is wildly inaccurate. This movie captures the fun joking side of the MCU while balancing a great plot and setting up tons of future movies and TV shows. Plus, you get introduced to Wanda in this movie, who is an absolute queen. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is super underrated but always super fun to watch.
8. “Guardians of the Galaxy”
This movie came out of nowhere, with characters no one but the hardcore fans knew before, but it smashed every expectation. Right from the beginning, when a grown-up Starlord enters the scene dancing, people knew this movie was going to be a success. It has a killer soundtrack, hilarious new characters and a solid plot. This movie is always a good choice.
7. “Iron Man”
This movie started the MCU and will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s a solid movie and serves as a great introduction to Tony Stark and the MCU as a whole. It’s funny, but you can tell that it’s the first because the MCU has evolved a lot since 2008. This movie is a great choice, and if you want some quality Tony Stark, this movie is for you.
6. “Captain America: Civil War”
It’s hard to dislike this movie because, let’s be real, it’s an Avengers movie disguised as a solo film. We get to meet characters like Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, and we get to see Steve and Bucky’s relationship (my favorite relationship in the MCU). The airport fight scene is legendary and this movie sets up a bunch of future events. Also, there’s that one scene where Captain America is stopping Bucky’s helicopter from flying and Chris Evans reportedly flexed so hard that he injured himself. If there is a scene where Chris Evans injures himself flexing, you know that it’s a good movie (petition to replace the Marvel Intro with just that scene)(Here is a link to that scene for your viewing pleasure). If you’re looking for a great movie to rewatch, you can’t go wrong with “Civil War.”
5. “Spider-Man: Homecoming”
After so much hype for the third iteration of Spider-Man, there were a billion ways this movie could have let us down. Thankfully, it didn’t and even exceeded expectations. Tom Holland is the perfect Spider-Man, and he was able to show off his comedic and acrobatic abilities. He was a convincing high schooler, and you’re at the edge of your seat for the whole movie. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a gem in the MCU, and you can’t go wrong with it.
4. “The Avengers”
“The Avengers” is a classic and one of the cornerstones of the MCU. I don’t think anyone can question the supremacy of this movie, with its hilarious dynamics among the characters, legendary fight scenes, the first of the Marvel Sky Beams (have you noticed how many Marvel movies have sky beams?) and Loki as one of the greatest Marvel villains ever (although, he wasn’t really evil. Yes, this is a not-very-subtle plug for my article, “Was Loki Really Evil?” Check it out here). This movie is amazing and the best group movie in the MCU by far.
3. “Thor: Ragnarok”
After the Shakespearean language of the first two Thor movies and the disappointment that was “Thor: The Dark World,” there weren’t any high hopes for “Thor: Ragnarok.” Luckily, people were caught by surprise. Taika Watiti brought new life to the trilogy by giving Thor more of a character arc than he had ever had before, having some amazing Loki action and including the best fight scene/music combo known to man. “Thor: Ragnarok” was hilarious and renewed faith in this trilogy. This was a great movie, and it’s always fun to watch.
2. “Black Panther”
This record-breaking movie crushed it at the box office, and it’s easy to see why. This movie has amazing characters, a great plot and enough jokes to officially certify it as a Marvel movie. The best part of “Black Panther” has to be Erik Killmonger aka the villain of the movie. He’s not some comical, over-the-top bad guy who is as expendable as the next one but a layered character that makes you think, was he right? This movie is amazing, and you can watch it over and over without getting tired. If you’re looking for something to watch, “Black Panther” would be a great choice.
1. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
If this isn’t your favorite MCU movie, you’re lying. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was an absolute masterpiece. It’s a fantastic superhero movie, it’s an amazing spy/espionage movie, and it still manages to fit in the heartwarming undertones of Cap trying to save his oldest friend (a storyline that was absolutely ruined in “Avengers: Endgame, but it’s fine. I’m not holding on to anything). It’s awesome seeing Cap get used to the 21st century, and we get to meet Sam Wilson for the first time.
One of the best parts about this movie is that, even if you take away the superpowers, it would still be a great movie, as the premise is that HYDRA infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D and our protagonists have to stop the corrupted government from killing a bunch of people. I probably would watch that movie even if Chris Evans weren’t on the poster.
While there were a ton of amazing characters, and Chris Evans looked like a snack the entire time, Sebastian Stan as Bucky/The Winter Soldier really stole the show. With a total of thirteen (that’s right, thirteen) lines, Bucky doesn’t seem like he would be the best actor in the movie, but it’s impossible not to feel sympathy for the assassin who has no control over his own mind or root for him as he silently begins to put together the different parts of his past life. He wears a mask for most of the movie, but his eye-acting is so much better than some actual actors. Sebastian Stan truly knocked it out of the park with this movie.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is the best MCU movie by far, and if you’re looking for a movie to watch, this is the clear winner. Nothing comes close to this movie’s amazingness.