The newly formed Marvel Studios released its first film in May 2008, and it forever changed the face of modern cinema. Marvel Movies, Iron Man wasn’t even the year’s highest-grossing superhero film (that honor went to The Dark Knight), but it was the seed that grew into an all-consuming entertainment juggernaut.
After eleven years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe Marvel Movies has grown into a sprawling, interconnected web of previously unknown character Marvel Movies and crossovers that have grossed billions of dollars at the box office.
Do you know which of the Marvel Movies is the top movie of the year? Is Captain America: The Winter Soldier better than Iron Man 3? What was The Incredible Hulk’s level of evil? We’ve spent hours debating the relative merits of Dr. Strange and Captain Marvel, and we’ve ended up with some irreparably damaged working relationships and the definitive ranking of every Marvel Movies Cinematic Universe.
We have listed down fifteen Marvel Movies in order takes just over two days. The majority of them are now available on Disney+, and you can see what else is worth watching by reading our guide to the best Disney Plus films.
15 Best Marvel Movies Collection
Who doesn’t enjoy a good heist movie? After the dark, literally earth-shattering events of Age of Ultron, Paul Rudd’s MCU debut served as a palate cleanser. Scott Lang (Rudd) is a reformed criminal who joins forces with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter (Evangeline Lily) to keep Pym’s shrinking technology out of the wrong hands.
The film’s portrayal of quantum physics wouldn’t pass muster at CERN, but it’s a lot of fun, thanks in part to Michael Pea’s performance as Lang’s former cellmate Luis.
Iron Man 3 (2013)
It’s always a tough job trying to follow an initial hit. Iron Man 2 didn’t manage to emulate its predecessor’s success. The title sees Downey Jr revise his role in the metallic suit, but rather than offering the explosive uncertainty of the first film it’s more about regulation.
The US government wants Starks suit and spends too much time worrying about what will happen if its tech falls into the wrong hands. They spend so long pestering Stark that a new threat emerges without their knowledge – something that would be unlikely with the country’s vast surveillance capabilities.
Doctor Strange (2016)
Driven but smug New Yorker neurosurgeon Stephen Strange has his career upended after a car crash devastates his hands. In a bid to reconquer his lost deftness, Strange travels to a monastery in Kathmandu, whose resident mystics are rumored to have mastered sorcery.
After meeting the monastery’s chief warlock, the Ancient One, Strange forgets about the smashed hands and gets into ancient books, exploring the astral plane, and shooting green beams from his fingers.
The appearance of a transcendental baddie hell-bent on destroying the magical shields that protect Earth from inter-dimensional villains sets off a flurry of wizardry battles. The visually stunning film introduces Benedict Cumberbatch to the Marvel Movies, but this isn’t enough to save it from a low rating.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The First Avenger is a sepia-toned love story about Steve Rogers’ transformation from scrawny to super with the help of a special serum. Because of its historical setting, it has a very different tone than many of the other entries in the series, which may be a good thing, as critics praised its portrayal of the 1940s. This one, more than the others in the series, feels the most complete as a standalone film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
A joyous jumble of a movie in which the Avengers start to really click as a team. Stark’s mad-scientist-playing-God routine spirals out of control when he blends Asgardian heirlooms with AI and advanced robotics. The team ends up having to battle Ultron, a part Terminator/part Skynet abomination with some unsurprising designs on the future of humankind – i.e. extinction.
That Ultron the bad robot has a couple of rogue superheroes doing his bidding provides extra fun. After the monster bot is obliterated and the rogues are won over to the other side, a glimpse of Thanos’s purple mug reminds us that this was likely part of a wider plot – but then again, isn’t everything in the Marvel Movies part of a wider plot?
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
The forgotten Marvel film followed closely from the success of Iron Man, but relative to the other films in the series, it was a critical and commercial flop. Edward Norton did a perfectly fine job as Bruce Banner, but the story goes that he wanted more creative control than a tightly related web of movies would allow, and so he was replaced by Mark Ruffalo before Avengers Assemble four years later.
In comparison to the brightness of later attempts, the picture feels quite dark and dismal, and the CGI has not aged well. The recasting of such a different actor also means that the events of this film have been mostly disregarded ever since – there were a lot of planted seeds that never produced fruit, and Banner’s emotional past and connection with Betty Ross (played by Liv Tyler) are never acknowledged again.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Ant-popularity Man’s prompted an unexpected sequel, which delves even further into the quantum world than the previous picture. The titular characters’ power to shrink and expand on-demand provides for some aesthetically stunning combat scenes, and it carries over the comedy and levity from the previous picture, but the story is horribly ridiculous if you think about it for even a second, which may be just what we needed after the snap.
Despite the fact that it was released after Infinity War, the majority of the action takes place before that film, with the exception of a magnificent post-credits sequence.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
When it was first released, this picture felt essential and essential, but in retrospect, it blends into a general blur of close-quarters battle and chopped limbs. It chronicles Captain America’s efforts to track down the Winter Soldier, a mysterious and powerful assassin who turns out to be his close personal friend Bucky Barnes, who has been brainwashed by the nefarious Hydra and has been frozen for huge portions of the following 70 years.
Both Infinity War and Endgame feature a healed Winter Soldier, and the actor Sebastian Stan still has a few films remaining on his contract, so it’s worth revisiting this one for future reference.
Avengers Assemble (2012)
Crossovers have become so common thanks to the Marvel Movies that it’s easy to forget how powerful it was to witness Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and a recast Hulk team together in the Battle of New York. The Battle of New York, which becomes a significant narrative element in the following part of the tale and many of the spin-off television programs, is one of the best moments of Avengers Assemble, as it is called in the UK.
The picture wouldn’t work without the supporting cast, which includes Scarlett Johanssen’s Black Widow and Jeremy Renner’s Hawk-Eye, but it’s Mark Ruffalo’s quieter, more controlled take on Banner that delivers the greatest moment.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The Sokovia Accords — tougher limitations on superheroes imposed after Tony Stark’s rogue-AI dropped a whole city in Age of Ultron – divide a large array of characters into warring groups, making Civil War seem more like an ensemble Avengers narrative.
Steve Rogers and his team (Ant-Man, Hawk-Eye, Wanda Maximoff – probably not the favorites on paper) go rogue to track down Hydra’s Helmut Zemo and bring in Bucky Barnes, while Stark, cowed by his role in creating Ultron, is on the side of the government with the help of Black Widow, Black Panther, Vision, and Spider-Man), while Stark is on the side of the government with the help of Black Wi
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
A decade of meticulously placed breadcrumbs across dozens of Marvel Movies culminates in a stunning conclusion that is both ambitious and well-executed. Infinity War brought together almost every character who has appeared on screen in the preceding 10 years to face Thanos and foil his goal to wipe out half of the universe’s life. The epic struggle between Earth’s soldiers and an extraterrestrial army was breathtaking filmmaking, and the startling cliffhanger finale was one of the year’s most memorable cultural moments.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
When you realize that writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus have gone full Harry Potter and the Cursed Child all over the Marvel Movies, there’s a moment in the event movie to transcend all event movies. It would throw up a tiny bit in its mouth if your thoughts could. You can settle down after you learn to accept this – Hail Hydra! – and a few other things.
Once you get past the bleak first 45 minutes, you’ll find wise Stark, Professor Hulk, (the controversial), Fat Thor, Dr. Strange holding up one finger; Black Widow and Captain Marvel kicking ass, both emotionally and physically, in well-signposted but enjoyable ways; literally, almost every character you’ve ever met having a moment. It’s a sloppy but spectacular baton handover in the shape of a tense portal-fueled mega-battle. We won’t lie: we’ve viewed the crowd reaction videos, and they’re also a treat to watch.
Captain Marvel (2019)
The biggest mistake Marvel has made (so far) in the Marvel Movies are not commissioning Captain Marvel sooner. Marvel’s ascent is depicted in the film, which is set in the past, as she finds her origin story and develops her powers. The film’s main serious problem is that it fails to explain what happened to Marvel between the end of the first film and what would happen years later in Endgame.
Although it was a close call, Robert Downey Jr.’s final solo adventure as Iron Man comes out on top. The Mandarin, a mysterious character who turns out to be a debauched actor in a television studio, is performed with all the respect the plot requires.
Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)
After the traumatic events of Avengers: Endgame, the most current installment – and the beginning of “Phase Four” – follows Peter Parker as he tries to live a regular adolescent life. When Earth is besieged by ‘Elementals’ – beings of pure fire, earth, air, and water – Spider-Man is forced to team up with the enigmatic Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to protect his classmates and various European landmarks, however, a class trip to Europe and a chance to share his true feelings with MJ (Zendaya) goes awry.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
It was evident from the beginning that Guardians of the Galaxy would add something really strange to the MCU, with Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord dancing through an abandoned alien vault on a faraway planet to Come and Get Your Love. The film brought a much-needed dose of comedy and color to a series that was on the verge of becoming too grim after the events of The Winter Soldier. It was an instant fan favorite, thanks to a soundtrack of 70s and 80s hits and Pratt’s charismatic leadership of a band of hilarious misfits.