Marvel Comics | Disney | Sony Pictures | Shutterstock

All MCU Movies Ranked from Worst to Best

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is stuffed full of incredible movies and superheroes of all shapes and sizes. Which one is the best? Let's count them down to find out!
Article Tags
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on pinterest
The Latest
Tonic Topics
Join the Convo on Facebook!

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going strong for nearly 14 years. Disney’s lucrative superhero extravaganza shows no signs of slowing down after 27 films and five Disney+ TV series. Today, we’re ranking all 27 movies from the MCU in order from worst to best.

Did your favorite make the top ten? Read on to find out.

27. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor: The Dark World is an inarguable low point for the MCU. It’s not a bad movie, per se, but it’s not as fun or snappy as the MCU’s best entries. The villains are bland and barely fleshed out, and the action is hard to read. It doesn’t help that this so-so film was released hot on the heels of The Avengers, one of the best superhero films ever made.

26. Eternals (2021)

Eternals is so close to being good. It’s not good, but it misses the mark by inches. The film’s stars are capable actors and bring charming depictions of larger-than-life gods to the big screen. However, Eternals sprints through its overstuffed runtime without giving audiences enough space to enjoy its genuinely captivating cast.

25. Black Widow (2021)

Did we need a Black Widow film that flashed back to events set after Captain America: Civil War? No, not really. Is the movie still enjoyable? Yes, it is. Scarlett Johansson is a delightful actor in the title role. Black Widow also introduces Florence Pugh’s Yelena, a worthy successor to the mantle in Natasha’s absence.

24. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk is the awkward stepchild of the MCU. A complicated distribution agreement with Universal Pictures makes the film hard to find on streaming services. It also stifles any chance of the Mean Green Machine getting his own solo movie any time soon. However, 2008’s Incredible Hulk film deserves credit for its faithful depiction of comics-accurate villain Abomination, unlike the unusual villain choice in Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk.

23. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Age of Ultron had a tough act to follow. The Avengers laid the groundwork for modern superhero team-ups, and comics fans had monumental expectations for the legendary villain Ultron. Sadly, things didn’t come together as smoothly in Ultron. The story beats are more scattered, the heroes seem more muted, and the film barrels to its conclusion with the grace of an elephant. It’s still a fun time, but it’s not as masterful as its predecessor—or sequels.

22. Ant-Man (2015)

Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is a likable rogue with a heart of gold. His solo movie is one of the more standalone adventures in the MCU, launching amid Phase 2 and missing out on the action of Age of Ultron. The film has smaller stakes than Age of Ultron or Guardians of the Galaxy, but that feels appropriate given Ant-Man’s shrinking powers.

21. Iron Man 2 (2010)

The second Iron Man film finds Tony Stark at a low point in his career. He’s struggling to keep the military out of his affairs and slowly dying from the toxic metals found in the arc reactor that keeps him alive. While Iron Man 2 never flies to the same heights as its predecessor, it provides plenty of superhero thrills and well-choreographed fights.

20. Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel gives the MCU its first leading lady, the inimitable Carol Danvers. The film introduces viewers to the Kree home planet and the Kree-Skrull war, a conflict that is sure to form the backbone of countless stories to come. Fans of high-powered action and invincible superhumans will love Captain Marvel’s cosmic superpowers.

19. Thor (2011)

Director Kenneth Branagh helped flesh out the MCU’s cosmos with this early entry into the franchise. Chris Hemsworth brings a fish-out-of-water charm to the proceedings, delighting in his role as the mythical outsider. The brightest element of the first Thor film is Tom Hiddleston’s magnificent turn as the villainous Loki.

18. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Chris Evans brings humor and pathos in equal measure to the pulp-influenced Captain America: The First Avenger. Pivotal MCU characters like Agent Peggy Carter and Stark Industries’ founder, Howard Stark make their first appearances in the 2011 movie. Its most notable contribution to the franchise was its introduction of the Tesseract, a cube of concentrated cosmic power. Thanos later revealed that the cube was, in reality, the Space Stone, one of the legendary Infinity Stone.

17. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Shang-Chi surprised moviegoers in 2021 by introducing a previously unexplored element of the MCU. The Ten Rings organization briefly appeared in 2008’s Iron Man, but Shang-Chi offers viewers a chance to see the criminal syndicate in action. Simu Liu’s take on the Master of Kung Fu is impressive, as he displays martial prowess that would make Bruce Lee proud.

16. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Ant-Man and the Wasp builds on everything that worked about the first Ant-Man film while expanding the role of Hope van Dyne. Van Dyne’s stoic and unapologetic take on the Wasp complements Lang’s free-wheeling and irreverent Ant-Man. The film’s breathtaking stinger also sets up one of the most impressive twists in the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame.

15. Doctor Strange (2016)

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Doctor Stephen Strange in the character’s 2016 debut. The Sorceror Supreme’s journey to magical mastery is visually arresting and breathtaking. The film dives into the psychedelic and mind-altering world of the legendary 1970s run of the Doctor Strange comics series. It also introduces magic into the MCU without contradicting previous films, like Thor and its sequel.

14. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

The final entry in John Watts’ excellent Spider-Man trilogy hits all the right beats. The film feels tailor-made to make every superfan stand up and cheer in the theater. For the most part, it succeeds. No Way Home weaves classic actors into the MCU in clever ways, even if it feels like an indulgent excuse to spend a few more scenes with classic Spider-Man villains. It’s big-screen junk food of the highest order, and fans love it.

13. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)

James Gunn’s Guardians series oozes with style. The second entry picks up right where the first one left off, with the newly-formed Guardians of the Galaxy tackling a dangerous figure from Star-Lord’s past. Kurt Russel turns in an astonishing performance as the villainous Ego, the Living Planet. Ego gives the team an antagonist who is equal parts galactic threat and personal demon for Peter Quill.

12. Iron Man 3 (2013)

The genius of Iron Man 3 is that the film keeps Tony Stark out of his armor for most of its runtime. The final entry in the excellent franchise that kicked off the MCU offers Iron Man a dramatically satisfying third act. It also shows his transition into his future role as the Avengers’ elder statesman. We also see the beginnings of Tony’s role as a father figure and mentor for aspiring heroes, which he develops further in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

11. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Spider-Man: Far From Home offered a much-needed injection of lightheartedness to the MCU after the massive cinematic event of Avengers: Endgame. The second Spider-Man film sees Peter Parker and his classmates traveling to Europe on a cross-continent field trip. While he’s overseas, Peter tangles with the villain Mysterio in a battle over who can inherit Iron Man’s legacy.

10. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Avengers: Infinity War shows the MCU flexing all of its muscles. It’s a high-speed juggling act that somehow brings Doctor Strange, Thor, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Avengers crashing into the same film. While lesser films would feel overstuffed and busy with Infinity War’s cast, directors Joe and Anthony Russo manage to make the film’s two-hour runtime feel breezy.

9. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War is more “Avengers 2.5” than a standalone Captain America film. Civil War was the second MCU entry from Community alums Anthony and Joe Russo, who would later helm the excellent Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Civil War illustrates the ideological breakdowns that cause fault lines to appear in the Avengers’ ranks.

8. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Director Taika Waititi helped breathe new life into the struggling Thor franchise with his magnificent 2017 movie, Thor: Ragnarok. The riotous film is equal parts irreverent comedy and roaring fantasy adventure. Thor has never been as likable as in Ragnarok, where he finally comes into his own.

7. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

John Watts outdid himself with Spider-Man: Homecoming, a refreshingly modern take on the Spider-Man mythos. Tom Holland’s version of Peter Parker is charming and believable as an upstart superhero trying to find his way as the Friendly Neighborhood defender. The film’s smaller scale and focus on crimes at the street level is a perfect fit for Spider-Man’s more grounded power set.

6. Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man kick-started the MCU in 2008 with a bang. Shane Black’s direction gives the film a glossy sheen but grounds it in a surprisingly believable version of reality. Robert Downey Jr. lives and breathes in his role as Tony Stark. Iron Man laid the groundwork for the MCU’s future by showing modern audiences that comic book movies could be fun, stylish, and nerdy all at once.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

James Gunn introduced audiences to a lovable group of D-list superheroes with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Chris Pratt’s charisma carries the film’s first act, and the group’s enjoyable banter and genuine bond make their eventual team-up more cathartic. Guardians is also the only Marvel film to culminate in a dance-off to save the universe. That earns it high praise!

4. Black Panther (2017)

Ryan Coogler’s 2017 film Black Panther’s Afro-futuristic landscape goes beyond pure escapism. The fictional kingdom of Wakanda is an aspirational ideal, a world that could exist if history took a slightly different arc. Chadwick Boseman brings an air of regal stoicism and genuine heart to the title role, while the supporting cast presents a nuanced and thought-provoking take on race and foreign relations.

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the first MCU film from the Russo brothers and offers a compelling character study for Man out of Time. Steve Rogers struggles to be the Good Soldier in a morally gray modern world. His dogged pursuit of truth and justice in the face of traitors and shadowy cabals makes Steve one of the most intriguing superheroes in the MCU’s stable.

2. The Avengers (2012)

Joss Whedon achieved a minor miracle by smashing four film franchises together and creating anything besides brown sludge. The Avengers doesn’t just work: it soars. The four leading superheroes have numerous character moments, expanding their stories from their standalone films. Meanwhile, Whedon leaves plenty of room for high-octane action that shows the team’s ability to kick alien butts when they work together.

1. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame is the satisfying conclusion of everything started with 2008’s Iron Man. It closes the book on the stories of Natasha Romanoff, Tony Stark, and Steve Rogers while clearing the stage for future stories in the MCU. The Russos stuffed Endgame to the gills with crowd-pleasing moments and cheer-worthy fight scenes.

Endgame is a celebration of everything that came before and a prologue for what comes next. It’s the MCU’s finest hour, and a fitting send-off to Black Widow, Iron Man, and Captain America.