The MCU is almost too big to do a ranked list now, with so many movies to remember, so many plot lines to consider and… honestly, a lot of skippable stuff.
Look, I’ve seen all of these flicks and grew up with Marvel movies. While there are some absolutely amazing movies here, there are also some total snoozefests.
Let’s do it, let’s start a fight, though I’m sure I can convince you that I am right and you are wrong (just kidding, I’m glad everyone can enjoy their own media).
The movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ranked. We’re going from worst to best – and we’re excluding Marvel Special Presentations, including the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and Werewolf By Night.
The movies of the MCU, ranked
For reasons beyond my understanding, the Thor origin story movie was low budget and sooo boring. It contains a nothing-plot and action that’s snooze-worthy. Also, the acting isn’t great. Not sure what to say beyond that but… yeesh. It’s unlikely that a Thor movie will ever scrape above the bottom on a ranked MCU list (note for the reader: this is foreshadowing for a much later ranking).
I don’t feel like I actually need to say anything. Look at this god-awful trailer.
- You can watch Thor on Disney+.
31. Thor: The Dark World
Will anybody stand up and defend Thor: The Dark World? No? Alright. Thor: The Dark World is one of the weakest MCU movies, boring in plot, action, premise and existence. Even the CGI is underwhelming.
But look, for ‘Infinity Saga’ reasons it’s essential, so at least it has that going for it. A word from me though: nobody would blame you if you skipped it.
- You can watch Thor: The Dark World on Disney+.
30. The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk is such an unimportant movie to the MCU that people often forget about its existence. Also, Mark Ruffalo isn’t The Hulk in it(?).
Abomination, the villain of the film, is more important than the film itself, having returned in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and the She-Hulk Disney+ show.
Skippable. Probably the most skippable Marvel movie, actually.
- You can watch The Incredible Hulk on Disney+.
There’s a bit of a quality jump between The Incredible Hulk and Eternals, however, Eternals is bad in different ways (actually, going forward, none of the movies are bad bad, they’re just… bad compared to other MCU movies).
Eternals is an exercise in sitting. While the movie is, cinematically, one of the most gorgeous Marvel films at times, the plot is boring as hell. Action feels all over the place and scene pacing suffers for the same reasons. It’s also one of the longest MCU movies.
That said, Eternals is often thought of quite highly by some Marvel fans. It’s a bit of a divider and I’m fully accepting of if you’d place this film higher. My criticisms revolve around the movie just having zero energy to give throughout.
- You can watch Eternals on Disney+.
28. Iron Man 2
Ah, Iron Man 2. You know, it’s funny. Nostalgia-wise I love this movie for Whiplash, one of my favourite Marvel villains. I also love War Machine cum Iron Patriot, who was introduced in this film. But, you know, going back to the movie, it’s a bit of an exercise in putting up with Tony’s arrogant behaviour and watching him get rewarded for it. Also, Elon Musk is in this one (completely unrelated).
That being said, the whole “I want my bird” exchange between Whiplash and Hammer gets me every time, I think it’s hilarious.
- You can watch Iron Man 2 on Disney+.
27. Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is a CGI reel first and a movie second, with a generic Marvel plot with odds strangely high for the Ant-Man series. The movie is often difficult to look at with its CGI-heavy beginning to end, though it is our first introduction to Kang – the new supervillain of the MCU (though the actor behind the character may change).
It’s a fine adventure flick, but it’s quite brittle. Despite its sky-high stakes, it feels inconsequential in both plot and requirement to watch. It has plenty of funny moments, along with some cool scenes and character ideas (including the MCU’s M.O.D.O.K), but it’s not enough to lift it beyond this position on the list.
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will likely come to Disney+ sometime before May.
26. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
A shock to see this film so low? It shouldn’t be, the film is a shock itself. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness exists solely for audience members to drop their jaws and point their fingers at the screen, going “That’s X character!”.
CGI-wise it’s well done (at times), and acting is good, as is the action, but it’s also a tedious film throughout. It has its moments, but it’s a low-level Marvel flick.
- You can watch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on Disney+.
Ant-Man drags on. Paul Rudd is such a funny guy and he’s a terrific comedic actor, but parts of Ant-Man just have you waiting for the next thing to happen. It doesn’t captivate throughout, but like Iron Man 2, it has its moments.
- You can watch Ant-Man on Disney+.
24. Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson’s final bout in the Black Widow role. The solo film was a nice send-off, though it felt about five years late.
This film gives some nice context for Black Widow’s character, presented in a spy-thriller lens similar to The Winter Soldier.
Black Widow lacks the epic scale of some of these other Marvel movies, especially having released after the monumental Endgame, but on its own it’s quite nice.
- You can watch Black Widow on Disney+.
23. Ant-Man and the Wasp
The second Ant-Man film, this flick suffers for the same reason as the original, however it does a better job with what it’s given. The action scenes in this one are also a tonne of fun.
- You can watch Ant-Man and the Wasp on Disney+.
22. Captain America: The First Avenger
The First Avenger is fine. CGI is nothing to write home about, nor is the acting really, but it’s a nice action romp where the stakes are high and the motives are strong. But it’s just fine.
- You can watch Captain America: The First Avenger on Disney+.
21. Doctor Strange
Like the first Captain America movie, Doctor Strange is fine. The CGI is exceptionally well done, but everything else about it is just… eeeh.
I’m not sure if I can remember a single line of dialogue from it.
- You can watch Doctor Strange on Disney+.
20. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
There’s another quality jump here, in my mind. The latest film on our ranked MCU movies list, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a terrific conclusion to the Guardians trilogy, sending the heroes off in a fun and action-packed final romp.
It’s still in theatres, so we won’t reveal that much, but it’s definitely worth watching if you’re interested in the MCU or just want to watch a fun action movie (the same goes for the movies here on out).
- You can watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 before it arrives on Disney+.
19. Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 is a pivotal moment for Tony’s character, that really sets him on his way to becoming the brilliant hero of heroes in Avengers: Endgame.
It deals with trauma following The Avengers and features some really nice action. That being said, I’m hesitant to call it better than any of the flicks above it.
- You can watch Iron Man 3 on Disney+.
18. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a great template for Marvel movies to come, hitting a nice balance between serious superhero stuff, comedy and light-heartedness. Good flick.
- You can watch Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on Disney+.
17. Captain Marvel
Following the origin of the strongest Avenger, Captain Marvel is a great film with a terrific story. Parts of it feel like a buddy-cop movie between Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, but at other times it feels more sci-fi than superhero. A great origin story.
- You can watch Captain Marvel on Disney+.
16. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Though we’ve ranked the second Avengers movie quite highly on our MCU movies list, it is the lowest of the Avengers films. Avengers: Age of Ultron tells the story of rogue AI Ultron (note: don’t mess with AI), and begins to pave the way for the division between the heroes of the MCU (this came to a head in Civil War).
Detracting this movie is absolutely the weird Hulk-Widow ship that felt a bit crowbarred in, but beyond that we’re willing to say it’s a pretty good MCU flick.
- You can watch Avengers: Age of Ultron on Disney+.
15. Iron Man
The first MCU film. Iron Man became the foundation for MCU movies and many superhero shows and flicks to come.
Following Stark’s transformation from arms manufacturer to superhero, this movie might be a bit of nostalgia fodder for me, but the formula was right. It’s also a bit weird to look back on, considering how far the MCU has come in tone and style.
- You can watch Iron Man on Disney+.
14. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
I’d say there’s another quality jump from here on out. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 builds upon the original’s nostalgia-heavy sci-fi beats, but it doesn’t really do anything new or interesting.
The dynamics between the team members are enjoyable but motivations at times feel a bit weak: I always thought the characterisation of Yondu from the first to the second movie was a bit of a stretch (going from villainous back character to loving father figure type).
- You can watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on Disney+.
13. Black Panther
Black Panther is a gorgeous film with some terrific action, but at times it can feel a bit slow. Despite that, everything in this film hits, from one of the best villains to one of the best soundtracks in a Marvel movie.
It also brings afrofuturism to the MCU, an aesthetic we don’t see often in the mainstream (another popular example of afrofuturism is Overwatch’s Numbani).
- You can watch Black Panther on Disney+.
12. Guardians of the Galaxy
The Guardians of the Galaxy film was the first time we were well separated from the mainstay cast of the MCU’s Infinity Saga (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and so on), taking us into the cosmos fuelled by James Gunn’s imagination.
Everything in Guardians of the Galaxy seems to work really well for a superhero/sci-fi flick, embracing camp and lightheartedly tackling one of Marvel’s greatest teams.
- You can watch Guardians of the Galaxy on Disney+.
11. Spider-Man: Far From Home
The second Spider-Man movie in the MCU, Far From Home, brought phase three to a close. Iron Man was gone and Spider-Man was left without his mentor figure… until Nick Fury and Mysterio showed up.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a wild ride through Europe. It doesn’t skip a beat and every moment of this flick feels perfect.
- You can stream Spider-Man: Far From Home on Netflix.
10. Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War flipped the script, pitting the heroes against each other in deciding their rules and compliance with the governments of the world. The villain (Zemo, who returned in Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+) was weak, but he kind of needed to be weak so that he wasn’t taking away too much from the main clash of the film (team Iron Man versus team Captain America).
Parts of Civil War feel a bit rushed, but it is a big movie with a giant cast.
- You can watch Captain America: Civil War on Disney+.
9. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a beating heart of emotion, and in its opening act, the film feels as if it transcends its place in the MCU, paying tribute to the former Black Panther actor, Chadwick Boseman, who died suddenly in 2020 from colon cancer.
Throughout the film, the energy is restless, though it is quite a long movie. Wakanda’s place in the world as the vibranium superpower is put in jeopardy – and a new Black Panther must arise.
- You can watch Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Disney+.
8. Avengers: Infinity War
Thanos arrived in Infinity War, bringing the first MCU-sized threat to the heroes, forcing them to put aside differences and unite.
Infinity War tends to get a bit bloated, having so much to stuff in and not much time, but the storylines of the film keep their energy up throughout.
- You can watch Avengers: Infinity War on Disney+.
7. Spider-Man: No Way Home
Spider-Man: No Way Home wrapped up the ‘Home’ trilogy of the MCU Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, while also wrapping up the other two Spider-Man universes, because, you know, the multiverse.
The ending has no right being as sad as it was. Also, some of the shots feel a bit choppy but ultimately it’s a wild, multiverse-heavy ride.
- You can buy or rent Spider-Man: No Way Home on Google Play, Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV.
6. Avengers: Endgame
The ultimate movie of the MCU, Avengers: Endgame concluded everything (until Far From Home, which technically ended phase three) up until that point.
Endgame was a three-hour epic with so much to give, high stakes and a beating heart 10 years in the making. It also features the greatest third act of the MCU.
- You can watch Avengers: Endgame on Disney+.
MCU movies ranked: The top five
5. The Avengers
The original Avengers film welcomed us to what the MCU could be, and what it eventually became: an alive universe filled with heroes that cross over and feature in each other’s stories.
The action was terrific in the original Avengers film, as were characterisations, CGI and just about everything, really. It’s the top Avengers flick on our ranked MCU movies list.
- You can watch The Avengers on Disney+.
4. Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor’s most recent movie is a fun bout from beginning to end, focusing on being a comedy more than anything else. We loved it and were won over by Taika Waititi’s bonkers second MCU film.
- You can watch Thor: Love and Thunder on Disney+.
3. Spider-Man: Homecoming
The first Spider-Man film in the MCU, Homecoming was a thrill throughout, mixing humour and light-heartedness with a vibrant superhero tale, featuring Iron Man on the sidelines. It’s our favourite Spider-Man flick on our list of MCU movies.
- You can watch Spider-Man: Homecoming on Disney+.
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier shattered the MCU with revelations surrounding Hydra, a secret society of evil villains, in the wake of The Avengers. This flick doesn’t go hard on comedy, but it’s a tremendously entertaining spy-superhero thriller.
- You can watch Captain American: The Winter Soldier on Disney+.
1. Thor: Ragnarok
Of course, we’re giving Thor: Ragnarok top billing on our ranked MCU movies list, but it’s interesting that Thor movies hold both the bottom and top spots, isn’t it?
Thor: Ragnarok broke the mould of an otherwise boring superhero, doing away with his seriousness and adding comedic flair to Thor’s character. Taika Waititi was the perfect pick for this flick, bringing his zany perspective to Marvel’s cosmos.
The entirety of Thor: Ragnarok feels like a wild ride. Visually, it’s the most interesting film on this list, and the dialogue feels the most thought out. It changed Thor for the better.
- You can watch Thor: Ragnarok on Disney+.
Well, that’s our list. Would you have ranked any MCU movies differently? Let us know if we missed one. Of course, we’ll add The Marvels to our list once it comes out.
In the meantime, why not check out all the other sci-fi, horror and fantasy films coming our way this year.
This article has been updated since it was originally published.
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