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What's Our Favorite Marvel Movie? Ranked & Compared

The Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero genre movies are highly rated and enjoyed by audiences of all ages. After an unexpected two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, Marvel Studios is back on the big screen with back-to-back releases of Black Widow, WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. 

...but they can’t all be highly rated, right? Surely there must be bad seeds in the bunch? 

Well, fret no more. Here is our list of the top 20 Marvel movies of all time. 

Top 20 Best Marvel Movies of All Time 

1. Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther was a global phenomenon. It was the first superhero film in history to have been nominated for an Academy Award. Black Panther featured the fantasy country Wakanda, which had been posing as a Third-World country not to expose its highly technological and potentially dangerous advancements.

Its wide array of African-American cast members and their stunning performances paved the way for their nation and culture’s much-needed representation in the film industry. We've heard some of the best Marvel quotes here. 

2. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

To mark the decade, Marvel Studios released Avengers: Endgame, a glorious event movie that ended Phase Two of the Infinity Saga. The movie takes you on a roller coaster ride with more than a few emotional scenes in between. It’s quite messy in a way, with each of the MCU characters you know and love having their own moments, but it ties everything up in a neat little bow at the very end. 

3. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

There wasn’t much love for Thor in his first Marvel film, but all of that changed with the release of Thor: Ragnarok in 2017. Chris Hemsworth is back as the God of Thunder, but he’s no longer the cliched, handsome god spewing bits of poetry, but rather a wise-cracking man who isn’t afraid to cry, show his vulnerability, and gain a few pounds. This is by far the funniest Marvel film to date, all thanks to Taika Watiti’s interpretation of the titular character. 

4. Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man (2008)

We were given a glimpse of the first MCU movie in 2008 with the release of Iron Man. Sure, the title character wasn’t nearly as popular as Superman or Batman, but the performance of Robert Downey, Jr. as the red-armored smooth-talking hero had people talking and raving about him for years to come; it was the definition of perfect casting. It paved the way for people to start getting hooked on other Marvel superheroes.

The first-ever superhero movie from the MCU might be over ten years old, but it still deserves a spot on top, in our opinion. Robert Downey, Jr. is extremely charming and charismatic, and he plays the “love-that-you-can’t-hate-him” character so well that it was exactly what made the people flock to the theaters. 

Read: How to Watch Marvel Movies in Order

5. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

The strange ensemble called the Guardians of the Galaxy were basically unknown entities… until they blew up theaters in 2014. Marvel Studios Guardians of the Galaxy was a perfect mix of quirky characters, a hilarious script, and a nostalgic soundtrack. It just goes to show that people are open to the idea of a non-traditional take on superhero movies. Who would’ve thought that a talking tree would turn out to be the cutest character in the entire MCU? 

6. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Just when you thought people were sick of Spider-Man, Marvel Studios turned it around when they cast Tom Holland for the role. Tom Holland is the third to play Peter Parker and to don the web-shooting red and blue suit, but somehow this Spider-Man movie remains fresh and fun with his interpretation. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a funny teen drama that showcases the life of a normal teenage boy dealing with school, crushes, and prom, all while trying to save the citizens of New York, making it all the more relatable. 

7. The Avengers (2012) 

The Avengers (2012)

When news broke out that Marvel Studios was planning on doing the Avengers, people assumed the movie would be a hot mess. After all, how do you put so many stars with different backstories and a cult following for each of their feature films in one movie and not have everything crash and burn? 

Although the idea seemed highly ambitious, Marvel Studios pulled it off and created one of the best superhero ensembles in movie history. Surely you remember the goosebumps up and down your arm as the camera panned 360 and showed all of the heroes fighting back to back for the first time. 

It’s also the first time we see Mark Ruffalo as The Incredible Hulk, after replacing Edward Norton. [1]

8. Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange was a great visual treat featuring an Inception-style city bending, but we think the plot could’ve been written a little bit better. Nonetheless, Stephen Strange’s origin story was a fresh take on the superhero trope, with supernatural powers, magic, and mysticism taking center stage instead of the regular sci-fi. 

Read: DC vs Marvel

9. Captain America: Civil War (2016) 

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Although Captain America’s name is on the movie title, this feels like an Avengers film more than anything else. Captain America: Civil War features many of our Marvel favorites, but this time they’re fighting against each other when the government tries to intervene in the way they choose to run things. Team Iron Man thinks it’s a great idea as he thinks limitations are what separates them from bad guys, while Team Cap believes he has better judgment than a few politicians. 

10. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The cliffhanger that ended Avengers: Infinity War made us wish that we could stay in the theater longer, wanting to know what happens next right then and there. The third Avengers flick featured everyone you’ve ever seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe battle it out against Thanos, who is collecting the Infinity Stones in order to eradicate half of humanity. Why you ask? To restore “balance” to the world. 

11. Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man (2015)

The Ant-Man movie was a breath of fresh air after the intense happenings at Avengers: Age of Ultron. Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd, is a well-meaning thief who encounters the shrinking suit. The movie features some of the funniest supporting characters in Luis (Michael Pena) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). This is also where we discover the existence of the Quantum Realm, which will prove important later on in the films’ progression. 

12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Because the first volume of the Guardians movie left the Marvel fans wanting more, Marvel gave them more… but not in a good way. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was more of a rehash of the first one, and it tried to give us the same magic present in the first installment but fell quite short of its mark. This movie introduced us to many more lovable characters, though, such as Mantis, and of course, Baby Groot. 

13. Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel (2019)  

We felt like Captain Marvel should’ve been introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe a bit earlier. The first female character movie felt like a bit of an afterthought, as though the producers decided to give Captain Marvel an origin story just because she would be an integral character in Endgame. We also would point out Carol Danvers’s humanity, which is non-existent. She’s just… not relatable. 

14. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger is a sepia-toned film set in World War II. While it’s not the most memorable, the first Captain America movie is a great stand-alone movie. Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers, a soldier too scrawny to officially enlist for the army but gets chosen as a recipient to the super-soldier serum. This decision in the movie would make you agree that no one else deserved it more. 

Read: Our Favorite Marvel Gifts

15. Thor (2011)

Thor (2011)

Thor wasn’t always the wise-cracking god. The first interpretation of his character was very cliched, spewing bits of serious poetry here and there with a dour and ponderous expression. It didn’t contribute much to the series except to introduce the titular character as a mainstay. Where this film got it right, though, was its casting of Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Hiddleston is just so charismatic that even though Loki should be despicable, we don’t hate him. 

16. Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3 (2013)

The Iron Man trilogy ends on a less-than-stellar note, with Iron Man 3 being slightly better than its predecessor. The film revolves around the aftermath of the Battle of New York and Tony Stark’s post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia, which showed the audience that even superheroes are not exempt from trauma. One thing diehard fans noted about the movie was that instead of focusing on Iron Man like the other two films, the movie centered around Tony Stark instead. 

17. Thor: The Dark World (2013) 

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor: The Dark World feels like it’s nothing more than a filler film. The plot was slow-moving with forgettable villains. It’s even said that Malekith, the villain of this movie, is the worst villain in Marvel Cinematic Universe history. Comic book loyalists have complained about him being entirely Aether-dependent. Without the Aether, Malekith in the movie is neither powerful nor menacing. 

18. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

The 2014 movie introduced us to Bucky Barnes, more commonly known as the Winter Soldier, who proves to be vital in Infinity War and Endgame. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers recognizes his old friend from the military, who somehow turned into a sleeper agent for an opposing terrorist group called Hydra. The movie dabbles in politics and conspiracies and feels vastly different from other movies in the franchise. 

19. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron is arguably the weakest out of all Avengers movies. Ultron comes from an artificial intelligence structure that Tony Stark creates a body for, as he was under the impression that a robot with a body could prove to be more effective than the rest of the Avengers combined should they need assistance. Boy, was he wrong when Ultron started fighting against them instead of with them. 

20. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Robert Downey, Jr. is back in Iron Man 2, but the movie felt like it was too much, too soon, after the hit of the initial film. It also wasn’t as child-friendly as the other Marvel films, with Tony Stark showing plenty of self-destructive behavior such as alcoholism and womanizing. It’s pretty underwhelming compared to the first film, with a villain (Mickey Rourke) that had way too little screen time. 

FAQs 

Which Marvel movie has the highest Rotten Tomatoes rating?

According to the entertainment website Rotten Tomatoes, Black Panther is the highest rated with 96 percent in the Fresh Tomatometer. 

What is the most hated Marvel movie?

Marvel diehards have agreed that the most-hated movie is Thor: The Dark World, closely followed by The Incredible Hulk, starring Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. Both movies are poorly written and have poor reviews on various movie rating sites. Quite frankly, they stick out like sore thumbs in the franchise. 

What is the saddest Marvel movie?

The saddest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie is Avengers: Endgame, with more than one central character dying at the end. The movie had its ups, though — we couldn’t help but feel excited when our favorite Avengers team finally regrouped after a long separation to face their final battle. 

In Summary 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the highest-grossing film franchise to date, with Marvel Studios having grossed over $23.2 billion in the global box office. It also includes Avengers: Endgame, which is the highest-grossing film upon release of all time.

Most of the films in the Marvel Universe are great superhero films, but they inevitably have a few misses here and there. Nonetheless, every single one is an entertaining watch, and it’s great stitching up the film’s connections here and there. The films are loaded with Easter eggs, too, that you’ll have a great time spotting! 

Check out our Marvel merch in the listings. 

Reference:

  1. https://www.cbr.com/why-mark-ruffalo-replaced-edward-norton-mcu-hulk/