- Iron Man (2008)
Anchored with a charismatic and witty lead in Robert Downey Jr., “Iron Man” kicked off the MCU in stellar fashion and hooked us for a long, thrilling ride unprecedented in cinematic history.
2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Though not the raging success fans of Bruce Banner were hoping for, “The Incredible Hulk” provided enough pulse-pounding action to make viewers overlook its poor writing and stylistic choices.
3. Iron Man 2 (2010)
An undeniably competent set-up for “The Avengers” (if not much more than that), “Iron Man 2” provided enough fun action and humor to make it enjoyable, and introduced us to the MCU’s most intriguing female heroine.
4. Thor (2011)
Placing the god of thunder in the modern world was never going to be easy, but director Kenneth Branagh made it seem effortless, setting up the world of Asgard very well and introducing an intriguing conflict between the titular hero and his conniving brother, Loki.
5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Retro, nostalgiac, and marked with great performances, “The First Avenger” introduced us to a hero with some dimension that we could truly care about, along with a top-notch villain and script with some gravitas.
6. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
The culmination of Marvel’s Phase I was thrilling, action-packed, and especially well-directed. Everything following had a great deal to live up to.
7. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Well-written, humorous, and character-centric, Shane Black brought his own creative flare to “Iron Man 3,” and the result was truly spectacular.
8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
A by-the-numbers entry with a generic villain and intriguing mythology that was largely left unexplored.
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
The most mature of all the Marvel entries, “The Winter Soldier” was a rousing mix of a political thriller and action spectacular.
10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Marked with great humor and atypical heroes, “Guardians” was as irreverent, heartfelt, and visually dazzling as everyone could have hoped for, and its nostalgic soundtrack only boosted its amusement.
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Although a bit sluggish, crowded, and tiresome at times, Joss Whedon threw all of his creative spirit into “Age of Ultron,” and the end result was a complex yet relatively dour summer blockbuster.
12. Ant-Man (2015)
“Ant-Man” smartly never took itself too seriously, and was a breath of fresh air with deft humor after a heavy ending to Phase II.
13. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The Russo Brothers directed this magnificent character-driven entry that holds some of the best acting and most interesting scenes in the MCU.
14. Doctor Strange (2016)
“Doctor Strange” artfully balanced its peculiar source material with the blockbuster MCU formula to deliver a unique and entertaining origin story for its hero.
15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Though not quite as fresh as “Guardians” was, “Vol. 2” delivered equal amounts of wit, heart, and visual delight with some engrossing family drama.
16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Delightfully dorky and entertaining, “Homecoming” felt like its title – a welcome home to the MCU, led by an incredibly likable Tom Holland.
17. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Possibly the most unique and stylized entry in the MCU, “Ragnarok” finally gave Thor what fans of the Norse god had been waiting for – color, fun, and a worthy adversary.
18. Black Panther (2018)
The second-best origin story in the MCU was particularly noteworthy for its colorful art direction, quality writing and performances, and strong antagonist, who brought depth and humanism to the central conflict like no other Marvel villain had.
19. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Incredibly well-directed and featuring Marvel’s strongest villain, “Infinity War” is a triumph in many respects, but fails to hold any emotional weight and feels too much like the first act of a much larger story arc.
20. Ant-Man and the Wasp
A fun continuation for everyone’s favorite tiny hero, with an interesting antagonist and good chemistry between the entire cast.
21. Captain Marvel (2019)
Though Brie Larson’s performance leaves a bit to be desired, “Captain Marvel” is consistently entertaining, especially thanks to a humorously rewarding relationship between Carol and Nick Fury.