Everyone should watch the best Marvel movies at least once… twice… okay, 10 times in their life! The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a vast and impressive cinematic achievement, but not all Marvel movies are equal (*cough* Thor: The Dark World *cough*).
When it comes to marathoning the MCU, you might not have time to watch all the Marvel movies in chronological order, and if that’s the case, you want to make sure you at least watch the best Marvel movies.
Picking the top 10 best Marvel movies of all time is more challenging than you think, and it gets harder every time they release a new film. However, while there are some obvious duds that do not come anywhere near the top of the pile, the caliber of movies coming out of Marvel Studios is exceptionally high, with some even counted among the best movies ever made.
So, when it came to narrowing the 26 (and counting) MCU movies down to just the 10 best, well, let’s just say there could be some ‘heated debates.’ And if you are wondering why I am only ranking the top 10 best Marvel movies, well, honestly, I do not think we have the time to rank them all.
The good news is that once you find out which films are the best Marvel movies, you can watch almost all of them on Disney+. Sadly, The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man movies are not on Mickey Mouse’s streaming service, but who knows, maybe they are not in my top 10 list of the best Marvel movies either? You will have to read on to find out, and if you disagree with my list, that’s fine because I bet I will change it when the next movie comes out.
Oh, and beware spoilers ahead for these movies. You’ve been warned…
10. Iron Man – Release date: May 2, 2008
It is hard not to treat the first “Iron Man” film with a sense of overwhelming reverence, given it was the very first MCU movie ever made. But trust me, it is not on my list of the top 10 best Marvel movies ever because it was the first… it is also a masterclass in superhero origin story filmmaking.
It has everything you want; a charismatic but flawed hero at the center of a story about doing the right thing – and tons of gadgets.
Let’s not forget that one of the best things about Iron Man is the equipment. The Iron Man suit was and is one of the most valuable weapons in the MCU, and it was made all the better thanks to the brash but lovable man behind the wheel, Tony Stark.
While the conflict between Iron Man and Iron Monger is pretty lowkey by today’s MCU standards, it fits the superhero’s journey to becoming one of the biggest names in superhero cinema.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Release date: August 1, 2017
Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians are hired by a powerful alien race, the Sovereign, to protect their precious batteries from invaders. When it is discovered that Rocket has stolen the items they were sent to guard, the Sovereign dispatch their armada to search for vengeance.
As the Guardians try to escape, the mystery of Peter’s parentage is revealed. The Guardians are not afraid to have fun while saving the day – usually because they are a bit iffy on whether they are the heroes or villains depending on how they are feeling at the time – and that is why we love them. They might fight and snark at each other daily, but they are a family, a highly dysfunctional and dangerous family.
8. The Avengers – Release date: May 4, 2012
No one thought it could be done, which sounds pretty ridiculous now we have seen “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Endgame”, but it is true. When Marvel Studios announced it would make a superhero movie bringing together six different superheroes, only four of which had had their own solo films at that point, everyone thought it would be a mess. And yet, “The Avengers” is an almost perfect superhero film.
The groundwork already laid in previous Marvel movies helped pave the way for the cinematic collaboration, allowing audiences to dive straight into the action without having to wonder who everyone was.
Add to that the quippy one-liners the MCU was becoming known for, a heartfelt human story at its center, and “The Avengers” is one of the best Marvel movies everyone should watch.
7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Release date: April 4, 2014
It has often been said that MCU movies are so good because they are great comedy/action/thriller movies first and superhero movies second. If that is true, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is definitely one of the best spy movies ever made.
Fresh off the back of defrosting and saving the world in The Avengers, Steve Rogers continues to adjust to the contemporary world when The Winter Soldier comes into his life. The deadly assassin is more myth than man, but he starts a chain reaction that will lead to Cap’s entire world being turned upside down.
Not only is it a pivotal movie in the MCU timeline, but “The Winter Soldier” is also packed full of the most perfect action sequence you’ll ever see – that elevator scene! *chills*
6. Black Panther – Release date: February 13, 2018
Speaking of “Black Panther”, this movie is one of the best Marvel movies ever made too.
The rich and colorful world of Wakanda makes a dazzling backdrop for the superhero’s solo outing as he returns home after the events of “Civil War” (and the death of his father) to become king.
As you might expect, not everything goes as planned, and one of the reasons “Black Panther” is one of the best Marvel movies is because it has one of the best Marvel villains, Killmonger.
The fight for the throne is an action-packed and emotional story, which left fans desperate for more and cemented “Black Panther’s” position as one of the best new superheroes on the MCU scene.
Another thing to add is that Chadwick Boseman will be missed at the helm of “Black Panther” in the MCU.
5. Thor: Ragnarok – Release date: November 3, 2017
Up until “Ragnarok,” Thor’s cinematic journey had been somewhat… crap. While the first Thor movie is not awful, it certainly is not great, and need we even mention “Thor: The Dark World?” There is just something about the theatrical superhero who looks more at home in a Shakespeare play than the modern world that Marvel struggled with at first. But “third time’s the charm,” as they say.
With Ragnarok, director Taika Waititi took the genius move to lean into the comedy of the character rather than try and ignore it, which allowed for one of the funniest films in the MCU. Plus, Hulk came along for the ride, given he was not allowed another solo film, as well as Loki and a whole host of fantastic new characters (Valkyrie, Grandmaster, Korg, etc.), were introduced to the MCU. And who can forget one of the best villains in the MCU? The wicked and wonderful Hela.
4. Captain America: Civil War – Release date: May 6, 2016
“Captain America: Civil War,” also known as “The Avengers 2.5,” saw everyone’s favorite superhero team split up over disagreements about their own autonomy.
On one side, you have Team Cap, and on the other, you have Team Iron Man, and when the two teams collide, you get an epic superhero film.
Civil War is one of the best Marvel movies because it took the conflict between Cap and Iron Man, which had been bubbling under the surface for a while, to a devastatingly new level – we saw the superhero family we had come to know and love torn apart.
3. Spider-Man: No Way Home – Release date: December 15, 2021
**Spoiler alert! Don’t read this if you want to dodge major spoilers, you have been warned…again!!**
By the time Marvel Studios teamed up with Sony for its take on Spider-Man, fans already felt like they had one too many versions of the web-slinging superhero, but thanks to the perfect casting of Tom Holland and Jon Watts’ directorial vision, the Spidey trilogy has become one of the strongest in the MCU. And the best Marvel movie in that trilogy is, without a doubt, the most recent; “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
Picking up directly after the events of “SpiderMan: Far From Home,” Spider-Man is struggling with the fallout from Mysterio revealing his true identity. He tries to enlist the help of Doctor Strange to make everyone forget, but the spell goes wrong and causes the multiverses to collide.
Bad news for them, but great news for fans as this means we get to see Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Mans visit the MCU, as well as some of the best villains from their films. With plenty of laughs between the three Spideys, but also some heartbreak as well, “Spider-Man; No Way Home” is not just a great MCU film; it also makes the previous Sony Spider-Man films better too, which is why it is one of the best Marvel movies of all time.
2. Avengers: Infinity War – Release date: April 27, 2018
Imagine The Avengers, but like… a 1,000 times bigger, and you have “Avengers: Infinity War.”
By this point in the MCU, there is a whole host of new superheroes who put in an appearance in Infinity War to try and save everyone from Thanos and his deadly desire to bring balance to the universe.
To say this film could have been a mess is an understatement given how many characters, worlds, and weapons were involved, but somehow the Russo brothers managed to bring it all together into a film that not only makes sense but is actually one of the best Marvel movies out there.
With equal parts action and heart, “Infinity War” raises the bar for the MCU and sets “Endgame” up to push it even further.
1. Avengers: Endgame – Release date: April 26, 2019
So, what do we think is the best Marvel movie ever? “Avengers: Endgame,” of course.
It might seem somewhat of a predictable top pick given it is the ultimate finale to the Avengers Saga, but there is more to it than that. Putting aside the individual moments which make Endgame great (Cap wielding Mjölnir, that amazing female superhero scene, finally hearing Cap say “Avengers, assemble”), it also introduces time travel to the MCU.
Not only is this pretty mind-blowing in terms of what it means for future films, but it also meant we got to relive some of the critical moments in the MCU before we said a tearful farewell.
And tearful it was because we lost not one but three of the original Avengers in “Endgame.” While Cap got his happily ever after and Tony and Natasha died literally saving the world, none of the goodbyes were easy for fans, but they were perfect for those characters.
Who would have thought over 10 years after we first heard “I am Iron Man” in cinemas that the MCU would be where it was when Tony uttered those iconic words for the last time? And the best thing about Endgame is not even the goodbyes, but the future it sets up as well. Cap passing the shield onto Falcon, Thor joining the Guardians, not to mention whatever Morgan Stark will grow up to do! “Endgame” is the perfect ending to the Avengers Saga. And the ideal beginning to what comes next for the MCU. And that is why it is the best Marvel movie.