Since Iron Man hit the silver screen in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated the box office. What they lacked in A-Grade superheroes, they made up for with outstanding storytelling and the ultimate platform for superhero team ups and crossovers. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a decade since it began, but here are the top-10 MCU films to this day.
Honourable mentions: Iron Man 2, Thor.
10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
The second installment for the captain of the Avengers, Steve Rodgers is back in action, and trying to find his place in the modern world. With the introduction of the Falcon, and a much more solid film than the first installment, Captain America takes on a familiar face in Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier. While the first film stuck to the script in terms of Cap’s upbringing and backstory, The Winter Soldier felt like a new take on the superhero, or at least a fresh one. With SHIELD infiltrated, Rodgers becomes a fugitive, and must trust his morals in this action packed film that sets up Captain America for the Age of Ultron.
9. Ant-Man (2015)
After the huge success that was the Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios began thinking more outside of the box. While their early installments from 2008-2012 stuck pretty close to the superhero movie stereotype, Ant-Man was one of the first films to creatively be super unique. Paul Rudd was definitely the right choice to play Scott Lang. While there was some questions whether or not the MCU should’ve stuck with Hank Pym as the Ant-Man, the execution of the film and the scale of the conflict (capped off beautifully by the toy set train final battle) put those questions aside and the film was a huge hit with critics and fans alike. With Ant-Man and The Wasp set to come out in July 2018, Scott Lang’s biggest adventure might still be yet to come.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
After a huge success in their first instalment, the Guardians of the Galaxy returned in 2017 with Vol. 2. picking up right where the first film left off, Peter Quill finally meets his father, and answers many questions surrounding Quill’s upbringing and it also explains the final moments of the first instalment surrounding the infinity stone. While the story is much more scaled down in the second film, there’s tonnes of laughs and very touching moments between unlikely characters like Yondu. With another killer soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sets up the gang for the incoming Infinity War in May 2018.
7. Iron Man (2008)
The film that started it all. Without Iron Man being a huge success, the Marvel Cinematic Universe probably isn’t what it is today. With Robert Downey Jr. born to play the role as Tony Stark, the playboy billionaire philanthropist kicked off Marvel’s rejuvenated cinematic efforts with a bang. A huge hit at the box office, Iron Man jolted into the stratosphere of the most popular superheroes out there. With Nick Fury and the Avengers Initiative being introduced in the post-credit scene, the history of superhero movies, and movies in general, would never be the same.
6. Doctor Strange (2016)
Another B-list superhero who gained massive popularity after the release of their first solo film, Doctor Strange was arguably the best origin story Marvel has ever released. The story of miracle worker Stephen Strange’s loss of use in his hands prompted a search for a cure, and he found much more than that. With the release of Doctor Strange, the MCU has been expanded through the multiverse, which could be pivotal as Marvel moves through phases over the years. With the multiverse crucial to many of Marvel’s comics, the MCU could be drawing from the same well once their current roster of heroes are depleting. The visual effects in this film are also unbelievable, and it shouldn’t be long before a sequel is announced.
5. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
After Sony reached an agreement to lend the web-slinger to Marvel Studios for the MCU, Marvel found themselves in an awkward position. Amazing Spider-Man 2 was released just three years prior, and with another trilogy already telling the backstory of Spider-Man and showcasing many of Peter Parker’s biggest foes, it forced Marvel to create yet another unique version of one of the most recognizable superheroes on the planet. With the casting of Tom Holland as Peter Parker, the character went back to its roots; no more skateboard riding cool Peter, no emo, jazz playing Peter, we’re back with the high school nerd Peter, the one we all know and love. Introducing Vulture, played magnificently by Michael Keaton, the film felt like a clean slate for the character, and it opens up a long, prosperous future for Spidey.
4. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The second big team up in the MCU did not disappoint. Setting up the events of the Civil War, Age of Ultron centered the series around Tony Stark once again, as him and Bruce Banner (Hulk) create a peacekeeping AI called Ultron. However, Ultron is a failed experiment, as it destroys JARVIS, takes over all of Stark’s gadgets and threatens to destroy the entire city of Sokovia. I’ll let you watch the rest of the film, but the additions of Vision and Scarlet Witch are a nice fresh take on the group, and while the stakes may not be quite as high as they were in the first film, the movie brought in over 1.4 billion at the box office and gave the industry zero doubt that superhero movies are still in their prime.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
While Doctor Strange introduced us to the multiverse, Guardians of the Galaxy was the first MCU film to take us outside of earth and into the vast cosmos of the galaxy. Directed by James Gunn, the Guardians were relatively unknown by the public when the movie came out, but due to a terrific soundtrack and riveting character development, the film brought in over 700 million at the box office and are now household names within the MCU. With an equally successful sequel, and plenty of adventures still to come, the Guardians of the Galaxy will be a mainstay at Marvel Studios for a long time, and the success of their first film is a big part of that.
2. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Following the events of Age of Ultron, one of Marvel’s biggest comic events finally hit the big screen in 2016 as a Captain America film. While it’s not a complete adaptation from the books, the concept and major figures involved all translate perfectly into the MCU. Following the Sokovia Accords, Captain America and Iron Man, the two presumed leaders of the Avengers, are divided. With the introduction of the Black Panther and Spider-Man, we get to see some battles between allies we never thought we’d see before. One of the best conflicts in superhero movie history, it’s hard not to see Tony Stark’s argument, while Steve Rodgers is simply defending his friend, the Winter Soldier, while not agreeing to hand over his rights to the government. The end scene is one of the best so far in the MCU, and this film will go down as one of the best superhero films ever made.
1. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
Was there any ever doubt? Before its release in 2012, many thought the concept was too big for the movie industry, that there’s no way that many characters could be involved, and still have progression and development. Joss Whedon’s best work to date comes in the form of The Avengers, which was one of the biggest movie events in cinematic history. Drawing in a jaw-dropping 1.5 billion at the box office, which ranks 5th all time in revenue to this date. The Avengers finally answered all superhero fans’ dreams when we finally saw a team of heroes from an expanded universe come together on the same screen to fight a villain of massive proportions. It was something at that point, never accomplished, and Marvel not only did it, but exceeded all expectations and will forever go down in history as the first of its kind, and one that every superhero fan will watch.