Skip to main content

The 10 best Marvel movies, ranked

With 32 MCU movies to choose from, we think the top 10 stand tall above the rest

Some people don’t like the dominance displayed by the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent years, as it seemingly blocks out all of the other great cinema on display at the movie theater and at home. Still, there’s no denying the pop culture influence and the mainstream adulation towards the superheroes that make up these 32 films in the MCU. With almost 15 years of movies to choose from, most have been a hit, but several also didn’t live up to expectations. We’re here to help you watch the 10 best Marvel movies, from the Avengers movies to all of the niche MCU movies that make the universe stick and come together in special unison. You can watch nearly all of these movies on Disney Plus!

10. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

10. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
132m
Genre
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars
Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Zhang Meng'er
Directed by
Destin Daniel Cretton
Watch on Disney+

  There is a glaring lack of Asian representation in the superhero genre, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings helps to fill that void with excellent storytelling and choreography. The film honors the cultural traditions it’s trying to uphold while entertaining with spectacular action sequences. Simu Liu and Awkwafina are amongst a talented cast of actors.

9. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

9. Captain America: Civil War
147m
Genre
Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars
Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
Directed by
Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Watch on Disney+

You know that saying, “the calm before the storm”? Captain America: Civil War is the great antithesis of this blanket statement. The film serves as a sort of explosive precursor to the events that are about to take place in the upcoming The Avengers movies, and it also solidly continues the story of Captain America (Chris Evans). Tom Holland got his first screen time as Peter Parker in this film.

8. Ant-Man (2015)

8. Ant-Man
117m
Genre
Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Stars
Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly
Directed by
Peyton Reed
Watch on Disney+

While not one of the MCU’s most famous protagonists, Ant-Man is a lovable and relatable hero who has garnered significant popularity in recent years in due no small part to the awesome everyman effect of Paul Rudd. The prolific comedic actor showed off his dramatic chops in a movie that felt more like a heist than a hero flick, but it stands out as one of the most unique entries in the MCU.

7. The Avengers (2012)

7. The Avengers
143m
Genre
Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Stars
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by
Joss Whedon
Watch on Disney+

The first film in The Avengers series seems small in comparison to its sequels, but that doesn’t mean it had any less of an impact on fans of the MCU. This movie helped to bring all of the straggling plot threads in the previous Marvel movies together into one thrilling story line, and it spawned many references throughout other forms of media to the power of creating an all-star team that cannot be beat. The chemistry of Marvel’s bedrock actors such as Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans was a pleasure to see blossom for the first time. 

6. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

6. Guardians of the Galaxy
121m
Genre
Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista
Directed by
James Gunn
Watch on Disney+

Many of Marvel’s movies are about one hero. From Peter Parker and Steve Rogers to Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, trying to become evil’s bane is often a solo act, and it can become a little repetitive from an audience’s perspective. Enter the Guardians of the Galaxy. With Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and several other big names in the cast, this film showed the world that superhero antics could be a team effort. The iconic pop music and cultural references that fill the movie make it even more beloved.

5. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
133m
Genre
Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Drama
Stars
Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr.
Directed by
Jon Watts
Watch on Amazon

Spider-Man is arguably the most popular hero in the Marvel universe. Peter Parker is almost the company’s version of Clark Kent. Therefore, finding the right actor to embody the character in his debut outing in the MCU was vital. With this great power comes great responsibility (I had to do it!). Tom Holland turned out to be everything fans of the comics could ever dream of and more. His ability to turn on the charming boyish naïveté while simultaneously battling the villainous Vulture (Michael Keaton), resulted in an incredibly fun summer blockbuster.

4. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

4. Thor: Ragnarok
131m
Genre
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Comedy
Stars
Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett
Directed by
Taika Waititi
Watch on Disney+

A big difference between Marvel films and their competition (like, say, the DC Extended Universe) is the willingness to laugh at yourself. Remember, superheroes are typically grown-ups running around in their underwear exhibiting powers that simply don’t exist in our real world. Thor: Ragnarok is the funniest movie in the MCU, and it’s accompanied with an excellent storyboard and a laundry list of great actors. Chris Hemsworth shows off an extension of his acting chops as the God of Thunder, and Tom Hiddleston turns in another great supporting performance as Thor’s brother, Loki

3. Iron Man (2008)

3. Iron Man
126m
Genre
Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars
Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges
Directed by
Jon Favreau
Watch on Disney+

The entire MCU would have never existed without the greatness of Iron Man. Showing Tony Stark’s evolution from grade-A jackass into a semi-heroic badass, director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr. had to have known they were cooking up an exquisite alchemic medley of comic book creativity. This was the first film in the MCU, and it catapulted Downey Jr.’s star-status back into hyper overdrive. He helped to serve as a de-facto mascot for the franchise henceforth.

2. Black Panther (2018)

2. Black Panther
135m
Genre
Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars
Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o
Directed by
Ryan Coogler
Watch on Disney+

It’s rare for a Marvel film to feel like it’s making a grander thematic statement in the canon of film history, but this Ryan Coogler-directed smash hit was certainly just that. Demonstrating the power of Black superheroes in all of their glory, Black Panther captured the minds and imaginations of kids and adults all over the world. Beyond the social progressivism that makes the movie iconic, the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and his rivalry with Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) is a fascinating and well-acted plot all on its own merit.

1. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

1. Avengers: Endgame
181m
Genre
Adventure, Science Fiction, Action
Stars
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by
Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Watch on Disney+

The culmination of over a decade of MCU material, Avengers: Endgame felt like much more than just a movie. The penultimate film in Phase 3 was an event that got everyone talking worldwide. Even folks who had never seen a Marvel flick flocked to the theater to see what all the hubbub was about. Unfortunately for casuals, you definitely need a knowledge of what’s happened so far to get enjoyment out of director Kevin Feige’s work. This is the last film with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America. 

Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek, Quote.com, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
The best Netflix movies to stream in July
Pick from this definitive list that covers all genres of movies to stream on Netflix
Netflix logo on TV with red backlighting

Although it's now only one big player in an even bigger streaming market, Netflix still manages to crank out plenty of stuff to keep its users subscribing. That glut of good movies on Netflix is great if all you want is to never get bored, but it can make it difficult to figure out which things are actually worth your time, and which aren't. If that's your goal, we've got you covered. This list is a combination of great Netflix original movies, and good movies to watch that Netflix is currently housing on its service, and it even includes a few great Netflix action movies. What unites these movies, though, is that they are the very best Netflix movies currently available.
If you're looking for films to watch on some of Netflix's competitors, we've also found the best Amazon Prime movies, the best Hulu movies, and the best Disney Plus movies. You can also check out some new Netflix movies at the bottom of this post.

Blackhat (2015)

Read more
The best movies on Hulu to watch in July
Hulu is the place to watch movies across a wide array of genres
Movie on a person's phone

There's a lot of competition out there in the streaming world, and it can be hard to shuffle through the services to find the best movies to stream right now. Though there are plenty of great movies on Netflix and Amazon still has the platform beat in terms of overall quality, many of the movies on Hulu can't be streamed anywhere else. The best movies on Hulu can be gritty, family-friendly, and even sci-fi-oriented. So if you're looking to expand your binge-watching horizons, we've found the best movies to watch on Hulu right now.

White Men Can't Jump (2023)

Read more
The best shows on Paramount Plus to binge in July
Stream these incredible shows on Paramount Plus
Penny Dreadful scene

Having a vast library of good television shows and films is the most important factor in the success of a streaming service. That's part of what transformed Netflix into a global phenomenon, and it's why services like Paramount Plus have worked hard to build a healthy library of series that subscribers can browse through. As is the case with all streaming services, Paramount Plus has a mix of original series that live only on the platform and older shows that were originally on broadcast and have now found a home on streaming.
Although these shows have varied histories, each one of them is a great staple in Paramount Plus's overall streaming library. Paramount Plus will likely continue to develop original content, but these Paramount Plus shows will stand the test of time, whether they're ongoing or have been over for a decade or longer.

Penny Dreadful (2014)

Read more