Sure, Marvel kept fans happy at home for just about all of 2022 with its Disney+ jams, bookending the year with Moon Knight and She-Hulk. But we all know that feeling. That feeling, you say? The goosebumps you get in a cushy, dark-red movie theater seat when MARVEL shines on the screen and you hear the bum bum, bumbumbum bummmm. Honestly, few things beat it—and 2022 has it.
There’s been, count ’em, 30 Marvel Cinematic universe films. Iron Man introduced us to this great world. The Avengers showed us a team-up we never thought was possible. Black Panther impacted our lives in a way the superhero genre never had before. Avengers: Endgame was so long that we nearly peed our pants. But it was worth it. And now, we’re fully back in theaters, with another superhero event: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Read on to see where it lands in our ranking of every film Marvel has put on the big screen.
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30) Thor: The Dark World (2013)
When even Chris Hemsworth’s biceps aren’t enough to make a movie watchable, you know you’ve messed up horribly.
At one point Mickey Rourke, who is some sort of trashy Russian hacker, attacks a car race. Not that far-fetched, I guess, but also not that enjoyable, either.
27) Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Years later, I still couldn’t tell you who Ultron is and what his age was. If there was any semblance of plot in this movie, memory of it has been pushed out of my brain in favor of about 30 billion superheroes hitting each other until I felt like I’d just gotten off a mildly dangerous carnival ride.
A superhero movie posing as a cheap Lord of the Rings knockoff, Thor ended with a team of LARPERs fighting an empty CGI suit of armor.
The best thing to say about Iron Man 3 is that it was a little bit better than Iron Man 2.
22) Doctor Strange (2016)
Don’t worry if you were too stoned to follow Doctor Strange. The movie looks good enough to make up for its indecipherable plot.
19) Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
I hope you like hearing the term “quantum.” Ant-Man’s second entry has so much nonsensical techno-babble that it makes Star Trek sound like Steinbeck. Compared to Avengers: Infinity War, which came out a month earlier, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a breezy, inconsequential entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe that’s a refreshing comedic detour in the franchise.
18) Captain Marvel (2019)
Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel deserved a better movie. Although, this film managed to rewrite 50 years of comic book history to give the character the place she deserved, Captain Marvel is too focused on finding its place in the MCU films before and after it to really shine as a stand-alone movie.
17) Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
It’s sad that the idea of Captain America punching a Nazi would probably be controversial if this movie were released today. At least this movie harkens back to a time when good and evil seemed clear.
The idea seemed doomed. How could Marvel put so many stars, so many heroes into one film? How could they pull off the balancing act of an interconnected universe consisting of a half dozen blockbuster films and fit them into one movie? Though a touch uneven and dizzying, Marvel pulled off one of the most impressive and ambitious feats in the big movie business.
7) Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
In a refreshing change of pace, Marvel turns a Spider-Man movie into a funny teen drama that gives the supporting characters a chance to feel alive. The biggest accomplishment here, though, is making the sixth Spider-Man movie (with the third actor to play Peter Parker) in 15 years somehow one of the character’s greatest big-screen outings.
6) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Even though it falls into the familiar Marvel trap of a big, stupid ending, about two-thirds of Winter Soldier is a riskier and smarter entry into the MCU than most.
5) Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Though the stakes remain low in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—particularly low because of lazy plot devices—Endgame does its best to create emotional conclusions for some of the most iconic heroes of the last decade. It might be much of what fans expected from this movie, but it brilliantly wraps up 10 years of movies and takes the time to actually focus on its characters.
After two very bad Thor movies, director Taika Waititi somehow managed to not only save the franchise, but provide a promising formula for the next generation of Marvel movies. Thor: Ragnarok is a hilarious, exciting, and unexpected outing that stands apart from every other film in the MCU.
It’s the movie that started it all. Iron Man changed not only the superhero genre, but the movie industry as a whole. Plus, this was the movie that brought Robert Downey Jr. back, and the only Iron Man movie in which Tony Stark is a lovable asshole rather than just an asshole.
2) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians has everything a Marvel movie should: an awesome soundtrack, a hilarious script, a unique visual style, its own attitude, an ensemble of fully-developed characters, a talking tree, and the rare ability to stand alone among the rest of the universe. Guardians is at once part of the MCU and literally its own galaxy, yet it still provides the backbone for how all these worlds are connected.
Black Panther is unlike any other Marvel movie, one that says something about our world in ways the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t (despite their best intentions). Featuring a phenomenal collection of actors playing some of the most complex characters found in a superhero movie, Black Panther‘s pairing of Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan as bitter rivals results in a nuanced thematic conflict that puts most Marvel plot lines to shame. Most importantly: It’s fun as hell, visually dazzling, and a refreshing addition to a film series that desperately needed a boost to keep it from becoming stale.
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