What are the best MCU movies? It’s fair to say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has changed the genre of comic book movies forever. It’s hard to imagine pop culture without it and the many characters it’s brought to life on screen. 

Since its cinematic beginnings in 2008, the MCU has expanded its productions to the small screen too, now with several MCU television series to enjoy as well. Although, after over a decade of films and with so many titles it can be a little bit confusing at times, so if you need any help making sense of all the superhero chaos, make sure to check out our MCU timeline guide

Which of the MCU movies is the best though? We’ve put together a ranking of all the MCU movies to date, from worst to best, so you know which ones you should definitely check out. 

All the MCU movies ranked:

28. Captain Marvel
27. The Incredible Hulk
26. Black Widow
25. Spider-Man: Far From Home
24. Avengers: Age of Ultron
23. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
22. Thor
21. Thor: The Dark World
20. Ant-Man and the Wasp
19. Iron Man 2
18. Spider-Man: Homecoming
17. The Avengers
16. Guardians of the Galaxy 2
15. Doctor Strange
14. Eternals
13. Guardians of the Galaxy
12. Ant-Man
11. Iron Man 3
10. Iron Man
9. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
8. Spider-Man: No Way Home
7. Captain America: The First Avenger
6. Thor: Ragnarok
5. Captain America: Civil War
4. Avengers: Endgame
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2. Black Panther
1. Avengers: Infinity War

credit: Disney

28. Captain Marvel (2019)

There’s no doubt that Captain Marvel is a competently made film, it’s unfortunate then that it’s also as dull as dishwater. Brie Larson does give a good performance as Carol Danvers, introducing audiences to one of the strongest Avengers. However, it’s not enough to sell the film, which is lacking in several other departments. With unremarkable action, a story that unfolds with little intrigue and a number of forgettable villains, Captain Marvel is something worse than bad, it’s bland. 

27. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

It’s somewhat ironic that the big, green, mean Incredible Hulk is considered the runt of the MCU litter, or at least his solo film is. Now, it isn’t quite as bad as its reputation would suggest, however it does suffer by comparison to the films that follow it. Before Mark Ruffalo’s time in the role it was Edward Norton doing the smashing. His performance isn’t bad but his distinct lack of chemistry with Liv Tyler, the unconvincing character design and the messy action makes The Incredible Hulk one of the MCU’s less celebrated films. Although casting Lou Ferrigno as the voice of the Hulk was a nice touch. 

Credit: Disney

26. Black Widow (2021)

There’s always been demand for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow to have her own film, but when this long overdue solo adventure finally arrived, it was simply too little, too late. Black Widow starts as an exciting and thoroughly promising spy-thriller but abruptly changes course, developing into a tonally inconsistent, unfunny and odd family drama. Considering what Black Widow is capable of, proven on countless occasions elsewhere in the MCU, what we actually get makes for a deeply disappointing film. All we wanted to see was the Budapest mission, because ultimately the associated Johansson/Marvel lawsuit ended up being more interesting than Black Widow itself. Her character deserved so much more.

25. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

The MCU’s first film after the fallout from Avengers: Endgame took Peter Parker on a school trip across Europe, and saw him come face to fishbowl with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio. As the title suggests it’s (literally) miles away from his usual New York based antics and whilst some sequences are fun – one set in Venice being the highlight – there is too much time spent with Peter’s classmates and not enough Spider-Man action. Thankfully Jake Gyllenhaal is having a blast as Mysterio and his performance, along with some playful visuals, make it worthwhile.

Credit: Disney

24. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

The second Avengers film is unquestionably the weakest of the four, however when you look at its competition that’s understandable. Although there’s some great banter between the gang and it gives us the first full appearances from both Wanda and Vision, Avengers: Age of Ultron suffers from pacing issues and undepar action, especially considering the roster of characters present. Ultron isn’t the greatest villain either, starting off as an intriguing adversary but becoming uninteresting at a rapid pace. An average Avengers sequel? Audiences didn’t see this one coming. 

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23. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Remember when MCU movies looked real? Well the overuse of VFX in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will have you wishing for even just a hint of any slightly tangible environment. And while all the hopping between universes, different versions of characters, and surprise cameos have a degree of fun to them, they just make the stakes feel considerably lower than they actually are. When anything is possible, nothing is surprising. Thankfully, Elizabeth Olsen is firing on all cylinders as Wanda, commanding the screen in one of the most stirring ways seen in the entire MCU. It almost makes up for Strange’s ponytail, almost. 

22. Thor (2011)

Thor is the first of the MCU movies that takes place, at least in part, off earth. It introduces audiences to Thor, Loki, Odin and Frigga as well as their home, Asgard. It’s successful in integrating these mythological elements into a, up to this point, comparatively grounded series of films. Chris Hemsworth immediately proves himself as a worthy god of thunder and delivers several of the MCU’s funniest lines to date. It does experience a lull in the second act though and can be a bit forgettable. Despite this, it’s a solid introduction to all things Asgardian, and leaves audiences ready for “another!”

credit: Disney

21. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Speaking of which, there’s not much between the first two Thor films. The sequel only slightly edges it due to a more consistent pace, better action and a superior finale. Loki does a lot of the heavy lifting though as Christopher Eccelston’s Malekith is one of the MCU’s weakest villains. However, the Dark Elves’ attack on Asgard, which results in the tragic death of Thor’s mother, Frigga, is an effective sequence. It provides audiences with an emotional Asgardian funeral and sparks a fun revenge mission that sees Thor and Loki join forces. Thor: The Dark World has a lot more going for it than some fans would suggest.

20. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man sequel was the film tasked with being the first MCU story told after the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War. It couldn’t be more different in terms of scale but that’s what’s so good about it. Whilst the collection of underpar villains do little to help it stand out, the fun of its final car chase and the general charisma of Paul Rudd make it such a great time. Whilst the stakes during the main film are lower than its predecessor, the mid-credits cliffhanger that sees Ant-Man abandoned in the quantum realm leaves audiences with a brilliant tease for Avengers: Endgame.

Credit: Disney

19. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Jon Favreu’s Iron Man 2 is probably the most unfairly maligned of all the MCU movies. Admittedly, it encounters some problems in its second act, at times feeling more concerned with setting up future films rather than telling its own story. Nonetheless, it retains the great humour of the first film whilst also exploring some darker themes of its own. In addition to this it also gives us the first appearance of Black Widow, the debut of Rhodey’s War Machine suit and Sam Rockwell’s scene-stealing performance as Justin Hammer. With strong action bookends too it’s time to put some respect on Iron Man 2’s name, and please can we bring back Rockwell! 

18. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man’s first solo film in the MCU was a strong start for the web-slinger’s tenure in this cinematic universe. Sharing the New York skyline with Michael Keaton’s Vulture, Tom Holland’s Spidey got to fight one of the all time great MCU villains for his debut. The film is one part superhero flick and one part high school comedy, harkening back to the genre classics by the likes of John Hughes. Whilst it spends a little too much time concerning itself with the latter, Spider-Man: Homecoming is still a more than serviceable Spider-Man film and shows audiences that he’s a character that firmly belongs in the MCU.

Credit: Marvel

17. The Avengers (2012)

The superhero crossover event of the century, or at least until a couple of its sequels came along. Despite what followed, the achievements of The Avengers (or Avengers Assembled) should not be understated. Successfully building this cinematic team-up event with a range of characters from solo films set the blueprint for so many future movie crossovers. Although it was truly groundbreaking upon its release, it’s not perfect and has since been bettered. Watching retrospectively it lacks a certain edge to it and its first act somewhat struggles to assemble all its parts. But as soon as the action takes to the helicarrier, it’s every superhero fan’s dream. However, for every dream there’s a nightmare and in this instance it’s Cap’s costume.

16. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)

So it turns out superheroes have daddy issues too. James Gunn’s follow up to Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t just quite as good as the original, but it’s still a thoroughly entertaining flick. Maintaining the first film’s trademark comedic edge and stacked soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 also has much more heart than you’d maybe expect. From Star Lord’s fatherly family feud to the complicated love-hate relationship between Gamora and Nebula, Vol. 2 turns out to be one of the most surprisingly touching MCU movies. Obviously it gets bonus points for Baby Groot too.

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15. Doctor Strange (2016)

Taking audiences to places that the MCU had never been before, Doctor Strange showed us a new hero who would become instrumental in many future stories. Cumberbatch nails the arrogance of Stephen Strange, so much so that his character isn’t even particularly likeable, however it’s a necessary trait for his character development. However the main selling point of Doctor Strange (other than Tilda Swinton) is its trippy and mesmerising visuals. If it wasn’t for the shameful waste of Mads Mikkelson as the villain, Doctor Strange could have conjured an even more enchanting cinematic spell over its audiences.

14. Eternals (2021)

Among the at times repetitive formula of the MCU, Chloé Zhao’s epic Eternals was a much needed breath of fresh air. Its immense scale in its storytelling is quite something to behold and the way the film is able to balance so many new characters at once is admirable. Its impressive cast that includes Salma Hayek, Richard Madden and Gemma Chan play well together, although the central romance between Madden and Chan could have been more convincing. Nevertheless, Eternals is an awe-inspiring tale of massive proportions, it introduces us to a range of new and intriguing characters and it also marks the first real example of queer representation in the MCU, about time. 

Credit: Marvel

13. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

The MCU has taken many risks in its time but introducing a largely unknown group of “a-holes” like the Guardians of the Galaxy has been their biggest. Luckily for them, and audiences, it paid off, creating one of this cinematic universe’s most iconic films. Its defining feature is of course its toe-tapping soundtrack which is made even more effective by fully integrating it into the plot. The characters that make up the titular group have a riotous chemistry and coupled with several scenes of well-executed action ensure that Guardians of the Galaxy delivers a rip-roaring superhero space adventure unlike any other. 

12. Ant-Man (2015)

Small by name and nature, Peyton Reed’s original Ant-Man saw the MCU reach new lows, physically that is, with one of its most delightful entries yet. Functioning both as the origin story for Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and as a refreshingly smaller-scaled heist movie, this culmination to Marvel’s Phase Two is a joy from start to finish. On paper, a shrinking man who can talk to ants is one of the more bizarre concepts for a hero, but all involved bring it to life in such effortlessly believable fashion. This includes Micheal Douglas who joins the MCU as Hank Pym, but most notably Micheal Peña as the hilarious Luis, who really should give a recap before all new MCU movies.

Credit: Marvel

11. Iron Man 3 (2013)

Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 is one of the most divisive MCU movies, with its shocking villain twist being a crucial factor. Whilst some audiences found this shift in tone too jarring it’s actually one of the film’s best features and gives us a very humorous turn from Ben Kingsley. Beyond this scene there is further comedy included as well as some of the most memorable action sequences from an Iron Man solo film. The attack on Tony’s house and the Air Force One rescue sequence are really excellent. What’s most interesting about this Iron Man outing though is its examination of Tony’s mental health in the wake of The Avengers

10. Iron Man (2008)

Opening to AC/DC’s “Back in Black” it was immediately obvious that Iron Man was going to rock. What wasn’t so obvious was just how significant this film would be in shaping the next decade of cinema and beyond. Robert Downey Jr. is instantly iconic as the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, otherwise known as Tony Stark. His performance gave the MCU the unshakably strong start it needed to succeed. With great support from Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges, Iron Man quickly proves itself as an excellent superhero origin story complete with all the bells and whistles. Its closing moment, which sees Tony utter four simple words, also ranks as the all-time coolest ending to an MCU movie. 

credit: Disney

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

As the MCU has developed over time, introducing new characters has become one of its most important features. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is one of the best examples of how good they’ve become at it. Presenting fans with a brand new hero: Shang-Chi, and building a vibrant and unique history and culture around him makes this instalment interesting from the get go. The bus fight and scaffolding chase cement the film as one of the strongest in terms of action and combat sequences. These plus its spectacular finale confirm, despite the absence of some of its previously key characters, the future of this cinematic universe is in very capable hands.

Credit: Sony/Disney

8. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Despite featuring some of the worst-kept “secrets” in cinematic history, Spider-Man: No Way Home delivers fan service of the highest order, and then some. Thankfully, enough is done narratively to warrant this and it feels earned, rather than shoe-horned in just for the sake of nostalgia. Combining characters from three different Spidey universes, it allows certain characters redemption, the chance to poke fun at past missteps and opens up a wealth of possibilities for future films. With this all-embracing nature No Way Home manages to become the greatest MCU Spider-Man film and the final moments always make our Spidey sense tingle with the debut of Holland’s best suit yet. 

7. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Having previously played the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four films, Chris Evans took on a new superhero mantle in Captain America: The First Avenger. The film doubles as an effective origin story for the leader of the Avengers and as a massive WWII action-adventure epic. It captures the spirit of Steve Rogers’ character perfectly and establishes his important relationships with Bucky and Peggy excellently, we’re still not sure who he loves more. Delivering some of the MCU’s best action and storytelling it’s the perfect prelude to The Avengers and the highlight of Marvel’s Phase One

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6. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

The MCU has some great pairings: Cap and Peggy, Rocket and Groot, but the best one might just be Thor and Led Zeppelin. Yes, combining the action of Thor in all his thundering glory with the iconic “Immigrant Song” is a match made in superhero heaven and this is only one reason why Thor: Ragnarok goes so hard. Director Taika Waititi’s influence can be felt throughout the entire production and his more eccentric flair finally allows Thor to fulfil his full potential. With help from Cate Blanchett’s Hela, Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, to name but a few of the film’s star-powered cast, this intergalactic 80’s inspired adventure is as formidable as it is fun, and it’s an absolute riot. 

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5. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

More dramatic than when the Spice Girls broke up, in Captain America: Civil War the Avengers had the superhero falling out of the century. What’s so compelling about Civil War though is that both sides make such convincing arguments for and against what they believe in. We also get our first look at MCU newbies, Black Panther and Spider-Man. They both feature in the exhilarating airport sequence, which contains epic action, well-worked humour but also an abundance of dramatic tension that steers the MCU into exciting, unknown territory. With all this considered, Civil War is simultaneously more contained but also has huge repercussions. Nothing tops the literal flex of Cap stopping a helicopter from taking full flight though. 

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4. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

If Avengers: Endgame was just its third hour, it would probably be top of this list. However, whilst not perfect, those first two hours are necessary to get it to its epic finale and have their own merits too (who doesn’t love a time heist!?). Succeeding as the second and concluding chapter to the most ambitious crossover event in superhero history was always going to be a monumental task, but Endgame pulls it off in stunning fashion. It goes from invigorating its audience with well-earned action spectacle to leaving them a blubbering mess with the emotionally-devastating quality of its story and character work. If you don’t love this 3000, the MCU just isn’t for you. 

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

The Russo Brothers transformed Cap from super soldier to super spy in their espionage-esque sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. At the time making their MCU directing debut, they reunited Cap and Bucky with outstanding results. Most MCU movies struggle to have even one worthy adversary, but the villainous one-two punch of the Winter Soldier and Alexander Pierce is an example of two of the very best. The action is ferocious from start to finish, we get our first look at Anthony Mackie’s Falcon and the narrative stakes are massive. Tearing down the MCU cornerstone S.H.I.E.L.D. was a huge direction to take this series in and it couldn’t have been executed more flawlessly.

Credit: Disney

2. Black Panther (2018)

The MCU has many excellent solo films but none are superior to Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. Chadwick Boseman’s majestic portrayal of the titular hero is one of the most confident performances in the MCU. Similarly, his antagonist Kilmonger is one of the greatest Marvel villains thanks to the excellent character writing and of course Michael B. Jordan’s powerful performance. The remaining cast and characters, the rich themes of race and royalty and the sensational action create a story of truly epic proportions. Upon its release it had an immeasurable impact on audiences everywhere and was even nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, the only MCU film to achieve this accolade.

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1. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The absolute sense of dread and foreboding that is present for the entirety of Avengers: Infinity War is something that is only possible thanks to the unrivalled world building achieved by the previous MCU movies. With eighteen films before it, countless characters established and numerous storylines converging together, Infinity War is the ultimate culmination of a decade’s work. The way in which it’s paced to perfection whilst expertly juggling so many narrative and character variables is astonishing. So much throughout the film is masterfully done but those final moments after Thanos achieves his mission and wipes out half of the universe are some of the most haunting in the genre’s history. No MCU film snaps harder.

So that’s the MCU movies ranked! If you want to get yourself prepared for the MCU’s next film, make sure you check out our Doctor Strange 2 preview guide