At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you’ll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.
The MCU is almost too big to do a ranked list now, with so many movies to remember, so many plot lines to consider and… Honestly, a lot of skippable stuff.
Look, I’ve seen all of these flicks and grew up with Marvel movies. While there are some absolutely amazing movies here, there are also some total snoozefests.
Let’s do it, let’s start a fight, though I’m sure I can convince you that I am right and you are wrong (just kidding, I’m glad everyone can enjoy their own media).
The movies of the MCU, ranked. We’re going from worst to best.
The movies of the MCU, ranked
For reasons beyond my understanding, the Thor origin story movie was low budget and sooo, so boring. It contains a nothing-plot and action that’s snooze-worthy. Also, the acting isn’t great. Not sure what to say beyond that but… Yeesh. It’s unlikely that a Thor movie will ever scrape above the bottom on an MCU list (note for the reader: this is foreshadowing for a much later ranking).
I don’t feel like I actually need to say anything. Look at this god-awful trailer.
27. Thor: The Dark World
Will anybody stand up and defend Thor: The Dark World? No? Alright. Thor: The Dark World is one of the weakest MCU movies, boring in plot, action, premise and existance. Even the CGI is underwhelming.
But, look, for “Infinity Saga” reasons, it’s essential, so, at least it has that going for it. A word from me though: nobody would blame you if you skipped it (but it might be worth it if you want a Thor refresh before Love and Thunder).
- You can watch Thor: The Dark World on Disney+.
26. The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk is such an unimportant movie to the MCU that people often forget about its existance. Also, Mark Ruffalo isn’t The Hulk in it (?).
Abomination, the villain of the film, is more important than the film itself, having returned in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and the upcoming She-Hulk Disney+ show.
Skippable. Probably the most skippable Marvel movie, actually.
- You can watch The Incredible Hulk on Disney+.
There’s a bit of a quality jump between The Incredible Hulk and Eternals, however Eternals is bad in different ways (actually, going forward, none of the movies are bad bad, they’re just… Bad compared to other MCU movies).
Eternals is an exercise in sitting. While the movie is, cinematically, one of the most gorgeous Marvel films at times, the plot is boring as hell. Action feels all over the place and scene pacing suffers for the same reasons. It’s also one of the longest MCU movies.
That said, Eternals is often thought of quite highly by some Marvel fans. It’s a bit of a divider and I’m fully accepting of if you’d place this film higher. My criticisms revolve around the movie just having zero energy to give throughout.
24. Iron Man 2
Ah, Iron Man 2. You know, it’s funny. Nostalgia-wise I love this movie for Whiplash, one of my favourite Marvel villains. I also love War Machine cum Iron Patriot, who was introduced in this film. But, you know, going back to the movie, it’s a bit of an exercise in putting up with Tony’s arrogant behaviour and watching him get rewarded for it. Also, Elon Musk is in this one (completely unrelated).
That being said: the whole “I want my bird” exchange between Whiplash and Hammer gets me every time, I think it’s hilarious.
- You can watch Iron Man 2 on Disney+.
23. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
A shock to see this film so low? It shouldn’t be, the film is a shock itself. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness exists solely for audience members to drop their jaws and point their fingers at the screen, going “That’s X character!”.
CGI-wise it’s well done, and acting is good, as is the action, but it’s also a tedious film at times. It has its moments, but it’s a low-level Marvel flick.
- You can watch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on Disney+.
Ant-Man drags on. Paul Rudd is such a funny guy and he’s a terrific comedic actor, but parts of Ant-Man just have you waiting for the next thing to happen. It doesn’t captivate throughout, but like Iron Man 2, it has its moments.
21. Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson’s final bout in the Black Widow role. The solo film was a nice sendoff, though it felt about five years late.
This film gives some nice context for Black Widow’s character, presented in a spy-thriller lens similar to The Winter Soldier.
Black Widow lacks the epic scale of some of these other Marvel movies, especially having released after the monumental Endgame, but on its own, it’s quite nice.
- You can watch Black Widow on Disney+.
20. Ant-Man and the Wasp
The second Ant-Man film, this flick suffers for the same reason as the original, however it does a better job with what it’s given. The action scenes in this one are also a tonne of fun.
- You can watch Ant-Man and the Wasp on Disney+.
19. Captain America: The First Avenger
The First Avenger film is fine. CGI is nothing to write home about, nor is the acting really, but it’s a nice action romp where the stakes are high and the motives are strong. But it’s just fine.
- You can watch Captain America: The First Avenger on Disney+.
18. Doctor Strange
Like the first Captain America movie, Doctor Strange is fine. The CGI is exceptionally well done, but everything else about it is just… Eeeh.
I’m not sure if I can remember a single line of dialogue from it.
- You can watch Doctor Strange on Disney+.
17. Iron Man 3
There’s another quality jump here, in my mind. Iron Man 3 is a pivotal moment for Tony’s character, that really sets him on his way to becoming the brilliant hero of heroes in Avengers: Endgame.
It deals with trauma following The Avengers and features some really nice action. That being said, I’m hesitant to call it better than any of the flicks above it.
- You can watch Iron Man 3 on Disney+.
16. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a great template for Marvel movies to come, hitting a nice balance between serious superhero stuff, comedy and light-heartedness. Good flick.
- You can watch Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on Disney+.
15. Captain Marvel
Following the origin of the strongest Avenger, Captain Marvel is a great film with a terrific story. Parts of it feel like a buddy-cop movie between Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, but at other times it feels more sci-fi than superhero. A great origin story.
- You can watch Captain Marvel on Disney+.
14. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Though we’re ranking the second Avengers movie quite highly, it is the lowest of the Avengers films on this list. Avengers: Age of Ultron tells the story of rogue AI Ultron (note: don’t mess with AI), and begins to pave the way for the division between the heroes of the MCU (this came to a head in Civil War).
Detracting this movie is absolutely the weird Hulk-Widow ship that felt a bit crowbarred in, but beyond that we’re willing to say it’s a pretty good MCU flick.
- You can watch Avengers: Age of Ultron on Disney+.
13. Iron Man
The first MCU film. Iron Man became the foundation for MCU movies and many superhero shows and flicks to come.
Following Stark’s transformation from arms manufacturer to superhero, this movie might be a bit of nostalgia fodder for me, but the formula was right. It’s also a bit weird to look back on, considering how far the MCU has come.
12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
I’d say there’s another quality jump from here on out. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 builds upon the original’s nostalgia-heavy sci-fi beats, but it doesn’t really do anything new or interesting.
The dynamics between the team members are enjoyable but motivations at times feel a bit weak: I always thought the characterisation of Yondu from the first to the second movie was a bit of a stretch (going from villainous back character to loving father figure type).
- You can watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on Disney+.
11. Black Panther
Black Panther is a gorgeous film with some terrific action, but at times it can feel a bit slow. Despite that, everything in this film hits, from one of the best villains to one of the best soundtracks in a Marvel movie.
It also brings afrofuturism to the MCU, an aesthetic we don’t see often in the mainstream (another popular example of afrofuturism is Overwatch’s Numbani).
- You can watch Black Panther on Disney+.
10. Guardians of the Galaxy
The Guardians of the Galaxy film was the first time we were well separated from the mainstay cast of the MCU’s Infinity Saga (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and so on), taking us into the cosmos fuelled by James Gunn’s imagination.
Everything in Guardians of the Galaxy seems to work really well for a superhero/sci-fi flick, embracing camp and lightheartedly tackling one of Marvel’s greatest teams.
- You can watch Guardians of the Galaxy on Disney+.
9. Spider-Man: Far From Home
The second Spider-Man movie in the MCU, Far From Home brought Phase three to a close. Iron Man was gone and Spider-Man was left without his mentor figure… Until Nick Fury and Mysterio showed up.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a wild ride through Europe. It doesn’t skip a beat and every moment of this flick feels perfect.
- You can stream Spider-Man: Far From Home on Netflix.
8. Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War flipped the script, pitting the heroes against each other in deciding their rules and compliance with the governments of the world. The villain (Zemo, who returned in Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+) was weak, but he kind of needed to be weak, so that he wasn’t taking away too much from the main clash of the film (team Iron Man versus team Captain America).
Parts of Civil War feel a bit rushed, but it is a big movie with a giant cast.
- You can watch Captain America: Civil War on Disney+.
7. Avengers: Infinity War
Thanos arrived in Infinity War, bringing the first MCU-sized threat to the heroes, forcing them to put aside differences and unite.
Infinity War tends to get a bit bloated, having so much to stuff in and not much time, but the storylines of the film keep their energy up throughout.
- You can watch Avengers: Infinity War on Disney+.
6. Spider-Man: No Way Home
Spider-Man: No Way Home wrapped up the “Home” trilogy of the MCU Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, while also wrapping up the other two Spider-Man universes, because, you know, the multiverse.
The ending has no right being as sad as it was. Also, some of the shots feel a bit choppy but ultimately it’s a wild, multiverse-heavy ride.
- You can buy or rent Spider-Man: No Way Home on Google Play, Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV.
MCU movies ranked: The top five
5. Avengers: Endgame
The ultimate movie of the MCU, Avengers: Endgame concluded everything (until Far From Home, which technically ended phase three) up until that point.
Endgame was a three-hour epic, with so much to give, high-stakes and a beating heart ten years in the making. It also features the greatest third act of the MCU.
- You can watch Avengers: Endgame on Disney+.
4. The Avengers
The original Avengers film welcomed us to what the MCU could be (and what it eventually became): an alive universe filled with heroes that cross over and feature in each other’s stories.
The action was terrific in the original Avengers film, as were characterisations, CGI and just about everything, really.
- You can watch The Avengers on Disney+.
3. Spider-Man: Homecoming
The first Spider-Man film in the MCU, Homecoming was a thrill throughout, mixing humour and light-heartedness with a vibrant superhero tale, featuring Iron Man on the sidelines.
- You can watch Spider-Man: Homecoming on Disney+.
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier shattered the MCU with revelations surrounding Hydra, a secret society of evil villains, in the wake of The Avengers. This flick doesn’t go hard on comedy, but it’s a tremendously entertaining spy/superhero thriller.
- You can watch Captain American: The Winter Soldier on Disney+.
1. Thor: Ragnarok
Of course, we’re giving Thor: Ragnarok top billing on our list, but it’s interesting that Thor movies hold both the bottom and top spots on our list, isn’t it?
Thor: Ragnarok broke the mould of an otherwise boring superhero, doing away with his seriousness and adding comedic flair to Thor’s character. Taika Waititi was the perfect pick for this flick, bringing his zany perspective to Marvel’s cosmos.
The entirety of Thor: Ragnarok feels like a wild ride. Visually, it’s the most interesting film on this list, and the dialogue feels the most thought out. It changed Thor for the better, and its sequel will be out soon.
- You can watch Thor: Ragnarok on Disney+.
Well, that’s our list. Would you have ranked any MCU movies differently? Let us know if we missed one.
Why not check out all the other sci-fi, horror and fantasy films coming our way this year.