With a decade of movies under their belt, what are the best Marvel movies?
Marvel has introduced us to so many heroes in the MCU it can be hard to keep them straight. With a decade of Marvel films to choose from, some rise to the top as epic, and others fall to the bottom as only so-so. We know Marvel has a lot more years of movies waiting for us — but in the here and now we took it upon ourselves to pick the best Marvel movies from among the vast swath of world-saving hero flicks. We’re here to do the impossible and answer the burning question: Which Marvel movies are the best?
7. Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel really hit it out of the park with the Guardians of the Galaxy. They gave us a group of heroes most people had never heard of, and somehow they stole our hearts. With a rocking eighties soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy brought back some sick tunage we’ve been missing. It perfectly merged comedy and action in a way that directly impacted future Marvel films (just look at Thor: Ragnarok). It’s a misfit story about found families, which is one of our favorite tropes. Not every family is blood, after all.
6. Iron Man
The first movie in the Marvel MCU a decade ago set the scene for the entire universe. Iron Man changed the way we view superhero films. Iron Man, when his movie came out, was what we like to call a tier two hero. He wasn’t really that popular. Sure, he had some loyal fans, but he wasn’t one of the biggest heroes in the Marvel roster. Yet, the movie catapulted him into the big leagues and kickstarted a decade of Marvel canon. Without the success of Iron Man, we never would have seen any of the other movies on this list. It deserves it’s spot not just for that honor, but because it was a genuinely fantastic film. It combined spectacle with comedy and filled the Marvel universe with life.
When it was released, Avengers was one of the most daring feats in cinematic history. The movie aimed to combine the universe of three different Marvel properties and add some additional characters to the mix. The effort could have failed horribly, but instead, it launched Marvel into a new era of combined hero movies. This movie drastically changed the way Marvel approaches their characters and offered them more paths to throw disparate heroes together. Hulk and Thor, Black Panther and Captain America, Spider-man and Iron Man, the list goes on. Each time the team-ups get more interesting as Marvel explores their characters more deeply. It changed the way we view ensemble movies and showed that it could be done.
4. Thor: Ragnarok
Marvel movies have been getting progressively darker in the lead up to Avengers: Infinity War (with Infinity War taking the cake on the darkness factor). Thor: Ragnarok was a quick turn to the left. The movie had a much lighter tone than many, despite the heaviness of its plot. Despite slavery, gladiatorial combat, and the loss of his home, Thor manages to maintain the personality of an excitable golden retriever puppy. The lighter tone makes the movie stand out from the others in its wave and gives us hope that even in tragedy, things can be survived. The film was a breath of happiness needed as the world spiraled towards Thanos. It brought a little light back into a time of darkness, and we all needed that.
3. Captain America: Winter Soldier
This is a follow-up film that really hit the mark. Sometimes a sequel outdoes its source material. That was the case in Captain America: Winter Soldier. To put things into perspective, Captain America falls out of the 40’s, a time when government sentiment was at an all-time high and patriotism was felt like a heartbeat. To come into the world of the 2000’s when skepticism for the government is at an all-time high, and to have to accept that perhaps some of it is with good reason? Steve is met with a crisis of self and a crisis of belief. Captain America is forced to give up his naivety for skepticism to save his friend. The truth leads him to turn away from S.H.I.E.L.D., but his patriotism becomes stronger. He wants to help make a world where we really are all equal, and that is a world he intends to fight for.
2. Avengers: Infinity War
If you thought the first Avengers was a risk, it’s nothing compared to Avengers: Infinity War. Infinity War merged ten years of Marvel history. No movie had ever combined so many characters and did it so well. While the movie was slated as a film about the heroes who work against Thanos, instead it became a film about the inner workings of the mad titan. The look made you feel more strongly for the plight of the Avengers and made the final moments so much harder to bear. There are so many clues lingering, so many theories sifting through the minds of fans after that finale. Avengers: Infinity War set up the next round of Marvel films and spread whispers of the next hero to join the universe. It’s not over yet though, so get ready for the second part in 2019.
1. Black Panther
While Black Panther might not have the extravaganza of heroes of an Avengers film, it is the best film to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. Killmonger has one of the deepest motivations of any villain we have seen; plus, he represents a conflict we haven’t been privy to. With his actions, he forces Wakanda into the world stage. The story is deep, full of conflict, and beautifully shot. Black Panther is a love letter to superhero films, and it shows a perspective that previously hadn’t been explored. It shows a need to connect and to build bridges in all worlds, and that separation only breeds resentment. It’s the height of Marvel films, and every fan should watch it again.