marvel avengers endgame poster

Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown into one of the biggest and most beloved movie franchises in Hollywood.  As we gear up for the releases of new superhero movies like "Eternals" and "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" here's how each of these movies measures up.

24. 'The Incredible Hulk' (2008)

the incredible hulk 2008


"The Incredible Hulk" feels very much like the odd man out in the MCU, tonally, stylistically and in the fact that star Edward Norton didn't stick around for future movies. It's a decent Hulk movie on its own merits, but lacks the spark and humor of the rest of the line. Not to mention that most of its teases for an interconnected cinematic universe never really panned out.

The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk
"You'll like him when he's angry."
PG-131 hr 54 minJun 12th, 2008

23. 'Thor: The Dark World' (2013)

thor the dark world 2013

Marvel Studios

This is the "Thor" sequel everyone likes to forget about. "The Dark World" banks too heavily on its underdeveloped villain and the painfully unconvincing romance between Chris Hemsworth's god of thunder and Natalie Portman's Jane Foster. But at least there's plenty of that terrific Thor/Loki banter to go around.

Thor: The Dark World
"Delve into the darkness"
PG-131 hr 52 minNov 8th, 2013

22. 'Doctor Strange' (2016)

doctor strange 2016

Marvel Studios

"Doctor Strange" is the kind of superhero movie we were surprised to see popping up in Phase 3 of the MCU. It's a pretty straightforward origin story, showcasing yet another selfish, goateed jerk who discovers his inner hero along with some fantastical powers. The formula still works, but we would have hoped for something a little more daring from the MCU's first foray into the magical realm.

Doctor Strange
"Open your mind. Change your reality."
PG-131 hr 55 minNov 4th, 2016

21. 'Iron Man 2' (2010)

iron man 2 2010

Marvel Studios

While definitely the weakest entry in the "Iron Man" trilogy, there's still plenty to like in this middle chapter. It gave us the debut of War Machine and all the armor-on-armor carnage we could have asked for. "Iron Man 2" is also significant for being the first MCU movie to really dive headlong into the continuity of this shared universe. It paved the way for everything else to come in Phase One.

Iron Man
"Heroes aren't born. They're built."
PG-132 hr 6 minMay 2nd, 2008

20. 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' (2015)

avengers age of ultron 2015

Marvel Studios

"Age of Ultron" is a definite step down from its wildly entertaining predecessor. With so much focus on setting up future conflicts, the film often loses track of its own plot. Then there's the underwhelming handling of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. On the other hand, the debut of Vision, the epic Hulkbuster battle and James Spader's kooky robot villain all help to balance out these flaws.

Avengers: Age of Ultron
"A New Age Has Come."
PG-132 hr 21 minMay 1st, 2015

19. 'Ant-Man' (2015)

ant man 2015

Marvel Studios

After "Avengers: Age of Ultron," MCU fans needed a superhero movie with smaller, more intimate stakes. And they got it thanks to the debut of the smallest Avenger of them all. While Ant-Man doesn't rival the best of the MCU, its goofy sense of humor and strong cast make it a very enjoyable romp.

"Heroes don't get any bigger."
PG-131 hr 57 minJun 29th, 2015

18. 'Thor' (2011)

thor 2011

Marvel Studios

"Thor" marked the MCU's first real transition away from science fiction and into the realm of fantasy. While not every aspect of the film holds up, its Shakespearean family drama (ably cultivated by director Kenneth Branagh) and its compelling look at a powerful god learning how to be a good man do justice to an iconic Marvel franchise.

"Two worlds. One hero."
PG-131 hr 55 minMay 6th, 2011

17. 'Captain Marvel' (2019)

captain marvel 2019

Marvel Studios

“Captain Marvel” wasn’t quite the slam dunk we wanted it to be, but its themes of empowerment and individualism still resonate despite the sloppy filmmaking and flimsy script. Seriously, the idea of “Captain Marvel” (90s setting, a buddy action movie co-starring a young Nick Fury, Skrulls) is a lot cooler than the actual movie. But still, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel is a wonderful new addition to the MCU, as proved by her appearance in “Endgame.”

Captain Marvel
"Higher. Further. Faster."
PG-132 hr 4 minMar 8th, 2019

16. 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' (2018)

ant man and the wasp 2018

Marvel Studios

"Ant-Man and the Wasp" doesn't radically reinvent the shrinking superhero wheel, but it does improve upon the foundation built by its predecessor. It helps that this sequel puts Evangeline Lilly's Hope Van Dyne squarely in the spotlight, creating a fun Dynamic Duo where previously there was only a solo hero. The movie also makes the most of Ant-Man's powers for its action scenes.

Ant-Man and the Wasp
"Real heroes. Not actual size."
PG-131 hr 59 minJun 25th, 2018

15. 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' (2019)

spider man far from home 2019


Maybe the expectations for “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” like the expectations placed on the tiny, birdlike shoulders of Peter Parker, were far too great. Not only was this a follow-up to the utterly charming (and deeply surprising) “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which introduced the world to a very street-level Peter Parker (the great Tom Holland, briefly glimpsed in “Captain America: Civil War”) but it was also the culmination of one of Marvel’s so-called “phases.” It also had to feel like a satisfying epilogue to the universe-shattering “Avengers: Endgame.” So, you know, no pressure. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is still really great, with a winning European backdrop and a terrific villain in Jake Gyllenhaal’s knowing Mysterio. But it also feels somewhat slight and repetitive when compared to the new-seeming “Homecoming.”

Spider-Man: Far From Home
"It’s time to step up."
PG-132 hr 9 minJun 26th, 2019

14. 'Iron Man 3' (2010)

iron man 3 2010

Marvel Studios

"Iron Man 3" tends to get a bad rap, in large part because of its unusual handling of classic Marvel villain the Mandarin. Frankly, we appreciate the subversive take on the villain. Moreover, "Iron Man 3" proved that Shane Black's voice is a natural fit for the MCU. It's both hilarious and touching in equal measure, and a showcase for how to bring in new voices while still maintaining a cohesive vision.

Iron Man 3
"Unleash the power behind the armor."
PG-132 hr 10 minMay 3rd, 2013

13. 'Captain America: The First Avenger' (2011)

captain america the first avenger 2011

Marvel Studios

The first "Captain America" movie offered fans their first glimpse back at the early days of the MCU, in the process delivering an adventurous WWII romp worthy of "The Rocketeer." This movie simply wouldn't have worked without a star capable of bringing the Sentinel of Liberty to life. Thankfully, Marvel found exactly that in star Chris Evans.

Captain America: The First Avenger
"When patriots become heroes"
PG-132 hr 4 minJul 22nd, 2011

12. 'Iron Man' (2008)

iron man 2008

Marvel Studios

It's hard to underestimate the importance of this movie. While various Marvel characters had found cinematic success at different studios, "Iron Man" marked the beginning a true shared universe full of Marvel characters whose stories intertwine and evolve over time. And were "Iron Man" not as entertaining as it is, the MCU as we know it probably wouldn't exist. The third act is a little weak, but Robert Downey Jr.'s charismatic performance instantly transformed Iron Man into a pop culture icon. Seriously, when has an actor realized a character in a genre piece so fully formed as RDJ does here?

Iron Man
"Heroes aren't born. They're built."
PG-132 hr 6 minMay 2nd, 2008

11. 'Guardians of the Galaxy' (2014)

guardians of the galaxy 2014

Marvel Studios

This movie represented a real "make or break" moment for the MCU. Would fans embrace the cosmic side of the MCU as readily as they had Earth's mightiest heroes? Thankfully, the film's lovable cast of oddballs, pronounced sense of humor and epic action scenes were more than enough to win over those not familiar with names like Star-Lord and Gamora. The only real weakness with "Guardians" is a familiar one for Marvel -- an underdeveloped villain.

Guardians of the Galaxy
"All heroes start somewhere."
PG-132 hr 1 minAug 1st, 2014

10. 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' (2017)

spider man homecoming 2017


The MCU never truly felt whole until Spider-Man made his belated debut. "Homecoming" gave Tom Holland's teen hero a chance to shine on his own, and the result is one of the stronger Spider-Man movies to date. It's more John Hughes-style comedy than traditional superhero romp, but that's where "Homecoming" gets its charm. Michael Keaton's Vulture is a huge selling point as well.

Spider-Man: Homecoming
"Homework can wait. The city can't."
PG-132 hr 13 minJul 7th, 2017

9. 'Black Panther' (2018)

black panther 2018

Marvel Studios

To date, Black Panther is the most successful MCU movie at the doemstic box office, and it's not hard to see why. This film became a cultural phenomenon by introducing moviegoers everywhere to the fantastical land of Wakanda. It also boasts one of the best villains and strongest supporting casts of any MCU movie, to the point where the titular hero sometimes gets outshone in his own film.

Black Panther
"Long live the king."
PG-132 hr 14 minJan 29th, 2018

8. 'Captain America: Civil War' (2016)

captain america civil war 2016

Marvel Studios

"Civil War" is the kind of superhero movie that's only possible after years of steady world-building and character development. We saw the Avengers at their best in Phases 1 and 2. This film chronicles what happens when the dream dies and close comrades become bitter rivals. This film boasts some of the most memorable action scenes of any MCU movie, but it's really all about the fractured bromance between Captain America and iron Man.

Captain America: Civil War
"Divided We Fall"
PG-132 hr 27 minApr 12th, 2016

7. 'Thor Ragnarok' (2017)

thor ragnarok 2017

Marvel Studios

Sometimes, you just need a few tries to perfect a franchise's formula. That was the case with "Thor," a series that truly found its voice in its third installment. Far sillier than its predecessors, "Ragnarok" is both a cosmic road trip movie and a dramatic look at the fall of a civilization. The movie is also a welcome reminder that it's possible to marry the needs of a shared universe with the unique voice of a director like Taika Waititi.

Thor: Ragnarok
"No Hammer. No Problem."
PG-132 hr 11 minOct 10th, 2017

6. 'The Avengers' (2012)

the avengers 2012

Marvel Studios

Few things in the MCU can top the joy of seeing Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Black Widow joining forces on the big screen for the first time (and Hawkeye's alright, too). This is the most purely fun MCU installment, with plenty of patented Joss Whedon banter and the dynamic Battle for New York sequence bringing everything home.

The Avengers
"Some assembly required."
PG-132 hr 23 minMay 4th, 2012

5. 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' (2014)

captain america the winter soldier 2014

Marvel Studios

"Winter Soldier" proved to be the perfect Marvel movie for its time, combining the optimism and idealism of its predecessor with a newfound sense of paranoia and political intrigue. The Hydra conspiracy makes for a compelling narrative throughline, and the dynamic between Chris Evans' Cap and Sebastian Stan's corrupted Bucky Barnes gives the movie all the emotional weight fans could ask for. This sequel also had and continues to have a profound impact on the larger MCU. Without this movie, "Agents of SHIELD" might never have gotten good.

4. 'Black Widow' (2021)

Black Widow 2021

Marvel Studios

The story starts off in Ohio in 1995, with a young Natasha and Yelena under the care of their parents, Melina (Rachel Weisz) and Alexei (David Harbour). If you've seen 'The Americans' or 'Little Nikita,' you have a pretty good idea what's going on; the family is a cover for a Russian espionage operation that's coming to a climax.

Natasha and her "family" make a narrow escape from S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and then it's off to Cuba for a reunion with the man behind the mission, Dreykov (Ray Winstone), before heading back to Mother Russia. But young Natasha is having none of it; she and Yelena want to stay in the states, but they get pulled apart, drugged, and shipped off to the infamous Red Room to become tools of the state. Read our Black Widow review.

Black Widow
"Her world. Her secrets. Her legacy."
PG-132 hr 14 minJun 29th, 2021
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3. 'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2' (2017)

guardians of the galaxy vol 2 2017

Marvel Studios

The true strength of the "Guardians" movies, beyond all the cosmic spectacle, is the fact that these characters are really just one weird, dysfunctional family. That's something the sequel draws on even more successfully than the first. "Guardians Vol. 2" is a hilarious space fantasy that also boasts some of the most emotionally charged scenes you'll find in a Marvel movie. Don't even get us started on that ending...

2. 'Avengers: Infinity War' (2018)

avengers infinity war 2018

Marvel Studios

“Avengers: Infinity War” wasn’t just the fourth “Avengers” film, but was the first part of a two-film saga meant to sum up and expand the first ten years of the MCU. That’s no small task. And it’s no small movie. But somehow the Russo Brothers, coming off of two spectacular “Captain America” installments, pulled it off. Set largely in space and folding in characters from the distant parts of the MCU (including the Guardians of the Galaxy), “Avengers: Infinity War” is an overstuffed blast with a crazy downer of an ending. It really goes there.

Avengers: Infinity War
"An entire universe. Once and for all."
PG-132 hr 29 minApr 23rd, 2018

1. 'Avengers: Endgame' (2019

avengers endgame 2019

Marvel Studios

Somehow, Marvel Studios’ latest gigantic achievement is also its best. It’s not just that “Avengers: Endgame” crams all the kind of action, suspense, and humor that you’d come to expect from Marvel into its surprisingly fleet three-hour-plus runtime, but it’s that it makes room for actual emotional moments and character beats. This is, without question, the most heartfelt and tear-jerking entry in the entire MCU, a culmination and continuation of everything that’s been established and embellished upon in the last ten years of filmmaking. To say anything more would probably get us dusted, so we will just say that Marvel really did save the best for last.

Avengers: Endgame
"Part of the journey is the end."
PG-133 hr 1 minApr 22nd, 2019

If you are a big Marvel fan, and you want to have a movie marathon, here is how you can watch the Marvel movies in story order.