The best Marvel movies, ranked from Iron Man to Avengers: Infinity War

9. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

An image from Avengers: Infinity War

Yes, that's right. The latest Marvel movie, and its biggest crossover Avengers film to date, Avengers: Infinity War only just made it into our top 10 best Marvel movies of all time. If you're scratching you're head at its placement on this list then think about all the other movies yet to come and whether you enjoyed them more or less than Infinity War. Infinity War is definitely very good. It's definitely impressive. And it's definitely event cinema at its best. But without Avengers 4 it's still kinda unfinished and there's only so much satisfaction you can get from an unfinished film. One thing I will say is that it most certainly doesn't suffer from Marvel's villain problem - Josh Brolin’s Thanos is one of the best things about it - and while there's nothing particularly wrong with it, Infinity War had far too much to pack in to have any time left to do anything that different to what we've seen before. I think once Avengers 4 comes out we might see these two films together as one of the best Marvel movies of all time, but for now, it's staying at a very respectable nine. 

Read more: What does the Avengers: Infinity War ending mean? And 8 other questions we have

8. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

An image from Spider-Man: Homecoming

We never thought we'd see a Spider-Man MCU movie (Marvel sold the rights a long time before the MCU existed), but thanks to a team-up between Marvel Studios and Sony, Spidey got his homecoming... and what a welcome home it was! Much of the success of Spider-Man: Homecoming hinges on the fact that a) it's not another Spider-Man origins story and b) Tom Holland is perfectly cast as the 'actually believable as a teenager' Peter Parker. Despite not seeing Peter get bit by that all important spider, Homecoming is still a fairly traditional superhero movie, which reminds fans why they love the genre while still feeling fresh. (Impressive considering how many Marvel movies deep we are at this point...) This, combined with an injection of Tony Stark/RDJ charm and a killer Spidey suit like none we've seen before, and you've got yourself one hell of a MCU movie. 

Read more: Spider-Man: Homecoming ending - 6 questions we need answered

7. Iron Man (2008)

An image from Iron Man

This where it all started. The very first MCU movie. And while that doesn’t necessarily make it the best Marvel movie, it definitely gives it a certain amount kudos. After all, without Iron Man we might never have had the MCU and it was quite a risk at the time considering it starred a scandalous actor making a comeback with a story based on a "kid's comic book". Happily though, Iron Man was a hit and 10 years later it's still one of the best superheroes movies around. If you want to know how to do an origin story right, go back to the beginning and rewatch Iron Man because, much like Marvel, it barely puts a foot wrong. Robert Downey Jr. was the perfect person to bring the arrogant Tony Stark to life and his technologically advanced suit was a breath of fresh air to the cape and tights we were used to seeing superheroes wear. The only negative thing you could say about Iron Man is that it definitely suffers from Marvel's 'villain problem' but even that isn't enough to drag this film down the list. Iron Man still is, and probably always will be, one of the best Marvel movies ever. 

Read more: "A franchise that is already beginning to rust" - Here's what the critics originally said about the first Iron Man movie

6. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

An image from Thor: Ragnarok

To be the wackiest, most whimsical MCU movie of 2017 in the same year as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming is impressive, but for that movie to be a Thor movie? It's practically god-like. But are we really that surprised when Taiki Waititi is the man behind the camera? The What We Do in the Shadows director does away with all the Shakespearean theatrics first established by Kenneth Branagh in Thor's origin story, and instead goes full retro-futurism for the threequel, with a healthy sprinkling of full-blown surrealism thrown in for good measure. The result is Thor: Ragnarok - a pure fish out of water comedy that just happens to be a superhero movie at the same time. Needless to say, it's one of the most refreshing MCU flicks since that time they introduced the talking tree, which is why it's so high up our list. Finally, a Thor movie that works!

Read more: Thor: Ragnarok ending - 5 questions we need answered

5. The Avengers (2012)

An image from The Avengers

(Image: © Marvel)

You cannot not appreciate The Avengers (AKA, Avengers Assemble) - even if it’s just for the simple fact that it was one of the first of its kind. It's hard to remember now, given what Marvel has achieved since, but when The Avengers movie was first talked about, a lot of people thought there was no way the studio could pull it off - including me! A crossover movie with multiple main characters and a storyline which spans various franchises and planets? That could never work! But thanks to the foundations laid by the previous Marvel movies and the skilled hands of director Joss Whedon, The Avengers became Marvel's first crossover movie and not only did it work, it's a damn fine film too! With superheroes galore, action-packed blockbuster battles, and enough balance in the storyline to actually get to know and care about each and every character, the first Avengers will go down in cinematic history, not just MCU history. 

4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

An image from Captain America: Civil War

(Image: © Marvel)

Released in the same year as Batman v Superman, Captain America's third film - Civil War - didn't need to try too hard to beat its DCEU rival (sorry Warner Bros.), but that didn't stop Marvel from knocking out of the park once again. Affectionally called Avengers 2.5 by fans thanks to the number of other MCU heroes who appear, Civil War is really a Cap v Iron Man film as two of Marvel's biggest characters square up against each other and go on a rollercoaster of an emotional journey. After many world-ending missions, Civil War is a smaller, smarter story, about clashing ideologies and people, but it never gets bogged down with windy introspection. On top of that, there’s the wonderful introduction of Spider-Man and Black Panther, that bit with Ant-Man, and the Vision wearing a delightful range of jumpers. Villain-wise? It works, as the 'big bad' turns out to be just a regular guy in pain rather than a faceless alien. Civil War is really an heart-breaking story about friendship that just happens to feature people with superpowers... and that's why it works. 

Read more: The most powerful thing about Captain America: Civil War is its human heart

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

An image from Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Given how low on this list the first Captain America film is, you might be surprised that its sequel has been placed so high, but The Winter Soldier set a new precedent for the moralistic hero AND the MCU as a whole. Like many of the best Marvel movies, Captain America 2 is a totally different take on the universe, considering its ‘70s cold war thriller inspiration, but it barely puts a foot wrong. Hell, The Winter Soldier should be named one of the best Marvel movies of all time for that elevator scene alone! It all has far-reaching implications for the rest of the MCU (*cough* S.H.I.E.L.D. *cough*) and establishes Bucky Barnes' character who, as we know, is a major player in future Marvel movies. It’s also one of the most well-balanced films in the MCU in terms of action and pace, and the Russo brothers really set both a level of quality and story groundwork for future films. No wonder Marvel Studios put them in charge of Infinity War and Avengers 4! 

2. Black Panther (2018)

An image from Black Panther

One of the most recent additions to the MCU has turned out to be one of the best. While many of the characters, including T’Challa, the Black Panther himself, are definitely from the less-well-known pool of comic book heroes and villains, they come together to create an ensemble that is among the best in the MCU. Yet despite the strong line-up, the real star of Black Panther is the country of Wakanda itself - a stunning, vibrant, and oh-so-alive world that feels both futuristic and steeped in culture and tradition. Everything about it, from the Cataract and the palace, to the home of M’Baku and the Jabari tribe is utterly unique and brilliantly realised. The plot of the movie is tightly woven around Wakanda, dealing with both the internal and external conflicts the country is going through - and yes, its villain is terrifying and relatable in equal measure! It's been a long time coming, but Black Panther is a strong, bold, and thrilling solo movie, and one of the most self-assured in the MCU. 

Read more: Black Panther ending - 6 questions we need answered

1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

An image from Guardians of the Galaxy

It’s ironic, perhaps, that the best Marvel movie to date is also the biggest outlier. Guardians of the Galaxy is a wonderful, funny, warm sci-fi scramble through some of the most exotic locations in the MCU - and it’s also the movie most tenuously connected to the whole franchise. Perhaps it’s the fact Guardians feels so fresh and lively that leads many to see it as the best; the success of the film due - in no small part - to the fact that it had an established Marvel system to rebel against. Either way, it’s a brilliant sci-fi adventure in its own right, with a host of characters you can’t help but love from the first time they appear on screen. The intro that sees Star-Lord dancing over chasms and karaoke singing with manky space rats? Priceless. Rocket and Groot’s prison break? So good. And the moment Gamora and Quill almost kiss on the Knowhere mining planet? It’s beautiful. Everything is held together by a generous streak of fun, and the cool ‘Awesome Mix’ soundtrack that plays throughout perfectly suits the mood while adding an extra layer of ‘fuck yeah!’ to every major scene. The least-Marvel of the Marvel movies, then, but also the best Marvel movie... for now.