The Marvel of Marvel: Ranking the Six Best Movies in the MCU

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It’s now more than three years since Marvel released Avengers: Endgame, and in doing so, the MCU showed just how much potential they had at their fingertips as the climatic end to the Avengers series went on to become the second-highest grossing movie of all time.

Just over two months later, they brought an end to phase three of the Marvel series with Spider-Man: Far from Home, and there will have been many wondering what would happen next with the film series, given that key characters, and the actors that brought them so expertly to life, were saying farewell.

Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans waved goodbye to their exploits as Iron Man and Captain America, and producer Kevin Feige set in motion a plethora of new projects for both the big and small screen.

There was a two-year gap between the close of phase three and the opening of the Multiverse Saga, and this delay was chiefly due to the coronavirus pandemic, and subsequent releases have, on the whole, stood up well in the box office.

With the much-anticipated release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on the horizon, this seems an opportune time to consider the big triumphs of the MCU series up to this point, so here is our list of the six best movies in the hugely successful franchise.

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

The latest of the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies and arguably the best. It hits all the right notes in terms of action, emotion and drama. It’s a real rollercoaster ride that offers the pay-off of having previous actors Tobey Maguire, and Andrew Garfield involved as well as previous villains.

It’s a very strong contender in terms of the best Marvel movies of all time, not least because there was a lot expected of the film given the timing of its release.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

A dark film in relation to most Marvel movies and one that really offers thought-provoking situations and appears happy to blur the lines of good and evil. In terms of credibility from critics, this one is regularly considered one of the best.

It’s full of great scenes and shows Chris Evans really growing into the Captain America role while Sebastian Stan is brooding in the background expertly.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

It was a real breath of fresh air when it was released in 2014 and has aged very well on re-watching. Excellent soundtrack, a nice comedic vibe and just all round fun. Its irreverence was refreshing, and the whole thing just works very smoothly.

It’s really fast and well put together, and that’s down a level of video editing 101 that really works perfectly. Chris Pratt was a welcome addition to the Marvel ranks, but it does feel as if he’s been pushed onto the back burner ever since.

Black Panther (2018)

Perhaps the most iconic Marvel movie and one that stands the test of time. It’s one of the most rounded films in the series and brings us new superheroes as well as a glimpse or two of some familiar faces.

The sad passing of Chadwick Boseman only serves to give the movie even more gravitas, and one wonders how the sequels in this particular series will deal with his death.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Every now and then, a movie series needs a kick in the rear, and this is undoubtedly the case with the Thor movies, which up to this point, had become quite stale and almost pointless in terms of their overall value as part of the MCU.

Bringing in Taika Waititi helped spark life into Thor, and the overall retro vibe of the production makes for excellent viewing. Cate Blanchett was superb in the lead baddie role, and Chris Hemsworth put in his best performance of the Marvel films thus far.

Iron Man (2008)

It’s worth remembering just how much of a cultural impact the first of the MCU movies had at the time. The film's success was by no means guaranteed, and Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t exactly a safe choice given the state of his acting career at the point when he was offered the role of Iron Man.

Jon Favreau directed the piece superbly; in case you didn’t know, he also appears as Happy Hogan in the series, and the release of the movie, almost 15 years ago, has led to where we are today.

Overall the MCU is in a very healthy position right now though the ever-expanding number of TV shows may well impact on the weariness of viewers who may feel compelled to watch everything in order to not miss any crucial detail.

Of course, some of the shows have been massively successful, such as Loki, but others, such as Hawkeye, appeared as nothing more than an afterthought.

So, What Next?

Four MCU films are set for release in 2023, following the Black Panther sequel, and these include Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which is the third outing for Paul Rudd’s vehicle, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, The Marvels and finally, Blade, which will have the excellent Mahershala Ali in the title role.