All 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, ranked from worst to best


With “Ant-Man and the Wasp” now in theatres, audiences have had the chance to see all three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe releases this year. But how does the movie stack up to the other 19 MCU films, especially in a year that saw the critically acclaimed and essential “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War”?

Business Insider’s Carrie Wittmer and Travis Clark have thought (a lot) about it, and compiled a ranking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, including “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

To reach a consensus, Wittmer and Clark made their own personal rankings of the movies, and assigned scores to them. The best movie would have 19 points (we did the maths prior to “Ant-Man and the Wasp”‘s release, so that movie has been inserted where we think it should be). The scores descend from there so that the worst movie had 1 point.

They then took the average score of each movie. In the case of ties, they discussed which movie should come out on top.

It would appear that the MCU has only gotten better with age, as many of the first movies are toward the bottom of the list. We’ll update this list again next year, when “Captain Marvel,” the “Infinity War” sequel, and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” come to theatres.

Below is the Business Insider ranking of all 20 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:

20. “Iron Man 2” (2010)

Carrie’s ranking: 19

Travis’ ranking: 19

Combined score: 1

“Iron Man 2” is the worst of the bunch, which is sad when taking into consideration just how great the first movie was two years prior. But “Iron Man 2” came at a time when Marvel still didn’t have this whole cinematic universe thing running like a well-oiled machine (hard to imagine now), and “Iron Man 2” was more of an overstuffed suitcase full of pre-“Avengers” subplots than an actual movie. – Travis

19. “The Incredible Hulk” (2008)

Universal Pictures/The Incredible Hulk

Carrie’s ranking: 18

Travis’ ranking: 18

Combined score: 2

As evidenced by the bottom two movies on this list, it’s a wonder that the MCU even survived after “Iron Man.” “The Incredible Hulk” and “Iron Man 2” both followed it, and they weren’t exactly promising. Mark Ruffalo is our Bruce Banner/Hulk now, but back in 2008, Edward Norton was in the role. Imagine Norton trading jokes with Chris Hemsworth in “Thor: Ragnarok.” I can’t. –Travis

18. “Thor” (2011)


Carrie’s ranking: 16

Travis’ ranking: 16

Combined score: 4

Remember when very serious British man Kenneth Branagh made a “Thor” movie? What a gas! The first “Thor” movie is not bad by any means, and it’s actually quite fun but mostly because Loki is in it. But it’s a lot more formulaic than what the MCU movies have become. It set up the wrong tone for Thor being taken way too seriously. But Hawkeye is in this more than he is in “Infinity War,” which is nice. –Carrie

17. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015)

Carrie’s ranking: 17

Travis’ ranking: 12

Combined score: 5.5

I don’t like thinking about this movie. It upsets me. It could have been so much better. The concept was great: a villain unintentionally created by our ambitious and overly confident scientist heroes, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. But this movie couldn’t reignite the spark that died with the first Avengers movie. Instead, it made desperate attempts to do so, by adding more characters, parties, a random romance between Black Widow and Banner, a thing for Hawkeye to do that doesn’t involve arrows, and a side plot for as many characters as possible. The best thing this movie did was set up the friction between Steve Rogers and Stark for “Captain America: Civil War.” – Carrie

16. “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011)


Carrie’s ranking: 13

Travis’ ranking: 14

Combined score: 6.5

If you need a Stanley Tucci fix but don’t feel like watching any of the “The Hunger Games” movies or “The Devil Wears Prada,” you’ve come to the right place. Yes, the great Stanley Tucci is in the first Captain America movie, along with Tommy Lee Jones and Hugo Weaving. The movie is old-timey fun, and I remember being very surprised with how much I enjoyed it when I saw it theatres. I thought it would be dull propaganda for patriotism, but it was a great blend of origin story, romance, action, and a Tesseract. – Carrie

15. “Thor: The Dark World” (2013)

Marvel Studios

Carrie’s ranking: 8

Travis’ ranking: 17

Combined score: 7.5

Is “Thor: The Dark World” uneven, unfocused, and too reliant on Natalie Portman’s barely written Jane Foster for its entire plot? Yes. But I love my Thor movies, and I stand by this one, which is one of the most hated in the MCU. I love how the relationship between Thor and Loki develops throughout this movie, showing more layers than the first Thor or even “The Avengers.” Loki shows some remorse for what he did in New York, and Thor shows some empathy for his (adopted) brother. I saw it twice in theatres, and this was years before I had a MoviePass. – Carrie

14. “Ant-Man” (2015)


Carrie’s ranking: 12

Travis’ ranking: 13

Combined score: 7.5

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” comes to theatres in July, which is a sequel to this little (pun absolutely intended) movie in which Paul Rudd plays an ant-sized superhero. It was originally supposed to be directed by Edgar Wright (“Baby Driver”) who left the project over creative differences. That disappointment casts a shadow over the film, and while it’s still a fun movie, hopefully its sequel can step out of that shadow. –Travis

13. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017)


Carrie’s ranking: 14

Travis’ ranking: 10

Combined score: 8

After a failed attempt by Sony to reboot the “Spider-Man” movies in 2012 with “The Amazing Spider-Man” and its 2014 sequel, the studio finally realised its “Spider-Man cinematic universe” was a terrible idea. After a deal with Marvel, we now have a great Spider-Man in Tom Holland, who plays the character with youthful enthusiasm both in and out of the suit. Still, “Homecoming” feels at times like it’s trying too hard to separate itself from Sony’s past interpretations, and Peter’s motivations seem less super heroic (avenging his uncle’s death) and more selfish (wanting to be an Avenger). This Spider-Man has been an exciting addition to the MCU, though, and Holland was born for the role. –Travis

12. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (2017)


Carrie’s ranking: 15

Travis’ ranking: 8

Combined score: 8.5

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” gets less love than I think it deserves. I admittedly didn’t fully appreciate it until after a rewatch, but it builds on everything the first movie presented in compelling ways. Sure, some of the humour may feel forced compared to the first movie, but it overall punches its audience in the gut with emotional stakes while still being a fun watch. –Travis

11. “Iron Man 3” (2013)


Carrie’s ranking: 11

Travis’ ranking: 11

Combined score: 9

“Iron Man 3” is right up there with “Die Hard” as one of the greatest Christmas movies that disguises itself as an action movie. It takes place after the Battle of New York in the first Avengers movie, and explores Tony Stark’s PTSD. It’s one of the first movies in the MCU to show real consequences to our heroes’ horrific experiences, and really sets an excellent tone for what the movies are like now. Plus it is Christmas! – Carrie

10. “Doctor Strange” (2016)


Carrie’s ranking: 6

Travis’ ranking: 15

Combined score: 9.5

Exciting visuals, compelling source material, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance – no, his American accent isn’t perfect, but he is perfectly cast – help “Doctor Strange” stand out among superhero origin stories and other movies in the MCU. It’s a visually stunning movie that really tests the waters with how experimental and weird these movies can get. It’s structure is so unfamiliar compared to the earlier MCU movies, and that’s a good thing. It was definitely the right decision to make a movie like this later into the franchise. – Carrie

9. “Ant-Man and the Wasp”

Marvel Studios

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a great time at the movies, and as Business Insider’s Jason Guerrasio pointed out, a perfect summer film. In a year where more “essential” Marvel movies like “Black Panther” and “Infinity War” wow’ed audiences, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” manages to be just as entertaining but also stress-free – a welcome change of pace after the devastation of “Infinity War.” The movie works out a lot of the kinks of the first one, probably because director Peyton Reed is coming into this on his own terms rather than replacing another filmmaker. The action is fun, Evangeline Lilly owns her role as the Wasp, and Michael Pena steals the show. – Travis

8. “Captain America: Winter Soldier” (2014)

Marvel Studios

Carrie’s ranking: 10

Travis’ ranking: 7

Combined score: 11.5

Before the Russos took on the Avengers, they transformed the Captain America movies for the better. “Winter Soldier” is part action movie, part political thriller that, in hindsight, set the standard for the MCU going forward. – Travis

7. “Iron Man” (2008)

Marvel Studios

Carrie’s ranking: 9

Travis’ ranking: 6

Combined score: 12.5

It all started here. While its sequels may feel underwhelming, the first “Iron Man” is a truly fun experience that still holds up 10 years later. Sure, it has its faults (such as an underwhelming villain that is just a bad version of the hero – something the MCU has only recently fixed). But overall, “Iron Man” is still one of the best MCU movies, and Robert Downey, Jr. is perfect in the title role. – Travis

6. “The Avengers” (2012)

Marvel Studios

Carrie’s ranking: 5

Travis’ ranking: 5

Combined score: 15

I love Loki! And he is great in this. The first Avengers movie captures the spirit of the first phase of the MCU, while taking more risks that pave the way for its ambitious future. I loved seeing the Avengers bicker before coming together to save the city that I now live in. (I didn’t live in New York at the time, I moved here because I wanted to see the Stark skyscraper every day.) Joss Whedon really showed that he understood these characters with his screenplay and direction. And while the action during the Battle of New York is confusing at best and the visual effects haven’t aged well, I think it does a great job at getting all of these different people together. It’s too bad Whedon couldn’t do this with “Age of Ultron.” – Carrie

5. “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)


Carrie’s ranking: 1

Travis’ ranking: 9

Combined score: 15

This movie changed my life and it clearly defines my personality. No movie has ever made me feel so seen. It tossed the serious and boring tone established in the first two Thor movies onto the trash pits of Sakaar and decided to have fun with the gods who live in space, and threw the Hulk and Jeff Goldblum (at peak Jeff Goldblum) into it. It is one of my favourite comedies in years. In March, I wrote about why this movie should have been nominated for Oscars and I stand by it. It is so much better and more reflective of modern filmmaking than, say, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” – Carrie

4. “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014)


Carrie’s ranking: 7

Travis’ ranking: 1

Combined score: 16

The first “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the most rewatchable movie in the MCU, which is part of the reason I ranked it No. 1. The elements that make it so rewatchable are its humour, soundtrack, and pitch-perfect casting. Director James Gunn’s passion for the characters shines, and it’s the first MCU movie that felt uniquely disconnected from it. – Travis

3. “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018)


Carrie’s ranking: 3

Travis’ ranking: 3

Combined score: 17

Is it too early to rank “Infinity War” so high on the list? Not at all. The movie raised the stakes of the MCU in ways none of the other movies have, and while some of those consequences may be reversed in its sequel(or maybe not), audiences were still taken aback and will be discussing it for years to come no matter what happens in the future. “Infinity War” delivers on a 10-year promise of being the biggest superhero movie of all time. – Travis

2. “Captain America: Civil War” (2016)

Marvel Studios

Carrie’s ranking: 4

Travis’ ranking: 2

Combined score: 17

What unites us can also divide us. That’s essentially the theme of “Civil War.” (It divided Travis and I even over who was right in the movie.) All of these people are heroes, but they can’t all agree on how to do it. None of the heroes die in “Civil War,” but the movie reinforces the real stakes in this world. Everything the heroes do have consequences now, even when they’re saving the world from alien invasions. The conflict between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark makes sense due to years of build up. It doesn’t feel like a frenzied device put together at the last minute to get people to a theatre, though I can’t say the same for the movie’s DCEU counterpart, “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.” – Carrie

1. “Black Panther” (2018)


Carrie’s ranking: 2

Travis’ ranking: 4

Combined score: 17

2018 has been a great year for the MCU, and it started in February with “Black Panther,” which not only blew away box-office expectations, but is the best-reviewed MCU movie. That’s for good reason, too: It features a complex, sympathetic villain and a unique style and world unseen in other MCU movies. “Black Panther” still feels epic even compared to “Infinity War.” The MCU is at its best when directors are given the freedom to make the movies their own, and director Ryan Coogler was able to make “Black Panther” his movie. It’s better because of it.

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