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The Best Marvel Movies of All Time, Ranked

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Marvel Studios

Although the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn't debut until 2008, there were numerous sleeper Marvel films that launched in the decades preceding the meteoric rise we've come to know today. 2008's Iron Man helmed a whole new era of Marvel movies, existing under the umbrella of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nonetheless, the X-Men franchise and other Fox Studios offerings have come out alongside the run of the MCU, so when we look at a definitive ranking of the best Marvel movies, we won't just be looking at Marvel Studios' entries.

Although there is a Captain America film from 1944, for the purposes of this article, we'll be using 1986's Howard the Duck as the first ever Marvel film. This list is comprised of 58 entries, compiling every movie made about a Marvel character. Without further ado, the best Marvel movies of all time, ranked:

58. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Release Year: 2011

In short: oy. Not even Nicolas Cage's brand of charismatic weirdness could save this movie. The original was only slightly better, but this one was a train wreck from start to finish. It made a little bit of money (whereas the OG was a major box office success), but the CGI, script and acting were a nightmare. This is a hard skip and the worst Marvel movie of all time.

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57. Punisher: Warzone

Release Year: 2008

Many people are probably unaware of this film's (or its predecessor's) existence, as the 2017 Netflix series ended up taking up the mantle for the character in the MCU. I wouldn't sweat missing it though. It was excessively violent without making any real points and poorly written from start to finish. It is kind of fun if you're a big fan of the franchise, but if you're not a Punisher fan, this is an easy skip.

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56. Elektra

Release Year: 2005

This film, which was a spin-off of 2003's Daredevil was, quite simply, not good. Jennifer Garner did a decent job with the role, but between the confused writing, poor box office performance and cluttered direction, it's going to have to be in the top 5 worst of all time. Even movies like Howard the Duck have climbed up the list because of their influence on the culture; Elektra, unfortunately, was a movie to be forgotten.

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55. X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Release Year: 2019

This is the most recent bad movie on the list. Not even the massive commercial hype train for this film could save it from disaster. It only made a little more than its budget, becoming the lowest-grossing film of its series. Part of what made this movie so disappointing was how relatively wonderful its predecessors were, so expectations going into it were pretty high. It was a particular tragedy because Phoenix is one of the most powerful and badass characters from the entirety of the Marvel Universe. Alas.

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54. Fantastic Four

Release Year: 2015

I was really rooting for this movie, I was. As a big Fantastic Four comic fan in my youth disappointed by the first film series, when they announced Michael B. Jordan for this one, I was excited. Unfortunately for us, this movie was bad with a capital B. It didn't have the same camp value of the original movies, which get some of their charm from their shortcomings. It was just not good.

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53. Ghost Rider

Release Year: 2007

Ok fine, this movie was pretty sick. It made a ton of money, which made sense because it was a banger. It was a wild ride, no pun intended. Between the terrible puns and horribly hammy dialogue, this movie was bad. But, it is the first bad entry on the list that is fun to watch. So although this one gets a pretty terrible slot on the list, it's actually worth watching.

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52. Blade: Trinity

Release Year: 2004

This movie, which closed out the Blade trilogy, was definitely a pretty fun watch for fans of the horror-action genre. It's getting such a low placement mostly just because it's not as good as the first or second of the series, but it's a fun watch for Wesley Snipes fans, fans of vampire movies or fans of sweet-ass leather duster jackets.

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51. The Punisher

Release Year: 2004

This movie had a pretty sick cast (John Travolta, anyone?) but nothing could save it from being an uninspired, disappointing representation of the eponymous vigilante. Roger Ebert put it best: "The Punisher is so grim and cheerless, you wonder if even its hero gets any satisfaction from his accomplishments."

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50. Venom

Release Year: 2018

You'd be hard pressed to create a less appealing iteration of Venom than Topher Grace's performance in Spider-Man 3, but, hey, they really pulled it off. Despite a strong cast, this movie was poorly written and didn't make enough of a connection to Spider-Man to give the comic fans what they wanted.

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49. The New Mutants

Release Year: 2020

The X-Men franchise has been pretty cold the past few years. New Mutants was no exception. I watched this entire movie, but can barely remember anything about it; that seems like a bad sign.

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48. X-Men: Apocalypse

Release Year: 2016

This was another movie on the list that got such a low spot mostly because of how highly anticipated it was. As a follow-up to X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was one of the best X-Men films of all time, it just fell totally flat. The cast was great, but the portrayal of Apocalypse was odd and he came off as a very cliched villain. There were some really great visuals and performances, however, so it's worth a watch if you love the X-Men.

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47. Fantastic Four

Release Year: 2005

This movie getting such low placement is really a testament to how good the Marvel films have gotten. Chris Evans was really fun to watch as the Human Torch and gave us some early insight into his potential as an on-screen hero. It made a lot of money, but the narrative wasn't great and none of the jokes landed how you'd like them to. It was definitely a fun movie to watch for the Fantastic Four fans out there, but when you compare it to most of the modern Marvel entries, it just doesn't hold up.

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46. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Release Year: 2007

This one ranks above its predecessor simply because of how absolutely baller the Silver Surfer is. Although it was better than the first, it ultimately was still a pretty lifeless movie with stilted, uninteresting dialogue. But the character design for the Silver Surfer was very cool and he remains one of the sickest villains in Marvel movies—from an aesthetic perspective—to this day.

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45. Daredevil

Release Year: 2003

I have a soft spot for this movie as it was one of the best of its era and boasted a pretty talented cast, but unfortunately Ben Affleck was pretty weak in the titular role and the movie didn't really bring anything new to the table. There were definitely fun moments throughout which make it worth watching, but it just doesn't compare to some of the origin story films we got later from the MCU.

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44. Hulk

Release Year: 2003

This movie was actually pretty fun. It was directed by Academy Award winner Ang Lee, but it was strangely not that great of an action movie. The writing and stylistic choices were strong, but it was supposed to be a Hulk movie, after all. If this movie just had a little bit more smashing, then it could definitely eclipse the later Ed Norton iteration for the best Hulk origin story movie. As is, however, it just wasn't quite as good as the later adaptations or any of the other times we've seen the green rage monster on screen.

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43. X-Men: The Last Stand

Release Year: 2006

It pains me to rank this movie so low, as it was such an immense part of my upbringing and immersion into the world of the X-Men, but it was ultimately a disappointing conclusion to one of the best superhero trilogies of all time. The film had some truly exceptional set pieces and Hugh Jackman was—as always—incredible as Wolverine, but it lacked some of the emotional depth of its predecessors. It remains the fourth highest grossing film in the X-Men franchise, however, and it definitely lived up to its hype better than some of the later X-Men movies.

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42. Thor: The Dark World

Release Year: 2013

Maybe this film deserves a rewatch, but upon its initial release, I just remember it being disappointing. Although Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston both gave strong performances, the villain was bland and unmemorable. This was also before Taika Waititi took over the Thor franchise, giving the character much more of a personality and wit, so it was ultimately a fairly plain entry.

41. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Release Year: 2014

Oh, Andrew. I had such high hopes for you. There have been so many Spider-Man movies, which just makes the bar for a good webslinger movie that much higher. This isn't a bad movie per se, but when you compare it to the Tobey Maguire iterations or Tom Holland's foray, these films just don't stack up. Although this movie made a lot of money, it was its relatively poor performance that led to the cancellation of its potential spin-offs in favor of a Holland-led reboot a few years down the line.

40. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Release Year: 2017

I wish I could rate this movie higher, I really do. Although it still maintained a lot of the fun and flair of its predecessor, it didn't really build upon the themes of the previous film in any substantial way. It was definitely a really wonderful movie to watch, but the rock and roll and flashy colors wore a little thin to me in a sequel. Plus, the de-aged Kurt Russell was really spooky.

The intro sequence to ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" was definitely a major highlight.

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39. The Amazing Spider Man

Release Year: 2012

The skateboarding montage in this movie is one of the most memorable, strangest sequences in any superhero film. Andrew Garfield, in this critic's opinion, was just too traditionally handsome for the role. I had a very hard time seeing tall, svelt, skateboarding Garfield as an outcast. Although he did a decent job with the Spider-Man element of the character, Garfield was never a particularly strong Peter Parker.

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38. Howard the Duck

Release Year: 1986

Widely considered to be one of the worst superhero films of all time, Howard the Duck managed to grab a higher spot on this list simply because of its cultural significance. Howard's got a pretty funny cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy and the unbelievably shocking visuals associated with it have to propel it to the top 40 on this list. This movie was so damn weird. George Lucas, what possessed you to do this to us?

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37. Iron Man 3

Release Year: 2013

I could come under fire for this, but I really didn't like the third Iron Man. The whole concept felt half-baked and the impact of film's conclusion (which I don't want to spoil) was diminished by a lot of what occurred in the franchise's following films. The final film in the trilogy just didn't quite have the social commentary of the first film nor the campy, goofy quality of the second. It's worth a watch, but it's the weakest Iron Man film.

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36. Blade

Release Year: 1998

Blade rules. The only reason why it's so relatively low on the list is because of how many truly exceptional movies have come out in the 25 years since its initial release. If you're a fan of the superhero genre, vampires or dark, gritty visuals, check out Blade. If this was a list of the best jackets in super hero movies, this would be in the top five, easy.

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35. Spider-Man 3

Release Year: 2007

Spider-Man 3 was loads of fun, but ultimately had too many villains to create a captivating storyline. The movie couldn't decide if James Franco's Green Goblin, the Sandman or Venom were the antagonist, and so it ended up being a much more cluttered movie than either of its predecessors. The dancing scene was also one of the most legendarily weird moments in super hero history, so hats off to Tobey and the gang for giving us that dose of cringe.

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34. The Incredible Hulk

Release Year: 2008

This movie was by no means bad, but it ranks fairly low because of its discontinuity with the rest of the MCU. Despite being one of the first films in the MCU, Ed Norton never reprised his role (Mark Ruffalo took the helm) and future iterations of the Hulk don't feel particularly connected to this movie. The final fight between Hulk and the Abomination was really fun to watch and the CGI seemed ahead of its time, so it's definitely a fun watch for fans who want to watch a solid origin story.

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33. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Release Year: 2009

I'm definitely ranking this film higher than I should. This wasn't a "good" movie necessarily, but Hugh Jackman was just so incredible as Wolverine, and getting to see so much backstory was a real treat. From a narrative perspective, this was pretty incompatible from the future movies in the franchise, but there were some great set pieces (including Ryan Reynolds' first appearance as Wade Wilson) and it had a few incredibly memorable scenes. Watch it if you haven't.

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32. The Wolverine

Release Year: 2013

People definitely forget about this movie, but as far as standalone stories go, this is about as it fun as it gets. Wolverine in Japan fighting samurai? Say less.

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31. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Release Year: 2015

Age of Ultron is the worst of the Avengers films, hands down. That said, it introduced Scarlet Witch, Vision and set the stage for a lot of the conflict between the heroes we saw in the next few films, so it was obviously incredibly significant. Aside from a few major scenes, this movie was pretty forgettable.

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30. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Release Year: 2019

Although it wasn't as good as some of the other Spider-Man films of the last two decades, Far From Home featured incredible performances from Holland and Jake Gyllenhaal and the narrative was surprisingly interesting and well-rounded. It was visually interesting, well-written and memorable. What else could you need?

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29. Black Widow

Release Year: 2021

Had Black Widow released after Captain America: Civil War, it would have nabbed a much higher slot on this list. In a vacuum, it was a really solid spy movie anchored by a great cast and strong writing. However, the scope of the MCU has gotten so grand in recent years that an origin story of this scale fell a little flat in 2021. It's definitely still worth a watch.

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28. Ant-Man

Release Year: 2015

I like Ant Man, but it just wasn't as good as the other origin stories on this list, hence it's relatively low ranking. It was certainly one of the funniest films in Marvel's entire tenure—shoutout Michael Peña.

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27. Ant-Man and the Wasp

Release Year: 2018

It only seems right to put these movies back to back, as they both fall into the good but not great category. The sequel was an improvement on the original mostly because of its more interesting villain and story line, but they stack up pretty equally.

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26. Captain Marvel

Release Year: 2019

Captain Marvel was a very solid movie, but the character often falls into the Superman trap. Although incredibly powerful heroes are fun to watch, sometimes the audience gets more enjoyment out of watching protagonists battle with their flaws; this phenomenon explains the longtime infatuation with characters like Spider-Man and Batman. Brie Larson was incredible as the eponymous hero and the film had some great moments, but we're starting to get into the part of the list with some real heavy hitters.

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25. Deadpool 2

Release Year: 2018

Deadpool 2 fell into a similar situation as the aforementioned Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. It was certainly a ton of fun to watch, but the meta, break-the-fourth-wall-style schtick began to wear a little thin in the second iteration. Nonetheless, Deadpool 2 was an absolute blast to watch and its R-rating gave the creators more leeway comedically. Up until Joker's release in 2019, this was the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time.

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24. Doctor Strange

Release Year: 2016

Doctor Strange was aesthetically very interesting, expanded the scope of the MCU and had some truly breath-taking scenes. Despite its assets, the eponymous character himself was, in this writer's opinion, unlikeable. Doctor Strange has gotten more likable in every one of his appearances in the MCU since 2016, but his arrogance was too unsubstantiated to earn this story a billing as high as some of the other near-flawless origin stories in the MCU.

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23. Thor

Release Year: 2011

This movie was such a relic of its time; in phase one of the MCU, stories were simple. You just had to introduce the character, set the stakes and show them facing off against some seemingly ultimate baddie. Thor accomplished all of that. Where it failed, however, was in its lack of style. Until Taika Waititi took up the mantle of the franchise, Thor just didn't quite have a style—visually or personally—that allowed his character to escape the Superman-trap I highlighted above. Nonetheless, this movie's ensemble cast and world-building allow it to remain a strong origin story a decade out from its release.

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22. Captain America: The First Avenger

Release Year: 2011

Many of my critiques of Thor can be copy/pasted to describe Cap's origin story. The film accomplished everything it set out to, but this era predated Chris Evans and the writers/directors of the franchise settling into a truly unique style for the character. Nonetheless, there will never be a feeling quite like seeing Captain America emerge from his cocoon, super soldier serum coursing through his veins, for the very first time.

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21. Blade II

Release Year: 2002

Had I been born earlier, Blade II would have gotten a higher slot on this list. It is a truly phenomenal film, but as we approach the top 20, whether I intend to or not, many of my biases are informed by the cultural context in which the movie premiered.

However, this was far and away the best Blade film and one of the greatest vampire movies of all time. It had moments of suspense, fear and action all muddled together into an incredible cocktail that may go unmatched for generations to come. The costume design alone made this film a must-watch.

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20. Iron Man 2

Release Year: 2010

If you don't like Iron Man 2, you just weren't paying attention. The wit and charm that have become synonymous with the MCU in the past decade can be traced back to an overly slept on Marvel film: the infinitely funny Iron Man 2. Ivan Vanko was a sympathetic (and masterfully portrayed) villain and Sam Rockwell is, to this day, one of Hollywood's finest working actors. It was a wonderfully concocted film that built on many of the themes from its predecessor, investigating the morality of Tony Stark's weapons empire and his positionality as a "savior." Come for the electrified whips and the laughs, stay for the critique of the military industrial complex.

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19. X-Men: First Class

Release Year: 2011

This movie often gets overlooked in rankings of the best X-Men films. Although it certainly had some flaws (the treatment of Darwin comes to mind), the performances from Kevin Bacon and January Jones were extremely memorable. The period piece narrative coupled with the first iterations of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles Xavier and Magneto, respectively, earn this film a top 20 spot.

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18. Deadpool

Release Year: 2016

Deadpool remains one of the funniest films ever released under the Marvel banner. The production for a Ryan Reynolds-led Deadpool flick can be traced back to 2004, years before he made his first appearance as the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. The movie was also one of the most comic-accurate films in all of Marvel's run; watching the movie really felt like reading a Deadpool comic. This movie was an absolute blast, but the next 17 movies on this list are extraordinary, hence its relatively low position in the top 20.

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17. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Release Year: 2014

Honestly, the trailer to this movie alone was a masterfully constructed short film. The QuickSilver kitchen scene is one of the most memorable scenes on this whole list; never before had super speed been presented in such an interesting way.

This movie was a culmination of so many storylines in the X-Men universe and finally united the young actors with their older counterparts. Between the film's handling of time travel, incredible performances and beautiful cinematography, this is a movie that never gets old.

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16. X-Men

Release Year: 2000

X-Men marked the beginning of an era. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen have become one of the most iconic duos in the history of superhero media; they have a chemistry unlike any other. This was also our first interaction with Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and numerous other now-legendary heroes on the screen. Despite its current status, the X-Men franchise wasn't necessarily a household superhero brand like Spider-Man or Superman at this time; this movie helped to propel the team to superstardom.

Although this movie was absolutely incredible, it doesn't address the social-political themes integral to the X-Men storyline as well as its sequel, X2, hence its lower billing.

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15. Guardians of the Galaxy

Release Year: 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the best movies in the entire MCU as a standalone project. It's usually the first movie I show non-MCU fans to integrate them into the franchise. Part of what made this movie so miraculous was how they managed to take a roster of characters from a largely unknown IP (outside of diehard comic fans) and turned them into beloved heroes on par with ubiquitous faces like Captain America.

Around 2014 was when the MCU started to really hit its stride. The days of campy movies that took themselves seriously were starting to dwindle, and we began to enter an era of more self-aware, goofy MCU movies. James Gunn and the Guardians helped to kick this off. Between the incredible soundtrack, beautiful effects and well-crafted villain, Guardians of the Galaxy is about as fun as it gets.

This film also features Josh Brolin's first appearance as the now-legendary Thanos; the only other iteration so far had been a post-credits scene from The Avengers, played by Damion Poitier.

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14. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Release Year: 2017

I'm a real sucker for this movie. As a big Spider-Man comic fan in my youth, this movie encapsulated so much of the original campiness of NYC's favorite web-slinger in a way that the previous iterations hadn't. Although Tobey was an incredible Peter Parker and Andrew was a decent Spider-Man, Tom Holland really managed to capture the whole persona that Stan Lee crafted so masterfully decades earlier.

I was hesitant when this film was announced; the third Spider-Man reboot in less than two decades seemed egregious. Nonetheless, the film's cast and strong writing won me over. Michael Keaton was incredible as the Vulture—and I loved this nod to his critically-acclaimed role in Birdman.

In this movie, Spider-Man was truly a kid. He was dealing with high school, a father complex with Tony Stark and romance. This was what Spider-Man was originally all about, and that was why I loved this film.

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13. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Release Year: 2014

Although The First Avenger was not the strongest origin story in the MCU, the next two Captain America movies both find their footing firmly in the top 15 Marvel movies of all time. The introduction of Bucky Barnes' Winter Soldier character forced those around him to investigate their personal morality, the ethics of being a "hero" and the twisted nature of the military industrial complex.

Robert Redford was captivating as the film's villain and Chris Evans really came into his own as Steve Rogers in this movie. On top of the film's themes and incredible writing, Winter Soldier also featured some of the most well-choreographed and memorable fight scenes in the entire history of Marvel filmmaking.

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12. The Avengers: Endgame

Release Year: 2019

Endgame was an incredible feat of filmmaking that could easily nab a spot in the top ten of another version of this list. Despite the immense hype and expectations leading up to this film, billed as the finale of the MCU (oh how naive we were), the Russo brothers did not disappoint.

We're approaching the portion of the list where I have very few negative things to say about any of the films. Nonetheless, there were a few plot inconsistencies in Endgame and I was personally not a fan of Professor Hulk, hence why this didn't make the top ten. My one wish is that we could have had a more fleshed out redemption arc for the green rage monster (after his crushing defeats in Infinity War), but aside from a few nitpicks, this movie did exactly what it needed to do.

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11. Spider-Man

Release Year: 2002

On my first run through this list, I couldn't believe that this movie wouldn't make the top ten. I grew up on this film and still find so much comfort in watching its campy introduction to one of history's most beloved masked crusaders. Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin is everything a super villain should be; Tobey Maguire perfectly nails the neurotic nervousness of a young Peter Parker; Sam Raimi set the gold standard for superhero direction with this flick.

In my most recent viewing, I was surprised to see how dated some elements of the visuals seem. It's still a wonderful film to watch, but it just doesn't match the standard of some of the flawless MCU entries of the last decade. Don't get me wrong: I love this movie and I always will.

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10: The Avengers

Release Year: 2012

There really isn't a movie on this list with more recognizable one-liners and quips than this one. This film really formalized the MCU as a universe, not just a series of sequels. The Avengers also first expanded the scope of the MCU outside of just Earth, introducing Thanos and intergalactic stakes far beyond the reaches of, say, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

There will never be a feeling again like witnessing Mark Ruffalo, definitely proving that he was the Bruce Banner, announcing: "That's my secret... I'm always angry," followed by the most legendary punch of all time.

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9. X-Men 2 (X2)

Release Year: 2003

This was the best X-Men movie from the original trilogy and—excluding Logan—the best mutant film of the whole bunch. In an era when most superhero films relied on a campier, lighter aesthetic, X2 featured a grittier, darker vibe, similar to the ethos we'd see crop up in The Dark Knight and other films down the line.

X2 was a bit of a tragedy, pulling back the curtain on the most gut-wrenching moments from Logan's past. This film really saw Hugh Jackman come into his own as Wolverine, and featured—as always—stellar performances from Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as the former enemies turned short-term allies. In lists of the best Marvel movies of all time, X2 is often overlooked, but it's worth a critical rewatch for any fans of the genre.

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8. Captain America: Civil War

Release Year: 2016

For a long time, this was my favorite MCU film—and one of my favorite films, period. Instead of portraying Captain as a blatantly patriotic character, this film truly began to investigate the complicated nature of savior-ship and how it is linked to American involvement in conflict abroad.

Civil War also featured the iconic fight between all members of the Avengers, which is the first scene I think of when I picture major fight scenes from the MCU. As if that isn't enough, this movie also introduced two major characters: the Black Panther and Tom Holland's Spider-Man. Spider-Man's one on one fight with Cap was so unbelievably fun ("You got heart kid, where are you from?") and the Russo Brothers did such a great job of introducing the Black Panther as a force to be reckoned with.

I could watch this movie every day and not get tired of it.

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7. Spider-Man 2

Release Year: 2004

This is hands-down the best live-action Spider-Man movie of all time. Alfred Molina as Doc Ock was one of the most memorable and masterfully-portrayed villains to date, and the film's final sequence still rivals later Marvel films for being one of the most gripping scenes in the entire franchise. Spider-Man 2 also succeeded as a love letter to NYC; in no other Spider-Man film was Peter Parker's connection to the Big Apple more apparent and explicit.

Sam Raimi's masterpiece even nabbed an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, putting it on a pretty short (but ever-growing) list of superhero movies that can count Oscars among their accolades.

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6. Thor: Ragnarok

Release Year: 2017

Marvel Studios' choice to give the helm of the Thor franchise to Taika Waititi was one of their best hiring decisions of all time. Despite Chris Hemsworth's undeniable likability on screen, the previous two Thor movies lacked a visual or comedic style that could elevate the character to anything more than just a neat, but uninspired, hero.

Enter Taika Waititi. The director of The Hunt for the Wilderpeople and, later, Jojo Rabbit, has quickly become one of the most respected directors (and actors) in all of Hollywood. Part of that success can be traced back to his landmark reimagining of the Thor franchise, which catapulted the character from relatively boring to arguably the most beloved and unique hero in the MCU. Waititi's patented wit was on full display throughout the film; couple the reimagined, funny Thor with a Jeff Goldblum masterclass in comedy and an infinitely memorable cast of characters, and you've got yourself an undeniable banger of a movie.

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5. Avengers: Infinity War

Release Year: 2018

There were moments when Infinity War dragged (as is the case with any nearly two and a half hour movie), but the set pieces throughout were some of the most incredibly crafted and memorable of the franchise's lengthy tenure. The battle of Wakanda had such an instantly recognizable visual style; Thanos' demolishment of the Incredible Hulk was a tragedy; the New York City battle in the first act of the movie was a masterpiece.

SPOILERS: To top it all off, the film concluded with what can only truly be referred to as a subversion of the entire superhero genre. From the genre's genesis in the first half of the 20th century, one truth had remained paramount above all: the heroes always win. But in 2018, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely decided that enough was enough. Sometimes, when faced with a truly unimaginable villain, the heroes lose.

The conclusion to Avengers: Infinity War was one of the most soul-crushing and memorable experiences I have ever had watching any movie. Despite holding onto the knowledge that these heroes would have to return and good would triumph in the end, Infinity War managed to conclude in a way that made you forget all of that optimistic sludge.

For its total destruction and reimagining of what a superhero movie could be, Avengers: Infinity War is the greatest Avengers movie of all time.

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4. Iron Man

Release Year: 2008

This is where the MCU began. It doesn't get much better than this. The inaugural film set off so many themes of the Iron Man trilogy and the MCU more widely, investigating the complicated morality of weapons dealing and militarization from the jump. This was a bit of a return to prominence for Robert Downey Jr., and he did not disappoint. Jeff Bridges as the villain is still one of my favorite antagonists in the MCU writ large, and so much of the quippy dialogue holds up to this day. I can watch this movie repeatedly.

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3. Logan

Release Year: 2017

Logan is arguably the darkest film released under the Marvel umbrella, and it's simultaneously one of the most incredibly performed and written films of the 21st century. I grew up a huge fan of the comic Old Man Logan, and although this movie didn't directly reference the comic, it relied on the same theme of watching a formerly invincible character dealing with the trials of aging.

Hugh Jackman gave an unmatched performance in this movie. Couple that with the supreme cinematography, flawless writing and overall heart-wrenching narrative, and this movie finds its footing firmly in the top 3.

Although I can't rewatch this one with frequency like some of the others on the list, it joined an elite group of superhero films that transcended the genre; it was not only a tale of a fallen hero, but of a fallen man and his process of reckoning with loss.

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2. Black Panther

Release Year: 2018

This was perhaps the most-hyped MCU movie of all time. It exceeded expectations.

No other film in the MCU has such an instantly recognizable visual style. No film has as many beloved set pieces. No film can match the writing of the characters. Black Panther is, in short, a perfect superhero movie.

Michael B. Jordan was such a force as the sympathetic, but still fiercely violent villain. The costuming for this film burned a hole in my memory. When I discuss this movie with people, one of the first things I address is the two incoronation scenes. Somehow, director Ryan Coogler managed to concoct two narratively similar scenes that were entirely different from a visual, thematic and auditory perspective.

And, of course, Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa is one of the most perfect castings in the history of cinema. No one else could do the character justice. He was powerful, just and strong, but still effortlessly captured the nuance of a warrior thrust suddenly into power, sometimes unsure of how to act. Chadwick Boseman was a treasure, gone much too soon.

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1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Release Year: 2018

Although Black Panther is the best film in the MCU, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is, in my opinion, the best superhero movie of all time. Whether you're a diehard comic fan or someone who has never watched a superhero movie, this film is a delight from start to finish.

The writing was impeccable. The movie was hysterical; the characters were fleshed out; the world was immersive; there were peaks and valleys, dragging the viewer into the depths of grief only to be ballooned up to the mountain of laughter moments later.

Visually, this movie was nothing short of revolutionary. The aesthetic style utilized by the animators was unlike anything before it, and has already begun to seep into most animated movies following it. Their manipulation of frame rates, reference to Jack Kirby's trademark comic style and combination of numerous animation styles to invoke a multi-verse were all miraculous.

Above all, this film captured the essence of Spider-Man so well. The point of Stan Lee's original story was for us to find a bit of the hero inside of us all. We can all be Spider-Man.

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