Marvel has given the world the greatest cinematic experience to date. And even though it was far from perfect, with movies that were clearly “filler movies”, Marvel has produced iconic and timeless movies as well.
Today marks the 3-year anniversary for the release of Avengers: Endgame, and even though the MCU is still ongoing, I think we can all agree we are past the peak of the MCU. Although Avengers: Endgame is the highest grossing Marvel movie (and the second highest grossing film of all time!) it might not be the best. We are looking at the top 10 Marvel movies that led to the grand finale that is Endgame. We’re leaving out all the films that came out after Endgame, despite some of those being in my overall top 10.
The beginning of Marvel’s best solo movies in the MCU, Spider-Man: Homecoming finally delivered the Spider-Man we’ve been wanting all those years.
Debuting in Civil War, Tom Holland showed a lot of promise of being a truly amazing Spider-Man, and he proved that in Homecoming.
The film had an absolutely stand-out villain in the Vulture, played by Michael Keaton. And a Spider-Man who’s yet to face a real life threatening challenge. Homecoming was the right way to start off Spider-Man’s story in this universe.
The first assembly for our beloved Avengers, The Avengers took the world by storm. We’ve never seen a star studded line-up of superheroes deliver a genuinely good movie, but with the foundations Marvel have created with each one, we have gotten a solid Avengers movie.
Yes, the plot of the movie was lacklustre, and the direction by Joss Whedon wasn’t impressive. But the movie was action packed, had great visual effects, and it took a huge leap in the entire story of the MCU.
Loki as the main villain was only okay. Yes, he’s witty, charismatic and has a few nice moments. But for those who didn’t watch Thor or didn’t know much about who Loki is, he came off as a typical, generic villain.
The only Marvel movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, in part due to socio-political reasons, but it was still one of the best films Marvel has produced.
We all understand the social significance of the film, and it was a huge step forward for POC and a needed one at that. And we all still mourn the loss of the magnificent Chadwick Boseman. The fact we won’t get to see him star as Black Panther again is a loss to all of cinema. But this is about the film, and we have to be honest about our ranking for the film.
Black Panther had a great protagonist, good action, a somewhat decent plot, amazing visuals, but was an overall average superhero film.
With Vibranium being whatever the plot needed it to be, the writing seemed half-assed and cheap. The true saving grace of this film is Chadwick as Black Panther, and the entertaining action sequences it delivered.
Guardians of the Galaxy
The first instalment of Guardians of the Galaxy was a fresh new style of movies in the MCU. James Gunn created a nostalgic 80’s vibe movie that was simply a huge amount of fun to watch.
But this film is also one of the, if not the, most important films to the MCU plot. At the same time, as a stand alone movie, it is one of the most fun ones to watch. Brilliant soundtrack, great cinematography with vibrant colors, witty characters, and fun action. Guardians of the Galaxy is a unique film in the MCU, and one of the best.
This is where the list goes from great to absolutely brilliant.
Thor: Ragnarok is one of the most beloved MCU movies, and for good reason. With Taika Waititi directing, he created a film that’s funny, exciting, and a joy to watch.
Ragnarok is more about the small elements that make it stand out from the rest. The brilliant directing from Taika, the iconic performance by Chris Hemsworth, it turned out to be an addictive combination.
Putting it at 6 is a truly unfair ranking, but the competition is simply too good.
What kickstarted the MCU, the film that made Robert Downey Jr. an absolute mega star in the world. Marvel’s first entry was not only a good one, but in fact one of the best comic-book movies ever made.
The casting of RDJ proved to be spot on, and he became an icon in pop culture. But it wasn’t just about RDJ and Iron Man, who had a brilliant character arc, it was about the engaging story and brilliant directing. Iron Man is a film that has its own identity, and will always stand out as a terrific solo film.
Captain America: Civil War
When Marvel decided to tell one of the most iconic comic stories from the 2000s, as exciting as that sounds, it was also worrying. But by the time they made Civil War, Marvel had a good grasp on the MCU and how to make actually good comic book movies. And Civil War is not only a good comic book movie, but an amazing one.
Starting with the dynamic between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, the film established that those two characters are not the heart of the film, but the entire MCU. Sharing similar ideologies but different methodologies, the two iconic characters clash and create a crack in the Avengers that would not be healed until Endgame.
The film did not hold back when it came to action either. It was well written and did each character justice with screen time. But with maintaining the fact that this is indeed a Captain America movie.
The fight between Captain America and Winter Soldier versus Iron Man is even more memorable than the epic airport scene. It serves as the film’s emotional climax just as much as it is a great action scene and keeps you invested the whole way through.
The film also introduced Black Panther and Spider-Man, and the rest is history.
Marvel’s grand finale to its grand plan, and it was magnificent. I do have my issues with Endgame, but we’ll get to those in a bit. Let’s talk about why Avengers: Endgame is not only one of Marvel’s best movies, but one of the best comic book movies of all time. Tying up 10 years of movies together, with fashion!
The epic battle between Earth’s mightiest heroes against Thanos and his army might be the greatest cinematic battle of all time. Visually stunning, action packed, and we finally get to see our favorite three heroes; Captain America, Thor and Iron Man square up against Thanos.
What Marvel did right was give us a bittersweet ending. Iron Man’s death was necessary. After what the characters went through, a perfect resolution would have been a cheap way to give the fans a happy ending.
However, Endgame had its flaws. Most importantly, the plot. Time travel has always been an easy way out to bring back dead characters and solve the current predicament. Cliche, cheesy, and done a million times before. Endgame also lacked action sequences prior to the great battle at the end.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The turning point for Marvel, The Winter Soldier was Marvel’s best film to date when it came out. A solid plot, a great villain that became an integral part of the MCU, with directors that took Marvel movies to the next level. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is undoubtedly the best standalone movie in the MCU.
Be it the thrilling action sequences, or the plot that was much more profound that we have anticipated, or Captain America’s amazing suit, this film did not only exceed expectations, it became a comic book movie staple. The elevator sequence is easily one of the most memorable action pieces of the MCU. This film showed that the Russo Brothers were absolutely the right directors to take the whole series in a new direction.
Avengers: Infinity War
One of the best comic book movies ever made, and Marvel’s best. What can one say to describe this film? It is truly a film like no other. With all of our beloved characters playing an integral role in the plot, they all get enough screen time that you don’t feel anyone’s left out.
But the reason this film is the absolute best is Thanos. This is a Thanos film, an origin story of Marvel’s greatest villain, and a good one at that. Thanos is not your generic villain who wants to destroy the universe for the sake of destroying it. He wants to balance it, to fix it. Thanos is arguably the most human character in the film. We see him evil, strong, and vulnerable as well. The scene where he chooses to kill Gamora to obtain the soul stone, that scene is absolute cinematic genius.
This film is definitely not short of fight scenes and action sequences. Where we have 3 storylines unravelling simultaneously, with 3 different themes. It felt like action was nonstop, but also the story kept moving forward to the inevitable end.
The ending, oh what an awesome ending. Thanos wins, the Avengers lose, it’s not a happy ending. But it also feels honest. Every bit of this film is genius.
Marvel gave us something that has never been done before, and might never be done again to this level of consistency and quality. We witnessed the greatest cinematic experience. So to that, thank you Marvel for the cinematic experience of a lifetime.
What are your favorite Marvel movies? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook and Twiter!