It is arguable that Marvel has become the most successful comic book company in the world. This is partly due to the films that have come out based on their characters, especially the ones that are from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In honor of Marvel’s ongoing success, here is a ranking of the top ten Marvel movies of all time.
10. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014): Before this film came out, there were many who believed that 20th Century Fox could not ever properly adapt the popular Days of Future Past storyline from the X-Men comics. However, through Bryan Singer’s directing and Simon Kinberg’s screenplay, the film adaptation of X-Men: Days of Future Past manages to be a coherent and meaningful story, while also being a new beginning for the X-Men: First Class cast and a satisfying conclusion to the original X-Men film trilogy. In the movie, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) must go back in time to the 1970s and convince a younger and depressed Professor X (James McAvoy) to help him stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating a mutant hating scientist (Peter Dinklage) in order to prevent a dark future in which most mutants and humans are killed by advanced killing machines called the Sentinels. This movie is a massive achievement for the X-Men film series, bringing the series back on track and directly erasing the lesser films like X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine from the franchise’s timeline.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017): The first Guardians of the Galaxy film was already a smash hit when it was released, so it came as no surprise that the sequel would be just as good, if not better. Just like the first movie, James Gunn’s direction and writing combines zany action and comedy with heartfelt drama and character moments. The sequel brings this combination to new heights by focusing on the drama more. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) meets his biological father, a powerful and godlike figure named Ego (Kurt Russell) who offers to teach his son on how to be just like him. While things may seem hopeful at first, it is soon revealed that Ego harbors dark intentions for his son, leaving it up to Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Yondu (Michael Rooker) to save him.
8. Spider-Man (2002): After James Cameron’s plan to bring the web slinger to the big screen fell through, Sam Raimi threw his hat in the ring to direct a Spider-Man movie. As a result, we have a classic superhero movie. We see the origin of Spider-Man played by Tobey Maguire as he transforms from a dorky and awkward teenager into the heroic and brave superhero that we all know and love, while he comes into conflict with the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe). The film was a great success and brought the Spider-Man character into a even more prominent light than ever before.
7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): While Captain America: The First Avenger wasn’t bad by any means, it wasn’t amazing. It was simply a fun movie. However, under Joe and Anthony Russo’s direction Captain America: The Winter Soldier turns the Captain America character into something much more. Taking place after The Avengers, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is shown to be struggling when it comes to adapting to a new life in the 21st century, especially since most of the people that he knew in the 1940s are now gone. When he discovers a conspiracy within S.H.I.E.L.D., along with his long-lost best friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) returning as a ruthless assassin, Steve must team up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to stop a corrupt government executive (Robert Redford) from creating a threat to freedom itself.
6. Captain America: Civil War (2016): After the success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Russo brothers followed it up with an even better sequel in Captain America: Civil War. In the film, the Avengers are now against each other after being forced by the government to have supervision whenever they are in action. One side led by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is in favor of being kept in check by the government while the other side led by Steve Rogers is in favor of making their own choices. When Steve’s friend Bucky is framed for attacking the United Nations, the former is torn between defending his best friend and helping Tony bring him in for questioning. This movie brought a side to the Avengers that audiences had not seen before in which the team members act more selfishly and fight with each other quite often. It is also noteworthy for introducing Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to the MCU.
5. Iron Man (2008): The film that started it all. In one of the biggest comeback performances ever, Robert Downey Jr. stars as Tony Stark, a wealthy and sarcastic playboy who is kidnapped by terrorists who force him to create a weapon of mass destruction for them. Instead of doing so, Tony creates a powered iron suit to escape. After doing so, Tony makes it his mission to make a change to his company and change the world for the better as the superhero Iron Man. This brings him into conflict with his father’s business partner Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), who attempts to steal his company and continue making weapons for profit. Iron Man is a triumph. Along with Robert Downey Jr.’s amazing performance, Iron Man has spectacular action scenes and is responsible for kickstarting the Marvel Cinematic Universe, quite possibly the most successful franchise as of 2020.
4. The Avengers (2012): After five films of buildup, Marvel released The Avengers, a massive team-up between Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). In the film, the five heroes must unite to take down Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who plans to conquer the world by unleashing an army of aliens on New York City. This iconic superhero movie is a landmark on the superhero movie genre, with great banter among the characters, terrific set pieces, and a thrilling climax in New York City which sees the Avengers fight together as a team for the first time.
3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018): While animated superhero movies were nothing new at the time, it is unlikely that it has ever been done in such a unique and fascinating way like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The film focuses on Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a troublemaking but highly intelligent teenager who like most iterations of Spider-Man gains super powers from a radioactive spider. After seeing the original Spider-Man (Chris Pine) get killed by the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber), Miles meets a Spider-Man from another universe (Jake Johnson) who is more depressed, cynical and irresponsible. Seeing an opportunity to save the world, Miles and this version of Peter Parker must team up along with a group of Spider-Men from different universes (Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney and Kmiko Glenn) in order to stop Kingpin from destroying New York with a device that can open several different dimensions. After it came out, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a massive success among critics and audiences, winning Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards.
2. Avengers: Endgame (2019): It is unknown how the Marvel Cinematic Universe pulled off a ten year storyline as well as it did, but the conclusion to it is amazing. Avengers: Endgame focuses on the remaining Avengers as they attempt to undo Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) action of wiping away half of existence throughout the universe by traveling through time. The movie serves as a fitting conclusion to many of the characters, particularly Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, who are finally able to mend their friendship after Captain America: Civil War. The movie was a massive success, becoming the highest grossing film of all time. Avengers: Endgame is a satisfying ending to ten years of buildup and one that should be checked out immediately.
1. Logan (2017): After playing the character for almost 20 years, Hugh Jackman gave his final performance as Wolverine in the Oscar nominated superhero drama Logan. In this movie, Logan is now emotionally broken and slowly dying in the year of 2029, where mutants have been nearly wiped out due to intentionally poisoned food products. Logan works as a limousine driver to support a frail Professor X (Patrick Stewart) who now suffers from a degenerative brain disease that is extremely dangerous when combined with his powers. When Logan is persuaded by a nurse (Elizabeth Rodriguez) to take a job, he must protect a mysterious girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) who possesses the same powers has him after the nurse is killed. With Professor X, Logan must get Laura to a safe haven in North Dakota before a sinister company led by a ruthless scientist and militant (Richard E. Grant and Boyd Holbrook) can hunt her down and kill her. Logan is a heartbreaking but inspiring gem of a movie, with engaging and unrestricted action along with terrific performances from Jackman, Stewart and Keen. Logan provides a tragic but impactful farewell to Hugh Jackman’s iconic character and is still the best Marvel movie of all time.