I recently read a “Top 10 of the Best Marvel Films Ever” online and feel pretty confident in saying it was far, far from home. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to do my own version, turns out it’s harder than it looks. Some great movies had to get cut in place of others equally as great.
I would also like to point out that this is entirely my opinion – so feel free to disagree, regardless of what dodgy clickbait headline this article ends up with.
20. Ghost Rider
This really shouldn’t be on here. It’s essentially just a vehicle for Nic Cage to overact (it is nowhere near as bad as the sequel though). Ghost Rider marginally makes the cut as it’s a film that falls into so bad its good territory.
The movie is over the top silly and Nic Cage chews scenery like a lunatic, but it’s also good dumb entertainment. I apologise for its inclusion essentially but go figure.
19. The Punisher
The previous big-screen iteration was Dolph Lundgren with dyed hair back in the ’80s. This 2004 offering is a far superior film and Thomas Jane makes for a pretty decent Frank Castle.
It’s nowhere near as violent as the recent Netflix series but still has some pretty creative violence. It also has a soft spot for me as The Punisher was one of the first Marvel comics I got our hands on.
18. Spider-Man 2
This would tend to feature a lot higher on other lists, it’s unequivocally an excellent film. Sam Raimi got Spider-Man 2 pretty much spot on and easily the best of the Tobey Maguire series.
It’s a film that is well focused and does a good job of realising Dr Octopus – which good as he’s such a key villain. Also when you consider how wasted Venom was in the third film…
17. Iron Man
The introductory film to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and very much the tone-setter for pretty much everything that’s come since. It’s an entertaining film, Robert Downey, Jr. is pretty much perfectly cast as Tony Stark and he gets to be appropriately snarky which is a lot of fun.
There’s also nothing wrong with Jeff Bridges being the villain.
16. Iron Man 3
Another controversial one but I really like Iron Man 3, it succeeds in humanising Tony somewhat by showing how the events of the Avengers impacted. The dialogue is well written which you’d expect from a Shane Black film.
The argument against this movie is that Tony spends most of the film not actually being Iron Man, but the house party protocol scene alone makes up for this.
15. The Avengers
A few years ago this would have likely been number one. It’s a superb film and a nice culmination of the first phase in the MCU. There’s some really fun character interactions throughout the film, Thor and the Hulk offering funny moments and Loki cements himself as one of the best villains.
We also think that bringing in Mark Ruffalo to replace Ed Norton as Bruce Banner was an inspired move.
14. Captain America: Civil War
This works surprisingly well given the number of characters the film revolves around, our only real complaint is that it’s too long.
Civil War introduces Black Panther and, more importantly, Spider-Man into the MCU. Spider-Man turning up was a huge deal at the time as Sony owns the rights to the character, it also helps that he’s possibly the best thing in the film.
13. X-Men: Days of Future Past
First Class was a good way to soft reboot the franchise but this follow-up is way better. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender seem more comfortable in their roles for this outing and the story arc is fascinating but quite grim.
It also succeeds in giving Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine a starring role rather than a cameo amongst the younger cast. While Days of Future Past pretty much crams in every character that’s appeared in the X-Men movies, somehow and rightly newcomer Quicksilver shines the brightest.
This was the only other Marvel character I was familiar with from reading comics before seeing the respective film. It’s a huge upgrade for the ‘Merc with a mouth’ compared to the previous cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine which was a shambles.
This does an excellent job of capturing the character while also being really funny and not afraid to poke fun at itself.
11. Guardians of the Galaxy
Initially, similar to most, I wasn’t too fussed about Guardians of the Galaxy. That was right up until the last trailer which got me really interested.
The suspicion from a lot of places was that this would be the first misstep of the MCU, thankfully everyone couldn’t have been more wrong. It was an absolute joy!
Chris Pratt is perfectly cast as lead Star-Lord and Drax, played by Dave Bautista, is gloriously funny. The highlight of the movie was the dance-off in the final act. It is ridiculous in the best possible way.
10. Doctor Strange
Dr Strange intrigued, it had a great cast and was going to be introducing magic into the MCU. It’s very similar to Iron Man in the sense that the lead is an arrogant know it all who has to learn to be a better person.
It’s a film that really shows how Marvel has developed over the years, visually stunning and plays into the larger MCU pretty seamlessly.
9. X2 (X-Men 2)
The original was fun and worked really well but this sequel ramps things up to 11. The production company and director clearly realised that Hugh Jackman as, the much loved, Wolverine resonated with audiences across the globe. X2 is much more centred on his story and Jackman is certainly up to the task of carrying the film.
It also sets up the third film but we won’t hold that against it.
8. Black Panther
As the other stand out character, introduced alongside Spider-Man, in Civil War we highly anticipated the King of Wakanda’s first solo outing. And oh boy! it didn’t disappoint.
Black Panther succeeds at having one of the better villains in the MCU. They gave Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger a decent backstory that helped you root for him somewhat and as usual, they got the casting spot on.
It also represented the calm before the storm as it was the last film released before Infinity War.
Potentially the closest thing we’ll see to the Old Man Logan comic, this is a bleak film set in a future where things have definitely not gone to plan. Logan is incredibly violent, as the success of Deadpool showed the studio that there was a considerable market for a film where Wolverine was allowed to be the best at what he does, which seemingly is to kill people in mildly gruesome ways.
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming
I genuinely think that in Tom Holland Marvel have found the perfect actor to play Spider-Man. He manages to play the friendly neighbourhood spider how we have always heard the character in our heads when reading the comics.
For a film that casts Michael Keaton as the villain and manages to make him a sympathetic character is clearly doing things at least partially right. It helps that it’s a really fun film and doesn’t rely too heavily on Tony Stark’s involvement in the story.
5. Ant-Man and the Wasp
Both Ant-Man films have come after Avengers films and acted as a pretty awesome palette cleanser. This is predominantly because they don’t take themselves seriously at all.
Although both are excellent, the sequel gets the higher place as it’s a lot more comfortable in itself and seems to be having a hell of a lot of fun with the concepts established in the first.
4. Deadpool 2
Absolutely. Gloriously. Insane. It builds on what worked from the first film without falling into the sequel trap where a bigger budget means the filmmakers cram too much in and lose sight of what worked previously. The addition of Josh Brolin as Cable works well and Ryan Reynolds continues to show that Deadpool is essentially a role tailor-made for him.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Winter Soldier is one of my favourite Marvel characters so very happy he was going to be the focus when this was initially announced. It helps that the film turned out to be cracking and genuinely tense in places.
It also had a really good twist with the Hydra reveal and led to the Heil Hydra meme which was usually good for a laugh.
2. Avengers: Infinity War
It’s a 3-hour film but never seems like it as it whips along at a decent pace. It assumes that you’ve seen everything that’s come before so doesn’t waste any time on needless exposition and we really appreciated that. It’s great fun seeing characters interacting that haven’t done previously, such as Doctor Strange and Tony Stark. It also ends on the ultimate depressing cliffhanger which has made the wait for Endgame slightly frustrating.
1. Thor: Ragnarok
There was only ever going to be one film at number one because I bloody love Ragnarok. It’s incredibly funny and everyone in the case seems to be having a laugh pretty much constantly.
The film really does seem to revel in the ridiculousness of the premise and fully embraces it. It also has Jeff Goldblum in it which is always a good thing in our opinion. Hopefully, Taika Waititi will get to do a few more films in the MCU as a few more like this would be most welcome.
So that’s it for now though we fully expect that to change as next year Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home all get released from an MCU perspective. There’s even a couple of X-Men films due out too so there’s a good chance that some of those will make it onto this list but we’ll see. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below or on our Twitter or FB pages.