Oh man, what an exciting time this is. With the release of The Avengers: Infinity War releasing this Friday, April 27, 2018, (and I am so excited that I have my tickets for my family and friends on Thursday, April 26 at 7:30 PM) I wanted to quickly run down my list of my Top 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe films up until this point. With a history of 10 years behind the MCU and 18 films in the can, there are quite a few films to choose from; but which of those films released have been on my “favorites” list and which just miss making the cut. And just to clarify one thing, I am only going by the list that includes the movie releases for the MCU as it pertains to their general film universe, so films like the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Blade series will not be included in this list. So, without further ado, here is my list.
Honorable Mentions: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The First Avenger, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk
10. Iron Man
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau
US Release date: May 2, 2008
I have to give credit where credit is due; without the success of the first Iron Man film I don’t think we would be where we are with the MCU… or at least not the way we know it. And despite its baby-step flaws, I do rather enjoy the film and watch it from time to time because I enjoy it so.
9. Doctor Strange
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton
US Release date: November 4, 2016
Doctor Strange makes my list because when I was growing up I was really into the mystical area of the Marvel Universe and Doctor Strange was one of my favorites. So, to have the MCU introduce the mystical elements into the film universe I was more than happy to indulge myself with this film.
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Anthony Mackie, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, Michael Douglas
US Release date: July 17, 2015
While another film on this list was the first to introduce comedy into the MCU, I think that with Ant-Man, the creators really hit it out of the park and made this kind of comedy, and this film, stand out from the others in the MCU. Paul Rudd more than lived up to my expectations for this film and I love it that much more because of it.
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr.
US Release date: July 7, 2017
Spider-Man. I could just leave it at that, but I am still a huge Spider-Man to this day. Now, aside from some hiccups that are in this film (which prevented this film from being higher on this list), I was generally happy with the way that Spider-Man was introduced into the MCU and glad at the way that he was portrayed by Tom Holland.
6. The Avengers
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson
US Release date: May 4, 2012
While Iron Man may have started the MCU, and we all had an idea that it was leading to this eventually, but it was The Avengers that really got all us fans into the hype for the MCU. Seeing the “Big 3” of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, along with Black Widow, the Hulk and Hawkeye all shine in this film and this was just the start for it all.
5. Captain America: Civil War
Directed by: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Brühl
US Release date: May 6, 2016
With Captain America: Civil War, the Russo Brothers showed that they could handle a large roster of characters, and that gave me hope for what we may see in Infinity War, and I must admit that I am more than willing to see what they do with that film because of what they did in Civil War. And I am all the more excited because of it.
4. Thor: Ragnarok
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins
US Release date: November 3, 2017
Oh man, talking about breathing new life into a character that needed something special to spark interest back into their solo film. What Thor: Ragnarok did for Thor is nothing short of miraculous and it should be recognized for what director Taika Waititi did and give us hope that the MCU will continue to take these kinds of risk with creators in future films.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro
US Release date: August 1, 2014
Just as I was a fan of the magical aspects of the Marvel Universe growing up, I was also a fan of the space-faring adventures and the Guardians of the Galaxy were among those adventures. Of course, the team in the comics at the time was different from the team we saw in the film, but the added comedy that was featured in the film more than made up for it.
2. Black Panther
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis
US Release date: February 16, 2018
To say that I fell in love with the Black Panther film is a bit of an understatement. I saw the film 5 times in theaters and took my kids with my 4 of those times because I thought it was a culturally relevant film for them to watch. It was a marvel (no pun intended) of modern filmmaking and, like the top film on this list, is a huge step forward for the MCU going into the future.
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Directed by: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson
US Release date: April 4, 2014
To this day, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favorite MCU film because it surpasses what it is to be a comic book film. It has action, it has intrigue and espionage, it has personal drama… it has so much that makes it more than the sum of its parts and is just as important and relevant today as it was when it was released. The Winter Soldier has everything that makes an MCU film great and is a prime example of what directors, the Russo Brothers, and producer, Kevin Feige, can put together for their fans.