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“Black Widow” Is Here. Why Is This Such a Relevant Film for Marvel?
It’s been two full years since Spider-Man: Far From Home opened in theaters on July 2, 2019, concluding the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Phase Three . And even though the Disney+ shows WandaVision , The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki have already kicked off Phase Four of the MCU saga, we’ve been waiting for its first movie for a long time.
Black Widow was initially scheduled for release in theaters on May 1, 2020, but like so many other films during the last year , it’s been postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film will finally be released on July 9, 2021, simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access.
Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in a long-overdue film in which her character stands front and center. “Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger,” reads Disney’s official synopsis of the movie.
The film will see Natasha seeking her found family from her Russian spy days: sister-figure Yelena (Florence Pugh), father-figure Alexei/The Red Guardian (David Harbour) and mother-figure Melina (Rachel Weisz).
Black Widow’s Relevance
Black Widow isn’t the MCU’s first movie centering a woman superhero — Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson arrived in March of 2019. In comparison, DC’s Wonder Woman was released in June of 2017. And there’s something else at which DC managed to beat Marvel when it comes to women’s representation. Wonder Woman was directed by Patty Jenkins, making her the first woman director of a DC Extended Universe film but also of any big studio superhero movie during the genre’s renaissance of the last decade.
In Captain Marvel, filmmaker Anna Boden shared directing duties with her frequent collaborator and directing partner Ryan Fleck. Black Widow is the MCU’s film number 24, but it’ll be the first one to be directed by a woman alone. Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland ( Lore ) takes on the helming duties. The historic feat feels late in 2021 not only because of the several delays in the movie’s release but also because of how long the fans have known Black Widow and asked for a movie about her story.
Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff made her first MCU appearance in 2010’s Iron Man 2 , and the character was featured in six more MCU movies — including Marvel’s The Avengers , Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War , Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame — before we got the chance to watch a movie focusing on her. While promoting Black Widow ,
Johansson commented on the hypersexualization of her character precisely on that first appearance in Iron Man 2
. “While [Iron Man 2] was really fun and had a lot of great moments in it, the character is so sexualized, you know? [She is] really talked about like she’s a piece of something, like a possession or a thing or whatever — like a piece of ass, really. And Tony even refers to her as something like that at one point … ‘I want some,'” Johansson said.
Not only is this the perfect opportunity to revindicate the character and give her agency — and surely a less sexualized image — the movie is also an introduction to the character of Yelena, played by Academy Award-nominated actress Florence Pugh ( Little Women ), who’s set to become the next Black Widow . Both Yelena and Natasha are trained assassins and spies from the mysterious Russian program, Red Room.
What You Need to Remember Before Watching “Black Widow”
Considering Black Widow’s fatal demise in Avengers: Endgame , the question of how a movie about her character is even possible may have crossed your mind. But Black Widow actually takes place right after the events of Captain America : Civil War (2016) and before Avengers : Infinity War (2018).
To refresh your mind a little bit, Civil War saw Captain America (Chris Evans), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) confronting Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow, War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Vision (Paul Bettany) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in an infamous airport battle sequence . They were divided on the subject of the Sokovia Accords, a series of legislations that would oversee and regulate the activities, actions and civil rights of superheroes like the Avengers. Captain America’s gang was against them. In the end, Black Widow let Captain America and Winter Soldier escape.
“Natasha has broken the Sokovia Accords, betrayed Secretary Ross [William Hurt], and the Avengers find themselves disbanded. In the beginning of the movie, we establish Natasha desperate to evade Ross and leave U.S. soil,” explains the movie’s co-producer Brian Chapek in the production notes. “When she gets an opportunity to start over again, she quickly realizes that there are darker forces out there in the world that compel her to return to the action.”
For Shortland, this was also the right opportunity to blend action and humor into the whole spy/superhero movie mix. “I knew that the film had to be fun,” Shortland says. “I love spectacle. I wanted Natasha to take off. I wanted people to watch this character fly — to watch her transcend.”
We’ll have to wait to see the movie to decide whether Natasha has indeed transcended. And while my colleague and editor Kate Bove was completely right when she said the movie feels like it’s a decade late , I’m gonna go with the “better late than never” adage and hope Black Widow really is as good a movie as the early reactions seem to indicate.
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1. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
PG-13 | 149 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
Directors: Anthony Russo , Joe Russo | Stars: Robert Downey Jr. , Chris Hemsworth , Mark Ruffalo , Chris Evans
Votes: 1,169,518 | Gross: $678.82M
2. Logan (2017)
R | 137 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
In a future where mutants are nearly extinct, an elderly and weary Logan leads a quiet life. But when Laura, a mutant child pursued by scientists, comes to him for help, he must get her to safety.
Director: James Mangold | Stars: Hugh Jackman , Patrick Stewart , Dafne Keen , Boyd Holbrook
Votes: 811,547 | Gross: $226.28M
3. Deadpool (2016)
R | 108 min | Action, Comedy
A wisecracking mercenary gets experimented on and becomes immortal yet hideously scarred, and sets out to track down the man who ruined his looks.
Director: Tim Miller | Stars: Ryan Reynolds , Morena Baccarin , T.J. Miller , Ed Skrein
Votes: 1,098,175 | Gross: $363.07M
4. The Avengers (2012)
PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Sci-Fi
Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.
Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr. , Chris Evans , Scarlett Johansson , Jeremy Renner
Votes: 1,441,292 | Gross: $623.28M
5. Iron Man (2008)
PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.
Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Robert Downey Jr. , Gwyneth Paltrow , Terrence Howard , Jeff Bridges
Votes: 1,105,392 | Gross: $318.41M
6. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
A group of intergalactic criminals must pull together to stop a fanatical warrior with plans to purge the universe.
Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt , Vin Diesel , Bradley Cooper , Zoe Saldana
Votes: 1,252,174 | Gross: $333.18M
7. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
PG-13 | 181 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos' actions and restore balance to the universe.
Directors: Anthony Russo , Joe Russo | Stars: Robert Downey Jr. , Chris Evans , Mark Ruffalo , Chris Hemsworth
Votes: 1,229,728 | Gross: $858.37M
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.
Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Patrick Stewart , Ian McKellen , Hugh Jackman , James McAvoy
Votes: 735,806 | Gross: $233.92M
9. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a former brilliant scientist named Otto Octavius.
Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Tobey Maguire , Kirsten Dunst , Alfred Molina , James Franco
Votes: 692,436 | Gross: $373.59M
10. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
PG-13 | 147 min | Action, Sci-Fi
Political involvement in the Avengers' affairs causes a rift between Captain America and Iron Man.
Directors: Anthony Russo , Joe Russo | Stars: Chris Evans , Robert Downey Jr. , Scarlett Johansson , Sebastian Stan
Votes: 833,531 | Gross: $408.08M
11. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
PG-13 | 148 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
With Spider-Man's identity now revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
Director: Jon Watts | Stars: Tom Holland , Zendaya , Benedict Cumberbatch , Jacob Batalon
Votes: 846,221 | Gross: $804.75M
12. Black Panther (2018)
PG-13 | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country's past.
Director: Ryan Coogler | Stars: Chadwick Boseman , Michael B. Jordan , Lupita Nyong'o , Danai Gurira
Votes: 821,842 | Gross: $700.06M
13. Deadpool 2 (2018)
R | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (a.k.a. Deadpool) assembles a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling cyborg Cable.
Director: David Leitch | Stars: Ryan Reynolds , Josh Brolin , Morena Baccarin , Julian Dennison
Votes: 625,766 | Gross: $324.59M
14. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
As Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he teams up with a fellow Avenger and S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Black Widow, to battle a new threat from history: an assassin known as the Winter Soldier.
Directors: Anthony Russo , Joe Russo | Stars: Chris Evans , Samuel L. Jackson , Scarlett Johansson , Robert Redford
Votes: 885,376 | Gross: $259.77M
15. Spider-Man (2002)
PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
After being bitten by a genetically-modified spider, a shy teenager gains spider-like abilities that he uses to fight injustice as a masked superhero and face a vengeful enemy.
Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Tobey Maguire , Kirsten Dunst , Willem Dafoe , James Franco
Votes: 861,220 | Gross: $403.71M
16. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)
PG-13 | 161 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
The people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T'Challa.
Director: Ryan Coogler | Stars: Letitia Wright , Lupita Nyong'o , Danai Gurira , Winston Duke
Votes: 291,307 | Gross: $453.72M
17. X-Men: First Class (2011)
PG-13 | 131 min | Action, Sci-Fi
In the 1960s, superpowered humans Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr work together to find others like them, but Erik's vengeful pursuit of an ambitious mutant who ruined his life causes a schism to divide them.
Director: Matthew Vaughn | Stars: James McAvoy , Michael Fassbender , Jennifer Lawrence , Kevin Bacon
Votes: 714,822 | Gross: $146.41M
18. X2 (2003)
PG-13 | 134 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
When anti-mutant Colonel William Stryker kidnaps Professor X and attacks his school, the X-Men must ally with their archenemy Magneto to stop him.
Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Patrick Stewart , Hugh Jackman , Halle Berry , Ian McKellen
Votes: 568,817 | Gross: $214.95M
19. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, Thor must race against time to return to Asgard and stop Ragnarök, the destruction of his world, at the hands of the powerful and ruthless villain Hela.
Director: Taika Waititi | Stars: Chris Hemsworth , Tom Hiddleston , Cate Blanchett , Mark Ruffalo
Votes: 800,048 | Gross: $315.06M
20. Loki (2021–2023)
TV-14 | 586 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
The mercurial villain Loki resumes his role as the God of Mischief in a new series that takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”
Stars: Tom Hiddleston , Owen Wilson , Sophia Di Martino , Wunmi Mosaku
21. WandaVision (2021)
TV-PG | 350 min | Action, Comedy, Drama
Blends the style of classic sitcoms with the MCU, in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision - two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives - begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
Stars: Elizabeth Olsen , Paul Bettany , Kathryn Hahn , Teyonah Parris
22. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
The Guardians struggle to keep together as a team while dealing with their personal family issues, notably Star-Lord's encounter with his father, the ambitious celestial being Ego.
Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt , Zoe Saldana , Dave Bautista , Vin Diesel
Votes: 742,549 | Gross: $389.81M
23. Doctor Strange (2016)
PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.
Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch , Chiwetel Ejiofor , Rachel McAdams , Benedict Wong
Votes: 787,826 | Gross: $232.64M
24. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
PG-13 | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.
Director: Jon Watts | Stars: Tom Holland , Michael Keaton , Robert Downey Jr. , Marisa Tomei
Votes: 702,713 | Gross: $334.20M
25. Iron Man 3 (2013)
PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.
Director: Shane Black | Stars: Robert Downey Jr. , Guy Pearce , Gwyneth Paltrow , Don Cheadle
Votes: 886,193 | Gross: $409.01M
26. X-Men (2000)
PG-13 | 104 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
In a world where mutants (evolved super-powered humans) exist and are discriminated against, two groups form for an inevitable clash: the supremacist Brotherhood, and the pacifist X-Men.
Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Patrick Stewart , Hugh Jackman , Ian McKellen , Famke Janssen
Votes: 637,191 | Gross: $157.30M
27. Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994–1998)
TV-Y7 | 23 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
A young man with spider-like abilities fights crime as a superhero in New York City while trying to have a normal personal life.
Stars: Christopher Daniel Barnes , Sara Ballantine , Edward Asner , Roscoe Lee Browne
28. Thor (2011)
PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Fantasy
The powerful but arrogant god Thor is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.
Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Chris Hemsworth , Anthony Hopkins , Natalie Portman , Tom Hiddleston
Votes: 886,917 | Gross: $181.03M
29. Jessica Jones (2015–2019)
TV-MA | 56 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Following the tragic end of her brief superhero career, Jessica Jones tries to rebuild her life as a private investigator, dealing with cases involving people with remarkable abilities in New York City.
Stars: Krysten Ritter , Rachael Taylor , Eka Darville , Carrie-Anne Moss
30. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013–2020)
TV-PG | 45 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
The missions of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
Stars: Clark Gregg , Ming-Na Wen , Brett Dalton , Iain De Caestecker
31. Legion (2017–2019)
TV-MA | 60 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
David Haller is a troubled young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, but after a strange encounter he discovers special powers that will change his life forever.
Stars: Dan Stevens , Rachel Keller , Aubrey Plaza , Bill Irwin
32. Daredevil (2015–2018)
TV-MA | 54 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A blind lawyer by day, vigilante by night. Matt Murdock fights the crime of New York as Daredevil.
Stars: Charlie Cox , Vincent D'Onofrio , Deborah Ann Woll , Elden Henson
33. The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008–2009)
An animated television show that focuses on a sixteen-year-old Peter Parker, and the origins of Spider-Man.
Stars: Josh Keaton , Lacey Chabert , Joshua LeBar , Grey Griffin
34. Agent Carter (2015–2016)
TV-PG | 42 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
In 1946, Peggy Carter is relegated to secretarial duties in the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). When Howard Stark is accused of treason, he secretly recruits Peggy to clear his name with the help of his butler, Edwin Jarvis.
Stars: Hayley Atwell , James D'Arcy , Enver Gjokaj , Chad Michael Murray
35. Hawkeye (2021)
TV-14 | 339 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
Series based on the Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye, centering on the adventures of Young Avenger, Kate Bishop, who took on the role after the original Avenger, Clint Barton.
Stars: Jeremy Renner , Hailee Steinfeld , Florence Pugh , Vera Farmiga
36. Luke Cage (2016–2018)
TV-MA | 55 min | Action, Crime, Drama
When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage becomes a fugitive attempting to rebuild his life in Harlem and must confront his past and fight a battle for the heart of his city.
Stars: Mike Colter , Simone Missick , Theo Rossi , Alfre Woodard
37. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Shang-Chi, the master of weaponry-based Kung Fu, is forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization.
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton | Stars: Simu Liu , Awkwafina , Tony Leung Chiu-wai , Ben Kingsley
Votes: 421,586 | Gross: $224.54M
38. Wolverine and the X-Men (2008–2009)
After an explosion at the school, the X-Men went their separate ways. But they must unite once again under the leadership of Wolverine to prevent an inevitable war while also dealing with present problems.
Stars: Steve Blum , Jim Ward , Nolan North , Fred Tatasciore
39. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
PG-13 | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it's up to Earth's mightiest heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plan.
Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr. , Chris Evans , Mark Ruffalo , Chris Hemsworth
Votes: 906,317 | Gross: $459.01M
40. Ant-Man (2015)
PG-13 | 117 min | Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, pull off a plan that will save the world.
Director: Peyton Reed | Stars: Paul Rudd , Michael Douglas , Corey Stoll , Evangeline Lilly
Votes: 709,248 | Gross: $180.20M
41. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Doctor Strange teams up with a mysterious teenage girl from his dreams who can travel across multiverses, to battle multiple threats, including other-universe versions of himself, which threaten to wipe out millions across the multiverse. They seek help from Wanda the Scarlet Witch, Wong and others.
Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch , Elizabeth Olsen , Chiwetel Ejiofor , Benedict Wong
Votes: 461,220 | Gross: $411.33M
42. Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)
PG-13 | 129 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.
Director: Jon Watts | Stars: Tom Holland , Samuel L. Jackson , Jake Gyllenhaal , Marisa Tomei
Votes: 538,737 | Gross: $390.53M
43. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)
TV-14 | 300 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Following the events of 'Avengers: Endgame,' Sam Wilson/Falcon and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier team up in a global adventure that tests their abilities -- and their patience.
Stars: Anthony Mackie , Sebastian Stan , Wyatt Russell , Erin Kellyman
44. The Defenders (2017)
TV-MA | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
Set a few months after the events of the second season of Daredevil, and a month after the events of Iron Fist, the vigilantes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist team up in New York City to fight a common enemy: The Hand.
Stars: Charlie Cox , Krysten Ritter , Mike Colter , Finn Jones
45. Iron Man 2 (2010)
PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Sci-Fi
With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father's legacy.
Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Robert Downey Jr. , Mickey Rourke , Gwyneth Paltrow , Don Cheadle
Votes: 854,367 | Gross: $312.43M
46. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier, transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a "Super-Soldier serum". But being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a warmonger and a terrorist organization.
Director: Joe Johnston | Stars: Chris Evans , Hugo Weaving , Samuel L. Jackson , Hayley Atwell
Votes: 882,342 | Gross: $176.65M
47. Captain Marvel (2019)
PG-13 | 123 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.
Directors: Anna Boden , Ryan Fleck | Stars: Brie Larson , Samuel L. Jackson , Ben Mendelsohn , Jude Law
Votes: 598,489 | Gross: $426.83M
48. Black Widow (2021)
Natasha Romanoff confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises.
Director: Cate Shortland | Stars: Scarlett Johansson , Florence Pugh , David Harbour , Rachel Weisz
Votes: 413,798 | Gross: $183.65M
49. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi
The early years of James Logan, featuring his rivalry with his brother Victor Creed, his service in the special forces team Weapon X, and his experimentation into the metal-lined mutant Wolverine.
Director: Gavin Hood | Stars: Hugh Jackman , Liev Schreiber , Ryan Reynolds , Danny Huston
Votes: 523,526 | Gross: $179.88M
50. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
The human government develops a cure for mutations, and Jean Gray becomes a darker uncontrollable persona called the Phoenix who allies with Magneto, causing escalation into an all-out battle for the X-Men.
Director: Brett Ratner | Stars: Patrick Stewart , Hugh Jackman , Halle Berry , Famke Janssen
Votes: 534,196 | Gross: $234.36M
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The 16 Best MCU Movies So Far, Ranked According to IMDb
The highest highs of the biggest franchise ever, according to critics.
As fans eagerly wait for the premiere of The Marvels (November 10), it's the perfect time to dive back into some of the MCU's best movies that have managed to impress IMDb users.
Marvel continues to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to creating one blockbuster after another. With the 31 movies that currently make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there have been numerous critically acclaimed box office hits that have redefined what it means to create a superhero film.
While everybody has a favorite, IMDb has been a consistent way to see which Marvel movies are more or least popular than you might have initially thought. From the instant smash hit team-up, Spider-Man: No Way Home , to the first time we met the lovable Guardians of the Galaxy, the MCU's first 15 years have brought some unforgettable films that have done exceedingly well .
Updated on November 6, 2023, by Hannah Saab:
16 'black panther' (2018), imdb rating: 7.3/10.
T'Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman ) takes his place as the king of Wakanda after his father's untimely death in Black Panther . The new king is immediately tested when a challenger and old foe comes forward, Killmonger ( Michael B. Jordan ), who questions Wakanda's decision to stay hidden and aims to usurp T'Challa to start anew.
The story of the Black Panther is one of the coolest in the MCU , thanks to sleek Wakandan technology, impressive set designs, and impeccable costumes. The superhero movie manages to refresh the increasingly stale genre at that point by becoming one of the best Marvel standalone movies, not to mention a great origin story for the beloved hero.
Watch on Disney+
15 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' (2017)
Imdb rating: 7.4/10.
In the wake of Avengers: Endgame and after Tony's heartbreaking death, our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man now faced a new threat. Jake Gyllenhaal made his debut as Mysterio in Tom Holland 's second solo movie as the web-headed superhero, and it's safe to say he made a lasting impact on Peter's life after revealing his identity in the end credits scene.
While it comes just under its predecessor on IMDb, 2017's Spider-Man: Far From Home did exceedingly well. With one of the lowest budgets for an MCU film, it didn't hold it back as it became the first Spider-Man film to surpass the $1 billion mark . It may technically have only just made the top fifteen, but it still holds a special place in fans' hearts.
14 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' (2021)
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has that classic Marvel comedy and emotion mixed with a new origin story that fans were excited to see. With throwbacks to multiple MCU projects and the end credits scene tieing Shang-Chi with Doctor Strange and the rest of the Avengers, on top of that cameo from Wong, it was able to expand the MCU in more ways than we could imagine.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the film's production was postponed from February 2020 until it resumed in August and was completed in October before its release a year later in September 2021. Upon release, Shang-Chi entertained fans around the world, and was the breath of fresh air the franchise needed, thanks to its wholly original setting, new characters, and riveting narrative.
13 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' (2016)
It's the first of the newest Spider-Man trilogy in which Tom Holland makes his official debut in the MCU as the much-loved web-slinger from Queens. Following Captain America: Civil War , our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is eager to impress Tony Stark ( Robert Downey Jr. ) after his assistance in the third Captain America movie.
Fans were excited to see a new take on everyone's favorite web-slinger swing back onto the big screen, and we weren't disappointed. The movie did exceedingly well, and millions of fans welcomed Holland into The Avengers with open arms. Homecoming signaled the beginning of an incredible personal arc for Holland's character , who would go on to capture fans' hearts until his storyline's conclusion.
12 'Doctor Strange' (2016)
Imdb rating: 7.5/10.
One of the smartest MCU heroes , Dr. Stephen Strange ( Benedict Cumberbatch ), is introduced in 2016's Doctor Strange. A talented but arrogant neurosurgeon, Stephen's whole trajectory changes following a disastrous car accident that leaves him with non-surgery-friendly hands. Soon, he embarks on a mystical journey as he seeks powers beyond the visible realm to heal his wounds, both physical and emotional.
A magical and surprisingly emotional adventure, Doctor Strange thrilled fans around the world with its cutting-edge and mind-bending visuals that perfectly complemented the MCU film's wild narrative . It's a perfect origin story for the now-beloved sorcerer, whose recent multiverse-hopping odyssey has left fans wanting more.
11 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' (2017)
Imdb rating: 7.6/10.
More of the Guardians' wacky antics, epic needle drops, and well-written stories are showcased in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 . What starts out as an unfortunate decision by Rocket ( Bradley Cooper ) to steal the batteries they were supposed to guard turns into a twisty discovery of Peter Quill's ( Chris Pratt 's iconic character ) parentage, which is a mission that predictably turns disastrous.
A fantastic sequel to the first film, Vol. 2 expands on Peter's story arc and past while also including everything fans know and love about the series so far . The music is on point, the jokes land (most of the time), and the emotional depth is pleasantly surprising.
10 'Captain America: Civil War' (2016)
Imdb rating: 7.8/10.
When the government steps in and proposes a restrictive system to keep the Avengers accountable in Captain America: Civil War , the heroes fall on opposing sides of the argument. Some side with Captain America, who insists on total freedom. Others agree with Tony Stark/Iron Man ( Robert Downey Jr. ), who welcomes the oversight. Discussions soon turn into a war between the two groups, which culminates in a dangerous fight between heroes.
Captain America: Civil War has some of the most epic action sequences in the MCU , which helped make its premise work. Seeing the heroes' discord within the group gave fans a wholly different perspective and incredibly high stakes, not to mention the way it delved into the characters' personalities, values, and motives.
9 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' (2014)
Still reeling from the destructive events in New York, Steve Rogers/Captain America ( Chris Evans ) teams up with Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow ( Scarlett Johansson ), and Falcon ( Anthony Mackie ) for a new mission. There's a wicked conspiracy lurking around the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D, but just as the trio comes close to cracking it, an enemy from Steve's past resurfaces – the Winter Soldier ( Sebastian Stan ).
Fans of MCU movies with more action than humor loved the flawless choreography and intense fight scenes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier . Making it into the top 10 MCU movies, the slow revelation of Steve and Bucky's complicated past also makes for compelling viewing , as audiences are introduced to the now-iconic duo's dark experiences.
8 'Thor: Ragnarok' (2017)
Imdb rating: 7.9/10.
It's the weird and wacky third installment in the Thor solo movies. Taika Waititi directs this cosmic superhero movie that dramatically differs from the previous Asgardian adventures in a more light-hearted and comedic approach. From the Grandmaster ( masterfully played by Jeff Goldblum ) to the immediate favorite Korg (voiced by Taika), it had many memorable characters and scenes.
Thor: Ragnarok received praise for many attributes, from its direction and humor to the musical score and visual effects, and critics considered it the best in the Thor series. The film became a box office hit and the highest-grossing Thor movie. Not even Waititi's follow-up, Thor: Love and Thunder , could top it on IMDb.
7 'Iron Man' (2008)
Where would we be without Iron Man ? We wouldn't have the expansive multiverse we do today, and we'd have missed out on some movie-making history. Where would the epic adventure that is the MCU be without Tony Stark and his suits of armor around the world? Would there even be one? It is the one that started it all and paved the way for future Avengers Initiative projects.
While the idea of the MCU back at the beginning of the 2000s wasn't as popular as it is today, it's tough to imagine this superhero adventure without the character that brought the franchise to life. 2008's Iron Man is the definition of an oldie but a goodie. It may not have done fantastic in the box office compared to future MCU projects, but it remains one of the most favorable among fans and critics alike.
6 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' (2023)
A fantastic example of a sequel done right, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 offers a fitting ending for the band of unlikely heroes that fans have come to love over the years . It follows a heartbroken Quill (still hurting from Gamora's death) as they go against a powerful new MCU villain to rescue one of their own.
Vol. 3 draws from what the movies have become known for, using viewers' emotional attachments to the characters to create high stakes that make the intense action sequences more effective. Of course, it has a lot of humor to go along with heart, and will go down in MCU's history as one of its most successful movies.
5 'The Avengers' (2012)
Imdb rating: 8.0/10.
Marvel is great at bringing beloved characters together for high and mighty team-ups, and they've undoubtedly given us some unforgettable moments between characters throughout their first fifteen years. While Endgame and No Way Home are incredibly memorable for their own unique reasons, there's something about the Original Six's first team-up that lives rent-free in our minds (it's still arguably the best Avengers movie).
Marvel's The Avengers culminated the movies in Phase One of the MCU , and it did exceedingly well. The film became a huge success, earning multiple award nominations, including BAFTA and Academy Awards, for its impressive visual effects. The movie was a success among both fans and critics, and remains a rewatchable classic today.
4 'Guardians of the Galaxy' (2014)
It may be one of the goofiest movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe , but when they're as chock-full of classic Marvel comedy as Guardians of the Galaxy was, we can't help but love them even more. Its soundtrack is full of classic songs like Blue Suede 's "Hooked On A Feeling" and ELO 's "Mr. Blue Sky'" and is jam-packed with pop culture references for us geeks to enjoy.
Guardians of the Galaxy certainly wasn't a disappointment. It was a different angle to Marvel that we hadn't seen before, as the only otherworldly beings we'd seen until that point were Asgardians. The film received positive feedback from critics and fans and had everyone asking for more wacky antics from the Guardians.
3 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' (2021)
Imdb rating: 8.2/10.
It's everything we wanted and more. We had Tobey Maguire 's original Spidey from the 2000s Sam Raimi trilogy, Andrew Garfield 's Amazing Spidey from the Marc Webb duo, and of course, Tom Holland's Spidey from the latest Jon Watts trilogy. We even had the original villains portrayed by their original actors. Whether you grew up with the movies or came to love them later in life, fans' nostalgia senses went haywire. They even did the meme!
Spider-Man: No Way Home was one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2021, and fans weren't disappointed. Another box office hit for the MCU, the Spidey film became an instant rewatchable Marvel classic , in large part thanks to the touching way it seemingly concludes Holland's story in the franchise.
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2 'Avengers: Infinity War' (2018)
Imdb rating: 8.4/10.
The Avengers and the Guardians work together against their most powerful enemy yet, Thanos ( Josh Brolin ), an intergalactic warlord who's determined to collect all of the powerful Infinity Stones to kill half of the universe. His twisted mind believes that this will help achieve true balance, so Thanos will stop at nothing and murder millions to achieve his goal.
This high-stakes feud between the heroes and now-legendary villain in Avengers: Infinity War gave fans some of the most intense fight scenes , emotional moments, and heartbreaking goodbyes in the franchise. The movie's jaw-dropping conclusion shocked the world, and fans would have to begin their most frustrating wait to see what the surviving heroes would do next.
1 'Avengers: Endgame' (2019)
The end of Phase Three, and what an end it was. Fans laughed, cried, sobbed, and by the end, were in complete denial, but any film that can play with your emotions as much as this one did, is typically going to be a winner (and unsurprisingly the highest-rated Marvel movie). The highly anticipated culmination of the Avengers movies took fans on a wild and emotional ride . And viewers finally got to hear Steve say those two little words they've been waiting for for over a decade. "Avengers. Assemble."
When Endgame was released, it was almost instantly a topic of conversation among Marvel fans as to whether it would top Avatar as the highest-grossing movie ever. It peaked at first place before slipping back to second place, where it has remained ever since.
NEXT: All MCU Movies Ranked Worst to Best, According to Rotten Tomatoes
The Best Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies, According To IMDb
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has over 25 movies, but which ones are the best?
Since Jon Favreau’s Iron Man arrived in multiplexes in 2008, Kevin Feige has turned the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a hit factory pumping out three $1 billion-grossing blockbusters a year. The franchise’s entries are all agreeable comic book adventures with plenty of action and spectacle, but some stand head and shoulders above the others.
The worst movies in the MCU feel like they came straight from the cookie-cutter, following the same well-worn formula. On the other hand, the best MCU films have an authorial stamp from their director and a couple of exciting subversions of the usual recipe while still satisfying as large-scale action romps.
Updated May 24, 2022 by Mark Sammut: The MCU is back in full swing after a period of inactivity, and the 2022 releases are not done yet. Phase Four has produced five movies so far, but do any of them rank among the best MCU movies ?
11 Doctor Strange (7.5)
2022's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness does not quite crack IMDb's highest-rated MCU movies , but its predecessor just about succeeds in making the cut. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Stephen Strange , an egotistical neurosurgeon who gets in an accident that leaves him unable to operate. Desperate to regain his old life, Strange winds up exploring the mystic arts, a journey that opens the doctor up to a wide universe of possibilities, along with new responsibilities that challenge his personality.
RELATED: Every MCU Movie From Worst To Best, Ranked By Rotten Tomatoes
Doctor Strange is an enjoyable origin story that sets itself apart through flashes of surreal imagery and special effects. Cumberbatch turns in a brilliant performance as the titular figure, managing to endear audiences to a character who could have been insufferable in lesser hands.
10 Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2 (7.6)
As the follow-up to perhaps the most unexpected smash hit in the MCU, James Gunn's sequel could have easily buckled under the weight of expectations. Going by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 's IMDb score, that clearly did not happen. Revolving around parental relationships, this movie finds the guardians crossing paths with Ego, a powerful galactic force who also happens to be Star-Lord's father.
Expertly blending action, comedy, character growth, and pathos, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a carefully written blockbuster that oozes style and heart. Hopefully, Vol. 3 maintains this subseries' momentum .
9 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (7.8)
Phase Two of the MCU is a bit all over the place in terms of quality, but this period does hit a spike right in the middle of its run. Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers dealing with a figure from his past while S.H.I.E.L.D crumbles from within due to the presence of Hydra.
Echoing cold war thrillers of yesteryear, this film opts for a more grounded tone, at least in relation to the presentation of its action sequences. Narratively, The Winter Soldier moves along at a blistering pace as Rogers and Natasha wind up on the run and off the grid.
8 Captain America: Civil War (7.8)
Adapting one of the more iconic Marvel Comic storylines, Captain America: Civil War draws the battle lines as Steve Rogers and Tony Stark reach an impasse on how The Avengers should respond to the world governments' installation of a system that registers all metahumans. While Tony believes they should comply, Rogers is completely against it; to make matters worse, the heroes are also manipulated by a third party.
RELATED: Movie Trilogies Where The Third Movie Is The Best
Civil War does a good job of representing the pros and cons of both sides of the argument, even if Rogers is clearly depicted as being in the right. This film also introduces Spider-Man and Black Panther, two characters who would go on to assume prominent roles in the MCU.
7 Iron Man (7.9)
Except for The Avengers , Iron Man is probably the most important film in the MCU. While not the first superhero flick or even the best one released in 2008, Tony Stark's debut needed to show that projects featuring less mainstream heroes could still attract an audience; even as one of the MCU's lowest-grossing releases , Iron Man did well enough financially and was also pretty great at the same time.
Rather than setting up the franchise's future, Iron Man simply focuses on telling a captivating story featuring a charming protagonist and splendid action that is considerably more violent than subsequent MCU releases.
6 Thor: Ragnarok (7.9)
Chris Hemsworth had become disillusioned with the role of Thor – and understandably so – after his first two solo movies were generic blockbusters and all he had to do in Avengers: Age of Ultron was have a bad dream and then take a bath. But his interest in the character was reinvigorated by the arrival of Taika Waititi , who injected a healthy dose of dry humor and colorful Flash Gordon -inspired action into the God of Thunder’s third solo outing, Thor: Ragnarok .
This is the definitive Thor movie; an epic space opera filled with larger-than-life personalities, creative action, and massive stakes.
5 The Avengers (8.0)
After Phase One detailed the origin stories of Earth’s mightiest heroes, the true test of the MCU’s chances of success came in The Avengers , Joss Whedon’s ambitious crossover that assembled those heroes on-screen for the first time. If Whedon could make a metal-clad billionaire, a super-soldier, a green monster, and a god all work in the same movie, then Marvel had a shot.
Of course, the movie nailed it. One of the most spectacular, vibrant summer blockbusters of the decade, The Avengers turned Marvel Studios into the hit factory it is today . The Battle of New York set a high bar for the MCU’s third-act battle sequences.
4 Guardians Of The Galaxy (8.0)
While The Avengers set the stage for Marvel Studios to dominate the movie-going landscape, Guardians of the Galaxy was the movie that proved it could turn anything into a hit. If Marvel could make a blockbuster franchise out of a talking space tree, it could make a blockbuster franchise out of anything.
RELATED: MCU: Best Characters In Phase 4 (So Far)
Every character, from Chris Pratt as Star-Lord to Zoe Saldana as Gamora and Vin Diesel as the aforementioned tree, was perfectly cast in this movie. Director James Gunn’s personality can be seen all over this space adventure.
3 Spider-Man: No Way Home
A celebration of Spidey's two decades on the big screen, Spider-Man: No Way Home is the type of movie that would have seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream a few years ago. When Peter Parker convinces Dr. Strange to perform a spell that, unsurprisingly, backfires, figures from other universes begin to show up in and around Manhattan, and they happen to be familiar faces.
No Way Home works because it does not over-rely on nostalgia; the film continues and prioritizes the stories of the MCU's Parker and his friends.
2 Avengers: Infinity War (8.4)
While the original Avengers movie seemed like an ambitious crossover when it hit theaters in the summer of 2012, it was nothing compared to Avengers: Infinity War , which brought Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy onto Earth’s mightiest heroes’ radar.
By focusing on Thanos, the MCU’s best villain to date by far , Infinity War managed to feel brisk and streamlined despite featuring dozens of major characters. It culminated in the best downer ending since The Empire Strikes Back .
1 Avengers: Endgame (8.4)
While Infinity War was an all-out action extravaganza that moved at a breakneck pace, Endgame was a much slower and more cerebral movie. Opening with a five-year time jump into a world still reeling from Thanos’ devastating destruction, Endgame perfectly positions the Avengers to live up to their name.
From the time-traveling journey through the MCU’s greatest hits to the biggest battle sequence in the franchise to date (culminating in Tony Stark’s tear-jerking sacrifice), Endgame was a shoo-in for the highest grossing movie ever made .
MORE: Every Star Wars Movie, Ranked By Rotten Tomatoes
The 10 Best Marvel Movies Ever Made, Ranked According To IMDb
While the MCU may be the first thing fans think of when it comes to Marvel movies, they aren't the only great films to feature Marvel's heroes.
When people think of Marvel movies, their first thought is almost always the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The MCU has dominated the comic book film genre, the worldwide box office, and events like Comic-Con for the last 14 years. But the reach of Marvel characters stretches beyond the MCU and into other studios such as Fox’s X-Men franchise and even the Fantastic Four films of the early 2000s and Ang Lee’s Hulk .
RELATED: 10 Best MCU Movies, According To IMDb
Some of the first genuine successes for Marvel came from other studios like Fox and Sony, establishing key characters that the MCU would turn to in the future. The MCU has produced several films that were critical and commercial hits, but they are not the only Marvel movies to receive acclaim from fans and critics alike.
10 X-Men: Days of Future Past (7.9) Was A Great Combination Of The Past And Future X-Men
Fox’s X-Men universe was a mess by 2014, with a series of struggling movies and a timeline that few fans understood, so Days of Future Past was made. The film served two purposes: to reset the timeline and to act as a send-off for the characters from the original trilogy.
DOFP did both brilliantly, in what is still one of the best comic book films in recent memory. One of the best casts ever assembled, the movie tells a brilliant story between the past and future, with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine once again at the center.
9 Iron Man (7.9) Changed Everything
Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. laid the foundation for what would become the MCU in 2008’s Iron Man . The visual effects have aged perfectly, and Robert Downey Jr. is full of charisma as Tony Stark. The movie legitimized a character that few thought would ever be seen in live-action.
RELATED: The 10 Coolest MCU Characters, Ranked
Iron Man had such an impact, most of the MCU has tried to emulate the tone and humor from the iconic film. Only the post-credit scene hinted at a larger universe with the appearance of Nick Fury, but few fans could have anticipated where the MCU was heading.
8 Thor: Ragnarok (7.9) Reinvented The Character, And Saved Him
The MCU has grown exponentially in the last decade, so some fans may forget the rough start for one of the universe's most iconic characters, Thor. The character was essentially written off by audiences after his first two films , but Ragnarok changed all of that.
Under the new direction of Taika Watiti, Ragnarok reestablished the character, allowed Chris Hemsworth to use his charisma, and introduced a fantastic villain with Hela. The highly successful film smashed the two previous films at the box office and created a lot of momentum for the character heading directly into Infinity War .
7 The Avengers (8.0) Brought Phase 1 To A Close
Small in scope by comparison to the recent Avengers stories, the first Avengers film was ahead of its time in more ways than one. As the first genuine superhero team-up film ever made, The Avengers set the standard for team-up stories and set the MCU in the direction it is in today.
Avengers brought together four characters from the relatively self-contained films that preceded it and introduced two more, creating a team that would be the focus of some of the MCU’s biggest stories over the last decade. Had Avengers not worked, it's hard to imagine what the MCU would have done.
6 Guardians Of The Galaxy (8.0) Expanded The MCU
Up until James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy came onto the scene, the MCU had stuck to basic superhero stories. The Guardians of the Galaxy changed all of that in a big way by introducing a ragtag group of cosmic heroes to the fans of the MCU.
Gunn took a group of what were considered B-list characters and made them household names. It was a great way to direct the universe towards more Infinity Stones and set up a number of characters and arcs that were critical to the Infinity Saga. With the third installment on the horizon, the Guardians trilogy might be the best in the MCU.
5 Deadpool (8.0) Was The Perfect Adaptation, Many Years In The Making
Fans had already seen Wade Wilson/Deadpool once before in the flop that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine . The loudmouth and crude mercenary started off right, but was relegated to having his mouth covered up as the bland Weapon X. Ryan Reynolds campaigned for the character to get a second chance, and he finally got his wish in 2016’s Deadpool .
RELATED: 10 Highest Grossing Marvel Movies Outside Of The MCU, Ranked
While the film did have its issues, Reynolds was an excellent choice and played the character perfectly. The film was a huge box office hit on a smaller budget and spawned a sequel.
4 Logan (8.1) Was A Superb Send-off To An Iconic Character And Actor
The X-Men universe may have its issues, but the casting was always excellent, and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is still one of the best ever. Jackman was an instant hit as the character, and he brought his A-game with every performance, especially in Logan , his final portrayal of the character.
Logan was a welcome change of pace from the rest of comic book films at the time and brought Sir Patrick Stewart back as Charles Xavier. The film was a tragic depiction of an invincible hero at the end of his life, and was hard to watch in the best way, making it one of the best comic book films of all time .
3 Spider-Man: No Way Home (8.3) Introduced The Multiverse
The perfect film for Spider-Man fans everywhere, Spider-Man: No Way Home brought seven other Spider-Man films together in one massive crossover. The returns of previous Spider-Man actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, as well as the MCU’s own wall-crawling hero grappling with his identity being revealed, made for one of the most successful films ever made. The end of Tom Holland’s first trilogy was also the introduction of the Multiverse in the MCU, a huge moment for the universe and a clear shift away from the Infinity Saga.
2 The Villain Won In Avengers: Infinity War (8.4)
With so many films that were focused on the heroes, Avengers: Infinity War was a significant shift for the MCU . After fans were disappointed in films like Age of Ultron for not living up to the hype, or more specifically the trailer hype, Infinity War delivered.
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The film is truly Thanos’ story, and follows his quest for the Infinity Stones, giving him several scenes of superb character development. The heroes of the MCU always find a way to win and save the day, but in the ultimate twist, Thanos defeated the heroes and snapped his fingers, changing everything. Marvel shocked the world when Thanos did exactly what he said he would do.
1 Avengers: Endgame (8.4) Was The Finale Of The Infinity Saga
The most anticipated film of all time, Avengers: Endgame dealt with the ramifications of Thanos’ Snap, with the Avengers failing for the second time before jumping five years into the future. The start of the film is really one of the best in the MCU , with Tony and Steve’s confrontation being a highlight of the film.
Overall, Endgame may have its issues, including some confusing explanations for time travel, seemingly breaking its own rules, but the story was 11 years in the making and lived up to the anticipation. It also gave poetic endings to Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, giving fans a chance to say goodbye to tow of the MCU's most beloved heroes.
NEXT: Every MCU Phase Four Movie (So Far), Ranked According To IMDb
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All Marvel MCU Movies in order of their IMDb Rating
Marvel Studios have created 31 movies in the last 14 years divided into four phases. First, three phases are collectively called “The infinity saga”. The last film of Marvel’s Third phase was Spider-man: Far From Home. The fourth phase will begin with the movie “Black widow”.
Well, All Marvel movies were loved by the fans but All movies were not loved equally. Some movies were just better than others. This can be clearly seen in the IMDb Ratings of Marvel Movies.
Of Marvel’s 31 movies, 23 have got 7 or 7+ ratings on IMDb and no movie got a rating below 6.3.
In Phase 4 of MCU, out of 7 movies released, Only Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) was able to score an IMDB rating of 8+, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) got 7.2 while the other four were at or below 7.
Below is the list of all Marvel movies arranged in order of their IMDb rating:
In case of a tie on the IMDb rating, the Rotten Tomatoes rating is preferred.
Latest Release - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) - 8.4 (Rotten Tomatoes- 81%)
So, These were the list of all Marvel MCU in order of their IMDB ratings.
Well, The high IMDb Rating doesn't necessarily mean that the movie is good but it surely tells what others think about that movie.
All Marvel Shows Ranked - Read
The Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies, Ranked by IMDb
31 movies, 31 rankings, which movie will be on top? Let’s see what the critics and the audience decide.
31. Eternals: 6.3/10
I understand that there are people who didn’t like this movie but this seems kind of extremely low for a film that isn’t nearly as bad as this score would let you believe. However, with review bombing and an overall dismal reception, this is the score this movie has been burdened with.
30. Thor: Love and Thunder : 6.3/10 stars
Between the review bombing and the dismal reception of this movie this score isn’t surprising in the slightest.
29. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania: 6.5/10 stars
Peyton Reed said his third Ant-Man film was going to have a “more serious” tone compared to his other movies. What people weren’t expecting was an epic Spy Kids movie. Hence, this score.
28. The Incredible Hulk: 6.7/10 stars
Even among IMDb voters, this movie will always be one of the worst films in the MCU.
27: Black Widow : 6.8/10 stars
The fact that this movie is lower than Captain Marvel seems absurd but once people realized Taskmaster had been gender-swapped and that the film had a lot of feminist messages in it, the movie was bombarded by people determined to give the film a bad review.
Hence, its a shockingly atrocious bad score despite being, in my opinion, one of the better MCU movies.
26. Thor: The Dark World: 6.8/10 stars
Thor: The Dark World is convoluted. On one side the film tries to stay in the same epic/romantic narrative sense as Thor but then it veers away from the seriousness and tries to be as comical as Thor: Ragnarok , producing a movie that is both fun and forgettable at the same time.
25. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever : 6.8/10 stars
Well, this score is definitely affected by review bombing because there is no way this movie is worse than Captain America: The First Avenger . In fact, this film is phenomenal. It almost got nominated for Best Picture and it managed to garner five Oscar nominations as well as plenty of other acclaimed nominations and wins during this award season.
Not only is it one of my favorite Marvel movies but it’s also widely considered the best film in Phase 4.
24. Captain America: The First Avenger: 6.9/10 stars
I love this movie but apparently, there aren’t a lot of people who perceive it with as much love as I do. And it’s understandable. When I first watched it I wasn’t a fan either but after the conclusion of the Infinity Saga, this film feels so much more poignant and lovable.
I’m an unapologetic fan of this movie.
23. Captain Marvel: 6.9/10 stars
Captain Marvel is a cool character but her debut film is BORING…until it isn’t. The last twenty-thirty minutes are rewarding but unfortunately, those last minutes aren’t enough to save this movie.
22. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: 6.9/10 stars
This movie had a lot of expectations riding on it, especially after Spider-Man: No Way Home . When those expectations weren’t met people weren’t happy, hence this score. Sure, I don’t think this movie deserves a score this low but I get it.
21. Thor: 7/10 stars
Thor is okay and funnier than I remembered but its mediocre story leaves one a bit underwhelmed. It’s easy to understand why this is so low.
20. Iron Man 2: 7/10 stars
I like this movie but a lot of people thought it was one of those sequels that didn’t exactly live up to the standards its first movie highlighted with such skill.
19. Ant-Man and the Wasp: 7.1/10 stars
Ant-Man and the Wasp is a fun, entertaining film but it is just one of those MCU movies that come and goes without really impacting anything or being anything other than forgettable.
18. Iron Man 3: 7.2/10 stars
This movie has its ups and its downs but apparently, people liked it better than Iron Man 2 so…
17. Avengers: Age of Ultron: 7.3/10 stars
Avengers: Age of Ultron is a fun midday flick but it’s nowhere near as good as its predecessor nor the sequels that follow it.
16. Black Panther: 7.3/10 stars
I’m of the opinion that this is undoubtedly one of the top 5 best MCU movies but its IMDb does not translate that fact. Whether the score is affected by prejudiced voters, I’m not sure, but at least it is in the top 15.
15. Ant-Man: 7.3/10 stars
The idea that this movie is better than Black Panther is laughable but oh well.
14. spider-man: homecoming: 7.4/10 stars.
Fun, cute, memorable, and a successful outing for the teenage hero’s first standalone film, this score is not surprising at all.
13. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings : 7.4/10 stars
This used to have a much higher score but alas, review bombing made this film’s score drop from 8 to 7.4. Yikes.
12. Doctor Strange: 7.5/10 stars
This movie was a genuine surprise when it theaters four years ago. This was a hero that had never been brought to the big screen and his debut film was electrifying in all of its weirdness. I’m just waiting for that sequel!
11. Spider-Man: Far from Home: 7.5/10 stars
With a better villain in Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio, a super cute relationship featuring Peter and MJ, and some legitimately surprising moments, this movie deserves its top 10 entry.
10. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: 7.6/10 stars
Yeah, this comes as a wee bit of a shock for me. This movie has its fun moments and it is visually spectacular but it just doesn’t hit my happy button in the way that the first film did. However, the IMDb voters have deemed this worthy of the ninth spot on this list and that’s…interesting.
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier: 7.7/10 stars
#10! Honestly, anything lower and I would be truly ticked off. I mean, this is undoubtedly one of the best superhero movies of all time but at least it’s not under Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 .
8. Captain America: Civil War: 7.8/10 stars
I can’t exactly argue with this place. I mean, I have it in the same spot in my personal ranking of all 23 MCU movies. And yeah, it makes a great argument to be better than The Winter Soldier because it is very good. And its storylines impact the state of the MCU in a way that will still be felt in the likes of the upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier show.
7. Thor: Ragnarok: 7.9/10 stars
Thor: Ragnarok is such a good movie! It revitalized the God of Thunder in a way that reinvigorated Chris Hemsworth’s love for the character and it’s just plain fun.
6. Iron Man: 7.9/10 stars
Ever since it entered theaters in 2008, Iron Man has been considered one of the greatest superhero movies ever made.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy: 8/10 stars
Utter perfection. This movie could’ve been a disaster. Instead, it’s a superhero film that you can’t quite forget. It’s hilarious, has some truly heartfelt moments, and turned the Guardians of the Galaxy into a household name.
4. The Avengers: 8/10 stars
The Avengers was another one of those risky MCU films that could’ve been terrible but ended up becoming incredible! Its story and enjoyment still hold up today and thanks to this movie we have The Avengers theme. 😊
3. Spider-Man: No Way Home: 8.2/10 stars
No Way Home was a cultural phenomenon, a comic-book fan moment, unlike anything that’s happened in cinema before. To take three generations of Spider-Man fans and put together a movie as good as this is not only mind-blowing but historic. It’s a theater experience I’ll never forget and I’m glad to see this film’s score as high as it is.
2. Avengers: Endgame: 8.4/10 stars
This movie is the highest-grossing movie of all time! Is it a surprise it’s got the second-best IMDb ranking? I don’t think so.
1. Avengers: Infinity War: 8.4/10 stars
Avengers: Infinity War is one of those movies that you watch and then watch again and then watch again! and find yourself just absolutely blown away. Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels that this is undoubtedly the best MCU film to date…because it just is.
It subverted our expectations, it left our jaws on the floor, and it made Thanos nearly as iconic as Darth Vader. It’s a undeniable masterpiece.
Well, there’s the IMDb ranking of the MCU films. I wonder where the upcoming MCU movies will rank on this list (and I’m hoping Black Widow will be in the top 10.)
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day.
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8 thoughts on “The Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies, Ranked by IMDb”
Black Widow’s score is actually based largely on having a huge majority of 7s given to it. It didn’t suffer from “review bombing” and has very few 1 or 2 star ratings. So the score is basically saying almost everybody thought it was good, and almost nobody thought it was bad or great.
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That’s true. I think I often get distracted by reading the User Reviews which are largely unfavorable in those first few pages.
I decided to compile the Rotten Tomatoes audience ratings to compare to this one. I sorted this list by the rating, but left the percentage score in there also. Black Widow does a whole lot better on this list. Overall, the RT ratings seem to have a stronger bias to more recent movies than the IMDB ratings, but Black Widow does so much better that alone doesn’t seem to explain it. Otherwise, the lists are pretty similar.
The biggest difference aside from Black Widow is Captain Marvel, which is clearly a victim of some very successful “review bombing” on RT. Captain Marvel got a fair number of 1-star votes on IMDB, but it didn’t seem to be enough to cause the kind of damage it got on RT. It does seem to have dropped another tenth of a point since you made this article though. Black Widow’s numbers problem on IMDB, compared to something like Guardians 2, is a lot less 8 and 9 ratings, and a lot more 5s and 6s in particular.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Scores: 1. 98% – 4.8 – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 2. 95% – 4.6 – Spider-Man: Far from Home 3. 91% – 4.5 – Avengers: Infinity War 4. 91% – 4.5 – Black Widow 5. 90% – 4.5 – Avengers: Endgame 6. 92% – 4.4 – Guardians of the Galaxy 7. 91% – 4.4 – The Avengers 8. 92% – 4.3 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier 9. 91% – 4.3 – Iron Man 10. 89% – 4.3 – Captain America: Civil War 11. 87% – 4.2 – Spider-Man: Homecoming 12. 87% – 4.2 – Thor: Ragnarok 13. 87% – 4.1 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 14. 85% – 4.1 – Doctor Strange 15. 86% – 4.0 – Ant-Man 16. 83% – 4.0 – Avengers: Age of Ultron 17. 79% – 4.0 – Black Panther 18. 78% – 3.9 – Iron Man 3 19. 76% – 3.8 – Thor 20. 75% – 3.8 – Thor: The Dark World 21. 74% – 3.8 – Captain America: The First Avenger 22. 75% – 3.7 – Ant-Man and the Wasp 23. 71% – 3.7 – Iron Man 2 24. 70% – 3.6 – The Incredible Hulk 25. 45% – 2.8 – Captain Marvel
Wow! You really did your research. Awesome!
Yeah, Captain Marvel was review-bombed like no joke. That’s why I felt that Black Widow was review-bombed on IMDb because considering its company on RT it should be at least 7.5 on IMDb.
Once again, that is a fantastic list!
You keep referring to “review bombing” as the reason for films that have a lower rating than you agree with. The opposite is likely. The people who set their expectations so high and rushed out to see it were wearing rose colored glasses and rated it too high. The fans who thought “I can wait to catch this on the couch” then saw it and gave it a slightly lower ranking than it might have deserved to counter those that were too high. The ratings are all fair, IMO.
Yeah, it’s plausible, but the movie did seem to face some kind of a malaise with MCU fans, and the IMDB ratings seem to reflect more of a death by a thousand cuts than a bombing. I don’t think ScarJo ever faced the kind of personal scrutiny or criticism that Brie Larson did from some quarters, so I think it was that on top of a reaction to the movie itself that led to the targeting of Captain Marvel. I think we saw the same thing with The Last Jedi and Ghostbusters 2016, where a definite opposition to the movie spiraled out of control when squabbles erupted between the fan community and the actual filmmakers and actors.
The #1 through #4 rankings of Rotten Tomatoes are extremely questionable..
What I don’t think I realized at the time is that RT switched to using Verified scores in the middle of 2019. So movies released after that point have much higher scores overall. This prevents any sort of review-bombing. You can click in to see the unverified score as well, which would be the better way to compare to pre-2019 movies. Even doing that, though, probably isn’t a perfect comparison, since people probably don’t vote as often if they’re unverified anymore, knowing it doesn’t show on the front of the page.
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Ranking every marvel movie & tv show in 2022 by imdb score (including wakanda forever).
2022 featured several controversial entries to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. IMDB offers insight into which projects were the best of the year.
This article has videos that contain depictions of violence and death. All videos also contain flashing lights, which may make some readers feel uncomfortable. Viewer discretion is advised.
As the end of the year quickly approaches, so too does Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe . Black Panther: Wakanda Forever acts as the final film in this era of the franchise, with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special acting as an epilogue later in the month.
2022 has been a very controversial year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with many claiming that its projects therein have not been nearly as engaging as those in past years. Nevertheless, the International Movie Database provides a fairer method of ranking each of the MCU's projects within the calendar year, proving which was the best and which could have been improved.
8 She-Hulk: Attorney At Law - 5.1
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law was the final Disney+ series in Phase 4 of the MCU, introducing several compelling new characters (who are sure to become fan favorites over time). The nine-episode legal comedy followed the adventures of Jennifer Walters after she was accidentally transformed into a female Hulk.
She-Hulk currently has the lowest IMDb rating of any MCU project, with only 5.1 stars for the entire series. While the show has received a large amount of genuine criticism aimed at its lackluster humor and directionless nature, it is important to note that She-Hulk was the victim of a "review-bombing" endeavor, driving its IMDb score down and making it virtually impossible to ascertain a legitimate rating. Nevertheless, fans and critics seem to hold mixed reviews regarding the series, implying that it is the least commendable of Marvel's 2022 projects.
7 Ms. Marvel - 6.2
The six-episode Disney+ series Ms. Marvel introduced Iman Vellani's Kamala Khan to the MCU, paving the way for the character's upcoming appearance in The Marvels and the imminent arrival of the mutants to the franchise. Kamala also serves as the first Pakistani-American protagonist in the MCU, signifying a promising new chapter of diversity for the long-running superhero franchise.
Like the She-Hulk series, Ms. Marvel was also subjected to underserved "review-bombing" just moments after its release by unjustifiably angry "fans," who drove the series to a 6.2 rating on IMDb. Given that the series received generally positive reviews from legitimate critics, who particularly praised Vellani's performance, fans can assume that the series might have ranked much higher on an even playing field. Nevertheless, the series did receive snippets of legitimate criticism, especially concerning its last episode, which felt rather rushed and unsatisfying as a finale.
6 Thor: Love And Thunder - 6.3
Thor: Love and Thunder feature the second team-up between Chris Hemsworth and director Taika Waititi following the immense success of Thor: Ragnarok in 2017. The film continues Thor's intense character arc , this time as he faces off against the villainous Gorr the God Butcher, all while attempting to rekindle his romance with Dr. Jane Foster, who has also come to possess the power of Thor.
Love and Thunder was met with generally negative reviews upon its release, becoming the lowest-rated MCU film on IMDb. The sequel was ridiculed for making its characters uncharacteristically dumb and for wasting a brilliant performance by Christian Bale. Love and Thunder proved especially disappointing for not managing to recapture the magic that Waititi brought to Ragnarok five years prior.
5 I Am Groot - 6.7
I Am Groot is a series of shorts following the titular tree creature from the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Consisting of five miniature episodes, the series is generally disconnected from the larger MCU, having little to no impact on the franchise's story or characters, but instead acting as a fun diversion.
I Am Groot proved to be neither compelling nor egregious, instead settling somewhere in the middle. The series was quickly consumed and then forgotten by MCU fans, who seemed to have a mostly positive reaction when it came to their IMDb ratings. The series did prove popular enough to warrant a second batch of episodes, which will air sometime in the near future.
4 Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness - 6.9
There was perhaps no 2022 MCU title more highly anticipated than Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness , which promised to set up the next chapter of the Multiverse Saga by introducing audiences to Marvel's Multiverse, including several variants of well-known characters. The film also featured the return of Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, this time as the movie's primary antagonist.
While Multiverse of Madness proved to be an enjoyable film, many fans found themselves somewhat disappointed by its reluctance to explore the Multiverse in any meaningful way. Additionally, lofty rumors regarding possible cameos in the film set expectations closer to what Avengers: Secret Wars will inevitably be, causing fans to feel unsatisfied by the film's ending. Nevertheless, Sam Raimi's direction and Elizabeth Olsen's performance both proved to be highlights of the otherwise mildly disappointing film.
3 Werewolf By Night - 7.2
Werewolf by Night was one of Marvel's more surprising announcements in recent years. The project acted as the MCU's first "Special Presentation" and featured a host of characters with whom general audiences would not be intimately familiar. The special was also directed in black-and-white by frequent Marvel composer Michael Giacchino, only increasing the oddity of this particular installment of the MCU.
Despite all the indications that Werewolf by Night would be a disaster, the special presentation quickly proved its naysayers wrong, delivering one of the best Marvel experiences of the year. The project soared with its inventive storytelling and compelling characters, making audiences eager to see more stories in a similar vein. The project proved so successful, in fact, that Marvel is reportedly considering many more Special Presentations in the near future, with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special acting as the next endeavor in this field.
2 Moon Knight - 7.3
The first MCU Disney+ series of 2022, Moon Knight introduced audiences to Marc Spector, who bond with the Egyptian god Khonshu to become the eponymous superhero. With Oscar Isaac in the lead role , Moon Knight was largely disconnected from the other projects in the MCU, allowing the series space to breathe without constantly tying into other films and storylines.
Moon Knight received all-around praise upon its release, telling a surprisingly emotional tale without becoming bogged down in the pomp and spectacle in which other superhero projects often find themselves engaging. Oscar Isaac received particular acclaim for his performance in the series, causing many fans to eagerly await an announcement of his future involvement in the MCU.
1 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - 7.4
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the long-awaited sequel to Ryan Coogler's original 2018 film. Acting as the last film in Phase 4 of the MCU, Wakanda Forever went through a delayed production after it was announced Chadwick Boseman had sadly passed away, with the film being largely rewritten as a tribute to the late actor.
Though it is still very early into the film's release, it appears as though Wakanda Forever will remain the highest-scoring MCU title in 2022. Already, fans are showering the film with praise for its incredibly emotional story and the honor it pays Chadwick Boseman. The film is also generating buzz for its introduction of Namor the Sub-Mariner, a character who is sure to heavily influence the MCU's future in years to come.
NEXT: Every Franchise In The MCU, Ranked By Box Office Average