Marvel has released a ton of movies over the last 17 years and while most of them are good if not great, some of them aren’t so good. So today we are ranking every modern live-action Marvel film (minus a few really bad ones). Remember that this list is opinionated with influence from general internet consensus. Make sure to leave your list in the comments below or on our social media!
#34: X-Men: The Last Stand
Coming in dead last on our list is X-Men: The Last Stand. This film was the first X-Men film not directed by Bryan Singer, and it shows. This film created continuity errors, killed a lot of people, and ruined the Phoenix Saga. The real reason this film is dead last however, is because of how much it ruined a great superhero trilogy.
#33: Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
The weakest of the disappointing Fantastic 4 films is definitely Rise of the Silver Surfer. Not only did the film ruin the great Marvel villain Galactus, the film ruined the chance of a third film after the first Fantastic 4 showed promise.
While Josh Trank’s version of the Fantastic 4 had a very impressive first half, studio interference ruined what could have been the best Fantastic 4 film yet. The film starred a younger cast, but after a very jarring time jump in the middle and a confusing plot led to a very disappointing film.
#31: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Another sequel that failed a franchise was this slop of a film. Setting up too many stories while balancing a romance didn’t help The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Not to mention three terrible villains and a death that while impactful, felt like it didn’t belong.
#30: X-Men Origins: Wolverine
X-Men Origins: Wolverine almost killed the great character that was Wolverine. Setting up a sloppy and confusing backstory mixed with terrible CGI and a Deadpool that’s laughable in the wrong way made this film almost unwatchable. The only saving grace of this film is Hugh Jackman’s performance and Liev Schreiber’s Sabertooth.
#29: Spider-Man 3
Three words: The dance scene. In all seriousness Spider-Man 3 suffers from too much action and a muddled plot. This film really ruined Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and ended the Raimi franchise in the worst way possible.
#28: Fantastic 4
The best Fantastic 4 film in my opinion is this one. Setting up a decent cast, an okay villain and a plot that made actual sense, this film was the closest we’ve gotten to a real Fantastic 4 film. Hopefully in a couple years Marvel can finally give us the FF film we deserve.
#27: X-Men: Apocalypse
The newest X-Men film is unfortunately one of the worst. This film suffered from too many plot points and introducing too many characters. Along with some mailed-in acting, X-Men: Apocalypse was the biggest disappointment of 2016 in my opinion.
#26: Thor: The Dark World
The first MCU film on this list isn’t a terrible film, but suffers from the disappointing sequel syndrome. The heavy focus on humor and the relationship between Thor and Jane Foster ruined what made the first Thor film so great. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are still great in their roles, but the film just wasn’t up to par.
#25: Iron Man 2
This MCU film also wasn’t as great as the original. A bad villain, an even worse plot, and an Avengers set-up made this film feel more like a filler film than a great standalone.
#24: The Incredible Hulk
The first MCU film that isn’t a sequel, The Incredible Hulk is the best Hulk film, but also one of the worst MCU films. A cheesy plot, an uninteresting romance, and a casting that was later changed led to a really upsetting film for Hulk fans.
#23: Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 was one of the MCU’s lowest moments. Setting up the idea of a very dark villain in the Mandarin, the film ruined the character by turning him into an actor. The film’s best moments are the internal struggles that Tony Stark goes through that are still seen in current MCU films today.
#22: The Wolverine
The second film in the Wolverine series was actually pretty good. Taking Logan to Japan, we get to see how the events of the original X-Men trilogy affected him. Where the film falters is in the plot and in the film’s villain. Once again Hugh Jackman has a great performance and continues to elevate the character.
#21: The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man was Sony’s first attempt at a Spider-Man reboot. Once again going through the origin story, we see Andrew Garfield take on the mantle. His performance is really witty and clever, but this film wasn’t the best version of Spider-Man. While a decent attempt, this film wasn’t as good as the other Spider-Man films.
The original Spider-Man film is one great film. Setting up this origin for Peter Parker, we see him learning to deal with his powers, love, and a powerful villain played by Willem Dafoe. Tobey Maguire was great as Peter Parker and this film was one of the greats that jump started the superhero trend.
#19: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
This sequel to the hit Guardians of the Galaxy was just not as good as the first film unfortunately. With an unfunny first half and a lot of exposition, this film just wasn’t as clever and original as the first film. The film does have a pretty strong second half with great cameos. The performances were great but the film just has a generic Marvel movie feel.
The very first X-Men film is still one of the greats. While now it can come off as a bit cheesy, the legacy that this film has set up for the genre is still appreciated to this day. Great original casting in this film is still some of the best superhero castings ever. The plot of this film was really strong and still is up there with the top superhero films.
Marvel’s first attempt at a comedy comes in at the halfway point of the list. Ant-Man was clever with its humor, family dynamic, and independence from the larger MCU. Paul Rudd was a great Scott Lang and Michael Douglas was an amazing Hank Pym. This film had a great plot, great characters, and wonderful humor.
The first Thor film was Marvel’s first attempt to combine magic with science in the MCU. While the film explains Thor’s magic as science, this film laid the groundwork for later Marvel films such as Doctor Strange. This film also introduced us to Loki, which is one of the greatest villains we’ve seen in any superhero film.
#15: Captain America: Civil War
One of the more surprising listings here is the third Captain America film. To me, Civil War, was not as good as some people give it credit for. While not a bad film, the film takes no risks, not even allowing one of the key characters to die. The low stakes and poor execution of character distribution led to a controversial film amongst fans.
#14: Doctor Strange
Marvel’s first real magical film was very basic, but that didn’t make it a bad film. Following the Marvel formula, this film introduced fans to magic in the MCU. Benedict Cumberbatch played a great Stephen Strange and other characters such as Mordo, the Ancient One, and Kaecilius were also great additions to the MCU.
#13: Avengers: Age of Ultron
The second Avengers film is getting very close to our top 10. While many fans do not enjoy this film that much, I thought the villain, combined with great performances and well placed humor made this film very close to the first Avengers and one of the best MCU films yet.
#12: Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger was one of Marvel’s biggest risks. A period piece set in WWII, Captain America gives us the origin of Steve Rodgers and a villain that is still one of the MCU’s best. This film sets up what I believe is Marvel’s best character and gives us amazing side characters that are still used in the MCU today.
#11: X-Men: First Class
Fox’s X-Men reboot was one of the best films they’ve ever produced. Staring a younger cast, X-Men: First Class has some amazing castings with great performances. Michael Fassbender as Magneto and James McAvoy as Charles Xavier are fantastic. Combine this with great versions of Beast, Mystique, and Havok and you have an amazing X-Men film.
#10: Iron Man
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first film comes in at number 10 on our list. This film has it all. A great origin for the character of Tony Stark alongside with an amazing charismatic performance by Robert Downey Jr, a great plot with humor, romance, and emotion, and a villain that was played very well by Jeff Bridges. Iron Man was a fantastic start to the MCU, and set up a compelling character that is beloved by fans today.
Number 9 is the Merc with the Mouth! Deadpool is without a doubt the funniest film on this list and the most entertaining superhero film. Ryan Reynolds is hilarious as Wade Wilson and the film is a rollercoaster of enjoyment from start to finish. This combined with a great story and a surprising emotional sub-plot makes for an amazing film that will go down in history.
#8: Guardians of the Galaxy
The first Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel’s best. Many compare this film to Star Wars for its originality and space adventure. The characters, humor, and plot are spot on with what I believe is a top three MCU film. The only real issue with this film comes with its villain, which is one of the weaker MCU villains. After talking to many fellow nerds, we can all agree that this film deserves the number 8 spot.
#7: X2: X-Men United
One of the best superhero films of the early 2000s, X2 is one of Fox’s best. Elevating everything about the first film, X2 follows Wolverine on an adventure to discover his past while the X-Men are hunted by the government. This film has some of the best superhero sequences ever produced on film and continues to be a superhero classic to this day.
#6: Spider-Man 2
Speaking of elevating a first film, Spider-Man 2 really did improve everything about the first film. Giving us an even better story, characters, and villain. The action, romance, and stakes were all raised. This combined with amazing (no pun intended) performances by Tobey Maguire and Alfred Molina as Doc Ock made Spider-Man 2 a contender for the best Spider-Man film ever made.
#5: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Top 5! Coming in at Number 5 is X-Men: Days of Future Past. Taking everything that was great about the original X-Men films and combining it with the amazing new films gives us the best X-Men movie yet. Not only is the film entertaining, it is also beautifully made. Great cast, story, directing, and plot make this film one for the ages.
#4: The Avengers
Number 4 is The Avengers. Marvel’s first attempt at a superhero team-up movie was certainly successful. Many fans think this is the best MCU film while many put it in their top 3 or 5. This film took what was great about all the solo MCU films and threw it together to make a great film. All of this alongside a menacing villain and a new Hulk puts Avengers in the history books, as long as we forget about Cap’s suit.
#3: Spider-Man: Homecoming
Marvel’s newest film comes in at number three on our list. Homecoming is everything you would hope for out of a Spider-Man film. This film is entertaining on all levels with great action, characters, and story. What elevates this film above others like it is the witty humor, relatable characters, and a villain played by Michael Keaton that we understand. Add all this to a few excellent plot twists and we have a film that lays out the future of the MCU.
#2: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The top MCU film on this list is one of the most impressive superhero films ever made. This film not only has what’s great about the MCU (story, characters, humor) but it also has stakes and a villain that we feel sympathy for. What I love most about this film is that it feels more like a spy thriller than a superhero film. This film deals with politics, corruption, and real world issues in a way that I find it to be the most compelling and powerful MCU film.
And in Number One we have Fox’s newest film, Logan. This film is truly a masterpiece. After seeing it three times this year I can say that this is my second favorite comic book film and debatably the best comic book film ever made. It is a fitting end to the character of Wolverine and a great way for both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart to depart from their characters. Taking a deeper look at the film we find that there is an amazing story, characters both new and old that we are attached to, and villains that have motives the audience can understand. Many compare this film to a western (and for a majority of the film it feels like one), but what I love about this film is that it sets up stories for the future while also being the best possible ending for the character of the Wolverine.
What do you think of this list? Did we get it right? What did we get wrong? Feel free to share you list in the comments below or on our social media pages. Remember this list is opinionated, so your rankings may be different than ours!