A stultifying hodgepodge of Mythology 101 midterm answers, generically LOTR-ish battle scenes and Anthony Hopkins bellowing in his best Shakespearean baritone, this is a superhero movie that feels like it might have been made by anyone and no one. It’s simply space-filler before the next big team-up.
As much as we love Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man (and can even roll with Ang Lee’s psychodrama of a Hulk movie), the Marvel Cinematic Universe technically begins with 2008’s game-changing Iron Man, the film that kicked off a franchise with hugeness in mind. The MCU is cresting right now, with Avengers: Endgame breaking box-office records and dominating the conversations of critics and spoiler-sensitive fans alike. But it hasn’t been an easy road. Tempting the wrath of passionate viewers, we’ve ranked the 22 films to date—all of them blockbusters, but some more blockbustery than others. (There are at least a handful more "Phase Four" Marvel action movies on the horizon, so we retain the right to revise.)