ENDGAME: Am I right? While we’re waiting for its release (is it April yet??), there is no better time to celebrate the evolution of 10 years in the making for our favorite MCU films. ComicsVerse is going from the beginning all the way to just before INFINITY WAR.

Any film is fair game and we are celebrating 10 years in the making. From IRON MAN to SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, here are ComicsVerse’s favorite MCU films. For starters, we have our star Captain America fan Jordan, with CIVIL WAR. Sidenote: These are in no particular order. No MCU film is better than another — these are just our favorites!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Jordan Parrish)

Full disclosure: I am a HUGE Captain America fan. So, it’s probably not a big surprise that my favorite MCU movie is CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. But honestly, how is it not everyone’s favorite MCU movie? I mean, it has 12 of our favorite heroes duking it out in epic fight scenes! Those fight scenes are definitely some of my favorite parts of the movie.

I love seeing heroes show off a bigger range of their powers. Ant-Man becomes freaking Giant-Man and Scarlet Witch throws cars everywhere and I am here for it! Plus, I can’t forget about that iconic fight at the end between Iron Man, Cap, and Bucky. Pulling at the heartstrings and captivating the eyes; this emotional battle between the three friends-turned-enemies is possibly the best ending fight scene in any MCU movie. 

Favorite MCU Films
Iron Man and Captain America; Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

CIVIL WAR Is A Rollercoaster Ride Full of Emotions (In A Good Way)

That pull on the heartstrings is the other reason this movie is my favorite. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR takes the viewer on a rollercoaster with the heroes as they (and you) have to decide which side of the fight they’re going to be on, even if it means breaking ties with old friends. I find that both sides of the argument have truth and reason behind them, so it’s easy to feel torn in exactly the same way the characters are.

Plus, the emotional stakes are a lot higher in this film. Sure, you assume the heroes aren’t going to actually kill each other, but there’s also the underlying chance that they actually might. With half of the heroes going dark at the end, we’re left with unresolved tension. Steve will always be there for Tony, but there’s not much of a happy ending between the two of them. 

Epic fight scenes and heart-pulling moments are what make this movie the absolute best.

THOR: RAGNAROK (Chris Zhang)

When the first trailer for THOR: RAGNAROK came out, one of my friends said it “looked like a GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY rip-off.” While that was pretty harsh, I don’t think the statement was totally unfair. The films both take place in colorful, off-kilter sci-fi/fantasy worlds. They’re both about groups of misfit rogues coming together to save the day. Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” and Led Zepplin’s “Immigrant Song” both came out in the 70s. And so on.

Now, obviously, RAGNAROK isn’t actually ripping off GUARDIANS. But, intentionally or not, RAGNAROK did seem to build off the sort of style GUARDIANS introduced, which ended up giving the space fantasy aspects of the MCU a sort of consistency that wasn’t there before. Worldbuilding aside, THOR: RAGNAROK is just an absurdly fun film in general.

Favorite MCU Films
Good ol’ Thor and Hulk; Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Director Taika Waititi’s unique sense of humor gets to mess around in an MCU film (and, hopefully, soon enough to be MCU films), which means that Hemsworth finally gets to play Thor as the likably over-confident hero he was always meant to be. He also gets an impressive cast of supporting characters. Hulk, Loki, and Valkyrie make for a solid set of teammates, especially when going up against the likes of Jeff Goldblum as a hedonistic tyrant, or Cate Blanchett as an imperialistic death goddess.

THOR: RAGNAROK Is Just Too Good

The action’s pretty good as well: compared to Earth’s cramped cities, the sci-fi/fantasy settings allow former Avengers Thor and Hulk to truly let loose. Best of all, everything’s tied up with a plot that shakes up the status quo and adds a whole new dimension to the usually bland fantasy realm of Asgard.

Admittedly, when it comes to over-the-top space fantasy, INFINITY WAR definitely seems to have RAGNAROK beat so far. But will INFINITY WAR ever have a one-liner as iconic as “Piss Off, Ghost?” I doubt it.

DR. STRANGE (AJ Zender)

People love a good magic trick — but in the real world — they are nothing more than simple tricks of the mind. But what if magic actually existed? I have always loved urban fantasy stories, true sword-and-sorcery tales set in modern day cities. However, very few of these titles have actually succeeded in the box office. We should all be thankful, then, that DR. STRANGE actually worked. In fact, in my opinion, it is one of Marvel’s all-time best films.

There are several reasons why I hold this opinion. First and foremost, DR. STRANGE feels unquestionably different from most of the MCU films. It delves deep into the cosmo-mystical realms that THOR and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY only touched upon. More importantly, it does so by exploring a deeply flawed character. Stephen Strange is not a good person. He does good things, but for all the wrong reasons. By the end of the film, though, he truly earns the title of Sorcerer Supreme.

Favorite MCU Films
Dr. Strange; Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Visually… DR. STRANGE Is Mesmerizing!

On a technical side, DR. STRANGE is one of the most visually stunning and trippy of all the MCU films. By tying into its psychedelic comic book roots, the filmmakers managed to craft a world with a wholly different visual style. From Dormammu’s molecular styled Dark Dimension to the Mirror Dimension’s Escher inspired architecture, to the emerald glow of the Eye of Agamotto, the film never ceases to amaze the mind.

On a final note, DR. STRANGE prepares viewers perfectly for the clinching moment of the MCU’s phase three. While we saw the Mind Stone bring Vision to life in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, it wasn’t until Strange used the Time Stone to rewrite history and alter the laws of physics did we truly understand why Thanos wanted the Stones so badly.

BLACK PANTHER (Tomi Nabach)

BLACK PANTHER was an amazing movie for plenty of reasons and easily knocked every other movie out of the way for the top spot on my list. This film gives us amazing visuals, a compelling story, and beautiful writing. More importantly, BLACK PANTHER actively works to shatter stereotypes and give the MCU thoughtful and varied representation for black characters. BLACK PANTHER is easily my favorite because of the characters, honestly.

MCU
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Killmonger is an amazing villain, who makes points that make you stop and think. However, I wouldn’t say Killmonger entirely steals the show. While the writing really shines in BLACK PANTHER when it comes to how T’Challa and Killmonger play off each other and the ideas Killmonger presents as a villain, the main cast is just as eye-catching.

Favorite MCU Films
#WakandaForever, Black Panther; Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

T’Challa himself is an incredible character, and seeing his initial struggles to step into his role as king is incredibly compelling. Shuri, of course, caught everyone’s attention — she’s fun, the smartest character despite being young and a bit goofy, and her relationship with T’Challa is both hilarious and heartwarming. Okoye shines as a powerful and loyal warrior, and Nakia is gorgeous, kind, and brings great ideas for Wakanda to the table. On top of that — note that the main cast is mostly women.

BLACK PANTHER combines everything I could ever want in a movie: representation, a downright Shakespearean epic of a plot, wonderfully crafted characters, and beautiful visuals. I walked out of BLACK PANTHER feeling as if the MCU had been changed for the better. There’s no doubt in my mind it’s my personal favorite. In fact, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s the best MCU movie. Good luck changing my mind.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (Aaron Young)

I didn’t know what I would think of SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING when I went to see it in July 2017. I had liked Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in CIVIL WAR, but I had grown up with Tobey Maguire’s version of the character. How could Tom Holland and director Jon Watts possibly touch the quality of the amazing first two Spider-Man movies?

Turns out the secret to topping SPIDER-MAN 2 was an original action-adventure, comedy movie sprinkled with some John Hughes-like teenage charm. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING was such a believable, earnest, entertaining movie. It managed to keep me constantly giggling but it did not shy away from having moments of pure sentimentality.

Tom Holland was born to play Peter Parker. He is the perfect balance between the dorky but sweet Tobey Maguire and the cool, hipster Andrew Garfield. Tom Holland just looked like an average kid I would see on the streets of New York. His short stature and high-pitched voice made him an incredibly believable 15-year-old Peter Parker.

Favorite MCU Films
Spider-Man; Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

We Are All A Little Bit Of Peter Parker

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING also took notes from 2015’s ANT-MAN by making its conflict relatively small-scale. Michael Keaton’s Vulture (one of the MCU films’ greatest villains) is a low-level villain that Tony Stark could destroy in seconds. However, you can see why Vulture would be such a monstrous threat to the young and easily overwhelmed Peter.

This leads to Peter’s great struggle throughout this movie: he wants to prove to people like Tony and Happy that he is ready for superhero adulthood in the form of the Avengers. In classic John Hughes style, these adults simply belittle Peter for being a kid. It’s not until Peter is crushed under debris that he realizes that he can’t look towards other people for affirmation.

This is one of the most poignant moments in the MCU because it captures why Spider-Man is such a great character. He’s not a billionaire or a god or a super soldier. He’s just a kid trying to do the best he can with what he has. In this, we are all Peter Parker.

IRON MAN (Fabio Castelblanco)

No list regarding the best of the MCU films would be complete without including the film that started it all! IRON MAN, directed by Jon Favreau, premiered in May 2008. It tells the story of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) – a billionaire, playboy, and engineer. What makes IRON MAN a great movie is that it is perfect for casual movie fans. If someone wants to relax and enjoy a good movie, IRON MAN is the Go-To choice.

If someone is an avid MCU fan, then there are plenty of Easter Eggs and Marvel material to get invested in. Including the introduction of Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), SHIELD, and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Another reason IRON MAN stands out is that of the film’s grit. Being set in Afghanistan provides an excellent parallel to the situation in the real world.

Favorite MCU Films
War Hero and Iron Man; Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Mark III = The Best Suit

People’s lives and homes being torn apart due to radical terrorism is demonstrated with such heartbreaking realism in the film. Watching Iron Man take down the Ten Rings in the Mark III never fails to bring tears of joy to my face. Speaking of the Mark III, that suit up is the best in all of the MCU films. As the MCU progresses, the Iron Man suit ups improve — he can suit up from virtually anywhere at this point. The reason the Mark III suit up stands out is because of the way the pieces align with his body.

As a viewer, we see exactly where each piece is placed and screwed in. Watching the Mark III suit up is like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel — it’s beautiful and so satisfying. IRON MAN was also responsible for the comeback of Robert Downey Jr.’s acting career. Since this film, he has become a rising star within Hollywood. Robert Downey Jr. and MCU fans must give thanks to the IRON MAN movie.

While there have been several movies within MCU films, fans will never forget it all started with IRON MAN.

THE AVENGERS (Marissa Cortes)

The first time I saw THE AVENGERS, I was fifteen and I absolutely didn’t care about it at all. I went with my dad and my brother, and we saw it at the cheap local theater that drowns its popcorn in butter. It’s pretty funny to think about in retrospect, considering that now I live and breathe everything MCU from MCU films to DEADPOOL. I’m pretty sure I tweeted that the movie was “all action with no plot or character development” and like, what was I even talking about?

I was fifteen and had only just barely escaped my TWILIGHT phase. The reason I’ve gone back to THE AVENGERS time and time again is because it ultimately ended up becoming the movie that piqued my interest in superheroes. Before that, I sported a passing fondness for SPIDER-MAN. But who doesn’t, right?

Eventually, I went back and watched the movies that led up to THE AVENGERS. It changed my perspective entirely.

Favorite MCU Films
The gang is all here…; Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The scene I think about the most when I think about the movie is Bruce Banner on the Helicarrier, stressed beyond belief and constantly being zapped by Tony Stark, telling the rag-tag group that he once shot a bullet into his mouth but “the other guy” spit it out. That’s heavy. For a team-up movie, all of our heroes don’t actually like each other much in the beginning.

Their transformation into a cohesive unit eating shawarma in the wake of a successfully thwarted alien invasion is the exact kind of dynamic I love and hope to see more of. Can’t wait for INFINITY WAR to crush all of my hopes and dreams!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (Kevin Erdmann)

One of my favorite MCU films has got to be CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. Not only does it feature Captain America (Chris Evans) trying to adjust to his new timeline, but it adapts one of my favorite comics, WINTER SOLDIER by Ed Brubaker. WINTER SOLIDER’s plot plays a lot like a political thriller, where Captain Steve Rogers works with SHIELD under the direction of Nick Fury.

When Fury unveils a new preemptive threat initiative, Rogers voices his displeasure at the idea of punishing criminals before they commit crimes. Fury later grows suspicious, feeling as though something is wrong with the program. His suspicions are confirmed when he is shot by the Winter Soldier. Telling Rogers to trust no one, he gives Rogers the tools he needs to uncover the plot. With the help of the Black Widow and Falcon, Captain America discovers not only that Hydra lives and has been operating within SHIELD for years, but that the Winter Soldier is his long-lost friend Bucky Barnes.

Favorite MCU Films
The Winter Soldier; Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

THE WINTER SOLDIER Has The Best Plot

HYDRA had been using Bucky for decades, brainwashing him to be their perfect assassin and operative. Rogers makes the decision to take down the entire institution, as it’s the only way to be sure that the corruption will end. At the film’s conclusion, HYDRA is exposed, S.H.I.E.L.D. is no more, but Bucky fled the scene after rescuing Steve. Rogers now has a mission to find his broken friend, as it appears that there is still good in him.

See? Isn’t that just the best plot ever?! Not only is it one of those rare sequels that’s better than the first, but it also serves as the directorial debut of the Russo brothers in the MCU! Marvel obviously liked what the Russos did with WINTER SOLDIER, which is why they asked them back for CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, INFINITY WAR, and the untitled fourth Avengers.

For all of these reasons and more, WINTER SOLDIER is by far one of the best movies that the MCU has to offer in my opinion.

Do you have any favorite MCU films? Check out ComicsVerse.com and let us know which MCU film is your favorite!

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