After 11 years and twenty-three films, the first major chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came to a close with the release of Avengers: Endgame, as the film brought a close to the decade-old Infinity Saga.
And luckily for us, the closing of one MCU chapter not only leads to another new one opening but for the first time ever, all of these movies are going to be available in one place when Disney+ launches.
That’s right, no longer will we have to deal with the slim pickings of Netflix, as sixteen MCU films — Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Captain Marvel, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Thor: The Dark World, Doctor Strange, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ant-Man, and Avengers: Endgame — will be available at launch, with the rest being added to the service in the coming months.
So, now that we’re this close to having all of the MCU’s many glorious films at our fingertips, which are you going to watch first? In order to help make that decision for you, we’ve decided to rank the Top Five films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Honorable mention: Iron Man
To be clear, without the sweeping critical and commercial success of Iron Man, it’s very likely that the MCU we all know and love today does not exist.
Pitch perfect in terms of tone, pacing, and style, Iron Man took the character of Tony Stark — who was generally a B-lister in terms of Marvel heroes, especially when compared to the likes of Spider-Man and the X-Men — and made him an A-lister.
Featuring a career-defining performance from Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man not only gave birth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it likely shaped the generation of film making that followed.
5. Captain America: Civil War
Prior to the release of Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: Civil War was jokingly referred to as a better Avengers movie than The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. And similar to most jokes, there was a lot of truth to that notion.
Featuring Tony Stark as the narrative “bad guy”, Civil War pitted the heart and the soul the Avengers against each other to stunning effect, as the film gave us our first taste of the endlessly watchable hero overload Disney would later employ in Infinity War and Endgame.
4. Avengers: Endgame
What’s perhaps most impressive about Avengers: Endgame — you know, other than the fact that it became the highest-grossing movie of all-time — is that it lived up to its otherworldly expectations.
Avengers: Endgame was such a momentous cultural event that it can be argued there had not been that much hype surrounding the release of a movie since… well, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like it in my quarter-century of existence on this planet.
3. Captain America: The Winter Solider
Before Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was largely seen as a modern-day take on the classic action popcorn franchise.
But once The Winter Solider was released, it became clear that the MCU could be much, much more than simple good guys, bad guys, and explosions. Captain America: The Winter Soldier showed that the MCU could weave intellectual depth and emotional storytelling into their stunning visuals and set pieces.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
When Guardians of the Galaxy was released, it marked Marvel Studios’ biggest risk to date.
The first film in the MCU to feature characters that weren’t already a part of the pop-cultural conscience, Guardians of the Galaxy was a test of whether or not Disney could continue to expand the franchise without the likes of Iron Man and Captain America, and boy was it a success.
Perhaps the most fun film in the MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy will only become further revered as time passes as it plays like a millennial version of Star Wars.
1. Avengers: Infinity War
Ten years in the making, Avengers: Infinity War lived up to the hype and then some.
Despite the fact that its one of the franchise’s busiest films, Infinity War is arguably the MCU’s best-paced film, as its balls-to-the-wall excitement from the minute the movie begins to the moment it ends.
Not to mention, Infinity War concluded with what is arguably the most iconic comic book movie moment of all-time in Thanos’ half-the-universe-ending snap. Oh, and Steve Rodgers’ perfect beard was in this movie as well. What more could you ask for?
And luckily for you, you’ll be able to watch ALL of these epic MCU classics on Disney+. With unrivaled content from classics, new releases, and originals from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and much more all for just $6.99/mo, who wouldn’t be interested in signing up? Disney+ *finally* dropped this week, so make sure to sign up and get access to all of these incredible titles.
There’s also a Disney Plus free trial for the first seven days – it’s $6.99 a month afterwards. Also: You can sign up for the Disney Plus bundle, offering Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ streaming services for just $12.99/month
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Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him on Twitter @eric_ital or via email email@example.com