With new Marvel Studios films seemingly dropping every third month, the fact that they’ve already churned out 23 films over the course of 11 years can get lost.
From Iron Man to Spider-Man: Far From Home, the MCU has now been culturally relevant for almost half of my life. But which of the many Marvel Cinematic Universe films remains the most endlessly rewatchable?
Honorable Mention: Avengers: Endgame
Let’s make one thing clear: Avengers: Endgame is *easily* one of the best movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But we’re not talking about the best, we’re talking about the most rewatchable, and unfortunately for the highest-grossing film of all time, there are five other MCU movies that meet those requirements more so than Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame is truly epic, but because of that, it clocks in at over three hours long, which is not necessarily ideal for a rewatch. Now, if we’re talking about the last 90 minutes, that’s a different story entirely.
5. Iron Man
Perhaps the most incredible aspect of Iron Man is how well it’s aged. Despite being the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man remains one of the MCU’s most well-paced and toned films.
Led by a career-defining performance from Robert Downey Jr., watching Iron Man today — especially following the events of Avengers: Endgame — is a thrill to watch as it not only paved way for a decade of comic book filmmaking, but only provides further context into just how deeply the character of Tony Stark evolved throughout the course of the MCU.
You only get one chance at your first, and luckily for Marvel Studios, their first was an instant classic.
4. Thor: Ragnarok
Prior to Thor: Ragnarok, it could be legitimately argued that Marvel Studios’ best course of action would be to sink the franchise entirely, as the first two God of Thunder-featuring films are two of the worst that the MCU had to offer.
But after handing the keys to Taika Waititi and leaning on Chris Hemsworth’s previously severely underutilized comedic chops, Thor became one of the most entertaining characters in the MCU and is now the first to be given a fourth solo film.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
When Guardians of the Galaxy was first announced, it represented Marvel Studios’ biggest gamble to date, as it was the first of their films to feature a group of characters that the general public had never heard of.
Prior to the release of Guardians, every MCU film up to that point had featured one of the core four Avengers — Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, or Hulk — making Guardians the biggest leap into the greater Marvel universe that the MCU had taken.
Which is why the success of Guardians of the Galaxy is so incredible in hindsight: had it failed, who knows the risks that Marvel would have been willing to take in the future. Not only was Guardians of the Galaxy a success but it instantly became one of Marvel’s most popular properties, as it’s joined Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Avengers as the only characters to be given a threequel (so far).
Full of heart, humor, and the visual dazzle that can only be found in outer space, Guardians of the Galaxy will likely always remains one of the MCU’s most rewatchable movies.
2. Captain America: Civil War
For me, what makes the perfect MCU movie is the blending of characters. The more heroes and villains that they can reasonably fit into the film, the better. While this approach has failed for other franchises in the past, Marvel Studios has mastered the ability to logically include an abundance of iconic superheroes into their films. Case and point being Captain America: Civil War.
Prior to the release of Infinity War and Endgame, the long-running internet joke amongst fans was that Civil War — a Captain America movie — was the best Avengers movie yet. And it was.
Notable for featuring the introductions of Spider-Man and Black Panther — two characters who are shaping up to be integral in the MCU’s future — Civil War is a non-stop adrenaline rush from the moment the movie kicks off until the moment Captain America takes refuge in Wakanda.
1. Avengers: Infinity War
There’s going to be some of you that agree with me. There’s going to be some of you that don’t. But for me, Avengers: Infinity War is not only the most rewatchable movie in the MCU, but it’s the franchise’s best, pound-for-pound.
What makes Infinity War stand out among the other twenty-two films in the MCU is its ability to support the weight of storylines that have been weaved throughout multiple films for a decade while still maintaining a coherent plot and perfect pacing throughout the movie.
From the second Infinity War begins to the second it ends, something awesome is happening. And not awesome in the way you’ve used the word since you were seven-years-old, but awesome in the way it’s literally defined: “extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration.”
Infinity War, despite the massive expectations delivering of the culmination of what fans were waiting for ever since the MCU began, absolutely sticks the landing.
And luckily for you, you can 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+ is finally live, 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