With Avengers: End Game releasing later this year, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be changed forever. Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige, has assured fans that the MCU will be shifting in the near future and following new heroes. Does this mean that Iron Man or Captain America (or both) could be killed in their final show down with Thanos? With Captain Marvel making her MCU debut soon, it’s likely that she will take on a leadership role. So, with all of these changes fast approaching, let’s look back at the early stages of the MCU. Here’s our list of the six MCU films that started it all in Phase One, ranked from worst to best.

MCU Phase One Films Ranked
MCU Phase One Films Ranked

MCU Phase One Films Ranked



Iron Man 2

Iron Man’s second solo film was a fun, entertaining watch, but failed to accomplish the same heights as it’s predecessor. From the start we see that Don Cheadle has replaced Terrance Howard as “Rhodey”. While they are both talented actors, the change sets the tone for the film and it never quite feels the same. Mickey Rourke’s portrayal of Ivan Vanko (Whiplash) was a highlight of the film. But the character seems to fall short and never quite becomes the super villain we expect. In the end, the film feels anti-climactic and unnecessary.

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Introducing the God of Thunder into the MCU was a bit of a gamble. Up until this point the heroes were science and technology based. The introduction of Thor changed the tone of the series and opened it up to the more cosmic and powerful characters who would follow. Marvel struggled initially to find their footing with the character. Thor’s first solo outing was a bit predictable and suffered from cheesy dialogue. But Chris Hemsworth brings the character to life. His muscular physique, long blonde hair and accent are a perfect match for the God of Thunder.

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Despite being a core member of the Avengers, The Incredible Hulk has only received one solo film in the MCU. This film is largely overlooked, despite an engaging, action packed plot. Due to the fact that Edward Norton was replaced by Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in later films, this entry feels detached from the rest of the MCU. It was released only one month after Iron Man; making it the second entry in the cinematic universe. Without a doubt, most fans prefer this adaptation of the Hulk over Ang Lee’s more dramatic approach that was released five years prior.

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Captain America

Captain America is one of the most important characters in the MCU. From the beginning Marvel had plans for Steve Rogers to take on the role of leader for The Avengers. So, it was imperative that he receive an amazing origin film. Did they succeed? For the most part. With a plot set during WW2 and featuring Nazis, it was clear that this would be a different type of super hero film. This entry is probably the weakest of the Captain America trilogy. However, it’s still a fun, action packed introduction for the character. The film also introduces us to Bucky Barnes, The Red Skull and the Hydra organization. Not bad for a two hour film.

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Avengers film

Marvel’s Avengers will be remembered as a significant film in the history of cinema. It accomplished what no other film had done before. It successfully brought characters from four different films together into one major blockbuster event. With so many main characters, it could have easily become an over crowded mess. But director Joss Whedon masterfully paces the film, giving each character the proper and necessary amount of screen time. Loki is a worthy foe for the heroes first outing as a team. And Avengers delivers a climactic battle that fans of the characters have dreamed of for years. The now iconic shot of the Avengers standing back to back in the streets of New York, preparing for battle against the Chitauri sent chills down the spines of millions.

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Iron Man 1

The film that started it all remains one of the MCU’s best films to date. Iron Man is one of the best examples of a proper super hero origin film. This is largely due to Robert Downey Jr’s perfect performance as the billionaire playboy, turned armored hero. The birth of Iron Man in the depths of a war torn Afghanistan cave was a powerful, and thrilling introduction to the early stages of Stark’s super suit. The film also delivers a meaningful character ark for Tony as he battles with his conscience over the death and destruction caused by Stark Industries. And could we have hoped for a better final line than Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury telling Tony Stark, “I’m here to talk to you about the Avengers Initiative”?  I don’t think so.

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