Conventional critical wisdom holds that the floor and the ceiling of the 15-year-strong Marvel Cinematic Universe are not so far apart—that in devising a recipe for success, the company has managed to avoid any outright disasters, even as its principle of quality-without-risk also more or less negates the possibility of a true pop masterpiece of the genre. Still, as anyone who’s sat through both a boring Iron Man or Thor sequel and the Oscar-winning zeitgeist phenomenon Black Panther can surely attest, there remains a range of quality within this franchise of franchises. Which is to say, while every MCU movie has been a hit, they are not all created equal.
How does Marvel’s latest cinematic installment, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3, measure up to the 31 movies that have come before it? Here The A.V. Club offers its comprehensive ranking, from worst to best, for every Marvel movie to date, going all the way back to Iron Man in 2008. Like the studio, we wouldn’t dream of spoiling our endgame, but here’s a hint: Ed Norton fans, this won’t be your day of vindication.
Note: This piece was originally published in April of 2019, right before the release of Avengers: Endgame. It has been updated with all the Marvel movies that have come out since.