#6 The Avengers
It’s hard to believe that at one point The Avengers was believed to be this massive risk that would crash and burn. People trashed the movie before it came out due to a “TV director” (Joss Whedon) being in charge of the movie, but it went on to become the third highest grossing movie of all time. The Avengers brought the fantastical element of comics to life on the big screen in a way that was never seen before, and there are still people who feel it’s the best Marvel movie even with The Winter Soldier out.
#7 Thor: The Dark World
This will be a controversial choice for #5, but the Thor sequel is one of the best movies Marvel has done yet and it sets the stage for something really big in the future. The first Thor felt a bit alien to fans of the comic, so a Game of Thrones director was brought in to give Thor a more fantasy-based Norse feeling. Alan Talor definitely did that, as The Dark World feels a lot more like a Thor story than the first movie did. The film also has the best musical theme of any Marvel movie by far, and it sets us down the path towards Avengers 3 where those Infinity Stones will come into play in a way comic fans have been dreaming about for twenty years.
#8 Captain America: The First Avenger
Prior to The Avengers, the first Captain America was my favorite Marvel film. Joe Johnston, who did The Rocketeer, was the perfect person to handle a WWII period piece superhero movie. They got the character of Steve Rogers absolutely perfect in this movie. In a world where comic book movies are failing to understand the title characters from the comic, the perfection of how Chris Evans pulled off Steve Rogers was impressive. The biggest problem with the movie is that Cap and the Howling Commandos turning the tide of WWII is reduced to a montage. We needed to see more of him and his team and how effective they were in the war.
#9 Iron Man
The first Iron Man movie is still the best. Compared to the movies that followed it, you can tell that Marvel was still trying to be a little careful back in 2008. If Iron Man failed, this whole superhero dynasty would never have happened, so the first Iron Man feels a bit smaller than the epics that followed it. Marvel is still carefully setting up their universe in the original and even if the whole Cinematic Universe didn’t happen after Iron Man it remains a great comic book movie.
Kenneth Branagh’s Thor: The Dutch Angle had a huge challenge to overcome. Up to this point in the Marvel movie canon, there really wasn’t “magic”. Stephen Strange wouldn’t exist prior to the first Thor movie, so they explained that Asgard was more technological. This gave Asgard a more scifi feel than people are used to, which is why The Dark World feels a lot more like a Thor movie than the original. It still has it’s moments, but it’s a bit hard to watch now that the sequel is around.