Disney Plus launched with a ton of films to watch from its Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marve’s MCU first launched in 2008 with Iron Man. Since then, over 20 films in the MCU have been huge box office hits, including the biggest one of all time with 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. But which Disney Plus Marvel movies are the best?
While it was a difficult task, we managed to pick our top 10 Disney Plus Marvel movies. The good news is that most of the upcoming MCU lineup for 2020 and beyond will eventually make their way to Disney Plus as well.
Best Disney Plus Marvel movies
Editor’s Note: We will be updating this list as more Disney Plus Marvel movies are added to the service.
1. Iron Man
As with many Disney Plus Marvel movies on this list, the release of Iron Man in 2008 was considered a risk at the time. The character was a B-grade Marvel Comics superhero, played by an actor, Robert Downey Jr, who had been on the outs in Hollywood. He was also headlining the first film from Marvel Studios, who wanted more control of its characters in movies. The $100 million gamble paid off.
Directed by John Favreau, Iron Man was a breath of fresh air in superhero movies. Downey Jr. proved himself to be the perfect choice to play Tony Stark, a billionaire playboy who gets a rude awakening when he sees how the weapons his company makes are used first hand. He creates the Iron Man suit, partially out of necessity, to combat the use of his own weapons.
The final result is a movie that is very faithful to the Marvel source material but takes it in new directions as well. The final post-credit sequence is also significant as it shows the true beginning of the interlinked Marvel Cinematic Universe films. You can also check out Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3 on Disney Plus.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
After several years of releasing MCU films with fairly well-known characters, this 2014 movie was thought of as, again, a risk. Almost no one outside of comic book readers had heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Also, this was not really a superhero movie; it was a space fantasy film. The doubters were proven wrong once again with this flick, and that’s largely due to James Gunn. The director and co-writer used the tapestry of the MCU to create this tale of some very mismatched and damaged characters. There’s a human who operates in a universe full of aliens, a green-skinned woman out to destroy her adoptive father, and a fighter looking for revenge against the person who killed his family. There’s also the pairing of a cybernetically-enhanced raccoon with an attitude and an intelligent tree who has a bark of gold.
Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot all team up together to fight off a maniac who wants to kill everyone on the planet Xandar. In between, we’re treated to a colorful canvas of humor, pathos, and action. Guardians of the Galaxy meets, and in some way exceeds, Star Wars as a great space fantasy movie.
3. The Avengers
Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe concluded with this huge epic film that was co-written and directed masterfully by Joss Whedon. Characters and storylines that were linked and combined for the past four years finally came together, and it was completely seamless. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye went up against the Asgardian trickster god Loki, who was backed up by a huge alien invasion force. The film could have been a convoluted mess. However, thanks to some clever writing and directing from Whedon, it turned out to be the comic book epic we had been waiting for. Oh, and the final post-credit scene is just a taste of things to come.
Whedon came back to write and direct the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s also on Disney Plus, but it’s not quite as entertaining.
4. Avengers: Endgame
You should really watch Avengers: Infinity War before watching this film (it’s going to be on Netflix for several more months). After that, come back to watch this 2019 release, which became the biggest worldwide box office hit of all time. The world is pretty much in chaos at the beginning of Avengers: Endgame, but hope is not yet lost. After several years, the Avengers, with some help from friends, get back together to try to undo the damage done by Thanos. The final result is an excellent conclusion to 11 years of storylines.
5. Captain America: Civil War
Chris Evans debuts as the WWII solder out of time, Steve Rogers, in 2010 with Captain America: The First Avenger. In 2014, he returned with an even better follow-up, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In 2016, the third and best film in this trilogy was released, and part of the reason is that it’s basically The Avengers 2.5. After the events of Age of Ultron and the beginning of this film, The Avengers are being ordered by the world’s governments to no longer operate as an independent force. Tony Stark, Black Widow, and others want to comply but Steve and his friends don’t think that’s a good idea. The final result is a clash of both fist and ideals, pitting Cap and his group against Iron Man and his team. We also get introduced to The Black Panther and the MCU’s version of Spider-Man for the first time.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is nearly as good as the original, and that’s a huge achievement. Released in 2017, it manages to be both an intimate character study as well as a huge epic space adventure. Led by Peter Quill (Star-Lord), the Guardians are apparently making a reputation for solving big problems. However, Peter gets the shock of his life when his father Ego shows up. This “living planet” is played to perfection in human form by Kurt Russell, and for a while it seems that Peter is finally going to be happy. However, it would not be a movie without some conflict. Peter and the rest of the Guardians soon learn the truth about Ego and his plans for the universe.
After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the folks at Marvel Studios took a break from huge superhero epics with this 2015 release. Ant-Man is (mostly) a comedy-heist film that centers on Scott Lang. As played by Paul Rudd, Lang is a second-grade theft who manages to get a hold of a suit that can shrink him down to just a few inches, or even smaller. Lang gets recruited by the creator of the suit, Hank Pym, to steal the shrinking tech from his own company. It’s now being run by an evil executive who wants to sell it off to Hydra. Ant-Man used its conceit of a shrinking man better than anyone ever imagined. Combined with an excellent supporting cast and a clever script, it’s one of the best Disney Plus Marvel movies.
8. Doctor Strange
You want a really different looking entry in the Disney Plus Marvel movies lineup? Look no further than this 2016 release. Doctor Stephen Strange is looking for a way to fix his hands, which were heavily damaged in an automobile accident. His quest takes him to Tibet, where he learns that magic is real. Doctor Strange has to get a crash course in learning the mystic arts. That’s because a renegade group of magic users wants to take over the world. Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect in this role, but Doctor Strange’s real quality is in its visual effects. The movie portrays magic and its effects like no other film. It’s also a true homage and tribute to the artwork from the comic book’s original artist Steve Ditko.
9. Captain Marvel
Marvel Studios took its time to release its first female solo superhero film. The 2019 release was worth it for the most part. Brie Larson is “Vers”, a warrior for the Kree Empire that’s going after the “evil” shape-shifting aliens called Skrulls. However, Vers slowly learns the truth about herself, the Kree and the Skrulls. In short, her life is a lie, and she soon figures out her true heritage , her massive powers and her mission as human Carol Danvers.
Captain Marvel also happens to take place in the 1990s, which means lots of great references and music. Plus we get to see Nick Fury before he showed up at the end of Iron Man. The end result is an entertaining space adventure that also happens to be down to Earth. It also sets up some things for Avengers: Endgame.
The 2011 release of Thor proved that the Marvel Cinematic Universe could successfully expand into new leading characters. The Norse God of Thunder, Thor is about to take over his land of Asgard as king. However, an attack by the rival frost giants causes Thor and his friends to launch a reckless attack of their own. This causes Thor’s father Odin to take away Thor’s power and banish him to Midgard (a.k.a. Earth). Thor has to learn some lessons in humility, and also deal with his treacherous half-brother Loki. It’s hard to see anyone but Chris Hemsworth playing Thor, and it’s equally hard to imagine Loki played by anyone but Tom Hiddleston. Thankfully, both do a great job in this film.
You can also watch the 2013 sequel, Thor: The Dark World, on Disney Plus. However, you can skip it if you want. It may be the worst film in the MCU.
When will other Disney Plus Marvel movies appear on the service?
- Thor: Ragnarok – December 5, 2019
- Black Panther – March 4, 2020
- Avengers: Infinity War – June 25, 2020
- Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 29, 2020