It's difficult to remember a time before the reign of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Beginning with Iron Man, which soared into theaters on a pair of Stark-funded rocket boots in 2008, the comic-book movie empire's rise has been steady in its expansion and methodical in its approach. While there have been creative and critical setbacks along the way, the gargantuan financial success of the 21 (and counting) interconnected films, which have grossed more than $18 billion worldwide, is staggering. These movies have reshaped Hollywood. Praise -- or curse -- Thanos.
With Captain Marvel, the '90s set period piece starring Brie Larson as a character who will likely play a huge role in the next phase of films, still in theaters and Avengers: Endgame, the possible end of an era for the franchise's first group of mega-stars, arriving at the end of April, it's an ideal time to pause and take stock of what it means to have lived through a decade-plus of Marvel Studios. How do you compare the madcap camaraderie of the Guardians of the Galaxy with the earnest soul-searching of Captain America or the wiseass charm of Iron Man? This is how: By ranking each movie in the correct order -- like we did, heroically, below.
(A note: This list only contains the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and therefore doesn't include FOX-produced movies based on Marvel properties like X-Men, Fantastic Four, or Deadpool. There are also no movies from the DC Universe like Wonder Woman or Man of Steel. That's a different thing.)