The latest Marvel film to date is more than a mid-sized follow up to Avengers: Endgame — it establishes Peter Parker as the beating heart of the new MCU.
Taika Waititi’s irreverent revamp of the Thor series, Thor: Ragnarok, manages to weave some much-needed criticism of imperialism among the gags.
Ryan Coogler’s superhero film not only salvages the colonialist origins of the comic’s imagery, it reclaims them for a Black audience.
James Gunn’s interstellar hangout movie is weird and messy, but deeply, admiringly focused on its characters and an earnest emotional core.
Alien robots and evil Norse gods may prove a thrill to the multiplex, but here, they’re not much more intimidating than adolescence.
Building off the political intrigue of their first MCU entry, the Russo brothers further blended reality and fantasy in their second smash hit.
With production issues and a shift in the franchise’s creative team, Joss Whedon’s final MCU entry has just enough to work.
It’s not perfect, but the Russo brothers’ conspiracy-thriller take on the MCU turned its eye inward to the more explicitly political.
Thor’s second standalone adventure buckles under the weight of too many characters and a confused directorial hand.
A break from all those iron men and thunder gods, James Gunn’s blast of ’70s pastiche helped solidify the Marvel movies’ blend of character and comedy.
An unlikely team of heroes could have been a cliché, but Joss Whedon’s first foray into the MCU worked because it toyed with its moving parts.
Chris Evans’ first go-round with the stars and stripes remains one of Marvel Phase One’s most enduring outings.
Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespearean tale of a godlike alien shows the cracks in Marvel’s firmament amid its immature protagonist.
Jon Favreau’s 2010 followup to the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe also shows the weaknesses of worldbuilding over structure.
Jon Favreau’s acerbic superhero adventure set the template for the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and rehabilitated Robert Downey Jr. into a movie star once again.
One year after Avengers: Endgame, we look back at the blockbuster franchise that changed superhero cinema — and the moviegoing landscape — forever.
The third season of the Marvel series has some high points, but mostly feels like it’s running in place.
There’s a lot more nuance to be found in the discourse surrounding Marvel movies and arthouse cinema.