4. Thor: Ragnarok - Average Score: 83
Notably different in tone compared to its predecessors, Thor: Ragnarok (directed by Taika Waititi) was a surprisingly humorous look at the story of Asgard's destruction as well as the journey of the Hulk. The film holds a critic score of 92% on Rotten Romatoes and a Metcritic score of 74.
Many critics praised the new characters such as Valkyrie and Hela and the fact that the film was so different from the other Thor movies. Even the film's harshest reviews gave Waititi credit for that. Steve Rose, in his negative review for The Guardian, wrote, "Thor: Ragnarok is almost an admission that you can't play this material straight. This is probably the wisest strategy with Thor."
Thor: Ragnarok currently holds an audience score of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy - Average Score: 83.5
James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy was arguably the first film in the MCU to bring subversive humor to the forefront. It drastically changed the tone set by the films that came before, introducing a more lighthearted atmosphere to universe it helped to expand. The film currently holds a critic score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes with a Metacritic score of 76.
The balance of both comedic and emotionally touching moments was cited by many as a point of praise. Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post described it as "exciting, funny, self-aware, beautiful to watch and even, for a flickering instant or two, almost touching.
Guardians of the Galaxy currently holds an audience score of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.
2. Iron Man - Average Score: 86.5
It was 2008's Iron Man (directed by Jon Favreau) that started it all. The film was a huge risk as, at the time, Iron Man was still relatively obscure to general audiences but the film managed to rocket Tony Stark to the height of popularity and by extension, introduce the film industry to the concept shared universes. The film currently holds a critic score of 94% with a Metacritic score of 79.
Regardless of differing views on the plot of the film, a majority of critics praised the performance of Robert Downey Jr. Roger Ebert commended the dimensions of Downey's portrayal and said that by using the actor's strength, "Favreau found his movie, and it's a good one."
Iron Man currently holds an audience score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
1. Black Panther - Average Score: 92
Though the film's story generally follows the typical Marvel beats, Black Panther (directed by Ryan Coogler) boldly tackled different themes from a fresh perspective. It's take on identity, culture and national duty easily distinguishes it from other MCU films. Black Panther is near-universally acclaimed with a critic score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 88.
Leah Greenblatt, writing for Entertainment Weekly, wrote that Coogler "infuses nearly every frame with soul and style, and makes the radical case that a comic-book movie can actually have something meaningful-- beyond boom or kapow or America-- to say," a sentiment with which most critics, professional or otherwise, seem to agree.
Black Panther currently holds an audience score of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes.