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Five of the Most Important Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies

Celebrating Ten Years of Marvel Studios

As a man in his early thirties who's about to have his first child, it's crazy to think the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched ten years ago. 

With their first title—which is a part of our list—Marvel Studios forever changed the Hollywood ecosystem and helped morph the superhero genre from niche to norm.

Ten years of titles, some forgettable adventures, but plenty of quality big screen comic book adaptations.

We're looking at well over $13.5 billion in box office revenue for a genre that had only seen mass success from Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman

Marvel Studios has also been significantly more successful than their DC counterparts, even considering the brilliant Batman trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan.

With the release of Black Panther—Marvel Studios' eighteenth production—we thought we'd look back at five of the most important movies in the MCU.

'Iron Man' (2008)

You never forget your first; same can be said for Robert Downey Jr's depiction of Tony Stark.

Iron Man kicked everything off for Marvel Studios and immediately showed us what kind of potential they were truly working with. 

Stunning visual effects, perfect doses of humor, and three-dimensional characters. Everything that made the comics popular in the 60s and 70s was flawlessly being depicted on the big screen.

In ten years, Downey Jr's character has appeared in a handful of movies. Fighting alongside and against characters like Captain America, Spider-Man, and The Incredible Hulk.

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' (2014)

While the first Captain America film did a great job introducing us to Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans—also of Fantastic Four fame—it was its sequel that blew up at the box office. 

Right off the bat, the return of Cap's best war buddy Bucky Barnes as the bad ass Winter Soldier was enough of a narrative to pack movie theaters.

Revealing Hydra secretly operated within S.H.I.E.L.D also caused a massive shakeup in the Marvel universe which even had repercussions on their TV and comic book properties. 

Couple that with darker tones we also saw in 2015's Avengers: Infinity War and you've got yourself a world-beating film.

'Guardians of the Galaxy' (2014)

"Who?"

"Star-Lord, man. Legendary outlaw?"

One of the biggest surprises out of the eighteen movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy brought everything to the table.

A perfect balance of action, comedy and drama with a colorful cast of characters and compelling story. Guardians was a relatively more niche title that instantly garnered critical acclaim, which in turn helped it dominate the 2014 summer box-office. 

From Chris Pratt's brilliant delivery as Star-Lord to Dave Bautista's violent yet hilarious depiction of Drax the Destroyer. Guardians of the Galaxy capped off Marvel's incredibly successful 2014. 

'Captain America: Civil War' (2016)

Civil War was the first movie in Phase 3 of the MCU and it absolutely decimated the box-office. 

The loosely based adaptation of the 2006 comic book series written by Mark Millar pits Team Rogers versus Team Stark in an epic battle for superhero supremacy. 

Sure, watching some of our favorite heroes beat each other up should be enough to get us going. However, there's one more reason this makes our list.

This was the first appearance of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after having a trio of successful efforts released by Sony in the early 2000s. 

Spidey's arrival was eventually met with a standalone movie—which could've easily made this list based on significance alone.

'Thor: Ragnarok' (2017)

Marvel's movies have always had humor, from Tony Stark's wittiness to Star-Lord's Chris Prattness, you know you're going to laugh at least once. 

With Thor: Ragnarok, the laughs were kicked up a notch. Almost every scene had us chuckling. What's most impressive is these laughs are provided by Hulk and Thor, two characters you wouldn't necessarily associate with comedy. 

Additionally, the film's brilliant synth score flowed perfectly with it's often colorful scenes and retro marketing.

Honorable Mention: Black Panther (2018)

Marvel's Black Panther has yet to be released at time of writing but since the Internet—like Wakanda—is forever, I found it important to add it to this list.

From the looks of it, Black Panther is going to make tons of box-office dinero and become one of the pivotal franchises in the MCU. 

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