movie successfully introduced a lesser-known character by providing a comedic heist film with smaller stakes, offering a refreshing change after the grand-scale events of
Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Captain America: The First Avenger
established why Steve Rogers deserved his powers and resonated with audiences by presenting a WW2 epic that allowed viewers to connect with the protagonist, while also setting up future installments with the inclusion of the Tesseract.

The first three phases of the MCU have been grouped together to make up what fans know as The Infinity Saga. This saga tells the story of the six Infinity Stones and the heroes who have to group together to stop the Mad Titan Thanos from using them to wipe out half of life in the universe.

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When telling any story, every character needs an origin, a story that helps the audience understand their motivations and personality. While a lot of new characters got their own movie in the MCU‘s Infinity Saga, characters like Black Widow and Spider-Man had their origins explained in a separate film from their debut. However, some origin stories in this saga are better than others.

7 Ant-Man

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Release Date:
July 17, 2015
Peyton Reed

The first Ant-Man movie had a lot to prove. The character was largely unknown to general audiences in 2015, and comic fans were left to wonder why the studio chose to start the franchise with a legacy version of the hero in Scott Lang. What’s more, the movie was set to release just after the second Avengers movie.

Luckily, everything worked out for the size-changing hero. Paul Rudd turned out to be a great comedic lead in this unconventional heist film. Also, the smaller stakes of this solo adventure proved to be just what the MCUneeded after the earth-changing events of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

6 Doctor Strange

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

Release Date:
November 4, 2016
Scott Derrickson

Doctor Strange in 2016 had the difficult task of bringing the concept of magic into the MCU. While this was already a difficult enough task, the studio also had to make the title character relatable and feel down to earth.

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Despite the fact that this origin story contained some stellar visuals unlike anything seen in cinema before, the story of Doctor Strange never loses sight of its main character. Audiences get to see an arrogant surgeon lose everything in a car accident and then climb out of his despair by traveling down a new road. Not only did this new road help showcase Stephen Strange’s positive aspects, but it also helped viewers get to grips with the mystic arts displayed in this film and later installments of the MCU.

5 Thor

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%

Release Date:
May 6, 2011
Kenneth Branagh

The first Thor movie had a lot to tackle. It had to set the stage for the titular God of Thunder to enter the MCU, while also giving the villain, Loki, time to shine. The latter part was important as Loki would be showing up as the main antagonist in the Avengers.

The result was a Shakespearian drama that saw Thor learn what it is to be human, eventually giving up what is important to him to be a hero. This decision also helps viewers understand why Loki hates his brother and why he would want to be on a collision course with Earth.

4 Captain America: The First Avenger

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

Release Date:
July 22, 2011
Joe Johnston

Every superhero origin needs to explain what powers the character has and how they got them. However, it was more important in Captain America: The First Avenger to establish why Steve Rogers deserved those powers.

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As the heart and soul of the Avengers, Captain America needed to prove to audiences that an earnest character from the 1940s could still work in the 21st century. The result was a great WW2 epic that saw viewers side with Steve during every difficult decision. What’s more, it was great to see him hurled forward in time to meet some other familiar faces with the growing threat of the Tesseract setting up future installments.

3 Black Panther

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

Release Date:
February 16, 2018
Ryan Coogler

After the first string of MCU movies, most comic fans were left wondering when Black Panther would be showing up. The King of Wakanda was the next logical step for the franchise; however, Black Panther didn’t show up in his own film first. Instead, his debut came in the team-up movie Captain America: Civil War in 2016.

Black Panther made a huge impression on the audience in this debut outing, but fans wouldn’t get a real idea of what the character was about until his own solo film in 2018. The movie explored the origins of the fictional nation of Wakanda as well as the Black Panther. The first Black Panther is also praised for including one of the best villains in the MCU, Killmonger.

2 Iron Man

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Release Date:
May 2, 2008
Jon Favreau

Iron Man in 2008 wasn’t just an origin for the superhero but the entire MCU. The main focus of the movie was fixed on Tony Stark as Robert Downey Jr. charmed audiences with his stellar performance as Iron Man quickly became a lot of people’s favorite Marvel character. It may feel tame by today’s standards, but this first movie in the Infinity Saga really opened the doors for what would become the MCU.

While the movie is light on references to the wider universe, there are easter eggs for fans to find who knows what they are looking for. This movie also marks the first appearance of Nick Fury in the famous and first MCU post-credit scene.

1 Guardians of the Galaxy

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Release Date:
August 1, 2014
James Gunn

Once Marvel had proved that audiences would come out to see some well-known heroes team up, they needed to prove that the idea was not going to grow stale. The answer to this was the Guardians of the Galaxy, an epic space opera that featured a talking tree and raccoon.

Although Marvel found success in this superhero blockbuster with its high production levels and CGI battles, it was the character work that fans fell in love with. Each member of this band of misfits had a backstory that audiences could connect with, making everyone cheer on the MCU’s biggest weirdos as the franchise continued.

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 The Marvel Cinematic Universe has housed many live-action heroes, and some of the best origin movies have introduced audiences to these characters.  Read More