Spider-Man: No Way Home is the last Marvel film for 2021. Having just seen the third Tom Holland-led Spider-Man film, I feel confident in ranking all of the Marvel films that came out this year. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world, we missed out on MCU movies in 2020. Which, meant that we were all excited for the superhero content we got this past year. Did these movies live up to the Marvel movies in the past? And how much did the pandemic effect the stories?

Disclaimer: I will be including Venom: Let There Be Carnage and there will be slight spoilers. Also, full discretion, I enjoyed every Marvel film, so even if a movie is in the last spot, it doesn’t mean I disliked it.

Number One: Black Widow

Hell yea, I’m putting this movie as number one. Say what you will about Natasha Romanoff. Whether you think there was no point to the film due to it being a prequel or whatever, I loved this film the most out of any Marvel movie this year. Not only have I been a Black Widow fan since Iron Man 2, but the movie’s gritty tone and subject matter, as well as its real-life metaphors made it an incredibly tangible story. Not only did I enjoy seeing more of Natasha’s background, I enjoyed the story and other characters. I desperately want to see David Harbour return as the Red Guardian and if you’ve been watching Hawkeye, you know how important this movie was in introducing Florence Pugh as Yelena. Sure, the third act is a little loose, but overall, a solid film.

Number Two: Eternals

I genuinely have no idea why Eternals has a bad Rotten Tomatoes score, but that doesn’t matter to me. Besides Black Widow, Eternals was my second highest anticipated Marvel film of the year and it didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, many of my fellow MCU fans are too used to the usual MCU formula and when a project deviates from that, they aren’t sure how to absorb it. Eternals was different. In tone, story, and visually. I loved the ensemble cast, as well as the span of history it covered. Some of my favorites were Richard Madden as Ikaris, Gemma Chan as Sersi, and Angelina Jolie as Thena. If you don’t think Eternals will change the course of the MCU, you didn’t see the same film I did.

My only complaint? That my favorite character didn’t make it out alive. Sad face.

Number Three: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Talk about an MCU film that has great rewatchability. Oh man, Shang-Chi was so fun. Simu Liu has the presence of a superhero star. I loved this new origin story. Not only was it fun, but it was emotional, visually beautiful, and had some of the most kickass action/fight scenes that we’ve seen in the MCU. Personally, I think Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings joins Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Black Widow in being the best choreographed MCU movie. I really loved this movie and honestly, my only complaint was…well, I was very honest in my review that I did not enjoy Awkwafina’s performance. And I stand by that statement.

Number Four: Venom: Let There Be Carnage

As I said before, I’m including Venom in this list. If you saw the recent Spider-Man movie, you understand why. Sony and Disney are closing the gap between their two universes and at this point, I think it’s silly to separate them in our conversations. Okay, back to the movie. As a fan of the first one (when many were giving it bad reviews), I was excited for the highly-anticipated sequel. I enjoyed seeing Tom Hardy reprising his role as Eddie Brock and his “Odd Couple” relationship with Venom. Woody Harrelson was perfect as Cletus Kasady and Naomie Harris killed it as Shriek. Venom: Let There Be Carnage was short and may have had some pacing issues, but I overall loved it. The performances, the violence, and what it teased for the future really made me enjoy this movie more than the first.

Number Five: Spider-Man: No Way Home

Tom Holland, Zendaya and Jacob Batalon in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is tracking to take a lot of money home and people are praising it as the best Spider-Man film to date. Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot I liked about this movie. It’s a lot of fan service, it introduced a lot of characters, had a lot of cameos, and set up for the rest of the MCU. However, after just having seen it, I have to put it at the bottom of my list. Again, Tom Holland is my favorite Spider-Man and he played his part perfectly. I just simply didn’t like some of the plot decisions made. There were decisions made in this film that really bummed me out and some characters – such as Doctor Strange – really seemed out of character. I think COVID really affected NWH and I’m curious what we would have gotten if the story wasn’t changed and we actually got the Kraven story we were originally meant to.

Why was Doctor Strange So Out of Character?

Again, I enjoyed NWH for what it was and liked all of the fan-service moments. I just think some moments, such as all of the bad guys in Peter Parker’s apartment or in a dungeon together lasted too long and it felt more awkward than it needed to. I think overall, the studio just wanted to do this story (and get us to the multiverse) and couldn’t think of any other way to get to it other than have Doctor Strange mess up a spell. But, Benedict Cumberbatch just seemed so out of character the whole time. And who they decided to kill off (I won’t say) really hurt, as well as the sad ending it had. I really didn’t expect NWH to have the somber ending it did and while I understand it from a cinematic perspective, I walked away feeling really bummed out. I didn’t feel like this trilogy had a happy conclusion and honestly, doesn’t Peter deserve it?


….but, you know I was happy to see a certain LAWYER pop up and a certain symbiote make a cameo. I know everyone else was excited about the OTHER web slingers, but for me…yea, those first two cameos took the cake.

2021’s Marvel universe may have been slightly rocky, but I’m nonetheless excited for the future of the MCU and all of the new characters and stories that it will bring. What’s your ranking?

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