The Marvel Cinematic Universe began in 2008 when, after toilsome planning, Iron Man burst onto screens worldwide and changed blockbuster cinema forever. The film was a hit, critically and commercially, and it made a promise that the MCU has been trying to live up to ever since: "You've become part of a bigger universe."
From the small, dramatic tale of a self-centred billionaire who becomes the world's most beloved hero, the MCU has spent over a decade growing into a franchise of few equals, piling on layers of mythology, character and conflict with each new title. It hasn't always worked, but it's always been there, shaping a generation.
Split into major storylines called Phases, the franchise -- masterminded by producer Kevin Feige and helmed by a host of directors, from Jon Favreau to James Gunn and Chloé Zhao -- has over thirty movies and a dozen TV shows to its name, and as the years have gone on the quality of each instalment has varied considerably.
No, it's not been smooth sailing. Poor screenplays, behind-the-scenes squabbles and jarring special effects have threatened to derail the MCU entirely, but for every low it's faced there have been just as many highs to remind audiences why it's become such a madly popular phenomenon.
With that in mind, then, from the film that started it all and beyond, here is every MCU movie and TV show ranked worst to best.
Be warned: Spoilers and unpopular opinions follow.
42. I Am Groot (2022)
It's easy to see what drove Marvel Studios to base a series of animated shorts on Groot. The Guardians of the Galaxy character has always been an entertaining anti-hero, and his appeal, particularly for younger audiences, is astronomical.
In the animated Disney+ series I Am Groot, the writers lean into his wholesomeness, giving him his own odd mini-adventures that are designed to keep kids glued, but not much else.
Although technically canon, I Am Groot is neither groundbreaking or necessary, and its easy-to-digest simplicity is clearly only being utilised for children. That doesn't make it bad, of course, just easily skipped. I mean, did anybody even watch it?