Every MCU Origin Story Ranked From Worst To Best

How does Shang-Chi measure up to the MCU's other origin stories?

Captain Marvel Black Panther Iron Man
Marvel Studios

Back in 2008, it was impossible to predict what would become of superhero origin story Iron Man. When it hit cinemas, absolutely nothing was guaranteed, and it could so easily have been a mere one-off that went nowhere.

But 13 years and 24 other films later, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a pop-culture phenomenon like has never been seen before, having steadily expanded in scope over the years by bringing a diverse array of new superheroes into the fold.

It's also fair to say that not all origin tales are created equal, though, with the MCU's dozen origin movies varying wildly in quality.

But given that the MCU hasn't ever delivered a single truly bad movie - no, not even Thor: The Dark World - it's laudable that this list ranges from "OK" to "excellent."

From those so-so movies that didn't quite hit the mark, to those that landed squarely in the middle, and those that soared far beyond expectations, this is how the MCU's 12 origin movies - Including the recently released Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - stack up from worst to best...

12. The Incredible Hulk

Captain Marvel Black Panther Iron Man
Marvel Studios

The undeniable odd-one-out movie in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe is 2008's The Incredible Hulk, which was released just weeks after Iron Man and failed to land with quite the same impact.

Beyond its disappointing box office performance - making it by far the lowest-grossing MCU movie to date, not counting Shang-Chi - it's also a slightly awkward film to watch today because it stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner.

Norton does an absolutely fine job in the role, but his desire for creative control led Marvel Studios to recast the part for all future movies, bringing in Mark Ruffalo for an undeniably superior portrayal.

It's certainly a solid enough movie, and one that smartly refuses to rehash the beats of Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk film, but also the least successful origin story in terms of getting fans excited to see more of the character.

The film's tepid reception is widely credited with putting the kibosh on any subsequent solo Hulk movies.


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