The first female-centric film in the MCU, Captain Marvel, bakes the female experience into every aspect, making a potentially familiar story fresh and exciting.
Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our pandemic grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.
Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.
The focus on Thanos single-handedly saves Avengers: Infinity War from becoming the overstuffed mess many feared and lends the film a relentless action pace more akin to Mad Max: Fury Road than a superhero blockbuster.
Ryan Coogler's Black Panther engages with deep and timely social, cultural, and psychological concepts, and completely taps into America's zeitgeist.
Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and other members of the old guard might be battling with the MCU about the quality of superhero movies, but the business of how we consume film is changing, like it or not.
If the best measure of success for a comic book film is how well it captures the tone for the central character, then Ryan Reynold's beloved character in Deadpool makes it among the greatest superhero films of all time.
There are strong emotional stakes and likeable characters in Peyton Reed's Ant-Man, but they are all rooted in a, well, less than epic scale. This makes Ant-Man refreshing, an MCU palate cleanser.
Big Hero 6 draws its themes and central relationship from the classic Disney and Pixar templates but includes all of the trappings of a Marvel superhero origin film.
In a competitive sea of superhero films, Logan continues to stand out with its tremendous performances, thematic complexity, remarkably critical take on violence, and deeply stirring pathos.