Iron Man Movies, Ranked From Worst To Best (2022)

Which Iron Man movie is the best? Tony Stark has been with the Marvel Cinematic Universe since its inception, having heralded in the shared universe with the first Iron Man in 2008. Since then, Robert Downey Jr.'s depiction of the billionaire playboy philanthropist has become as iconic as the franchise itself, with his long-serving supporting cast of Jon Favreau's Happy Hogan and Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts.

Coming up to Avengers: Endgame, the all-encompassing climax to the MCU as we know it, the days of Tony Stark solo films now seem ages old. It's been six years since Iron Man 3, and eleven since the first. Although he's been around, still kicking ass as an Avenger and serving as a character foil for the likes of Captain America, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, it's been a while since we spent some quality time with just Tony.

Before what may well be Tony Stark's last MCU appearance, here'sa look back at the solo adventures of the man that started it all – the first hero in the MCU to earn a billion dollars at the box office on his own, whose money and ingenuity has been a backbone of the Avengers initiative and without whomthe Marvel movies might not exist at all. This is the Iron Man trilogy, from worst to best.

3. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man Movies, Ranked From Worst To Best (1)

Back when Marvel Studios were just finding their legs with home-grown Marvel movies, their release schedule was much more conservative. After Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk in 2008 did well enough to make more, Marvel played coy, skipping 2009 and only putting out Iron Man 2 in 2010, with Kevin Feige serving as the sole producer following Avi Arad's departure. This was the first of a four-picture deal for Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau returned as director for the sequel, which brought in new characters and solidified the supporting cast for other franchise appearances.

(Video) All 3 Iron Man Movies Ranked Worst to Best

What lets Iron Man 2 down is that it's mostly about just laying groundwork for the MCU and doesn't do much for its namesake. The villains, Sam Rockwell's Justin Hammer and Mickey Rourke's Ivan Vanko, are cookie-cutter rival scientists whose presence retreads the military-industrial-complex-is-bad idea from the first without any real development. Stark facing his own mortality with the arc reactors poisoning him is a nice idea that doesn't get enough air among all the armored suit action.

The addition of Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow and Don Cheadle's Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes becoming War Machine are neat and the explosive, AC/DC-soundtracked opening is great, but it's not enough to save this from being the worst Iron Man movie.

2. Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man Movies, Ranked From Worst To Best (2)

The film that started it all. It was obvious from the get-go there was something special in Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Tony Stark, with Iron Man drawing $585 million at the box office, the third highest of Phase1 behind Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. Sometimes a movie just has a little bit of magic to it, a little something where all the right forces are at work, and Iron Man is one of those movies.

(Video) iron man | best moments

From the opening of the arrogant Stark demonstrating his goods to an eager audience in Afghanistan before being captured by the Ten Rings terrorist group using weaponry he designed right up to the final moment where Tony tells the world he is Iron Man, this just works. It's a big-budget action flick that doesn't lose sight of being a nuanced character study about a man having a crisis of faith with who he is and who he wants to be. The post-9/11 backdrop of the cycle of bloodshed in the Middle-East through private arms deals is an ideal framing device for Tony's newfound moral compass, something that remains unfortunately relevant.

The visuals are sincere and vibrant, capturing the zest and feel of the comic books they were inspired by. Downey Jr. is joyful to watch as Stark, moving from eccentric and cartoon-y to introverted and emotive as needed, and the post-credits scene with Nick Fury asking him if he's interested in the Avengers Initiative is still spine-tingling. Still, as great as it is, it's not quite the best Iron Man movie...

Page 2 of 2: Why Iron Man 3 Is The Best Movie Of The Trilogy

1. Iron Man 3 (2013)

In the years since Phase 1, Marvel have started placing lighter features in the slots immediately following the Avengers movies. Ant-Man followed Avengers: Age of Ultron, as did Ant-Man and the Wasp for Avengers: Infinity War, and Spider-Man: Far From Home, in which Peter goes on a school holiday to Europe, will be hitting theatersin July, less than three months after Avengers: Endgame. In 2013, however, Marvel wanted to maintain momentum after the first Avengers, and struck while the iron was hot with their most bankable star with Iron Man 3 in May of that year. It was a smart move, Downey Jr. became even more of a cinematic superstar and kicked off Phase2 in style.

The Shane Black-directed threequel is a controversial part of the MCU canon and pick for best Iron Man film. There's not a lot of suit action in it and the Mandarin fake-out is a turn that doesn't sit well with a lot of fans, but it's these choices that make the movie great. Coming into Iron Man 3, audiences had watched three films that were heavy on Iron Man blowing stuff up with lasers. Tony was starting to play second fiddle to his persona. Iron Man 3 re-focuses on the man we met in the first scenes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the incomparable genius, now struggling with a bout of PTSD, obsessively building suits while his marriage to Potts and his life around him deteriorate.

Shaken and unsure of himself, Tony is sent into a tailspin when Happy is caught in an attack from the ominous Mandarin. Enraged, Tony gives out his address and challenges the Mandarin, a move that almost gets him and Pepper killed when his house is blown apart by missiles. What follows is Stark, alone in rural Tennessee with a brokedown suit and no JARVIS, learning that he doesn't need all that armor and fancy gadgets to be a hero.

Iron Man Movies, Ranked From Worst To Best (4)
(Video) All 22 Marvel MCU Movies Ranked From Worst To Best | Iron-Man - Avengers: Endgame

The movie doubles down on this with the reveal that the Mandarin is a front. The audience and Tony thought that the Mandarin would be the sinister rival to Iron Man from the comics.Everybody expected this brilliant martial artist who could outwit Tony at every turn. What we got was a regular guy who was being paid to put on a voice by the real villain; fans and Tony were confronted with someone having tricked us the way Stark was tricking himself. Tony Stark is just a mortal man with a heightened intellect and a very lucrative family business. On his best day, he's like those Mandarin propaganda videos except he can actually show up, but on his worst, he's just like that actor, disappointingly human.

Which is what makes the real antagonist, Aldrich Killian, a more story-appropriate match for Tony, because he's the result of just one of many terrible decisions Tony has made. Killian was snubbed by the rockstar scientist at a New Year's party and nearly took his own life, instead moving on to eventually build his own empire working on Extremis, a highly volatile enhancement drug that causes users to explode. Killian is an enemy Tony created, and defeating him using wits and cunning is the catharsis for Tony understanding that he's Iron Man with or without any fancy suits.

Iron Man 3 may not be the trilogy-ender everyone wanted, but it's the one Tony Stark needed, and that's why it's the best Iron Man movie.

Next:Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie, Ranked Worst To Best

Key Release Dates

FAQs

Is Iron Man 1 or 2 better? ›

Even when it was released, Iron Man 2 was reviewed unfavorably to its 2008 predecessor. On Rotten Tomatoes, Iron Man has an impressive 94% critic's score; Iron Man 2 sits at a weaker (but still fresh) 73%. At this time in the MCU, Thanos and the Infinity Stones were gobbledygook.

What Marvel movie got the worst ratings? ›

The 10 Lowest-Rated MCU Movies, Ranked According To Rotten Tomatoes
  • 6/10 Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022) - 74%
  • 5/10 Iron Man 2 (2010) - 72%
  • 4/10 The Incredible Hulk (2008) - 67%
  • 3/10 Thor: Love And Thunder (2022) - 66%
  • 2/10 Thor: The Dark World (2014) - 66%
  • 1/10 Eternals (2021) - 47%
9 Aug 2022

What is the least liked Marvel movie? ›

As of March 2022, Eternals has the lowest Rotten Tomatoes rating of any Marvel movie, which feels undeserved.

Which Iron Man is the best? ›

Iron Man Movies Ranked Top to Worst
  • Iron Man (2008) Iron Man is the first Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film. ...
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019) Avengers: Endgame is a sequel to Avengers: Infinity War (2018). ...
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018) ...
  • The Avengers (2012) ...
  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
31 Jul 2022

Who is the best avenger? ›

The 10 Best Avengers Characters, According To Ranker
  • 8/10 The Hulk.
  • 7/10 Scarlet Witch.
  • 6/10 Black Panther.
  • 5/10 Captain America.
  • 4/10 Doctor Strange.
  • 3/10 Spider-Man.
  • 2/10 Iron Man.
  • 1/10 Thor.
7 May 2022

What is superior Iron Man? ›

Superior Iron Man is a major antagonist from Marvel Comics. He is a villainous version of the heroic character who would debut following the events of Axis to become the titular villainous protagonist of the comic book miniseries of the same name.

Is Iron Man the best avenger? ›

Iron Man is one of the most popular superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has the looks, the heart, the talent, and the skills. While he may not be perfect, many fans love him dearly. In fact, some consider him the best Avenger.

Who is the villain in Iron Man 2? ›

Mickey Rourke was coming off a career resurgence from his Oscar-nominated role in “The Wrestler” when he was cast as the villainous Ivan Vanko/Whiplash in “Iron Man 2.” The experience didn't go well for Rourke, and the actor continues to take hits at Marvel over a decade after the Jon Favreau-directed sequel opened in ...

What is the least viewed Marvel series? ›

Marvel is reportedly the least-watched MCU series on Disney+. Based on the popular comic book character of the same name, Ms.

What movies can I skip in Marvel? ›

  • Iron Man- sure it kicked off the MCU but not necessary.
  • The Incredible Hulk- no importance at all, it should be forgotten.
  • Iron Man 2.
  • Thor.
  • Iron Man 3.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
  • Antman.
  • Captain America Civil War.

Has any Marvel movie lost money? ›

Now, however, it seems that Marvel Studios, Disney's most profitable movie house, might be hitting “a bit of a slump.” According to a new Wall Street Journal report, Feige's super hero films — while still incredibly popular — have lost hundreds of millions of dollars recently when compared to their earlier predecessors ...

Is Marvel losing popularity? ›

Morning Consult also found that 82 percent of Marvel fans still enjoy the studio's films, down 5 percentage points from the fall 2021 survey. Nearly one-third of respondents admitted they are “getting a little tired of so many" MCU films. That's up 2 percentage points from the fall 2021 survey.

Who's the strongest Marvel character? ›

Hercules / Zeus

He ranks above Thor here because he's technically the stronger of the two. In fact, he is considered by many authorities to be the physically strongest character Marvel has ever created. According to legend, he replaced Atlas in holding the sky on his shoulders.

Can Iron Man defeat Thanos? ›

On the Avengers Endgame final battlefield, Doctor Strange reminded Tony that there was only one chance to defeat the Mad Titan. This means that even if Iron Man managed to get away from Thanos and give the Infinity Gauntlet to someone more powerful, then even then the Avengers would still have ultimately been defeated.

What is Tony Stark strongest suit? ›

23/25 Model 8 "Silver Centurion Armor"

Known as the Silver Centurion, the Model 8 became one of Tony Stark's most powerful models. Tony invented the Silver Centurion armor after Obadiah Stane injured James Rhodes, kidnapped his colleagues, and nearly destroyed Stark Industries.

Can Iron Man beat Thor? ›

Iron Man VS Thor - Who Wins? ⚔️ - YouTube

Who is the 2nd strongest Avenger? ›

This was a no-brainer, and we're sure everyone is wondering why Captain Marvel is on the third. Captain Marvel was clearly the strongest Avenger until the events of “WandaVision,” but then everything changed. As previously indicated, Thor was ranked second because of his abilities and many more things.

Who is the least favorite Avenger? ›

A new clip from Marvel's Hawkeye has landed and it reveals that Clint Barton is the least popular Avenger. No, really. Ever since The Avengers, the expert archer has been the underdog of the team, with a reputation for generally being the least-liked of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Who is leader of Avengers? ›

Steve and Tony have always been co-leaders of the team. Steve was the technical leader from 2012-2016. After the events of Civil War, Tony is the leader of the current Avengers, which is composed of Vision, Rhodey, Stark and Peter Parker. Stark has always funded the Avengers.

Who are the 7 Illuminati Marvel? ›

In the Marvel Apes universe, the Illuminati are referred to as the Prime Eight. They consist of Black Bolt, Cleook, Doctor Doom, Nicole Furry, Hulk, Iron Mandrill, Professor X and Silverback Surfer.

Who can defeat Superior Iron Man? ›

3 facts about Superior Iron Man

However, despite possessing superhuman powers, thanks to his knowledge of futuristic technology, he is not unbeatable. He was once defeated by Wanda, aka Scarlet Witch, in an epic face-off.

Can Tony Stark come back? ›

Tony Stark (Iron Man) died in Avengers: Endgame, and he's officially out of the MCU franchise, not unless Marvel has a change of heart. It will be fantastic to have Downey jr. back in the Iron Man suit on screen.

Who is smartest Avenger? ›

Vision's mind was not only powered by the Mind Stone, but it was capable of advanced computer processing that made him one of the smartest and strongest members of the Avengers.

Who is the weakest Avenger? ›

Although he is an extremely skilled marksman, Clint Barton is often considered to be the weakest member of the team seeing as he's just a regular guy with a bow and arrow.

Which is the oldest superhero? ›

1936 The Phantom

Created by Lee Falk (USA), the first superhero was The Phantom, who debuted in his own newspaper comic strip on 17 Feb 1936. It recounted the adventures of Kit Walker, who donned a mask and purple outfit to become The Phantom – aka “the ghost who walks”.

Who is the villain in Iron Man 4? ›

After long being rumored, it was confirmed that The Mandarin would feature as the main villain of Iron Man 4, played by Ben Kingsley.

Who is the main villain in Iron Man 3? ›

"Iron Man 3" featured two versions of the classic Marvel Comics villain, the Mandarin — a fake version played by Ben Kingsley's Trevor Slattery, and the real version played by Guy Pearce.

Who is the villain in ironman 1? ›

Obadiah Stane (Obie for short) also known as the Iron Monger, was a character that appeared in the movie Iron Man, and is based off on the character of the same name in the comics.

Is No Way Home best Marvel movie? ›

With plenty of laughs between the three Spideys, but also some heartbreak as well, No Way Home isn't just a great MCU film, it also makes the previous Sony Spider-Man films better too, which is why it's one of the best Marvel movies of all time.

Can I skip Incredible Hulk? ›

The Incredible Hulk (2008).

Most definitely SKIP. Hell, Marvel Studios pretty much pretends it didn't happen. Edward Norton, who starred as the Hulk's alter ego, Bruce Banner, was replaced almost immediately after the movie was released. It's not a bad movie, just not really relevant.

Why did the Eternals flop? ›

Simply put, the action scenes are nearly all forgettable. It doesn't help that the movie was released right after Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a project which contained some of the best fight sequences in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So Eternals already had a disadvantage out of the gate.

Which Spider-Man is best? ›

All Spider-Man Movies Ranked (Including Venom and Morbius)
  • #1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) 97% ...
  • #2. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) 93% ...
  • #3. Spider-Man 2 (2004) 93% ...
  • #4. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 92% ...
  • #5. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) ...
  • #6. Spider-Man (2002) ...
  • #7. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) ...
  • #8. Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Will there be a Spider-Man 4? ›

Shortly afterwards, Feige confirmed that a new movie is in development and in May 2022, Sony boss Tom Rothman said they "hope to get working on the next Spider-Man movie" with "that whole group" meaning Tom Holland, Zendaya and co.

Is No Way Home even good? ›

The film was well received by critics and fans worldwide, earning a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 98% audience score, respectively.

Can we skip Captain Marvel? ›

Captain Marvel doesn't play any part in the majority of Phases 1-3, but you'll need to watch her entire movie in order to understand who the glowing lady answering the beacon is in Endgame.

Can I skip Age of Ultron? ›

You can skip the majority of "Avengers: Age of Ultron," but you should tune in for two key scenes. You don't need to watch the entirety of Ultron trying to dismantle humanity and extinguish the world of the Avengers. Rewatch it for two scenes. First, head 33 minutes into the film.

Do I need to watch Doctor Strange before Doctor Strange 2? ›

Doctor Strange (2016 - movie)

This film sees actor Benedict Cumberbatch make his MCU debut as Doctor Strange, aka Stephen Vincent Strange, making it a must-watch before the sequel.

Is Dr Strange 2 flop? ›

Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness grossed $16.7 million on Friday, dropping a steep 81% from the $90.7 million earned domestically during its opening day.

Is Marvel losing popularity? ›

But since the beginning of 2021, the average global box-office gross of the six films produced by Marvel has fallen to $773.6 million—roughly half the $1.5 billion average of the previous six films.

Who is Thanos brother? ›

Born on Saturn's moon Titan, home to a population of Eternals all its own, Eros is the biological brother of Thanos the Mad Titan.

Who is America's favorite Avenger? ›

As this graphic indicates, Peter Parker's alter ego Spider-Man is America's favorite member of the Avengers group. The Incredible Hulk, the green skinned colossus with an anger management problem, ranks second.

Who is the strongest superhero ever? ›

The Hulk

Bruce Banner found himself transformed into a monster known only as "Hulk." The details of the pair's symbiotic relationship might change, but at the end of the day, superhero comic books have one unbreakable rule: Hulk is the strongest one there is, and that's really all there is to it.

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