The Greatest Marvel Moments of the Decade

Though the Marvel Cinematic Universe began in 2008, the majority of it took place in the 2010s. As this decade wraps up, we’re taking a look back at the incredible moments that shaped the MCU each year.

2010: The first sequel

The first two MCU films, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, came out in 2008. They were well-received (or, at least, the first one was), but no one really knew if this whole thing was going anywhere (can you imagine?). So Iron Man 2‘s release was a huge risk. Fortunately, it paid off. (Oh, and it’s the first time we meet Black Widow.)

2011: Two new heroes join

The next step to continuing to build the MCU? Adding in more heroes. This year brought with it Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. The first was an especially risky move, given it moves some of the action off of Earth. Also noteworthy is that The First Avenger is Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s first foray into the MCU.

2012: ‘The Avengers’

Marvel took its biggest first thus far with The Avengers. The point of having some of these heroes established in the previous films was to bring them all together in a way that made sense and fans embraced. This was a very difficult task, but somehow, Joss Whedon and Marvel succeeded. The Avengers proved that this is what the fans want, and closed out the first phase.

2013: Phase 2 begins

Kicking off Phase 2 are two films that received very mixed reviews. Both sequels, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World aren’t many viewers’ favorite entries in the MCU, but they are important ones (especially down the line). This year was also notable for completing the first solo trilogy.

2014: The MCU becomes universal

Conversely, 2014 was an astoundingly good year for the MCU. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was very highly regarded, and brought the Russo Brothers into the MCU. But it was Guardians of the Galaxy that was the biggest surprise of the year. Marvel took a huge risk on an obscure property with almost no Earthly ties, and it succeeded impressively.

2015: ‘Age of Ultron’ changes things

Marvel ended Phase 2 with two very different films. Avengers: Age of Ultron saw the second team-up movie of the MCU, and though not as well-received as the first entry by Whedon, managed to set up a lot of important moments to come. Ant-Man then introduced a very unlikely hero.

2016: Phase 3 begins with magic

Marvel knew that Phase 3 would be the most ambitious yet, and thus it began with one of the most important films thus far. Captain Ameria: Civil War brought many new heroes together, and acted more as a team-up movie than a solo adventure for Cap. Additionally, Doctor Strange entered the MCU with powers unlike any we’d seen until that point.

2017: The groundwork is laid

Arguably, 2017 was one of the most important years for the MCU. For the first time, three films came out in one year, all involving different superheroes. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok were all essential in laying the groundwork for the upcoming team-up in their own unique way.

2018: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is the beginning of the end

As we neared the end of the decade, the Infinity Saga (as its now known), reached its climax. Black Panther introduced an important setting and some essential technology ahead of Avengers: Infinity War, which saw the most cataclysmic event thus far. Ant-Man and the Wasp then swooped in to establish what would prove to be essential in the final battle against Thanos.

2019: Phase 3 concludes

Kevin Feige and cast of 'Avengers: Endgame'
Kevin Feige and cast of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Finally, we’ve arrived at the end. Captain Marvel took fans back in time to meet the most powerful superhero of them all, who would prove to be of vital importance in Avengers: Endgame. After all was said and done in the film that became the highest-grossing of all time, Spider-Man: Far From Home concluded the decade and Phase 3 with a look at what’s to come.