Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

The best MCU shows, ranked

Phase 4 has ended, and fans have mixed feelings about it. For one, it was the most experimental chapter of the MCU thus far, with the franchise blending genres and entering a more inclusive space with its characters and stories. However, it was also uneven and somewhat aimless, clearly suffering from a lack of direction following the massive success of Avengers: Endgame. Still, Phase 4 might be best remembered as the chapter that led the MCU into uncharted territory: television.

The ever-expanding franchise entered the already crowded television landscape, partly to support Disney+ and partly because the film medium was no longer enough to fulfill its lofty ambitions. Like Phase 4 overall, the MCU’s TV efforts were all over the place and constant enough to finally turn the much-doubted “superhero fatigue” term into a reality. Still, they were far from awful; in fact, some projects were inspired additions, with a few flashes of brilliance here and there. And while the MCU’s entrance into television was bumpy indeed, these projects prove that when Marvel is good, there’s nothing quite like it.

5. She-Hulk: Attorney At Law (2022)

Bruce Banner and Jennifer Walters, Hulk and She-Hulk, meditate while facing each other.
Marvel Studios

As the last of the bunch, She-Hulk debuted at a time when interest in the MCU’s TV efforts was at an all-time low. An Ally McBeal-like story masquerading as a superhero adventure, the show follows the titular character as she juggles her lawyer career and newfound powers. The premise sounds exciting, but the show’s tone was a tough sell, especially in the current political climate. It faced an uphill battle, with many people determined to hate it before it even aired and not enough casual fans won over by its confused marketing; unfortunately, we can’t say it came out victorious.

And what a shame because She-Hulk is surprisingly good. It’s funny, clever, entertaining, and elevated by the ridiculously charming Tatiana Maslany. However, let’s state the obvious: it is not for everyone. She-Hulk is something of an acquired taste, a show that gleefully breaks the audience’s expectations and plays fast and loose with its story, source material, and the MCU as a whole. It’s the definition of “unserious,” and some people responded to its unique brand of meta absurdity. But She-Hulk remains niche, perhaps too much to succeed in the factory-like environment of the MCU.

4. The Falcon And The Winter Soldier (2021)

Image used with permission by copyright holder

After years of playing second fiddle to Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes finally stepped into the spotlight with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The show followed them as they faced a group of anti-patriots enhanced with the superhero soldier, all while dealing with a new and much less honorable Captain America.

Juggling lofty and ambitious themes with the pressures of moving the MCU’s story forward, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier struggled to find the right balance. Familiar faces from the Captain America corner of the MCU return, although they can’t help but feel wasted by a story that’s never really concerned with their stories. Indeed, the show is all about passing the shield to Sam, a worthy and necessary development that ultimately feels cathartic. More impressively, the series succeeds as a character study for Sam and Bucky, offering them closure for the tragic events of the Infinity Saga and putting them on the right path ahead, which will come in the form of a fourth Captain America film.

3. Ms. Marvel (2022)

Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan stands in her room, making a fist, in a scene from Ms. Marvel.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Kamala Khan made her long-awaited debut in the MCU in the endlessly charming Ms. Marvel. A straightforward origin story, the show follows the titular character as she receives her powers and struggles to fit in the fascinating but dangerous world of superheroes. Unlike her comic book counterpart, the MCU’s Kamala is not an Inhuman but a mutant, a change that sparked considerable controversy among fans of the source material.

However, the show remains a must-see, if only because of newcomer Iman Vellani’s energetic and fresh take on the character. The girl is a star, dominating every second she’s on-screen and imbuing her character with a sense of awe and wonder that we haven’t seen since Tom Holland’s first appearance in Civil War. Beyond Vellani’s performance, Ms. Marvel is a witty and warm entry into a genre that too often feels cold and formulaic. By showcasing Kamala’s civilian life before her superhero identity, Ms. Marvel creates a moving and poignant portrayal of family and a welcome insight into the Pakistani-American culture.

2. Loki (2021)

President Loki smiling and spreading his arms in Loki.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The God of Mischief finally took center stage in the third Disney+ show, appropriately titled Loki. The endless fountain of charm that is Tom Hiddleston reprised his role as the mischievous god in a story that sees him come face to face with the mysterious Time Variance Authority. Owen Wilson and a scene-stealing Sophia Di Martino co-star alongside Hiddleston, making Loki a resounding success.

Sure, the TVA makes no sense; in fact, its introduction opens an ugly can of worms that puts into question every choice in the Infinity Saga. However, Loki is a breath of fresh air, an alternate reality tour de force that puts nearly every Disney+ show to shame. Like its title character, the show is larger than life, so convinced of its glorious purpose that we can’t help but fall into its spell. Loki is ambitious to a fault, but it has more than enough panache to sell its premise and disappear before we realize it was all an illusion.

1. WandaVision (2021)

Vision and Wanda in '70s clothing standing in a kitchen in WandaVision.

They say the first will always be the best, and in the MCU’s case, it’s true. WandaVision remains undefeated when it comes to Disney+ shows, showcasing two of the franchise’s most underrated and complex characters in a daring and genre-bending story. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany relish the chance to do some genuine and gripping exploration of their characters’ psyches, and Kathryn Hahn is the perfect ingredient to spice things up.

WandaVision is so great because it cares more about its characters than the admittedly fascinating world around them. The show acknowledges how super Wanda and Vision are but is far more concerned with the human aspect of their stories. WandaVision is a beautiful exploration of grief, loss, trauma, and acceptance framed as a superhero adventure. It is also an experiment in genres; the show challenges the confining boundaries of the comic book piece and throws a mix of themes and styles, creating a delightfully chaotic and original story, unlike anything we had seen before. More shows should have WandaVision‘s guts to try something new.

You can view all these Marvel shows on Disney+.

Editors' Recommendations

David Caballero
David is a Mexican freelance writer with a deep appreciation for words. After three years in the cold world of Marketing…
The best MCU fights, ranked
Thanos gets ready to battle in Avengers: Endgame.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will launch its highly awaited Phase 5 with the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on February 17. Nearly 15 years into its existence, the MCU is still on top of the world, even if it's not exactly as too big to fail as many people had thought. Yet, the sprawling franchise keeps winning, delivering more of the same fan-pleasing spectacle that made it a phenomenon in the first place with each new entry.

A large reason why the MCU is so successful is its larger-than-life action set pieces. Audiences go gaga seeing their favorite superheroes clashing with their favorite supervillains, making their comic book dreams come true. And while it's true that the MCU seldom experiments with its formula -- in fact, the franchise is notorious for actively resisting change -- it does try to change things up when it comes to the action department. From interstellar battles in dilapidated moons to multiverse-breaking sequences against multiple villains, these battles stand out as the most memorable and exciting in the MCU.
5. The helicarrier attack - The Avengers (2012)

Read more
The best MCU quotes, ranked

Over the course of more than 30 films and TV shows, Marvel has lodged a number of truly iconic pieces of dialogue into all of our brains. Some of the best quotes in the MCU stand up with the all-time great lines of dialogue from the world of blockbuster movies.

These lines can be funny, profound, or both, and what makes them endure is not just their brilliance, but the role they play in evolving what the MCU would ultimately become.
5. 'You should have gone for the head' -- Thanos, Avengers: Infinity War
You Should Have Gone For The Head Scene (HD) | Avengers: Infinity War

Read more
The best Black Panther: Wakanda Forever characters, ranked
Shuri and Okoye stand alongside a car in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Marvel Studios has brought audiences back to Wakanda with the long-awaited sequel to Black Panther. Though Chadwick Boseman has passed, along with his iconic character, King T'Challa, the film still brings together many old and new characters that have helped make it a spectacular sequel.

Now that the film has debuted in theaters, here is the list of the best characters in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Note that the below list contains plot spoilers for the movie, so don't say we didn't warn you!
10. Erik Killmonger

Read more