9. Avengers: Infinity War
The Marvel Cinematic Universe spent a decade telling a long-form story about the rise of a group of heroes, the power of mystical space stones, and a threat waiting for the right moment to enact a deadly plan. To say that Avengers: Infinity War, the beginning of that story’s final chapter, had to succeed would be an understatement.
The movie has a lot to juggle, as the deadly Thanos makes his play to wipe out half of the universe and sends his troops to Earth to retrieve the final Infinity Stone, but it pulls it off expertly well. It slowly raises the stakes, turning up the tension to a 12 anytime somebody utters the name of “Thanos” and sets the stage for the Avengers’ biggest battle. It’s also full of aftermath from previous movies, as those “divorced” Avengers are forced to unite, with outlawed heroes like Captain America, the Falcon, and Black Widow coming out of the shadows to help their old friends save the world.
Infinity War‘s resolution is among the most shocking in movie history. There is no resolution, really, just awe. And in that moment it becomes clear that this movie was never about stopping Thanos, it was about showing us how unstoppable he was. It was essentially a waste of time for the title characters to try, but this movie was anything but a waste; providing us with the most gripping, edge-of-seat and traumatic chapter in the history of the MCU.