2021’s Marvel And DC Movies, Ranked

Tom Holland Spider-Man: Far from Home teaser trailer screenshot
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

In the world of comic books, there have always been the two titans of Marvel and DC. That battle has since moved to the silver screen, and fans, for the most part, are more than happy to embrace the films from both sides of the tracks. When it comes down to it, Marvel and DC will always be the standard bearers for comic book movie action.

While 2020 was a year where we saw no comic book movies, 2021 made up for that with no fewer than seven major releases. So which ones were truly the best in the world of comic book film? Let’s count them down. 

Tom Hardy and Venom

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

7. Venom: Let There Be Carnage 

The first Venom movie was something of a throwback. While most of today’s comic book movies have at least a veneer of seriousness, Venom was a wild ride mostly highlighted by the ridiculous, and hilarious, bickering between the characters of Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote. In Venom: Let There Be Carnage, we got a movie that was bigger in every way. More symbiotes, more over the top action and more silly arguments.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is perhaps an acquired taste. For some, the silliness of it all is a feature, not a bug. Still, even when you give this one the benefit of the doubt, the other movies from Marvel and DC were so good this year, even a movie that wasn't actually that bad has to be at the bottom.

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

 6. Black Widow 

Black Widow wasn’t the first woman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to get her own movie, but considering that the character had been around since nearly the beginning of the franchise, it was a movie that fans needed to see. The fact that it only happened after the character had died was a minor detail; this is a comic book movie, after all. 

Black Widow was a solid postscript to the life of the character, and it also launched new characters into the MCU, one of whom we’ve already reunited with in a Disney+ series. We saw why we loved Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow, and we will miss her, assuming this really is her last appearance as Natasha Romanoff. 

Henry Cavill in Zack Snyder's Justice League

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

5. Zack Snyder’s Justice League 

2021 was the year that the impossible happened. After years of asking for it, The Snyder Cut was finally, truly released. And while it wasn’t the theatrical release that we all wanted long ago, what we got instead was something that was, without question, Zack Snyder’s complete vision for Justice League.

Was Zack Snyder’s Justice League better than the theatrical version? It’s difficult to argue otherwise. It was more than twice as long, which is certainly gave it room to breathe and time to tell a much bigger story. But when you’re dealing with the Justice League, maybe that’s what you need to do.  

eternals cast

(Image credit: Disney)

4. Eternals 

Eternals was, without question, something very new for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was a massive story with more key characters than an Avengers movie, and while it had plenty of the superhero action we were looking for, it approached it all with a unique style and tone. Eternals took more risks than your average superhero movie, and though it might not have stuck the landing perfectly, it was still an excellent MCU entry.

Eternals was a massive film in every conceivable way. It had lots of characters, it dealt with big ideas and it feels like the events of the movie will be a big part of the MCU to come. It was also visually stunning in a way no Marvel film has been to date. 

The Suicide Squad

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

3. The Suicide Squad 

The Suicide Squad was technically a sequel, but at the same time, nothing from DC, or even Marvel for that matter, has ever looked quite like this. James Gunn took over the franchise from David Ayer, and while Gunn has had his own experience making comic book movies, the cast of characters and the R-rating allowed him to make a movie quite unlike anything even he had made before.

The Suicide Squad is what this particular franchise needed to be from the beginning. It’s The Dirty Dozen with superpowers. The movie starts with an incredible cast, and then proceeds to unapologetically kill nearly all of them. It’s funny bloody and oftentimes both at once.  

Shang-Chi battling Mandarin with Ten Rings in Marvel movie

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

2. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

In many ways, the deck was stacked against Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings from the beginning. The first Marvel movie not to get a simultaneous Disney+ release meant that viewers would need to go to the theater to see it. Luckily, Shang-Chi was a hero worth making that trip. There’s a reason that before 2021 ended, the sequel to this one was already confirmed.

Shang-Chi has incredible martial arts action that makes for some of the best action sequences in the MCU. While the movie goes heavy on CGI and digital effects, it does so in a smart way, creating words full of lush, vibrant colors, that are no less visually stunning than the natural landscapes of Eternals. We can’t wait to see where this one goes next. 

Spider-Man (Tom Holland) unmasked in Spider-Man No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

1. Spider-Man: No Way Home

How do we even talk about Spider-Man: No Way Home right now? Spider-Man movies have always been big, but No Way Home tried to do something absolutely monumental, and somehow pulled it off. It was, by any metric, the biggest Spider-Man movie ever. It was an Avengers-level event in its own way, but beyond the fact that the plot had all sorts of exciting elements, it was also a really good movie. 

Tom Holland showed why many consider him the best actor to ever bring both Peter Parker and Spider-Man to life. Spider-Man: No Way Home was an emotional journey for that character unlike we have seen in the past. Many are already calling it the best Spider-Man movie ever, and while it might be a little too early to make that claim, it is absolutely the best of Marvel and DC's cinematic offerings this year. 

2021 was an embarrassment of riches when it comes to comic book movies. Nothing here was so bad that it should be skipped. Instead, we had a wide variety of movies that, while they may have all dealt with comic book characters, were unique in their own ways. 2022 is already shaping up to be a strong year for superhero movies too, but it will have its work cut our for it when it comes to competing with 2021. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.