10 Thrillers Starring Your Favorite Avengers, Ranked By Tension


The Avengers movies have always excelled with their casts and the lead actors all have impressive filmographies outside of their work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially in the realms of comedy and thrillers.

What the actors already know about thriller movies makes them perfect candidates for their roles and their work in the Avengers universe makes them even more poised to contribute greater things to the genre in their post-Avengers roles. Here are 10 thrillers starring your favorite Avengers, ranked by the least tense to the most.

10 U.S. Marshals (Starring Robert Downey Jr. a.k.a. Iron Man)

A sequel to the smash hit Oscar-winning success of The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford, U.S. Marshals focusses on Tommy Lee Jones’ manhunting marshal Samuel Gerrard as he teams up with Robert Downey Jr.’s DSS agent to hunt down Wesley Snipes’ rogue CIA operative.

Naturally, there’s a wider conspiracy at play but it’s a struggle to care. The star power of the cast sadly only makes the movie’s blandness all the more noticeable.

9 Oldboy (Starring Elizabeth Olsen a.k.a. Scarlet Witch)

Spike Lee’s American remake of Park Chan-wook’s modern crime/revenge classic Oldboy was a bit of a disappointment for fans of both the original movie and Lee’s work in general.

While it certainly could have neutered the incredible darkness of the original story more than it did, the movie ultimately lacks tension because it feels like it’s going through the motions of a much better iteration of the same story. Which it is. Elizabeth Olsen plays the female lead against fellow Avengers actor Josh Brolin and does admirably with what she’s given but too much of the movie appears lost in translation for it to really make an impact.

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8 The Black Dahlia (Starring Scarlett Johansson a.k.a. Black Widow)

Brian De Palma’s adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel about Hollywood’s most famous murder is pulpy in all the right and wrong ways.

Johansson plays the mysterious semi-angelic woman caught in an odd emotional triangle between her and the movie’s lead detectives. Even though The Black Dahlia intermittently strays into the realm of the ridiculous, it’s always a fittingly dark movie that’s overflowing with murder and secrets.

7 Mute (Starring Paul Rudd a.k.a. Ant-Man)

Paul Rudd makes a memorably villainous turn in Duncan Jones’ semi-sequel to his hit debut movie Moon with this strange and stylized sci-fi noir for Netflix.

Mute is more a slow-burning detective story than anything else but Rudd is a surprisingly menacing force throughout the movie as a detestable bad guy with a loud mouth and an impressively dastardly mustache.

6 Traitor (Starring Don Cheadle a.k.a War Machine)

Don Cheadle plays a suspected terrorist pursued by Guy Pearce’s FBI agent in this espionage thriller full of twists and turns.

Traitor is the kind of movie that likes to keep the audience guessing until the last possible moment but it’s driven by a desire to explore the faith and identity of Muslim-Americans in a post-9/11 world.

5 Limitless (Starring Bradley Cooper a.k.a Rocket Raccoon)

This sci-fi thriller starring Bradley Cooper in the lead role depicts a world in the grip of a new drug which increases brain function to effectively make the user a genius for a limited time.

As the main character’s intelligence increases throughout the movie so do his problems, leading to closer and closer scrapes with rivals and gangsters in a frantic mission to come out on top in a dog eat dog world.

4 Extraction (Starring Chris Hemsworth a.k.a. Thor)

The action-packed feature film debut of Avengers stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave is impressive in a number of areas, not least with Chris Hemsworth’s lead performance as a hired gun with a death wish.

Hemsworth still may be a little too close to the role of the God of Thunder for him to ever seem like he’s truly in trouble but Extraction pulls out a number of tricks to keep the action exciting and unpredictable.

3 Street Kings (Starring Chris Evans a.k.a. Captain America)

Chris Evans stars alongside Keanu Reeves as the straight-laced young cop to Reeves’ grizzled and corrupt alcoholic in David Ayer’s unforgivingly gritty LA crime thriller.

Ayer’s typically murky view of the LAPD produces one of his most unrelentingly dark stories to date and the characters perpetually find themselves in cutthroat situations that can go south at any moment. And they most definitely do.

2 Shutter Island (Starring Mark Ruffalo a.k.a. The Hulk)

Mark Ruffalo stars alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s psychological thriller masterpiece. He plays the partner of DiCaprio’s detective as they’re both sent to the titular island, which is home to a mental asylum with a mysterious missing person’s case.

Bursting with unnerving tricks and tiny details, nothing is ever quite what it seems in Shutter Island and it keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.

1 The Town (Starring Jeremy Renner a.k.a. Hawkeye)

Jeremy Renner has starred in a number of incredibly tense thrillers, from the Oscar-winning war movie The Hurt Locker to the incredibly engrossing murder mystery movie Wind River with fellow Avenger Elizabeth Olsen.

2010’s The Town, which was the second directing effort of Ben Affleck and his first also spent in front of the camera, follows the lives of a close-knit crew of Boston bank robbers. Renner plays the fiercely loyal, and ever so slightly psychotic, best friend of Affleck’s leader but the two come at odds when Affleck’s character begins to date a witness to one of their robberies and show a desire to escape their life of crime.

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Mark Birrell (263 Articles Published)

Mark has been a writer and editor for ScreenRant’s lists section since 2019 and leads the Update Team, keeping content fresh and relevant.

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