Every Nick Fury appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rated

Nick Fury in The Avengers and Nick Fury in Secret Invasion
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel’s casting of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury will no doubt go down as one of the best in superhero history. While it might have seemed inevitable, considering that artist Bryan Hitch redesigned the character as part of The Ultimate’s comic run to take the look of the Pulp Fiction actor back in 2002, the man himself has still made the role his own.

Now having just headlined his own Disney Plus series in Secret Invasion – which has seen some mixed criticism, to say the least – Jackson has now made over a dozen appearances (and counting!) throughout the MCU over the span of 15 years. Here's how to watch the Marvel movies in order, if you want to track the highs and lows and rank every Nick Fury appearance to date, or get the lowdown on Secret Invasion's ending to see how it sets up his next MCU appearance.

This is a very methodical and serious set of ratings, and the process behind it did not at all resemble the Charlie GIF from Always Sunny by the end.

Iron Man (2008)

The one that started it all in Iron Man. Oooooh, I remember it like it was yesterday. The chills from Jackson’s surprise cameo – a historic moment, marking the first ever MCU post-credits scene and signing off with words that would ignite a fandom: "I’m here to talk to you about the Avengers Initiative." Magic. 

5 out of 5 eyepatches

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Fury ruins Tony’s day out at Randy’s Donuts in Iron Man 2. I’m not all about that.

2 out of 5 eyepatches

Thor (2011)

In Thor, Erik Selvig (played by Stellan Skarsgård) stumbles upon Fury in his dungeon before then being introduced to the Tesseract. Fury speaks of the “unlimited power" it could bring before an invisible Loki controls Selvig to agree.

Fury is cold throughout this whole scene. We've all had those first-day jitters when starting a new job. A more friendly approach to his new co-worker could have gone a long way.

3 out of 5 eyepatches

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Having been in a coma for 70 years, Steve Rogers takes a leisurely stroll around New York in Captain America's first solo outing. Everything is going swimmingly until Nick Fury and his entourage show up, causing the soldier to experience PTSD in the middle of Times Square. Why can’t this guy let people have fun?

2 out of 5 eyepatches

The Avengers (2012) 

Taking on a larger role in The Avengers, Fury uses the death of his co-worker, Phil Coulson, to manipulate the Avengers to fight Loki. I mean it works… I'm just starting to think this guy might not be all that great.

4 out of 5 eyepatches

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013 – 2014)

Did anyone really watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D? I feel people said they did but I'm not convinced anyone can tell you anything about it. Either way, Fury shows up at some point.

1 out of 5 eyepatches

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Among other memorable moments, Nick Fury single-handedly takes out over a dozen Hydra agents using a quad-barreled machine gun and grenade launcher. Now this is cinema.

5 out of 5 eyepatches

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Nick Fury shows up in a lot of these films, huh? I'm sort of regret committing to this now.

Anyway, hiding in a barn (like a coward), Nick Fury talks to Tony Stark about survivor's guilt in Age of Ultron, aka the Avengers film we don't really talk about. It's probably not a great sign for the effectiveness of this appearance that I had to rewatch the video to remember anything that happens in it.

Sigh out of 5 eyepatches

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Thanos activates the Infinity Gauntlet by scratching his mighty purple chin, wiping out half of all life across the universe. In his last act before disintegrating, Nick Fury calls up his ex and shouts expletives down a pager. If the latter moment isn't a classic Samuel L Jackson move, I don't know what is.

6 out of 5 eyepatches

Captain Marvel (2019)

Does anyone know the last time Jackson saw his family? Little concerned. 

Fun fact: Marvel didn’t actually de-age Jackson for Captain Marvel. He just looks that damn good! He does get beaten up by a cat, though. 

4 out of 5 eyepatches

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Am I really going to rate a funeral for money?

3 out of 5 eyepatches 

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Okay, so this isn’t Nick Fury. Not for the majority of the film anyway. Spoilers! But you already knew that. Of course, you did. You’re like me. Someone who has invested more than 10 years of their life in this superhero fantasy soap-opera facade instead of spending my time better elsewhere. I could have learned an instrument, got incredibly buff or travelled the world... maybe I’ll make a change. But I keep saying that. Over, and over, and over again. Come The Marvels opening night, there I am front and center. Perhaps I’m the problem.

Anyway, the real Fury is hiding once more – I'm starting to sense a pattern here – on his new shiny SABER space station. Meanwhile, his Skrull ally Talos impersonates him during the latter's exchanges with Spider-Man in this flick.

2 out of 5 eyepatches

What If…? (2021)

Some of the best entertainment is currently being made in animation. I know CEOs like to belittle it, but it’s really a fantastic medium that does amazing things that you simply can’t recreate in live-action. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Netflix original movie Nimona... these all arrived this year and they're excellent! 

Okay, What If…? season 1 isn’t on the same level as those new movies, but it still did something different. It helped push Marvel forward and was a fun experiment. All those animators spent long days and, likely, long hours just so every finite amount of detail is nothing but first-rate. Surely that needs applauding. 

While Jackson has already proven his worth as a voice actor in The Incredibles movies, he really put in a much more nuanced performance here, showcasing why he's been in the entertainment business for over 50 years. It’s calm, collected, and delivers the Nick Fury charm we’ve all come to love without relying on the luxury of any physical presence. That’s a tough thing to achieve and why Jackson is a master who has honed his craft like few others, always managing to deliver.

I don’t even need to rate this. I’m past it. I’m better than this. I can just appreciate art and the MCU in all its forms without the need to make a snide comment or judge it by a pointless numbering system.

Secret Invasion (2023)


0 out of 5 eyepatches

The Marvels (2023)

Oh god, it never ends!

Ahem. For more Marvel-based coverage, read up on everything coming in Marvel Phase 5, including Loki season 2. Additionally, read our ranking of all of the best Marvel movies to date and see which MCU TV shows made it onto our best Disney Plus shows list.

Matt Poskitt

Matt is a full-time freelance journalist who specializes in arts, culture and tech – be that movies, TV, video games, or otherwise. He's also turned his hand to everything from mattresses to motorbikes as a journalist. Prior to this, Matt headed up the games and entertainment section at T3.com, alongside being published across TechRadar, IGN, Tom's Guide, Fandom, NME, and more. In his spare time, Matt is an avid cinema-goer, keen runner and average golfer (at best). You can follow him @MattPoskitt64.