Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, ranked from worst to best, by Rotten Tomatoes

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Credit: Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures; from Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

How does the movie review aggregate website, Rotten Tomatoes, rank all 18 Marvel Studios movies? And what do they consider the best of the MCU?

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When it comes to movie reviews, Rotten Tomatoes is the go-to website. Branding a movie as “fresh” or “rotten” has swayed public opinion on whether a movie is worth seeing. What often gets overlooked is that it’s all based on averages and percentages. The site grades movies and television series based upon how many critics actually reviewed the movie or series in question. Also, each film critic has their own rating system, the most common of which are star ratings. Three out of four stars, or three out of five stars is considered a “fresh.”

Thus, when looking through movies Rotten Tomatoes labels “good” or “bad” on this basis can prove rather amusing, sometime frustrating, but always entertaining. That’s why we’re looking at how Rotten Tomatoes have ranked the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Yes, I’ve already written a piece ranking all the MCU film as of Black Panther (2018). However, with Avengers: Infinity War debuting next week, it seems like the perfect time to look at how the movie review website rated the previous Marvel Studios movies. Besides, aren’t you curious to see how they ranked all 18 movies compared with mine? Then let’s look at what Rotten Tomatoes considers the “worst-to-best” MCU films, and whether they deserve the placements they give them.

Credit: Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures; from Thor: The Dark World (2013)

18. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 66%
Audience Score: 77%

"Critics Consensus: It may not be the finest film to come from the Marvel Universe, but Thor: The Dark World still offers plenty of the humor and high-stakes action that fans have come to expect."

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

Well, that’s a nice and polite way of saying Thor: The Dark World is standard fare. Of course, if the “Critics Consensus” summary also added that the movie recycles aspects from the first Thor as it plods its way along, it might have turned potential moviegoers off from seeing it. Nevertheless, I’m in complete agreement with Rotten Tomatoes placing Thor: The Dark World dead last among the Marvel movies. I, too, place it at the bottom of my list, and it looks as though more than a few film critics have done so as well.

Credit: Marvel Studios/Universal Pictures; from The Incredible Hulk (2008)

17. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%
Audience Score: 71%

"Critics Consensus: The Incredible Hulk may not be quite the smashing success that fans of Marvel’s raging behemoth might hope for, but it offers more than enough big green action to make up for its occasionally puny narrative."

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

Just for the sake of comparison, do you know what the Rotten Tomatoes score is for Hulk (2003), the “cerebral” and “complex” (i.e. pretensions) one directed by Ang Lee? The one that’s considered a flop, which prompted Universal and Marvel Studios doing a sequel/reboot in the first place? 62%, with an “Average Rating” of 6.2/10. Yes, not only does Rotten Tomatoes list The Incredible Hulk a mere five percentage points higher than Hulk, they give the same “Average Rating.” No way should both films have comparatively the same score, and nor is The Incredible Hulk the second-worst Marvel movie.

Credit: Marvel Studios/Paramount Pictures; from Iron Man 2 (2010)

16. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%
Audience Score: 72%

"Critics Consensus: It isn’t quite the breath of fresh air that Iron Man was, but this sequel comes close with solid performances and an action-packed plot."

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

“Action-packed plot?” That’s an interesting claim to make considering there’s what? A total of three action scenes in the entire film? Four if we count a drunken Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) picking a fight with Rhodey Rhodes (Don Cheadle)? And the first one occurs a full thirty minutes in? Nevertheless, I do feel this is an appropriate “Tomatometer” score, especially since it has an “Audience Score” of 72%. Likewise, I also think Iron Man 2 ranks near the bottom when it comes to the rest of Marvel Studios’ output. As in my list, I’d just move down one spot lower.