There are 23 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but is there a worst one? Here’s why the MCU doesn’t have a traditional bad movie.
There has recently been a lot of talk about the “worst” movie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe – but really, none of them are too bad. Each time another installment hits theaters, it seems to stir up these ranking debates. Though the next MCU film release is up in the air due to the coronavirus pandemic, the discussions have ramped back up, but is it possible to say that the MCU has never made a truly terrible movie to date?
The MCU officially launched in 2008 with the release of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. Since then, the franchise expanded to 23 installments comprising three Phases known as the Infinity Saga. Black Widow was set to begin Phase 4 of the MCU but since it’s release is on limbo, fans will need to turn back to previous installments to get their Marvel fix.
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Even for viewers who don’t consider themselves fans of the superhero genre, it’s difficult to deny how much the MCU has succeeded in the last decade. Marvel has dominated the box office by consistently releasing new material and revamping their brand. Of course, with every journey to success, there will be a few bumps in the road. Thankfully, the MCU has only experienced small bumps but that hasn’t stopped viewers from engaging in the franchises lowlights.
Which MCU Movies Are Considered The Worst
Out of the 23 MCU movies that have been released, there a several considered to be on the lower end of the totem pole. It’s important to note that opinions on any movie are subjective and more often than not, perceptions of fans won’t match with the critical consensus. That said, there are a few titles that had likable qualities but failed to deliver as a whole. On the bottom of the list featured in many rankings is Thor: The Dark World, the 2013 sequel directed by Alan Taylor. The film was thought to lack substance while the central love story lost its appeal. Considering how well Thor: Ragnarok flipped the script, The Dark World now seems unwatchable in the eyes of fans.
Other installments known to be at the back of the pack are The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, in no particular order. The Incredible Hulk was a revival and didn’t attract enough viewers following the release of Marvel’s Hulk just five years prior. It also didn’t have the staying power once Mark Ruffalo was recast in the titular role for future MCU installments. As for Iron Man 2, it wasn’t deemed as thrilling as the first film, which had launched the cinematic universe. It was a bit convoluted at times, which could also be said in regards to Age of Ultron.
Paul Rudd’s second solo movie in the MCU, Ant-Man and the Wasp, has subsequently found its place on the list a bit low. This probably had less to do about the movie’s plot and more to do with when the film was released. After the excitement and hype surrounding Avengers: Infinity War, the second Ant-Man movie released just three months later and caused it to a tad forgettable. Surprisingly enough, Iron Man 3 has been trending on social media in terms of the worst MCU movie while many fans argue that it deserves a spot on the top of lists. Again, this just goes to show that rankings differ from person to person and perceptions are rightfully scattered.
Marvel Has Never Made A Truly Bad MCU Movie
Considering there will never be an agreed-upon consensus when it comes to the worst MCU movies, it’s clear that there has never been a completely awful installment. The fact that fans continue to argue about why some movies are on the low end while others deserve to be ranked higher goes to show that each movie has at least some likable qualities. What works for some moviegoers might not work for the next, but Marvel fans are a loyal bunch. They understand that each installment has a purpose and propels the bigger picture.
When it comes to the enormity of the franchise, the MCU and its continuous installments are just too big to fail. Marvel has built a product that holds a baseline when it comes to quality and that uniformity is what keeps fans interested. Even the weakest Marvel movies have appealing elements. It’s also important to note that even the lowest-rated installments are still rated leaps and bounds higher than many other films in the superhero genre. In addition, their box office numbers are never anything to fret over.
The franchise also did an excellent job of putting together an appealing cast that attracts audiences time and time again. Those unfamiliar with Marvel Comics became enamored by the cinematic universe thanks in part to actors such as Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and many others. Even if their films aren’t perfect, fans are aware of their potential and know that they will be entertained when these big names are front-and-center.
Marvel Hasn’t Made A Truly Great MCU Movie Either
By the same token, some could argue that Marvel has never made a truly fantastic movie thus far. Sure there have been several stellar installments, such as Thor: Ragnarok, the first Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Spider-Man: Far From Home, but none that transcend the genre. The MCU has many good movies and even some fantastic installments, but all are confined within the franchise. Avengers: Endgame broke a ton of records and served as a monumental pop-culture event, but it meant nothing to those that aren’t interested in the superhero genre.
There have been a few superhero movies capable of reaching beyond its given genre such as The Dark Knight, Logan, and more recently, Joker. These titles aren’t just beloved by comic book readers but also mainstream consumers. The closest the MCU has come to this is 2018’s Black Panther. It will be interesting to see if Black Panther 2 caters to a wider audience or if it feels deeper into the comic book niche. In order to reach that level of greatness, the MCU would need to build something with a larger scope. Unfortunately, the homogeneity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes away the risk of terrible movies but it also stops the franchise from achieving greatness outside of the primary genre.
Next: Every Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie
Key Release Dates
Eternals (2020)Release date: Nov 06, 2020
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Feb 12, 2021
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021)Release date: May 07, 2021
Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021)Release date: Jul 16, 2021
Thor: Love and Thunder (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
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About The AuthorKara Hedash is a features writer for Screen Rant. From time to time, she dives into the world’s most popular franchises but Kara primarily focuses on evergreen topics. The fact that she gets to write about The Office regularly is like a dream come true. Before joining Screen Rant, Kara served as a contributor for Movie Pilot and had work published on The Mary Sue and Reel Honey. After graduating college, writing began as a part-time hobby for Kara but it quickly turned into a career. She loves binging a new series and watching movies ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to hidden indie gems. She also has a soft spot for horror ever since she started watching it at too young of an age. Her favorite Avenger is Thor and her favorite Disney princess is Leia Organa. When Kara’s not busy writing, you can find her doing yoga or hanging out with Gritty. Kara can be found on Twitter @thekaraverse.
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