From IRON MAN To BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER - Ranking Every MCU Movie According To Rotten Tomatoes

Critics haven't embraced Marvel Studios the same way they did during the Infinity Saga lately, and that means this ranking is more interesting than ever. Here's how Black Panther: Wakanda Forever fares...

Features Opinion

Love it or hate it, Rotten Tomatoes is now more important than ever when it comes to whether moviegoers decide to check out the latest releases in theaters, and it's not uncommon for studios to tout scores as proudly as star ratings.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has delivered hit after hit since Iron Man was released in 2008, and while Eternals shocked the world by being Marvel Studios' first "Rotten" movie, they later rebounded with Spider-Man: No Way Home. Unfortunately, 2022 hasn't been quite so successful as both Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder failed to secure the "Certified Fresh" badge of honour!

That's all changed with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but how does it compare to the rest of the MCU and its fellow "Ceritifed Fresh" titles?

It goes without saying that looking back at how these movies fared on the review aggregator makes for interesting reading, and we think you'll agree after seeing how they all stack up against each other.

While Marvel Studios has just the one "Rotten" movie, you may still be surprised to see how even that stacks up to the not-quite-so-popular MCU releases from years gone by. The Black Panther sequel's place here is also bound to get you talking, particularly as we'd argue it's a little better than some of the movies above it. 

To take a look through this feature, all you guys need to do is click the "Next" button below!

20. Eternals


Score: 47%

Rotten or Fresh? Rotten

Critics Consensus: An ambitious superhero epic that soars as often as it strains, Eternals takes the MCU in intriguing -- and occasionally confounding -- new directions.

Given Marvel Studios' track record, we never expected them to have a "Rotten" movie, but here we are. It's hard to escape the feeling that some critics were just too hard to Eternals, with many relishing the opportunity to take the studio down a peg or two. There's a lot to love here, with some incredible performances and lots of world-building. There are, however, waaaay too many characters.

19. Thor: Love and Thunder


Score: 67%

Rotten or Fresh? Fresh

Critics Consensus: In some ways, Thor: Love and Thunder feels like Ragnarok redux -- but overall, it offers enough fast-paced fun to make this a worthy addition to the MCU.

What a disappointment. While Thor: Love and Thunder wasn't a bad movie, an over-reliance on silly humour and a paper-thin bad guy means it ranks among some of Marvel Studios' most underwhelming blockbusters. We loved The Mighty Thor, but like everything else in this sequel, her arc was incredibly rushed. The movie had its moments, but it didn't live up to expectations.

18. Thor: The Dark World

Score: 66%

Rotten or Fresh? Fresh

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.

With Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor behind the camera, fans expected to see the MCU meet that HBO franchise with the God of Thunder smack bang in the middle. Instead, this disappointing sequel wasted its then unique London setting, and failed to lean into those fantasy elements even with the introduction of the Dark Elves (Christopher Eccleston's Malekith is best off forgotten).

17. The Incredible Hulk

Score: 67%

Rotten or Fresh? Fresh

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.

The black sheep of the MCU family in some respects, it seems the events of The Incredible Hulk are never really referenced, and the hope now is that it will change in the She-Hulk TV series coming to Disney+. This movie was a mess, but there was a lot to love, including that awesome final battle which saw the Jade Giant go one on one with the Abomination in New York City. 

16. Iron Man 2

Score: 71%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

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.

Iron Man 2 had its fair share of highlights, but it ultimately proved to be something of a mess that spent way too much time on setting up the events of The Avengers. On the plus side, we got to spend more time with Nick Fury and met Black Widow, but that wasn't enough to distract from too much world-building and a weak villain in the form of Whiplash (Justin Hammer was great).

15. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness 


Score: 74%

Rotten or Fresh? Fresh

Critics Consensus: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness labors under the weight of the sprawling MCU, but Sam Raimi's distinctive direction casts an entertaining spell. 

While Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange sequel wasn't top tier Marvel Studios, it's still a little surprising to see it barely beat Iron Man 2. A vastly superior blockbuster to that sequel (and a few of the other movies you'll soon see here), this trip into the Multiverse admittedly wasn't anywhere near as mad as we hoped, possibly explaining this reaction. However, we did love that pure Raimi horror vibe. 

14. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Score: 76%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Exuberant and eye-popping, Avengers: Age of Ultron serves as an overstuffed but mostly satisfying sequel, reuniting its predecessor's unwieldy cast with a few new additions and a worthy foe.

It's surprising how poorly received (not that 76% is a bad score) this Avengers movie is compared to the others, especially when Avengers: Age of Ultron was a spectacle that featured a lot of memorable moments. James Spader's Ultron was awesome, while the introduction of characters like The Vision, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch was definitely welcomed here.

13. Thor

Score: 77%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: A dazzling blockbuster that tempers its sweeping scope with wit, humor, and human drama, Thor is mighty Marvel entertainment.

This was a solid introduction to the God of Thunder, and that final act was pretty solid despite what felt like a low budget final battle against the Destroyer (it wasn't quite as epic as the character deserved, but Marvel Studios was still finding its footing at this point). With a tremendous cast and some strong emotional beats, Thor is by no means bad, and a decent origin story for the hero.

12. Captain Marvel (TIE)

Score: 79%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Packed with action, humor, and visual thrills, Captain Marvel introduces the MCU's latest hero with an origin story that makes effective use of the franchise's signature formula.

As an introduction to Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel definitely works, but it wasn't really as groundbreaking as we expected and the origin story side of things was a tad uninspired despite an unorthodox take on it. However, there was a lot here to love, including some great action scenes, stellar performances, and punch the air moments celebrating this badass, female HERo. 

12. Iron Man 3 (TIE)

Score: 79%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: With the help of its charismatic lead, some impressive action sequences, and even a few surprises, Iron Man 3 is a witty, entertaining adventure and a strong addition to the Marvel canon.

Iron Man 3 is a divisive movie that fans either seem to love or hate. Yes, The Mandarin reveal with "Trevor" was bizarre, but it worked for the tone that Shane Black was going for, and this definitely stands out as the best Iron Man sequel even if it made a handful of blunders. Look past what didn't work, and there's a tonne to enjoy here, including that phenomenal Air Force One sequence.

12. Captain America: The First Avenger (TIE)

Score: 79%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: With plenty of pulpy action, a pleasantly retro vibe, and a handful of fine performances, Captain America is solidly old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment.

With HYDRA given more screentime than the Nazis, Captain America: The First Avenger often bordered on being a generic sci-fi movie as opposed to a World War II epic. Despite that, it was an enjoyable period adventure, but the Red Skull deserved more than just a one-off appearance (beyond becoming the "Stonekeeper"). On the plus side, Chris Evans and Hayley Atwell were excellent here.

12. Black Widow (TIE)


Score: 79%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Black Widow's deeper themes are drowned out in all the action, but it remains a solidly entertaining standalone adventure that's rounded out by a stellar supporting cast.

Hit by multiple delays due to COVID-19, Black Widow finally arrived in theaters last year, and certainly didn't disappoint. Some have argued that the movie wasn't wholly necessary, but after introducing characters like Yelena Belova and Red Guardian, that's a hard point to agree with! A fitting farewell to Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, this arguably deserves a higher score.

11. Ant-Man

Score: 83%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Led by a charming performance from Paul Rudd, Ant-Man offers Marvel thrills on an appropriately smaller scale -- albeit not as smoothly as its most successful predecessors.

Ant-Man was a lot of fun, but it's hard to escape the feeling that the Edgar Wright version would have been so much better (the best moments were reportedly lifted from his screenplay). While Hank Pym not being a founding Avenger was a letdown, Scott Lang was a great character to spend time with and Marvel did a solid job of setting the stage for a new Wasp.

10. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


Score: 84%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: A poignant tribute that satisfyingly moves the franchise forward, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marks an ambitious and emotionally rewarding triumph for the MCU.

While not quite as good as Black Panther, Wakanda Forever is still an emotional and powerful tribute to Chadwick Boseman with terrific performances from its cast (Angela Bassett is, without a shadow of a doubt, Oscar-worthy). Throw in some great work from Letitia Wright and a phenomenal villain in Tenoch Huerta's Namor, and we're very pleased to see this sequel in the Top 10.

9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (TIE)

Score: 85%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's action-packed plot, dazzling visuals, and irreverent humor add up to a sequel that's almost as fun -- if not quite as thrillingly fresh -- as its predecessor.

Expectations were high on James Gunn to deliver the goods with this sequel, and he definitely didn't disappoint. Baby Groot was a hoot to spend time with, but all of the characters were given the chance to shine and the emotional moments were surrounded by one hell of a soundtrack. It's surprising this didn't rate higher, but given what it ties with, there's no denying it was a critical hit! 

9. Avengers: Infinity War (TIE)

Score: 85%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Avengers: Infinity War ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.

Marvel promised that Avengers: Infinity War would celebrate the MCU's tenth anniversary in epic fashion and it most certainly did, providing an incredible team-up between Earth's Mightiest Heroes and the Guardians of the Galaxy as they came together to battle Thanos. Full of surprises, amazing action, and stellar performances, this was Marvel's best...until the sequel came along!

8. Ant-Man and The Wasp

Score: 87%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: A lighter, brighter superhero movie powered by the effortless charisma of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp offers a much-needed MCU palate cleanser.

Ant-Man And The Wasp is a lot of fun and definitely an improvement over the first instalment. However, director Peyton Reed too often plays it safe and while there's a lot of good stuff here, it's not quite enough to put it alongside Marvel's best. Evangeline Lilly finally suiting up was great to see, but it's surprising this score isn't slightly lower based on the underwhelming villain alone!

7. Doctor Strange

Score: 89%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Doctor Strange artfully balances its outré source material against the blockbuster constraints of the MCU, delivering a thoroughly entertaining superhero origin story in the bargain.

Just like Guardians of the Galaxy introduced cosmic adventures to the MCU, Doctor Strange gave us magic. A movie full of breathtaking visuals, this origin story for the Sorcerer Supreme set the stage for the hero to become the new face of the MCU as we barrelled towards Marvel's Phase 4, and while it's a shame Scott Derrickson didn't return for the sequel, Sam Raimi proved to be a terrific replacement. 

6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (TIE)

Score: 90%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Suspenseful and politically astute, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior entry in the Avengers canon and is sure to thrill Marvel diehards.

No one expected too much from the Russo Brothers heading into the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but they delivered in spades here, and gave the franchise the kick up the butt it arguably needed. The story revolving around Steve Rogers and Bucky was extraordinary, and the fight scenes were on par with The Raid. This movie was truly something special. 

6. Spider-Man: Far From Home (TIE)


Score: 90%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: A breezily unpredictable blend of teen romance and superhero action, Spider-Man: Far from Home stylishly sets the stage for the next era of the MCU.

Jon Watts outdid himself with this sequel, and as predictable as that Mysterio twist may have been, Jake Gyllenhaal was clearly having fun as the villain. The visuals were amazing, the action scenes were spectacular, and that mid-credits scene twist was nothing short of mind-blowing, especially with the surprise return of J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson from the Spider-Man franchise.

6. Captain America: Civil War (TIE)

Score: 90%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Captain America: Civil War begins the next wave of Marvel movies with an action-packed superhero blockbuster boasting a decidedly non-cartoonish plot and the courage to explore thought-provoking themes.

Seeing Earth's Mightiest Heroes go to war with each other was nothing short of amazing, even if it didn't quite follow the Civil War comic as much as some fans had hoped. The Russos proved themselves in a big way and it's no wonder Marvel secured them to helm Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame once they were done. To their credit, epic action was coupled with powerful moments.

5. The Avengers (TIE)

Score: 91%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Thanks to a script that emphasizes its heroes' humanity and a wealth of superpowered set pieces, The Avengers lives up to its hype and raises the bar for Marvel at the movies.

Many fans believed that Earth's Mightiest Heroes assembling on the big screen would be impossible, but Joss Whedon pulled it off and introduced a fun new tone to the MCU. The defeat of the Chitauri was a tad convenient, but it's hard to find too many faults with this movie, even if it does feel dated by today's standards. At the time, though, make no mistake about it: this was groundbreaking.

5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (TIE)


Score: 91%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings isn't entirely free of Marvel's familiar formula, but this exciting origin story expands the MCU in more ways than one.

Who could have guessed Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings would be one of Marvel Studios' best movies? It's not that we didn't have faith in all those involved, but like Iron Man before him, Shang-Chi was elevated from his C-List status in the comics to become a true silver screen superhero. A visual delight with a strong emotional core, this was an action-packed stunner of a blockbuster.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy (TIE)

Score: 92%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Guardians of the Galaxy is just as irreverent as fans of the frequently zany Marvel comic would expect -- as well as funny, thrilling, full of heart, and packed with visual splendor.

James Gunn did an incredible job of taking us into the cosmic side of the MCU for the first time, and getting to hang out with Star-Lord and company was a lot of fun. It's just a shame that Ronan the Accuser ended up being another one of those typical Marvel villains who died after his plan failed, but there were so many other great characters and moments, that really didn't matter.

4. Spider-Man: Homecoming (TIE)

Score: 92%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Homecoming does whatever a second reboot can, delivering a colorful, fun adventure that fits snugly in the sprawling MCU without getting bogged down in franchise-building.

Grounding Spider-Man in Queens and keeping him out of Manhattan was definitely disappointing, but the reboot did a great job of introducing a new take on Peter Parker. All that technology in his suit was a tad much (as was Iron Man's recurring presence), but it was needed to provide a fresh take on the iconic hero, especially on the back of those awful Amazing Spider-Man movies.

3. Thor: Ragnarok (TIE)

Score: 93%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Exciting, funny, and above all fun, Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful cosmic adventure that sets a new standard for its franchise -- and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Thor: Ragnarok is hilarious (giving Chris Hemsworth chance to show off his comedic skills), but doesn't hold back on epic action. The Hulk was also reinvented to some extent, and Taika Waititi helped set the stage for what would come next for him this shared world. Throw in Valkyrie, The Grandmaster, and Hela, and there's so much to love, it's no wonder this comes in at third place.

3. Spider-Man: No Way Home (TIE)


Score: 93%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: A bigger, bolder Spider-Man sequel, No Way Home expands the franchise's scope and stakes without losing sight of its humor and heart.

Honestly, we'd rank this higher, but the critics have spoken and third place isn't a bad spot for this spectacular co-production with Sony. An emotional rollercoaster with a career-best performance from Tom Holland, the sight of those three Spider-Men swinging into action was awe-inspiring and iconic, while the return of those villains (particularly Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin) blew us away.

2. Iron Man (TIE)

Score: 94%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Powered by Robert Downey Jr.'s vibrant charm, Iron Man turbo-charges the superhero genre with a deft intelligence and infectious sense of fun.

A true classic which marked the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man remains every bit as enjoyable to watch today as it was over a decade ago. Everything from seeing the suit in action (which was groundbreaking back in 2008) to Robert Downey Jr.'s performance made this very special indeed, and director Jon Favreau's work rightly put him on the map in a major way. 

2. Avengers: Endgame (TIE)

Score: 94%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Exciting, entertaining, and emotionally impactful, Avengers: Endgame does whatever it takes to deliver a satisfying finale to Marvel's epic Infinity Saga.

Wow. When it comes to superhero movies, Avengers: Endgame has set a benchmark, and Marvel's culmination to over a decade's worth of stories simply works in just about every way. The ending is going to sting for a while, but it just felt right, and the Russo Brothers delivered countless moments we'll all be talking about for years to come. However, critics loved this next one more...

1. Black Panther 

Score: 96%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories -- and introducing some of its most fully realized characters.

What a movie. This remains arguably Marvel's most important release, and it delivered a strong, inspirational message which everyone could relate to. Throw in one of the best Marvel Studios villains ever and an engaging story, and this one was firing on all cylinders. It's no wonder it received so much awards attention, but what a shame it didn't win the big one at the Oscars last year.

Rest in Power, Chadwick Boseman.

BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER Officially Put Forward For Best Picture Oscar Consideration

BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER Officially Put Forward For Best Picture Oscar Consideration

BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER Concept Art Shows Alternate Namor Designs And Final Ironheart Armor Design
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