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13 Amazing Tomatometer Stats for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Which phase ranks best? Which character is Freshest? When did Marvel hit a rough patch? We break it down.

by | May 5, 2022 | Comments

Marvel Studios

(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has come a long way since Robert Downey Jr. denied Jeff Bridges a Burger King cheeseburger in 2008’s Iron Man. The relatively grounded film about a well-groomed “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” in an iron suit paved the way for gods, titans, trash pandas, time travel and endless multiverse dimensions to exist within one shared cinematic universe. Now, with Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness being released into theaters, audiences will witness a film about a well-groomed sorcerer interacting with zombies(?), multiple dimensions, and the X-Man himself, Charles Xavier (if the trailer is to be believed). The MCU has expanded into an empire that even Thanos couldn’t destroy, and we wanted to celebrate it with some stats.

In honor of Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and in preparation for a new wave of heroes taking over in the MCU, we’ve done a Tomatometer deep dive into the 44 films and shows that make up the four phases of the MCU so far. The result? Thirteen fascinating – we hope! – stats about the MCU, covering every one of the Marvel Studios films and shows released since 2008. Dig in below, and let us know in the comments whether you agree or disagree with the Tomatometer’s findings.


1. The Average Tomatometer and Audience Scores for the Entire MCU Are Nearly Identical

(Photo by Zade Rosenthal/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Average Audience Score: 81.88% | Average Tomatometer Score: 81.84%

The average Audience Score for every MCU film and show is 81.88%, while the average Tomatometer score is 81.84% — that is some consistency right there! The nearly identical scores are almost unheard of with individual films on Rotten Tomatoes, let alone when averaging out scores across 44 movies and TV series. Critics and fans: Assemble!


2. The Disney+ Series Have the Highest Tomatometer and Audience Score Averages

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in WandaVision

(Photo by ©Disney+/Marvel Studios)

In 2008, the MCU kicked off with Iron Man, which earned a 94% on the Tomatometer. In 2013, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuted on the ABC network and earned a 95% on the Tomatometer. In 2015, Daredevil made its debut on Netflix and scored 89%. On January 15th, 2021, WandaVision continued the trend of critically acclaimed debuts when it premiered on Disney+ to the tune of 91% on the Tomatometer and began a run of shows on the streamer that currently boasts a 90.3% Tomatometer and 90.1% Audience Score average. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…?, Hawkeye, and Moon Knight have all impressed both audiences and critics, and together they have a higher critic and audience score average than the theatrically-released movies, Netflix shows, and other series released on ABC, Hulu and Freeform.

Tomatometer Averages

  • Disney+ Series: 90.3%
  • Theatrical Films: 83.5%
  • Netflix Series: 73.5%
  • ABC/Hulu/Freeform: 72.8%

Audience Score Averages

  • Disney+ Series: 90.1%
  • Theatrical Films: 83.7%
  • Netflix Series: 76.6%
  • ABC/Hulu/Freeform: 69.4%

*Note: The 2020 Hulu series Helstrom was not included in this data


3. The Spider-Man Films Have the Highest Tomatometer and Audience Score Average of Any of the Individual MCU Franchises

Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming

(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/©Columbia Pictures)

When Spider-Man: Homecoming swung into theaters in 2017, audiences and critics immediately fell in love with the characters played by Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Marissa Tomei, Michael Keaton, Tony Revolori, Hannibal Buress, and Martin Starr. Since then, Spider-Man: Far From Home and Spider-Man: No Way Home exceeded sequel expectations by earning 90% and 94% Tomatometer scores and grossing more than three billion at the worldwide box office. It’s a behemoth franchise that, according to our numbers, might be the most successful movie franchise ever.

Franchise Tomatometer Averages (min. 3 films)

  1. Spider-Man (3 films): 91.6%
  2. Avengers (4 films): 86.5%
  3. Captain America (3 films): 86.3%
  4. Iron Man (3 films): 81.6%
  5. Thor (3 films): 78.6%

4. 12 MCU Titles Have Tomatometer and Audience Scores at or above 90%

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

The 90/90 club is an exclusive place to be, and it’s impressive that 12 Marvel movies and shows released since 2008 have made the list. Five of the 12 properties have been released since 2021, which is impressive because it means the folks at the MCU aren’t coasting on the immense popularity that comes from creating excellent content since 2008. Kudos to 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home for having the highest overall average with an outstanding 95.5% Audience Score and Tomatometer average.

  1. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2022) – TM: 93%, AS: 98%
  2. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) – TM: 91%, AS: 98%
  3. What If…? (2021) – TM: 94%, AS: 94%
  4. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-2020) – TM: 95%, AS: 91%
  5. Iron Man (2008) – TM: 94%, AS: 91%
  6. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – TM: 90%, AS: 95%
  7. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – TM: 92%, AS: 92%
  8. Avengers: Endgame (2019) – TM: 94%, AS: 90%
  9. Loki (2021) – TM: 92%, AS: 91%
  10. Hawkeye (2021) – TM: 92%, AS: 91%
  11. The Avengers (2012) – TM: 91%, AS: 91%
  12. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2021) – TM: 90%, AS: 92%

5. Black Panther Is the Tomatometer King

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther in Black Panther

(Photo by Matt Kennedy/©Marvel Studios)

If we look at the Tomatometer averages for heroes who have been in at least four MCU movies and shows, they don’t get any better than T’Challa’s 91.25% Tomatometer average. He has appeared in Captain America: Civil War (90%), Black Panther (96%), Avengers: Infinity War (85%), and Avengers: Endgame (94%). Also, after adding in his appearance in the 94% Tomatometer-rated What If…?, his average goes up to 91.8%. RIP Chadwick Boseman — you are missed.


6. The Worst Tomatometer Run of the MCU Happened All the Way in the Beginning

(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)

Nowadays, after all of the Tomatometer success the MCU has enjoyed, it’s hard to believe that the early stretch between 2008 and 2012 of The Incredible Hulk (67%),  Iron Man 2 (73%), and Thor (77%) all failed to muster Tomatometer scores above 80%. The scores they did earn aren’t bad at all, but by modern MCU standards, they’re a little underwhelming. We can’t be too rough on these films though, because the MCU was still in Phase One, and the next films released were Captain America: The First Avenger (Certified Fresh at 79%) and The Avengers (Certified Fresh at 92%).


7. There Are Only Three Rotten MCU Titles

Finn Jones in Marvel's Iron Fist

(Photo by Patrick Harbron/©Netflix)

We’re not highlighting this stat to say anything negative about these three properties, necessarily; it’s just important to note that of the 44 total shows and movies released since 2008, only three are Rotten. The Eternals (47%) and Inhumans (11%) were both criticized for their large casts, soapy melodrama, and dull narratives. Netflix’s much maligned Iron Fist actually improved from its first to second season, going from 20% to 55% on the Tomatometer for an overall average of 37%, which shows it was trending in the right direction before it was canceled. It took nine years for any title in the franchise to be judged Rotten — that’s super impressive, and let’s hope the future remains Fresh.


 

8. Third Films in Individual Franchises Have the Highest Tomatometer Average

(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)

Captain America: Civil War (91%), Thor: Ragnarok (92%), Iron Man 3 (79%), and Avengers: Infinity War (85%), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (94%) boast an excellent 88% Tomatometer average. That would be impressive enough on its own, but compared to the 82.5% and 80.8% averages for first and second franchise films in the MCU, it proves that the third time’s a charm — at least, according to the Tomatometer. We’ll have to wait and see if Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will continue that trend.


9. Critics and Audiences Prefer MCU Films That Are over Two Hours

Airport battle from Captain America: Civil War

(Photo by ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

More is more in the MCU: The 22 movies in the collection that run longer than 2 hours have a much higher Tomatometer average than their five under-120-minute counterparts (86.7% compared to 76.6%). It’s a coincidence, but it’s worth noting that The Incredible Hulk (67%) and Thor: The Dark World (67%) are the lowest Tomatometer-rated movies and both have 112-minute running times. Good omen: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is 126 minutes long.


10. MCU Movies with Human Villains Have the Highest Tomatometer Average

(Photo by © Marvel / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Human Villains: 86.7% | Enhanced Humans: 84.1% | Non-Humans: 80.8%

Unlike MCU movies involving villainous gods or bad guys who turn themselves into wild creatures, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Black Widow all feature human villains who don’t have special powers (to begin with) and work on the fringes in order to implement their plans. Critics seem to like this approach. Perhaps these villains connect because of their relatable, human motivations — Black Panther’s Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) wants to right worldly wrongs, Civil War’s Zemo (Daniel Brühl) seeks revenge, Michael Keaton’s Vulture is after his version of the American Dream, and no one is getting in his way. Hela (Cate Blanchett), on the other hand, wants to rule the universe, which probably doesn’t relate to a whole lot of film critics.


11. Phase Three Has the Highest Tomatometer Average of the MCU

(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)

It’s kind of crazy that the 11 films that make up Phase Three of the MCU have an average Tomatometer score of 89%. After two phases, the creative team at Marvel was able to fine-tune its formula to the point where the lowest score of the Phase Three movies belongs to the Certified  Fresh Captain Marvel, at 79%. The highest score belongs to the wildly popular Black Panther (96%). Phase One has an average Tomatometer of 80%, Phase Two’s average is 81%, and although Phase Four’s current average is 85.2%, we’ve still got a long way to go.


12. MCU Titles with At Least Five Heroes Teaming Up Average a Lower Tomatometer Average than Their Lone-Wolf Counterparts

The Avengers attack in Avengers: Endgame

(Photo by ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

With the four Avengers films, Captain America: Civil War, and the Guardians of the Galaxy movies kicking around, it’s hard to believe that team-up movies have a lower Tomatometer average (78%) than the ones that don’t feature large squads (83.18%). Part of the blame can fall on Eternals and Inhumans, but the victory was won by movies and shows like Iron Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther, WandaVision, and Hawkeye. It’s great to see all the characters we love come together, but that comes with a lot of responsibility to give them all something to do.


13. Tony Stark = Box Office Gold

(Photo by Industrial Light & Magic/©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection)

So, this isn’t a Tomatometer stat, but it’s damn impressive. Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man character may not have the highest Tomatometer or box office average, but from 2008 to 2019, the nine films Downey appeared in (not counting post-credit cameos) made $12.2 billion dollars. Audiences love his take on Tony Stark, and his appearances in non-Iron Man specific movies always guarantee success. Is there any other actor or hero who could do the same for the MCU going forward? Only time will tell, though Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is doing a pretty bang-up job of that at the moment.


Note: Calculations based on Tomatometer and Audience Scores as of May 3, 2022.


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters May 6, 2022.

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