Summary

  • Some divisive MCU movies, like Iron Man 3 and Spider-Man: Homecoming, still make a billion dollars despite criticism from fans.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron received mixed reviews, with fans finding the villain and romance storylines underwhelming, but it still had great comedic and heartfelt moments.
  • Captain Marvel faced review-bombing from misogynistic haters, but it still earned over a billion dollars at the box office.


With a track record of box office hits, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have high expectations when it comes to their superhero content. The influx of quality Marvel content in the last decade has made fans quite picky, and the ever-growing fanbase constantly debates about which MCU movies and TV shows are the best or underrated.

Movies cause infighting among MCU fans for many reasons, such as issues with fan service, weak villains, or lackluster direction. However, many supposedly divisive MCU movies still make a billion dollars, as many fans watch most movies before critiquing them. Some people claim that the MCU has dropped off in terms of quality, but there have always been movies that divide fans.


10 Iron Man 3 Made a Joke of the Mandarin

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark on the poster for Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

Release Date
May 3, 2013

Director
Shane Black

Cast
Robert Downey Jr. , gwyneth paltrow , Don Cheadle , Guy Pearce

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
130 minutes

Studio
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel Pictures

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Since the MCU has numerous films and TV shows, some actors and their talents get overlooked in the superhero franchise.

Box Office

Rotten Tomatoes Score

$1.215 Billion

79%

The final installment of the Iron Man trilogy was epic and bittersweet, especially when Tony Stark aka Iron Man throws his once life-saving Arc Reactor in the ocean, but its villains underwhelmed many Marvel fans. In the comics, The Mandarin is a formidable foe and leader of the Ten Rings, but in Iron Man 3, Stark finds out that the feared Mandarin is just a puppet for Aldrich Killian played by an actor called Trevor.

The longevity of the MCU made it so that Marvel Studios was able to correct the Iron Man 3 Mandarin mistake eight years later in Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Obviously, at the time of the third Iron Man movie, fans (and even Marvel itself) had no idea that redemption was possible, making the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 seem very unfulfilling. If there is one thing Marvel fans (and any comic book fans really) hate, it’s a lack of comic accuracy.

9 Spider-Man: Homecoming Had Some Calling Peter Parker “Iron Man Jr.”

Spider-Man Homecoming Film Poster

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.

Release Date
July 7, 2017

Director
Jon Watts

Cast
Tom Holland , Zendaya , Robert Downey Jr. , Marisa Tomei , Jon Favreau , Jacob Batalon , Michael Keaton , Laura Harrier

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
133 minutes

Main Genre
Superhero

Genres
Superhero , Action , Adventure , Sci-Fi , Comedy , Drama

Box Office

Rotten Tomatoes Score

$880.2 Million

92%

Spider-Man‘s first solo adventure in the MCU had many Marvel fans very excited, especially after his unforgettable introduction to the cinematic universe in Captain America: Civil War. Spider-Man: Homecoming was generally well-received at the time, with a chilling plot twist, unique fight sequences, and Spidey’s trademark humor. The movie is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and Tom Holland is well-liked as Spider-Man.

However, some Marvel fans complained that the wall-crawler had too much help from his mentor, Iron Man. Audiences were used to seeing Spider-Man movies where the webhead was on his own with only his brainpower and skill to rely on. Homecoming broke this pattern; Stark not only mentored Peter Parker but also gifted him a sweet suit with a built-in AI. Many fans thought this was too far, calling Holland’s Spider-Man an “Iron Man Jr.” Others praised the advanced suit, claiming it made Spider-Man’s monologuing feel more natural since he had an AI to bounce off of. Either way, the movie still made almost a billion dollars.

8 Avengers: Age of Ultron Was a Mixed Bag

Avengers- Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron

When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it’s up to Earth’s mightiest heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plan.

Release Date
May 1, 2015

Director
Joss Whedon

Cast
Robert Downey Jr. , Chris Evans , Scarlett Johansson , Mark Ruffalo , Chris Hemsworth , Don Cheadle , Elizabeth Olsen , Paul Bettany

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
2 hours 21 minutes

Writers
Joss Whedon , Stan Lee , Jack Kirby

Producer
Kevin Feige

Production Company
Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures.

Studio(s)
Marvel Studios

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Box Office

Rotten Tomatoes Score

$1.4 Billion

76%

All four Avengers movies have grossed over $1 billion, but the most divisive is certainly Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s also the lowest-rated Avengers film on Rotten Tomatoes with 76% whereas the other three range from 85–94%. In comparison to the other team-up movies, Ultron as a villain was not nearly as strong as Loki or Thanos, both of whom are memorable and cunning opponents. Many fans thought Ultron’s plans were convoluted, and the romance between Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner felt a little forced and rushed.

Despite its downfalls, Age of Ultron has some great comedic and heartfelt moments; Marvel fans everywhere still quote Steve Rogers’ hilarious “Language!” remark at the beginning of the movie. However, fans also criticized the almost unnecessary death of Pietro Maximoff via bullets, especially when compared to the incredible speedster scenes with Quicksilver in the X-Men movies. Age of Ultron has many ups and downs but still pulled in a lot of fans.

7 Captain Marvel Suffered from Review-Bombers

Carol Danvers with a blue and red background on the poster for Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel

Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Release Date
March 8, 2019

Director
Anna Boden , Ryan Fleck

Cast
Brie Larson , Samuel L. Jackson , Jude Law , Clark Gregg , Djimon Hounsou , Gemma Chan , Ben Mendelsohn , Lashana Lynch

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
123 minutes

Main Genre
Superhero

Writers
Anna Boden , Ryan Fleck , Geneva Robertson-Dworet

Studio
Marvel

Box Office

Rotten Tomatoes Score

$1.1 Billion

79%

Captain Marvel has one of the largest audience/critics divides on Rotten Tomatoes, sitting at a 34% difference: the critics rated it 79% while the audience rated it 45%. Captain Marvel was subject to “review-bombing,” a practice where haters band together to leave terrible reviews of a movie based on one specific aspect. Review-bombing usually happens to movies that have women or people of color in lead roles.

Captain Marvel is a perfectly average movie for the MCU, with its trademark humor and a fun duo in Carol Danvers and Nick Fury, but misogynists forced the audience score down to the forties simply because this was the first solo female-led MCU movie. The review-bombers were not able to stop the $1 billion that Captain Marvel was able to bring home.

6 Thor: Love and Thunder Was Not Taika’s Best Thor Movie

Thor: Love and Thunder poster

Thor: Love and Thunder

Chris Hemsworth’s Thor returns in Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder.

Release Date
July 8, 2022

Director
Taika Waititi

Cast
Chris Hemsworth , Tessa Thompson , Natalie Portman , Christian Bale , Russell Crowe , Taika Waititi , Karen Gillan , Matt Damon , ​Chris Pratt2 , Melissa McCarthy , Jaimie Alexander , Sean Gunn , Luke Hemsworth , Sam Neill

Main Genre
Superhero

Genres
Superhero

Writers
Taika Waititi , Jennifer Kaytin Robinson

Studio
Marvel Studios

Franchise
Marvel Cinematic Universe

Related

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One of the most iconic Avengers, Thor the God of Thunder has starred in some of the most epic scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Box Office

Rotten Tomatoes Score

$790 Million

63%

After the fun and fresh Thor: Ragnarok, fans expected the second Taika Waititi-led Thor movie to be just as charming. However, many thought Thor: Love and Thunder fell short of the high bar set by Ragnarok. Where Hela was an imposing villain with just enough backstory, Gorr the God Butcher was underused and not as terrifying. Despite one captivating black-and-white fight sequence, Gorr does not have a lot to do on-screen, and fans complained about a lack of actual god-butchering. Fans wanted more from Gorr, especially since he was played by Academy Award-winning actor Christian Bale.

Where the humor in Ragnarok was on just the right side between funny and annoying, many thought that Love and Thunder went too far with the screaming goats. Additionally, like many recent Marvel movies, Love and Thunder suffered from substandard CGI. Despite all these shortcomings, many people still had a good time with the lighthearted movie and its hopeful message.

5 Black Widow Came Too Late

Natasha Romanoff and the cast on the poster for Black Widow

Black Widow

Natasha Romanoff confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises.

Release Date
July 9, 2021

Director
Cate Shortland

Cast
Scarlett Johansson , Florence Pugh , Rachel Weisz , David Harbour

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
134 minutes

Main Genre
Action

Writers
Eric Pearson , Jac Schaeffer , Ned Benson

Box Office

Rotten Tomatoes Score

$379 Million

79%

The long overdue solo movie for Scarlett Johanssen’s Black Widow was released a decade after her character was introduced in the MCU and after Black Widow sacrificed herself in Avengers: Endgame. The movie was good, but many fans argue that it would have been much better if it had been released much earlier, perhaps in 2016, when the movie was set. Some people also thought the villain, Taskmaster, had an underwhelming reveal and did not pose as much of a threat as possible.

Black Widow’s box office may seem low compared to other MCU movies, but it did well for being a movie released during the pandemic. Many fans delighted in the spunky new character, Yelena Belova, Natasha Romanoff’s (adopted) younger sister. Fans also finally got an answer to what happened in Budapest, though it was a little more depressing than fans theorized. Many fans agree that Black Widow is a solid movie, but it seems to get easily lost in the vast array of movies in the MCU.

4 Eternals Was Underwhelming

The cast on the poster for Marvel's Eternals

Eternals

The saga of the Eternals, a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilizations.

Release Date
November 5, 2021

Director
Chloé Zhao

Cast
Angelina Jolie , Gemma Chan , Richard Madden , Salma Hayek , Kit Harington , Kumail Nanjiani , Lia McHugh , Brian Tyree Henry

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
156 minutes

Main Genre
Superhero

Genres
Action , Adventure , Fantasy , Superhero

Writers
Chloé Zhao , Patrick Burleigh , Ryan Firpo

Box Office

Rotten Tomatoes Score

$402 Million

47%

Though a beautifully shot movie by the award-winning director Chloé Zhao, Eternals was one of the first MCU movies to receive a rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie strayed away from many superhero norms and its tone was more melancholic with less of the trademark Marvel humor. These decisions were not wrong ones, but fans of the MCU had come to expect a certain brand of movie.

Many fans disliked that the movie diverged from the “Marvel Formula” that had worked well in the past, while others praised its departure from the average MCU movie. Eternals defenders discuss the fresh choice to depict the speedster, Makkari, in real-time as opposed to slow motion. Fans also enjoyed the adorable relationship between Makkari and Druig. The movie has its strengths and weaknesses, but with its slower pace and a massive cast of new characters, Eternals is certainly Marvel Studios’ black sheep.

3 The Marvels Was the MCU’s First Flop

The Marvels Film Poster

The Marvels

Carol Danvers gets her powers entangled with those of Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, forcing them to work together to save the universe.

Release Date
November 10, 2023

Director
Nia DaCosta

Cast
Brie Larson , Samuel L. Jackson , Iman Vellani , Zawe Ashton

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
1 Hour 45 Minutes

Main Genre
Action

Writers
Nia DaCosta , Megan McDonnell , Elissa Karasik

Production Company
Marvel Studios, The Walt Disney Company

Box Office

Rotten Tomatoes Score

$205.8 Million

83%

Despite its upbeat tone and fun characters, The Marvels has just become the lowest-grossing MCU movie to date. The movie fell prey to what many are calling “superhero fatigue” and it just did not have the pull to draw audiences into theaters. The movie also received some leftover backlash from Captain Marvel with some people calling it “too woke.” Dedicated Marvel fans seemed to enjoy The Marvels, but not even the 83% Rotten Tomatoes score was enough to motivate everyone to go see it.

Unfortunately, the main conversation around The Marvels was its lack of progress at the box office. Marvel fans were split between a desire to wait for the movie to stream on Disney+ or stuck in the position of having to defend why they went to theaters to watch it. Fans who did enjoy the movie praised Iman Vellani’s energetic performance as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel.

2 Spider-Man: No Way Home Was Fan Service Galore

Spider-Man: No Way Home poster

Spider-Man: No Way Home

With Spider-Man’s identity now revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.

Release Date
December 17, 2021

Director
Jon Watts

Cast
Tom Holland , Zendaya , Benedict Cumberbatch , Jacob Batalon , Jon Favreau , Jamie Foxx , Willem Dafoe , Alfred Molina , Benedict Wong , Tony Revolori , Marisa Tomei , Andrew Garfield , Tobey Maguire

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
148 Minutes

Main Genre
Superhero

Genres
Superhero , Action , Adventure

Writers
Chris McKenna , Erik Sommers

Studio
Sony Pictures

Franchise
Marvel Cinematic Universe

Box Office
1.9 Billion

Prequel
Spider-Man: Far From Home

Cinematographer
Mauro Fiore

Producer
Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal

Production Company
Columbia Pictures, Marvel Studios, Sony Pictures

Budget
$200 Million

Box Office

Rotten Tomatoes Score

$1.9 Billion

93%

All three Spider-Man movies in the MCU have performed well, with both Spider-Man: Far From Home and No Way Home making over a billion dollars. All three movies also score 90% or above on Rotten Tomatoes. No Way Home is the latest live-action Spider-Man movie, and it was one of the most anticipated movies of 2021 with rumors that Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire would cameo. Fans were thrilled to see their old favorites on screen as Spider-Man again, and the Peter Parker team-up was a lot of fun. Audience reactions in theaters rivaled those of Endgame in levels of enthusiasm.

Once the high of seeing all three Spideys onscreen together wore off, some fans were quick to note that No Way Home was a movie made to be watched in theaters. Watching it alone is not the same, especially when both Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire first appear. They seem to pause as if waiting for the audience’s cheers to die down before continuing the scene. Some people also questioned the fact that Spider-Man was able to so easily defeat Doctor Strange, a hero proven to be hard to beat. However, the majority of fans seem to enjoy the callbacks, jokes, and heartfelt moments in No Way Home.

1 Captain America: Civil War Divided More Than Just Heroes

The Avengers face off against each other on the poster for Captain America Civil War

Captain America: Civil War

Political involvement in the Avengers’ affairs causes a rift between Captain America and Iron Man.

Release Date
May 6, 2016

Director
Anthony Russo , Joe Russo

Cast
Chris Evans , Robert Downey Jr. , Scarlett Johansson , Anthony Mackie , Sebastian Stan

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
147 minutes

Main Genre
Superhero

Writers
Christopher Markus , Stephen McFeely , Joe Simon , Jack Kirby

Related

10 Harsh Realities Of Rewatching Phase 1 Of The MCU

The MCU’s first phase helped launch one of the biggest franchises in cinematic history, but looking back, it’s the MCU’s weakest film group.

Box Office

Rotten Tomatoes Score

$1.15 Billion

91%

Team Cap or Team Iron Man? That was the question for MCU fans in 2016 with the release of Civil War. The Russo Brothers directed the final installment of the Captain America trilogy, a highly anticipated release where fans saw just how much internal conflict the Sokovia Accords caused.

Some fans were busy debating which side was right, but others debated about the movie as a whole. While Baron Zemo was a compelling villain, many pointed out how complex and unstable his plan was. A lot of little things had to conveniently go right for his success, such as the camera in the exact right position that caught footage of Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier taking the lives of Tony Stark’s parents. Additionally, some fans argued that Civil War felt less like a Captain America movie and more like an Avengers outing. Despite these criticisms, the movie was a box office hit and everyone cheered when Spider-Man debuted in the MCU.



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