With all the movies the MCU has made, some were bound to be duds; these are the worst Marvel movies made (so far).
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been Hollywood’s biggest tentpole for the past 16 years, and in that time, the studio has released some pretty good movies, making the MCU the highest-grossing film franchise ever with more than $28 billion in revenue. But, in the last decade and a half, the franchise has also released a few duds. With 31 movies released in total, they can’t all be good, and we’ve collected the worst in the bunch, according to the reviews—here are the 10 worst Marvel movies:
10. Doctor Strange (2016)
Coming in at number 10, 2016’s Doctor Strange introduced us to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Marvel character who would go on to become a major player in End Game and beyond. While Doctor Strange is on this list, it isn’t even close to the worst Marvel movie, it just isn’t the best either.
The film was released to generally favorable reviews, most of which applauded the film for its trippy visual effects and thought that Cumberbatch was cast perfectly as the titular character. However, many critics believed that this origin story lacked in the narrative department, believing the film to simply be recycled from old and overused tropes. Despite the film’s criticisms, Doctor Strange was a major box office success and brought in $677.8 million worldwide on a budget of $236.6 million.
9. Iron Man 3 (2013)
The moment that Robert Downey Jr. was cast in 2007’s Iron Man, the world changed. Not only did the film resurrect Downey Jr.’s career and create an incredible comeback story for one of the world’s greatest actors who had sadly previously been beaten down by addiction, but the film was also the catalyst to what would become Hollywood’s most successful franchise. It’s just a shame that Downey Jr.’s Iron Man standalone movies had to end on such a low note with Iron Man 3.
Although the film was a massive box office success and brought in over $1.2 billion dollars on a $200 budget, the film arguably didn’t deserve half of that. Likely, the high success rate of the movie was that Iron Man 3 was the first follow-up film after The Avengers, but the movie really failed to deliver on what it promised. Stephen Whitty of The Star-Ledger said it best when he said, “[T]here’s something empty about the film. Like Tony’s suits, it’s shiny and polished. But this time, there’s nobody inside.”
Like Doctor Strange, Iron Man 3 relied on flashy effects but lacked good storytelling, which is why it is one of the worst Marvel movies.
8. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
The Ant-Man movies have never been among the favorites of fans of the MCU, so it’s no surprise that two of Ant-Man’s movies are on this Worst Marvel Movies list. After Ant-Man received mixed reviews, hopes were iffy when it came to the sequel. Fans and critics generally favored Paul Rudd’s portrayal of Scott Lang/Ant-Man and agreed that his charming and down-to-earth personality was enough to keep viewers entertained throughout the entire two-hour movie, despite the many filler subplots and plotholes.
Again, Ant-Man and the Wasp was praised for its special effects but panned for its story (is there a theme here?). However, the general consensus agreed that while Ant-Man and the Wasp would never be an award-winning movie, it’s a fun popcorn flick to have on in the background or while passing time.
7. Captain Marvel (2019)
Some MCU fans decided that Captain Marvel would be one of the worst Marvel movies before they ever even saw the feature, simply because it was a superhero film that starred a woman. Because of this, the film was review bombed by online trolls who used bots to create thousands of negative reviews. However, even when the anti-feminists were taken out of the mix, Captain Marvel was still seen as an average movie.
Some critics hailed Brie Larson’s acting and found the film funny and, again, praised the Marvel movie’s special effects. Others found the film to be mundane and just another superhero movie in a long line of superhero movies (was superhero fatigue already beginning to show up in 2019?) with nothing special to set it apart from the other hits in the mega-franchise.
6. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
It used to be a rule that sequels never fared as well as the original movies, and unfortunately, Avengers: Age of Ultron followed this now-outdated trend as it wasn’t just a sad followup to Avengers, but it is also one of the worst Marvel movies made. The biggest flaw in Age of Ultron was that it was simply just a forgettable film.
Like a good popcorn flick should, Age of Ultron sold a bunch of tickets. In fact, the film made over a billion dollars at the box office, topping at $1.4 billion worldwide as fans everywhere raced to see the second Avengers movie. But once audiences left the theaters after sitting through two and a half hours of action, few could remember what the movie was actually about.
5. Thor (2011)
The movie that introduced Chris Hemsworth to the MCU was released in 2011 to mixed reviews. While most loved Hemsworth’s funny and charming performance as the God of Thunder, many were disappointed by the story, which got rather boring during Thor’s stint on Earth.
Overall, fans and critics were torn on whether they liked the film for the actors in it (including Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, and Idris Elba) and the captivating action scenes or hated it because they found the special effects lackluster and the story dull. Either way, Thor is now regarded as one of the worst Marvel movies.
4. Iron Man 2 (2010)
When Iron Man was released, it changed the game for comic book movies. Iron Man told the story of a confident superhero who didn’t feel the need to change or redeem himself, or even keep his identity a secret. It was fresh and new; the sequel, however, was not.
While overall, Iron Man 2 received mixed reviews, many felt that it was just an okay movie, but nothing as earth-shattering as its predecessor. Basically, it was meh. Fans continued to love Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark (arguably, he is the very best part of the MCU), and the action sequences in the movie were thrilling enough, but the film lacked emotional depth, and the storyline was critiqued for being misguided and jumbled.
3. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
With the introduction to Phase 5 came utter disappointment from fans as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is without a doubt one of the worst Marvel movies to be spit out from comic book studio. The third Ant-Man film is further proof that superhero fatigue is real—people are tired of seeing the same thing over and over again.
Quantumania was panned for lacking the same fun and adventure that earlier Marvel movies did so well. The newest Marvel feature also lacked a decent story, but it didn’t have the impressive special features to make up for it. In fact, the only thing good about the movie that critics could find was Jonathan Majors’ performance as the new villain, Kang the Conquerer, praising Majors for bringing nuance and subtlety to the character.
Unfortunately, Majors is currently facing legal trouble for allegedly committing domestic abuse, so depending on how that turns out, the only good thing about Quantumania might be replaced for good.
Eternals has the honor of being listed as the first of the worst Marvel movies to be given a Rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning that less than 60 percent of the reviews for the movie were positive. Critics claimed that Eternals was an ambitious superhero flick that just didn’t hit the height that it was trying to soar. The majority of filmgoers and critics agreed that while the performances of the cast (led by Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, and Lia McHugh) were fairly decent, the overall plot of the movie was illogical nonsense.
1. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
And the award for the worst Marvel movie thus far goes to… Thor: The Dark World. The sequel to the already terrible Thor franchise lacked entirely in character motivation as well as character development. Pretty much the entire film was used as a ladder to get the fans to understand the Infinity Stones plotline that Phase 2 was setting up.
Overall, Thor: The Dark World is not only considered the worst Marvel movie but also one of the worst movies ever made. The only thing that saved this potential franchise murderer was the performances of Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth, which were charismatic enough to keep the pair in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- GFR Score calculated using averages of audience and critical reactions across multiple platforms.