When the Marvel Cinematic Universe first landed back in 2008 with Iron Man, no one could have foreseen that within 14 years the franchise would have quickly overtaken multi-film franchises such as James Bond in terms of quantity (which even then was 21-film strong!).
Even on Disney + shows like WandaVision (2020), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2020), Loki (2020), and Hawkeye (2020) has already impressed fans. In the meantime Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) marks MCU’s first crossover with other studies’ Marvel films.
With 27 films to its name, MCU is one of the most impressive franchises. And 2022 looks just as busy Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) to be published.
The MCU has given us some really good contributions, with e.g. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and Spider-Man: No Way Home be among the best. But have it all been so amazing?
As with any movie franchise, the MCU is not immune to its fair share of stinkers. And though some of its worst records are not to bad, we would be lying if we said there are not some we wish we could make disappear with a flick of the finger!
Then get Infinity Gauntlet ready, because here are the seven worst movies in MCU (so far) …
The amazing Hulk (2008)
If we were talking about MCU movies that stand out like a sore thumb, The amazing Hulk (2008) would be at the top of the list. We are not suggesting that this is one of the worst because it plays Edward Norton and not Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner, or that the Hulk looks completely different, but the fact is that it does not really feel like it is part of the MCU.
On the other hand, The amazing Hulk can be enjoyed on its own merits, and is certainly more entertaining than Ang-Lee’s Hulk (2003). Nevertheless, besides watching the Hulk smash things up and throw down with Abomination (Tim Roth) in the third act, MCU’s second contribution leaves much to be desired. However, the secret ending with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) is pretty cool.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Follow up Iron Man (2008) would never be an easy task, even if the original itself is not a flawless film (amazing, of course, but it would set the stage for things to come in terms of MCU’s overwhelming number of generic villains). And while Iron Man 2 (2010) is hardly terrible, it’s still one of the worst MCU movies to date.
Director Jon Favreau returns to the director’s chair as Tony Stark faces a new threat in the form of Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash. Iron Man 2 gets some things right as it introduces Natasha Romanoff AKA Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) while Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer is pretty funny. Unfortunately, it’s all a bit of a mess, and a huge downgrade from the first movie.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
The first round of sequels to the original set of Phase One MCU movies did not get off to a really good start (with the exception of 2014’s Captain America: Winter Soldierof course), with Thor: The Dark World (2013) are broadly in line with the previous year Iron Man 2. But two words not often used to describe Iron Man sequels are ‘boring’ and ‘boring’.
The dark world however, has a few redemptive features where the chemistry between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is one of them. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), however, feels completely redundant, while Malekith the Cursed (Christopher Eccelston) is such a forgettable villain that you would probably forget to include him on such a list.
Related: All 4 ‘Ghostbusters’ movies ranked from worst to best
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Another MCU juggernaut that was hard to follow up was Marvel’s Avengers (2012), or Marvel’s Avengers Assembly, as it is also known. In retrospect, the first excursion to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes pales in comparison to e.g. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame, but at the time, it was a movie that had never been seen before.
Joss Whedon returned to lead the much-anticipated follow-up, Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), but unfortunately the sequel lacks the charm of its predecessor (where the titular villain is just as dull), while also wearing shoe horns in more characters than it can handle. One of the few positive things, though, is that the story would pave the way Captain America: Civil War.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), the tenth MCU film at the time of release, was a surprising hit, but it was the first in the series whose source material was very unclear (which apparently is no longer the case). Today we can not remember a time when we were not familiar with people like Groot (Vin Diesel), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)!
Despite high expectations, James Gunn’s sequel is nowhere near as refined or as nicely packaged as the first film, and it’s trying too hard to make a call. The original, along with its infectious soundtrack, was lightning in a bottle, and it’s clear to see that they were trying to catch the same bolt again with Guardians of the Galaxy bind. 2 (2017), but just kept missing.
Captain Marvel (2019)
Let it be said that when it comes to some of the movies on this list, we do not necessarily think they are bad in itself – just the worst thing about MCU. Something has to go to the bottom, right? Well, the same can be said about Captain Marvel (2019), which perhaps due to lots of controversy surrounding Brie Larson (Carol Danvers) at the time was a film many wished to fail.
But even if an actor damages the success of a film, it has very little to do with the quality of the film itself. In this case, Captain Marvel is not one Total disaster, but it is easily one of the most generic MCU movies of all. An impressively outdated Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) is fun to watch, but the titular superhero can not quite choose between charismatic or stoic.
Although we have not listed these movies in any particular order, Eternal (2021) definitely deserves the top spot (or bottom, no matter how you choose to look at it). The 26th film in the MCU series boasts one enormous cast, which includes Angelina Jolie (Thena), Salma Hayek (Ajak) and Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo). But if you have not yet seen the movie, do not be fooled.
Eternal definitely breaks new ground for the MCU as it is considered something of a flop within the franchise. And it’s really no surprise – boring, bloated, distracted and generic, Chloé Zhao’s Eternal one of the most unbearably-boring superhero movies imaginable, with characters who seem both tired and uninspired. And let’s not get started on the middle credit scene …
Which MCU movies do you think are the worst?
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