ByMark Newton, writer at Creators.co
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

Arguing about which Marvel movie is best would probably take us all the way up to the inevitable heat death of the universe. The subjective nature of personal opinion means everyone will have their own preferences and reasons for those preferences. Some might think The Avengers is the best Marvel movie ever, while there might even be some maniacs out there who are sincerely championing the new Fantastic Four movie for that title.

But there is one thing you cannot argue with: numbers. They are cold, hard and objective; they care nothing for your puny human emotions or critical opinions. They merely state things as they are.

Therefore, with the aid of utilitarian numbers, let's try to find out which is the 'best' Marvel movie on paper.

The Scoring System

To do this, I have conjured up a simple formula which combines critical and audience opinion, giving us an overall 'review aggregate.' More categories could have been used, including box office and DVD sales, but this information is patchy at best. Furthermore, although the box office may indicate how many people saw a movie, it is not an indicator of quality. Therefore, I have decided to stick the most consistent numerical information, based on the quality of a movie, we have - review scores.

Each movie will receive a score, which is the aggregate of individual scores in the two categories: Critical Reception and Audience Reception. They are broken down as follows:

Critical Reception: The average score of a movie's Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic ratings, which are based on professional critical reviews. In the case of critic reviews, the scores are out of 100. However, these have been divided by 10 so they are compatible with the Audience Reception.

Audience Reception: The average score of a movie's rating on the user voting sections of Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDB. These are rated out of 10, hence the change to the Critical Reception Scores. The top Reception Score (including both Critical and Audience Reception Scores) is therefore 20.

In cases of a tie, a movie's box office takings (adjusted for inflation) will be taken into consideration

The Results

The results of the scoring are ranked highest to lowest on the overall combined Critical Reception and Audience Reception. All movies featuring a character from a Marvel owned comic book are scored. The only exception is Howard The Duck, for which no Metacritic score was available. I think we can assume it would be near the bottom though...

1. Iron Man

  • Critical Reception: 8.65
  • Audience Reception: 8.4

Total Reception Score: 17.12

2. Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Critical Reception: 8.35
  • Audience Reception: 8.60

Total Reception Score: 16.95

3. X-Men: Days of Future Past

  • Critical Reception: 8.25
  • Audience Reception: 8.57

Total Reception Score: 16.82

4. Spider-Man 2

  • Critical Reception: 8.8
  • Audience Reception: 7.83

Total Reception Score: 16.63

5. The Avengers

  • Critical Reception: 8.05
  • Audience Reception: 8.37

Total Reception Score: 16.42

6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

  • Critical Reception: 7.95
  • Audience Reception: 8.43

Total Reception Score: 16.38

7. X2: X-Men United

  • Critical Reception: 7.7
  • Audience Reception: 8.20

Total Reception Score: 15.90

8. X-Men: First Class

  • Critical Reception: 7.6
  • Audience Reception: 8.10

Total Reception Score: 15.70

9. Spider-Man

  • Critical Reception: 8.1
  • Audience Reception: 7.4

Total Reception Score: 15.50

10. Ant-Man

  • Critical Reception: 7.15
  • Audience Reception: 8.30

Total Reception Score: 15.45

11. X-Men

  • Critical Reception: 7.25
  • Audience Reception: 7.87

Total Reception Score: 15.12

12. The Avengers: Age of Ultron

  • Critical Reception: 7
  • Audience Reception: 7.90

Total Reception Score: 14.90

13. Captain America: The First Avenger

  • Critical Reception: 7.25
  • Audience Reception: 7.03

Total Reception Score: 14.28

14. Iron Man 3

  • Critical Reception: 7.05
  • Audience Reception: 7.20

Total Reception Score: 14.25

15. The Amazing Spider-Man

  • Critical Reception: 6.9
  • Audience Reception: 7.30

Total Reception Score: 14.20

16. Thor

  • Critical Reception: 6.7
  • Audience Reception: 7.17

Total Reception Score: 13.87

17. The Incredible Hulk

  • Critical Reception: 6.4
  • Audience Reception: 7.17

Total Reception Score: 13.57

18. Thor: The Dark World

  • Critical Reception: 6
  • Audience Reception: 7.43

Total Reception Score: 13.43

19. Iron Man 2

  • Critical Reception: 6.45
  • Audience Reception: 6.97

Total Reception Score: 13.42

20. The Wolverine

  • Critical Reception: 6.5
  • Audience Reception: 6.8

Total Reception Score: 13.3

21. Blade II

  • Critical Reception: 5.45
  • Audience Reception: 7.43

Total Reception Score: 12.88

Box Office Tie-Breaker: $205,621,300 (adjusted for inflation)

22. Blade

  • Critical Reception: 4.95
  • Audience Reception: 7.93

Total Reception Score: 12.88

Box Office Tie-Breaker: $192,056,740 (adjusted for inflation)

23. X-Men: The Last Stand

  • Critical Reception: 5.8
  • Audience Reception: 6.43

Total Reception Score: 12.23

24. Spider-Man 3

  • Critical Reception: 6.1
  • Audience Reception: 5.90

Total Reception Score: 12.00

Box Office Tie-Breaker!

Spider-Man 3: $1,025,338,200 (adjusted for inflation)

25. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

  • Critical Reception: 5.3
  • Audience Reception: 6.70

Total Reception Score: 12.00

Box Office Tie-Breaker!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: $714,678,150 (adjusted for inflation)

26. Hulk

  • Critical Reception: 5.75
  • Audience Reception: 4.57

Total Reception Score: 10.32

27. The Punisher

  • Critical Reception: 3.1
  • Audience Reception: 7.07

Total Reception Score: 10.17

28. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

  • Critical Reception: 3.9
  • Audience Reception: 6.17

Total Reception Score: 10.07

29. Daredevil

  • Critical Reception: 4.3
  • Audience Reception: 5.4

Total Reception Score: 9.70

30. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

  • Critical Reception: 4.1
  • Audience Reception: 5.30

Total Reception Score: 9.40

31. Punisher: War Zone

  • Critical Reception: 2.85
  • Audience Reception: 5.47

Total Reception Score: 8.32

32. Fantastic Four (2005)

  • Critical Reception: 3.35
  • Audience Reception: 4.87

Total Reception Score: 8.22

33. Blade: Trinity

  • Critical Reception: 3.15
  • Audience Reception: 4.90

Total Reception Score: 8.05

34. Ghost Rider

  • Critical Reception: 3.05
  • Audience Reception: 4.63

Total Reception Score: 7.68

35. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

  • Critical Reception: 2.45
  • Audience Reception: 3.97

Total Reception Score: 6.42

36. Elektra

  • Critical Reception: 2.20
  • Audience Reception: 4.17

Total Reception Score: 6.37

37. Fantastic Four (2015)

  • Critical Reception: 1.75
  • Audience Reception: 2.83

Total Reception Score: 4.58

Extra Analysis

So there we have it. On 'paper,' according to internet critical and audience ratings, Iron Man is the best Marvel movie ever made. Meanwhile, Fantastic Four - which is incidentally the most recent Marvel movie to be made, is officially also the worst. Perhaps no surprises there.

However, some more interesting information can be gleamed from this list. Let's take a look at them:

Critical Vs Audience Ratings

In the vast majority of cases, the audience ratings were higher than the critical ratings, the only exceptions are:

  • Iron Man: 8.65 (Critic) vs 8.47 (Audience)
  • Spider-Man 2: 8.80 (Critic) vs 7.83 (Audience)
  • Spider-Man: 8.10 (Critic) vs 7.40 (Audience)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: (7.25 (Critic) vs 7.03 (Audience)
  • Hulk: 5.75 (Critic) vs 4.57 (Audience)

Biggest Disparity Between Critic and Audience Reviews

Even some movies which were panned by critics still received some love from the audience. The movies with the biggest disparities between critical and audience reception are:

  • The Punisher: 3.1 (Critic) vs 7.07 (Audience) - Difference of 3.97
  • Blade: 4.95 (Critic) vs 7.93 (Audience) - Difference of 2.98
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine: 3.90 (Critic) vs 6.17 (Audience) - Difference of 2.27

Best Rated Superhero

So, we know which is the best movie, but who is the best consistently rated superhero (or superhero group)? Below are the combined scores of all the franchise movies of a particular hero or group of heroes. The score is then divided by the number of films in the franchise (if there is more than one) to give a general overall rating. In the case of members of The Avengers, only their solo movies are included.

Solo Movies

  • 1. Ant-Man: 15.45
  • 2. Captain America: 15.33
  • 3. Iron Man: 14.93
  • 4. Spider-Man: 14.07
  • 5. Thor: 13.65
  • 6. Blade: 12.88
  • 7. Hulk: 11.95
  • 8. Wolverine: 11.69
  • 9. The Punisher: 8.49
  • 10. Daredevil: 9.70
  • 11. Ghost Rider: 7.05
  • 12. Elektra: 6.37

Ensembles

  • 1. Guardians of the Galaxy: 16.95
  • 2. The Avengers: 15.66
  • 3. X-Men: 15.15
  • 4. The Fantastic Four: 7.4

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