7 Marvel Movies That Are Good Regardless of Their Rotten Tomatoes Scores

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By Wanda

Marvel has a collection of classic films that achieved both critical and commercial success. However, not all Marvel projects receive favorable reviews from critics, even though they are worth watching. Superhero movies have faced criticism for following a predictable pattern, but this pattern usually ensures a reasonably decent film. Before movies like Iron Man and The Dark Knight became genre-defining, superhero films were often characterized by their strangeness, offbeat nature, and occasional weirdness.

The unconventional style of older superhero films sometimes resulted in unfavorable criticism. However, this doesn’t diminish their value for first-time viewing or revisiting. Certain modern-era superhero movies have improved over time, distancing themselves from initial expectations and preconceived notions. We’ve come up with a list of certain low-rated Marvel movies that clearly surpass in quality.

1. Venom, a 2018 release with a 30% score

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Venom faced significant skepticism even before its release, earning a low 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The character Venom is closely associated with Spider-Man, so Sony’s decision to create a series of villain-centric movies without the hero raised concerns. However, when viewed on its own merits rather than in the context of what it could be, Venom actually functions quite effectively.

Venom is often appreciated for its nostalgic feel, with its dark and edgy visuals and Eminem’s main theme setting it apart from the more formulaic approach of the MCU. Tom Hardy‘s portrayal of Eddie Brock and Venom’s unique relationship is delightfully over-the-top and darkly humorous, and the film doesn’t shy away from depicting Venom’s peculiar style of violence. While Venom: Let There Be Carnage featured a better villain, it didn’t quite capture the charm of the original. Fans hope that the upcoming Venom 3 can strike a balance by incorporating the best elements from both films.

2. Blade II, a 2002 release with a 57% score

Blade II joins the ranks of early Marvel movies like Spider-Man 2, X2: X-Men United, and to a lesser extent, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which outshine their predecessors from the pre-MCU era. Despite Blade‘s black leather attire and sometimes cheesy dialogue, the film effectively captures the essence of the character and fully embraces its ’90s aesthetic. Blade II takes what worked in the first film and amplifies it, utilizing its R rating to deliver gruesome vampire kills in rapid succession. While it may not be considered intellectual cinema, Blade II is better than its 57% score on Rotten Tomatoes suggests.

3. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, a 2011 release with a 19% score

The first Ghost Rider movie is criticized for being a rather dull collection of clichés and uninspiring set pieces. It struggles to find a balance between the eccentric character and conventional action movie elements. On the other hand, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance fully embraces its over-the-top main character, portrayed by Nicolas Cage, resulting in a Johnny Blaze story that’s so outrageous it becomes enjoyable. While it may not deserve the high ratings of 80% or 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, perhaps not even in the 70s, it excels as mindless, action-packed entertainment and is better than its actual 19% score suggests.

4. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, a 2007 release with a 38% score

The Fantastic Four franchise has struggled on the big screen, but 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer surprisingly delivers an enjoyable experience. It improves upon its 2005 predecessor in almost every aspect, with its biggest achievement being the portrayal of the Silver Surfer. Laurence Fishburne‘s voice acting gives the character the gravitas and impact it deserves, and the special effects, while somewhat dated by today’s standards, hold up admirably for such a visually distinctive character. While the film may not delve into profound themes, it is entertaining and worth watching, despite its 38% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

5. The Punisher, a 2004 release with a 29% score

While John Bernthal’s portrayal of The Punisher is potentially returning in the MCU’s Daredevil: Born Again, it’s worth remembering Thomas Jane’s 2004 film adaptation as a commendable action movie, despite its modest 29% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The plot follows a classic revenge narrative against John Travolta‘s crime boss character, Howard Saint. However, the film successfully brings to life an aspect of the character that is not often seen in live-action interpretations, making it a solid action movie deserving of recognition.

In Thomas Jane’s portrayal of Frank Castle in The Punisher, the character is not merely defined by his intense rage but also by a significant level of intelligence. Frank Castle is portrayed as a calculated and strategic individual who doesn’t act impulsively. He plans and executes his actions with precision. This adaptation contributed to the widespread recognition of The Punisher‘s iconic skull logo in popular culture, where it continues to be a symbol that evokes strong reactions, both positive and negative.

6. The Incredible Hulk, a 2008 release with a 67% score

The Incredible Hulk is a unique entry in the MCU. It was released early in the franchise’s development, before Iron Man introduced the MCU’s signature humor and witty banter, resulting in a noticeably darker and more serious tone. The film’s distinctiveness is further accentuated by the fact that Ed Norton, who played the titular character, was later recast with Mark Ruffalo. These factors contribute to why The Incredible Hulk is frequently overlooked within the MCU.

The Incredible Hulk has its merits that go beyond its 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The portrayal of Bruce Banner is notably more tragic and complex than in subsequent projects, providing a deeper perspective on the character. Several side characters, like Thunderbolt Ross and Emil Blonsky/Abomination, have gained greater significance in hindsight with their intriguing appearances in later MCU installments. The film’s relevance within the MCU is growing as well, with characters like Ross and Tim Blake Nelson’s Samuel Sterns set to reappear in Phase 5’s Captain America: Brave New World.

7. Eternals, a 2021 release with a 47% score

Eternals holds the distinction of being the lowest-rated MCU movie on Rotten Tomatoes, with a score of 47%. While the film has its shortcomings, including a disappointing resolution for the secondary antagonist Kro, its flaws can be attributed to taking interesting risks. Marvel often faces criticism for adhering to a predictable formula, and Eternals departs from that norm with its expansive cast, centuries-spanning storyline, and deliberate narrative pacing. Despite its missteps, Eternals manages to succeed in various aspects, blending introspective character moments with impressive third-act action sequences.