While “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” has not received the best reaction from critics, it’s far from the first Marvel movie with bad reviews. Below, we’ve assembled a list of the lowest-rated Marvel movies on Rotten Tomatoes, running down a “who’s who” of forgotten superheroes and franchises that never were. While Marvel Studios’ carefully curated Marvel Cinematic Universe has thus far managed to skirt by with largely positive notices, the MCU now has two films on this list alongside noteworthy non-MCU Marvel movies ranging from the “X-Men” franchise to three “Fantastic Four” movies.
Check out the list of the lowest-rated Marvel movies on Rotten Tomatoes below.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) – 48%
The most recent Marvel Cinematic Universe release is also one of the franchise’s worst-reviewed, as the third “Ant-Man” movie notches just one percentage point above “Eternals.” The overstuffed sequel was criticized for spending too much time setting up Phase 5 villain Kang (played by Jonathan Majors) instead of telling its own story, and it also scored the worst second weekend box office drop in MCU history.
Eternals – 47%
The only Marvel Cinematic Universe film to appear on this list is 2021’s “Eternals,” which was directed by Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao and introduced a new (and near-immortal) team of superheroes. Unfairly maligned, in this writer’s opinion – it was certainly the boldest output from Marvel Studios in 2021.
X-Men: Apocalypse – 47%
After the fan-favorite “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” director Bryan Singer returned to bring the X-Men franchise into the disaster movie realm to, well, disastrous results with 2016’s snooze-fest “X-Men: Apocalypse.” Extra point deduction for hiding Oscar Isaac under all that makeup.
Daredevil – 43%
Before he was Batman, Ben Affleck brought Daredevil to the screen in the 2003 adaptation. The superhero movie genre was not yet fully formed at this point, and this take on the story couldn’t find a way to bridge the gap between the more cartoony aspects of the comics (Colin Farrell’s take on Bullseye is a choice) and the more serious nature of the superhero. It’s also dated as heck, with a full-on montage set to the Evanescence song “Bring Me to Life”
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer – 37%
20th Century Fox’s colorful “Fantastic Four” franchise spawned one sequel, 2007’s “Rise of the Silver Surfer” which brought the comics favorite character to life via CGI. This film would put the franchise on ice, as this more buoyant approach to comic book adaptations came out in between Christopher Nolan’s genre-defining “Batman Begins” and Marvel Studios’ game-changing “Iron Man,” both of which offered a more grounded approach to these sorts of adaptations.
The New Mutants – 36%
This X-Men spinoff got caught in the crossfire of Disney acquiring 20th Century Fox, and was delayed for years as a result. Initially, Fox wanted director Josh Boone to go back for reshoots to alter the film’s tone. But in the long process of Disney acquiring Fox and then trying to decide how to roll out films already in the can, those reshoots never happened. Instead, this kinda dark YA spin on an X-Men movie was effectively dumped into theaters in the fall of 2020 to a ho-hum response from fans and critics alike.
Venom – 30%
Proof positive that bad reviews don’t equal bad box office, the long-awaited “Venom” movie was released in 2018 boasting a truly wild lead performance from Tom Hardy. And while critics weren’t impressed by Sony Pictures’ take on the character, fans ate it up to the tune of over $850 million at the box office, spawning at least one sequel.
The Punisher (2004) – 29%
Another fan-favorite character, The Punisher, got the big screen treatment in 2004. But despite praise for Thomas Jane’s lead performance, this one was a dud both critically and commercially.
Punisher: War Zone – 29%
Despite the poor performance of the 2004 film, The Punisher was rebooted with 2008’s “Punisher: War Zone” with Ray Stevenson taking over the lead role. This one was even more of a commercial failure despite the attempt to make a more “mature” comic book film.
Fantastic Four (2005) – 28%
The first major onscreen attempt at adapting the “Fantastic Four” comics starred Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis and Kerry Washington and was, perhaps surprisingly, a pretty robust success for 20th Century Fox.
Ghost Rider – 26%
Nicolas Cage, a longtime Ghost Rider fan, led the 2007 adaptation from director Mark Steven Johnson, who had previously helmed the Ben Affleck “Daredevil” movie. Presented as a harder-edged superhero movie, the Sony Pictures release grossed nearly $230 million worldwide.
Blade: Trinity – 25%
The first two “Blade” movies sit squarely in the middle of the pack on Rotten Tomatoes (57% for “Blade” and 58% for “Blade II”) but the franchise hit a nadir with 2004’s “Blade: Trinity,” which co-starred Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel alongside Wesley Snipes.
Dark Phoenix – 22%
Much like “The New Mutants,” the X-Men sequel “Dark Phoenix” was caught up in the acquisition of Fox by Disney, but this 1990s-set reworking of the “Dark Phoenix” comics storyline was pretty much DOA and marked a quiet ending to the rebooted franchise that began with 2011’s acclaimed “X-Men: First Class.”
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – 18%
The truly metal sequel “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” sees Nicolas Cage reprise his role as Johnny Blaze, this time from the aggressive cinematic stylings of directing duo Neveldine/Taylor.
Morbius – 16%
The most recent film on this list. Jared Leto’s bloodsucking vampire movie didn’t make as much of a splash as “Venom” at the box office, so his future in Sony’s Marvel universe is a bit up in the air.
Howard the Duck – 14%
This infamous 1984 Marvel Comics adaptation hailed from George Lucas’ Lucasfilm and starred Lea Thompson opposite a guy in a duck costume.
Elektra – 11%
A spinoff of Jennifer Garner’s character Elektra was put into motion in concert with her debut in Ben Affleck’s “Daredevil,” but the 20th Century Fox film failed to make a mark on audiences or critics.
Fantastic Four (2015) – 9%
And at the bottom of the list we have 2015’s “Fantastic Four” reboot. Intended to launch a new franchise, the Josh Trank-directed film was beset by production difficulties and extensive reshoots that removed any trace of originality from the film despite amassing an impressive ensemble of Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell.