Marvel Studios Just Released Its 3rd-Ever 'Rotten' MCU Project

By Sam Hargrave Updated:
Ant-Man and The WAsp: Quantumania, Avengers, Eternals, Rotten logo

Marvel Studios' latest project marked its third ever to receive a "Rotten" score on Rotten Tomatoes, but should fans be worried about the MCU's future?

The MCU has been going back and forth between beloved blockbusters and downright disappointments throughout Phases 4 and 5, coming in great contrast to the Infinity Saga where the majority of movies were seen as great.

Projects such as Thor: Love and Thunder, She-Hulk, and Secret Invasion have been bombarded with criticism, while the likes of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and Loki caught plenty of love.

The MCU's 3 Worst-Reviewed Movies & Shows

Following the conclusion of Disney+'s Secret Invasion, Marvel Studios has now had three projects declared "Rotten" by critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rotten Tomatoes aggregates reviews from professional critics and awards a project with a score - dubbed the Tomatometer - based on the percentage of reviews which were positive.

A movie or series is declared "Rotten" when the Tomatometer score falls below 60% while a "Fresh" rating is granted to those above the mark.

Out of Marvel Studios' 42 projects released so far - 32 movies and 10 shows - only three have been declared "Rotten." Here's which ones:

Eternals - 47%

Marvel Studios

Expectations were high going into Eternals, with director Chloé Zhao's first Marvel Studios project even catching some Oscar buzz ahead of its release. But alas, Eternals arrived as the MCU's first-ever "Rotten" project on Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 47% from critics against a more positive 77% from audiences.

The ensemble blockbuster was bombarded with criticism for its long runtime of 2 hours, 37 minutes, the excessive introduction of 10 new characters, its bland and uninteresting Deviant villains, and its all-around forgettable action and story.

Nonetheless, the Eternals, at least those who survived their debut, are still expected to be back for more MCU action after the movie's dramatic cliffhanger, with a sequel rumored to be in development at Marvel Studios.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania - 46%

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania
Marvel Studios

As Marvel Studios upped the scale for Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, fans couldn't wait to see what adventures were hiding in the Quantum Realm, along with seeing the debut of popular Marvel villains Kang and MODOK. But that didn't stop the movie from debuting as "Rotten" with 46% from critics and 82% from fans.

It's safe to say many were disappointed by Quantumania, and there were plenty of criticisms leveled against it, from poor CGI to mediocre writing. 

Ant-Man 3 still has much of the trilogy's classic comedy fans have come to expect, but it often feels somewhat out of place in a more serious tale with a terrifying villain - who is defeated rather easily for being the Avengers' next big threat.

Generally speaking, most of the leading characters were lacking much of an arc, and the chemistry was non-existent between many. This is not to mention how Evangeline Lilly's Wasp barely had anything to do or say, despite being billed in the title.

Secret Invasion - 54%

Secret Invasion
Marvel Studios

Secret Invasion is Marvel Studios' first-ever Disney+ series to be rated "Rotten" with its lowest score yet, along with being the fourth Marvel series to be given the rating. The latest MCU Disney+ series scored 54% by critics and 50% by audiences, making it the MCU's first project to be rated "Rotten" by both.

Fans had plenty of criticism across the series, with many noting the slow pacing for only a six-episode show, the lack of much story progression, and how drastically it scaled down such a huge Marvel storyline.

The Secret Invasion finale faced particular backlash, with it now standing as the MCU's lowest-rated episode on Rotten Tomatoes at just 7%. Many particularly expressed their issues with Emilia Clarke's overpowered superhero, Rhodey's big Skrull reveal, and the lack of resolution to the story.

Can Marvel Studios Fix Its Post-Endgame Quality Drop?

All three of the Marvel Studios' "Rotten" projects have one thing in common: expectations were through the roof for both their quality and MCU impact:

  • Eternals was swarmed by Oscar buzz thanks to director Chloé Zhao's recent Best Picture win for Nomadland.
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania was about to introduce Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror and set the stage for the next Avengers movies.
  • Secret Invasion was billed as a spy-thriller akin to Captain America: The Winter Soldier while also being a "crossover event" adapting one of Marvel's most famous and impactful storylines ever.

Whether these high expectations had an impact on the reception is up for debate, but it's certainly notable that all three of the MCU's "Rotten" projects have been released after Avengers: Endgame in the new post-pandemic Multiverse Saga.

Many continue to argue the MCU has seen a decline in quality over recent years following the increase in Marvel Studios' output, and that only becomes more apparent when looking at these three disappointing projects.

A report claimed in December 2022 that Marvel Studios was "re-evaluating the future releases" to "assure quality control." While it's obviously too soon for the impact of those changes to be felt in the latest projects, one can only hope the movies and shows coming a year from now see major improvements.

Eternals, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, and Secret Invasion are all streaming now on Disney+.

- In This Article: Secret Invasion
Release Date
June 21, 2023
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.