Phase 4 has certainly been the most divisive chapter of the MCU yet, with each new entry having both plenty of fans and haters. The MCU's latest outing, Thor: Love and Thunder, has been plagued with more of that same controversy, and after receiving mixed reviews from critics, it's now proving to be divisive with audiences too.
Thor: Love and Thunder brings back Chris Hemsworth's Thor, Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie, and Natalie Portman's Jane Foster, with Christian Bale joining the MCU as Gorr the God Butcher. After Ragnaork, Taika Waititi returns to direct the sequel, which is packed with much of the same action, adventure, comedy, and heart.
But that classic Waititi comedy hasn't been landing for everyone, as has been quite apparent across social media. Now, that controversy has been reaffirmed as the movie received its CinemaScore rating - and it's not good news for Marvel.
Thor 4 Ranks Second-Worst with MCU Audiences
Thor: Love and Thunder has officially received a B+ CinemaScore grade - tying it with Thor and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as the second-worst in MCU history.
The rating places Love and Thunder below Ragnarok (A) and The Dark World (A-), sitting on par with Thor. Only Eternals has so far received a lower rating with a B.
CinemaScore determines its ratings with a calculated average of ratings given by moviegoers straight out of the theaters, so it's entirely based on initial reactions of the general public.
The full list of MCU CinemaScore ratings can be seen below:
- Iron Man: A
- The Incredible Hulk: A-
- Iron Man 2: A
- Thor: B+
- Captain America: The First Avenger: A-
- The Avengers: A+
- Iron Man 3: A
- Thor: The Dark World: A-
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier: A
- Guardians of the Galaxy: A
- Avengers: Age of Ultron: A
- Ant-Man: A
- Captain America: Civil War: A
- Doctor Strange: A
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: A
- Spider-Man: Homecoming: A
- Thor: Ragnarok: A
- Black Panther: A+
- Avengers: Infinity War: A
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: A-
- Captain Marvel: A
- Avengers: Endgame: A+
- Spider-Man: Far From Home: A
- Black Widow: A-
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: A
- Eternals: B
- Spider-Man: No Way Home: A+
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: B+
- Thor: Love and Thunder: B+
Is the MCU Going Downhill?
Thor: Love and Thunder may be among the most controversial films in the MCU; some fans are loving the action-adventure comedy, while others have been filled with thunderous disappointment. The mixed nature of these reactions has certainly been reflected across critics' reviews, Rotten Tomatoes ratings, and now its low CinemaScore.
The Thor sequel marks the third B rating for the MCU's Phase 4 - three in a row if one takes the crowd-pleasing Spider-Man: No Way Home out of the equation. Eternals, Doctor Strange 2, and Thor 4 have all received these below-average scores, despite having previously only ever been given one for 2011's Thor.
Early on, Phase 4 was meeting the MCU's usual CinemaScore standard as Black Widow scored A- and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings received an A. So, what's going on with these ratings? Is the MCU starting to go downhill?
Phase 4 has seen audiences being more critical than ever of Marvel Studios, but there's no telling for sure why that has proven to be the case. For some, the recent projects may legitimately not be on the level of the Infinity Saga, which is understandable after the massive high that came with the end of Phase 3. For others, it may come down to the overload of MCU content.
During the Infinity Saga, Marvel Studios was releasing two to three movies a year, with no presence on the small screen - putting aside the series produced by Marvel TV. Now, fans are seeing three to four movies and about five Disney+ series a year, meaning there's more content than ever to keep up to date with.
This drastic uptick in releases means each new outing feels less special, as the wait between content releases has become virtually non-existent, which will probably lead to audiences being far more critical. If this is the reason, Marvel Studios will need to be careful in the coming years, or it may risk seeing a decline in ticket sales.
Who knows whether Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be able to break the unfortunate trend later this year? But for now, Thor: Love and Thunder is playing in theaters worldwide.