Hey, who wants to deep dive into some critic scores to see how “Avengers: Infinity War” stacks up against the rest of the MCU?
Yeah, me neither. But, as a Marvel fanboy since childhood, it’s my solemn duty to attempt to categorize and rank all movies in this entire franchise.
Because I hate myself.
“Avengers: Infinity War” has arrived and critics are eager to tear it apart. There’s a prevailing narrative of disbelief surrounding this movie franchise as a whole. Reviewers are often dumbfounded that the series has managed to maintain such a base level of quality, movie after movie, without ever failing or faltering.
As such, it’s my opinion that certain movies within the MCU canon have been judged a lot more harshly than necessary. “Age of Ultron”, for example, has one of the lowest average scores of any of these films in large part because it had to follow on from the first “Avengers” movie.
For the record, “Infinity War” is tracking far better than “Age of Ultron”. It’s managing an average review score of 7.6/10 at the time of writing. This puts it somewhere between “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War” in terms of popularity.
In other words, the Russo Brothers have achieved approximately the same level of quality for a third time. This is no mean feat, considering that their “Cap” movies are among the most beloved of anything produced for the MCU.
A Victim of Hype
What I think is particularly interesting, though, is that despite critics agreeing that this new movie is generally solid, it actually has one of the lowest Rotten Tomatoes aggregate score of recent MCU offerings.
Remember, the Tomatometer measures how positive critics are in the tone of their overall reviews. It doesn’t track how highly critics rank a particular film.
Only 86% of reviewers have praised “Infinity War”, where most Marvel movies score somewhere in the 90s.
In other words, critics agree that “Infinity War” is one of the better MCU movies, but they’re more eager to point out its flaws.
Perhaps this is something that comes from the success that the MCU has achieved. After all this time, and after so many movies, everyone expects a new “Avengers” film to be good. All that’s left to do is point out the few ways in which it falls down. Listing its flaws is easier than describing where the film succeeds.
Either way, it seems like the biggest challenge that the MCU faces is not a dip in quality. Instead, Kevin Feige and his powerhouse studio are facing a far greater foe: audiences’ rising expectations.
No studio could ever live up to the kind of hype that a new “Avengers” movie generates. Now, Marvel has to work harder to reach the same level of praise that they earned during Phase 1.
It’ll be interesting to see how this shifts in future. The studio doesn’t just need to keep making great movies. Marvel somehow has to one-up itself with every new movie.
I don’t know how long they’ll be able to keep this momentum up, but moving into the studio’s Phase 4, I’m excited to see them try.