Thor: Love and Thunder had a big opening weekend at the box office and earned generally positive reviews, but its Rotten Tomatoes score is one of the worst in the history of the MCU. While Marvel Studios is known for its excellent track record in Rotten Tomatoes, Thor: Love and Thunder reviews bucks the trend, coming in well below average in a number of key areas.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe once enjoyed a flawless streak in Rotten Tomatoes’ review aggregator, earning Fresh scores for every single movie from Iron Man in 2008 through Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in 2021, but that streak ended with the MCU’s 26th movie, Eternals, in 2021, earning a Rotten 47 percent. The three releases since Eternals have all been Fresh, but the averages don’t stand up to the franchise’s historical success, particularly with Thor: Love and Thunder.
The Thor movies haven’t exactly been the MCU’s hottest commodity, earning mediocre fresh scores for the first two movies, with only Thor: Ragnarok seeing a score higher than 77 percent. After Thor: Love and Thunder, the Thor sub franchise now has a lower Rotten Tomatoes average than any other character in the MCU with more than one movie to their name.
Thor: L0ve and Thunder Has One of the MCU’s Worst Rotten Tomatoes Scores
With a 68 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, Thor: Love and Thunder is one of the worst reviewed movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ranking 26th out of 29 total installments. The three movies with lower scores are The Incredible Hulk with 67 percent, Thor: The Dark World with 66 percent, and Eternals with 47 percent.
The overall Tomatometer score representing the approval/disapproval ratio of all Rotten Tomatoes critics might be low, but the situation is even worse with Rotten Tomatoes’ specially selected “Top Critics” category. According to Rotten Tomatoes’ Top Critics, Thor: Love and Thunder has a 51 percent score tied with Thor: The Dark World as the only MCU movie with a Top Critic score higher than Eternals’ 37 percent.
Rotten Tomatoes’ Top Critics have scored every single MCU movie lower than the Tomatometer score representing all critics, but they’re especially harsh on Thor: Love and Thunder. The average disparity between Top Critics and the main Tomatometer is 7 points, but Thor: Love and Thunder more than doubles that, seeing Top Critics diverge by a new MCU high of 17 points, surpassing Thor: The Dark World, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Ant-Man, which are all tied at 15 points.
Thor: Love and Thunder Drops the MCU’s Rotten Tomatoes Average to its Lowest Since Ragnarok
Through its first 25 releases (Iron Man to Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), the MCU’s unbroken streak of Fresh Rotten Tomatoes scores averaged 85 percent. The MCU’s average Rotten Tomatoes score had been steadily climbing ever since Thor: The Dark World’s 66 percent score brought the average down to 78 percent, with each release making the score less susceptible to disruption due to the shear volume of Fresh reviews, to the point that even Eternals’ Rotten 47 percent score only dropped the score from 85 percent to 83 percent.
After Eternals, the MCU’s average score has remained under 84 percent, but Thor: Love and Thunder brings it down again, dropping below the 83 percent mark for the first time since, ironically, Thor: Ragnarok. Before Ragnarok, the MCU’s average Rotten Tomatoes score was almost identical to where it is now, with Ragnarok’s 93 percent Rotten Tomatoes score bringing the average over the 83 percent mark. Dealing with swings of less than one percent may not seem like a big deal, but when even Spider-Man: No Way Home’s 93 percent only brought the post-Eternals average up by 0.36 percent, the relative impact of each score becomes more clear.
Thor: Love and Thunder Has One of the MCU’s Lowest Rotten Tomatoes Audience Scores
Critics aren’t the only ones giving Thor: Love and Thunder reviews well below the MCU average. While Rotten Tomatoes’ “Verified Audience” score of 84 percent is quite a bit higher than the 68 percent score from critics, the verified metric was only recently introduced, so the only way to compare to past MCU movies is the normal audience score, which comes in at 78 percent, tied with Iron Man 3, Eternals, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, only ranking higher than seven other MCU movies.
Critics and audiences don’t always agree when it comes to Rotten Tomatoes scores, particularly on big franchise blockbuster movies, but the MCU typically sees more agreement on this front. In fact, prior to Thor: Love and Thunder, the MCU’s average Rotten Tomatoes audience score matched the 84 percent average score from critics, and with a 78 percent audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Thor: Love and Thunder also brings the average down below 83 percent.
The non-verified score might be more susceptible to fake reviews, but since its relationship to the other Rotten Tomatoes scores is consistent with other MCU movies, there’s a low likelihood of any kind of foul play, meaning its proportional ranking is still valid.
At the end of the day, the majority of critics and audiences give Thor: Love and Thunder a thumbs up, maintaining the MCU’s almost perfect record in Rotten Tomatoes, but the far-below average scores in multiple categories show how significantly it falls under typical expectations for a Marvel movie. Ultimately, reviews are subjective, especially when filtered through the binary pass/fail system set up by the Rotten Tomatoes’ review aggregation system, but with a big box office opening, such a low score could raise concerns over its long-term box office performance. Thor: Love and Thunder still counts as a “win” by most review and box office metrics, but it’s not an example of the kind of performance Marvel studios will want to emulate to maintain its Hollywood dominance in the coming years.