The colossal showdown that is Avengers: Infinity War is nigh upon us, bringing together the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s greatest heroes and its biggest villain in a battle of epic proportions. Nearly all of the disparate characters from across the franchise’s 18 films will appear in Infinity War, so we thought it might be interesting to look at how well each of them has fared on the Tomatometer across all of the MCU movies they’ve appeared in.
Before we start, let’s be clear: not everyone in this list is an “Avenger” by title. It’s not like Iron Man and Captain America held a meeting and said, “Hey Spidey, you’re totally in. Come get your ID card and collectible pin.” That said, all of these characters will appear in Infinity War (or we think they will, anyway), and if you’re a superpowered being or alien of some sort who’s expected to defend the universe from Thanos, you’re probably safe calling yourself an Avenger. Read on for the full list!
We are aware that Terrence Howard originally played James “Rhodey” Rhodes in the first Iron Man, but he never actually jumped into the War Machine armor. If we counted that first film in this list, it would have certainly lifted the average Tomatometer, but this list is more about War Machine than it is about Rhodey, as much as we like him. Without the benefit of that movie, though, his appearances are defined by the two lesser sequels and Age of Ultron, which are all still Certified Fresh but don’t reach the upper echelons of the MCU. It’s also kind of sad that his highest-rated movie, Civil War, almost killed him off, but at least he looks to be back in fighting shape for Infinity War.
Before Taika Waititi figured it all out in Thor: Ragnarok, it seemed a bit like Marvel wasn’t entirely sure how to handle the God of Thunder or make him particularly compelling. As a result, his second solo movie, Thor: The Dark World — which actually revolves around one of the Infinity Stones, by the way — is the worst-reviewed film of the MCU. That, combined with his solid-but-not-stellar debut and Age of Ultron, served to bring his Tomatometer average below several of his compatriots. Considering Chris Hemsworth has expressed interest in doing another Thor movie with Waititi, we’re likely to see that number go up.
Hulk is one of the few characters who have been recast over the years, and considering his introduction to the MCU only earned 67% on the Tomatometer (second lowest of the franchise), maybe it’s for the better that Mark Ruffalo took over for Edward Norton in the role. We don’t expect to get another solo Hulk movie anytime soon, so we’ll have to be content with him as a supporting character for the time being, and so far, that seems to be working out just fine.
The most recent trailer for Infinity War features a glimpse of Loki standing shoulder-to-shoulder with members of Thanos’ Black Order, and whether he’s actually switched sides or is just temporarily playing along for the sake of survival, it’s par for the course for Loki. Both as an antagonist and a reluctant ally, Loki has played a big part in Thor’s story, so he’s naturally appeared in all of Thor’s movies, as well as The Avengers, where he was the main villain. Unfortunately, Thor didn’t really hit critical gold until Ragnarok, and Loki’s average Tomatometer score reflects that.
Technically, Nick Fury is — or was — the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., but he is the one who started the “Avengers Initiative” and brought all the big kids together. With that in mind, we thought it made sense to include him, even though he won’t be in Infinity War. His average isn’t particularly high, but he’s only done four of his nine contracted MCU movies so far, and if all goes well, his next appearance in Captain Marvel could raise his percentage.
Scarlet Witch entered the fold after she (and her brother Quicksilver, R.I.P.) realized how insane Ultron was, and she was one of the primary catalysts in Civil War that led to the Sokovia Accords, which have had a dramatic impact on the Avengers. She’ll be in Infinity War and likely Avengers 4, she’s pretty powerful, and she’s a fairly popular character in the source material, so it’s likely that she will appear in more films. For the time being, her two MCU appearances so far represent the best and not-so-best of the franchise, which makes her Tomatometer average pretty good in the grand scheme of things, but not good enough to propel her to the upper half of this list.
Though Paul Bettany voiced Tony Stark’s A.I. “Jarvis” for several films, his physical incarnation, Vision, is another recent addition to the Avengers. If you don’t count Scarlet Witch’s post-credits introduction in Captain America: Winter Soldier, the two have appeared in exactly the same films. Despite the fact that Vision has an Infinity Stone embedded in his forehead, Paul Bettany did mention filming “the next one,” so his future with the Avengers may not be cut short after all. We’ll just have to wait and see if he and Scarlet Witch get the chance to settle down together in some cottage in New Hampshire after they’re done repelling Thanos.
Played by: Scarlett Johansson
Movies: Iron Man 2 (73%), The Avengers (92%), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (89%), Avengers: Age of Ultron (75%), Captain America: Civil War (91%)
Average Tomatometer Score: 84%
Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff has been an MCU staple since she pulled the undercover act in Iron Man 2. Unfortunately, that means she’s appeared in a couple of the franchise’s lesser efforts (relatively speaking, of course), which brings her average Tomatometer score down a bit. She doesn’t have a solo movie yet, but there are reports that one is in the works for 2020, and until then, you can probably count on her continuing to show up and kick ass in other Marvel movies from time to time.
Sam Wilson is one of the few heroes that Cap and Black Widow decide to train as new Avengers at the end of Age of Ultron, and by the time Captain America: Civil War takes place, he’s pretty much full-fledged. Unfortunately, like a lot of others on this list, his appearance in Age of Ultron brings his average down a few notches, but considering his contract probably extends beyond Avengers 4, that score could definitely rise — or fall — a bit. [Editor’s note: We originally neglected to include Falcon’s prominent role in Ant-Man. We’ve included it and updated his average Tomatometer score, which still places him at #10.]
Played by: Robert Downey Jr.
Movies: Iron Man (94%), Iron Man 2 (73%), The Avengers (92%), Iron Man 3 (80%), Avengers: Age of Ultron (75%), Captain America: Civil War (91%), Spider-Man: Homecoming (92%)
Average Tomatometer Score: 85.3%
Tony Stark is the backbone of the MCU, the one whose solo origin story started it all. Without Iron Man‘s stunning debut — it’s the second-best-reviewed movie in the franchise — who knows if we would even have Infinity War to look forward to now? That said, Robert Downey Jr. has played the character in a whopping seven movies already, so even though Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron do set him back a ways, his average is surprisingly good. The MCU will be sad to see him go (whenever that is), for a variety of reasons.
Played by: Chris Evans
Movies: Captain America: The First Avenger (80%), The Avengers (92%), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (89%), Avengers: Age of Ultron (75%), Captain America: Civil War (91%)
Average Tomatometer Score: 85.4%
It’s difficult to make a goody two-shoes compelling and entertaining, but darned if Chris Evans hasn’t helped achieve that spectacularly. As one of the primary MCU characters, he’s already appeared in five movies, and of course, the more of those you’ve done, the lower your average Tomatometer score is likely to be. But even including Age of Ultron in his list, he’s still got a really solid average — just slightly better than Iron Man’s, in fact — and unless Marvel really mucks things up with Infinity War and Avengers 4, that number is likely to rise a few points before Evans offers his final salute as Steve Rogers.
Poor Clint Barton. Hawkeye has always been a peripheral part of the team, and like Black Widow, he hasn’t been the beneficiary of a solo movie. On top of that, he was conspicuously missing from all of the Infinity War promotional materials, from the trailers to the character posters. Technically he’s retired, but we still expect him to show up at some point in Infinity War, like he typically does when the whole gang gets together. Having said all that, Hawkeye has made the most of his MCU appearances, and his average Tomatometer score is pretty solid.
Ant-Man (a.k.a. Scott Lang) has only appeared in two MCU films, and both were Certified Fresh, so his average score is understandably pretty high. Aside from his own origin story, he made a big splash in Captain America: Civil War when Cap recruited Scott to back him up in his airport confrontation with Tony Stark. After his role in Infinity War, he’ll be getting his own sequel later this year in Ant-Man and the Wasp, due out in July.
The MCU’s cosmic quintet have always been the furthest removed from anything happening on Earth, and as such, they haven’t appeared in any films other than their own. The first Guardians was a cheeky, fast-paced breath of fresh air for the franchise and earned great reviews, while the second installment suffered just a little from, well, not being the first one, essentially. That still leaves them with a pretty high average going into Infinity War. It’s also worth mentioning here that Karen Gillan‘s Nebula, who will likely have a big role in Infinity War, also appeared in both Guardians movies, though she’s not really part of the core team.
Similar to Rhodey and War Machine, Bucky Barnes actually appeared, sans powers, in Captain America: The First Avenger, but back then, he was just Steve Rogers’ friend and fellow soldier. His first appearance as the Winter Soldier was in, of course, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and his entire story has been a redemptive arc to bring Bucky back around to the good guys. Including The First Avenger, Sebastian Stan has only done three of his contracted nine films, and his average Tomatometer only takes into account the ones in which he plays the Winter Soldier, so his average is likely to come down over time, but right now, he sits near the top.
Doctor Strange certainly feels Avengers-adjacent, in a way, considering his origin story was entirely isolated from the ongoing MCU narrative and his appearance in Thor: Ragnarok implied he likes to keep tabs on things from the comfort of his Sanctum Sanctorum. But judging from the Infinity War trailer, he’ll be getting real chummy with Tony Stark and the rest of the Avengers real quick. He’s another character with only two movies to his name, but they’re both highly rated on the Tomatometer, so his average puts him near the top.
One of Marvel’s flagship characters, Spider-Man was tied up at Sony for years until they struck a deal with Disney to bring Peter Parker into the MCU. With a scene-stealing introduction in Civil War and a pitch-perfect solo movie, Spidey has gotten off to a great start in the franchise and earned himself a pretty impressive Tomatometer average. He’ll likely remain a central character long past the events of Infinity War and Avengers 4.
King T’Challa has appeared in two of the best-reviewed MCU films to date, beginning with his introduction in Captain America: Civil War. After that, his much anticipated solo movie debuted to critical acclaim and monster box office returns earlier this year, so even though he’s only got a couple of appearances to his name thus far, it’s somewhat fitting that his average is the highest of all the Avengers. Expect him to have a big role in Infinity War, even if his obligations to his subjects prevent him from taking up membership in the Avengers in any sort of official capacity.
Now that you’re reacquainted with the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, take a look at which ones we think Thanos is most likely to annihilate: