Summary

  • Marvel’s What If…? season 2 is the highest-rated MCU project of the year, receiving a 92% critics score and 86% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Phase 4 and 5 of the MCU have had mixed reviews, with Phase 4’s What If…? and Loki receiving acclaim, but Phase 5’s Secret Invasion earning a low 53% score.
  • The upcoming projects Deadpool 3, Daredevil: Born Again, and Captain America: Brave New World, featuring beloved characters, are expected to help the MCU regain its solid ground and end its slump.


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Marvel’s What If…? season 2 is officially the highest-rated Marvel Cinematic Universe project of the year, according to Rotten Tomatoes, after a string of mixed reviews for the franchise. Phase 5 of the MCU has enjoyed some highs, with highly-anticipated projects such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Loki season 2 garnering acclaim from viewers and critics upon their release. However, there have been several low points in Phase 5 so far, which kicked off with the poorly-received Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

A Phase 4 project, Marvel’s What if…? was a surprising success upon its release on Disney+ in 2021, offering viewers an animated triumph that brought a new spin to several beloved MCU characters. Released this week on Disney+, What If…? season 2 has built on the success of season 1, adding another positively reviewed project to Phase 5. According to the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, What If…? season 2 is currently the highest-rated MCU project in 2023, standing at a 92% critics score. Viewers have also reacted favorably to the new season, with a solid 86% audience score.


Will The MCU Improve in 2024?

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool in MCU Phase 5

The MCU has always had its naysayers, but the franchise’s image has gone down further in recent years, with even longtime fans taking issue with the more scattered approach taken in Phases 4 and 5 after the interconnected narrative woven by Phases 1-3. The complaints made by viewers are also reflected in the reviews of recent projects, with Phases 1-3 boasting the highest-reviewed movies in the MCU and Phases 4 and 5 claiming the four worst-reviewed films in the franchise, according to Rotten Tomatoes. In terms of television shows, Disney+ is home to a few hits, such as Phase 4’s What If…?, Ms. Marvel, and Loki, but Phase 5’s Secret Invasion was the first MCU series to earn a Rotten score, standing currently at 53%.

Ms. Marvel holds the highest Rotten Tomatoes score in the MCU with a 98%.

While the decentralized narratives of Phases 4 and 5 is one reason for the franchise’s downturn, some have also complained of superhero fatigue, disinterest in the new characters being introduced after Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Captain America’s (Chris Evans) exits, and a few other points. The news of Jonathan Majors’ recent MCU exit makes it all the more important for the franchise to find solid ground and build a stable foundation after two years of middling performances. As the MCU looks to retain and expand its viewership in the back half of Phase 5, key projects will include Deadpool 3, Daredevil: Born Again, and Captain America: Brave New World.

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Each of the aforementioned upcoming projects centers on an already beloved figure with a long on-screen history, including Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Charlie Cox’s Daredevil, and Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson, meaning a built-in passionate fan base for all three. Hopefully, those three projects as well as the other upcoming Phase 5 films and series manage to garner both wide viewership and critical acclaim, leading to the end of the MCU’s slump. With plenty of highly anticipated films and series coming down the pike in 2024, the positive reception of What If…? season 2 could mark the beginning of another golden era for the MCU.

New episodes of What If…? season 2 premiere daily on Disney+ until the finale on December 30.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

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