With the recent release of The Defenders, Marvel’s collaboration with Netflix has joined the dots in a superhero crossover series.

The series links up the protagonists from Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist for a pretty spectacular showdown against the ultimate baddie.

The whole thing is rather reminiscent of another superhero-based phenomenon of the last 10 years – the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

While the Netflix television programmes have just joined up with The Defenders in 2017, the films did so back in 2012 with The Avengers. 

The latter proved such a success that it eventually spawned a similar project on the small-screen which is what led to the Netflix Marvel programmes as we know them.

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What’s interesting is that all the projects mentioned above take place in the same universe. Jessica Jones mentions the Hulk at one point, the destruction of New York in The Avengers is a plot point for all the TV series etc.

It’s also well-known that the Netflix-Marvel television projects have won some incredible accolades and feedback, winning over dozens of fans along the way.

Meanwhile, the movies seem to have plateaued for a lot of fans, not really improving in quality, despite larger and larger budgets.

With all that in mind, we decided to put the two head-to-head.

Which is better Marvel’s movies or Netflix’s television series? We looked through all the scores from both critics and the public on Rotten Tomatoes to compare which is more popular.

The stats

On the most basic level, the answer is no, Netflix doesn’t do Marvel better than the movies.

Netflix’s series have an average rating of 78.7 percent. The movies have an average rating of 82.9 percent. So while the movies are definitely winning, there’s not a whole lot in it.

However, the majority of the Netflix series all rank in the top 10 overall. So, what gives?

Well, the only reason Netflix didn’t manage to beat the movies is Iron Fist. The series was absolutely panned by critics.

In fact, it only gained an average score of 17 percent from critics. That’s the lowest of any property in the MCU by a whole 50 percent.

If you take Iron Fist out of the averages Netflix does a much better with 86.6 percent In the interest of fairness, if you also take out the movies’ weakest score (The Incredible Hulk – 69 percent) the movies end up with 83.8 percent.

So bearing all that in mind, you might say that aside from Iron Fist, Netflix’s series are better than Marvel’s movies. Awkward.

What about if you separate the series just by critics’ scores and fans scores?

Critics gave Netflix’s series an average rating of 73.4 percent. They gave 82.2 percent to the movies.

Clearly, for critics, the TV series do not measure up to the movies, though, once again, remember that Iron Fist‘s abysmal 17% rating from critics will have skewed results somewhat. Discount that and the Netflix series gets 87.5 percent!

As for the audience scores, the fans gave Netflix’s shows 84 percent and the films 83.6 percent.

We don’t need to discount Iron Fist here because audiences liked it a lot more than critics, so it isn’t as much of an outlier.

As you can see, this means that for audiences, Netflix have managed to beat Marvel’s films at their own game! Not bad, Netflix!

Other interesting nuggets of information

While we were gathering this data, we were able to find a few other interesting facts about the MCU and its component parts.

Firstly, here’s the full list of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ranked from best to worst based on their average combined score from audiences and critics:

  1. Iron Man
  2. Guardians Of The Galaxy
  3. The Avengers
  4. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  5. Jessica Jones
  6. Daredevil
  7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  8. Captain America: Civil War
  9. Luke Cage
  10. Doctor Strange
  11. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
  12. Ant-Man
  13. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  14. Iron Man 3
  15. The Defenders
  16. Thor
  17. Captain America: The First Avenger
  18. Iron Man 2
  19. Thor: The Dark World
  20. The Incredible Hulk
  21. Iron Fist

Netflix must be ruing their decisions with Iron Fist now, right?

However, despite only coming in at number nine for the combined score, Luke Cage was actually the critics favourite of all the films and TV series with a 96 percent rating. The audiences’ favourite was Daredevil with 95 percent.

Conversely, the least popular overall for critics was, of course, Iron Fist with 17 percent and for audiences, The Incredible Hulk with 67 percent. 

Critics least favourite film was Thor: The Dark World with 66 percent.

On the TV shows, critics and audiences agreed that Iron Fist was the worst thing Netflix has done, though they thought this to different degrees. Critics gave the show 17 percent while audiences were a little kinder with a 77 percent rating.

Finally, we were able to use the data to determine the most popular franchises within the MCU.

We discounted The Avengers because it has such cross-franchise appeal. Here they are from most popular to least popular:

  1. Spiderman – 91 percent
  2. Daredevil/Jessica Jones – 90.5 percent
  3. Guardians Of The Galaxy – 88.5 percent
  4. Doctor Strange/Luke Cage – 87.5 percent
  5. Captain America – 85.5 percent
  6. Ant-Man – 83.5 percent
  7. Iron Man – 81 percent
  8. Thor – 74 percent
  9. Hulk – 69 percent
  10. Iron Fist – 47 percent

Once again, Iron Fist is not popular. Netflix really need to change this up for the already-confirmed second series!