DC vs. Marvel: Who Has the Higher Tomatometer?

We looked at every title with a Tomatometer and did the math, and the results were closer than you think.

by | November 15, 2017 | Comments

With Justice League opening this weekend, the pop-culture world will once again consumed by discussions comparing DC to Marvel, some of which will start peacefully enough and end in tears. The last few years have inspired a reinvigorated debate that has largely focused on the most recent properties of the two comics giants-turned-blockbuster machines, ignoring the close to 50 years’ worth of movies and television shows that came before.

In the spirit of friendly competition, we broke down the data for all the DC and Marvel movies, television shows, and direct-to-DVD offerings that have earned a Tomatometer score (130 total) to see where they stood in relation to each other. The results are surprising, and they offer an interesting perspective on two fairly different entities that have produced some fantastic films, guilty pleasures, and even better dance moves. But who comes out on top?

DC: 67.7% Average Tomatometer Score
Marvel: 64.1% Average Tomatometer Score

With 40 Fresh titles and an average 67.7% Tomatometer score, DC manages a narrow victory over Marvel (40 titles and 64.1%). This may come as a surprise to some, considering Marvel’s current run of Certified Fresh hits like Thor: Ragnarok, Spiderman: Homecoming, Logan, and Deadpool. However, before Marvel ever released a Fresh film (2000’s X-Men was the first), DC already had nine, and between Superman (1978) and Batman (1989), they had established what a modern comic book blockbuster would look like.

If Marvel’s films (under Sony, Fox, and Disney) have a higher Tomatometer average than DC (62% > 53%) what pushed DC to victory? The answer lies in DC’s success in the direct-to-DVD market and a more consistent level of quality in their TV offerings. Even if its big-screen efforts have earned spotty reviews, DC’s animated films on home video have been wildly successful and attracted a loyal audience. On top of that, their lowest-rated TV series is Constantine, which is still Fresh at 72%, while Marvel has to answer for Iron Fist (17%) and The Inhumans (8%).

Here are the top 10 movies, television series, and fan favorite films. If nothing else, it’s notable that neither Marvel nor DC really dominates any one category, as Marvel tends to have more entries, but DC is always at the top.
(Scores accurate as of 3pm on 11/15/17.)

(Photo by Paramount Pictures)

Top 10 Films by DC or Marvel

  1. DC: The Dark Knight – 94%
  2. Marvel: Iron Man – 94%
  3. Marvel: Spider-Man 2 – 94%
  4. Marvel: Logan – 93%
  5. Marvel: Thor: Ragnarok – 93%
  6. DC: Superman – 93%
  7. Marvel: The Avengers – 92%
  8. DC: Wonder Woman – 92%
  9. Marvel: Spider-Man: Homecoming – 92%
  10. Marvel: Guardians of the Galaxy – 91%

(Photo by Dean Buscher/The CW Network)

Top 10 TV Shows by DC or Marvel

  1. DC: The Flash – 95% (3 seasons)
  2. Marvel: Luke Cage – 95% (1 season)
  3. DC: Arrow – 94% (5 seasons)
  4. Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – 93% (4 seasons)
  5. DC: Supergirl – 93% (2 seasons)
  6. Marvel: Jessica Jones – 92% (1 season)
  7. Marvel: Legion – 90% (1 season)
  8. Marvel: Agent Carter – 88% (2 seasons)
  9. Marvel: Daredevil – 86% (2 seasons)
  10. DC: Gotham – 83% (3 seasons)

(Photo by Ron Phillips/Warner Bros.)

Top 10 Fan Favorite Movies (Audience Score)

  1. DC: The Dark Knight – 94%
  2. DC: Batman Begins – 94%
  3. Marvel: Captain America: The Winter Soldier – 92%
  4. Marvel: Guardians of the Galaxy – 92%
  5. Marvel: The Avengers – 91%
  6. Marvel: Iron Man – 91%
  7. Marvel: X-Men: Days of Future Past – 91%
  8. Marvel: Big Hero 6 – 91%
  9. DC: The Dark Knight Rises – 90%
  10. DC: V for Vendetta – 90%

DC has the highest rated trilogy, courtesy of Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman (88.3%), and the number one critic/audience rated film overall with The Dark Knight (94% Tomatometer score, 94% Audience score). DC has also released more films with female leads (Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Supergirl) than Marvel has (Elektra), though until Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman came along, none of them had scored any higher than 10% on the Tomatometer. On the television front, the DC universe (on CW and Fox) boasts an 88.6% overall average, whereas the Marvel shows (on Netflix, FX, ABC, and Hulu) sport a 75.1% average. Lastly — and this was the biggest factor — DC had 25 direct-to-DVD titles with an average Tomatometer score of 79%. All of these elements combined to make DC the grand champion, at least for now.

The competition was close, and it proves that both DC and Marvel have been creating great work for well over 50 years. The two appear to have learned from each other’s mistakes over the years, and the competition between them has created a world in which a number Academy Award-winning actors, directors, and writers are proud to say they’ve been a part of a “comic book movie.” Debates are always fun, and they help to add an extra layer of context around the pop culture we love to consume. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that we live in an unprecedented era of great entertainment for comics fans — whether you’re loyal to DC or Marvel — and that’s a win for everyone.

Tag Cloud

24 frames Rocky TIFF Polls and Games golden globes miniseries Oscars Warner Bros. Kids & Family social media IFC Films jamie lee curtis Comics on TV YouTube Red vampires war Spring TV spy thriller Super Bowl cooking Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Fall TV Sundance true crime Comedy Drama Columbia Pictures President serial killer Spectrum Originals award winner Epix travel Marathons Mary poppins transformers WGN Freeform Adult Swim GIFs Certified Fresh green book Election Shondaland Tomatazos Video Games Brie Larson aliens Lifetime ITV TruTV Creative Arts Emmys NYCC ABC Family Comic Book Sundance Now Fox News sports binge E! SDCC TV Land Winners VH1 El Rey period drama Trailer Photos Extras festivals Fantasy Cartoon Network National Geographic Musical Apple diversity DC streaming service Red Carpet Interview Pop adaptation Bravo Holidays First Look Mary Poppins Returns TCA 2017 Walt Disney Pictures Comedy Central LGBTQ Nat Geo casting Set visit justice league TBS PBS Reality Competition Sci-Fi harry potter Sneak Peek 007 adventure ESPN television USA Trophy Talk Tumblr anthology Pixar Opinion zombies Anna Paquin 2016 VICE science fiction Writers Guild of America Dark Horse Comics Trivia Logo Amazon Prime PaleyFest technology Starz doctor who historical drama MTV Showtime Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt based on movie X-Men Valentine's Day Lucasfilm FX police drama Sony Pictures Teen SundanceTV Ellie Kemper 20th Century Fox Esquire ratings DirecTV MSNBC dceu Masterpiece sequel Acorn TV Summer CW Seed Horror Quiz Reality Amazon dc Song of Ice and Fire Nominations Toys crime Britbox 2015 discovery Mystery TV TCA HBO Mary Tyler Moore DC Comics 2019 what to watch BBC History cats romance Food Network 2017 Animation Rom-Com San Diego Comic-Con CMT 45 Biopics Martial Arts GoT Universal See It Skip It Black Mirror NBC Netflix The CW Star Wars FOX CBS All Access BET thriller facebook crossover Awards Tour Winter TV MCU The Arrangement Mindy Kaling Disney Countdown 21st Century Fox GLAAD Christmas Thanksgiving Grammys YouTube Premium Awards comic medical drama AMC Captain marvel Spike cops streaming TCM E3 crime thriller IFC Pirates talk show cults dramedy Marvel YA Premiere Dates Action CNN Cosplay Hulu Infographic Rock Calendar politics Box Office FXX Ovation RT History hist zombie Country psycho Shudder Superheroes APB Disney Channel 2018 Star Trek New York Comic Con Year in Review singing competition composers Schedule OWN mockumentary TLC Ghostbusters Crackle American Society of Cinematographers finale Superheroe cinemax sitcom DGA TNT robots A&E Emmys biography spider-man Nickelodeon mutant Watching Series Podcast supernatural boxoffice Character Guide USA Network unscripted Best and Worst docudrama Paramount crime drama DC Universe blaxploitation comiccon Syfy political drama Western anime Musicals Music SXSW BBC America CBS ABC Lionsgate Paramount Network