The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has grown in bounds and leaps, but the recent releases of phase 4 have brought doubts to many fans about the quality of production marvel is known for. The MCU is divided into phases, the phase 4 saw the onset of shows on Disney+, starting from “WandaVision” and scheduled to end with “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in November.
The first point where phase 4 falls short is its general lack of purpose. Phases 1-3 had a purpose that was evident and shone through all the movies. Phase 1 (from “Iron Man” to “The Avengers”) focused on the assembling of the Avengers. Phase 2 (from “Iron Man 3” to “Ant-Man”) set up the world, and heroes and slowly built to the main villain, Thanos. Phase 3 (from “Captain America: Civil War” to “Spider-Man Far from Home”) rounded up the infinity saga. Each movie had a cameo or scene linking it to the others. This led to the feeling that every work was done intentionally.
Phase 4 has been a barrage of content and purposelessness, with the most connection between works being that of “Dr Strange: Multiverse of Madness” and “WandaVision”.
This excessive amount of content in phase 4 is evidenced by four (4) movies and five (5) television series in 2021 alone. Compared to other phases with only 2/3 movies per year, this amount of content makes casually following the cinematic universe tiresome. Most of the movies in phase 4 lost the ability to be able to stand on their own, requiring the audience to do their “homework” before going to the cinema. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” required having watched the three Sam Raimi Spiderman films and the two Sony Spiderman films, leaving new fans lost.
Then, there is the main issue of the quality of writing and CGI. The writing in phase 4 has majorly played a disservice to the characters we have come to know and love. Black Widow’s story was very weak, de-emphasizing the great character we saw in “Avengers: Endgame”. Shang-Chi was essentially a mid storyline, “Eternals” should not have been made. Doctor Strange and Thor were dumbed down. Wanda was made into a Yoyo character. Though the TV series have been ok, but that’s all they’ve been, the best being “Loki” and “WandaVision”. The CGI has not been to taste. Most notably, the floating head in Thor 4, the She-hulk trailer and Moon Knight episode 6 suit-up scene. There have been reports of visual artists leaving the industry due to the excessive workload and short time frame.
All these bring worry to the hearts of Marvel fans about the future of the MCU. However, fans have to hope that Kevin Feige knows what he is doing. As the MCU Phase 5 and 6 were announced at the 2022 comic con, this hope is strengthened with the announcement of titles like “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”, “Thunderbolts”, “Fantastic Four”, “Avengers: Kang Dynasty” and “Avengers: Secret Wars”.
With the release of it’s trailer, one can only hope that the upcoming “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” comes out as an excellent production.