Lately, there has been a lot of controversy with Marvel’s new Phase 4.
Phase 4 takes place after and follows Marvel’s very successful “Infinity Saga”, or the first 23 films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Ever since the First Iron Man movie was released in 2008, Marvel has almost always made hundreds of millions at the box office. Marvel’s Phase 3 made about $13.505 billion with 11 films. Phase 2 made about $5.269 billion with 6 films, and Phase 1 was just $3.8 billion with 6 films as well. The amount of money made from the phases alone tells us how influential and popular the MCU has become over the years.
Marvel’s Phase 4 started in January 2021. Since then, there have been seven shows and five films released, and there are still many more to come. So far, the five films have made about $2.5 billion. Even though the films have made a good amount of money so far, they aren’t as popular with fans as the previous movies. Marvel started strong with movies such as “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Black Widow”, but then the quality of the later movies didn’t hold up.
“Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” were the biggest Marvel movies, and Marvel thought they could continue their success by making movies the same way. Many fans felt as though the Shang-Chi trailer told a lot about the plot of the movie. Despite that, the movie was very successful at the box office, as an origin movie, with almost half a billion dollars made. “Black Widow” made almost $400 million from both Disney+ and cinemas. It was a great mix between comedy and action, and it took place before Black Widow’s death, so fans were able to see a little more about their favorite hero.
When it came to “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, many fans had problems with the CGI. Compared to previous MCU movies, the low quality wasn’t expected from Marvel. That has never been a problem for Marvel up until the movie was released. Fans expected a lot more than what the movie gave them. They felt the CGI was low quality, and many characters that were hyped up were not even big characters and were killed off or forgotten in a matter of minutes. Cameos and rumors for the movie were true, but they became disappointments in the end.
Many fans argued “Thor: Love and Thunder” was not as good as its predecessor, “Thor: Ragnarok”. The director, Taika Watiti, was able to make a perfect balance between comedy, action, and plot in “Ragnarok”. However, “Thor: Love and Thunder” was more of a comedy movie than anything else. According to MovieWeb, many fans have called it “disjointed and badly edited, while others have praised it for its bombastic, loud and undaunted vibes.” The comedy greatly overpowered the plot and action.
“WandaVision” aired in January 2021, “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” aired in March 2021, and “Loki” aired in July 2021. “WandaVision” received a whopping 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 88% from the audience score. The show was a big topic for months because of how popular it was. Fan theories were popping up all over the internet, and people were invested. Not many people were excited about the “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” series, but people still watched it. It had an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 84% from the audience. It wasn’t what people expected because it focused on two “normal” heroes who didn’t have powers like a lot of the other famous MCU characters. When “Loki” was announced, fans were impatiently waiting for it to air. By the end, it received a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 91% from the audience. And just like “WandaVision”, it was a hot topic for months. Based on this, Marvel’s Phase 4 was off to a great start.
According to Rotten Tomatoes rankings, the new MCU shows (“WandaVision”, “Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, “Loki”, “What if…?”, “Hawkeye”, “Moon Knight”, and “Ms. Marvel”) have done much better than most of the movies released in Phase 4. However, many fans aren’t really happy with the shows either. Many people have said that “Ms. Marvel” had no plot and that it felt irrelevant. When it came to “Moon Knight”, people found the ending unsatisfying. It seemed like it made no sense and so much more could have happened. “Hawkeye” and “What if…?” had almost no hate from fans, mainly because they were filler shows and they served no purpose except for being a show for fans to enjoy.
“Black Widow” and “Shang-Chi” were very popular movies. Fans could enjoy “Black Widow” in the comfort of their homes or the theaters when it came out. It was a comical and emotional movie, and the ending was a great cliffhanger that would eventually lead to “Hawkeye”. “Shang-Chi” was also a great movie. The comedy was great and so was the action. It was the perfect introduction of a new character into the MCU.
Now, “Eternals” wasn’t popular at all. The characters were interesting and enjoyable to watch, but the movie itself wasn’t good. “Eternals” is only 2 hours and 37 minutes, but it feels much longer. There are too many flashbacks and too much talking. When it comes to the MCU, the action-to-talking ratio is almost always perfectly balanced. In this case, it was very unbalanced. Fans don’t want to see talking in an action movie so it was a terrible origin movie. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, as stated earlier, left fans disappointed. They expected more than they received. The cameos were short-lived, and the CGI was questionable. And then, “Thor: Love and Thunder” didn’t live up to the classic MCU expectations. Some people enjoyed it, but most fans agree that it focused on comedy more than anything else.
While Marvel’s Phase 4 started well, it has not kept up that same energy recently, and fans are not happy. Hopefully, the MCU will turn back around to how it once was, but it doesn’t look that way right now.