Why is Marvel so bad now? Was the MCU Phase 4 bad, or is it just a case of some being overcritical? It’s undeniable that MCU Phase 4 has been lambasted for not being up to the standards set by the Infinity Saga. After completing MCU Phase 3 with the triumphant box-office smash with the one-two punch of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame — and the dénouement of Spider-Man: Far From Home — Marvel Studios was forced to look at the future without many of their staple characters that built the epic legacy of the MCU.
Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and Natasha Romanoff were taken off the chess board, while many of the surviving characters that helped forge the original Avengers team were scattered to the wind in spinoffs, solo projects, or even made into villains.
Notably, MCU Phase 4 ended in the middle of the Multiverse Saga, which will continue in MCU Phase 5’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — the start of a chapter many are looking forward to simply because it means putting MCU Phase 4 in the past. Indeed, while MCU Phase 4 has its merits, its faults are objectively larger, and the problem is exacerbated thanks to high post-Endgame audience expectations. Here’s why Marvel’s post-Endgame content has been controversial, and why the MCU Phase 4 turned out to be a disappointment for many — despite introducing dozens of new characters and the first MCU Disney+ shows.
Why is Marvel so bad now?
There are several explanations for why some individuals believe Marvel is “so bad now”:
- Oversaturation: Marvel has released a ton of media in the last few years, including video games, TV series, and films. Some believe that because Marvel is unable to keep up a consistently high level on all of its projects, the quality has decreased.
- Formulaic storytelling: A few individuals believe that Marvel films and television series have gotten too similar. They frequently have a similar plot, with a hero who, despite his initial reluctance, eventually overcomes his obstacles and vanquishes the enemy.
- Lack of originality: Some argue that Marvel’s storyline does not take enough chances. Rather than attempting anything novel and creative, they frequently fall back on tried-and-true formulas.
- Inadequate character development: A few individuals believe that Marvel characters have not evolved as much as they formerly did. Rather than being nuanced and empathetic personalities, they frequently have the feel of flat stereotypes.
- Too much CGI: A few individuals believe that Marvel films and television series use too much CGI. They contend that this may result in a reduction of immersion and realism.
Of course, a lot of people still like Marvel films and television series. Their appreciation for Marvel’s humor, action, and spectacle is evident. They also like watching their preferred superheroes on television and in movies.
Whether Marvel is “so bad now” or not is ultimately a question of opinion. While there are certainly issues to be raised, there are also plenty of reasons to continue enjoying Marvel movies.
Endgame’s Success Created Phase 4 Problems
Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War was a truly epic finale to a decade’s worth of storytelling, and following it up was a tall order for MCU Phase 4. The Infinity Saga featured a coherent, overarching narrative and carefully orchestrated build-up to an ending that paid off audience expectations in dividends. There’s definitely an argument that the MCU Phase 4 isn’t bad, it’s just not as good as Phases 1-3.
Plus, Captain America and Iron Man arguably held MCU Phases 1-3 together, becoming the leaders of The Avengers and rallying all the heroes behind them. Their absence in MCU Phase 4 was deeply felt, as the question of who will take over their roles is still a dangling thread that has yet to be pulled, with no clear leaders emerging in the greater story yet, even after Phase 4’s entire lineup of movies and TV shows.
To its credit, Phase 4 had the unenviable task of essentially restarting the next big MCU narrative that would flow between the films (and as well as the Disney+ shows it introduced into the MCU). It had to create an event to build toward that would match Avengers: Endgame. Following in the footsteps of the second-highest-grossing movie of all time was no small feat, but MCU Phase ultimately failed to give audiences any real plans for the future of the MCU.
Instead, in Phase 4, it felt like characters and stories were being introduced without any real connective tissue to the greater MCU, while the next great threat, Kang (shown in the finale of Loki season 1), was glimpsed only once. It can be argued devouring each new show and movie wasn’t worth the investment.
Marvel Phase 4 Was The MCU’s Most Divisive Yet
Fan expectations are one thing, but was the MCU Phase 4 bad based on critical reception? Phase 4 has the MCU’s first Rotten movie on Rotten Tomatoes at 47% for director Chloe Zhao’s Eternals — a major miss for an entry that introduced new characters and layers to the MCU. In fact, three of the MCU’s five lowest-rated movies on RT are from Phase 4, as well as three of the MCU’s four worst CinemaScore productions, including Eternals, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder, (which was eclipsed by Ms. Marvel).
The introduction of the Disney+ Marvel shows also proved to be a rocky road for Marvel Studios, as some of the shows struggled with lower budgets and meandering stories, while others did well in pushing the MCU forward, creating an uneven start for the new format. The lack of focus, tighter budgets, disconnected narratives, and the loss of the most popular characters truly split opinions on the MCU Phase 4.
That being said, Phase 4 did finish on a high note with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Werewolf By Night, and The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special. Moreover, thanks to the Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania trailers, Marvel seems ready to put an end to Phase 4’s narrative issues as the Multiverse Saga goes into overdrive with the grand debut of the next MCU big bad – Kang the Conqueror.
The MCU Phase 4 Was Too Convoluted
With Marvel entering the realm of streaming in Phase 4, it was only a matter of time before the event aspect of the films being released per year became diluted. What used to be two to three movies per year became three to four movies, with Disney+ shows coming every other month, making for an onslaught of content in MCU Phase 4 that barely slowed down to be digested.
It may seem ironic for viewers to have complained about having too much of a good thing, but when the good thing became monotonous, aimless, and without any real stakes or hype, the audience may lose its appetite altogether.
Even after Marvel unveiled its long-term plans with the MCU Phase 5 slate and teased that Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars were already in the works, this only further put into perspective how detached MCU Phase 4 was from the Multiverse Saga.
Prior to the tease of Kang at the end of Loki season 1, fans had no idea where any of it was going, let alone what the real threat was or who will lead the fight against it. The introduction of the multiverse was cool enough, but Phase 4 mostly served to just bring back characters from pre-MCU films and create variants of current ones, which didn’t move the needle by any large degree. It took previews for MCU Phase 5 and Marvel’s future slate for viewers to finally make some sense of Phase 4’s convoluted stories.
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