With Phase 4 ending and Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe beginning, many fans are left wondering, “Is this it?! Did Marvel fall off?” While some movies and shows are better than others, for the last two years, we’ve got plenty of content from the house of Marvel. Is that part of the problem? And, what about us, as viewers? Have we become so accustomed to their success that whenever a new project hits, we bash it whenever we see something we don’t like? Are we spoiled children, at the toy store? With criticisms about their overuse of comedy, overworking their CGI artists, and Marvel being “woke”, it leaves the question; Are fans done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
The short answer is no. No matter how much toxic fans complain, they will STILL go to theaters and keep their Disney Plus memberships to watch MCU projects. However, let’s examine some issues that are having critics debating among themselves. First, the humor. While comedy is good in any type of film, too much can do a disservice to the product. Case in point, Thor: Love And Thunder. At first glance, it looked like Thor: Ragnarok, but better. As it turned out, the movie had too much comedy and too little substance. Love and Thunder was supposed to deal with a returning Jane Foster and her dealing with being Thor and having cancer. We also had a terrifying villain in Gorr, who wanted to see all Gods suffer for abusing their power. But, for the most part, we received one-liners every five minutes, some shoddy CGI in some scenes, and a repeated character arc with Thor. Similar to Quantumania, we were led to believe that this movie would be ushering in the next big bad, with Kang the Conqueror. To be fair, the moments with Kang were the selling point of the whole film. If the next phase wants to have success, one of the ways is to have their villains breathe on screen and allow them to be more imposing.
Another critique that is becoming more relevant is their use of CGI. Marvel’s CGI has continued to get worse due to overworking their artists. Deadlines for movies can’t (or won’t) be pushed back, so the higher-ups make their artists push things to the limit. Often, this leaves artists little time to perfect the material, which leaves the audience with scenes that feel like they’re looking at a PlayStation 3 cutscene. We saw it in Love and Thunder (notice how that movie keeps coming up.) Even Black Panther had this issue, with the final battle in the final act. And with Marvel’s Phase 4 films and shows, it’s getting worse. With Phase 5 underway, Marvel has slowed down on film and shows coming out, back to back. This is a good thing since those projects will (hopefully) allow artists more time to complete their work, so we can enjoy more polished products.
Then, we have what may be the most difficult problem to tackle…Us. Are we the problem? Have we gotten so used to Marvel giving us these great movies that we’ve become spoiled? And what about shows like She-Hulk, or Falcon and The Winter Soldier? Whenever Marvel attempts to show the representation of a minority, it’s written off as “go woke, go broke”. Rather, Marvel is trying to address real-world issues while mixing super-heroics into their stories. Phase 4 got a lot of flack for this, with Wanda/Vision showcasing why mental health is important. The aforementioned Falcon and The Winter Soldier, show that even as an Avenger, Sam Wilson still has to deal with racism when being stopped by cops or not being able to get a loan from the bank. Phase 4 wasn’t the best, but it was personal, which is fitting, considering that the Pandemic happened around that time, and everyone was dealing with that in their own way. Another critique is that politics have entered one of our favorite fandoms, where we once could get away from all that. But I’d like to remind some folks that politics has been in comics (and the MCU, by extension) for a long time. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is about what would happen if superheroes were real, so why are some crying foul when real issues are being discussed?
Do I love the MCU? Yes. Are they perfect? Far from it. Can they get better? I hope so. And, I’m not bashing the MCU, so much as I want them to learn from failed experiments and grow. Sometimes, less is more, and spectacle shouldn’t come before the story. Maybe this will fall on deaf ears, but I’m just a concerned fan who wants Marvel to do better. That’s all for me, fam. If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to comment, share with others, and follow me on Instagram @blerdpov2.0. Till next time, fellow blerds!