Johnnie’s Judgement: The sorry state of the MCU
Almost everything post-Endgame has been lacklustre.
Throughout the 2010s, Marvel was on top of the movie world. Every release would shoot to the top of the box office and was praised for adding perfectly to the growing Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It all cumulated to the epic two-movie finale of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. These two films were the pinnacle of superhero cinema and marked a pretty perfect ending to many of the heroes that made the MCU what it was.
Things carried on after that, with new characters introduced to expand the universe as well as build upon existing characters’ stories.
And that’s where the problem has been, as too many of these new movies and series have been well below the level at which we have come to know from the Marvel movies.
In fairness, I don’t think all the movies have been a flop. Phase Four, which started after Endgame, had some good films.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings genuinely rivals Black Panther as my favourite Marvel film and Spider-Man: No Way Home is widely considered a brilliant piece of cinema. I also enjoyed Eternals and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
But it was after Doctor Strange that I felt the movies started to go downhill. Thor: Love and Thunder was fine, I did find it somewhat entertaining, but I fully understand people’s criticism. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also fell short of my expectations.
Then Phase Five came along and genuinely I think the only good film out of them has been Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It was a genuine sendoff to the Guardians, it was touching and it felt apart from the general mess that was the Multiverse Saga.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was really underwhelming, and now there is The Marvels, which I won’t comment too much on because I haven’t seen it yet, although from what I’ve heard of it, I don’t want to go see it in cinema.
Marvel decided to keep the ball rolling after Endgame by bringing out series as well as movies to introduce more characters and to keep things ticking along. The issue is that most of the series have fallen really short.
WandaVision was the start and it was good, made slightly better when Doctor Strange 2 came out although if you hadn’t seen WandaVision much of the film probably would have been rather confusing.
The first season of Loki was by far the best live-action series they have done, while season two which has just finished streaming was fairly decent too.
I say live-action series there because the underrated hit that was What If…? was so good and I can’t wait for season two this December.
But everything ranges from meh to why have you done this (looking at you, She-Hulk). Hawkeye and Moon Knight were fine, but everything else in my opinion has not been must-watch.
She-Hulk is rightfully pinpointed as the point where Marvel really fell off, but to me, it was Ms Marvel that came just before it that made me go ‘Yeah this ain’t it.’
The problem in my eyes
There are so many issues in my opinion that I can’t just point out one main one. But the biggest problems for me have been the amount of new characters and the stories of each.
Kevin Feige, the President of Marvel Studios, was the figurehead for all the good that came from the MCU pre-Phase Four. Obviously, I don’t know the ins and outs of all that goes on, but to me, it feels like he has lost the control he had and instead has to give into Disney's demands for more.
Rather than focusing on individual projects and putting out a sound project every time, Disney wants quick profits which means pumping out shows and movies regardless of the quality. I’m sure if he could Fiege would slate the stuff they have been putting out because it doesn’t have that special touch that previously endeared the universe to the masses.
I understand that they have to build a new Avengers group since the original one is all gone - either dead (which is never really dead anymore anyway) or retired - but the way they are going about it is all wrong.
The good news from it all is they are realising this themselves. Marvel has noticed the decline in interest and is looking for ways to bring fans back onto their side - although the suggestion of a new Avengers film with the original group seems more of a cash grab than a fix so I’m not quite sure on that.
I am still interested to see where they are going to go next. I do like some of the stories they are yet to tell. Deadpool 3 with Wolverine and the introduction of the mutants/X-Men will be cool.
I do just worry that with the way things are going, by the time the next big Avengers film comes around, which is scheduled for 2026, no one will care.