Despite a wealth of experience to fall back on, Marvel’s Phase 4 repeats the same tiresome mistakes seen in Phase 1 of the MCU. The Marvel Cinematic Universe phase is well advanced, with Black Widow and Shang Chi and the legend of the ten rings is already proving a box office success despite a somewhat desolate post-pandemic theatrical landscape. These releases will be reinforced by the presence of Eternals and the third release of Tom Holland in Spider-Man: No Path Home before the end of 2021, marking a much-anticipated festive blockbuster period that will be dominated by Marvel releases.
Phase 4 of the MCU to date has been about setting up origin stories for its main cast, with Natasha Romanoff confronting her past in Black Widow and Shang Chi and the legend of the ten rings set up a canonical framework for its eponymous hero. However, in the context of the larger MCU’s continuing narrative, these entries appear to be empty placeholders for many audiences, given the climactic events of Avengers: Endgame. The final Avengers The episode to this day still lives a long time in the collective memory of the MCU, with the compelling performances of retired Marvel mainstays Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) not so easily forgotten.
To date, it looks like Marvel’s Phase 4 is doomed to repeat the mistakes of MCU Phase 1 given the current state of the MCU’s narrative. A slew of generic and underpowered villains, coupled with absurd retcons and an outdated formula mean Phase 4, in its current state, feels like a revamp of its inaugural film series. Here are five of the biggest Phase 1 mistakes the MCU Phase 4 makes.
Phase 4 has too many generic side villains
While Marvel The Avengers made waves in 2012 due to its awe-inspiring scale and originality, its impact on the superhero genre obscuring some of its more lazy plot elements. This is especially true of the Chitauri, whose presence ushered in by the trickster god Loki looks like a CGI cut-and-paste job, all of the Chitauri appearing identical. This lack of diversity in their design, coupled with the flippant way the Avengers send them out, makes the set AvengersThe Chitauri race seem insignificant next to Loki, despite being canonically Thanos’ army of choice. Sadly, including a generic set of side villains is a mistake that Marvel seems destined to be repeated. Eternals, which will unveil the first look at the evil race known as The Deviants. With the Eternals With previews already showing snippets of the omnipotent celestial known as Arishem the Judge, the deviants seem destined to take a back seat as an ultimately insignificant threat to the Eternals given the world-modifying powers of the celestials canonically. Despite the presence of the Deviant’s leader, Kro, it remains very likely that the majority of the Deviants will be used as faceless fodder for the Eternals to cut their teeth into, giving a soulless feel to the MCU Eternals vs. Deviants.
Phase 4 releases are too concerned about the future configuration
While The Avengers set the MCU on the path to near complete domination of the superhero genre, the installments that preceded it mostly haven’t captured the interest of a wider audience. The first MCU Phase 1 entries such as The Incredible Hulk and Iron man 2 feel particularly rigid and uninspired, with both films going to great lengths to lay the groundwork for their respective titular characters. The problem here is that the aforementioned two Phase 1 installments leave little room for an actual story, with each scene feeling rather disjointed in an effort to premonitiously connect with the larger (and burgeoning) MCU. The first MCU Phase 4 movies feel eerily similar in their approach, with Scarlett Johansson Black Widow, in particular, acting as little more than a series of Phase 3 callbacks and setups that attempt to give its espionage-based plot some meaning and weight in an already ridiculously overpowered (and overpowered) MCU. Attempting to properly integrate characters with a low power cap, such as Black Widow and Shang-Chi, in the same phase as demigods Thor and Carol Danvers find themselves forced, with their respective ties to the MCU feeling shocking. Consequently.
Break-Neck Retcons in Phase 4 Movies and Shows
Of course, it’s impossible to perfectly set up every character’s backstory without fail, given the changing nature of film production, even in such a successful entity as the MCU. However, the aforementioned rigidity in which MCU phases operate means that when narrative changes are needed, they are often implemented as daredevil retcons that appear from left field. This first appears in 2012 The Avengers against Loki, when the film decides to pick up all of the struggles of Edward Norton’s character in The Incredible Hulk in favor of Banner suddenly controlling his ability. The Avengers, even more surprisingly, actually folds back, with The Hulk in his initial scenes, he’s been shown to have little control over his transformations. It’s a bad habit of Marvel Eternals seems set to repeat itself, with the film essentially picking up on the full significance of the Infinity Stones, which suddenly seem like they don’t matter anymore. Thanos’ snap was reversed and emergence began, meaning that instead of tying the Infinity Stones into Phase 4, they were ditched in favor of a new End of Gamethreat level.
The villains of phase 4 without interest
Iron man 2 is the MCU’s best example of a movie featuring a poorly executed villain, with its main antagonist Vanko barely registering as a credible threat to Tony Stark. The best characters in the MCU’s “Big Bad”, as Thanos testified, are villains who far surpass the power level of current Marvel heroes, so their battles are as high on stakes as they are on gravity. Still, it looks like Phase 4 of the MCU forgot about this golden rule, with Black Widow‘s Dreykov (Ray Winstone) the first in a series of uninspired and uninspiring primary villains. Shang-Chi‘s The Dweller In Darkness is another example here, with the Dweller receiving little history or explanation of his power before Shang-ChiThe superhero’s team solidly beats the entity.
Sticking too tightly to “the MCU formula”
When The Avengers For the first time in theaters in 2012, it introduced a precise, albeit highly successful, formula that few MCU and Marvel canon installments have been able to shake since. In essence, the framework is as follows: reintroduce any necessary story; assemble a group of heroes; make them face adversity; reform the group to fight against a significant threat to their existence; while adding a touch of comedic relief. While the success of this simple model is not in question, the predictability of the MCU’s proven formula has undoubtedly become obsolete in all four phases since its inception. After the significant events of End of Game, Phase 4 was set up nicely to try something new with its structure, given the breakdown of The Avengers and the new storylines of the Eternals to present. To date, however, what has been offered by Phase 4 is a structural carbon copy of the Phase 1 installments, with both Shang-Chi and Black Widow introduce unnecessary superhero teams into otherwise linear storylines. While familiarity is a welcome emotion for any franchise to be spawned, it shouldn’t come at the cost of narrative substance, which is a toll on the go. MCU phase 4 seems too willing to pay.
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- Eternals (2021)Release date: 05 November 2021
- Spider-Man: No Path Home (2021)Release Date: December 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: 06 May 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release Date: 08 Jul 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Black Panther 2 (2022)Release Date: November 11, 2022
- Wonders / Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release Date: February 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: 05 May 2023
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release Date: Jul 28, 2023
Eternals’ Rotten Tomatoes Score struggles to stay fresh
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