I know Phase Four is still going, and there is much more to come, but as an MCU fan, I thought it might be fun to take a look at what’s come out so far and rank them accordingly. I realize that my scores likely will not be in the majority, and that’s okay. Projects that didn’t work for me, could very well have worked for you. That’s the beauty of art. It resonates differently with different people. It’s supposed to.
There WILL be spoilers ahead so use caution.
6. Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness I went into more detail about why this movie upset me so much here if you want to read more, but basically, the film delivered too much telling of plot points and not showing us them. Not to mention the blatant disregard for character arcs that have come before it.
5. Black Widow Look, I love me some Natasha Romanoff. She defined the term ‘bad ass’ for me. But her movie… well, she deserved a better script and earlier in the release rollout. Giving her a solo move AFTER you kill her off is not great, Bob. To add insult to injury, this film turned out to be Yelena’s movie and it should have been Natasha’s. I think most of us were hoping for her origin story to land shortly after Avengers. After that movie, people were pumped to hear about her backstory. Why wait until she was dead to give it to us, Marvel?
4. Thor: Love & Thunder I won’t go into too much detail yet. I’m saving that for another post once more people have had time to see it. Briefly, I’ll say this. It’s not as bad as Thor: The Dark World but nowhere as good as Thor: Ragnarock. Ultimately, it fell in the ‘meh’ category. Too many cheap jokes and not enough stakes/heart. Not the typical Marvel formula.
3. Eternals Despite what some people thought, I did enjoy this movie (and not just because of the Harry Styles’ cameo.) I enjoyed the gorgeous cinematography, but because there were ten new characters to introduce us to, a movie time frame doesn’t give us enough room to care properly for all of them. Personally, I think this project should have been a series. That would have given more space to develop all of these new players. That said, I will be curious to see where they go with them. There is some great potential, and visually, it was stunning.
2. Shang-Chi I was pleasantly surprised by this one. While I’m not one for a lot of fight sequences, the ones in this were so original and compelling that you couldn’t look away. The cinematography and CGI were great and the story was fresh. Plus, Morris!
1. Spider-Man: No Way Home Sure, some people call this movie ‘fan-service’ and it was, but it was done in the best possible way (unlike that scene in Multiverse of Maddess.) I hadn’t cheered, cried, and been so invested in an MCU project since Endgame. That was a community-shared experience and one I won’t likely forget.
6. What If Just because it’s last doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this series. I did. They were different, funny, and could take writing/character risks the movies and shows can’t. I will say this though, Episode 4 did a better job with Dr. Strange than either of his solo movies did. I said what I said.
5. Loki I have a feeling I’m going to get some slack for this. Look, I love Tom Hiddleston as much as the next person. He IS Loki. I really liked the plot, the story, all of it. Owen Wilson was a perfect addition. I just like the others in this phase better, that’s all. I still really loved the show and eagerly awaiting Season 2.
4. Hawkeye Yes, I put this before Loki. Again, nothing against Tom Hiddleston. I adore what he does with Loki. I just think Hawkeye was more enjoyable in repeat viewings. And I’ve always wanted to have more Clint in the movies so, this scratched a particular itch for me.
3. WandaVision I’ll be honest, I almost didn’t finish this one. That first episode had me so confused. I didn’t understand what they were doing. How did this black and white sitcom make ANY sense in the MC? I am so glad I stuck it out because it was really fun guessing week-to-week what the heck they were up to. Solid storytelling, and intrigue, except for that last episode. Yikes. Cringe fest. However, this show has one of the greatest lines ever too: What is grief, if not love persevering?
2. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Don’t come at me. I love Bucky. No shame. Episodes 4 and 5 were epic in terms of writing/acting so that is another reason to put it so high. I’m an actor myself and these guys brought it. Yes, even Walker. You have to be a great actor to get that much hate. The Flag Smashers plot line was the real weak link in this one.
1. Moon Knight How did the MCU get me to care/obsess over a hero I’d never heard of before? Two words. Oscar Isaac. His performance in this is a chef’s kiss. Give this man ALL of the awards. Seriously. He’s that good. I also love that it’s a stand-alone and can act as an entry point for non-MCU watchers. More character-driven stories like this please, Mr. Feige.
Who knows if this order will hold at the end of this run but that’s where I’m at now. How would you rank the projects? Let me know!
Danielle/Dani Bannister author and MCU lover despite a few of Phase 4s rocky entries