Opinion: Marvel Needs To Go Back To Basics Before It Ruins Its Legacy

"Mr Stark, I don't feel so good..." about the current status of the MCU.

Opinion: Marvel Needs To Go Back To Basics Before It Ruins Its Legacy

The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) projects have been either hit or miss. But it also seems that there’s no clear overarching story anymore – which is what made the MCU so popular in the first place… Spoiler alert: the following article contains spoilers for all MCU projects – including Ms Marvel and Thor: Love and Thunder.

It seems just like yesterday that we watched the sarcastic but loveable “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” Tony Stark become a superhero in the 2008 film Iron Man. But no one could have known at the time that Iron Man would kick off one of the most successful film franchises of all time – the MCU.

Over the last 14 years since Iron Man, twenty-nine MCU films and seven MCU television shows (that all connect together to essentially tell one long story) have been released; and there are plenty more MCU instalments on the way. For example, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law are set to be released before the end of this year.

But is the MCU losing its magic touch? For the first three ‘phases’ of the MCU, commonly known as the Infinity Saga, almost every film teased that Thanos was the big bad and he was desperate to get his hands on the Infinity Stones. And then when he eventually turned up as the main villain in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, it was incredibly satisfying.

Currently, the MCU is in Phase Four and compared to previous phases it’s a tad messy and is honestly giving the impression that the franchise has bitten off more than it can chew. Just look at Phase One; the films Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger were clearly setting up the final film of Phase One, The Avengers.

It was practically crystal clear where Phases One, Two and Three were heading. Phase Four? Not so much. Image Credit: Marvel Studios

And each film did this by introducing us to the six avengers and by adding post-credit scenes that hinted at what was coming; Iron Man 2’s post-credits scene was Phil Coulson finding Mjölnir leading us directly into Thor and Captain America’s post-credits scene was essentially a trailer for The Avengers, for instance.

But Phase Four has been all over the shop. So far, the only projects in this phase that have had post-credits scenes that tie in with other MCU films/series are WandaVision (the post-credits are clearly tied to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and upcoming film The Marvels), Black Widow (Valentina Allegra de Fontaine from Falcon and the Winter Soldier makes an appearance), Spider-Man: No Way Home (it’s practically a trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) and Ms. Marvel (Brie Larson cameoed as Captain Marvel teasing Kamala’s involvement in The Marvels).

Everything else is seemingly teasing projects that haven’t been announced yet and, potentially, could never come to fruition. For example, Harry Styles turns up as Eros in the Eternals post-credit scene but there’s no word on when Eros will appear again in the MCU.

Sure, looking at the comics, Eros is friends with Captain Mar-Vell so he could potentially show up in The Marvels but as the character Captain Mar-Vell isn’t currently set to appear in that film, it seems unlikely that Eros will show up.

These post-credit scenes were awesome but what will they lead to, if anything? Image Credit: (both) Marvel Studios

Similarly, Jake Lockley makes a brief appearance in the Moon Knight post-credits scene even though there’s been no confirmation of a Season 2 or when Marc/Steven/Jake will appear next in the MCU; so why tease us?

Sure, there are a few post-credits scenes from Phases Two and Three of the MCU that still haven’t panned out yet; for instance, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ended with Ayesha creating Adam – a character who will first appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which doesn’t get released until next year.

But those types of post-credit scenes were a rarity in Phase Two and Three, whereas Phase Four is seemingly filled with post-credit scenes that are teasing things that are either YEARS away or will, sadly, never happen. Plus, we don’t even know who the new big bad is; our guess is Kang the Conqueror from Loki but we can’t be certain at this stage.

Hopefully, there is a plan and the MCU is actually setting up something massive that once revealed, will make Phase Four’s post-credit scenes and overarching story make sense retrospectively. But if so, the MCU needs to reveal it soon, otherwise, fans may grow tired and will stop religiously watching every MCU project… Leading to the MCU’s demise.

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