Home NerdThe Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
NerdBy Joe Burgett -

With the recent news that Deadpool 3 will be headed to theaters in September 2024, fans were immediately excited to hear the beloved character would make his first MCU appearance. Yet this was ramped up even more with the news that not only would Wolverine also make his MCU debut alongside Deadpool, but Hugh Jackman will be reprising the Wolverine role too. This takes place in Phase 5 of the marvel cinematic universe, yet we’re currently within Phase 4 of the MCU timeline. It has been the most divisive of all Marvel Studios phases so far. What is so sad about all of this is that, well, we can see why so many dislike it.

If you ask fans what they think about some of the films or shows in Phase 4, you’ll get a variety of answers. Most of the time, fans will want to talk about the things they loved about each film or show. However, when you ask people what they are most excited about…they won’t normally discuss Phase 4 content. Rather, they’ll want to discuss all the big stuff coming in Phase 5 of the MCU. Out of all of the Marvel Studios phases, this is the first time fans just wanted to move on from a specific phase entirely. While a lot of good stuff happened or is happening within it, there are legitimate reasons to despise this phase. Let’s dive into some of them below!

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

What Does Marvel’s Phase 4 Involve?

There are several movies and shows that are part of the Phase 4 system. The movies included in Phase 4 are The Eternals, Black Widow, Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. This is the first phase to include several television shows as well. Those in this same phase include WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. The fact that the Marvel Studios phases will include shows going forward is great, but it can also become a problem too.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
While Marvel Studios has used television in the past as part of their content, most of it was not really part of the major MCU. While it still existed and counted, with all characters still within the same universe, they simply did not matter. Therefore, shows like Inhumans and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were just “there” and did not add a lot to the larger universe. The same can be said for the infamous Marvel Netflix shows like Daredevil, The Punisher, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage. None were part of a specific phase truthfully, but now EVERY show and movie outside animated projects will be part of the MCU’s Phase treatment.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Phase 4 Is All About Guilt and Consequences

Let’s face it, after the events of Avengers: End Game, there were going to be a lot of things one needed to consider. Not only would specific characters die off, only causing major consequences… but some characters will feel guilty for not doing enough. Others will feel guilty because, while they did a lot, they did not save the lives of those that they loved. There are also consequences for every action that takes place and this cannot be erased. People will clearly understand now that, while powerful people can help the world, they can also hurt it. Now, there are also several major weapons or experimental methods to attain superpowers.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
This only makes the hero’s job much harder because people will see them as the enemy, even when they have proven themselves. Look at Spider-Man’s problem alone. J. Jonah Jameson constantly makes him out to be a bad guy when Spidey has done nothing but help. People still buy into what Jameson says in spite of this. If that sort of issue can happen to one of the universe’s biggest names, what is to stop it from happening to others? The saddest part is that one cannot blame people for feeling this way. Yet that also sets up some really problematic stories. Marvel fans will be brought back down to Earth watching these stories, which is difficult.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Avengers: Endgame Made Moving On Much Harder

After the events of Avengers: Endgame, there was always going to be a lull period. Marvel Studios spent a decade building up to this climactic two-part film that was set up absolutely perfectly. The storytelling was so good that you can look back at little tidbits from the movies and see how they mattered. Even some of the things that seemingly meant nothing. However, after spending all this time building up to Thanos and the Infinity Saga storyline, we must move on. It only made sense to go into some stories that were not told yet, allowing Marvel Studios to introduce new characters and potentially make them into billion-dollar IPs.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
After Avengers: Endgame, new characters were needing to be introduced. Meanwhile, some were needing to make their way into the MCU or mainline MCU. This included all of Marvel’s Netflix superheroes. Along with the X-Men and Fantastic Four, which they did not have the rights to before The Walt Disney Company purchased the 20th Century Fox Studio. Yet a lot of this would not build to anything but rather just give us a look at new characters. The sad part was that we also had to move on from characters we loved and lost. It was like losing your wife in a car accident and going on dates with other women the next week. There was no time given to really grieve or breathe at all.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Comics]

After Giant Arcs, You Go Back To Basics (And That Can Feel Boring)

While fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe might not be as well-versed with this stuff as comic book fans, people do need to keep something in mind. Whenever a giant arc concludes in a major series in the comic book world, you have to move on. This might also lead to a new writer coming into the series to lead the character’s story in a new direction after his or her major arc. However, all of this means you have to “go back to basics,” where a character starts off moving through this new world they happen to be in. We knew the future Marvel Studios phases would have to do this. The world-building has to take place and set-ups need to be laid out.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Square Enix]
For example, after some of the biggest Superman or Spider-Man story arcs…their first few issues after those arcs were not much to write home about. There might be an introduction to a character that will become a big deal later on, but that is about it. This is why going back to basics can often come across as boring. MCU fans are given this massive battle with almost every MCU superhero, with major CGI battles. That can make watching the Hawkeye show feel kinda blah among others, even if it’s a good show. This is new territory that other Marvel Studios phases never had to deal with. Thus, they had no plan to get out of the funk at all.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Marvel’s “Diversity” Phase

One glaring issue that other Marvel Studios phases did not consider was the lack of diversity. Sure, there were “some” black characters and “some” female representations. However, this needed to be expanded. On top of this, there are major characters that hadn’t been introduced into the MCU yet. The problem is that Kevin Fiege tried to jam all of this “diversity” into Phase 4. It was not a bad idea for the MCU to become more diverse at all, but the real issue was that most of the shows or films that were made to do this turned out to be pretty bad.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
Movies like Eternals had the perfect cast to really give us a ton of diversity, as well as a major new team. It even had the first-ever intimate love scene in an MCU film. And this also came along with LGBTQ representation. However, the movie was lackluster at best. Many of the shows and movie projects also focused on the introduction and use of minority characters, such as Shang-Chi. His movie turned out to be pretty awesome, but it is one exception to the lackluster show and film introductions. If Kevin Fiege decided to spread out the diversity moves between Phase 4 to 6, people could take to these changes easier. Just slamming Phase 4 with all of this and not spreading it out among the other Marvel Studios phases was illogical.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Speaking Of The Eternals

While it was understandable The Eternals were introduced, the movie suffered from a lot of missteps. It seemed like the perfect film to introduce much-needed diversity into the MCU. Sure, this would later become quite a lot – but when Eternals came out, this was not the case. We saw Asian-American character use, which was heavily needed along with the first Indian character, who came complete with Bollywood roots. Plus, the first deaf superhero in film history along with a gay character. It is pretty tough to beat the diversity of the Eternals team for sure. The question many might have is.: what went wrong? The characters were underdeveloped and we’re given very little about how they essentially “level up” in abilities.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
Ikaris and Sersi are said to have been in love with each other for thousands of years. Yet that is not felt at all in the dialogue or connection between the two on screen. It also does not help that the exposition of the story is repeatedly laid out for us in word form, not in action. This was understandable somewhat because the movie had to introduce so much new content that could have likely been done in small doses before Eternals came out. However, Fiege and Marvel Studios were wanting to fix the diversity issue so fast that they did not consider this side of the equation. Not to mention that the Eternals existing and doing nothing during the Infinity Saga makes no sense at all.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

“The Blip” Affected Most Of The World

When Thanos snapped his fingers and wiped out half the life in the universe, it took five years for those lives to come back. At least, it was 5 years for those that were never affected by this. Called “The Blip,” people faded to dust only to return as if nothing happened. For them, it was only a small moment in time but those five years that passed by were pretty significant. It essentially messed up the world because people were able to get property such as homes that the “blipped” left behind. It is clear that wiping out half of all life only served to help some people while it would become a huge problem when billions of people returned. People who owned homes, cars, and even businesses suddenly lost everything.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
Their bank accounts were emptied and any job they would have held before was now filled by someone else. It only led to a huge problem, but the MCU decided to not focus so much on this side of things. Instead, they had Karli, the main villain in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, try to restore things back to where they were when people faded to dust. The idea was that minorities were able to finally have a shot at the same stuff white people had. Yet the Flag Smashers were made to appear like revolutionaries fighting for the little guy. All while murdering for the heck of it. The writing made sense when it came to minorities getting a shot, but then Marvel propped up murderers who kill for no real reason. This type of issue wasn’t present in previous Marvel Studios phases.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Sam Wilson As Captain America Set-Up

Sam Wilson, also known by The Falcon codename, had been a close friend and ally to Steve Rogers for years. Even as he took on his friend Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier, Sam was there to help Captain America. Wilson became an Avenger himself and was incredibly effective. The man was already a terrific soldier before taking on the “Falcon” mantle. While his story differs from the comics, this version of Sam Wilson is a terrific soldier who has obviously earned everyone’s respect. At least, that was obvious before The Falcon and The Winter Soldier show. In this show, we are given a story that does not really make a lot of sense.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
While they took a lot from the Marvel Comics stories where Wilson took on the Captain America mantle, that was another version of Sam Wilson. In the comics, he was a young man that worked mostly with S.H.I.E.L.D. or in Black Ops operations for the military. People did not know him well, so it made sense to not trust him. That only led to natural racist undertones coming forward. Yet in the MCU, Wilson is an incredibly public figure. He was even given the shield by Steve Rogers himself. Now we’re led to believe that people wouldn’t give him a shot? Much less, the government who clearly seemed to love his work prior to this? That’s incredibly weird.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

The “Bait and Switch” Problem 

Have you noticed that seemingly every major male character is kind of being replaced by a female character? While you might not see it right off, this has been a huge move that took place in Phase 4. It is never a problem to introduce new female characters, especially when done well like Yelena Belova (played by the brilliant Florence Pugh). Yet when you plan to introduce them while at the same time trying to either have them replace major males in the same role, this is an issue. Let’s just examine a few instances of this. Remember how the Loki show was supposed to be about Tom Hiddleston’s Loki character? Technically, his show turned out to be a show about the female version of Loki known as Silvie. They even have him fall in love with her, essentially meaning Loki fell in love with himself.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
Sure, that is classic Loki but Silvie is the true star of this show, not Loki himself. Maybe look at Jane Foster becoming the Mighty Thor, complete with a reformed Mjölnir hammer. Thor: Love and Thunder makes Thor Odinson look like a comedic moron rather than an actual God. All while propping up Foster as the new Thor, who somehow has a better hang on things than Odinson. Perhaps look at She-Hulk who somehow has a better understanding of the Hulk’s powers than her cousin, the original Hulk, Bruce Banner. This is not even addressing Ironheart or the Captain Marvel problems. It is cool to introduce these characters, but do they need to replace the men or make the guys look like morons in comparison? It is not shocking that people have mocked this by calling the MCU the M-SHE-U.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

The Death Of Chadwick Boseman

It is likely pretty clear by now that Marvel Studios had larger plans in place for T’Challa in the MCU. Even if he was not going to rule over Wakanda any longer, he was likely going to be a major figure in the MCU. However, the death of Chadwick Boseman threw all of those plans out of the window. Chadwick was the actor who played T’Challa, and he was battling cancer secretly. His passing was such a shock for fans, and it changed most of the plans laid out for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. This is the sequel to the billion-dollar solo Black Panther movie masterpiece. The plan was always to introduce Namor, and maybe someone who brings doom wherever he goes in the second film. Yet the plan was for T’Challa to be there, but that will not happen as Marvel has claimed they will not recast T’Challa.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
However, there was thankfully a way to fix this somewhat. In the comics, T’Challa’s sister Shuri becomes the Black Panther. Sadly, there have been a lot of problems with Letitia Wright. She plays the Shuri character and happens to be incredibly small. To see her as a threat to someone like Namor, even with Black Panther abilities, is tough to believe. Most fans can forgive the lack of story to build her up considering the writers might not have much of a choice here. However, this movie is going to be the end-cap to Phase 4. It is supposed to be a big deal but we are not even sure who the Black Panther will be by the end of the film yet. That is a huge issue, and likely not Kevin Feige’s original vision for this movie. Other Marvel Studios phases never dealt with such a huge issue.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Captain Marvel’s Completely Illogical Use

One thing we saw in Marvel Comics and even the Disney animated shows was that Captain Marvel and Black Panther led the Avengers together. Especially when Steve Rogers and Tony Stark were gone or believed to be dead. With T’Challa gone, there is not a proven field leader for the Avengers group that makes sense. Carol Danvers, like Steve Rogers, does have military experience and some believe she is a natural replacement for Cap as the leader. However, for some reason, the MCU has written Carol to be the worst of every “strong female” stereotype. Sure, she has major powers and does not need “a man” to help her do the heavy lifting. Yet her powers are inconsistent, her back story is altered in an odd way, and that is only the start of her issues.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
However, Carol was part of the U.S. Air Force along with the Kree where she was sent on missions. Often, she was still answering to the Supreme Intelligence or someone else in the Kree. Thus, she is not a natural field leader like Steve Rogers nor as intelligent as Tony Stark. Plus, she isn’t a born leader like King T’Challa. This is why the MCU is trying to make her “earn” a leadership role for the Avengers through The Marvels and S.W.O.R.D. usage. Yet Carol is written as stand-offish and difficult in the MCU, and she is barely around to care about Earth issues. She was introduced to the MCU to lead but has all the worst qualities that make her a terrible leader. This is not too far off from how she was used in the comics or animated shows, but at least T’Challa was there to help.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

The Black Widow Movie Didn’t Make Any Sense

Let’s be honest here, there should have been a Black Widow solo movie long before 2020. Most people agree on that, on top of the fact that it came out at a really weird time. While set before the Infinity Saga takes place, Natasha died in the End Game movie that came out a year before her solo film. This meant that no matter what, the Black Widow film simply wouldn’t matter to the overall MCU. It was as if they just wanted to throw a movie out there to fill a spot in the Phase 4 schedule of content. Worst of all, it is clear no time was spent truly making the script perfect. In fact, it was written in 11 days, and studio executives green-lit it.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
It is claimed some rewrites were done or alterations. Yet it is clear that very little was considered before filming, causing some of the story to not make sense. Such as the ending where Natasha is controlled if she gets too close to the “big bad.” She is a Black Widow assassin, and cannot shoot the man from a distance now. How about her “widow father” who is not affected by any brain-warping tech or pheromones? He’d gladly end any life just about, and isn’t used here when he’s the most obvious choice? The only shining light of the movie is Florence Pugh’s performance as Yelena Belova. Which is sad when it was supposed to be “Natasha’s movie.”

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Overly Political Story-Telling

Telling stories using present-day issues is completely okay to do. Plus, if you want to truly offer inclusion, you need to tell stories that connect to the audience. Let’s say you’re wanting to present powerful women, it might also be good to discuss issues women face. Such as sexual harassment or the fear of walking outside at night, for example. However, one should also know where the line is and where you shouldn’t cross it. The series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law on Disney+ seems to struggle with this issue just a bit. It’s comic book accurate that Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk, can go back and forth in Hulk form under her own control.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
Yet the reason they give for this is very feministic rather than comic book accurate. Jen tells her cousin Bruce, that she can control her anger because as a woman and attorney she has to control it all the time. They get everything right about how she was in a crash. Although in the comics, Bruce is the only one with her blood type around, and using his blood for a transfusion gives her the Hulk powers. Therefore, she only had a dose of gamma-infused blood while Bruce was exposed to massive portions. He has trouble controlling Hulk due to this, Jen and She-Hulk aren’t truly separate because of less exposure. Not because she’s a woman or an attorney. It’s comments like this that started online hate for the show, which continued to lean into feminist concepts. Most of it was fine, but they did not know where to place it.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Character Development Is Too Fast, And Everything Is Unearned

Remember how Steve Rogers did not become Captain America simply because he was a highly decorated soldier? Not only was he not the first choice for the Super Soldier Serum, but he was also considered to be a liability. He proved himself in spite of this. He tried to show that, in spite of his lack of size, he could handle whatever came his way. If nothing else, he was brave and heroic enough to sacrifice his own life to save his fellow man. That earned him praise, but even as a super soldier, he did not see the battlefield. Rogers also had to earn this as well. Eventually, he was trusted and proved himself as a hero.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
Therefore, you can see how such a story of heroics would make it easy for Marvel fans to root for him. It’s likely difficult to do that with someone like, say, Loki. He spent most of his time in the MCU as a villain. Now we’re suddenly going to buy him as a hero who doesn’t just care about himself? What about some like Captain Marvel who seemed to earn her true captain ranking away from the MCU? We did not see her earn anything, which is why her story developed too fast. We did not get to see her prove herself on screen. There was nothing to care about, making it hard to root for her to succeed. See the difference between these people and Rogers?

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Over-Expansion

One could say that expanding your universe could lead to multiple intellectual properties seeing screen time could only be a good thing. Yet that is problematic for people trying to understand everything. The Marvel Studios phases have always tried to lead us into something through several films or shows. Essentially, they gave us several stories to tell to set up one big story. Either that or they did origins and expanded upon a character if the original show or movie did well. For example, look at Black Panther. We were introduced to him back in Captain America: Winter Soldier, as it was believed Bucky killed T’Challa’s father. That introduction only made people curious to see more about the Black Panther. That led to a solo project that grossed over a billion dollars at the box office.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
It was also a huge cultural movie for the African American community. This made sense to expand upon for Marvel, obviously. However, now Marvel seems to be introducing a ton of new people all at once. Some are getting their own shows right away, all in an attempt to just get them out there. That also leads to sloppy stories, rather than the time and care Marvel used to have. In Phase 4 alone, we were introduced to the Eternals, She-Hulk, Yelena, U.S. Agent, Taskmaster, Ms. Marvel, Kate Bishop, Shang-Chi, Red Guardian, Mighty Thor, Agatha Harkness, along with Namor when Wakana Forever comes out. It’s by far the most characters introduced in any phase. We did not even include all of the side characters either, nor the official introduction of the Netflix characters.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

New Fans Are Overwhelmed

If you’re a new Marvel or MCU fan, we’re so sorry. It isn’t that these movies or shows aren’t good, because most of the MCU is terrific without a doubt. The problem is that due to Phase 4’s inclusion of so much, now you have to go back to see the other phase movies AND what Phase 4 gave us. Past Marvel Studios phases gave us far less, and it was mostly just movies. One could catch up on the MCU by watching one movie per day within a few weeks. Today? Not only do you have to start with the original stuff…but now the new. Just the movies alone will make it a little longer to catch up with the MCU.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
Yet due to the Marvel Studios phases constantly expanding, that is going to happen. The real issue is the shows that might not seem important but truly are. WandaVision’s story leads right into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Falcon and The Winter Soldier will lead into the new Captain America movie. Not to mention Ms. Marvel leading us into The Marvels among other projects. Therefore, these shows are not just there to take up space. What happens in them will matter in the universe overall, which only makes them necessary to watch. This only takes up more time for new fans, which will eventually become a problem.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via StudioBlinder]

Some Shows and Movies Just Aren’t Good

We’ve referenced some of the decisions that Marvel Studios has made. Yet that does not necessarily mean everything they put out is bad because of a few bad moves, of course. However, the Marvel Studios phases have never had as many issues pop up as Phase 4. Most feel it is down to a lot of the stuff we mentioned already. Plus, it can be said that most movies in the MCU have been incredibly good over the years. It is only lately that things just do not seem to be working for the MCU. For example, you can look at Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and IMDb ratings for the MCU films before Phase 4 and see pretty positive numbers.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
However, those same ratings from critics and audiences are pretty bad for Phase 4. Others, meanwhile, are pretty positive. Rotten Tomatoes generally gives a favorable rating due to the inclusion of online support by fans. The others are run on ratings given by movie critics. Yet even RT gives The Eternals a 47% rating along with a 64% rating for Thor: Love and Thunder. The Spider-Man and Shang-Chi movies were both terrific highlights, along with WandaVision for Disney+. Even Ms. Marvel has been loved by many MCU fans. Yet the others leave a lot of fans wondering what the heck they watched.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Some Casting Choices Were Odd

One can also point to how some of the casting choices were pretty weird for the movies or shows too. One that stands out for many fans is the decision to cast Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson. Especially when this is a big character they could have likely done something special with. The casting of Christopher Eccleston as Melekith is also pretty questionable. Thor: The Dark World is one of the few solo films from previous Marvel Studios phases that didn’t land well. Many feel it was not only the story but the casting choices made for the film too. Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s casting as Quicksilver caught many by surprise.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
He wasn’t bad as the Kick-Ass character, so many fans felt he would do well. To be fair, he was not terrible in the part. Plus, he only had one real movie to stand out. Due to a gentlemen’s agreement with FOX at the time, the X-Men movies would get to use Quicksilver while Disney would use Scarlet Witch. Evan Peters was amazing as Quicksilver for the FOX franchise. This very well could be why he was the one chosen to come back as Pietro for WandaVision over Johnson. Perhaps, even Disney felt they might have gotten the casting decision wrong. Some of the Eternals casting choices were also questionable. We’re still not even sure why Harry Styles was even brought in at the end.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Money.com]

The Bad Idea Taken From The Comic Book Industry

One issue that has seemingly always plagued the comic book world is the introduction of new writing teams. Whether it was Marvel or DC Comics, even some of the larger independent companies, the writing staff could be bad. It is always a bold move to change things like artwork for a comic book story. However, sometimes changes like this can become the new norm. Meanwhile, it is truly very hard to tell stories properly. This is why you might see a lot of the same names behind the biggest names in DC or Marvel for instance. This was not always the case though. Due to the feeling that it would be problematic for any writer to be bigger than the company, DC and Marvel hired new head writers constantly.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via GQ]
Very few were proven, and some never worked on the comics they were brought in to run. The same is happening with Marvel properties right now, especially for Disney+ shows. They’re hiring teams sometimes based on gender identity, ethnicity, or religion for specific characters. This is a good idea, but not if the writers aren’t able to write effective stories. On top of this, the decision to have rolling directors makes the show’s vision switch constantly. Sometimes, you don’t even know what you’re seeing from one show to another. Like the comics, they are bringing people in of unknown quality just to add variety. This was not as problematic in previous Marvel Studios phases but for Phase 4, it’s rampant.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Insomniac Games]

Sony’s Ownership Of Spider-Man

Most would say that Sony seems to be willing to play ball with Disney on Spider-Man. Therefore, what’s the problem, right? Well, there are many issues. First and foremost, there was a problem that took place not too long ago. Disney wanted to take more money than Sony on the Spidey projects when they were doing a 50/50 split. Some felt this was just greed on Disney’s behalf, yet we have to see their point. They were paying, casting, and shooting the entire project. Spider-Man would then be included in their larger universe on top of his solo projects.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
To Disney, it only made sense to take a larger piece of the pie when Sony did nothing except collect huge paychecks. The lack of full ownership means that Sony can take Spider-Man back any time they want. At least, once a contract concludes. Therefore, it constantly puts the use of Spider-Man in limbo for the MCU. While Tom Holland would ideally like to be part of upcoming Marvel Studios phases, that isn’t exactly up to him. Sony has to still allow Disney to use Spider-Man and his cast of characters. His last film put things in an even bigger state of limbo, as the characters now do not even know he exists. Effectively wiping him from the universe if Sony doesn’t let them use the character again.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Sony Pictures]

Sony’s Decision To Make Their Own Projects

Due to the success that Disney and Marvel Studios have had with Spider-Man projects, Sony wanted to capitalize on that. They felt they could use characters from the universe, which they own 100%, and cash in. The first project they decided to try was using Venom. To be fair, they did use a lot of comic book-accurate material mixed in with some new ideas to switch things up. Tom Hardy, who plays both Eddie Brock and Venom, has also been very invested in the role. While critics hated the movie, it made Sony over $800 million at the box office. After the success of the first movie, Hardy helped to write the story for Venom 2.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Sony Pictures]
It made back $500 million at the box office, another successful outing. Sony felt if they could turn Venom into a good antihero, they could go this route with other characters. This is where things turned sloppy and bad decisions truly began. Morbius was released to critical hatred, with many fans also disliking it. Now, future Kraven, Madam Web, El Muerto, and even Silk projects have been greenlit. Not to mention a Venom 3 project. Sony is doing too much, without any vision or care, only to cash in. Further hurting the Marvel brand. This is especially troubling as Marvel essentially included their universe in the larger Marvel multiverse.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Thor and Wanda Aren’t Growing As Characters

Most would say that Thor Odinson and Wanda Maximoff are not growing as characters anymore. This might seem odd, considering there have been some changes to the characters. Look at Thor who became “Fat Thor” for Avengers: Endgame, and has heavily introduced comedy into his overall character’s story arcs. Wanda, meanwhile, grew from a girl that barely understood her powers into a truly powerful witch. While these character arcs are fine, they essentially existed for hardly any time at all. Perhaps, if nothing else, they have not grown romantically at all.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
Take Thor, who sort of lost touch with Jane Foster after the Dark World film. He had to not only get over her quickly but move on to do literal God things. He could move on, but right as he does, Jane comes back on Thor: Love and Thunder to become “The Mighty Thor.” Which also leads to her death, making Thor relearn or repeat the same lesson and loss. The same happens with Wanda, who loses Vision only to bring him back for the WandaVision show. He only exists in her mind, but she literally creates her own reality. She cannot get past the loss of Vision, and now once again has to get over losing him. It’s repeating for no real reason in the end.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Many Villains Are Pushed In and Out Too Quickly To Care

It’s clear that the Marvel Studios phases in the past had the problem of introducing a big bad only to get rid of them immediately. Just as some examples, remember Red Skull, Whiplash, Vulture, Malekith, Dormammu, Abomination, Ronan the Accuser, Kaecilius, Thunderbolt Ross, Yellowjacket, The Mandarin, Hela, Ego, Mysterio, Justin Hammer/AIM, and Eric Killmonger? They all have one thing in common. Each was a one-off villain, used as a top or main villain for a solo project. Some were used or will be used again in another project, but that was not the design at the time. Sometimes, introducing a one-off character in the villain role is tough.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
You need to establish them as credible enough for the superhero to fight. They not only need to be a threat but also match up well with the hero. Killmonger, more than most, was brilliantly written. We knew his motives and many could agree with his side too, the hallmark of a well-written villain. Then you have the emptiness that Gorr the Godbutcher offered us in Thor: Love and Thunder. Did we ever see him kill numerous Gods to make him worth our time? Nope. He was only feared and the deaths seemed to happen off-screen. People like Gorr among some of the villains mentioned above were pushed in and out too quickly for fans to care about them.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]

Secret Wars

Most Marvel Studios phases in the past were building to the eventual Infinity Saga. This only needed specific characters to really pull off properly, which Marvel Studios and Disney had full rights to use. Spider-Man agreements were made later on but there were plans to use someone else if this did not work out. Now, we’re building up to the Secret Wars story arc. This is an absolutely gigantic story in Marvel Comics history that involves, we’re not joking, at least 100 characters. Plus, Doctor Doom and The Beyonder, key villains in the Secret Wars storyline, have yet to be introduced. This is why Phase 4 seemingly introduced us to countless new characters as well as introduced the multiverse overall.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Comics]
Secret Wars essentially revolves around the multiverse folding in on itself. Beyonder, an all-powerful being, takes shards from all of these universes and places them together to create Battleworld. The heroes have to find a way to fix everything and defeat Beyonder. All while Doctor Doom is pulling some strings the entire time. The plan is to put this story out by 2025, so both Phase 4 and Phase 5 will need to introduce many characters. Plus, they will need to recast “certain” roles or perhaps keep them. All of the Marvel Studios phases, likely, built up to this massive event. To be honest, this is the true “End Game” for the MCU as nothing is bigger than this in Marvel Comics’ history.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Marvel’s Obsession With Adding Humor Where It Doesn’t Belong

Don’t get us wrong, we love a laugh just like anyone else. Heck, comedies are one thing that helps to keep us sane. You cannot be dramatic all the time, as it would only become problematic. A light-hearted nature is needed, but it can get in the way at times. While we’re not saying the MCU needs to go the Zack Snyder DC route where everything is dark and dramatic. We are saying they need to know when to let stuff breathe. Marvel Studios is owned by The Walt Disney Company, so it should not surprise anyone that Disney would ideally like to keep everything family-friendly. However, Disney’s top brass is not handing edicts telling Marvel Studios to never let drama be present for more than 10 seconds.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Ryan Reynolds – YouTube]
With some characters, you need comedy. Deadpool is perfect for this, as he’s comedic and this allows you to get past all the murders he’s committing. Yet to take Thor from a Godlike being capable of defeating giants and turn him into a joke is odd. The last few Thor films have presented him as a bumbling moron while in the Avengers projects, he does not mind chopping off heads. It’s odd usage, and it happens with a ton of characters. The Marvel Studios phases aren’t exactly calling for this type of thing. Yet it goes back to the newer director/writer issue. They go off of what they “think” Marvel and the fans want, which might turn out fun. Yet it doesn’t really fit in a realistic setting.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Medium]

The Introduction Of The Multiverse

Let’s get one thing straight immediately here. We love the multiverse concept, especially being science nerds. However, it is literally our job around here to explain some really complex scientific concepts most of the time. Trying to explain how a possible multiverse could operate to someone is difficult. As there are numerous possibilities and a variety of different outcomes. Comic book fans tend to grasp the idea pretty well, as it means the separation of characters in their own universe. It also means that when you introduce the multiverse, you’re also speculating that people can cross through it.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Sony Pictures]
This happened somewhat in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Where we saw three Spider-Men, including the two previous men that played the role for the Sony films. Yet this will not be the last crossover as there are many X-Men characters likely to do so. Future Marvel Studios phases are likely to separate characters into different universes even more. Therefore, we’re likely opening up a problem where the MCU will become incredibly confusing after a while. We might not know how each universe operates, why specific people are placed where they are placed, and much more.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]

Lack Of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark

We’re not going to lie to anyone and say that we did not want to see Steve Rogers and Tony Stark pass. You need to finish some characters off, at least for a while. If you do not do this, everything will remain centered around them. Which is problematic, and won’t allow the brand to really grow. Therefore, Stark and Rogers passing only set the stage for other characters to take over. Those characters will one day die off or no longer be a big focus for the MCU too. This is why we agree with the decision to have them move on. Plus the actors behind the roles spent nearly a decade committing to their roles.

The Brutal Truth Behind Why Marvel’s “Phase 4” is Falling Short for Audiences
[Image via Marvel Studios]
That only hurts them as actors, so they too need to change things up a bit. The problem is that we’re not left with any real leaders like Rogers and Stark. Captain Marvel isn’t set up enough, nor liked enough, to take this mantle. Sadly, Chadwick’s passing ruined Black Panther’s opportunity to lead the MCU. The Sony problem plagues Spider-Man’s possibility here. Doctor Strange and Thor are the only real remaining “leaders,” and we already referenced Thor’s issue. Thus, future Marvel Studios phases will be hurt by this lack of leadership. On top of the lack of love invested in a character like Rogers and Stark.

Where Do We Find this Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

Marvel Comics

Marvel Studios

The Walt Disney Company

Netflix

Sony Entertainment

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