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

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

Advertisement
Advertisement