It’s been a rough go for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent years.
I wouldn’t say that quality is dipping, although some might. I look at it more as the MCU just not feeling the same and each outing is inconsistent. This lull, in my opinion, started after Avengers: Endgame, but I know there are others who would point to different movies as the start of the decline.
Regardless, people don’t seem to be clamoring for Marvel movies quite like they used to throughout the 2010s.
So what happened? What does the MCU need to do to get back to its original glory?
Some will say it will never get back there as the MCU was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This could mean the MCU captured lightning in a bottle and won’t be able to do it again.
There’s definitely some truth to that. Sure, there were some bumps in the road, but the MCU really did capture the masses at the right time.
DC has yet to recreate that success and not for a lack of trying. Heck, there was even a monster cinematic universe that was supposed to start with The Mummy Rebirth in 2019. No one has yet to capture that magic and, it appears, Marvel hasn’t been able to since.
Another hiccup could be there is too much connectivity. I’ve spoken with people who feel lost because they haven’t seen every Marvel movie. The latest films and TV shows feel that way.
I really liked Moon Knight and, for me, that was because it was separate from everything else. I didn’t need to watch anything else to get the show. Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings felt similar though there were more references to other Marvel properties.
Others point to Marvel doing too much. Phase 4 had 15 shows and movies over its two-year span. Phase 3 (2016-19) had 11 films; Phase 2 (2013-15) had six films; and Phase 1 (2008-12) had six films as well. The additions of TV shows in Phase 4 have made it more of an investment.
Lastly, the overall quality of storytelling could be another reason. For me, Phase 4 has felt disorganized and disjointed. There doesn’t seem to be one overarching story.
Sure, Phase 1 didn’t either and Phase 4 is similar to that era. The problem, to me, is Phase 4 doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. It sometimes mirrors Phase 1 and other times, mirrors Phase 3, which featured high connectivity.
So what’s to be done?
I would like to see a scale-back of content. I feel like the MCU is putting out too much right now and it has saturated its own market. Disney+ has been both a blessing and a curse to the MCU.
This ideas could be difficult given how much the movies bring in, but Marvel fatigue is real. I don’t feel a need to see everything, and haven’t, because there’s just too much of it.
But what about you? Why do you think the MCU has lacked in recent years? What should it do to course-correct its trajectory? Let us know in the comments below or head over to our Discord channel to join the conversation.
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