Progression of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Good or evil?

From zero to hero, Marvel is home to some of the most recognizable superheroes, including Spider Man and Wolverine. There is no doubt that Marvel has built a pedestal for itself. What they’ve done with it though, has left me questioning.

The Marvel Universe is one of the most successful movie and comic book franchises on the planet. Marvel comics make up 40%, or approximately $282 million, of all comic book sales, and the company itself was worth an estimated $53 billion in 2021. The comics’ recreations have been fan favorites for years, dating back to Iron Man in 2008. 

As Phase Four begins, I’ve questioned some of Marvel’s ideas and executions. It may be the loss of the Avengers affecting my opinion, but there are other details that cause dismay.

Phase One of the MCU introduced the original six heroes  with their own unique backstories. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye form the Avengers in the final film of Phase One. 

But now that Phase Four has started and there’s been some changes, plenty of controversy has been floating around. 

From Phase One, the accuracy to the comics and well-scripted films that introduce our favorite original characters really bring out the dedication of the directors. The relatable quotes, hilarious scenes and rapid action leave the viewers enticed.

Phase Two continues the storylines of Thor, Captain America and Iron Man, as well as introduces many new characters, such as Ant Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Avengers are also brought together once again to fight off an AI personality Stark and Banner created in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The group of heroes introduced in Phase Two is the Guardians of the Galaxy, which includes a character called Star Lord, or Peter Quill. Quill is a comedic, middle aged man relating to both adults and teens with his quick quips. A personal favorite of mine, he is perfectly matched with Chris Pratt’s chaotic sense of humor and adventure.

The casting of a movie impacts the quality and popularity. Many films feature at least one world famous actor to draw in fans of the actor’s work. Marvel’s casting has been a work of art since the beginning. The actors always fit the part and move naturally with the storyline. Yelena Romanoff, played by Florence Pugh, is a great example of good casting. Her interpretation of Yelena’s little sibling sass makes the character just that much better.

Phase Three includes Captain America: Civil War, where an argument about political accountability for collateral damage ensues between the heroes. We are also presented with a few more characters, one of which being the popular Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, also known as Spider-Man. Phase Three culminates with Avengers: Endgame, the most successful film to date, capturing the whole MCU in one collaboration.

One major letdown for me was the successors for the original characters. For example, we were looking forward to Harley Keener, a young boy introduced in Iron Man 3, taking Iron Man’s title after Tony Stark’s unfortunate death. However, Riri Williams from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever appears to be our new genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist in the upcoming Ironheart movie. While the decision is comic accurate, it is still very disappointing and disagreeable because Harley Keener had more of an influence in Tony Stark’s story, in addition to showing up to the funeral service, representing their relationship.

CGI, or computer-generated imagery, plays a big part in the action films industry. Most can agree early Marvel movies have always had great CGI. However, the newest movies and shows haven’t been so fortunate. In Black Widow, there are a lot of scenes where the editing could have been much better. Fans may question Marvel’s previous CGI skills when they watch scenes like the one in which Yelena Romanoff is about to destroy General Dreykov’s jet.

Not only is casting important, but the scripting could change the course of any film. Thor: Love and Thunder was disliked by many critics. It changed the look of Thor entirely, making him seem like a god of love rather than the god of thunder. The integration of Jane Foster’s Thor was good, but I got lost partially through even after playing the scene back. 

However, there are some improvements to the storylines. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was fulfilling in all ways. The heartbreaking passing of actor Chadwick Boseman, our beloved T’Challa and Black Panther, left us wondering what the MCU directors would come up with next. 

The obvious decision was to keep the story flowing with Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister, filling the role of Black Panther. And that’s exactly what they did. The execution of Shuri going through the five stages of grief after her brother and mother’s deaths was flawless, perfectly fitting for the rambunctious teen. No details were left untouched from the 2018 Black Panther, from Okoye’s traditional ways to Agent Everett Ross’s relation to the story.

We’ve lost the flow of these movies, and although this doesn’t apply to the entirety of Phase Four, the changes have affected the likability.