Since its acquisition by Disney, Marvel Studios has been steadily churning out content. Eager to continue with the success of Avengers: End Game (2019), which has garnered almost $3 billion globally, new films and Disney+ shows are flooding the superhero market. However, despite the onslaught of new characters, stories, and villains, fans are unhappy with the direction that Marvel is headed.
Besides a few titles featuring highly recognizable heroes from the first few phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, new content is ultimately leaving a sour taste in the mouths of fans who are insatiably waiting for the next big Marvel crossover event. Most recently, although initially captivated, fans have turned on the MCU’s on-screen take of the popular comic series Secret Invasion, which premiered on Disney+ in June.
Despite the overall dissatisfaction with the current state of the MCU, there are several bright spots that keep fans hopeful. While many claim that the Marvel Cinematic Universe died alongside Tony Stark, others point to the success of Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (2022), and WandaVision (2021) as proof that Marvel hasn’t gotten it completely wrong. Still, most Marvel fans are ready to throw their hands in the air, as unlike previous films, there is little connection occurring outside of the Multiverse plot.
Not Everything in the MCU Has to Fit Perfectly Together, Not Yet, at Least
Marvel fans, a lot like Star Wars fans, are demanding to please. As the culmination of the first plot line was an emotional one, expectations are mostly unrealistic and through the roof for the current phase of the MCU. Unlike the past, it feels like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is scattered in several different directions. There are storylines happening detailing the Skrull invasion of Earth, Mulitverses, and time travel, as well as the introduction and conclusion of characters, new and old. It’s a lot to process with no clear direction outside of knowing that popular stories like The Thunderbolts and Fantastic Four are coming.
Projects like The Eternals (2021) and Werewolf by Midnight (2022) struggle to find their place in any comprehensible timeline set forth by Marvel, and quite frankly, it seems to be a big mess. By this time during Marvel’s golden age, we had already started to see a lot of crossover of well-liked characters and stories with hints at the Infinity Saga sprinkled in here and there. However, right now in the MCU, that simply isn’t the case, but that’s okay.
Not everything has to mesh well at the moment. Kevin Feige is not an idiot, and as Marvel’s frontman, he certainly has a master plan for where the MCU is going. He got us to End Game a few years ago, and I’m certain as he remains at the helm, he’ll get us back there all in good time. It took 11 years after we were introduced to Iron Man to come to the end of the Infinity series; we’re only four years out from that culmination. We all need to be patient!
If Actors Stay Out of Trouble, Things Will Make Sense Soon Enough
A new phase of the MCU requires new characters, and although we’ve been given some great insight into the future of classic Marvel good guys like Thor, Star-Lord, and Hulk, the new characters are leaving fans concerned about where things are headed. Some are simply contesting evolving storylines like The Falcon taking over the role of Captain America in the upcoming Captain America: Brave New World, or Wanda Maximoff constantly acting out of grief over the loss of Vision and now her imaginary children. Although, we’ll admit that last one just seemed like lazy writing (as Deadpool would say), stories have to change and evolve, as do the characters.
The newest Marvel products have seen many characters jump from the pages of comics onto the screen. We’ve seen She-Hulk (2022), Kamala Harris as Ms. Marvel (2022), Moon Knight (2022) and Jonathan Major as Kang the Conquerer in both Loki (2021) and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2022). The biggest problems facing executives and producers outside of SAG-AFTRA strikes are actors in serious trouble due to run-ins with law enforcement or terrible accusations. Much like we’ve seen with Johnny Depp being fired from Disney and Warner Bros., accusations are enough to get you replaced these days, and with recent news regarding MCU cast members like Johnathan Majors, there are certainly considerations going on.
The truth is that no one outside of Marvel Studios really knows the plan down the road. Although fans of the MCU are eager for tasty morsels of information, it’s okay that we only know some detailed plans for what Marvel has in store. It would ruin the surprises that are certainly coming if we had an inside look at the big-picture plan for the MCU. Instead, we should be thankful that we’re still getting MCU projects with some of our favorite characters, like Nick Fury and Spider-Man. We should be excited that we know Deadpool and the X-Men are coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We should really try to enjoy new characters like Adam Warlock and Maria Rambeau, because, ultimately they’re all going to be part of a much bigger event that will rival that of Avengers: End Game, hopefully. The future of the Marvel Cinematic is in limbo, but it’s still bright.