The MCU isn’t worth it anymore

Before Marvel, superheroes weren’t super. There was so much room to explore and opportunity to pave the path in this novel genre. Beginning the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man, these novel movies had immense potential.

I remember the feeling of bliss after watching a new Marvel movie. The satisfaction of scratching an itch in your brain that you didn’t know you had. Then, the sudden thirst for another. This constant cycle kept Marvel a talking point, with the buzz of a new movie always in the air. I remember the weeks leading up to Avengers: Endgame; there was a new “theory or leak’‘ every other day. The whole world held its breath to see this final movie.

And it was worth it.

Endgame made $2.798 billion in global theaters. I remember going to school that Monday with only one question looming: “What’s next?”

On occasions I would beg my mom or my brother to take me to the theater again the next day to bask in the glory of superhero action, just to see the Winter Soldier flip his knife one more time. Even when some of the dialogue wasn’t that great or some plot points weren’t fully developed, each new chapter was masterfully crafted and left a raging desire to see what came next.

That feeling has been dead since the beginning of phase four.

After Avengers: Endgame, Marvel lost its focus. Previously, each addition in the phases had compelling stories with a direction and with engaging characters. That’s what these new movies lack. After watching older Marvel movies, I never left the theater unsatisfied, with a guilty feeling in my chest, asking “what did I just watch?”

Thor: Love and Thunder opened my eyes to this reality. Marvel is starting to prioritize quantity over quality, with each new movie lacking direction and purpose. It feels like the same Marvel formula. This worked well when superheroes were a niche genre, but now it feels repetitive and predictable. Marvel is now resorting to cheap tactics like cameos and jokes, not meaningful storytelling. It’s not sustainable. These are hollow additions that you cannot build a movie off of. Why did they find it necessary to interrupt a serious scene about a character with cancer with a joke? Do they think I’m too feebleminded to stay engaged without a joke every five seconds? Is that how low they have stooped? For the first time in half a decade, I didn’t know what I was watching.
This was not the Marvel I remember.

Overproduction is overworking their staff, especially computer-generated imagery  artists, who sacrifice the production quality of their movies and TV shows for quantity. This disparity is clearly seen in Thor: Love and Thunder and She-Hulk, each has some laughably awful CGI.

Not only are the special effects rushed, so are the script and plot. Multiverse of Madness, one of the most anticipated movies of 2022, was a mess. Wanda’s character was so underdeveloped that only people who watched WandaVision, an exclusive TV show only on Disney+, could grasp her motivations. Even then, I wondered why and how she turned into a murdering sociopath after leaving seemingly apologetic and regretful at the end of Wandavison.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Shang Chi was an exceptional movie with a unique touch of martial arts and with real stunts, including captivating characters and fun rhetoric. The viewing of Spider-Man: No Way Home was also the most fun I’ve had in a movie theater in a long time: I was pumping my fists and cheering when I saw Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield show up. I grew up on Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man so it felt nostalgic for me.

I’m rooting for Marvel, I really am. I’m just not sure the direction they are going in is the right one. I want them to put out quality movies that show passion, introduce engaging characters, and prioritize good character development. I look forward to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Hopefully, it will be a turning point for Marvel.