Marvel used to be a titan of the film industry. It seemed like they were truly unstoppable by pumping out good movies left and right until it all came together with Avengers Infinity War and Endgame, but in 2023, it truly feels that Marvel just doesn’t care because of how they keep releasing bad movies and shows nearly every time.
Marvel debuted with Iron Man all the way back in 2008, and well, the movie did amazing. And it set up one of the most important characters in the MCU, Tony Stark. Over the course of many years, Marvel finetuned their storytelling, characters, and overall quality, but what no one expected was that all the small stories told by the individual character movies would all be put together for the Avengers movies. There are a total of four Avengers movies, with most of them, if not all, changing the MCU in some way. Marvel was unstoppable from 2010-2020, releasing banger after banger. It truly felt like Marvel was getting way too far ahead compared to the others in the superhero genre, like DC. But what comes around goes around because eventually, after releasing the two most important films in the MCU to date, Avengers Infinity War and Endgame, Marvels status quo changed. Instead of trying to release high-quality stories for the purpose of it all meaning something, Marvel suddenly started to use a quantity over quality mindset.
One reason why this happened was the launch of Disney+. Disney was late to the streaming service game, but they knew that, so they decided that if they wanted a chance, they would have to take full advantage of their IP’s. Marvel started releasing exclusive shows to their streaming service, called Disney+ Originals. One of the IP’s they decided it would be best to take advantage of was Marvel. Although they didn’t make original movies, instead, they made a whole heap of original shows with the goal of being able to flesh out characters without having to create full movies that link into the MCU. Of course, the shows did link into the MCU, but often there was still a lot of filler. The first set of MCU shows were Loki, Wandavision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Now Loki and Wandavision were both very good according to most people, but The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was one that disinterested a lot of people. The actors did very well in it, but the rest of the show was just bleh. Now the show is important, being a direct prelude to the next Captain America film but other than that, there is no other reason to watch.
Now to talk about the films, there were a total of four MCU films released in 2021, with two being very good and two being bad, in my opinion. Spider-Man: No Way Home and Shang-Chi were both amazing films and some of Marvels best works yet. But if you contrast that with Black Widow and Eternals, you may get a little confused with the difference in quality. Now Black Widow wasn’t the worst, it was a bit of a snore-fest, and the CGI is not Marvel Quality, but the film overall isn’t worth a breakdown on how bad it is. Although Eternals was something else, in a bad way. Eternals was a movie that had a goal of introducing new characters and moving the MCU in a new weird way. That no one wanted, Eternals was a very forgettable film with none of the characters really being remembered for anything memorable. Overall, Marvel definitely released a lot more content than usual this year, but a majority of the films were definitely far below Marvels usual standard, which is something we should’ve taken as a warning.
In 2022, three Marvel films were released. With only one being good in popular belief, which was Wakanda Forever, the sequel to the highest-rated Marvel film. The other two were highly anticipated, though, with one being Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness and the other being Thor: Love and Thunder. Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness tried a lot of things but also messed a lot up. The film had Wanda be the villain, which was a surprise, and throughout the film, many characters were bought back, such as Reed Richards and Charles Xavier, and they were instantly killed. The film definitely overcomplicated a lot of things, but it was still entertaining. Thor: Love and Thunder though was a different story. Thor is a character that didn’t have a film in a long time but Love and Thunder definitely did not hold up the anticipation. The movie didn’t really use the villain in a worthy way, and there were a lot of forgettable moments. But the shows were even worse this time around.
Moon Knight was extremally entertaining and interesting, but to be honest, the show was very forgettable and got very confusing in some moments. Another Marvel show that was released was She-Hulk, which might’ve been even worse. The show felt way too silly in some moments and lazy in others. They even messed up the simple rule of fourth wall breaking by doing it way too often, even having nearly a whole episode just being a fourth wall break. Now, the other show released in 2022 was Ms. Marvel. Now, I never finished Ms. Marvel as I kind of cringed at every moment and couldn’t stand it overall, and most people I know agree.
But this is nothing compared to the disaster of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumainia. The film introduced Kang, a character who is going to change the MCU but to be honest, the new Ant-Man film just feels way too childish. They even reintroduced Modok, but he looked more like a villain from Spy Kids rather than an intimidating genius. The movie was not that interesting and showed Marvel that they need more than just a big villain.
The truth is that if Marvel keeps going down this path, the MCU might shatter, and DC will probably overtake them as “the” superhero filmmaker. It sucks to see all the new Marvel products get rated poorly, but it also needs to happen to hopefully let Marvel realize that they aren’t unstoppable anymore.