Is Phase Four Failing?

Will Marvel TV shows ever live up to their movie predecessors?


Aisha Hasan

Marvel has released eight TV show with plans to release more within the coming months. Credit: Collider

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, one the most known cinematic franchises, entered Phase Four after the release of the big hit movie, Avenger’s Endgame, in 2019. Marvel received a special opportunity to create TV shows with the launching of Disney+ and the shutting down of movie theaters due to COVID-19.

There has been some heated debate on whether Marvel shows in Phase Four live up to their movie predecessors, and even more debate on whether the shows have been on a decline. No, they do not live up to their movie predecessors, and yes, the shows have been on a decline.

Marvel started strong with Wandavision at the start of 2021, earning a 9/10 IMDb rating. Additionally, Marvel released other successful shows like Loki and Moonknight. Since then, the shows have failed to reach the level of entertainment to satisfy watchers.

Marvel has chosen quantity over quality in their content. Marvel has released ten shows in the past year and plans to launch 9 more in the next two years plus new seasons to already established shows. The main issues in the new shows are the lack of plot consistency, lack of connections between their content, and lack of sensible comedic moments.

Consistency is a basic necessity in film to entertain an audience. A big inconsistency in plot is in Marvel’s newest series, She-Hulk. At the beginning of the first episode, a UFO attacks the main character, Jennifer Walters, and her cousin, Bruce Banner. Jennifer comes in contact with Bruce Banner’s blood, causing her to transform into She-Hulk. After the first episode, the UFO is not seen, explained, or mentioned. It leaves the viewers unsatisfied and wanting answers.

Most Marvel fans love the larger ongoing storyline that connects each movie to another. Each movie adds subtle information that makes the characters and film more special to those who avidly follow Marvel. One of my top favorite Marvel movies is Spiderman: No Way Home because it connects the past Spiderman movies that have been made. It also adds to Marvel’s overarching theme of the multiverse that is used in other movies, for example, Dr. Strange Multiverse of Madness. In contrast, the shows have zero connection to each other because there is no underlying storyline they follow, which creates a sense of irrelevance for watchers.

Lastly, the humor in Marvel shows has weakened significantly. Usually, Marvel utilizes humor to balance out action scenes. After watching most of the marvel shows, Marvel seems to have put in random moments of comedy, and the effort toward thought-out, funny humor has been thrown out the window. The show Ms. Marvel demonstrates this issue extensively.

When the show first came out, I wanted to find the main character, Kamala Khan, relatable, as she is a teenage Muslim girl growing up in America, like me. Instead, the writers wrote a very unrelatable, cringy character that did not fit my idea of representation. The character is 16 years old in the show, but she acts and talks like she’s 12. It’s really frustrating to see Marvel write great teenage characters like Peter Parker and Kate Bishop, then release Ms. Marvel because it gives them points for diversity.

I am not excited for the direction Marvel has decided to take with its TV shows because of the plot inconsistency, loss of connection between their content, and failure to showcase strong comedic scenes. All viewers can hope for is that Marvel listens to the negative reviews they have received and improve their content.