The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Four isn't the worst, but it could

The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Four isn't the worst, but it could

The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Despite the thunderous new adventure of the God of Thunder, Thor: Love and Thunder, is animating a lively discussion among fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe regarding the vision of the Asgardian offered by Taika Waititi, there is another big question in these comments, which concerns not just this film but the entire franchise: is Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe the worst? A legitimate question, which arises after the new era of the saga of the heroes of the House of Ideas has already presented itself in different forms, trying to show fans a new dimension of these heroes. Not an easy position for Marvel Studios and owner Kevin Feige, who find themselves having to take this superhero universe in a new direction, after the loss of key figures such as Tony Stark and Steve Rogers.

Subscribe now to Disney + for € 8.99 per month or € 89.90 per year The beginning of this shaky position coincides, not surprisingly, with the ending of Avengers: Endgame. Nomen omen, the final chapter of the Avengers saga represents a convenient exit point from the franchise, a real closure of the circle for the long story that began when Tony Stark escaped the imprisonment of the Ten Rings by becoming Iron Man, in the now distant 2008. They are fourteen years passed from that moment, which allowed Marvel Studios to plan a long adventure in which new heroes entered the scene, but always with a well-established mechanism: to create a link between the story and the individual chapters. From the final scene of the first Iron Man, the viewer was indicated, albeit slightly, a goal, marking an ideal path that allowed them to always keep in sight where they would arrive. Whether it was about creating the Avengers or saving Bucky from his conditioning, between one film and the next there was always a common thread that focused our attention, gave us a partial, but sufficient, overview of the project. .

Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not the worst moment of the franchise

From Gulmira to Endgame: the adventure is in the cinema A world in search of heroes What to expect from Phase Four?

From Gulmira to Endgame: the adventure is in the cinema

Although theaters had now become home to fans of the franchise, this narrative was, above all, based on a single form: cinema. The few experiments made to transport the epic of Marvel's comics from the big screen to seriality were aimed at a sort of companion, like the first three seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Agent Carter, who aimed to be nothing more than a curious look at undervalued aspects of the cinema, also because they were not central to the story. Translated: they could also be ignored without depriving the Marvel Cinematic Universe of its coherence.

Metaphorically, Avengers: Endgame is the worthy ending to the golden era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, its Golden Age. It must be recognized that giving life to a superheroic pantheon of such magnitude, however complex, is quite another challenge than keeping it alive, above all by not disappointing the expectations of an audience more and more accustomed to excellence, to the continuous revelation that would further raise the quality of productions. Above all, an audience that suddenly finds itself without its reference points.

A world in search of heroes

The legacy of Endgame is a legacy of disorientation, of lack of direction . And it is intentional, considering how the Blip has deeply shocked the world, which suddenly discovers the existence of incredible alien threats and the non-invincibility of its heroes. On the narrative level, this interpretation gives us a world devoid of points of reference, deeply wounded and still healing, a condition that also affects the metahuman community of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Series like WandaVision, The Falcon & the Winter Soldier or Hawkeye are based on this assumption, placing the surviving heroes in front of the emotional consequences of what is seen in Avengers: Endgame. An approach that clarifies how Phase Four is almost a re-foundation, the search for a new emotional director for the franchise that is based not so much on the amazement for the appearance of superheroes, as happened previously, but on the awareness of their fallibility. , of their humanity. So here is Wanda giving in to her despair or Sam facing the hard path of accepting the responsibility of Cap's Shield.

Narratively speaking, Phase Four is the most impactful. The sense of bewilderment, also perceived in usually lighter figures such as Spider-Man, and a renewed perception by some figures that 'from great powers comes great responsibility' is one of the driving forces behind the evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which seeks to expand this heroic dimension by exploiting every possible tool. And the arrival of Disney + was seen as too tempting a tool not to make seriality another piece of the construction of the Marvel Cineamatic Universe of the future.

The Disney streaming service, thanks to the pandemic of recent years, yes is quickly transformed into the true Phase Four arena of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the face of five films in the cinema (Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Eternals, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Foll ia and Thor: Love and Thunder), from which we can exclude the Black Widow flashback, Phase Four has currently been tackled by seven series on Disney + (WandaVision, Marvel's What if ...?, The Falcon and The Winters Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, Moon Knight and Ms Marvel), with an increasingly marked presence of seriality compared to making the films. A radical change of approach, which inevitably also requires the public to change their interaction with the franchise: the heart of the narrative is now on the small screen.

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It is necessary to make a clarification , in favor of Marvel Studios. The departure of the pillars of the previous phases of the franchise is a difficult transition moment, considering that now the superhero community finds itself not only in search of points of reference, but also without a real enemy that makes them the lives of the different characters are cohesive. Whether it was Loki, first, and Thanos then, the most powerful Heroes on Earth and their fellow adventurers enjoyed a slow but refined narrative and emotional construction that gave them the right space to grow, evolve, always within. of a defined ecosystem whose construction was more than solid.

With the new post-Endgame course, the feeling of no longer having a structured and cohesive world has become concrete, mirror both of what the characters feel, and of a difficulty that the screenwriters are probably experiencing too. Having to keep alive the interest in a franchise that in fifteen years has broken records and accustomed the audience to a certain narrative grammar is not easy, and Feige and Marvel Studios should be recognized for the courage to seek new languages, to experiment. Entrusting a film like Eternals to a director of the caliber of Chloe Zao or deciding to aim for a metanarrative like the one seen in WandaVision are signs of a desire not to remain slaves to a narrative style that was beginning to show the first signs of abating. A revolution, if you want, that has not always won the favor of the public, see Moon Knight, but which should nevertheless be seen as an experimental phase, in which to welcome the effort of Marvel Studios to break new ground.

At the same time, Feige and his companions should remember that for years, viewers have been educated by their work to a certain fruition of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, based on three or four annual cinema appointments. The new approach of Phase Four has instead established a new dynamic, more present and assiduous, with more titles on the big screen and an almost continuous production of series, condensed into an interdependence that required the viewers a greater commitment, in terms of participation in this. complex choral story. A request that may not find fertile ground, but which has, as a counterpart, the defect of exposing structural difficulties in continuing the franchise, born of a need to constantly provide not only a new MCU adventure, but at the same time populate a catalog. , that of Disney +, which shows that it wants to make the most of (to the limit of abuse) its most fascinating IPs, such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars. Strange as it may seem to say it, perhaps this excessive production risks depriving everything of its charm, making a narrative element that is based on the exact opposite monotonous and predictable. Fewer adventures, but more exciting, in short.

What to expect from Phase Four?

Although fragile and currently poorly defined, Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe does not deserve to be dismissed easily as the worst of the franchise, a judgment that should be suspended at least until the conclusion of this chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What can be said now is that in these first steps of Phase Four some of the typical traits of the previous mnoments of the franchise are missing, first of all a charismatic villain who knows how to intrigue viewers, casting his shadow on the overall story of the saga. Kang's appearance in the Loki finale is a premise not yet fully developed, which will hopefully find its completeness in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and recent productions have paved the way for the entry of expected Marvel symbols. Comic universe, like X-Men and Fantastic Four.

(L-R): Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel Studios' THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jasin Boland. ..Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved. To date, the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Four productions have focused on defining a new balance for the heroes of the franchise, as we saw in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The overall quality of the current production of Phase Four is, honestly, fluctuating, but on this aspect we can agree with what was declared by the Russo brothers, directors of Avengers: Endgame, to NBC in recent days:

"Here is the truth. The entire existence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has seen ups and downs, there has to be a natural flow of how people feel connected to the latest offerings. But I think, at the end of it all, they are still ambitious projects in terms of how we approach storytelling. They are experimenting. They are looking for new forms of expression to keep the audience excited and surprised. They still seem to have a vital creative approach and process that they are following, I think there is still a lot to hope for in what will be possible in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We have not lost confidence, that's for sure "

A declaration of faith, that of the Russos, which can find its own legitimacy, which we can respect by holding on to our doubts about the present of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but not ceasing to trust in the next chapters of the franchise.

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