MCU: 10 Reasons Why Phase 4 Has Failed

The Multiverse was supposed to take Marvel to new heights. Instead, Phase 4 has crashed and burned.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Marvel Studios

On November 11, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will cap Marvel's Phase 4. Wakanda Forever looks like a sure-fire hit that will win critical plaudits; however, even if the film proves successful, it may not be enough to paper over the lingering sense of disappointment fans had with Marvel's latest crop.

Coming off the success of Endgame, it is hard not to notice how inconsistent Marvel's follow-up to Phase 3 has been. While Phase 4 has Disney+ successes like Werewolf By Night and Loki, and cinematic hits like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Shang-Chi, Marvel has dropped more duds than in any previous phase.

Thanks to Eternals, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder, Marvel has suffered its lowest CinemaScore ratings, lowest Tomatometer scores, and biggest box office drops ever. If Kevin Feige intended Phase 4 to keep audience interest high, then Phase 4 can be dubbed a failure.

Feige apparently agrees. Sensing that fans were concerned with the MCU's direction, the Marvel Studios President took the unprecedented step of releasing the titles for Phase 6's final chapters to allay fans' concerns. This vote of no confidence in Phase 4's ability to hook Marvel fans is the surest sign things aren't well in the MCU.

Not so long ago Marvel appeared untouchable. So, what went wrong? Let's explore the various ways Phase 4 flew off the rails and determine if Marvel can right the ship, or if it will continue to flounder until the franchise is truly underwater.

10. Too Many Movies And Series

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Marvel Studios

Early in its run, Marvel Studios expanded into television and streaming with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and an array of Netflix series. However, once audience interest dipped in its TV offerings, Marvel's cinematic universe mostly divested itself from these shows, making them only tangentially related to in-movie continuity.

After that, Marvel mostly relied on feature films to create continuity between instalments. This made the larger cinematic narrative Marvel unfolded easier to follow. Averaging only three films a year, keeping up with the larger MCU story wasn't that big of a commitment.

Phase 4 threw this audience-friendly storytelling approach out the window. Not only did Marvel increase the number of feature films it released in a single year, it also flooded audiences with Disney+ series, many of which directly impacted the larger continuity of the MCU. If an audience member missed out on What If...?, WandaVision, and Loki, then much of what happened in Multiverse of Madness would appear baffling.

Marvel's inundation of content is causing its larger narrative to become unfocused and muddled, leaving all but the diehards out of the loop. This no doubt impacted audience scores and box office declines, and risks alienating casual moviegoers on a large scale.

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