Much has been said about the MCU's commercial dominance and its impact on big-budget filmmaking (for better or for worse), and Phase 4 seems to be no different. Marvel's latest stage of its grand experiment is currently focused on the fallout from the Infinity Saga's epic events and setting up a multiversal conflict which may top the expansive and interconnected nature of Phases 1 through 3.
Films such as No Way Home and series such as WandaVision have captured the cultural zeitgeist, and entries such as Loki and Moon Knight are pushing the envelope in regards to the MCU's narrative and filmmaking sensibilities.
As much as critics and audience appreciate a more experimental and unconventional MCU, that is not to say that this new approach has been flawlessly executed. To be fair, this new stage of the MCU's development is still in its infancy, and comparing 11 years of tried and tested storytelling to a year or two of a more experimental approach is rather unfair.
That said, what audiences have gotten so far is intriguing, but still plagued by issues that the first three phases faced in addition to newer and (hopefully) easily rectifiable ones that currently prevent Phase 4 from living up to its lofty ambitions.
11. Wandavision - The Story Outside Westview Is Not As Compelling
The first Phase 4 entry began Marvel’s new saga in bold fashion and its homage to sitcoms and exploration of grief captured the attention of fans worldwide in early 2021. Led by Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s enthralling performances as the titular couple, Wandavision and the sitcom world it created made for nostalgic and emotionally riveting television.
However, this could not be said for the world that existed outside Wanda’s Hex as the efforts of S.W.O.R.D to understand the anomalous barrier surrounding the town and ultimately stop Wanda were nowhere as interesting as Wanda and Vision’s relationship and their interactions with the trapped residents of Westview.
To be fair, the trio of Monica Rambeau, Darcy Lewis and Jimmy Woo were fun to watch but were sadly placed next to a dour antagonist in S.W.O.R.D director Tyler Hayward. In addition to this, their individual stories were not properly fleshed out as Wanda and Vision’s were.
Some fans have understandably expressed their qualms with the show's uneven finale and its clumsy attempts to justify Wanda's actions but at least the buildup to this resolution was entertaining to watch. The same cannot be said for the S.W.O.R.D. storyline, which ultimately felt like an afterthought from the word go.