What’s Next: The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Cover for the first installment of phase five, Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania

Photo by Marvel Studios

Cover for the first installment of phase five, “Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania”

Elaina Dunson, Staff Writer

You’ve got another month to catch up on Marvel movies before the new phase starts. There have been four phases and the fifth will begin with “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania”. This is the third installment to the Ant-Man movies and it will be coming out in theaters February 17, 2023. The movie will be on Disney+ at least 45 days after its release.

Marvel movies have been an obsession of mine since I was a kid. I watched Iron Man 2 on TV with my mother and I had been hooked ever since. The MCU has a vast amount of movies ranging from really good to really bad. These movies are grouped in phases, the phases began in 2008 with the first Iron Man movie. There is no specific way to differentiate between phases. They tend to start and end with a new year and last about three years. It’s more of a way to market future movies than an official way to break up the movies being released. 

Phase four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe consists of seven movies, one of those being “Spiderman: No Way Home” which made $1.916 billion. It also includes “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” which was a heartbreaking movie that addressed the death of the main actor of the first Black Panther movie, Chadwick Boseman. While many people on social media did not like phase four, it still opened up many doors for the MCU. The fourth phase had many good movies but some of them felt out of place. The Black Widow movie, for example, came before she died in Endgame but was released afterwards. It would have been better to release it before Endgame so the timeline is less confusing. Phase four through six are regarded as “the Multiverse Saga”. 

In the current phase and the future ones, there will be many shows that give context for movies. These shows include what other characters may be doing if they don’t show up on the big screen. A good current example of this is Wanda Vision. The show plays directly into “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” which was released on May 6, 2022. In the movie we see Wanda interacting with her children that first appear on Wanda Vision. Another example of this is how the ending of The Black Widow movie leads directly into the Hawkeye show. 

 The future of the MCU is just as interesting as its past. Many long time fans feel that past phases and movies are better than more recent ones. Fans also feel that the TV shows that have been released aren’t up to standard either. The shows that Marvel have produced aren’t that good. The best one they’ve made so far is the “What If…?” animated series that gave different scenarios from other universes. Many Marvel fans were not happy with She-Hulk. They felt that the show was not comic book accurate and that it wasn’t good in general. They feel that many scenes in the show were distasteful.

People believe that many of the past movies took themselves far more seriously than the more recent ones. “Thor: Love and Thunder” was a disappointment for everyone. The movie fell completely short compared to “Thor: Ragnarok,” a previous installment to the Thor movies. It didn’t have the same charm, humor, or just generally good moments like that of Ragnarok. Even with these criticisms, the Marvel movies still make billions of dollars every time they release a new movie, so they’re obviously doing something right. 

With the beginning of phase six there are going to be many amazing characters reintroduced into the MCU. The “Fantastic Four” will be coming back for a new movie in two years as well as the “Blade” movie which will be coming out this year. While “Blade” is a reboot of an old show, the “Fantastic Four” has had many movies over the years. Neither have ever had an official series or movie in the MCU. There have been several movies, series and canceled sequels for the “Fantastic Four” but it finally gets to make its comeback. 

The movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and truly be hit or miss depending on who you’re talking to. I say, the movies are fun to binge and are a good watch.