Marvel faces its next big challenge as it tries to go through a phase

Marvel built diligently toward “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Endgame,” providing a two-part, five-hour-plus, every-hero-imaginable conclusion to the Thanos saga in 2019. The result was a staggering commercial success, bidding farewell to a pair of signature characters who helped launch this run of films in the process.

What could the studio possibly do for an Encore? Phase 4, the latest chapter in Marvel’s cinematic march, was intended to address that, acting as a multi-movie rhythm cleanser while resetting the table by introducing new characters and capitalizing on existing ones.

However, three significant events followed “Endgame”, two beyond anyone’s control, and the other above Marvel’s typical pay grade: a global pandemic that threw the entire film industry for a loop; Tragic death of ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman, And the late 2019 launch of Disney+, a streaming service that, as a major priority for Marvel parent Disney, turned out to be another very hungry mouth to feed.

As dazzling as the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” footage unveiled at Comic-Con, losing Boseman created a no-good-answer dilemma for the sequel, tarnishing the future of a franchise that first. The linchpin of Marvel’s plans once the film is headed to headline.

Meanwhile, the pandemic wreaked havoc with studio schedules, adding a degree of difficulty to the release of “Black Widow.” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” And “infinity,” And that makes it hard to evaluate their box-office performances or the impact they might have.

In the end, buoyed by its remarkable film track record, Marvel not only aggressively supplied Disney+ with original shows, but also treated them as further extensions of its universe, adding to the logistical constraints associated with it.

The tide of the series for Disney+ has, in the best case scenario, provided a way to tease out some characters—such as the next “Captain America” ​​movie, or introduce the villainous Kang (Jonathan Majors).N “Loki” – and in a worst case scenario, further exaggerate the Marvel brand risk of diluting it,
Whatever the impact of those second and third factors, Phase 4 has been a mixed bag creatively speaking, highlighted by indifferent reactions to “Eternal”, which features less-heralded characters (though Shang -like Chi, they’ve been around in comics since the 1970s); And “Thor: Love and Thunder” The latest sequel featuring one of the original Avengers.

Films slated for Phase 5 and glimpses of Phase 6 indicate that Marvel is keen to restore the epic scope associated with the story, which culminated in “Endgame”.

The fact that Marvel dominated trending topics and other high-profile commodities at Comic-Con shows its enduring strength. Even more mortal Marvel is still sporting an extremely strong and jealous hand.

Still, there’s something to be said for focusing on individual titles, without worrying about their place in the big MCU. Just getting the Fantastic Four right — in the end — seems like a formidable objective, beyond living up to the sequels and cameos they might do in upcoming movies.

It’s also worth noting that Marvel uses comic books as its foundation which regularly churns out world-threatening threats. Movies take a few years to make, which means that each individual film already has the tedious task of crafting a plot capable of bearing that weight.

Marvel’s success is largely attributed to the fact that its films are viewed as events by fans, and the connectedness of its universe has undoubtedly contributed powerfully to that dynamic.

As is often true in Hollywood, a blessing can turn into a burden. For now, the studio would be best served to deliver some really satisfying films and follow the rest of the equation.

Get it done, and by 2025 we can look back and say that Marvel was just going through a phase.