The Show Must Go On
After the release of the Avenger’s End Game, which effectively ended the Avengers franchise, at least for now, many wondered what was next for Marvel. Many asked whether they could keep it up, whilst holding DC at bay.
Truth is, the writing has always been on the wall. If you look at the trajectory of the movies that have been released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the pattern they used to introduce all the characters that would partake in the End Game movie, directly or indirectly, you knew they were laying foundations for the future. And the future is now.
What the Early Part of Phase 4 Looks Like
The Avengers had the world in a chokehold. From geeks, nerds to people who never gave the idea and concept of comics and superheroes the time of day, everyone was invested in the franchise. So, of course, it made sense for them to use that as a springboard.
Black Widow & Shang Chi
After the End Game came to Black Widow. A movie dedicated to the story of Black Widow’s character played by the lovely Scarlett Johansson. Black Widow might have had a bigger impact, but because we are still bedridden in a pandemic, it faded as fast as it came on screens. Not that it was an awful movie, it just didn’t sustain its hype.
Soon after that came Shang Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings. That was an introduction to an entirely new character in the universe. The reviews have been decent for Shang Chi, with very action-packed scenes drawing on the rich culture of Asia.
Following that is the Eternals which touches on a team similar to the Avengers mold but who have existed on Earth in secret for a long period.
With all that happened in End Game, they are forced to come out, realizing that humanity has enemies out there who are ready to fight and conquer them.
As protectors of the planet and humans, they too do battle against an ancient evil.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Last but not least, for this year 2021, is Spider-Man: No Way Home. This is the third installment of the new Spider-Man played by Tom Holland. No Way Home’s first official trailer broke records that the End Game trailer had set, so it is touted to be the next big thing for Marvel.
This is because the movie capitalizes on the concept of the Spider-Verse, where multiple Spider-Men/Women/Animals exist in different timelines.
Building on this framework, the movie brings onboard the Ultimate Spider-Man and the Amazing Spiderman in Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, respectively.
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Marvel realized everyone has their favorite Spider-Man based on the different franchises that have come out (for clarity, the Ultimate Spider-Man differs from the Amazing Spider-Man, who is also different from the Spectacular Spider-Man, who differs from the Astonishing Spider-Man and Miles Morales: Spider-Man).
Hence, they placed all 3 in one movie. Everyone’s favorite all-in-one blockbuster Spider-Man movie. And it won’t just be the heroes. Their respective villains will make a comeback as well.
With the Series, we have had WandaVision, which was a series dedicated to Scarlet Witch (Wanda) and The Vision from the Avengers Team.
That was followed by Falcon & The Winter Soldier, which is also a series dedicated to Falcon & The Winter Soldier in the aftermath of the End Game.
Then came Loki, which, of course, focused on Thor’s lesser brother Loki, the god of mischief, who was the chief antagonist in the first Avengers movie. Loki has to deal with the consequences of his actions owing to the theatrics he pulled off against humanity and The Avengers.
What If is Marvel’s first animated series, and it plays on the concept of its title; what if? What if the heroes we fall in love with weren’t what was originally intended? What if different people could have played those same roles?
How would it all have panned out? It allows the creators to reimagine how some events leading up to the end game could have played out differently.
The last television series for this year would be Hawkeye. Hawkeye is just trying to get home to spend Christmas with his family. However, he is haunted by the ghosts of his past during his rogue days after the world went to hell with Thanos snapping his fingers and all that. It represents him dealing with his demons alongside a pseudo sidekick.
With 2022 also jam-packed with movies and series, for the phase 4 Marvel is pulling off, it has been so far, so good.