The MCU’s Phase 4 Has A Villain Problem

Marvel Studios: Tom Hiddleston, the actor, speaks onstage (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images).

Recent talk has focused on the Marvel Cinematic Universe losing its way. Despite the box-office success of Thor, Love, and Thunder, critics and fans are growing impatient with phase 4.

It must have been challenging to continue the Infinity War story. Marvel, however, told a story with just enough connective tissue that viewers would return. A simple tale about a team coming together against an existential threat.

Post-credit scenes of Thanos trying to put on the Infinity Gauntlet, and making villainous catchphrases to himself, reminded viewers why they should stay. His inevitable defeat was surprisingly satisfying and a culmination of years of preparation.

Phase 4 is, however, a slow-moving episode with Kang, the Conqueror as its central antagonist, appearing only once in the Disney+ series Loki (and it wasn’t him, it was a multiverse variation). Kang feels Thanos could be a much more significant threat than he is, but he hasn’t been seen since. The glut of phase 4 content is busy creating new characters that are relatively unknown.

Shanghai was a solid introduction to the titular character. Loki and WandaVision were able to tell compelling standalone stories while also contributing to the larger narrative. Phase 4 is mainly forgettable and builds up the Marvel mythos without any Thanos-like threats.

Marvel doesn’t allow villains to return. Their most intriguing antagonists are usually disposed of in the introductory movie. There are some survivors, though, including Vulture. Vulture was last seen in a confusing Morbius scene after credits. It doesn’t seem canon, so who knows if he will return?

Marvel comics were known for raising the stakes.

The beginning of Marvel’s television venture, Phase 4, seems to have overwhelmed the audience with too much content. Catching up is becoming like homework.

The post-credits scenes don’t tease Kang’s arrival but introduce new actors to the franchise. They often play fringe characters that are difficult to get excited about. Starfox and Hercules aren’t nearly as interesting as the old favorites. X-Men, Fantastic 4, and other big-name characters are coming to the MCU, and they seem to be fueling much Marvel hype.

We hope Kang makes a more significant impact in the next entries. Phase 4 requires a strong villain to focus on; the momentum is slowing down without that threat.

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Samatha Vale
Samatha a senior writer for HC's entertainment team. She is an entreprenuer, mother and an excellent writer. She's also an avid reader, music enthusiast and all around inquisitive person - which is just a nice way of saying she's nosy.

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