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Marvel films aren’t the death of cinema, but they’re getting stale

More tangled than Spider-Man's web.

A screenshot of Black Widow (2020)
Image credit: Marvel, Disney

Complaining about the Marvel Cinematic Universe feels overdone by this point. From Martin Scorsese to a wide variety of YouTube creators, the general sentiment about the MCU doesn’t feel overly positive in 2022. Of course, the box office numbers are still huge compared to everything else coming out on the big screen. There’s no contesting that. However, it feels like the MCU has been experiencing a dip in quality over its past few releases.

Which is not the say that the MCU hasn’t tripped up in the past. Nobody is denying how bad Iron Man 2 was, and I’m probably the only person in the world who doesn’t hate Thor 2: The Dark World. (That’s only because it has Tom Hiddleston in it.) However, if you look at the last few films released as part of what Marvel is calling Phase 4, which is everything released post-endgame - things have been poor to middling quality when compared to the more mixed bags of previous phases.

I can attest to Black Widow being a complete tonal mess with a great cast – besides Scarlett Johansson, who has always been passable as Natasha Romanov. Whereas Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was a tonal mess with a less good cast. I can’t comment on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Thor: Love and Thunder, as I haven’t seen them yet. Which is unusual, as this is probably the first MCU phase where I’ve missed most of the films released for it.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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