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  • Omolola Falana, MHS

The Staggering Decline in Marvel's Cinematic Universe

Since 2008 with the movie adaptation of the comic book character Iron Man, Marvel has provided us with timeless live-action films. However, it seems as if Marvel’s charm has started to wear off within Phase 4 of Marvel. A clear sign of this can easily be noticed with one glance at the box office, with The Eternals (one of the first big marvel movies after Avengers Endgame) becoming the second-lowest-grossing film in the MCU. Along with Thor Love and Thunder having a 69% on Rotten Tomatoes and being critically bashed online. That begs the question, why exactly have Marvel movies been performing so poorly?

Marvel movies are known for giving themselves a certain timeframe in which to release a predetermined amount of movies. In that time frame, each movie tells a story that in some way or another will connect to another movie. In some situations, a TV show or two may be made in order to give background information to a character or simply out of fan interest. However, since Phase 4 of Marvel has started, Disney has decided to abuse the idea of Marvel TV shows. To keep up with the need for content on their streaming service, Disney+ executives have decided to make a numerous amount of Marvel TV shows which seem to come out almost weekly. Simply having TV shows wouldn’t have been such an issue since TV shows are used to expand characters outside a limited movie run time. However it is a completely different story when you decide to make these small side stories canon. Making TV shows canon can force viewers to watch the shows in order to comprehend the storylines in the movies. This makes it hard to enjoy and understand the movies without watching the TV shows. Despite this fact, Marvel has also decided to make these TV shows canon with cameos. For the normal superhero fan who likes to drop in from time to time and see what Marvel has, this would be fine. But for those die-hard fans who love piecing the story together this would be unbearable to deal with. Since 2021, Marvel has released 8 TV shows with 5 more TV shows expected to premiere by the end of the year. Imagine how unbearable it would have to be to sit through over a dozen TV shows to somehow piece together a story that even Marvel does not understand sometimes. Nobody in their right mind would put up with this and call it “enjoyment”, causing a decline in the box office numbers.

If Marvel beats DC in one category, it has to be a coherent cinematic universe. That’s what Marvel has always been known and acknowledged for. They were the first ones to do it so it should be natural that they could continue doing it right? Wrong. Marvel has not been able to decide on the main plot of Phase 4, swaying between the multiverse concept included in Spider-Man No Way Home and the side stories regarding the TV shows. With plot points tending to contradict each other such as Guardians of the Galaxy previously establishing that the character Ego was the last remaining celestial. However in The Eternals, celestials are clearly shown. This leaves die-hard Marvel fans having a hard time keeping track of all the cameos popping up everywhere, it is not hard to believe that the story isn't really known to the majority of the audiences.

Since the release of the much-hated She-Hulk, Marvel critics started to see the uncertainty of Marvel’s future in storytelling. To sum it up perfectly it seemed as if Marvel was trying too hard to fit into the comedy and issues of the new generation. Almost as if it was trying to play that “cool-hip” uncle who is not aware of how embarrassing he’s being. However, the topic that Marvel has been holding onto the most is feminism. It’s now present in every film having a female lead character with its most notorious character based purely off of feminism, Captain Marvel. Don’t get me wrong, as a female myself I don’t have a problem with the idea of feminism. Keep in mind when I mention feminism I mean the extreme versions of it. If you need a really good example of this you can compare the character She-Hulk to Shuri from Black Panther. Shuri is an independent character who is not necessarily trying to redefine stereotypes. She is only trying to do something that she is interested in, which happens to be different from the norm. On the other hand, She-Hulk reminds the viewers that she is a woman and believes that she is better at doing things than men.

As a final point to bring up I’d like to mention the fact that the CGI in Marvel has noticeably declined. With Thor: Love and Thunder being openly ridiculed online for CGI scenes with a ghost boy, I don’t believe that this has anything to do with the animators. I just feel that they are on a time limit and have to get the animation out as quickly as possible. This fault is mostly that of the executive who decided it was a good idea to increase the number of projects without increasing the amount of staff. So at the moment, Marvel has an incoherent story, bad CGI, extreme feminist undertones, and too many TV shows to keep up with. This is clearly a sign of bad leadership among the executive team. I can only hope that Marvel decides on a clear path that they want to take, along with realizing the importance of the current fans that they have with them.

Work Cited:

Apeksha Bagchi .updated:not(.published) { display: none; } Sep 1, and Apeksha Bagchi.

“With MCU Now in Mutants-Have-Always-Been-Here Land, These Characters Can Be Retconned as Homo Superior.” We Got This Covered, 1 Sept. 2022,

“Eternals.” IMDb,, 5 Nov. 2021,

“Thor: Love and Thunder.” IMDb,, 8 July 2022,

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