MCU Phases Ranked by Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

With Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever dominates the box office and That Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special charming households across the world, we thought it was time to rank the four Marvel Cinematic Universe phases from worst to best and determine if the franchise is headed in the right direction or in dire need of a recharge.

4) MCU phase 4

• WandaVision
• The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
• Black Widow
• Loki
• What if…?
• Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings
• Eternal
• Hawkeye
• Spider-Man: No Way Home
• Moon Knight
• Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
• Ms. Marvel
• Thor: Love and Thunder
• She-Hulk: Lawyer
• Werewolf By Night
• Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
• The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Phase 4 is not as terrible as several YouTubers and bloggers would suggest. There are highlights within, such as Spider-Man: No Way Homemost of Moon Knight, Werewolf at nightand The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (which is excellent by the way). The biggest problem with this current era is that far too many mediocre entries feel haphazardly thrown together by committee – and none offer a coherent story.

On the big screen, Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Ringsand Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness offers sporadic fun but is largely forgettable; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s convoluted plot offsets its lofty ambitions. Eternal and Thor: Love and Thunder are practically unmanageable.

Marvel’s TV offerings got off to a promising start with the occasional witchcraft WandaVision. However, subsequent series, i.a The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, Moon Knightand Ms. Marvelwas more frustrating than captivating. She-Hulk: Lawyer flat sucked.

Also, none of the movies or TV shows in Phase 4 feel connected like previous MCU installments. So what is the overall story? Who is the next big bad? Why does every villain come from a previous organization that ignored Thanos and the Snap? We’ll have to wait for Phase 5 in hopes of a more cohesive story, which is a real negative for the latest grouping of MCU offerings.

3) MCU phase 1

• Iron Man
• The Amazing Hulk
• Iron Man 2
• Thor
• Captain America: The First Avenger
• The Avengers

Few predicted the unprecedented success that would emerge from Jon Favreau’s iron Man, an action vehicle largely carried by Robert Downey, Jr.’s effortless charisma. The modestly budgeted superhero movie lacks the big-budget spectacle of modern MCU offerings, but that’s what makes it great. RDJ (and a well-cast Gwenyth Paltrow) deserve all the credit for Marvel’s early success.

On the contrary The Incredible Hulk is a joyless affair Iron Man 2 and Thor are confused, and Captain America: The First Avenger feels like a bland imitation of Indiana Jones and The Rocketeer.

Still, said films introduced likable characters, provided mild entertainment, and left audiences wanting more. And thanks to some well-executed post-credit sequences that competently teased the next entry, these early offerings played more like big-budget TV shows — you had to see what happens next, even if the current episode lacked appeal.

So come The Avengers. Yes, the first superhero team-up film has lost some of its luster over the years, but make no mistake: The Avengers was a huge deal when it hit theaters in 2012 — so much so that it almost stole the show The Dark Rider Rises’ thunder that summer. Whedon’s sharp, witty, clever dialogue set the tone for the rest of the MCU, for better or for worse, and really changed the way studios approached superhero movies from that point on. I have my quirks, but all in all The Avengers is an enjoyable bit of pop culture entertainment and remains one of the best blockbusters of the last decade. This is the movie that really gave the MCU its legs.

2) MCU phase 2

• Iron Man 3
• Thor: The Dark World
• Captain America: The Winter Soldier
• Guardians of the Galaxy
• Avengers: Age of Ultron
• Ant man

Phase 2 stumbled along Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultrona follow-up on The Avengers which unfortunately does not manage to move the needle in both directions like its predecessor. Yet this period also gave us Captain America: The Winter Soldierperhaps the best MCU movie to date, Guardians of the Galaxyand the division Iron Man 3which I absolutely love. Ant man was also a pleasant surprise, although I’m still annoyed that Marvel kicked Edgar Wright out of the project. Talk about a missed opportunity!

That said, the Russo brothers pumped Marvel with a much-needed edge, turning Captain America into a badass and composing the series’ most exciting action sequences. So if Joss Whedon gave the MCU his voice, the Russians packed it full of muscle.

Jon Favreau tried to stop the Russo Brothers from killing Iron Man

1) MCU phase 3

• Captain America: Civil War
• Doctor Strange
• Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
• Spider-Man: Homecoming
• Thor: Ragnarok
• Black Panther
• Avengers: Infinity War
• Ant-Man and the Wasp
• Captain Marvel
• Avengers: Endgame
• Spider-Man: Far From Home

Marvel’s rise to dominance took some time to create. The opening stages featured a strange mix of spectacular highs (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and curious lows (Iron Man 2). However, at least there was a clear destination that kept the audience invested during the sparse offerings.

Thankfully, Marvel rewarded our patience with a spectacular Phase 3 that catapulted the franchise to something akin to legendary status. Despite a few speed bumps (in particular, Captain Marvel and the matte Doctor Strange), Phase 3 delivered some of the MCU’s most outstanding chapters to date, including Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Pantherand one-two punch of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

As time goes on, we can look back on Phase 3 as the pinnacle of the MCU, especially considering the lackluster offerings the studio has released since.

Related Posts