Despite Phase Four not technically being over...
MCU Phase Four is coming to a close with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever! And yes, I do know that The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is technically a part of Phase Four, but it's more of an epilogue. I think of Wakanda Forever as the finale of this phase. So, since this phase of the MCU is finished, it is time to rank all sixteen Phase Four movies / TV shows / TV specials. Dive in down below.
16. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
She-Hulk was rough. While Love and Thunder may have been too goofy, it was not on the level of She-Hulk. This show was horrific. The writing is some of the worst I've ever seen in anything. It wasn't funny. The court cases weren't smart. There wasn't really a story. The CGI was laughable. This all led to a somewhat creative finale, but a creative finale that didn't resolve any of the plotlines in a satisfying way. I hate this show. It's horrible.
Eternals was not good. I respect the ambition of this project, but it feels like a bunch of C-list superheroes that are underdeveloped in a story that you don't really care about. There are TEN main characters here. That's a lot. And none of them get enough development for you to care. Likewise, the story is interwoven with flashbacks, so it plays out in a very clunky manner. Add some bland action and spotty CGI, and you've got one of the worst Marvel movies.
14. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
A lot of people loved Shang-Chi. I was not one of them. I was tracking with this film for the most part. It was an enjoyable enough MCU movie, but it just falls apart in the third act as we watch a massive dragon fight that becomes CGI noise. As I've sat with it, I just like this movie less...and less...and less. It's such a frustrating mix of good ideas and really bad, forced MCU-isms. If this wasn't an MCU movie, it might be good. But, since it's an MCU movie, we need big CGI action and quips and one-liners every five minutes. And that just takes the movie down.
13. Black Widow
I don't mind Black Widow, but it's another one that I've become lukewarm on over time. I think part of my original liking for it was the fact that it was the first MCU movie in two years, but as I've sat with it, it's not great. First of all, it's not necessary. The only thing it does is introduce us to Black Widow's family, who are great, but they can't save the movie as a whole. A weak villain and over-bloated CGI finale really make this one of the weaker MCU films.
12. Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel had a strong start, but it took a nosedive in the middle. It started off as a teenage superhero comedy with charming characters and a fun storyline...and then it became a globe-trotting, serious adventure that dealt with Kamala's family instead of Kamala herself. The finale got it back on track...but that was the last episode. I liked the character a lot. I loved Iman Vellani's performance. But the story just did not work here.
11. What If...? (Season 1)
What If...? was cool. I had fun with it. As an anthology, it actually was really effective. Episode four of this show is a bonafide masterpiece. The other episodes vary from very good to mediocre to outright bad. What holds this show back is the disappointing finale. They have an opportunity to make a truly crazy conclusion...and instead we get a big, long animated action scene that just devolves into cartoon lasers shooting everywhere. I'm hopeful for season two, because I enjoyed this show, but this could've been better.
10. Thor: Love and Thunder
Love and Thunder is another frustrating one, because there are tons of great ideas in here. If you make it longer, more serious, and give Gorr a bit more of the spotlight, this film would be on par with Ragnarok. Both Jane and Gorr are great characters in this movie, but their serious characters are overshadowed by Taika Waititi's inability to have restraint. This movie is too silly. It's too dumb. Thor himself went from a total badass in Ragnarok and Infinity War to a complete joke in Endgame and this movie. This is another film that felt like it could've been great with a few tweaks, but those tweaks were not made, so it isn't.
9. Moon Knight
Moon Knight was decent. So decent, in fact, that it's frustrating. The first two episodes of this show hit the ground running. It was different. It had this psychological thriller edge to it combined with this ancient Egypt mythos that gave it a subtle mysterious nature. However, you hit episode three, and it quickly descends into a relatively generic Marvel show, which is enjoyable, but not what Moon Knight should've been. The CGI was atrocious. It didn't do a great job of sticking the landing. So, unfortunately, Moon Knight was a disappointment.
8. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Unlike Moon Knight, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier never promised anything different. It felt very Marvel. It had this blockbuster TV show feel that I did enjoy. The action was cool. The emotions were high and powerful. I loved the character work that they did for both Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. John Walker is a fantastic addition to the MCU. But the main plot of the show is just so problematic. The villains aren't good. The stakes aren't felt. This show could've been this great buddy cop spy show inside of the MCU, but instead, it just feels like middle-of-the-road superhero stuff.
7. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Multiverse of Madness suffered from a few things. The biggest problem was actually the marketing. The film promised an epic multiversal journey so crazy that they were willing to show Professor X and Captain Carter in the trailer. That's what made it so disappointing. It's not the multiverse of madness. It's about Wanda chasing America Chavez through a few different areas of the multiverse. Is it a cool movie? Yes. I love that there's a Sam Raimi horror flick inside of the MCU. But Multiverse of Madness was supposed to be huge. And it wasn't. So it's good. But it's not the game-changer we all hoped it would be.
6. Werewolf by Night
Werewolf by Night was cool. This is what Marvel needs to do more of with Disney+. We have a fifty minute TV special in the style of the Universal horror films from the 30s that takes place within the MCU. There's no connections to the outside universe. It's a self-contained horror short film that has some great action, some cool characters, and fantastic direction from Michael Giacchino. This is a great little project, and I'm hoping Marvel goes the special presentation route more in the future.
The first six episodes of this show had me hooked. It was top five MCU for me. I LOVED this show. The way it wrapped up absolutely soured me on it, but WandaVision was an awesome experiment to kick off Phase Four. It works as a lot of things. It works as a study of grief and trauma. It works as this Twilight Zone-esc mystery. It works as a sitcom. It stops working when it tries to have a big, CGI Marvel finale. While I actively dislike what they did in the last part of this show, I absolutely adored everything that came before that, so I still really, really like WandaVision overall.
4. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Wakanda Forever is the most unique film in the MCU. It has to be. It deals with the death of Chadwick Boseman in this somber goodbye to both him and his character. This film is sad. And it's not sad in the way that Tony Stark's death is sad. It's a real, true sadness because of the real death of Chadwick Boseman. They use this film to tell a powerful story that gives all of our characters space to grieve and space to protect Wakanda. It feels like a film from the Infinity Saga. It takes itself seriously. It doesn't rely on dumb humor and CGI. It's a high quality blockbuster that feels like classic MCU.
Hawkeye was easily the biggest surprise of Phase Four for me. This came out near one of the low points of this phase. Black Widow, Shang-Chi, What If...?, and Eternals were the last four projects to come out, and I wasn't a huge fan of any of those, so I was not very excited for Hawkeye. And it blew me away with it's extremely likable characters and street-level story. Jeremy Renner gets the spotlight and shines in it while also making space for Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop. Finale? Slightly underwhelming. But, unlike WandaVision, that doesn't really take away from the rest of the show. I loved Hawkeye. It was great.
2. Loki (Season 1)
The only thing that has actually advanced the plot of the Multiverse Saga forward, Loki was awesome. It was a time-bending, philosophical mystery-thriller that was as unpredictable and clever as its titular character. To me, this is the only Marvel show that has stuck the landing. The finale of Loki is great. We meet He Who Remains. We introduce the multiverse. And we tease Kang the Conqueror. Something is coming. And Loki has promised that that something is going to be very, very dangerous.
1. Spider-Man: No Way Home
There will never be another movie like this. No Way Home is special. It's a gift to fans of Spider-Man. Is it perfect? No. But it's different than anything else in Phase Four. It uses the multiverse to create a super cool, high stakes story about Tom Holland fighting villains that we've met from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's films. And then the last half of this movie brings those two in, and we get some of the best fan service ever alongside a great conclusion to this first Spider-Man trilogy. This movie is special. It's beautiful. It's amazing.