MCU Behind-the-Scenes Drama in 2022 Was Way More Entertaining Than Phase 4
Is Marvel's dominance over?
The huge success of Infinity War and Endgame made many fans wonder if Marvel would be able to up the stakes.
Unfortunately, Phase Four with its gradually declining quality and increasing focus on crossovers and output has shown that Marvel had peaked and its decline is afoot. Amid these creative lows, the real interesting story of the MCU to follow right now is how it treats its stars, filmmakers, and fans.
At the start of Phase Four, Marvel Studios has shown signs of taking its stars and talent for granted. The reception of the Black Widow standalone film was negative, as it was seen as a belated and insincere apology to Scarlett Johansson and her fans for the mistreatment of her character, Natasha Romanoff.
Pay disputes with Johansson arising from the film's release strategy and marketing techniques that portrayed her as the villain further compounded the issue.
Another incident that drew the attention of fans was when Disney CEO Bob Chapek referred to the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as an "experiment," raising concerns that this important moment of Asian representation was being treated as a test for release patterns.
Phase Four also made it evident that Marvel was moving away from a universe where a casual viewer could just pick any project and watch a self-contained story.
Today, it might be hard to follow a story of an MCU movie without knowledge of all previous projects. This raised questions about the power studios have over fans, and whether the audience will be willing to watch content that does not interest them just to keep up.
Additionally to mistreating its actors and fans, Marvel seems to not care for its biggest asset – filmmakers. There has been growing concern about directors being replaced or disrespected for not following Marvel's instructions.
This has become evident when James Gunn was briefly dismissed from directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 due to past controversial statements, which had been resurfaced on social media by a right-wing individual.
Marvel appears to no longer allow its directors to take creative control and deviate too much from the established formula.
Thus, Scott Derrickson promised that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would be the first "scary" film in the MCU. But Marvel apparently had another idea, and the filmmaker was forced to leave the project. The same happened with Bassam Tariq who mysteriously "stepped away" from directing Blade.