The decline of MCUs | Sunday Observer

The decline of MCUs

12 March, 2023

When ‘Iron Man’ came out in 2008, comic book movies (CMBs) weren’t exactly a new and innovative idea. They had been around for nearly a decade prior with the ‘X-Men’ film series being a prime example.

However, the first ‘Iron Man’ set a brand new standard for CMB movies with its state-of-the-art CGI and a pretty solid story backed by a charismatic cast. Although the X-Men movies were financially successful, most of them were critically panned for not being good movies. Spectacles, sure, but questionable writing.

Iron Man’s success led to the establishment of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Movies) as we currently know it. More movies were planned and eventually released and it all built up to the biggest event in probably all of cinematic history. Endgame.


Every MCU movie was a small cog being added one by one to a ginormous machine that was eventually completed with the releases of ‘Infinity War’ (2018) and ‘Endgame’ (2019). These two major motion pictures were culminations of all the storylines that had occurred prior because everything led to this moment.

Although the journey up to this gigantic climax wasn’t exactly smooth, these two movies gave forth a rather heartfelt conclusion to the MCU at that time.

The two movies wrapped up almost every character’s arc conclusively and it seemed like the perfect end. Endgame even went on to become the highest-grossing movie ever (second highest as of today) and nobody could even attempt to deny the global influence the MCU had.

But what next? After concluding the most successful movie saga of all time, what do you do with the franchise? Do you try to one-up yourself again and stand out in the industry by dropping quality projects full of passion and love for the craft? Or do you sit back and let the money flow? I think most of us have the answer to that.


Marvel’s Phases 4 and 5 came along soon after Endgame and they introduced a bucket load of new characters. Although these two phases contained fewer movies than the likes of Phase 3, they more than made up for it by dropping various shows on Disney+, all of which directly connected to the MCU lore.

Content-wise, I don’t think Phases 4 and 5 lead by a huge margin compared to the other Phases. Unfortunately, the quality and passion just weren’t there. It’s like the MCU chose not to evolve after Endgame and decided to keep being the same old MCU. Why fix something that ain’t broke am I right?

The formulaic content kept coming and it became harder than watching a movie every couple of months to actually keep up with the overarching story. Now, an individual interested in getting into the MCU now has to watch all the movies leading up to Endgame, all the shows on Disney+, and the upcoming movies/shows. It has become a real chore just to understand what’s going on.

Overarching plot and character mortality

Marvel is planning to build up to a second Endgame-like movie. To do that, they need to start laying down the foundation now. Every Disney+ show and movie released after Endgame has had some sort of teaser for the next big bad or the next big climatic showdown. Almost none of the movies or shows had proper gratifying endings.

When ‘Iron Man’ came out, Endgame wasn’t even in the talks. The MCU sort of crafted a story as they went along by going with the flow. However, they’ve now already planned the slate for the upcoming 10 years of Marvel content.

Everything is laid out with a release date and there’s always a bigger event or a bigger fight or a worse villain to look forward to. How are we, as the audience, supposed to be satisfied with the movie we just walked out from when there’s an even bigger one coming out next year?

Characters felt mortal during the early days. There’s a reason ‘Iron Man’ was easily the favourite amongst their roster of superpowered individuals. He had a super suit but take that away and he’s just a regular guy. We feared for his life. Now there are invulnerable superheroes who are literally unkillable. The human characters have so much plot armour that they are basically invincible too.


Disney+ brought forth so many cool new characters and butchered their origin stories by giving them all generic storylines with generic CGI fight scenes that we’ve seen a thousand times before. At some point, people start getting bored of the same thing over and over again. People start longing for originality.

The shows ‘WandaVision’ and ‘Moon Knight’ prove my point. ‘Wandavision’ started out with this really unique idea of taking place within a real-life sitcom. I’m not going to dive into all the details but when the last couple of episodes came by, it just became a typical Marvel CGI-fest.

Moon Knight portrayed a character who would unwillingly switch back and forth between different personalities of his. Although this show stuck to its core theme throughout the entire run, it did struggle at the end to maintain its peculiar charm.

There’s a reason why the ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ movies are still held in such high regard today. James Gunn, the director, genuinely loves the characters and knows how to write a unique story.

Although I’m no longer a massive MCU fan, I do reminisce about the days when my mates and I would rush to the theatres to watch new superhero flicks. Those are some moments I’ll cherish forever. I hope the MCU returns to its roots somewhere down the line but for now, I think I’ve consumed enough Marvel content.