Courtesy of Marvel Studios
Despite delays and setbacks, Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Univers is over and gave fans quite a roller-coaster ride. Some movies were great and some did not live up to the hype. While this Phase had no Avengers movies or big event films to tie all the films together, it still gave us some great moments. This is a ranking of all seven MCU Phase 4 films. This is more focused on the movies and not the shows and special presentations.
7. Thor: Love and Thunder
In last place is Thor: Love and Thunder. While Christian Bale as Gorr was very good, Natalie Portman gives her best performance as Jane Foster, and Chris Hemsworth is still great as Thor, this film is one of the weaker Thor films. Taika’s style feels overdone at times, some of the special effects look bad, and Gorr should have been a bigger villain than he landed up being. While this isn’t a bad film, Thor: Love and Thunder does not feel as important as the other Thor films and feels like wasted potential. Chris Hemsworth recently said he wants a shift in tone with the Thor films, so hopefully, Marvel listens and does that.
6. The Eternals
The Eternals introduced a group of characters that were not household names. The film breaks away from the Marvel formula, which is a welcomed change. Most of the characters work well in this film. The issue was at the time the film was released, it was the second-longest MCU film to come out and it shouldn’t have been that long. The third act feels like it drags on. The Eternals relies on flashbacks a lot to establish characters and their arcs. It feels like Marvel could have done a Disney + series where each character got an episode explaining and showing their backstory before a film with all of them together came out.
5. Black Widow
In fifth place is Black Widow, the first film of Phase 4. This film takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. While it’s great to see Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff finally got her film and the additions of Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova and David Harbour as the Red Guardian are great additions to the MCU, it feels out of place. Taskmaster was a disappointing villain and some of the special effects work feels sloppy. Still, it handled serious matters such as human trafficking well and doesn’t rely on MCU humor a lot. The action was fun to watch as well. All in all, Black Widow is a good movie that should have come out in either 2017 or 2018.
4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Sam Raimi returns to the superhero genre with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which comes in at fourth on the list. The expectations were high with this film. Sam Raimi was directing the film, it was the follow-up to Spider-Man: No Way Home, and the rumors of what cameos would be in the film. While it didn’t have a crazy amount of cameos, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness still delivered. Raimi’s style is written all over this film and has nods to the Evil Dead franchise. Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen deliver great performances as Doctor Strange and Wanda Maximoff. It does feel like it’s more of a Scarlett Witch film at times than a Doctor Stange film.
3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is third on the list. This film was made under the worst circumstances possible. When the first draft was done, Chadwick Boseman passed away and they had to make changes and decisions on how to approach the character of T’Challa, which was either kill him off or recast him. They made the divisive choice to kill the character off and tell a story honoring the character and making Letitia Wright’s Shuri the next Black Panther. Namor made his MCU debut in a big way. The film does well in having a serious tone. The best performances of the film were Angela Bassett as Ramonda and Letitia Wright as Shuri. Similar to The Eternals, it does feel like the film could have been shorter than it was. The film also misses the presence of T’Challa, but with the hand Ryan Coogler was given, he made the best film that he could make.
2. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
In second place is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. This was the surprise film of Phase 4, as Shang-Chi was not as well-known as most of the other MCU characters. Simu Liu does a great job as Shang-Chi and Tony Leung as the Mandarin was the second-best villain performance in Phase 4. The action in the film is some of the best we’ve seen in the MCU in quite some time. The visual effects in the film were the best in Phase 4, where some of the other films struggled with their visual effects. It does follow a few MCU cliches, but also knows how to do things differently from other MCU films. Overall, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is not only the second-best Phase 4 film, but it’s also one of the top three best origin films in the MCU.
1. Spider-Man: No Way Home
Coming in at first place is Spider-Man: No Way Home. This film had everything for Spider-Man fans. It brought back classic Spider-Man movie characters and actors, from the villains such as Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin to the other Spider-Men such as Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Not only does the film bring them back, but continues the story of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and how he deals with a world that discovers his identity and how his choices and actions have consequences in a way fans have been waiting for. Of all the MCU characters, Spider-Man's future is the one I am the most excited for. Except for a bit of a slow beginning, Spider-Man: No Way Home is not just the best of Phase 4, but one of the best MCU movies to come out so far.
What is your ranking for Phase 4 movies? Let us know in the comments down below.