Where is the MCU going with Phase 4?
MCU Phase 4 initially began with various speculations of the film series that peaked with Avengers: Endgame. Now that Phase 4 has almost reached an end, it's worth pondering whether critics were right all along.
The Multiverse Saga began strong with the first few Disney+ shows and feature films being received quite positively by the fanbase. As standalones, shows like WandaVision and Loki did a spectacular job in building up the titular character. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been commended for a strong debut for a new hero and Spider-Man: No Way Home pays the perfect homage to a fan favourite character.
But, as Phase 4 progressed, the interconnecting weaves holding the universe together becomes murkier and it becomes harder to draw any connection between any of the releases. Not to say that it's absolutely necessary to have interconnecting shows and movies, but considering it is The Multiverse Saga, the MCU would have to draw a connection at some point. At the present, with each of the shows and feature films seemingly being set in completely alienating worlds and ending with their own cliffhangers, it's difficult for the fans to imagine how it all comes together.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ended with Sharon Carter being revealed as the Power Broker and infiltrating the US government. One of the earliest film releases, Shang-Chi, ended with the Ten Rings acting as some sort of a beacon leaving the characters perplexed about its origin. Loki ended with the timeline branching out uncontrollably, hinting towards a multiversal war, which the fans expected to see more of in recent Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But the movies and shows following such a catastrophic event seemed to continue in their own bubble without being affected at all by the events at the Time Variance Authority (TVA). Doctor Strange 2, on the other hand, ended with Stephen Strange following a mysterious character on an unknown adventure.
These are only some of the more questionable cliffhangers out of many, which begs the question, "How does it all come together?".
Now obviously cliffhangers are necessary to keep the audiences hooked on the story and keep coming back for the sequel. But when all the stories end in major cliffhangers with most of them not being addressed properly, which the MCU has done in the past (what happened to evil Mordo?), it ends up becoming a cheap tactic to retain fans.
Apart from the cliffhangers, expanding the cinematic world to the degree that Marvel has done, has inevitably led to various plot holes as well. Most of these inconsistencies are impossible to resolve and the fans would just have to gloss over them.
In MCU of the past, even with standalone movies, there seemed to be coherence amongst the storylines which is completely amiss in Phase 4. In order to still continue to make box office hits, MCU needs to tie up its loose ends and figure out where it's going with the story.
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