Marvel TV Shows are on the Rise, but are MCU Movies Getting Worse?

Marvel problem

A lot has changed for Marvel in the last 10 years. Their incredibly woven story leading up to Avengers and the Infinity Wars/Endgame saga after that is a glorious thing of the past. Now they’re stuntin’ as the golden standard of modern superhero movies and there are no more questions about how good these stories could be. No more worries about the box office appeal dying down. Nah, Marvel has bigger problems now – a mouthwatering new division of tv shows and a rising number of poorly written, shitty movies.

Marvel problem

As I walked into the movie theater to watch Eternals, I genuinely thought I’d be making some dope social media posts praising what I saw and shitting on the haters critics who have been blasting the movie. Then I walked out of the theater, and I simply had one thought on my mind, “That was not a good movie.” I didn’t have many expectations when I decided to check out Shang Chi, but I knew I had to see it for the representation culture. While there were some missed opportunities to turn TLotTR into a top 10 MCU film, there is no doubt it stuck the landing, when you take into account the difficulty levels of being the first Asian character led and martial arts Marvel movie. Black Widow ain’t have me buzzing before or hype afterwards, but the movie had some pleasant moments here and there. I liken Marvel’s 2021 return to homeostasis, because all it did was “actively maintain fairly stable conditions necessary for survival,” and I can’t help but be a little shook about the future of the MCU, with Eternals serving as Exhibit A. 

*Spoilers Be Lookin Good and Kickin Ass Despite a Weak Script*

It’s hard to accept this idea that a big budget project can be successful in one area, and completely bomb in another. It’s even harder to swallow when the atomic bomb part is the overall quality of the film. There was a lot to take in during the 2 hour and 30+ min runtime of Eternals, but I gotta keep it a hunnit, I only took in a few positives. Loved the fact that they had some interesting characters with cool powers and good-looking faces, but nothing gave me goosebumps. The jokes fell flat. It was utterly impossible to get invested in many storylines, but there were some dope action sequences. Let’s start with a breakdown of the characters who killed it and at least made the movie bearable.

The Core Four to Adore

Thena, Gilgamesh, Makkari and Ikaris are absolute beasts. Thena, the Goddess of War and best fighter from Olympia has some of the sickest portrayals of energy weapon manipulation that ever been done. Angelina Jolie crushed this role, and it better put her back on the action movie map cuz Lara Croft still got it! There was one storyline in Eternals that I expect to have recurring conversations about because of the pedestal it’s already being placed on.

Marvel problem

The most casual, yet impactful non-relationship between Gilgamesh and Thena felt natural, easy to ship, and exciting as hell. Gilgamesh had the combat prowess to match Thena’s skill, so it was dope to see this interaction when Thena loses it. Praise be to the people who let Makkari run blurs around anyone and everyone. I love The Flash and Quicksilver, but it’s time to mix up the speedster run. They got it right with Eternals. Ikaris may be the strongest Eternal and the character who’s gotten the most shine in trailers and promos, but the heavy features were appropriate because that boy is a menace to his enemies!

The Justified Villain

Ever since Black Panther and the philosophical debates that Killmonger sparked among fans, Marvel has been tapping into villains that aren’t necessarily the worst. Sure, they be murkin out dozens to hundreds of people and individuals, but they got sound reason so it’s cool right? And it’s ok if we borrow some ideas of DragonBall Z and CGI dress them up in Marvel clothes before throwing them at heroes? I couldn’t believe my eyes when I realized they turned a Deviant into a fused Doc Ock x Cell and acted like they didn’t know this was a forbidden jutsu. FOH.

Marvel problem

Then we were provided absolutely no reason why these easily crushable deviants just so happened to have spawned one Kirby level warrior to run a muck throughout the movie. The only thing that I smile about when thinking of the Cell Deviant is how their final battle with Thena ends. Sheer carnage is what I will always be here for!

Almighty Push

How do you start off a movie like Eternals by bashing us over the head with your force-fed love story?! I was disgusted for the first half hour, watching Jon Snow simp around and Robb Stark smirk in the air of superiority. I mean, they should’ve used Thena and Gilgamesh as their guide because not 1 speck of saliva was swapped, but I shipped them until I couldn’t ship no more. Disney x Marvel didn’t do any better with their first big gay couple on the big screen. Everything from the front lawn fathers and son bonding to the big battle kiss goodbye, seemed like they were checking off boxes instead of letting the vibe develop on its own.

Grass Aint Always Greener

Lastly, we have the problem that won’t be going anywhere soon. Marvel is straight killin it with their tv shows this year! Stay at home orders and fear kept us inside for an extended period of time, and Marvel pounced on the opportunity to dive into the tv realm. The benefits of that entertainment venture was sure to be lucrative, but I’m not so sure this is going to end as well as Marvel and Disney hope.

Marvel problem

WandaVision was certified crack. Loki surprised us all with how good it was, and the Kang cliffhanger tie-in dropped jaws. Falcon and The Winter Soldier was….alright. Now we have Hawkeye dropping later this month and a slew of shows slated to drop in 2022, including Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, and Secret Invasion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m here for all the Marvel content and these shows sound great, but I can’t help but notice the correlation I’m seeing between these recent developments.

Some would even say that Marvel might have a bit of a “DC problem” on their hands. DC’s animated shows have been killing the game for the last decade, but their movies…well, you know. Could Marvel suffer the same fate? We’ll see if Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness can balance things out as Marvel aims to get back to billion-dollar movie territory.

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  • Ja-Quan is a NYC teacher and artist holding a B.A. in Sociology and History from SUNY New Paltz. On his journey to become Hokage, the Lord of The Speed Force and Protector of the Recaps can be found North of The Wall, chopping it up on Twitter @OGquankinobi

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