Anyone feeling like there’s been a lot of Marvel Cinematic Universe casino slot online bonus138 storytelling but an overall pronounced lack of direction as to where it’s all going? We’re trying to follow the breadcrumbs, but we have to admit, it’s been tough.
As of July, Marvel Studios is 18 months into what it calls Phase 4 of its interconnected storytelling, which consists of six casino slot online films: Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and the most recent release, Thor: Love and Thunder. On the Disney+ streaming side, there have been seven original series: WandaVision, The Falcon & the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…?, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, and Ms. Marvel.
To put that in casino slot online perspective, it took Marvel Studios eight years to release 13 movies across three Phases, with approximately 26 hours of total storytelling time. Phase 4 is already up to 55 hours of storytelling with four more films and at least four more MCU streaming shows yet to debut this year. So if you’re an MCU fan, it’s a great time to be alive. But from a storytelling perspective, we have to wonder: What’s it all heading towards?
The Thanos Blueprint
Whether you love or hate casino slot online Marvel Studios, there’s no arguing that they had an overarching adversary threaded through the first three Phases, and his name was Thanos. The supervillain was first teased in 2012’s The Avengers, with his arc building to an epic conclusion in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. And the repercussions of his actions are still being dealt with in a good portion of Phase 4’s storytelling.
However, there’s no Thanos level of Big Bad in this current collection of storytelling. President of Marvel casino slot online Studios Kevin Feige, who is the guiding hand behind all MCU creative decisions, has touted Phase 4 for the introduction of the multiverse, where alternate timelines would be revealed and have an impact on the ongoing stories and characters audiences are invested in.
What’s been surprising is how none of those narratives actually connect or have any lasting implications yet.
He didn’t fib because Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Loki and What If…? are entirely about the casino slot online multiverse with sacred timelines vs. alternate timelines. But what’s been surprising is how none of those narratives actually connect or have any lasting implications yet. To summarize: Peter Parker took himself out of the superhero game to correct time; Doctor Strange basically did a standalone mess around with an alternate timeline but there were no repercussions to his time; and Loki introduced the TVA, who monitors timelines, and revealed a huge reality shift that hasn’t touched any other storytelling. It had no impact on No Way Home or Multiverse of Madness, and vice versa. And then What If…? technically just portrayed a standalone worst-case arc of multiverse destruction.
Outside of that, there’s been a lot of movies and casino slot online series in Phase 4 relying on “It’s the end of the world!” events that get fixed in the final act. Shang-Chi stopped the Dweller-in-Darkness from wiping out humanity; the Eternals managed to give the Celestials some intense homework as a delay tactic to wiping out humanity; Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes prevented the Flag Smashers’ terrorist attack; Peter Parker (times three) stopped a rogues gallery of supervillains from destroying New York City, and so on. Each movie/show ends with everything mostly resolved, yet with a bigger cast of casino slot online characters to service and some dangling story threads left to flap in the breeze until the story cycle can get back to them.
Put a Stake in It
In Phase 3, the MCU was far more committed to making death stick and there was a wealth of ugly-cry casino slot online moments born of those tough decisions. Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, Thanos, Killmonger, Hela, Yondu, Odin… all big players who have remained dead, and we thank the MCU for making those big, permanent swings.
Which is why it’s such a head-scratcher that Phase 4 has made a point of undermining the potency of death in the MCU. For one, it brought back Vision and Loki, two casino slot online characters whose deaths literally devastated Thor and Wanda Maximoff (and us), in order to keep them in play. Now, we love Paul Bettany and Tom Hiddleston too, but reviving their characters frankly felt like trying to make a comic-book trope work in film, and it doesn’t.
This approach was exacerbated with a prequel solo adventure for Black Widow when we already knew how and when she dies, the stunt murder of Earth-838’s Illuminati, and, in Thor: Love and Thunder, tagging on the Valhalla reveal of both Jane and Heimdall, which means they’re just sorta dead. Why should we bother to weep into our popcorn if the casino slot online characters who don’t make it can just be yoinked back whenever?
So. Many. Characters.
Which leads us to the other big problem of Phase 4: There’s just too many casino slot online characters! In the first three Phases, Marvel Studios slowly built their roster of cinematic superheroes across 23 movies. Through standalone origin stories and the methodical introduction of new casino slot online characters into cumulative Avengers films, the MCU grew a lot, but with a manageable bench of primary, secondary, and recurring support characters. Now it’s an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the sheer volume of OG characters and new characters in their sandbox. And every new film and series adds at least three to five more major characters that gain a fanbase who wants to see more of them.
But it’s impossible to actually tell the casino slot online stories of even a fraction of them because the scope of the MCU has gotten so expansive. For example, Sam Wilson was introduced as the new Captain America in April 2021. He won’t even get his own movie until 2023 or beyond. In comparison, at worst, the longest span where we didn’t see Steve Rogers was the two years between The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And that’s just one Avenger!
Phase 4 has been more than two Infinity Sagas combined, but it’d be pretty tough to say what the over-arching casino slot online story is.
And it’s only getting worse with the casino slot online MCU’s new normal of stunt cast introductions in the mid-credit or end-credit scenes. In Phase 4, there’s Harry Styles as Eros and Patton Oswalt as Pip, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Charlize Theron as Clea, and Brett Goldstein as Hercules, with surely more surprises to come. It used to be a thrill when a major actor was announced in an upcoming MCU movie, but lately we’re wondering if there are any A-listers left to choose from. And if they get cast, when will we actually see them play the character?
Which brings us back to the why of it all. We respect the casino slot online MCU not trying to immediately repeat itself with a new Thanos because that’s like capturing lightning in a bottle twice. But we’re really feeling the lack of clarity, or an identifiable throughline, to at least the cinematic narratives. Yes, we see the piecemeal assemblage of potentially the MCU’s spin on a Young Avengers lineup or a New Avengers roster. And we know the upcoming streaming series Secret Invasion is threading the Skrulls from Captain Marvel into the next massive threat to the planet. But even that potential reveal feels like too little too late in establishing an overall focus and sense of narrative purpose when the majority of Phase 4 storytelling has just felt scattershot and disjointed.
After 55 hours of Phase 4, where exactly are we? That’s more than two Infinity casino slot online Sagas combined, but it’d be pretty tough to say what the over-arching story is in this new era of Marvel. Have there been good and even great moments to be found in those 55 hours? Sure! But the MCU has long been about the bigger story of this universe, and it sure is starting to feel like there isn’t one at the moment.