It’s that point of the yr when we’ve achieved over the previous 12 months and plan to do higher within the 12 months forward. With regards to Marvel and its increasing MCU, it hasn’t been one of the best of years.
The issue wasn’t the strikes that hindered Marvel’s capability to provide new motion pictures and exhibits or to advertise present ones. The standard of the MCU motion pictures and Disney+ collection we acquired in 2023 merely wasn’t what we’ve come to anticipate from Marvel Studios.
Bettering the MCU needs to be on Marvel and Disney’s record of New 12 months’s resolutions for 2024. Whereas we wait to learn the way that seems, I’ll remind you of all of the MCU motion pictures and TV exhibits we noticed this yr and rank them from worst to greatest.
As a reminder, the titles beneath are all streaming, with The Marvels being the only exception. We nonetheless have to attend a number of months for that. Additionally, I’ll level out what ought to be apparent; spoilers will comply with beneath. It is best to return to this record later when you’re nonetheless catching up.
I’ll additionally level out one other factor that ought to be apparent: What follows is my opinion, and it’s subjective. Some will agree, others gained’t. There’s no excellent technique to rank artwork. Prefer it or not, the MCU additionally falls into that class.
So, let’s begin with the worst MCU challenge of 2023 and depend all the way down to the easiest.
#6: Secret Invasion
I’ve by no means been extra disenchanted by an MCU present than I used to be with Secret Invasion. This might have been one of many tentpoles of the Multiverse Saga. Like Loki, however with extra acquainted stakes. Secret Invasion may have been a spy thriller that may have added a tremendous layer of complexity to the MCU.
You wouldn’t know what superheroes to belief, however they’d nonetheless be your solely hope in stopping an invasion of aliens which have it out for humanity.
However that’s not what Secret Invasion is. It’s an enormous waste of time for viewers. Of cash and alternative for Marvel. And we misplaced some nice characters for no purpose.
The solid is superb, and I need a number of the characters it introduces to seem once more within the MCU. I’m you, Sonya Falsworth (Olivia Colman).
I may even take this chance to understand one thing that others hate. Secret Invasion brings an enormous twist for Battle Machine (Don Cheadle), which I completely love. He’s been a Skrull since about Captain America: Civil Battle, or round then, and that truly excited me.
#5: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
After I saw Quantumania, I didn’t suppose the MCU may worsen this yr. However that was the start of 2023, and I hadn’t seen Secret Invasion but.
I’ll say that, like Marvel, I believed Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania could be a pivotal MCU story. It had Kang (Jonathan Majors) in it, so it could possibly be a precursor to Secret Wars, setting the stage for larger occasions down the street.
It may need accomplished that to a sure diploma. However the occasions in Jonathan Majors’s life virtually killed that legacy. Majors is not the MCU’s Kang, so the character who may need died on the finish of Quantumania doesn’t matter.
That’s not why I’m putting Quantumania this low on my record. The reality is that the sequel doesn’t inform an excellent story. I used to be disenchanted on this Quantum Realm conflict. The over-the-top issues, the characters we didn’t want, and the large battle that I by no means cared about.
As anticipated, Paul Rudd was nice as Scott Lang, and I hope he exhibits up in Spider-Man 4, as some rumors declare. Michelle Pfeiffer was additionally sensible as Janet Van Dyne. Sadly, this Ant-Man and the Wasp sequel additionally didn’t have sufficient Wasp (Evangeline Lilly).
#4: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Guardians of the Galaxy followers is perhaps shocked to see me place Vol. 3 this low on the record, particularly contemplating that it made more cash on the field workplace than The Marvels, which premiered a number of months in the past.
I’ll remind you that The Marvels dropped proper on the finish of the strikes, getting no promotion from the film’s stars. It additionally needed to undergo the implications of a typically lukewarm response to the MCU at giant over the previous few years. To not point out the poisonous, unwarranted hate that Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) has been getting.
Again to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — I liked the film and the give attention to Rocket (Bradley Cooper) somewhat than Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). It was a heartbreaking journey, stuffed with superb motion and that includes a hateable villain that I’d like to see once more within the MCU. Hopefully, that can occur, because the Excessive Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) didn’t die.
Sure, the Guardians cut up up, and the brand new staff could possibly be equally thrilling to see down the street. Additionally, I gained’t thoughts getting extra of Nebula (Karen Gillan) sooner or later.
However I’m putting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 fourth on this record as a result of it’s an excessive amount of of a standalone story. Certain, the MCU wants standalone tales that concentrate on the assorted heroes, new and previous. However Guardians Vol. 3 goes out of its technique to keep away from any significant connections to the MCU. And you’ll’t have the MCU with out these connections.
#3: The Marvels
I already lined the poor reception on the field workplace for The Marvels, so I gained’t get into that once more. I’ll say that the sequel isn’t as unhealthy as folks say; removed from it.
It’s a fantastic addition to the Carol Danvers story, providing us extra background into this character. We lastly know the heartbreaking purpose why Carol hasn’t been again on Earth for therefore lengthy. She’s been so ashamed of her villainous standing on different planets that she couldn’t face Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) till she mounted it.
We additionally get a fantastic crossover: Carol, Monica, and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) are nice collectively. Typically, Kamala steals the present. On that observe, I want Monica acquired extra consideration, and I do know a few of her key scenes may need been minimize.
In contrast to Guardians Vol. 3, The Marvels is a good standalone story that additionally has loads of hooks to the remainder of the MCU. The truth is, that is the primary time we see an incursion occasion nearly occur, but the titular heroes have no idea what’s occurring.
Not solely that, however The Marvels introduces a key hyperlink to Fox’s X-Males, seemingly confirming that every one these Deadpool 3 rumors are true. These X-Males are prone to leap to the MCU, a minimum of for another combat.
Additionally, it units up the Younger Avengers, with Ms. Marvel on the heart.
The issue with The Marvels is that you simply won’t totally perceive the place Kamala and Monica come from when you haven’t watched Ms. Marvel and WandaVision on Disney+.
As I mentioned earlier than, The Marvels is the one Marvel 2023 challenge that’s not streaming on Disney+, a minimum of on the time of this writing.
#2: What If…? season 2
If it weren’t for Loki season 2, which I’ll get to in a minute, What If…? season 2 could be essentially the most thrilling Marvel challenge of the yr. It’s not as a result of it was launched round Christmas or that we acquired a brand new episode day by day for over the week. And it’s not as a result of it options the multiverse, making the entire idea simpler to grasp than Loki.
It’s as a result of the What If…? season 2 tales are extra entertaining than every part else Marvel did. All of it feels acquainted, and that’s the magic of the MCU, but it’s all totally different. We see how the truth of the universe we’re following may need differed, and we get thrilling new characters, or variations of the superheroes we already love, in acquainted however totally different situations.
And don’t get me began on Kahhori (Devery Jacobs), an unimaginable new Marvel character that we must always completely see extra of in the way forward for the MCU.
Fortunately, since we’re within the Multiverse Saga, many of those What If…? adventures could possibly be necessary to the general story. We would see a few of these characters down the street in live-action type.
#1: Loki season 2
By down the street, I imply Avengers 5 and Secret Wars, in fact. And Loki season 2 units the stage completely for the conclusion of the Multiverse Saga. It even offers us an ideal clarification for phasing out Kang in mild of the decision in Jonathan Majors’s case and his firing from Marvel. As a reminder, Marvel shot and completed Loki season 2 nicely earlier than that.
The complete Loki TV present is a must-watch. In hindsight, the easiest way to see it’s to binge-watch seasons 1 and a couple of. Simply watch all 12 episodes prefer it’s one lengthy huge MCU film. It’ll make you see all the MCU in a wholly totally different mild.
Most of Loki, particularly season 2, occurs out of the common circulation of time. Due to this fact, every part on this TV present can affect the Infinity Saga and Multiverse Saga. It’d typically be obscure with on a regular basis journey issues, nevertheless it’s definitely worth the funding. It’s laborious to place down when you begin; even season 2, which will get off to a sluggish begin.
Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), Mobius (Owen Wilson), OB (Ke Huy Quan), and the remainder of the Loki gang positively deserve reward, as does the crew that made Loki attainable.
Loki is, certainly, one of the best Marvel challenge of 2023 for me. And when you’re not subscribed to Disney+, Loki is one unimaginable purpose to hitch. You gained’t perceive or take pleasure in Avengers 5 and Avengers 6 as a lot with out seeing this one.