Why MCU Superhero Fatigue Isn’t Disney+’s Fault

Why MCU Superhero Fatigue Isn’t Disney+’s Fault

Phase 4 of Marvel Cinematic Universe is over, the MCU fatigue that is often mistakenly attributed to the integration of Disney+ continues. Since 2021, the MCU has integrated stories told in television format in its many phases, beginning with WandaVision. This increase in storylines has led many to accuse Disney+ of being the main cause of the growing MCU fatigue, which is misinformed.

MCU fatigue has been something that has been predicted long before Disney+ started, with some of the smaller fans of the franchise feeling the strain of following it as early as the beginning of Phase 3. The fact is, however, that Disney+’s various MCU shows has actually benefited the franchise in many ways, albeit by increasing the production of projects. From more diversity, different tones and styles, and deeper explorations of the MCU’s characters, it’s a mistake to pin MCU fatigue solely on Marvel Studios’ journey into the world of television.


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MCU fatigue happened even before Disney+

Playoffs movie poster

The onset of MCU fatigue began as early as Phase 3, long before Disney+ became a contributor to the franchise. With Phase 3 building to the giant two-part event of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, it had to include many more projects to culminate naturally. This led to many already starting to feel the effects of MCU fatigue. But the end of phase 3 with Avengers: Endgame also caused a lot of MCU fatigue for movies such as Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Many felt it Avengers: Endgame was a fitting end point for the entire franchise, and that any stories told after that were simply indulgent. This began almost immediately after the release of Avengers: Endgame and the announcement of Phase 4. It was just this lingering sense of MCU fatigue for many that carried over to the start of Disney+’s projects. However, it was often the movies in Phase 4 that made most people feel the impact of Disney+ which was often praised for differentiating itself from previous MCU projects.

Disney+ MCU shows have been more varied

Moon Knight Werewolf by Night MCU Crossover

WandaVision, for example, was widely hailed as the first Phase 4 project and Marvel Studios’ first foray into television. The show was praised for how it took advantage of this and really felt like a TV show as opposed to a feature length film. From the use of sitcom tropes, the episodic format and the way it all tied perfectly into an MCU story, WandaVision began the MCU’s television journey on a diverse, original, high note and remains the MCU’s most creative television show to date.

While some show, as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Hawkeye, have been more conventional MCU stories, others like What if…?, Moon Knight, Werewolf at nightand She-Hulk: Lawyer has proven how different the MCU can be. This is a big reason why Disney+ can’t be blamed for Marvel fatigue, even if the reactions to some of these shows haven’t been entirely positive from MCU fans. She-Hulk, for example, is a legal procedural comedy that strikes a tone very distant from anything else in the MCU. From the focus on the comedy that comes from the day-to-day events of a superhuman lawyer to the many obscure Marvel characters, She-Hulk was a breath of fresh air at least in how different it was from other MCU properties.

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Other projects such as Moon Knight and Werewolf at night was hugely different from other MCU movies and shows by focusing on the supernatural side of the world. From Moon Knight’s focus on the gods of ancient Egypt, and Werewolf by Night’s black and white, 1930s monster movie aesthetic, the supernatural elements were only enhanced by the difference in tone, style and setting of the shows. Finally, What if…? used the full power of the MCU’s multiverse in the MCU’s first attempt at an animated format. All of which just goes to show how different the various Disney+ shows have been, and how this means they can be argued to stave off MCU fatigue from the sheer originality each brings.

Marvel’s Phase 4 problems are bigger than too much content

MCU phase 4 avoid using the Multiverse to explain everything fantastic four xmen

The biggest reason why Disney+ is often attributed as the leading factor in Phase 4’s MCU fatigue is simply because of the increased production in content. But while the insane amount of projects every year since Phase 4 began is certainly still a problem facing the MCU, there are more significant issues with phasing the franchise once Phase 4 ends. Phase 4 faced a problem that the previous three did not: lack of cohesion and direction. With Phases 1 through 3, the MCU clearly built up simultaneously to the final event of each phase (The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron) and the end of the Infinity Saga (Avengers: Infinity War and (Avengers: Endgame).

However, with Phase 4, many felt the lack of direction as many of their projects dealt with the fallout of Avengers: Endgame rather than the build-up to the next big event of the MCU. While some projects, such as Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Homeand Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness contributed to the Multiverse Saga and included elements that will undoubtedly be huge going forward, most Phase 4 projects were self-contained and dealt with new character introductions to the MCU. Because of this lack of direction, and the increased amount of projects showing this, many therefore pinned Phase 4’s problems on which increased the content and Disney+ by extension. However, these problems plagued Marvel Studios’ theatrical releases as well.

Movies like Thor: Love and Thunder, eternal, and Black Widow received criticism for their inconsequential relationship to the overall MCU story, proving that it wasn’t just Disney+ shows with this problem. The issue of Phase 4 lacking direction is only exemplified by the MCU’s Phase 5 which, despite not slowing down the amount of content, looks more promising going forward. With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Loki season 2, The Marvels, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 all coming in 2023, most of these projects will tie directly into the Multiverse Saga or provide closure for those of the Infinity Saga that are long overdue. This just proves that Phase 4’s biggest problem was the lack of cohesion and that Disney+ is to blame Marvel Cinematic Universe fatigue is unfair, to say the least.

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