What’s really funny about comparing the Phase 5 movies to those in Phase 4 in the MCU is that it’s like comparing oranges to apples and saying that one tastes better because it’s the sweeter fruit. The analogy might not make sense to some, but it’s a fact that from Phase 1 to Phase 2 and so on and so forth there were comparisons as well, and it’s fair to say that people were thinking back then that phase to come was going to be so much better than the phase they’d just watched. Of course it was, the stories were progressing, the technology was getting better, and we were seeing the inclusion of more heroes and other characters that made the stories even more enticing. That’s why when I hear that people are stating that the Phase 5 movies are going to be better than the Phase 4 movies, the word ‘duh’ comes to mind considering how much further the MCU is planning to go and who will be introduced finally. People might want to remember that the MCU could have made the DCEU’s big mistake and introduced too many characters too quickly with way too much exposition and not enough action.
But the MCU took it slow, they progressed, and they brought in one hero after another until they had a solid core of individuals that could carry them forward. And plus, the movies of the phase to come aren’t all going to be winners after all, since we only have to look at Thor: The Dark World for proof of that. To be fair, Phase 4 isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders at the moment, but there are other movies to come and other shows that will be appearing in order to bolster the fans’ expectations as time goes along. The sad part is that one could have seen this coming in a big way since while Shang-Chi and The Eternals are both powerful and influential forces in the Marvel universe, they’re not nearly as well-known as many other heroes and villains that could have been used as the face of Phase 4.
One would think that those running the show might have seen this and wondered if they could perhaps use that knowledge to push another hero or group that people are more knowledgeable about since those listed above are the type of heroes that a lot of people know at least a little bit about since they’ve seen them before and have seen at least one of them in another movie created by Sony, even if it wasn’t exactly the best representation and did not meet the expectations of a lot of fans. One thing about the MCU is that while its initial hero, Iron Man, wasn’t thought to be the most influential Avenger and wasn’t even that well-known to some people considering that he’d never really had a solo outing, he had the biggest role out of anyone in the MCU up until his demise. Captain America, Thor, and everyone else came in and managed to shine at just the right time, but Iron Man was the focal point that everyone had been watching for well onto a decade by the time he took the final bow.
The point here is that Phase 4 is opening up with heroes that people don’t know that well, and more than that, they’re heroes that appear to be carbon copies of other characters that have been seen for years on end. Shang-Chi is a unique character to the MCU, but at the same time, he’s not that far removed from many other martial artists that people have seen in one movie or another. Then there are the Eternals, who are supposed to be unique but have a lot of qualities that have been in many other heroes over the years, meaning that people weren’t bound to be that impressed since the effects were fun and the story wasn’t horrible, but again, it’s too much of the same and not enough of a twist to really separate the story from everything that’s come before. One thing to say about Phase 5 before people start looking past Phase 4 though is that if there is to be an appearance by certain characters, each one will need to be far more impressive than they’ve been in the past, or will need to be every bit as impressive as people are expecting since otherwise Phase 5 won’t be much to talk about either and people might even look to Phase 6 since the MCU doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
The point here is that looking beyond one set of movies and shows to claim that those that have been planned out are more impressive is kind of foolish given that Phase 5 is still a ways off, and a lot of things can happen between now and then. Fans need to slow their roll a bit and remember that the first few phases of the MCU had a few kinks to work out as well.