We’re beginning to think that the the good folks at Marvel and Disney might actually never sleep or are in fact the first phase of a robot takeover after it was announced that Phases 5 and 6 of the MCU will feature not just one, two or even six new releases but a whopping 11 new films and television series.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – JULY 23: Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, participates in the Marvel Studios’ Live-Action presentation at San Diego Comic-Con on July 23, 2022. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

At the annual San Diego Comic Con, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige revealed the absolute deluge of superhero, CGI and spandex-fuelled offerings that were on their way, which will be drip fed to fanboys and girls over the next four years across cinemas and Disney+. And we’re still not finished with Phase 4 yet, which wraps up with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever scheduled to arrive in cinemas November this year and a Guardians Of The Galaxy: Christmas Special to hit streaming in December.

Starting in February of 2023, the official listing for Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 5 looks like this:

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania – Feb 17, 2023
  • Secret Invasion – Autumn 2023
  • Echo – Winter 2023
  • The Marvels – July 28, 2023
  • Loki Season 2 – Winter 2023
  • Blade – Nov. 3, 2023
  • Ironheart – Spring 2023
  • Agatha: Coven of Chaos – Summer 2023
  • Captain America: New World Order – May 3, 2024
  • Daredevil: Born Again – Autumn 2024
  • Thunderbolts – July 26, 2024

This sets the scene for the next three mega-movies that will launch Phase 6 and the Multiverse Saga: Fantastic Four in November, 2024; Avengers: The Kang Dynasty in May 2025 followed almost immediately by Avengers: Secret Wars in November 2025.

Seriously, guys, perhaps take a break?

While we have no doubt that each and everyone of these will not only reap enormous profits for the studios, break streaming records, sell out opening night tickets in seconds etc etc – there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark. Or at least, in the visual effects studios that are churning out these movies in mere months.

Call it the Game of Thrones effect. While no one was ever watching Marvel movies for Richard Linklater-level dialogue or Almodavar-esque pathos, the first few years into the MCU was marked by sharp writing and an equally sharp world that the characters occupied. Then things seemed to grow out of their control.

While this author stands by that Black Widow is perhaps the last Great Marvel Film, post Infinity Wars the writing has become less tight and the emphasis on bigger equals better seems to be motivating the VFX teams. As flawless as WandaVision was, Dr Strange and The Multiverse of Madness was a messy film that lost all the nuance that made Wanda Maximoff’s story so enthralling. It was also the first real sign that perhaps the teams at Disney+ and Marvel might be struggling to maintain the momentum – the clunky CGI was almost universally criticised; final editing seemed to be missing in multiple scenes (I literally have screengrabs of close-ups showing Benedict Cumberbatch’s bad dye-work and patchy wig lines) while the writing was…let’s just say that both the actors and the characters deserved better.

And then there’s Thor: Love and Thunder. What was genuinely funny a delightful change of pace in Ragnarok, became laboured and forced, lacking in the authentic humour that made Taika Waititi’s Marvel debut so entertaining.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ll sit through and watch every single one of these laser blasting, world-smashing, brightly coloured monstrosities one by one and probably enjoy most of it. All I’m saying is – in the mad rush to become the Colgate of action films, the quality that made the original Avengers line-up such a success has dropped somewhat.

thoughts?