Disney Plus has been an absolute treat for me recently. Being a fan of both Star Wars and the MCU, I’ve not been short of new content to enjoy. From The Mandalorian all the way to the release of Loki and What If? in the coming weeks and months
Some of my colleagues here at Tom’s Guide are sick of all that Marvel content. The phrase 'Marvel fatigue’ has been thrown around a lot, because there’s so much of it to choose from right now. But I am loving it, and would very much like Disney Plus to give me all the Marvel all the time.
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There is a lot of Marvel on the way
I can understand where people are coming from with regard to Marvel fatigue. Back in 2019 there were three Marvel movies, and now it seems like Disney is trying to break that record with a rapid expansion of the MCU. Wandavision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier have come and gone, Loki starts next week, and What If is due to premiere in August. On top of that we also have Ms Marvel and Hawkeye due to start before the end of the year.
The pandemic also means we have four whole movies to consume, starting with Black Widow (which will be followed by Shang-Chi, Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home) which arrives in theaters and Disney Plus Premier Access on July 9. Oh and completists may consider MODOK, which is a Disney Plus show outside of the U.S., though it isn’t in the MCU.
That’s a lot of Marvel to consume, especially when you stretch it out over several weeks. And because it’s “all connected” you kind of need to watch it all just in case you need even a passing familiarity to understand a future MCU project.
Obviously it wasn’t supposed to be that way. Falcon and the Winter Soldier was supposed to debut last summer, but had to suspend production due to the pandemic. WandVision was also supposed to arrive in December, rather than mid-January, for reasons that haven’t been made officially clear.
Loki and What If? are both arriving exactly as originally scheduled, and that whole combination of factors has led to this non-stop stream of MCU content. While WandaVision started the year in Marvel off on a high note, it’s understandable that people would be starting to get sick of everything. Especially since Falcon and the Winter Soldier had its fair share of flaws.
Disney’s making it easy to be excited
Recently I’ve found that a lot of the TV shows I would watch religiously have either ended, or just aren’t interesting anymore. Even the DC TV shows that I’ve been watching for several years haven’t really done enough to warrant my attention this season.
It certainly doesn’t help that a lot of shows are being released with very little fanfare, and with very bizarre scheduling, making it much harder to keep on top of what shows are being broadcast when.
Disney Plus makes it easy. Not only has the company been going all out with advertising its upcoming shows, you know when they’re going to arrive. Every Friday, like clockwork, a new treat arrived. Of course, Loki has to be different (bowing on Wednesdays) because of course the God of Mischief is screwing with time.
The fact that the Marvel shows are brand new and have a bunch of interesting concepts makes me much more likely to stay on top of things.
Though I will admit the weekly release schedule does make it a lot harder to avoid spoilers the same way you would with a big-screen release. Disney plus updates at 8am U.K. time and 3 a.m. ET), right before we all have to start a full day's work.
It’s not convenient, and when you work online there’s always the constant threat of someone spoiling the big twist at the end of the episode. Like revealing Luke Skywalker made an appearance at the end of The Mandalorian’s second season. So thanks for that, Simu Liu (opens in new tab).
This is the MCU like we’ve never seen before.
I (like many others, I'm sure) am a very big Marvel fan, and have been watching everything Marvel Studios has pumped out for well over a decade at this point. Movies, TV shows, even a few of the tie-in comics back in the days (at least when they told original stories, not just adapting existing movies.
Disney Plus is telling stories within the MCU that we’ve never seen before. While previous Marvel TV shows were only tenuously related to the movies, and typically featured side characters that were never going to make it into one of Marvel’s many feature-length adventures. That’s not the case with Disney Plus, and it’s giving the MCU the chance to explore characters and ideas that wouldn’t work on the big screen.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier may have been a very standard Marvel action adventure, but in what universe would we see something like WandaVision on the big screen? The way that series was set up, mimicking sitcoms and other aspects of old-school TV shows to tell a story about love, family, and grief would be almost impossible to portray in a movie.
The same goes for Loki, which is set to feature the god of shenanigans getting up to mischief across multiple time periods and areas of the Marvel multiverse. And What If?, like the comic series it’s based on, could only ever work as a series of short anthology tales.
But that’s just the beginning. While we don’t know a lot of details about upcoming series, the TV format lets Marvel play around with genres in a whole new way. The majority of MCU movies can also be defined as a specific cinematic genre. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was inspired by Cold War spy thrillers, and Ant-Man is a heist movie.
They’re all clearly Marvel movies, but that would be an overly simplistic approach. The same seems to be true of a number of MCU TV shows as well. WandaVision is half of a sitcom, while the upcoming She-Hulk is said to be a legal comedy. That immediately conjures up images of something like Night Court, but featuring the titular hero and her super-green cousin the Hulk.
More screen time means more time for characters to grow
Adapting the MCU for TV means we get to spend a lot of time with characters that were relegated to the sidelines in the Marvel movies.
It may be surprising to hear that Wanda Maximoff and Vision only received 31 and 23 minutes of total screen time in the Marvel movies. But then WandaVision came along, and thrust them into lead roles over the course of five hours and 50 minutes. For reference, Robert Downey Jr only totalled five hours and 20 minutes over 11 years of movies. WandaVision beat that number in just eight weeks.
Then there are all the new characters that will be debuting on Disney Plus over the next couple of years. Characters who will get extra screentime to explain who they are and what they do. Imagine if Hawkeye had been able to get a TV series around the time The Avengers was released? Maybe people would have taken him a little more seriously, and he wouldn’t be laughed off as the guy fighting aliens and robots with a bow and arrow.
This is, of course, ignoring all the new concepts that may have to be introduced in certain series. Ms Marvel is likely going to have to re-introduce the Inhumans to non-comic fans, and in a way that erases the bad taste left by the god-awful Inhumans TV show from a few years back. Likewise Secret Invasion may well have to let audiences grapple with the fact that characters and events from the MCU’s history weren’t what they first appeared to be. Having extra time to delve into these things can only be an advantage.
Maybe I’m an outlier here, and my love of all things Marvel isn’t that common among the rest of the Disney Plus-watching population. But I do enjoy Marvel stuff, and the prospect of seeing the MCU expand in such a huge way is a very exciting prospect. Some of the new shows may not be masterpieces, but we still get to see and experience things that we haven’t been able to see on the big screen.
Obviously other people feel differently, and that’s fine. The MCU is huge, and it can be difficult to keep on top of everything. It’s easy for me, because I’ve been able to watch new installments as and when they arrive, and I happened to pay attention because my friends and I are huge nerds that love comics.
So I am more than willing to continue soaking up all the MCU I can get. And as long as Disney keeps it up, I will be happy to keep handing over money for my Disney Plus subscription.
- More: Upcoming Marvel movies and shows: Everything Marvel Studios has coming