If there’s one thing the MCU is undeniably good for, it’s making me think “Boy, I hope I don’t die before _____”. For years, it was “Boy, I hope I don’t die before we resolve all this Thanos stuff in the MCU!”.
And I didn’t! It was great. But I also had nothing left to look forward to except a pandemic.
Well today, Kevin Feige, Disney, and the rest of the braintrust just put my expiration on hold for hopefully another two years, at least.
The new trailer released today as both a hype up of the past and a look towards the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us more information than what we had had a week ago at this time. And it is spectacular.
It starts innocuously enough with some clips from films past, but it’s not long before the narration joins in. It is, of course, the voice of Stan Lee. The grandfather of Marvel reminds us of togetherness; his is the voice guiding us out of the terrible previous year and back into society. Or, at least, a cinema.
After Stan tells us of the community of humanity–all men are our brothers; all women, our sisters–the trailer cuts to reaction video of people watching Avengers: Endgame for the first time on the night it debuted. The MCU was doubling down on forcing us to recall how much we love it… and the movie-going experience.
And finally, at the 1:50 mark of the trailer, we get what we were all here for: glimpses of the future!
And with these reveals in place, I thought I’d take a moment to rank the upcoming MCU by how excited I am for each property. Are you ready?
#1: Spider-Man: No Way Home
This has been my #1 with a bullet for quite some time. Pretty much ever since the criminally underrated Far From Home ended on what was one of the best cliffhangers I have ever seen. I love the MCU take on Spidey, and I am thrilled to see what is next with the big reveal that Mysterio gave away. Add in the rumored cast and all the possible cameos? And yeah, this is not likely to change from my top spot until it comes out. I’m red hot for this baby.
#2: The Marvels
If this was just Captain Marvel 2, it would still be highly ranked for me, but maybe not all the way up here. Probably more like #4. I’m a big fan of Brie Larsen’s work as Carol Danvers, but there are other movies I’d like to see more than one with her alone. But a movie with Carol, Monica, AND Kamala? Yeah, I’m extremely interested in where that might go. Also, think of the villain that the MCU will have to unleash to counter this trio’s power? Could we see a herald, perhaps…?
#3: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3
Both Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 are in my current Top 5 MCU flicks. So I have no reason to believe Guardians 3 won’t also be a huge hit. James Gunn has just done dynamite work with the franchise so far. The first two movies are full of heart and wit, and both are eminently rewatchable. I’m happy to let Gunn keep plugging away with these characters who he gets so well.
#4: Thor: Love & Thunder
James Gunn is a big 2-and-0, but Taika Waititi went 1 for 1 with a homerun on Thor: Ragnarok. He single-handedly saved the Thor franchise from being the bastard sibling to the MCU’s success. I’ll be honest… I hear that the villain for this is going to be Gorr The God Butcher, and… I don’t really care for him. He’s pretty one note and underwhelming, and I didn’t care the GodButcher and GodBomb arcs. But… in Taika I trust.
#5: Shang-Chi & The Legend Of The Ten Rings
Awkwafina in the MCU; what a perfect match.
Initially, this would have been much further down my list, but the recent trailer hyped me for this big time. It looks like a lot of fun with plenty of kick-ass action. The MCU just knows how to do trailers, and maybe I’m an easy mark for such things… but yeah, this has been the fastest riser on my list so far.
#6: Dr. Strange & The Multiverse Of Madness
This is placed highly STRICTLY based on its title. I could take or leave another Dr. Strange movie since we saw so much of him from Thor: Ragnarok through Endgame. Not that the character isn’t fun, but I just don’t have as much of a hankering to see him as I do some others. Still… Multiverse, you say? Then I am intrigued as to how that’s going to look in the MCU…
#7: [Possible?] Fantastic Four Movie
Marvel left themselves enough plausible deniability here where they could theoretically say “What? Oh no! No, that’s just our 4 logo for Phase FOUR, you know…”, so I’m not taking this as a 100% certainty yet. They could be screwing with us. Between that and the fact that we know literally nothing about it… it’s hard to get excited. The F4 was the exact opposite of a ride-or-die book for me. If it had a good writer (Byrne or Waid), I was in. But most of the time, I never cared about these characters. So this is likely a big deal, but I am not over the moon for it.
#8: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Even with as great of a supporting cast as the original Black Panther had, I am a little wary of a new movie without Boseman or Jordan. Sure Nyong’o, Gurai, and Wright all stood out, but they worked as support to those two fantastic leads. This is the one I’m maybe the most curious about, but I can’t say I’m super stoked for it yet. Honestly, I just get sad when I think about it because Boseman could have been the face of the MCU for the next phase or two.
#9: Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania
Look, this falls below the F4 movie just because its sub-title is so awful. I do adore Ant-Man and its sequel (as you can tell here), but like Dr. Strange… I just don’t feel like I’m dying to see more of Ant-Man just yet. But I should note that while this is #9 on my list, that says a lot more about the movies ahead of it than it does this one. Trust me, I’ll be there Day 1 for Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly to charm me half to death.
#10: The Eternals
I have blind, implicit trust in Feige and the MCU, but I just don’t feel full of glorious hope for this one. It seems like if the MCU is likely to have a Phase 4 whiff, this is it. But hell, they made the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY a superstar property, so what do I know? I just feel like this was originally set as a 2020 space filler, and now it seems more like an obstruction in the way of the better flicks to come.
#11: Black Widow
If there was an MCU movie I’d skip entirely–and there isn’t, but IF THERE WAS–it would be Black Widow. Nothing about this movie is pulling me in. It takes place in the past, and we already know the lead character’s fate. I don’t particularly care for David Harbour or Florence Pugh. This has an even worse case of Eternals Syndrome where… sure, it’s better than NOTHING, but could we swap places on the schedule with this and Spider-Man, maybe?
That’s my anticipation-meter for the next 24 months or so, at least. What about yours? Let me know in the comments in what order you are looking forward to the future of the MCU!
Until next time… take care!