Marvel’s Multiverse Has Nothing To Do With What’s Bad About New Releases

By Michileen Martin | Published

sci-fi trope marvel's multiverse

Of all the criticisms I’ve heard aimed at Marvel Studios over the last few years, the opinion that it’s a focus on Marvel’s multiverse that’s bringing down the quality of the productions is the most confusing. When I think of the most disappointing Marvel projects of the last 6 years, most have little or nothing to do with the multiverse, or what’s bad about them has nothing to do with the MCU’s build up to Secret Wars.

Does Everyone Forget Spider-Man: No Way Home?

tobey maguire andrew garfield spider-man

With the sole exception of 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, no MCU film to date deals more directly with Marvel’s multiverse than Spider-Man: No Way Home. The film established that the previous Sony-only Spidey films led by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield are actually canon to the MCU in the sense that they happened in the same vast multiverse.

Along with bringing back villains from those films, the feature made liars out of Garfield and Maguire (not to mention Charlie Cox)–forcing them to fib for months, insisting they weren’t showing up in the thing.

It was nominated for an Oscar, earned a 93 percent Rotten Tomatoes critical rating (matched with 98 percent audience rating), and it made $1.9 billion. Billion. That’s billion with B.

Loki and What If…? Both Disney+ series revolve around Marvel’s multiverse, and both are without question two of the most successful of Marvel’s original series on the streamer.

Bad Movies That Have Nothing To Do With The Multiverse

taika waititi thor

Eternals? Nothing to do with Marvel’s multiverse. It’s a too-long superhero History Channel documentary with no real hook and the most generic and least memorable CGI villain since they let Joss Whedon take over for Justice League.

Thor: Love and Thunder? Nothing to do with Marvel’s Multiverse. It was a messy movie that couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be a dark action epic or a silly farce not quite as funny as its predecessor.

Bad Shows That Have Nothing To Do With The Multiverse

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Moon Knight? Nothing to do with Marvel’s multiverse. They could’ve made a gritty, street level crime drama infused with the supernatural. Instead someone asked, “what if Tyler Durden was the hero of National Treasure,” and inexplicably Kevin Feige gave that guy a blank check.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law? Nothing to do with Marvel’s multiverse.

They sold a show based on fourth wall breaking and guest appearances by the Hulk. Then they barely featured the Hulk. They also had barely any fourth wall breaking whatsoever until the final episode when it was nothing but fourth wall breaking, and it felt confusing and completely unearned.

Secret Invasion? Nothing to do with Marvel’s Multiverse. I–I honestly think Samuel L. Jackson was mad they won’t bring Mace Windu back and Disney gave him a Marvel show to shut him up.

The Bad Multiverse Movies

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Am I saying there aren’t bad Marvel projects focused on the multiverse? No. There are.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was disappointing, but not because of the multiverse. It was disappointing because it was a horror movie without teeth, and if anything it didn’t have nearly enough of the multiverse.

Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania? Yeah, that was bad and had something to do with Marvel’s multiverse.

But was it bad because of Marvel’s multiverse? I don’t think so. It was bad because it forgot to be an Ant-Man movie.

Ant-Man movies are comedy heists, but Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania was Star Wars with less humor. It was a cosmic adventure without character development.

Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania didn’t have Luis. How do you do an Ant-Man movie without Luis? Why do you do an Ant-Man movie without Luis?

Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania broke my heart just a little bit, and not because of Marvel’s multiverse–because it was the first MCU film that genuinely felt like it was made only to push the larger “phase” story forward rather than being an entertaining flick on its own.

It’s Not The Multiverse, It’s Just Bad

marvel's multiverse

Has Marvel gotten pretty bad? Yes. But blaming Marvel’s multiverse for what’s wrong with the movies and TV shows is like going back in time to June 1994, finding out about the LAPD’s pursuit of OJ Simpson and thinking, “see, that’s why I never buy Ford.” You’re focusing on the wrong thing.

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