Marvel: My Top 3 Phase 4 Shows

Screenshot of Aramis Knight and Iman Vellani in Ms. Marvel. Copyright goes to Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios.

Hey! Hallie here!

This is technically a part 2 to a post I made a few days ago, so if you’re interested in my entire ranking of all the Phase 4 Disney+ Marvel shows, go ahead and check that one out! This post will just be dedicated to my top three Marvel shows of Phase 4 and it will have SPOILERS! This Marvel phase has been a mixed bag for me. All the shows underneath my top three are shows that majorly frustrated me in one way or another. These top three shows are the only ones I absolutely adored to the point I could watch each of them over and over with no complaints. Honestly, I don’t have many negative things to say about any of them, although not all of these shows necessarily show promise for Phase 5. But I’ll get to that in a bit. For now, let’s get to my ranking!

3. ‘Hawkeye’. ‘Hawkeye’ doesn’t generally make it to the top of many people’s Phase 4 lists, and I don’t really understand why. Granted, it isn’t the most hard-hitting or emotionally gripping show. But it doesn’t need to be. ‘Hawkeye’ sets out to be a fun, light-hearted, coming of age story for Kate Bishop. The whole point of it is to pair up the naturally hilarious and upbeat Kate Bishop with the naturally disgruntled and sarcastic Clint Barton in a student/teacher relationship. And it succeeds at this and the hilarity that comes along with this concept. Kate and Clint are such a fun duo to watch. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the car chase sequence where the two are tasked with communicating while Clint has no hearing aid. It’s so satisfying to see these characters learn how to work together as partners, as well as come to care for each other in a very father/daughter way. Kate Bishop herself is an intensely likable new character who I am happy to follow into future MCU projects. And I’m already anticipating a future team up between her and Yelena, who also kills it in this series. Yelena gets several amazing emotional beats here, including her reaction to the Blip and her fight with Clint due to her grief over losing Natasha. But she’s also so funny. Her slightly threatening conversation with Kate over Mac and Cheese is one of my favorite parts of the series. And then we have Echo, or Maya Lopez, who is our first deaf representation in the MCU and is actually played by a deaf actress. She’s a badass who definitely gets enough time and intrigue in the show to hype me up for her own solo show coming soon! This series is just so much fun and is full of so many powerful female characters who are playing major, promising roles in upcoming MCU projects. I personally can’t wait.

2. ‘Ms. Marvel’. Once again we have a more light-hearted show, but this time it does veer into more serious and emotionally impactful moments. First off, I want to note how visually stunning this show is. The bright color palette is irresistibly fun, as is the artwork that occurs throughout the show. The beginning of ‘Ms. Marvel’ demonstrates that Kamala Kahn is into art and has a uniquely cute sketching style, and that art style appears everywhere after the fact. Its usage feels like we’re seeing the world through Kamala’s eyes, but it’s always used tastefully and integrates itself well into each scene. Moving past that though, this show has absolutely everything I wanted out of it and more. It has a realistic view of high schoolers without making them appear too mature, including some great school friends for Kamala like Nakia. It explores feminism with its main characters, especially involving a plot where Nakia becomes a board member at the New Jersey mosque. It has a very funny and yet respectful view of fandom culture, which only helps to endear us Marvel fans to the major Marvel fan that is Kamala Kahn. It has a really wholesome familial center, specifically focusing on Kamala and her mother coming to understand one another. It has gorgeous and impactful nods to Kamala Kahn’s Pakistani and Muslim roots, showing Kamala and her family attending a mosque and highlighting her families’ Partition story as a major part of the series. Genuinely, the reveal that Kamala actually played a role in reuniting Sana with her father during the Partition nearly had me in tears. And although I wasn’t all that interested in Kamran by the end of the series, the Red Dagger is definitely a character I’ll be looking out for in the future. This was an amazing show on every level and I’m excited to see more of Kamala.

1. ‘WandaVision’. No other Marvel series has made me as obsessed as I am with ‘WandaVision’. I personally feel it’s both a stylistic and writing masterpiece amongst streaming shows. The love letter this series is to each era of television makes the whole thing worth a watch at least once. The fact that we go from black-and-white 50s television complete with old-fashioned effects, to 80s ‘Full House’ nods starring an Olsen herself, to modern-day mockumentary style sit-coms, is beautifully done. The series also perfectly mixes the comedic feel of the type of television shows ‘WandaVision’ is emulating, with the dark mystery lying underneath. In between laughing at all the corny jokes and falling in love with Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen’s chemistry, you find yourself disturbed by how much feels off or wrong. And the audience isn’t the only party trying to figure out this mystery. We’re essentially trying to figure it out alongside Vision, whose insane intelligence and genuine care for Wanda makes him the perfect character to follow. In between we also get characters like Darcy Lewis and Jimmy Woo, both of whom appear at their most funny and most awesome in this show. We also get to follow Monica Rambeau, a character whose own personal loss makes her empathetic and interesting. Plus, she has one of the coolest superhero transformations in the entire MCU. And finally there’s Wanda, who goes through each stage of grief in this series to the point that you can’t help but understand her mistakes and feel her pain. And all of it comes together in her epic adoption of the Scarlet Witch persona. That said, I can’t say I’m looking forward to more of her character. ‘Multiverse of Madness’ threw her back into a grief stage despite the fact that the whole purpose of this show was Wanda learning to cope with grief. And then there’s the issue of her focus being entirely on either Vision or her sons at this point, which is stereotypical and irritating. Hopefully Monica fares better.

And that closes off my ranking of the Phase 4 shows! Once again, this list is 100% effected by my own personal biases. I clearly prefer more light-hearted shows, though I have no problem with dark content. I also like shows with strong character relationships and deep, emotional moments. But regardless of my personal tastes, I do feel that this phase might have been too off the rails between the amount of content that spanned multiple genres, and the Multiverse introduction. I’m sincerely hoping for something a bit more stable in the near future. But I didn’t dislike this phase. I appreciated the exploration of new concepts, many of which centered women and people of color, and I have a lot of hope for the MCU continuing to expand on what superheroes can look like. This feels like a rougher, transitionary period for Marvel, but I do think we’ll come out of this with even better content to adore.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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