5 Worst Marvel Moments of 2022 | Popgen Tech
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had an interesting year — on the one hand, it’s enjoying the usual success with well-received releases like Moon Knight TV series and latest Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. However, 2022 is also the year when many once-devout fans finally succumb to the infamous “Marvel fatigue” that has long crept back into pop culture, and it’s not hard to see why.
While even the weakest of this year’s MCU offerings had their share of strengths, it’s also hard to deny that the latter half of Phase 4 proved to be a bit of a mixed bag, with many entries suffering from clumsy scripts and dodgy effects – the latter an unfortunate result of overworked and underpaid VFX artists struggling behind the scenes. And while it’s still perfectly valid to enjoy these works despite their faults, it’s important to acknowledge the flaws of the art rather than trying to ignore them. So without further ado, here are five moments in the MCU’s past year that were nothing short of awesome.
Ice Cream Song by Dr. Strange
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a fantastic mess of a movie. It’s one of the most visually daring spectacles in MCU history thanks to director Sam Raimi’s unique aesthetic, and it boasts some stellar performances from Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen. Its plot, meanwhile, proved to be quite divisive. Some fans applauded the film’s horror-inspired imagery and themes of love, desperation, and control, while others wished it had focused less on fanservice and more actually explored the multiverse. Certain elements, such as Scarlet Witch’s villainy and the many Illuminati cameos, have received praise and criticism in equal measure. Other aspects of the plot are harder to excuse, from the underutilized supporting cast to a rather terrible MacGuffin in the form of the Book of Vishanti.
However, there is a certain scene that is even more enduring Multiverse of Madness fans will have a hard time defending: the ice cream song. Apparently, this scene is meant to show Wanda’s twin sons Billy and Tommy as cute and adorable, to show why she is desperate to be with them again. But in practice, it’s so painful to listen to that one almost begins to wonder how Wanda put up with her children in the first place. Of course, the song being so annoyingly childish is the whole idea — it is being performed by literal children, after all. Being annoyingly childish is what they do best. However, even so, the ice cream song managed to be so far within the film that it became a meme among Marvel fans. It is safe to say that this particular composition will not go down in history as one of Danny Elfman’s best works.
The Medium Plot of Ms. Marvel
Despite the outrage of the usual intolerant types who are opposed to seeing a Muslim woman as a Marvel superhero, Ms. is amazing is not a bad show by any means. Iman Vellani is very charming as the title character, and the slice-of-life elements of the story centered around Kamala’s friends and family are excellent. Unfortunately, it’s in the superhero part of the series that things start to go wrong.
The MCU has long been criticized for its bland antagonists, but the Clandestines and their leader Najima are perhaps the most uninteresting – though Ronan and Malekith have unique designs. They suffer from boring characterization, vague lore, and paper-thin motives for their villains. Whenever the story shifts from Kamala’s everyday life to the plot surrounding the Clandestines and Noor Dimension, all the fun is drained from the show, making it the very definition of a formulaic superhero story.
Thor’s Screaming Goat
Even the best jokes are rarely as funny the second time around, and the warm welcome to Thor: Love and Thunder reflect on it. The movie isn’t terrible — it’s still a fun adventure with a strong cast and plenty of comedic moments. However, that is very much emphasis on the comedy that was done in the past Thor so the refresh arguably did more harm than good to its sequel. Ragnarok is not without its serious moments, but some have criticized it for allowing the humor to occasionally undermine the drama. This problem is only exacerbated Love and Thunderthanks to a greater reliance on comedy alongside darker subjects, from cancer to mass murder to child abduction.
No one came in Love and Thunder which captures its tone issues better than the running gag involving Thor’s new pet goats, which keep squealing in a manner reminiscent of countless viral videos from the early 2010s. It’s a weird joke to make, and while it’s funny at first, it wears a little thin after it’s repeated ad nauseam throughout the film. A rather annoying running gag might seem like an odd issue to focus on, but it’s symbolic of the film’s larger narrative problems. Not enough time was devoted to fleshing out Gorr’s character, or making Jane’s cancer handling more tactful. However, at least there is enough time for screaming goats.
All Werewolves By Night
The Werewolf Of The Night The Halloween special is perhaps one of Phase 4’s biggest missed opportunities. On the surface, it looks like a campy homage to classic black-and-white horror movies: an out-there, experimental project to continue the standard Marvel formula. But beneath that facade, the special is too formulaic in execution. The action is painfully obvious, the writing is full of clunky exposition and one-dimensional characterization, and the horror aesthetic is little more than set dressing for another generic Marvel story. Despite Gael García Bernal’s charisma as the titular werewolf — and his pleasant friendship with Man-Thing — Werewolf Of The Night failed to live up to his great potential.
All in all, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is among the stronger of the MCU’s Disney Plus shows. Tatiana Maslany delivers a great performance as Jen Walters, whether she’s attending group therapy with supervillains or flirting with Daredevil. However, it all came crashing down in the final episode, where Jen responded to the prospect of a typical superhero brawl finale by breaking the fourth wall to confront Marvel Studios itself for its lack of originality. The climax of the episode is a confrontation between Jen and KEVIN: the AI mastermind behind the MCU, and an obvious stand-in for producer Kevin Feige.
While a meta finale like this is on brand for She-Hulk, it also feels like an admission of defeat for the series. When the MCU itself acknowledges how cliché and formulaic it’s become, it’s clear that things have gone too far. At best, it’s a cynical attempt to make light of the MCU’s flaws without properly addressing them. At worst, it’s a cry for help from a writing team trapped by the constraints of the Marvel formula. Either way, while the joke seems clever at first, it ends up leaving a bad taste in the mouth. Hopefully, this admission of guilt is a sign of a brighter future for the MCU – but don’t count on it.
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