Every MCU Phase 4 Movie and TV Series, Ranked--and Three Phase 5 Projects We're Excited About [UPDATED]

Every MCU Phase 4 Movie and TV Series, Ranked--and Three Phase 5 Projects We're Excited About [UPDATED]

As Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wraps up with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, we rank every movie and TV show, and offer Phase Five's top picks.

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Photo: Marvel Studios

Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is nearly over. There’s only one more major release, and it’s a big one. As we not-so-patiently wait for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to hit theaters Nov. 11, we thought it was time to take a look back at the rest of the MCU’s most recent offerings and rank them from best to worst. It’s vital to note that this list really just ranges from “that was ok” to “oh my God, that was amazing.” There are no bad choices here. And obviously, there will be spoilers ahead, so if you’re not completely caught up on the MCU, head to Disney+ for a binge, then come back.

If you enjoyed this recap of Phase Four, keep reading for a few Phase Five movies and TV series we’re especially excited about. From a trio of superwomen, to a legendary vampire hunter, to Tony Stark’s possible successor, we’ve got some cool Phase Five choices to check out in 2023.

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The Marvels: July 28

The Marvels: July 28

Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Marvel Studios

Ms. Marvel is one of the best projects of Phase Four, Monica Rambeau was a scene-stealer in WandaVision, which considering how good everyone is, is extremely impressive and Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel is a joy to hang out with. Getting them all together in one movie is sure to be a fun, empowering experience. We’ll get Kamala fangirling over Carol, as well as Monica and Carol trying to rebuild their relationship, and Nick Fury figuring out his place among all these amazing superwomen. Honestly, I’m just here for the moment they’re all fighting bad guys together.

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Blade: November 3, 2023

Blade: November 3, 2023

Blade & Black Knight - Eternals Post Credit Scene | Blade 2023 | Ebony Blade

We got a very small tease of what to expect from Mahershala Ali as the Daywalker in the post-credits scene of Eternals. As Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman tries to work up the courage to open a box containing the Ebony Blade, Ali can be heard off-screen asking “Sure you’re ready for that Mr. Whitman?” Blade’s appearance in the MCU signals entry into the supernatural corner of the Marvel universe. With Agatha Harkness set for more stories, Doctor Strange exploring other realms and the multiverse set to turn everything upside down, Blade and Ali could be a crucial part of the next two phases.

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Ironheart: Late 2023

Ironheart: Late 2023

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Image: Marvel Studios

In the comics, Riri Williams is a genius MIT student who makes her own Iron Man suit out of scraps she finds around campus. Dominique Thorne will debut as Riri in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever before moving on to her own Disney+ series. It will be very interesting to see how her origin develops and what her involvement in Wakanda is. Plus, it’s always important to see more Black girl geniuses in major entertainment franchises. And it’s not confirmed, this is purely me speculating, but there’s a chance Riri could also appear in Armor Wars, which doesn’t have a release date yet.

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Honorable Mention: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Honorable Mention: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever | Official Teaser

If you’re one of the millions of fans who’s obsessed over the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer, you know why we’re so excited. It appears Ramonda, Shuri, Okoye, Nakia and all of Wakanda will be grieving the loss of King T’Challa. As sad as we expect this film to be, we’re also excited to see what role Wakanda plays in the next arc of the MCU. How will the powerful African nation fit into the Multiverse Saga? Who will be the next Black Panther? How will Ryan Coogler and his cast honor Chadwick Boseman? And those are just a few of the questions we have about Wakanda’s next chapter. It’s technically not out yet, so the movie had to be an honorable mention, but look for this to be much higher up the list by the end of the year.

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Honorable Mention: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

Honorable Mention: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer “Jen” Walters/She-Hulk in Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.
Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer “Jen” Walters/She-Hulk in Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.
Photo: Marvel Studios

Since we’re only a couple episodes into She-Hulk it didn’t seem right to rank it just yet. However, it’s already obvious this show is going to be a hilarious tale of female empowerment. When Jennifer said she learned to deal with anger just living as a woman every day, it was the most authentic moment in the history of the MCU.

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13: Eternals

13: Eternals

Phastos designs plans for STEAM ENGINE in 575 BC | Eternals (2021) | MOST AMAZING THINGS

With its time-bending storyline and introduction of a new corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Eternals was an interesting history lesson, but felt completely disconnected to the rest of the MCU. The real problem was the predictable nature of the story. The villains also didn’t feel that menacing. There was never a moment where the audience felt truly threatened. On the plus side, Brian Tyree Henry and Angelina Jolie were fantastic additions to the universe and we can’t wait to see more of them.

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12: Moon Knight

12: Moon Knight

(L-R): Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant and Marc Spector in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant and Marc Spector in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Marvel Studios

Moon Knight was never going to have the mainstream appeal of Iron Man or Captain America. While Oscar Issac was amazing as Marc Spector/Steven Grant, the story didn’t flow the way you’d expect from a TV series. In the end, the disjointed plot kept viewers from investing too deep in this unique show.

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11: Black Widow

11: Black Widow

Yelena (Florence Pugh) and Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in Marvel Studios’ BLACK WIDOW, in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Yelena (Florence Pugh) and Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in Marvel Studios’ BLACK WIDOW, in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Marvel Studios

Black Widow features Scarlett Johansson’s last appearance as Natasha Romanov. It’s a solo flashback story that provides insight into Nat’s childhood and training as an assassin. It’s actually a really enjoyable action movie, but doesn’t necessarily feel like a Marvel movie. Without question, the highlight is Florence Pugh as Natasha’s sister Yelena Belova, who it appears will become the Avengers’ new Black Widow.

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10: Hawkeye

10: Hawkeye

Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop in Marvel Studios’ HAWKEYE. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop in Marvel Studios’ HAWKEYE. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Marvel Studios

For years we’ve all been joking about how Hawkeye is the least interesting and important Avenger, so when it was announced he would be getting a Disney+ series, fans wondered what it could possibly have to offer? Turns out, it had quite a few good things to offer, like Kate Bishop’s entry into the MCU, the return of Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, the hilariously bad Avengers musical, the awesome new friendship between Kate and Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova and the introduction of Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez. The one major issue is that none of these great characters lead to a good story.

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9: The Falcon and The Winter Soldier

9: The Falcon and The Winter Soldier

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Photo: Marvel Studios

Steve Rogers stepping away from hero life and leaving the shield to Sam Wilson was a beautiful way to end his story, and a fascinating way to make Sam the new Captain America. However, before we get there, Sam must deal with the government’s attempt to create a more palatable (white) Cap replacement, reckon with the shield’s racist history and make peace with Bucky. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a solid Captain America bridge between Steve and Sam, but the series as a whole is uneven, with too much filler. There could have so much more time devoted to Carl Lumbly as Isaiah Bradley.

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8: What If…?

8: What If…?

T’Challa/Star-Lord in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
T’Challa/Star-Lord in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Marvel Studios

Back in the day, the What If…? comics were always the most interesting books. They gave fans a chance to see their favorite heroes in alternate universe stories. It’s no surprise that the animated version set an equally fascinating tone. While each episode had its own distinct charm, none hit the emotional mark like “What If... T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” Chadwick Boseman’s final performance as T’Challa not only earned him an Emmy nomination, it gave us a more lighthearted, fun version of the character. It was a beautiful and fitting goodbye to our king.

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7: Ms. Marvel

7: Ms. Marvel

(L-R): Director Adil El Arbi, Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan and Director Bilall Fallah on the set of Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved
(L-R): Director Adil El Arbi, Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan and Director Bilall Fallah on the set of Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Marvel Studios

From the moment the Marvel Cinematic Universe was launched, comic book fans have been waiting for Kamala Khan to debut. Thank goodness the studio took its time because this series was the perfect origin story for this character. Iman Vellani was adorably enthusiastic as Kamala, making her relatable and likable. Ms. Marvel is such an important, inspirational, groundbreaking hero, it was essential that the show treat her with the respect she deserves and everyone involved absolutely nailed it.

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6: Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

6: Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

Illuminati Reveal Scene | Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) 4K HDR IMAX Movie Clip

Spider-Man: No Way Home and Loki gave us hints about the multiverse, but it was here that we got the full scope and scale of what to expect from the MCU’s next major chapter. As Doctor Strange travels through various universes to save America Chavez, we got an idea of how things would tie together in the future. Stephen Strange has spent most of his time in the franchise being a gruff, unlikeable jerk who fights bad guys, so we haven’t spent much time with him on a personal level. In Multiverse of Madness we really got to see how much pain he’s in and why he became the doctor he was. Once again, Benedict Cumberbatch uses his considerable charm to make us truly care about one of his asshole characters. And of course, we also get Maria Rambeau as Captain Marvel, which is worth the price of admission all by itself.

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5: Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

5: Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings / Bus Fight Scene | Movie CLIP 4K

Even though we’ve learned to expect good projects from Marvel Studios, every once in a while the company can still surprise us. With Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it managed to avoid the hurtful stereotypes of the comic books, while also apologizing for them. The film also introduces the franchise’s next breakout star. Simu Liu has a natural charisma and presence that cannot be taught. If Marvel is smart, they will make him one of the cornerstones of the MCU’s next two phases. This is the kind of fun, fresh superhero movie that gets better every time you watch it.

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4: Thor: Love and Thunder

4: Thor: Love and Thunder

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Photo: Marvel Studios

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Thor isn’t in the best place mentally. Luckily Taika Waititi returns as writer/director to make sure Thor’s journey of personal growth isn’t boring or stale. Seriously, who expected to be drawn into a love triangle between Thor, his hammer Mjolnir and his ax Stormbreaker? But as funny as Love and Thunder is, it’s also full of heart and brilliantly balances comedy and emotion.

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3: Loki

3: Loki

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Where WandaVision set the tone for what to expect from the MCU TV series, Loki set the tone for all of Phase four. Tom Hiddleston portrayed a Loki who hadn’t yet made peace with Thor or evolved to accept his place in Asgard. He seamlessly took us back to the villain from The Avengers, once again becoming the God of Mischief whose only concern is world domination. And let’s not forget the brilliant introduction to Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror. Well, we only met one of his variants, but in a single appearance he establishes what we can expect from the character as he takes over the MCU. Time travel stories can get annoyingly confusing. Loki avoids that trap by making it a love story and personal journey that just happens to include some time travel. As the multiverse becomes a central theme of Phase four, this is the one we’ll have to rewatch the most.

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2: WandaVision

2: WandaVision

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Photo: Marvel Studios

WandaVision had the unenviable task of being the first MCU series on Disney+. It had to prove that the franchise could thrive outside of a movie theater. As if that wasn’t enough, it went with the high concept storyline of having each episode set in a different sitcom era. As each outing revealed more of Westview’s mystery, we were entranced by Wanda’s role in the incident and how her grief became a living entity. The series moves between heartbreak, suspicion, wonder, comedy and drama, nailing each beat beautifully. In an unpredictable, unique comic book story, no moment feels out of place or unearned. This was as close to perfect TV as you’re going to get.

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1: Spider-Man: No Way Home

1: Spider-Man: No Way Home

All Three Spideys Learn About Each Other | Spider Man: No Way Home

No Way Home is not just the culmination of Peter Parker’s MCU story, it’s the climax of his entire big screen journey. In an emotionally layered performance, Tom Holland takes us through the final heartbreaking steps of Peter’s Spider-Man arc. In the process we also get a fun, love letter to fans of the character and his foes. It makes up for past mistakes and offers closure to all our Peters, while also setting up the MCU version’s next chapter. It’s the best Spider-Man movie and the best film of Phase Four.

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