Marvel's Phase 4 Emotional Storytelling

The MCU’s New Secret Weapon: Emotional Storytelling

Is Marvel Studios’ Phase 4 the most emotional journey to date? With WandaVision, Shang-Chi, and Loki forcing us to reach for the tissues Annlyel thinks so!

In eleven years, the MCU became a franchise goliath unlike any other in cinema history. 23 films were culminating in Avengers: Endgame. Which featured an iconic climactic battle consisting of over two dozen superheroes that we all knew and loved thanks to the many movies that set up their stories in such profoundly amazing ways.

When that movie concluded it seemed like it would take years to get to that level of incredible storytelling again. Then COVID-19 shut down the entire world.

Avengers Endgame
Avengers Endgame © 2019 Marvel Studios. All Rights Reserved.
THE MCU VS COVID

2020 crept by agonizingly. Marvel Studios was forced to halt productions and completely change its previous MCU lineup. In fact, we got nothing from Marvel Studios for all of 2020; prolonging the anxiety that yes, Marvel Studios’ fantastic run had most likely come to an end with Endgame. Then 2021 arrived.

So far we’ve had six installments for Phase 4 and every installment has been far better than I could’ve imagined. And to my great surprise, each installment has found a way to make me cry profusely which is something I’m not usually used to with Marvel Studios.

WandaVision
A scene from Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
WANDAVISION

WandaVision‘s final two episodes were completely embroiled in grief, allowing us to fully understand Wanda’s tragic journey and the sacrifices she had to make to properly move on. WandaVision still makes me cry whenever I watch it.

THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER

Ahead of watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, I would’ve never expected it to make me cry but the final moment with Isaiah Bradley and the payoff of that entire story had me weeping profusely.

LOKI

Loki also managed to get to my emotions as it provided Loki a deeper insight into his story and evolved him as a whole. So, that by the end you’re a bit of an emotional wreck like him.

BLACK WIDOW

Black Widow gave Natasha Romanoff a very emotional storyline that dealt with her reconnecting with her adopted family; resulting in some of the most emotional scenes in the MCU. Namely Yelena’s breach of emotions during the dinner scene. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried quite a bit while watching this movie (and its heartbreaking post-credit scene.)

Christine Palmer and Doctor Strange in Marvel Studios’ What If…? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

What If…? got to my emotions heavily with its fourth episode featuring a very depressing story based on Doctor Strange.

SHANG-CHI

And Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings had me legitimately crying during the final act of the film thanks to its emotional storytelling centered around Shang-Chi’s family drama.

You see, back in the day, crying during a Marvel movie was rare and far between. The only MCU films to ever get me weeping were Endgame, Infinity War, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s four out of twenty-three movies! And yet every single Phase 4 installment has found a way to make me cry.

Ego Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

AN EMOTIONAL JOURNEY

That just goes to show that this phase is doing something vastly different. These new stories aren’t just fun spectacles to watch on the big screen. They are written with a sense of profound understanding and care, resulting in storylines that have impacted me to my core in ways most of the other films haven’t.

It goes to show that Kevin Feige understands that for the MCU to still be engaging we need to see stories that are well-written and personal to the characters’ stories. Not every story has to be worthy of a Best Picture nomination like Black Panther. Or deserving of a bunch of Emmy nominations including Best Limited Series like WandaVision. But it is nice to see these new stories taking themselves seriously.

WandaVision
(L-R): Jett Klyne as Tommy, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, and Julian Hilliard as Billy in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
THE DISNEY EFFECT

Just think about every recent animated Disney and Pixar movie since the 90s’. At least 90% of them are designed to make you cry your eyes out. And look how successful those franchises are. If Marvel Studios’ newest installments continue to make me cry I know the franchise is still in great hands. And Eternals just might be the most emotional MCU film not just of the year, but of all time.

Have you been emotionally impacted by Marvel’s Phase 4 slate? Leave a comment in the section below.

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