ScreenAge Wasteland Ranks Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

As part of our superhero theme month, ScreenAge Wasteland is proud to present our community’s ranking of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Ten people (whether it was staff, commenters, or Twitter followers) took part in sending us their personal rankings of the films, series, and specials that comprise Phase 4 of the MCU. We then assigned them points (top spot got 17, last spot got 1) and tallied the scores. In the event that someone hadn’t seen a MCU Phase 4 project, a multiplier was added to bump that film’s score up to what it would have been if all 10 people had seen it.

So swing on over and see where each MCU film placed. And feel free to agree or disagree with where a Phase 4 project ranked in the comments below! You can also check out our previous ranking of Marvel Studios’ The Infinity Saga here.

17. Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) | 29 points

  • I just rewatched this last week for the first time since it came out. It’s not a horrible film by any means but it really served no purpose. They gave us a solid villain again and wasted him. Again. I liked the Mighty Thor storyline with Jane, so its unfortunate that it all seemed so rushed. – K. Alvarez
  • I blame us fans for this one. We hyped Taika up so much that he believed he could do no wrong. Instead, he gave us Thor 4. – Raf Stitt
  • This film had such potential and I can’t figure out why Taika Waititi keeps force-feeding me big, dumb Thor. Why do you bring in relatively recent story arcs for Jane Foster’s Mighty Thor and Gorr the God Butcher, when there are DECADES of other stories to tell? Look, I’m not even touching the jealous Mjolnir storyline. Really?? At least we finally have a Hercules cameo! – Ralph Hosch
  • After giving us the best Thor movie (Ragnarok), Waititi turned around and gave us the worst Thor movie. Honestly, what was he thinking?! Screaming goats? Really, Waititi? – Marmaduke Karlston
  • This movie is such a mess, I don’t even know where to begin. Since every plotline and character is undercooked or underdeveloped, I don’t think there’s a single thing that works in this film. The main villain had the potential to be one of the best in the MCU but they don’t do anything with him, the Jane Foster subplot could’ve been interesting if they expanded it and the Guardians are in this so little, there was no need for them to be included at all. The only thing I enjoyed was Russell Crowe as Zeus because he’s at least having fun but like everything else in this movie, he’s wasted. And don’t even get me fucking started on those screaming goats. Who the fuck thought that was a good idea? The CGI is awful, the plot is unfocused and there are more continuity-breaking moments than almost any other film in the series. – Sailor Monsoon

16. Black Widow (2021) | 32 points

  • This should have been much better. ScarJo and Florence deserve more. – Raf Stitt
  • The problem with Black Widow was that barely anyone went to see it for Black Widow. Everyone went to see it for Taskmaster. Except for me, I saw it for Red Guardian! Who doesn’t love the Soviet Union-era Captain America knock-off? It’s a good film that’s a few years too late. At least it sets up the Thunderbolts movie. – Ralph Hosch
  • Florence Pugh is great as Yelena Belova, but otherwise, there’s not much going for this film. Which is a damn shame because ScarJo definitely earned the right to star in a good Black Widow solo movie. – Marmaduke Karlston

15. Eternals (2021) | 43 points

  • This is the most misunderstood MCU movie. It’s a sweeping emotional quest for humanity. I’ll be patiently waiting for everyone else to join me on this bandwagon. – Raf Stitt
  • Is this the most surprisingly bad movie of Phase 4? No, it really wasn’t much of a surprise to me. Marvel Studios had, up until this point, been extremely successful with taking lower-level Marvel Comics heroes or teams and making them top-tier. However, the Eternals have never been interesting individually or as a group and it translated that way on the screen. The film had some Galactus-sized plot holes and it felt forced; like Kevin Feige was standing over me demanding I like this movie while he slaps me in the face with the first issue of Eternals. Is anyone going to talk about the freaking Celestial sticking out of the planet? No sequels, just cameos from here on out. – Ralph Hosch
  • This is the Avengers: Age of Ultron of Phase 4. It’s nowhere near as bad as people say it is. I’d rather have three Eternals sequels than another Waititi-helmed Thor movie. – Marmaduke Karlston

14. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022) | 48 points

  • Does this impact the MCU? I don’t think so. It’s OK. If there is something to skip, it’s this. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s got the Guardians in it but something doesn’t feel right. I get the feeling James Gunn was walking out the door on his way to fix or destroy the DCU and Kevin Feige had one last favor to ask. So, the Kevin Bacon stuff was good for the first 5 seconds… don’t @ me!!!! – Ralph Hosch
  • It’s fine. There are some good emotional moments throughout, but Kevin Bacon’s cameo just feels forced. Also, a little Mantis and Drax go a long way. – Marmaduke Karlston
  • As a huge Guardians of the Galaxy fan, getting an old school Christmas special starring those characters sounded like a great time and it is enjoyable to a certain degree but it feels more like a backdoor pilot for a Drax and Mantis show than a mini adventure with the crew. Gunn had one idea — “kidnap Kevin Bacon for Quill” — and that’s literally all there is to it. All in all, it’s fine. It’s the type of special you have playing in the background of a Christmas party, like a Rankin Bass special you don’t have to pay attention to or footage of a yule log. – Sailor Monsoon
  • This served as a nice little interlude for the Guardians considering how much time has passed since we’ve seen them and it was nice seeing Mantis get more screen time and her share of the spotlight but that is all that she needs because we don’t need another character who is just there to crack jokes half the time. – Jinxy

13. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) | 51 points

  • After losing Chadwick Boseman, I can understand why Marvel chose to retire T’Challa instead of casting a new actor in the role. However, the storyline they decided to go with just wasn’t it. Don’t get me wrong, Namor was a damn highlight, but I would have loved more time with T’Challa’s Black Panther before giving the mantle to Shuri. Oh well. – Marmaduke Karlston

12. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) | 53 points

  • Forgettable and uninspired. We should’ve just waited for a new Captain America film to tell this story. – Raf Stitt
  • Eh. This was a disappointment for me. I love the characters; the tweaking of Sam Wilson’s backstory (for the record, Delacroix is just “down da’ road” from me); and the retconning of Baron Zemo’s origin. However, I assumed Zemo was going to be the main antagonist and I absolutely wanted more of him in it, but we got the really weak Flag Smashers. I will say the interaction between Sam, Bucky, and Zemo is what stands out in the show. Once you take out Zemo, it falls flat. – Ralph Hosch
  • This was Sam’s show. It made so much sense for him to become the next Captain America given his journey throughout the MCU and fighting alongside Steve Rogers. Bucky is a great character too but he was only ever good as a killing machine. He has had no story since The Winter Solider and it is quite evident that they have no idea what to do with the character. Maybe Thunderbolts will change that. – Jinxy

11. Werewolf by Night (2022) | 62 points

  • Everyone seemed to rave about this little special. I thought it was interesting but really brought nothing important to the MCU. – K. Alvarez
  • I wasn’t sure where to put this. Does it impact the MCU, and where does it fit? I hope this is a starting point for something. It’s a good “Holiday Special” with a huge surprise cameo. – Ralph Hosch
  • Y’all need to watch this. It’s good. It’s the best thing Marvel did in Phase 4. A black-and-white Halloween special with Man-Thing! C’mon! – Marmaduke Karlston

T9. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022) | 65 points

  • I liked the show and I’m not a big comic book She-Hulk fan. It’s definitely not your typical Marvel show. Of course, the cameo with Daredevil was funny as Hell (see what I did there?). We also got Titania (eh) and the Abomination, who had a lot of screen time. As a whole, it’s a good show, Tatiana Maslany does a good job as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! – Ralph Hosch
  • She-Hulk is the only thing that Phase 4 had going for it. The humor played off well and the character actually had some emotional depth instead of just cracking one joke after the other. It also had some interesting social commentary on the comic book movie fanbase. It was nice to see Marvel finally take a risk. – Jinxy
  • Not as bad as half the internet says it is and not as good as the other half states it is. She-Hulk has plenty of cringe moments, but there are also a lot of good bits. Daredevil’s multi-episode arc was hilarious and if that’s how Marvel is going to portray the character then sign me up. I’m down for a second season that increases the MCU cameos and brings back Madisynn and Wongers as recurring guest stars. – Marmaduke Karlston

T9. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) | 65 points

  • When it feels like a Sam Raimi movie, it’s a ton of fun. When it feels like an MCU, not so much. Make of that what you will. – Raf Stitt
  • The second Dr. Strange film ushered in the return of Sam Raimi to Marvel, and it was amazing! It definitely had the typical Raimi shots with a tinge of horror and of course, what would a Sam Raimi movie be without the obligatory cameo from The Bruce! And don’t forget about the Illuminati, who didn’t get excited to hear the classic animated X-Men theme? – Ralph Hosch
  • The only reason I was slightly excited for this was Sam Raimi. I lost my faith in the Marvel machine years ago and I simply find Strange to be dull, so there was really nothing for me to latch onto outside of my trust in the man who made Evil Dead and Spider-Man 2. And while the film was ultimately disappointing, my problems with it are more on the writing side than the directing. Say what you will about it but Raimi showed up. For the first time in a long time, this is a Marvel movie that feels like there’s an actual director behind the camera. But the problem is, that director feels like he’s making this film at gunpoint. You can tell Raimi wants to make this movie darker and scarier and weirder than it is and Marvel clearly won’t let him. There are hints of Raimi sprinkled throughout but every time you feel like he’s going to finally unleash the crazy, the film dials it back. There’s a lot to like about this film and with some minor tweaks here and there, it could’ve been great but as it is, it’s merely okay. – Sailor Monsoon

8. Ms. Marvel (2022) | 69 points

  • Kamala Khan is a relatively new character and the only character I didn’t know anything about prior to watching her show and it’s probably a good thing that I hadn’t read any of her comics because this was actually really enjoyable and she is a welcome addition to the future of the MCU. – Jinxy
  • Y’all sleeping on the Disney+ shows because they were the strongest part of Phase 4. I didn’t really care much for Ms. Marvel before she joined the MCU, but damn if her television series wasn’t a blast! Marvel Studios is lucky to have Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel. – Marmaduke Karlston

7. WandaVision (2021) | 75 points

  • I wish they stuck with the daring format throughout more of the show. One of the most ambitious MCU projects nonetheless. – Raf Stitt
  • Odd, strange, nostalgic, and oh-so-good! We got half a season of classic sitcoms and half Marvel at its best. Cameos galore and let’s not forget about Kathryn Hahn’s antagonist Agatha Harkness; I know you were singing her theme! It’s a fun ride that also leads into Doctor Strange 2. – Ralph Hosch
  • The episodic structure was a good idea, but they should’ve had one episode prior to it that set the whole thing up. The Malcolm in the Middle homage was the best one and dressing up both Wanda and Pietro in their original costumes was fun and probably the only way they would’ve ever been able to get away with that type of thing. – Jinxy
  • “Agatha All Along” is a banger. That is all. – Marmaduke Karlston

6. What If…? Season 1 (2021) | 78 points

  • This show started out a little meh for me but in the end, they brought it all together and I enjoyed it as a whole. Made me think how they could tie into later phases so much more with this in play. – K. Alvarez
  • So the animated What If…? was a great show. Each episode was a separate story of possibility in the MCU, but the big twist was how they all tied in together at the end. I really didn’t care for the animation style of the show, it seemed like cheap cell shading. Even though there is no actual impact of this show on the MCU, we do have the first appearance of Uatu, The Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright). – Ralph Hosch
  • The animation was really good but the stories weren’t all that great. Avengers murder mystery and party Thor are the only two I remember. But it did give us Peggy Carter as Captain Britain which led to Hayley Atwell dawning the costume. So I guess it’s not all bad. – Jinxy

5. Moon Knight (2022) | 81 points

  • I had been waiting for this character to get his own movie/show for years and I was not disappointed at all. Oscar Isaac did a fantastic job as Moon Knight and the various personalities. Now, the downside was that the show had a bit of a lull to it; it dragged at times. I found the main villain, Arthur Harrow played by Ethan Hawke, to be really lackluster. Look, Moon Knight isn’t known for his deep legacy villain backlog. It’s a good show, that tends to meander, but it served its purpose and gave us Moon Knight. – Ralph Hosch
  • I’m surprised that people didn’t like this one. They did the best they could with the source material that they had and setting it in Egypt was brilliant. The only thing problem that this show had was Ethan Hawkes’ character. I’m convinced that he improvised all of his lines because nobody writes like that. (Not on purpose at least). – Jinxy
  • Guys, stop watching the terrible blockbuster movies and start watching the Disney+ shows. Ms. Marvel; Werewolf by Night; Moon Knight; they’re all better than any MCU sequel Marvel put out in 2021 and 2022 (sans No Way Home… well, maybe). Oscar Isaac is a thrill to watch as Moon Knight and if I don’t get a second season I’m going to mutiny. – Marmaduke Karlston

4. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) | 82 points

  • A fun, slight twist on the origin story tale. Fun ode to kung-fu as an art form and cinematic tool. Highlights much of the best of what the MCU has to offer. – Raf Stitt
  • Is this the most surprisingly enjoyable movie of Phase 4? Probably. I found it to be a fun film with a great cast, great action, a fantastic score, and surprising cameos. If there is a negative with the film: the main villain is the Mandarin, who is traditionally the archnemesis of Iron Man. His official intro is really late in the game, but I think it was handled well. Also recall that for us comic book purists, the ten rings were actual rings that the Mandarin wore on his fingers not bracelets. – Ralph Hosch
  • Hands down the best origin story film the MCU has seen in YEARS. I don’t understand why people didn’t like this one. Tony Leung was phenomenal as the real Mandarin. Give me the sequel, Marvel! – Marmaduke Karlston

3. Hawkeye (2021) | 94 points

  • I really didn’t know what to expect from this show, Hawkeye is a mid-level hero with a short list of legacy villains. Ok, I was wrong, this show is really good. Hailee Steinfeld was amazing as Kate Bishop, perfectly adding comic relief when it was needed. Florence Pugh as Black Widow was good as well. Now when you mix Pugh and Steinfeld together, you get some of the best Marvel Disney+ fight scenes ever. Wait, I forgot to mention Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye… Ok, he was great. Oh, there was that Kingpin cameo late in the season that blew my doors off and the tracksuit mafia! If you skipped this series, go see it now! – Ralph Hosch
  • Hailee Steinfeld was the only thing this show had going for it. If you throw a whole bunch of nothing characters together, you’re going to get a whole bunch of nothing back. It wasn’t all bad though, this was definitely one of the better shows, and setting it around Christmas time makes it stand out. – Jinxy
  • You’re damn right I was a happy camper when Marvel finally announced a standalone project for Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. AND IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT! Nothing makes me happier than knowing that Hawkeye ended up starring in one of the best Phase 4 projects. Hawkeye always wins, don’t you forget that. – Marmaduke Karlston

2. Loki Season 1 (2021) | 98 points

  • “Wow” – Owen Wilson – Raf Stitt
  • What an amazing show! Excellent cast and story. I find that Marvel Disney+ shows tend to drag at times, but this doesn’t. It moves and tells the story. Aside from Loki and the female Loki variant, Sylve, we are also introduced to “He Who Remains”, a Kang variant, played by Jonathan Majors and he absolutely nails it. After seeing Loki, I knew Majors was the perfect choice to play Kang going forward in the MCU. Side note: The variant Loki’s are fantastic and hopefully will pop up again in season 2… Classic Loki is not dead!!!! – Ralph Hosch
  • This felt like it ended just as it was finally getting going. Probably the only show that had any type of impact on the larger MCU picture. Tom Hiddleston has been missing from the MCU for far too long and Sylvie was a really good character. I’m glad we’ll be seeing both of them return in the future. – Jinxy

1. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) | 106 points

  • I enjoyed the shit out of this film. For years I always kinda thought about all these other films and reboots like comic books. Like how Spectacular Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man both had their own thing going on in them. This made me appreciate the older films more than I used to. Especially the Garfield ones. I thought his first outing was a sold film, but the second derailed it by feeling like a Schumacher Batman film with silly characters. This redeemed those films. – K. Alvarez
  • This film was an absolute no-brainer for the best of Phase 4. It did what I’ve been wanting since Captain America: The First Avenger premiered; acknowledge the previous versions of characters as existing in an alternate reality (who doesn’t want to see Reb Brown, Matt Salinger, and Chris Evans together). It’s a fun, exciting, nostalgic film that hits perfectly. Arguably one of my favorite films of the MCU so far. – Ralph Hosch
  • This was only good for the Sam Raimi connection. It was nice to see Tobey Maguire back in the Spidey suit again and Willem Dafoe picked Norman Osborn back up as if he never put the character down. – Jinxy
  • I really didn’t want No Way Home to bring in characters from the previous film series when I first heard rumors that that was what Marvel and Sony were planning on doing. I thought it would ruin Tom Holland’s trilogy. Well, I’ll happily admit that I was wrong. No Way Home is great. Sure, it goes a bit heavy with the wink-winks and references, but I’ll let that slide. But, what I really want is Spider-Man 4 with Holland in that sweet comics-accurate Spidey suit we only got a taste of before the credits rolled. – Marmaduke Karlston
  • Marvel somehow pulled off a miracle. They made a movie built solely out of nostalgia and I loved every second of it. This movie is so entertaining, that the numerous nitpicks I have with it, which would otherwise kill my entertainment, didn’t even bother me. There are so many stupid things that easily could’ve been fixed with a simple rewrite but I don’t care. How does Electro know Peter Parker is Spider-Man? I don’t care. How does the spell at the end make any fucking sense? I don’t care. Why does Ned suddenly know magic? Doesn’t bother me. It’s a sloppy mess of a script that has more holes than swiss cheese but every time Dafoe or Molina was on screen, I was smiling. While I don’t think this is the best Spider-Man movie or even the best version of the multiverse, it is definitely the most entertaining. This is my third or fourth favorite MCU film. That’s how much I like it and I can’t wait to see it again. – Sailor Monsoon

Spider-Man: No Way Home took the #1 spot by a healthy margin. Overall, Phase 4 projects released in 2021 seem to have been more well-received than 2022 projects (glaring exceptions aside). There was also plenty of love for new MCU heroes like Moon Knight and Shang-Chi while older characters like Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch were finally given a chance to shine.

Thank you to everyone who participated in SAW’s tenth community ranking!

How does your ranking of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe look? Share your ranking in the comments below!