Murphy’s Team-Up Volume 28: Ranking Marvel Studios Phase 4 Films

With the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Marvel Studios has completed its theatrical slate for Phase 4 which began when Black Widow was released in July 2021 after a long wait due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With Phase 4’s films all now available for consumption, Team MM thought there was no time like the present to rank them.

Hunter Radesi

1 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
2 Spider-Man: No Way Home
3 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
4 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
5 Eternals
6 Thor: Love and Thunder
7 Black Widow

Anthony Canton III

1 Spider-Man No Way Home
2 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
3 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
4 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
5 Thor: Love And Thunder
6 Black Widow
7 Eternals

Charles Murphy

1 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
2 Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings
3 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
4 Spider-Man: No Way Home
5 Eternals
6 Black Widow
7 Thor: Love and Thunder

João Pinto

1 Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings
2 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
3 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
4 Spider-Man: No Way Home
5 Black Widow
6 Eternals
7 Thor: Love and Thunder

Michael T. Ford III

1 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
2 Spider-Man: No Way Home
3 Black Widow
4 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
5 Eternals
6 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
7 Thor: Love and Thunder

Jared Kirschenbaum

1 Spider-Man: No Way Home
2 Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings
3 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
4 Black Widow
5 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
6 Thor: Love and Thunder
7 Eternals

Dalbin Osorio

1 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
2 Spider-Man: No Way Home
3 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
4 Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings
5 Eternals
6 Black Widow
7 Thor: Love and Thunder

Torbjorn Frazier

1 Spider-Man: No Way Home
2 Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings
3 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
4 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
5 Thor: Love and Thunder
6 Eternals
7 Black Widow

Spider-Man: No Way Home: It was the worst-kept secret in Hollywood about what this film was going to be, and yet No Way Home still provides the best live-action cinematic experience of Spider-Man. It has a truly epic scope, successfully pays off (and improves) films outside of the studio that made it, and even still is a strong personal story for Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. No Way Home is the largest success of Phase Four.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: While other films on this list are built upon the legacies of the past, Shang-Chi is the strongest film in Phase Four based on its own individual merits. The core four of the cast all bring their best, Destin Daniel Cretton established himself as a marquee director of the future, and the film has left audiences with a great future to look forward to.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: Trying to rank a film like Wakanda Forever feels futile and plays into the argument of why rankings can be arbitrary and reductive. Even still, Ryan Coogler adeptly manages the insurmountable task of having to manage the grief of Chadwick Boseman’s death and turn it into this beautiful exploration of grief and loss. It continues the strong desire for Wakanda to play a major role in the MCU.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of MadnessSam Raimi’s return to superheroics was a strong success in my eyes. It is much closer to the imaginative experience that Doctor Strange should bring to the big screen with his magic and dimension-hopping. As well, it’s a film where I found the fast pacing to be more of a benefit here as opposed to Love and Thunder. And to boot, I appreciated all the narrative themes and allowing Benedict Cumberbatch’s to be more quiet and nuanced than most MCU protagonists.

Thor: Love and Thunder: This film is a perfectly fine adventure into the world of New Asgard and the power dynamics of the Thors. Natalie Portman is fantastic in her return to the role of Jane Foster aka Mighty Thor. For me, the biggest issue is the film being too fast-paced and really needing another 10-15 minutes to slow down.

Eternals: While I completely understand the issues some have with this film, I am someone who absolutely adored Eternals. The time spent marinating on the human experience and the concept of family resonated in an unexpectedly fantastic way. Though the film’s pedestrian attempts at the superheroic tropes do hold it back in these rankings.

Black Widow: It was a refreshing experience watching this film as the first MCU film released post-pandemic and a perfectly passable romp of a spy film. However, it still feels like it would’ve been much better served in Phase Three and doesn’t move the needle for the future beyond Florence Pugh’s iconic Yelena Belova.

Average Ranking

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Black Widow
Eternals
Thor: Love and Thunder

1.8
2.1
2.8
3.9
5.5
5.8
6.2

Power Ranking

Murphy’s Multiverse Power Rankings are calculated by assigning point values for rankings. In this instance, a film received 7 points for being ranked #1, 6 points for being ranked #2 and so on down to 1 point for being ranked #7.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Black Widow
Eternals
Thor: Love and Thunder

6.3
5.9
5.3
4.1
2.5
2.3
1.8


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