Marvel Studios and Disney have been facing intense criticism regarding the movies that have been a part of their latest Phase in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Phase 4. For example, you can see multiple posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter regarding this issue, such as a TikTok that was posted by an angry fan saying, “I’m waiting for Marvel to turn themselves around and actually make some good content.” But why are people so upset? @jptheworst has used some impressive analytical skills to dissect the problem and came to a rather unusual conclusion.
Like us, @jptheworst didn’t understand what people had against Marvel’s Phase 4 and wanted to understand in the only way he knew how by making a spreadsheet. So he managed to highlight the top audience and critic scores, and the lowest and gives the average for each phase. He also created a master list and a table that only showed the averages of each phase.
Using the sorting functions, he showed his viewers that Marvel’s Phase 4 has the second highest critic score of all the phases, and “As far as audience score, it’s the highest.” When sorting the master list according to critic score, Phase 4 made up 5 of the top 10 movies, and 2 of the top 5. According to the TikToker, this is more than he expected if you split the movies evenly over how many projects each phase was made up of. Sorting by audience scores, the two highest movies were part of Phase 4 which made up 3 of the top 5, and 4 of the top 10.
All of this is to say that there is no trend shown in the numbers that Marvel’s Phase 4 is as bad as people are saying it is, so where could all the anger be coming from?
Although the numbers showed that Marvel’s Phase 4 has one of the best ratings out of all the phases, the TikToker did notice a trend where a few projects had a huge gap between the score that it was given by audiences and critics. Using this he found the average gap and separated all the movies that had an above-average gap. Highlighting all the movies with an above-average gap helped point out a trend that seems to be affecting Stage 4.
The movies that had an above-average gap were Ant-Man and The Wasp, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Thor: The Dark World, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Black Widow, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther, Ms. Marvel, Eternals, and Captain Marvel. If you have noticed the trend here, well done.
@jptheworst also immediately noticed a trend that was true for all but one of the movies. All movies except for Thor: The Dark World had some form of diversity, whether it be gender, race, or sexuality. All the movies other than that one had either a woman as the main character, highlighted Asian characters, highlighted Black characters, highlighted Muslim characters, contained racial diversity, or featured queer characters.
We cannot argue with the numbers. Marvel Studios had made impressive moves towards having more diverse casts for their films. Instead of breaking them down for this, we should celebrate them. In the words of @jptheworst at the end of his video, “Analytically, your bigotry is showing.”
Megan Oosthuizen is a talented writer hailing from East London, South Africa. With a passion for literature, video games, movies, and TV shows, Megan brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to her work as an entertainment journalist.
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