By George Bate and Josh Reilly B.
Marvel Studios are now full steam ahead with their original TV series made for Disney+, the streaming service of its parent company. The first series, WandaVision, premiered to rave reviews in January 2021 and there’s been no slowing down since, with several shows coming later in the year, including the MCU’s first animated project.
The next MCU series, Moon Knight, is now less than a week away. The show stars Oscar Isaac as the title character, a mild-mannered gift shop worker by day and a crime fighter at night. However, this arrangement isn’t intentional, with Isaac’s character suffering from dissociative identity disorder, causing him to have multiple personalities. Anticipation is high for the project, especially due to the A-list cast assembled; Ethan Hawke joins Isaac as the series’ lead villain.
As such, now is a perfect time to revisit these previous MCU Disney+ shows. Each have had their own, unique positives, a testament to the work put into them.
Check out The HoloFiles’ rankings of every MCU Disney+ series:
5: The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Premise: Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Sam Wilson/Falcon and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier team up in a global adventure that tests their abilities — and their patience.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier had a lot going for it, with two established characters leading the six-episode outing. The inclusion of Baron Zemo is a particular positive here, as Daniel Brühl brings such a charisma and charm to the show that was needed. However, too much of this series falls flat, and while it’s not bad by any means, it doesn’t succeed as much as some of the other Disney+ series. It takes too long to get going, and by the time it finally does, the show ends abruptly.
4: What If?
Premise: Exploring pivotal moments from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turning them on their head, leading the audience into uncharted territory.
What If? is arguably the most unique series on this list due to its animation and the anthology premise. It’s this premise that provides the base for some of the best episodes in the series, but also some flat outings. This is to be expected in an anthology show, so it makes sense. A particular highlight of What If?, though, is Chadwick Boseman’s final performance as Black Panther. The late actor translates his on screen heroism as T’Challa extremely well to live action, even as he only appears in a few episodes.
Premise: Former Avenger Clint Barton has a seemingly simple mission: get back to his family for Christmas. Possible? Maybe with the help of Kate Bishop, a 22-year-old archer with dreams of becoming a Super Hero. The two are forced to work together when a presence from Barton’s past threatens to derail far more than the festive spirit.
Hawkeye takes one of the MCU’s less beloved Avengers and puts him center stage in a series that was arguably better than expected. The plot failed to become as menacing or important as the writer’s teased, but the chemistry between Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld is undeniable, and it’s this relationship that makes Hawkeye an enjoyable watch. Still, the series wastes Kingpin’s return to a certain degree, as the villain isn’t nearly as menacing as he was in Daredevil, and his final death fake-out scene is a little too predictable.
Premise: Blends the style of classic sitcoms with the MCU, in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision – two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives – begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
WandaVision was the show that brought the MCU to television, and the series pays homage to the medium’s past with sitcom-themed episodes revolving around different eras like the 50’s, 60’s. 70’s, and 2000’s. This provides a great structure, as the plot continues to progress through the decades. Tension builds quite considerably here too, which is a real testament to the writing and Matt Shakman’s directing. Still, by the end, WandaVision becomes a little to predictable and MCU-like, as the strength of the first half of the series is how much it differs from previous Marvel titles. Overall, though, WandaVision is one of Marvel Studios’ great TV success stories.
Premise: The mercurial villain Loki resumes his role as the God of Mischief in a new series that takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Loki feels more like Doctor Who than it does a Marvel show, and it’s exactly this that makes it the best of the bunch so far for the franchise’s foray into television. The quality is consistent throughout the six episodes and the pacing is steady and feels right, meaning that Loki gets these aspects correct in a way that other MCU shows haven’t. It’s also a truly weird show, a trait that adds to the strength of Loki, both as a show and as a character. Many fans might have asked why a Loki series is necessary prior to the show’s release, but it feels unlikely that that question will be asked again, as this show is incredibly entertaining and gripping. It’s also extremely important for the future of the franchise, with the introduction of Kang the Conquerer set to have huge implications on the MCU going forward.
Moon Knight premieres on March 30.
Images courtesy of Disney and Marvel Studios