The MCU’s foray into television on Disney+ in 2021 was highly anticipated, particularly given that it came after the cancellation of Marvel’s grittier Netflix shows, including Daredevil and The Punisher, which provided a welcome contrast to the kinds of stories the studio tends to tell on the big screen.
With their first Disney+ release WandaVision, the MCU established that on this new platform they weren’t afraid to switch things up with regards to genre and tone, a concept that has continued to prove true with each new release. These differences have led to strong opinions, and fans have taken to IMDb to vote on which MCU Disney+ shows they think are the best.
Updated on June 3, 2022 by Stacie Rook: Disney+ has a packed schedule for new MCU shows this year, with Ms. Marvel set to premiere on June 8 followed by She-Hulk: Attorney at Law in August, the latter of which now finally has a trailer, showing Tatiana Maslany in action as the central hero. All the while, new viewers are finding Marvel’s shows on the platform, affecting their IMDb ratings and shaping the future of the franchise.
6 The Falcon And The Winter Soldier – 7.2
Whilst it ranks lowest of the Marvel Disney+ series on IMDb, there are still numerous areas where FATWS excelled, including its focus on the Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes dynamic. The titular heroes more than earn their time in the spotline, and even though FATWS is a pretty straight spy show, it allows for moments of levity even when surrounded by an expanding cast of largely new characters.
Additionally, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s focus on Sam’s complicated relationship to the Captain America mantle, and how it intersects with his identity as a Black man in America was a crucial part of his story, and necessary to be explored on screen. In contrast to these successes, though, was the issue of pacing, which at times meant that moments of emotional impact were undermined in the show’s hurry to get back to action sequences or quickly wrap up plot threads in the season’s final episode.
5 What If…? – 7.4
What If…?, the MCU’s move into the world of animation, had the freedom to explore some of the franchise’s more visually complex ideas, leading in some cases to shocking reveals about the MCU. While Jeffrey Wright’s performance as The Watcher received praise, the premises of each episode were met with uneven success, at times not utilizing the show’s concept to its fullest potential.
For example, the second episode titled “What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord,” showed a true deviation from the main timeline of the MCU, and successfully explored its characters, including T’Challa and Thanos, in new and compelling ways. However, episode 3, “What If… the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes,” had a far more tenuous premise that didn’t branch away from the main MCU timeline with as much drama or intrigue.
4 Moon Knight – 7.5
The most recent addition to Disney+’s original Marvel TV series roster, Moon Knight marks the first time that the MCU has ventured into the genre of psychological horror. Its execution was met with praise, particularly Oscar Isaac’s performances.
But in spite of Isaac’s great work, as well as the introduction of another brilliant character in Layla El-Faouly, Moon Knight as a whole is irregularly paced, and suffers at times from an unfocused plot, a criticism that has also been leveled at several other MCU shows on Disney+, perhaps because of their shorter episode count.
3 Hawkeye – 7.6
Hawkeye is not the most plot-heavy of series when compared to others released on the platform. But the relationship dynamics in Hawkeye shine through to keep it entertaining all the while, with the long-awaited arrival of Kate Bishop alongside other newcomers like Maya Lopez, rounding out a strong cast of characters.
Hawkeye also did its job in further developing Clint Barton’s character, and though the often-overlooked Avenger didn’t dramatically change in this outing, the show’s playful tone helped emphasize a different side of him. Even so, Hawkeye‘s reliance on Clint’s past wrongdoings as Ronin to provide enemies — rather than using the series as an opportunity to establish a new villain — could be viewed as a missed opportunity.
2 WandaVision – 8.0
As the first of the MCU’s Disney+ shows, there was a lot riding on WandaVision, and the series largely managed to deliver, with its brilliant use of sitcom conventions through the decades, bringing both structure and mystery to the setup. After her often irregular characterization in MCU movies, the comic characteristics of Wanda the MCU got right in WandaVision were also welcome, giving Elizabeth Olsen the chance to shine.
WandaVision acted as a character study for its titular heroes in a manner that’s been rarely seen in other MCU projects, focusing on how a person’s superpowers and emotional states intersect, but balancing that drama with great comedic moments, both provided in equal measure in a terrific performance from Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness. For all its positives, though, the final episode received mixed responses, due in part to its revelations around Evan Peters’ portrayal of Pietro. But as evidenced by IMDb voters, this hasn’t affected the show’s overall standing very much.
1 Loki – 8.2
A show that focuses on one of the MCU’s most beloved characters was always going to have steep expectations. But Loki rose to the occasion in a series that established not only personal stakes for the character and his many variants but universe-altering ones for the whole of the MCU due to its hand in the formation of the multiverse.
The interactions between Loki and Mobius in the show’s first few episodes helped to keep things fresh even as significant exposition around the TVA had to be spoonfed to audiences. The dynamic between Loki and Sylvie also became one of the show’s biggest strengths, humanizing the characters even when they were in wacky sci-fi situations. Despite taking the top spot for IMDb voters, Loki‘s choice to leave the introduction of He Who Remains until the final episode was an unusual decision given that he wasn’t at all mentioned prior to his appearance, in a move that proved confusing for those with no prior knowledge of the character.
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