It’s an annual tradition in the film world to generate all kinds of rankings at the end of any given year (we here at CinemaBlend are no exception), and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has given moviegoers an interesting challenge in 2021. For the first time ever, the comic book movie franchise has released four blockbusters on the big screen – all in the past six months, in fact – and each offers audiences a different kind of experience.
Given the excellence of Jon Watts Spider-Man: No Path HomeIt’s not at all surprising to see a recent social media poll overwhelmingly result in fans ranking the Wall Robot movie as their number one spot, but one interesting development to see is that a significant number of Twitter users favor Chloe Zhao Eternals on Cate Shortland’s Black Widow.
twitter channel @MCU_Direct recently urged its subscribers to rank Spider-Man: No Path Home, Eternals, Black Widow, and Destin Daniel Cretton’s Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings, and the results were interesting, especially given the context surrounding the respective film releases. Echoing the critical reception and box office impact of the film Chloe Zhao, a number of people are ranking it last on their subjective lists … some with added stylistic emphasis:
At the same time, however, there is a notable level of talk that sees fans signaling that they appreciate the cosmic and existential themes of Eternals more than the prequel anchored action of Black Widow. In the case of some, the ranking is accompanied by an additional note demonstrating their specific preference.
NWH -> ShangChi -> Eternals -> Black Widow I understand why people didn’t like Eternals but personally I really loved https://t.co/f44jn2E16yDecember 24, 2021
And some express directly what they don’t like in the solo film directed by Scarlett Johansson:
1: #SpiderManNoWayHome 2: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 3: Eternals4: Black Widow As for me, it looked like a phase 3 movie and not a phase 4 movie! https://t.co/D3PS9nE9MtDecember 24, 2021
It seems like a take that inspires a lot of confidence in Marvel Cinematic Universe fans:
NWH> Shang-Chi> Eternals> Black Widow. Easiest ranking of my life https://t.co/gY7rDpwEjFDecember 24, 2021
no way home> shang chi> eternal> black widow and this is the only correct order https://t.co/maTeWbsPhiDecember 24, 2021
Having recently updated my own ranking of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, I admit that the overall feeling here is one that I personally agree with. Black Widow has a few highlights, but it’s a generic thriller that doesn’t add much new to the franchise, either in terms of style or substance, and it’s very compromised by the events that unfold in Avengers: Endgame – namely the death of Natasha Romanoff. Eternals is a jam-packed blockbuster that features too many protagonists, but there’s also a lot to appreciate about it in its ambition, themes, and gorgeous aesthetic.
Regardless of how you subjectively rank the MCU’s 2021 movies, it’s definitely a slate that added some special new flavors to the canon, and it’s got us more excited than ever for what’s to come in Phase 4. We’re getting another full serving of action in 2022 with Sam Raimi Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Taika Waititi Thor: love and thunder, and that of Ryan Coogler Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and I hope this time next year, their respective greatness (and craziness) makes it impossible for fans around the world to choose which movie is the best of the best.
For a full rundown of all the movies coming out in the coming years of MCU canon, check out our guide to the upcoming Marvel movies.