Julien Neaves, Editor
Marvel fans (yours truly included) are eagerly anticipating the 2022 slate of Disney+ MCU series including Moon Knight, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel. But before we look forward how about we take a moment to look back at the shows from last year. And since lists are always fun how about we rank them as well? Sounds good?
So with a giant-sized zombie of a SPOILER ALERT let’s get to ranking:
#5 The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
It says something about your show when the most interesting characters are not your headline acts. I mean, both Anthony Mackie’s Falcon and Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier were okay, but the former’s acting was somewhat stiff and the latter had his character seriously under-utilised. The main villain Karli was also somewhat undercooked and the Agent 13 twist just did not work.
But on the positive side the Dora Milaje were 13 flavours of awesome sauce, Zemo was a revelation (dance like no one’s watching), and John Walker made for a great anti-hero. They also touched on issues on race and discrimination in a resonant way, overly preachy speech in the finale notwithstanding. And the Falcon Cap suit did look cool. All around decent series but definitely the least of the Disney+ apostles.
#4 What If…?
As the sole animated series and one that did not have any ramifications for the wider MCU world (or so we thought) What If…? was definitely the dark horse of the bunch. And the show did start off playing it relatively safe. But then the excellent Episode 4 “What If…Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands” dropped and everyone who wasn’t paying attention started paying attention.
And from then on the show mostly kept up the momentum, with the fun Zombies tale and the intriguing Killmonger episode (yeah, I wasn’t a fan of Party Hearty Thor). They also ended on this epic Ultron/Vision two-parter that pulled everything together in an exciting way. Good stuff. And it would be remiss of me not to mention the very good voice cast (a mix of returning actors and new folks) with standouts being the always top of his game Jeffrey Wright as the Watcher and the bittersweet experience of the late Chadwick Boseman playing T’Challa for the last time.
Alright, alright. Calm down. I know many people would easily rank Loki as number on this list. And it is a very good show with Tom Hiddleston knocking it out of the park while being supported by a fantastic cast in Sophia Di Martino (Sylvie), Owen Wilson (Mobius M. Mobius), and Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15. The series also had some gorgeous visuals, delightfully quirky comedy and some inventive action. In terms of lore it is also critical in terms of breaking the multiverse.
But yeah, the show was repeatedly longwinded and at times kinda boring. Heck, 90 per cent of the finale was talking. Even the Architect would be like, “Come on! Get to the point!” Yeah, the poor pacing really dragged things down on more than one occasion. Still a really good time otherwise.
Disney+ certainly went out of the box with WandaVision as its first MCU series. The first few episodes were quite avant-garde, with fans wondering what the hell was going on. And as the layers were pulled back we were invited to Wanda’s family dream and the people of Westview’s nightmare. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany were so good as WandaVision both in the TV Twilight Zone-esque parodies and when the curtain came down. And Kathryn Hahn was bewitchingly entertaining as secret villain Agatha Harkness. Turns out it was her all along and not Mephisto. Go figure.
But sadly WandaVision just couldn’t stick the landing. The while Evan Peters Quicksilver teaser was paid off with a Bohner joke. Monica Rambeau’s arc ends up half baked. The promised epic battle in the end is super anti-climactic. But worse of all Wanda never faces any justice for terrorising these poor people. Yeah, we know you were mourning Vision and your made-up family but that don’t make what you did right. Not by a longshot. Still an adventurous, intriguing show that proved Disney was willing to take risks.
I doubt many people will agree with my number one. And that’s fine. I don’t mind standing alone on this hill of arrow tips. But of the five series Hawkeye is the only one I completely enjoyed throughout and that got better and better with each episode. Trust me, I am as surprised as you are.
Where do I even start? Jeremy Renner shining like a boss in the comedic, dramatic and action moments? His wonderful chemistry with fan girl Kate Bishop (a hilarious turn by Hailee Steinfeld)? Yelena being awesome in EVERY SCENE and having the best chaotic chemistry with Kate? The most adorably stupid henchmen in the Tracksuit Mafia? Alaqua Cox’s breakout role as Maya Lopez/Echo? Or all the superb set pieces including a couple of super cool Pym trick arrows?
But the two reasons that the series shot to the top of the list was one, how well it provided closure for Clint and Yelena following Black Widow’s passing, and two, freaking KINGPIN! We suspected he was coming so we weren’t all that surprised when he showed up but it was still mind-blowing. Easily the best villain of the still dubious Netflix MCU shows and one of the best live action Marvel villains ever, Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin is 13 flavours of awesome sauce and killed it here again. I could not be happier he has joined the MCU proper, and yeah, a little shot to the face isn’t going to take him out. He’ll be back.
Hawkeye was just the surprise Christmas gift that blew all the other gifts away. And for that reason it is my number one Disney+ MCU series.
Well that’s my list. How would you rank the five series? And you can check out more great Disney+ MCU content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.