What is The Best Disney+ Marvel Studios Series?
Since Disney+ made its debut, the idea that Marvel Studios would be transitioning many of its beloved characters and upcoming projects to a streaming platform only opened the door for more. While many would argue that Marvel Studios has reached a phase of oversaturation, a different medium of entertainment has allowed its mega-franchise to explore new ground it would typically leave uncharted. Some of the Marvel Studios streaming series have missed the mark on recreating the success of their blockbusters, yet the majority have only pleased audiences with hours of more MCU content. From WandaVision and Hawkeye to Loki and Ms. Marvel, these are all seven of the current Marvel Studios MCU shows on Disney+ ranked from worst to best.
7. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
The new star-spangled men had a plan and it did not pan out perfectly. Choosing how to continue the mantle of Captain America was always going to be a difficult task for Marvel Studios to face in the future, and tackling the problem straight after Avengers: Endgame on the small screen was a fault in of itself. Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes are the perfect successors to Steve Rogers but what the two former American war heroes needed was a show safe from bloated subplots and characters ineffective for developing their personal relationships and dynamics. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has meaningful developments for its characters but in comparison to the other Marvel Studios projects on Disney+, it can fall short in terms of putting together a coherent overarching narrative, properly fleshing out characters, and wowing audiences with visual storytelling.
There are plenty of surprising moments throughout the series to fondly look back on, but the lack of development for the complicated relationship the Falcon and the Winter Soldier personally have with their best friend’s title was simply offputting. On top of this, once again Bucky Barnes is barely utilized even though Sebastian Stan’s character is half the title. Even amidst one of Marvel’s most forgettable villains, messy in-universe political groundwork, and dumbfounding twists though, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier still knew how to keep audiences entertained with each episode—just not in the same way its returning cast previously had in the spectacular Captain America trilogy of films.
6. Moon Knight
Let’s get one thing straight: Oscar Isaac put on an enchanting performance as Marc Spector, Steven Grant, and Jake Lockley. Ironically enough, Moon Knight’s largest issues stem from the show’s lack of interesting characters. Without looking at Issac’s protagonist, the show disappointingly has so little to offer as it pieces together tons of generalized comic book tropes and bland minor roles. Moon Knight has many fascinating concepts at play–especially for a Marvel Studios production when accounting for both its television and film projects–yet the series constantly feels as if it could be trimming scenes down and consolidating its direction due to how little time everyone gets to shine outside of the titular lead. A show focusing on one core character can certainly work, but in the case of Moon Knight, the series is desperately in need of its supporting cast who acts as pillars for the hero’s adventure.
Aside from Moon Knight and Konshu, every other character in the series lacks actual depth or background to make them stand out. Ethan Hawk does steal the show with his portrayal of Arthur Harrow, but his character lacks any engrossing character exploration that can get viewers to care. Worst of all, for a series that will likely never receive a second season, the show ends on an oddly constructed cliffhanger that may not see a resolution for years to come and feels contradictory to Moon Knight’s sense of self-discovery. If Oscar Issac’s amusing performance were not constantly keeping audiences engaged or hooked on uncovering some of the overarching mysteries, Moon Knight would downright collapse underneath its failure to create a more likable cast and choppy editing production.
5. What If…?
An enthralling question that could have been better explored. When What If…? reaches its highs, Marvel Studios’ first animated series is working its lovable icons into prosperous new scenarios. On the other hand though, when the show is dragging out its alternate universes with eye-rolling stories containing no satisfying narrative conclusion, it can dabble into some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most incoherent decision-making moments. The anthological focus of What If…? helps give the series plenty of footing when inviting audiences into its cherry-pickable domain, but as a whole, the show can quickly rollercoaster in quality as it ditches its core concept towards the finish line for a semi-epic finale.
For every incredible piece of Marvel content What If…? presents, there is seemingly something of the polar opposite quality around the corner. While the Doctor Strange and T’Challa Star Lord episodes are a blast, the Nick Fury and Apocalyptic entries miserably feel as if they were written by inexperienced writers who fail to grasp concrete themes for their projects. Captain Carter and Thor offer a lot of fun moments for Marvel fans to indulge in, meanwhile, the final two episodes somehow miss their potential as they form a multiversal Avenger group. With an upcoming second season of What If…? set to premiere later this year, Marvel Studios has a chance to fix where they went wrong with the series and make up for the missed potential they ended on.
Whereas audiences were left worrying if Marvel Studios’ films would become stale after Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision instantly cast doubts aside for its television productions–at least for the most part. For the MCU’s introduction to the small screen, WandaVision certainly did not let down on bringing Marvel Studios cinema quality to Disney’s streaming platform. As promised, Wanda Maximoff’s own series starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany started on an eerie note that was able to leave audiences wanting more. Perhaps though, Marvel Studios should have just given into that desire for an overarching mystery. The largest issue with WandaVision is its urge to kill its enigma so the show can explore more characters outside of Wanda and Vision.
WandaVision knew how to explore the internal conflicts of its titular Avengers, however, where the show undoubtedly falls apart in some areas is when it comes to its agents of S.W.O.R.D. cast. Teyonah Parris, Randall Park, and Kat Dennings do a fine job acting-wise, but their placement in WandaVision feels excessive and even unwanted at times. Had the agents’ endeavors been snuck into the show and built up for the grand finale, WandaVision certainly could have been the best of Marvel Studios’ Disney+ shows. Like its succeeding show, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision’s focus should have been placed all on Wanda and Vision rather than so many returning veterans and new side characters. Despite all of this though, when WandaVision is deep in the psychological horror of its lead witch, the show is doing wonders as it flaunts a remarkable character study for the Marvel universe. Between cheesy lines with more meaning than meets the eye and an earworm score, how could you not fall for the eras of television sitcoms the show jumps through?
3. Ms. Marvel
A teen drama mixed with a comic book adaptation on a Disney platform sounds like a recipe destined for disaster when considering Marvel’s target audience. Shockingly enough, Ms. Marvel effectively mashes the genres together for a rather admirable coming of age story. Despite some of its initial trailers, this is no Disney Channel-esque Marvel fill-in for the streaming platform’s slate of shows. Ms. Marvel somehow arguably takes itself more seriously than some of the company’s recent Hollywood films.
Adapting the first Muslim Marvel superheroine, Kamla Khan, Ms. Marvel gives the young Jersey City student a compact story that strays from entering any mega overarching Avengers-level ambitions—at least that is until a few details are thrown into the last episode, nonetheless, it is still a small-scale story given large stakes thanks to its structure. As a relatable fan of earth’s mightiest heroes, the audience is able to easily connect with Kamala Khan and her everyday life problems as she balances the responsibility of her newfound powers and upholding family interests.
Of all the Marvel Studios films and television shows, Ms. Marvel oddly feels the most grounded thanks to the protagonist’s family who is full of personality. Nearly every character in Ms. Marvel is interesting and brings necessary challenges to the table that Kamala must face. Sure the computer-generated effects are never as strong as WandaVision or Loki per se, but the show is able to scrape by with its seemingly lower budget due to how mesmerizing its stylization can be and the practical locations it utilizes. As someone who lives in New Jersey, Ms. Marvel perfectly knows how to capture Jersey City’s culture as it obsessively creates a community feeling for its setpieces. More importantly, Ms. Marvel excellently captures Kamala’s heritage as it uses religious elements to push both the main and minor cast members forward.
Viewers who read Matt Fraction and David Aja’s run of the Hawkeye comic book already realized well before the show’s debut that Clint Barton’s long-awaited spotlight on the small screen was not just about him. Like many of the other Phase 4 Marvel Studios projects, several characters have been introduced to help pave the road for a new generation of movies to succeed the Infinity Saga. While there are plenty of characters like Shang-Chi who have no connection to the prior cast, there are quite a few newcomers who are in a passing of the torch situation. Hawkeye beautifully forges a relationship between the Avenger’s tired archer and his protege Kate Bishop. Together both Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld are a power couple.
Both falling under the Hawkeye mantle, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop are tested against what it means to personally be a superhero in Hawkeye as they help guide one another towards a promising future. Throughout the series, Clint must confront his sins to help Kate evade any connections to his former Ronin aliases. While the series initially started off on a desirable note, it quickly drew audiences in with its third action-packed episode. Hawkeye was firing off all arrows with no remorse as it continually presented fun dynamics, likable newcomers, and heroes that added more combat diversity to Marvel’s already grand lineup. Hawkeye keeps its spotlight locked on a tight cast as Clint and Kate approach Christmas in different spirits, however, the show is always upholding a cheerful and hopeful attitude that is able to end on a positive note. For the first time in years, between Avengers: Endgame and Hawkeye Clint Barton finally received the justice he long deserved.
Always having a glorious purpose in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s easy to see why the god of mischief would conquer the top spot of any list looking at the Disney+ shows. Since Thor: The Dark World underutilized him, audiences have clamored for Marvel Studios to give Tom Hiddleston’s prince of Asgard his spotlight. Of all this franchise’s heroes and villains, Loki deserved more screentime. Loki magically creates a new iteration of Hiddleston’s character that vastly differentiates from his deceased counterpart while continuing his legacy. Taking place after Avengers: Endgame, Loki revolves around the time-variant that managed to escape during the Avengers time travel heist. Taken to the Time Variance Authority [TVA] and informed about his future, Loki becomes an agent of the organization and is given one goal: destroy other versions of himself.
Loki holds the perfect balance of what viewers desire from every Marvel Studios television show on Disney+. It’s eerie, mysterious, head-scratching, serious, goofy, and charming all at the same time. It’s visually engaging, has a memorable score, and constantly keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Best of all, it truly breaks from all of Marvel’s formulas as it constantly surprises the audience thanks to its clever narrative direction. It’s a series where viewers cannot predict each character’s motives and where they are heading. Unable to give audiences clear answers as to whether its cast is even up to no good or actually trying to be heroic, Marvel Studios never lets down when setting several plot twists loose. Making Loki’s future demise his motivation for greatness was shocking and well-executed.
Hopefully, when season two releases soon it will further rock Loki to fame as he takes on Kang the Conquerer and hunts down his female counterpart. No matter where the second season goes, it will be a long road ahead before another show can overthrow Loki’s charismatic and chaotic grace.