When the Marvel Cinematic Universe first kicked off with 2008’s Iron Man, there was nothing like it. A brand new universe filled with updated versions of our favorite comic book characters, played by some of Hollywood’s hottest (or soon-to-be hottest) actors. It’s easy to forget how different it was back at the beginning than it is now with Disney+. You got one, maybe two movies in a year, and you were over the moon about it. Phase 1 of the MCU lasted 4 years, and you had 6 movies. But who cares? I got to see Iron Man on the big screen! Are you kidding??? Captain America throwing his mighty shield! Let’s go!
We aren’t in those times anymore. There’s an enormous amount of comic book content from Marvel on screens big and small. Sure, the Netflix shows were around, but it became clear that while “it’s all connected” was a fun catchphrase, those shows operated on their own. And their place in the MCU now is questionable at best. Same with Agents of SHIELD. They weren’t part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in that they didn’t affect the movies. In contrast, Phase 3 was almost 25 hours just in movies. Phase 4 is already at 44 hours *before* counting She-Hulk, which is rolling out now, and two more specials and a movie. That’s so much! And with those extra hours, there’s a bigger variation of content. It’s not all big summer blockbuster tentpole action movies. There’s heist films, dramas that mess with your mind, lawyer shows, teenage angst dramedy, sci-fi, you name it.
With ALL of that already out, and more on the way, it *should* go without saying that YOU DON’T HAVE TO WATCH IT ALL TO BE A FAN. No matter what the gatekeeping dipshits tell you! Don’t like Bucky? Don’t worry about Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Not in touch with your inner teenager? Maybe Ms. Marvel isn’t for you. Don’t worry, something else will come along in a few weeks, and nobody will be pestering you about the last thing you skipped.
HOWEVER, one parting thought. If you were chugging along, watching every Marvel movie, dutifully following Agents of SHIELD around the dial as ABC did it’s best to alienate the viewers the show managed to attract and keep, if you even watched Inhumans (!), but you drew the line at Captain Marvel…or objected to the barest hint of same-sex couples in Thor: Love and Thunder (and seriously, it’s BARE MINIMUM representation), maybe take a look at what your actual reasons are for avoiding something. It might not be a bad thing to go outside of your MCU comfort zone. Maybe it still won’t be for you, and that’s okay. It might help you to understand someone else in your life just the same.