Marvel Studios Conquers Disney Plus this Summer

Loki and Black Widow Top the Charts.

Daniel Stell, Managing Editor

As with the mind-blowing WandaVision and the incredibly grounded Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Marvel Studios has produced and will continue to produce groundbreaking new series on Disney Plus. They showed us their dominance with their most recent series Loki and the streaming release of Black Widow (their first movie since Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2019). Before reading, keep in mind that this article will contain spoilers for a multitude of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) titles.

Loki tells the story of the God of Mischief and brother of Thor right after his defeat in the first Avengers movie, released in 2012. Played by the iconic Tom Hiddleston, the Loki we see in the Disney Plus show is less evolved than the version we were left with at the end of Endgame. For those who do not remember, the Avengers in Endgame created an alternate timeline in which Loki had escaped through a portal years before he became an actual hero. This “variant” of Loki, which is what the other characters in the series have declared him, has not gone through the same character development as the Loki who met his tragic fate in Avengers: Infinity War. This does not mean, however, that the Loki variant is able to grow and develop into something new and interesting through this new medium.

The Loki series acts as a massive character study of Loki as throughout the current season, we get to see a multitude of other variants of Loki from other universes as our Loki works with the Time Variance Authority (TVA) agent Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson) as they hunt a rogue variant of Loki named Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino). The characters visit many different settings and universes which allows for some incredible CGI work and cinematic shots. Loki is now currently one of Disney Plus’s most successful shows, and is currently one of the few MCU series on Disney Plus known to have a season two in development, though no release date has been given. Loki fans are ecstatic with this news, especially with the massive cliffhanger we were left with on the finale. 

Although it was not exclusively released on Disney Plus, Black Widow was released for Premier Access on the platform while also being released at theatres across the globe. Though we know of her fate from Avengers: Endgame, this movie serves as a way to explore the character of Black Widow and her origin story. It also acts as the introduction point for many more characters in the MCU. The movie takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, and follows the Black Widow herself, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), as she faces her past as a Russian spy and assassin. It also explores her spy family which includes the quirky Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), the boastful Alexei Shostokov a.k.a. Red Guardian (David Harbour), and the motherly Melina Vostokoff a.k.a. Iron Maiden (Rachel Weisz). They must take down the evil organization known as the Red Room that creates female assassins like Black Widow while being hunted by the dangerous Taskmaster, who can copy anyone’s moves in combat.

Black Widow is an intense thrill ride with some beautiful character moments and works as an amazing send off to the iconic character of Black Widow. However, this movie has fallen under controversy due to Scarlett Johansson having filed a lawsuit with Disney Plus over the release of the movie on their streaming service. Johansson believes it to be a “breach of her contract” with Disney that apparently stated that it would only come out in theatres and most of her salary came from the theatrical release of the film. A spokesperson for Disney wrote the suit is “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.” The outcome of the lawsuit is still to be determined though many believe it will be settled out of court.

Fortunately, there are many more Marvel titles coming to Disney Plus. The animated anthology series What If? is still ongoing with a planned nine total episodes. It explores alternate realities where specific events in MCU history take on different trajectories. Later this year in November, Disney will release Hawkeye to their streaming service, which will tell the story of the Avenger of the same name after Avengers: Endgame. Hawkeye will also introduce a new hero named Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). Marvel will also be releasing out Ms. Marvel later this year, most likely in mid-to-late December, which will introduce their first teenage female Pakistani superhero Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani). Three movies are coming out later this year with Shang-Chi: The Legend of the Ten Rings coming out on September 3rd; The Eternals which will come out on November 5th; and then finally on December 17th, Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The future of the MCU is looking bright and it does not seem to be slowing down any time soon.