It’s an annual tradition in the movie world to generate all varieties of rankings at the end of a given year (we here at CinemaBlend are no exception), and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has provided cinephiles with an interesting challenge in 2021. For the first time ever, the comic book movie franchise released four blockbusters on the big screen – all within the last six months, actually – and each one provides audiences with a different kind of experience.
Given the excellence of Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: No Way Home, it’s not surprising in the slightest to see a recent social media poll overwhelmingly result in fans putting the wall-crawler movie in their top spot, but one development that has been interesting to see is a significant number of Twitter users favor Chloé Zhao’s Eternals over Cate Shortland’s Black Widow.
Twitter channel @MCU_Direct recently prompted its followers to rank Spider-Man: No Way Home, Eternals, Black Widow, and Destin Daniel Cretton’s Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, and the results have been interesting – especially given context around the movies’ respective releases. Echoing the critical reception and box office impact of the Chloé Zhao movie, a number of individuals are giving it the bottom placement in their subjective lists… some with added stylistic emphasis:
At the same time, though, there is a noticeable level of discourse that is seeing fans let it be known that they appreciate the cosmic, existential themes of Eternals more than the grounded prequel action of Black Widow. In the case of some the ranking comes with an extra note demonstrating their specific preference
NWH -> ShangChi -> Eternals -> Black WidowI get why people disliked Eternals but personally I really fucking loved it https://t.co/f44jn2E16yDecember 24, 2021
And some are directly voicing exactly what it is that they don’t love about the Scarlett Johansson-led solo movie:
1: #SpiderManNoWayHome 2: Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings3: Eternals4: Black Widow as to me it felt like a Phase 3 movie not a Phase 4 movie! https://t.co/D3PS9nE9MtDecember 24, 2021
It seems to be a take that is inspiring a good deal 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 > eternals > black widow and that’s the only correct order https://t.co/maTeWbsPhiDecember 24, 2021
Having just recently updated my own Marvel Cinematic Universe movie rankings, I’ll admit that the overall sentiment here is one that I personally agree with. Black Widow has some highlights, but it’s a generic thriller that doesn’t bring much new to the table in the franchise in either style or substance, and it’s very much undercut by the events that transpire in Avengers: Endgame – namely Natasha Romanoff’s death. Eternals is an overstuffed blockbuster that features too many protagonists, but there’s also a great deal to appreciate about it in its ambition, themes, and gorgeous aesthetic.
Regardless of how you subjectively rank the 2021 movies from the MCU, it’s definitely a slate that added some special new flavors to the canon, and it has 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’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love And Thunder, and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and hopefully this time next year their respective greatness (and insanity) will result in fans around the world finding it impossible to pick which film is the best of the best.
For a full rundown of all the movies set to come out in the coming years from the MCU canon, head on over to our Upcoming Marvel Movies guide.