The MCU is going to H£LL: a moral decline

Published: 03rd September 2023, by Andrew Radbourne.

My musings over the moral decline in the MCU over phase 4, and so far 5

Greetings everyone,

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been lauded for its gripping narratives, charismatic characters, and spectacular visual effects. Yet, in recent times, a subtle shift in the moral compass of this cinematic realm has started to become apparent. This may first strike as an excessively dramatic assertion, yet bear with me as we delve into this intriguing change within the MCU's narrative.

The first hint of this moral shift surfaced not within the MCU but in the modern rendition of "Doctor Who" with the advent of a female Doctor. Despite the seemingly unrelated universes, the pattern of ethical ambiguity in these narratives gives rise to an intriguing question: are our stories losing sight of their moral cores?

By morality, I'm referring to the complex network of judgments about right and wrong that governs individual and societal conduct in variegated contexts -- across nations, cultures, religions, and personal circumstances. Though this moral fabric is intrinsically influenced by prevailing societal norms and customs, it often grapples with confronting paradoxes.

Our heroes, through folklore, legends, and contemporary works like comic books, are often a reflection and a teacher of these moral values. Despite the enticing allure of anti-heroes or tales of corruption, we, as an audience, understand and appreciate the moral complexity of these narratives. Yet, alarming shifts are taking place, particularly within the MCU.

Interestingly, director Nia Decosta, at the helm of the upcoming Marvel movie, perceives Captain America as an anti-hero for not taking Vision's life in the "Infinity War". Such perception highlights the author's departure from fundamental moral concepts. This is a pivotal concern as these large-scale cinema platforms have the power to influence and guide societal perceptions.

Indeed, deviant moral portrayals abound within the MCU. One example is Melina in "Black Widow", who, despite her dubious past, faces no repercussions. This is a problematic narrative, potentially bending moral expectations for ideological gain.

Similar issues occur in "WandaVision". Wanda's decision to hold an entire town prisoner might initially seem justified due to her grief, nonetheless, it becomes clear she is knowingly inflicting suffering onto the townspeople. The show's attempt to vindicate Wanda's actions rings hollow.

Moreover, "Falcon and The Winter Soldier" portrays the 'Flag Smashers', blatantly employing terror tactics, as misunderstood revolutionaries. And a character like Walker, who, despite his grim story arc, ultimately chooses to help people, is intended to be seen as villainous by the audience. Meanwhile, "The Eternals", "Loki & Thor" and "She-Hulk" further continue this trend of moral dilution.

The traditional heroes of the MCU – Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Doctor Strange – demonstrated a steadfast resolve for the greater good. However, the up-and-coming heroes seem to lack this moral core, blurring the line between hero and villain.

While it may seem that I'm advocating for a cut-and-dried demarcation between good and evil, the crux of the matter lies in the unsettling moral fluidity of our new-age heroes. So, is this shift an issue to notice and ponder, or is it merely the radical churning of creative minds, daring to push the envelope further? The jury is still out on that one.

If you have any thoughts, agreements, or rebuttals on this intriguing moral evolution within the MCU, don't hesitate to chime in. Enjoyed this discussion? Don't forget to like and subscribe. Thanks for reading, and until next time, stay curious, stay observant.
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Marked Graphic Novel by Andrew Radbourne