Captain America 4 Can Recapture The MCU Phase 1-2"s Big Strength

  • Captain America: Brave New World brings a grounded tone to MCU movies, focusing on real-world elements with a realistic portrayal of characters.
  • The movie stars Sam Wilson as the new Captain America without the super soldier serum, promising a more down-to-earth approach than recent Marvel films.
  • The MCU has strayed from its more realistic origins, but a return to grounded storytelling can help balance out the heavy sci-fi and fantasy elements.
Sam Wilson will soon officially carry on the Captain America mantle on the big screen in the upcoming Captain America: Brave New World, and a new update from one of the film's stars is promising for a return to one of the MCU Phase 1 and 2's biggest strengths. The movies of the MCU have kept the franchise a cinematic juggernaut for over a decade and a half, but it's hard to argue that Marvel's behemoth hasn't lost a beat of steam in the past few years. There's no simple fix to the Marvel Studios' ailments, but Captain America 4's story and central villain may be a step in the right direction.
Though The MCU's saga-closing Avengers movies are set to arrive in 2026 and 2027, it already feels like the final push of solo films has begun - perhaps due to an unusually light 2024 (Deapool & Wolverine being the only MCU movie of the year). After the Merc with a Mouth hits theaters in July 2024, Sam Wilson will usher in 2025, followed by Thunderbolts* and The Fantastic Four. If Captain America: Brave New World can offer a tonal return-to form, the MCU may have an easier time finding its footing in time for the saga's final narrative push.
Related Captain America: Brave New World Cast & Marvel Character Guide Sam Wilson"s big-screen debut as the MCU"s Captain America will bring back several familiar faces, while also introducing new and exciting characters.
Captain America: Brave New World Is A Return To Grounded MCU Movies On the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast, Tim Blake Nelson revealed that Brave New World will be "a very much reality-based superhero movie." Nelson played Samuel Sterns in The Incredible Hulk, who was last seen in said film with Hulk blood dripping into his open head wound. In Captain America: Brave New World, Nelson will return in full villain mode as Sterns has had years to grow into the villainous The Leader. The actor also clarified that the movie's take on the villain will also be more grounded than it could be, much to his delight.
Given that, and the fact that the movie will star a Captain America with no super soldier serum, Brave New World seems set to be a much more grounded project than almost everything else to hit the big screen for Marvel Studios in recent years. The only potential issue is the probable inclusion of Red Hulk, which has been rumored since Harrison Ford was announced to be taking over for the late William Hurt as Thaddeus Ross in the MCU and has been all but confirmed by McDonald MCU tie-in promotional material. However, even a Hulk doesn't necessarily mean a project can't be grounded in setting, story, and tone.
The MCU Has Moved Away From Its More Grounded Origins Close Grounedness and realism are not the same, and there's no doubt that the MCU has never been the latter. However, the franchise's early years generally approached its more "out there" elements by putting them into a close approximation to the real world. There's nothing realistic about an Iron Man suit, but it was presented in a way that felt very weighted and, for lack of a better term, possible. Thor, while involving elements of high fantasy, explains away its gods as technologically advanced mortals and has Thor spend most of the movie in New Mexico.
Despite Thor claiming magic and technology are one and the same in Thor, the franchise seems to have reneged on the idea and given certain Asgardians access to truly magical abilities.
This groundedness went a long way to help the MCU break through the niche corner of pop culture that most superhero movies had occupied (outside a few notable franchise examples), especially as franchises like Batman, Superman, Blade, and X-Men had all struggled against "silliness" in their sequels before the dawn of the MCU. Iron Man, in particular, watched more like a classic action movie than a superhero film, and that made it easy for general audiences to get behind. The fantastical became more predominant in the MCU Phase 3 as everything built towards Infinity War, and there hasn't been much balance since.
Related 10 Most Realistic Heroes In The MCU A consistent Marvel theme is that valiant actions make someone a hero, not superpowers, and these characters prove even everyday people can be great.
Why The MCU Needs Balance Between Groundedness & The Fantastical Close It's important to point out that groundedness and quality are absolutely not intertwined. The MCU has delivered plenty of movies, like the somewhat recent Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, that are among the MCU's best while diving fully into science fiction in setting and story. The need for grounded stories is not a knock on more fantastical ones that are well done.
However, it's an issue of balance. Cosmic adventures can be wonderful, but the early MCU succeeded in tying those stories into something more human. The Marvel Universe has dozens of interesting and exciting corners with few similarities to real, everyday life, and they are worth exploring. However, Marvel can't forget to also come back down to Earth to ground the franchise and offer contrast to elements of heavy sci-fi and fantasy. Captain America: Brave New World can be a wonderful return to form in this regard, re-establishing the ground-level side of the MCU before the Multiverse Saga wraps up in 2027.
Captain America: Brave New World
Director Julius Onah Release Date February 14, 2025 Writers Dalan Musson , Malcolm Spellman Cast Anthony Mackie , Harrison Ford , Tim Blake Nelson , Carl Lumby , Danny Ramirez , shira haas Expand Upcoming Marvel Movies
Release Date
Deadpool & Wolverine
July 26, 2024
Captain America: Brave New World
February 14, 2025
May 2, 2025
The Fantastic Four
July 25, 2025
November 7, 2025
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
May 1, 2026
Avengers: Secret Wars
May 7, 2027


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