Every MCU Phase Four Director, Ranked

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The sense of finality in Avengers: Endgame cast doubt on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s continuing success after Phase Three. But the resounding successes of Phase Four, from WandaVision to Spider-Man: No Way Home, have proven that Kevin Feige is just getting started. Part of why the MCU continues to feel so fresh is that Feige trusts his filmmakers to follow their own unique vision.

RELATED: Every MCU Phase Three Director, Ranked

From James Gunn to Taika Waititi, Marvel’s directors are often given free rein with the idiosyncrasies of their style. Phase Four has been graced with MCU gems by such filmmakers as Cate Shortland and Destin Daniel Cretton.

10 Kari Skogland

Sam and Bucky in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier

After WandaVision kicked off Marvel’s Disney+ slate with a delightfully quirky and unconventional superhero tale, Kari Skogland’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier returned to the usual clichés.

The show was set up as a Midnight Run-style “buddy cop” story, but Sam and Bucky didn’t have enough differences to feel as truly mismatched as Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin.

9 Bryan Andrews

What If Watcher Protector Multiverse

Bryan Andrews worked primarily as a storyboard artist – and drew storyboards for Marvel Studios from Iron Man 2 onward – before being tapped to direct the What If…? series on Disney+.

While the storytelling of What If…? was criticized for failing to fully explore the hypothetical scenarios at play, the animation was undeniably beautiful, with rich colors and cinematic lighting.


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8 Kate Herron

loki president Cropped

Although Loki’s pilot episode sets up a sprawling police force outside the physical universe that keeps the timeline in check, the series that ensues is frustratingly small-scale. Computer-generated wide shots introduce a vast, exciting environment, then midshots and closeups confine each scene to a small corner of that location (like a conference room in the TVA’s massive headquarters).

RELATED: 10 MCU Characters Who Should Appear In Loki Season 2

The first few episodes of Loki developed an interesting romantic dynamic between the trickster god and a female variant of himself, but the finale takes the spotlight away from Loki to introduce a variant of the MCU’s next big bad, Kang the Conqueror.


7 Cate Shortland

Yelena and Natasha embracing in Black Widow

The long-overdue Black Widow movie acted as both a finale for Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff and an origin for Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, who will presumably take Nat’s place on the Avengers roster (eventually).

While the movie’s plot is hurt by some MCU conventions (a one-note villain, a big third-act battle, etc.), Berlin Syndrome director Cate Shortland managed to simultaneously give Natasha a fitting swansong and Yelena an exciting introduction.


6 Rhys Thomas

Rhys Thomas directed the first two episodes of Hawkeye, establishing Kate Bishop’s characterization and her dynamic with Clint Barton, then returned to helm the finale.

While the first couple of episodes took a while to team up Clint and Kate, the finale was filled with spectacular payoffs like Kate singlehandedly defeating the Kingpin in a toy store and Clint appealing to Yelena’s humanity.


5 Matt Shakman

Disney+’s original Marvel content got off to a fantastic start with WandaVision. Although it became a traditional superhero actioner in time for the finale, WandaVision started off as a unique blend of X-Files-style sci-fi mystery and self-aware sitcom homage.

In addition to making Wanda and Vision’s on-screen dynamic more interesting than ever before (helped largely by head writer Jac Schaeffer’s snappy, heartfelt dialogue), director Matt Shakman drew on his experiences working on TV comedies like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Everybody Hates Chris to perfectly recreate bygone sitcom styles.


4 Chloé Zhao

Ikaris firing lasers from his eyes in Eternals

Chloé Zhao won the Academy Awards for both Best Picture and Best Director for her phenomenal true-life drama Nomadland a few months before her first MCU project, Eternals, hit theaters.

Although Eternals was criticized for its dull tone, slow pacing, and overstuffed cast, it was praised for its beautiful visuals. Zhao admirably used as little CGI as possible and shot a lot of Eternals on location using natural light.




3 Bert & Bertie

Kate Bishop aims an arrow in Hawkeye

Bert & Bertie are best known for helming the heartwarming coming-of-age gem Troop Zero for Amazon Studios. In the third, fourth, and fifth episodes of Hawkeye, Bert & Bertie developed Clint and Kate’s dynamic as he encourages her heroism but also wants to keep her safe.

The duo also directed some of Hawkeye’s most thrilling action sequences, from a car chase captured in a single long take to a rooftop fight between Clint, Kate, Maya, and Yelena in which a poignant moment reminds Clint of Nat’s death.


2 Jon Watts

Spider-Man No Way Home Tom Holland Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire Final Battle Official

In theory, Spider-Man: No Way Home shouldn’t have worked. The concept of different franchises coming together within a retroactive on-screen multiverse seems too meta to tell its own story clearly or resonate with a wide audience. But Jon Watts made it work beautifully with an It’s a Wonderful Life-style fantasy parable about second chances.

RELATED: Spider-Man: No Way Home – 3 Ways It Honors Each Version Of Peter Parker

Not only does No Way Home function spectacularly as a live-action Spider-Verse bringing all the big screen’s Peter Parkers together; it acts as a fitting finale for the trilogy Watts spearheaded with Homecoming and Far From Home.


1 Destin Daniel Cretton

Destin Daniel Cretton, the filmmaker behind the powerful indie drama Short Term 12, joined the MCU with Phase Four’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The movie follows a familiar Marvel superhero origin story, but Cretton makes it stand out with a nonlinear narrative, an emotionally resonant family conflict, and a pitch-perfect action-comedy tone.

Marvel’s fight scenes are usually frenzied and conventional, cutting between actors and their stunt doubles, but Cretton brought a vibrant intensity to Shang-Chi’s fight scenes, with long takes of master martial artists in high-stakes situations like fighting on scaffolding on the side of a skyscraper.

NEXT: 10 MCU Characters That The Phase Four Movies & TV Shows Have Made Better

Split image of Cal Kestis in promo art and dueling an Inquisitor in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order


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