Thanks to the addition of Disney+, on top of a bigger movie quota, 2021 has been a massive year for Marvel Studios. Fans saw the debuts of series such as WandaVision, What If...?, and Loki, alongside the premiere of brand-new characters in the movies with Shang-Chi and Eternals. After a year off, the MCU certainly hit the floor running.
Not only was the studio's first Disney+ outing massively popular, but WandaVision also won it the first MCU Emmy. Future shows proved no less successful, with Tom Hiddleston's Loki pulling in the highest viewership for an MCU opener on the streaming service.
The MCU films had a more turbulent time than usual. Black Widow landed a hybrid theatrical/streaming release which resulted in a messy lawsuit. Shang-Chi was more successful than many expected but was still held back by the pandemic of it all. Then, Eternals ended up being the first Rotten Marvel Studios project ever—which is currently sitting at a 48% critic approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Now, thanks to Google Trends, fans can see where the last few Marvel Studios projects have ranked in the broader general audience interest.
How Popular Were Marvel Projects in 2021?
Google Trends released lists of the top trending topics of 2021, which included both movies and television series. Google compiled these lists based on search terms that had the highest spike this year as compared to 2020.
Marvel Studios led the pack when it came to the movies, as Black Widow ranked as the number-one top-trending movie this year, followed closely behind by Eternals as the second-most-popular movie and Shang-Chi as the sixth-most-popular film.
According to Google, the Top 10 list of highest-trending movies in 2021 in the United States is as follows:
- Black Widow
- Halloween Kills
- Mortal Kombat
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Godzilla vs. Kong
- The Suicide Squad
- Space Jam
- In the Heights
On the television side, two MCU series earned their spot on the Top 10 highest-trending show list in the United States: WandaVision (3rd-most-popular) and Loki (9th-most-popular):
- Squid Game
- Ginny and Georgia
- Cobra Kai
- Firefly Lane
- Mare of Easttown
- Midnight Mass
Black Widow, Eternals, & WandaVision Lead Popularity
The results are certainly interesting, and it's worth noting how they could be a little misleading given how trends may be traditionally thought of. These results weren’t necessarily the most popular, but rather the ones with spikes in online activity, basically going viral.
When it comes to MCU content, WandaVision being on top isn't shocking. While Loki may have gotten more viewers, the weekly mystery element of Scarlet Witch’s grief was the hottest topic of conversation for eight weeks straight.
The movie side of the results isn't too surprising either. Black Widow’s back and forth release, alongside Eternals’ critical reception, made for great conversation. Add on the infamous lawsuit and Harry Styles joining the MCU, and engagement spikes are bound to happen.
It's strange to see Spider-Man: No Way Home completely absent. Sure, it hasn't been released just yet, but it's easily been the biggest point of conversation as of late; so where is it?
One reason could be because the conversation about the film was already reasonably high in 2020, so the difference in conversational spikes wasn't all that high. Maybe post-December, after the movie’s release, it could rank higher.