Will Poulter Defends Marvel Following Phase 4 Criticism

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Updated:
Will Poulter Marvel Avengers

Following some criticism from fans and critics toward the MCU's Phase 4, Marvel newcomer Will Poulter defended the superhero franchise by noting the studio's passion for the projects. 

MCU fans have openly criticized Phase 4 for its projects' drop in quality from previous phases, pointing to the studio's increase in output of movies and shows - releasing 9 movies & shows in 2021 before debuting 8 movies, series, and specials last year - which may have actually made these releases collectively worse. However, there are some from the Marvel brand who openly defended the MCU amid such backlash. 

Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo said that he loves "the choices that [Marvel Studios] are making" to dive into so many different genres and the risks that come with them while acknowledging the fact that the MCU is something that fans will "remember for decades."

Ms. Marvel producer Sana Amanat also addressed the "woke" criticism toward the Disney+ series, looking at it as fans taking it from "a place of anger" due to an inability to connect with the characters or the material. 

Will Poulter Reacts to MCU Phase 4 Criticism

Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy 3

In an interview with Josh Horowitz, Adam Warlock star Will Poulter talked about his MCU debut and his potential long-term commitment with Marvel Studios.

The MCU newcomer addressed those 'quantity over quality' criticisms toward the franchise's run in the post-Infinity Saga era.

Poulter said that the studio "really [does] care" about quality, pointing out that the "folks at the top" are "deeply and passionately invested in the quality of the material:" 

"So, Marvel have been super supportive of that and they really, really do care about the quality. They’re not just looking to churn things out nilly-willy. I think the size of Marvel and the scope of their programming is so large that sometimes people can kind of, sort of confuse that for quantity over quality. But the folks at the top are, I mean, deeply and passionately invested in the quality of the material… James [Gunn] is a prime example of that.”

Horowitz acknowledged the fact that Marvel Studios has a strong caliber of actors, such as Benedict Cumberbatch, and how "there's a way" to not be trapped solely within the Marvel realm. 

Poulter agreed, noting that these amazing actors are "given license creatively to go and explore other avenues:"

Horowitz: “I’m just gonna say, you just need to look at the other actors. Obviously the caliber, but then also like Benedict Cumberbatch is not wanting for other work. He’s making it work. There’s a way to do it.”

Poulter: “Right, right. Yeah, exactly. And I think, at the point that you have the Angela Bassett’s, and the Tilda Swinton’s, and the Jake Gyllenhaal’s of this world in these films, I think you have to assume that actors are given license creatively to go and explore other avenues, and do things that are in a different bracket."

Horowitz inquired about Poulter's mindset upon entering Marvel, asking if it was a fair question to ask if this kind of opportunity gave him a sense of trepidation. 

The actor responded by saying that there is "obvious privilege and excitement of the whole ordeal," acknowledging that he entered a world that is "characterized by such a committed and passionate fan base:"

Horowitz: “There’s a lot that goes into a decision like this. Obviously, almost any actor would want this kind of opportunity but I don’t know… Is there trepidation? Is there like, ‘Oh, this is going to be the next seven years of my life. Is this right for me? Is this taking me down a path I don’t need or want?’ Put me in your head back when this came around.”

Poulter: “No, I think it’s a fair question. The obvious privilege and excitement of the whole ordeal notwithstanding… I mean, your first, I think, instinct genuinely is feeling kind of very, very lucky to be welcomed into a world that is characterized by such a committed and passionate fan base that is also predicated on the contributions of so many incredibly talented people."

Poulter then admitted that there's also a "certain amount of pressure" before saying that his experience (so far) has been positive and "really wonderful:"

"And so, to be kind of welcomed into a space that has such a kind of amazing legacy attached to it and such an incredible history of success, that’s super lovely and all wonderful things. I think with that, there’s also a certain amount of pressure, right? And I think there is also a thought that like, as good as all those things are, and like this analogy is like worryingly on the nose for Adam Warlock, but like you know, there is elements of like, ‘Is it a golden cage?’ You know I mean? It’s gold, it’s very pretty, but is it stopping you from doing other things. And I think ultimately, the whole experience of being involved in Marvel, at least to date, and being involved in this movie has only really kind of translated to a positive experience for me and just really, really wonderful opportunities off the back of it." 

The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 actor finished his statement by saying that he's "immensely grateful" for the experience: 

"So, I’m immensely grateful and that sense that, ‘Oh God, I’m trapped by Marvel,’ it’s just not really… that hasn’t been my experience.”

Will the MCU's Quality Improve in Phase 5?

Will Poulter's latest comments about Marvel Studios' approach to quality indicate that the studio has the tools to recover after a sluggish start in Phase 4.  

While there are valid points and criticisms toward Phase 4, there's no denying that the passion and the love of Marvel Studios for the stories and the characters involved will help the MCU on its road to redemption. 

In fact, a rumor even claimed that Marvel is leaning toward a new script strategy by hiring more experienced writers to help shape the stories in Phase 5 and beyond.  

Aside from writers, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is also reportedly expected to tap more "established talent behind the camera."

With actors like Poulter locked in and ready to showcase their passion on-screen, hopefully, the behind-the-scenes talent will complement that excitement, ultimately translating to a better-finished product. 

Interestingly, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 already paved the way due to its strong critics' reactions and stellar box office performance.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing in theaters worldwide. 

- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.