Marvel Cinematic Universe

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"You think you're the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark, you've become part of a bigger universe. You just don't know it yet." - Nick Fury

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, abbreviated as MCU, is a series of superhero movies and TV series based on various Marvel characters. Canonically, these movies are set in Earth-199999 within the Marvel Multiverse. The series features standalone movies for the various superheroes and crossovers where the different characters of each movie meet each other. Currently, there are 23 films and 12 television series set in the MCU.

Why It And Its Films Rock

Marvel Cinematic Universe at its 10th anniversary.
  1. The MCU, along with Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, the original Superman movies, the X-Men film series, and the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, revitalized and revolutionized the superhero movie genre. Now, superhero movies are extremely popular.
  2. The MCU took its time to properly introduce the major characters with standalone movies for each of them and only put very non-intrusive connections to other movies such as S.H.I.E.L.D. appearing occasionally. When the Crossovers officially began with The Avengers, the impact was stronger and more satisfying.
  3. You don't need to be a dedicated and knowledgeable Marvel fan to understand and enjoy the movies since they're a separate canon from the comics with their own separate lore. In fact, the movies are a great way for people unfamiliar with Marvel to get to meet these characters.
  4. The standalone movies still have their own focused plots and can be watched without needing to know the whole lore of the universe.
  5. Likable, well written characters which helps when the crossovers take place.
  6. Strong respect for the source material with elements from Earth 616 and Ultimate Marvel being added in. Character adaptations are for the most part very accurate but still add some changes to give them a unique twist and fit them better with more modern audiences. In fact, some of the MCU's concepts were adapted into the comics afterward.
  7. It sets the Marvel characters in a more realistic way that most of the superheroes' powers can be explained logically in the real world similar to the Ultimate Marvel comics before it. With obvious exceptions such as Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, or the six Infinity Stones, magic is for the most part ignored. Some examples include:
    • The Asgardians are humanoid aliens with interplanetary travel technology that humans mistook for gods when they visited Earth centuries ago.
    • The Arc Reactor that powers Iron Man's armors is an experimental non-contaminating power generator which Tony miniaturized.
    • Ant-Man shrinks by using a subatomic particle formula that compresses molecules together.
    • Vibranium is rare mineral not native to Earth that landed on the planet via a meteorite that was discovered and mined by the Wakandans.
  8. Despite setting the movies in a more realistic universe, they usually don't forget the cheesy light-heartedness superheroes inherently have.
  9. Fantastic casting choices. Stan Lee himself admitted that some actors (such as Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Tom Holland as Spider-Man) played the superheroes perfectly.
  10. Stan Lee made cameos in every film up until Avengers: Endgame, when five months before its release Lee passed away. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it was confirmed that Stan Lee indeed always played the same character.
  11. The Six Infinity Stones are integrated well into the general MCU plot in several movies and became a major overarching plot point for the lore:
    • The blue Space Stone was contained inside the Tesseract, which was kept in Odin's Vault on Asgard up until its destruction.
    • The red Reality Stone was turned into the liquid Aether, which was given to the collector.
    • The yellow Mind Stone was inside Loki's scepter and later attached to Vision's forehead.
    • The purple Power Stone was stored in The Orb and safeguarded by the Nova Corps in Xandar.
    • The green Time Stone was part of the Eye of Agamotto which Doctor Strange owned.
    • The orange Soul Stone was hidden in planet Vormir and safeguarded by the Red Skull.
  12. Post-credit scenes show teasers for future movies and encourage viewers to stay and watch the credits and allow for foreshadowings and set ups to take place without interrupting the movie itself.
  13. The majority of the movies have generally positive ratings with both critics and fans. Some of the weakest movies in the franchise have mixed ratings, but none are very poorly received.
  14. The MCU successfully redeemed Daredevil, Punisher, Howard the Duck, Ghost Rider, Hulk, Captain America, and Spider-Man after previous disastrous cinematic ventures.
  15. The success of the MCU finally convinced Sony to let Marvel use Spider-Man again which they did to outstanding results with an actor suited for the role (Tom Holland) and got his own standalone movie that met expectations and was a successful way on how to reboot a film franchise. Marvel's success with sharing Spider-Man with Sony/Columbia is a testament to how far the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been and a model example of shared agreements between studios.
  16. The MCU success isn't just limited to the movies. Its success on the big screen would lead to the TV shows that also get the same critical acclaim and success as their film counterparts which include: Netflix's Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, the Punisher, Hulu's Runaways and ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter.
  17. It popularized the concept of a cross-over movie universe and proved it can work if done correctly.
  18. The actors are often allowed to improvise lines and many times some of the best dialogues in the movies are completely improvised.
    • Thor Ragnarok in particular was approximately 80% improvised according to the movie's director.
  19. Many of Marvel's lesser known and or/less popular characters have become extremely popular due to their MCU incarnations:
    • Ant-Man (or more specifically the Scott Lang incarnation) is now an A-lister thanks to his own film being successful.
    • Iron Man believe it or not was previously a fairly unpopular character, being a B or C lister. However, the movies changed this and made him an A lister and one of Marvel's most popular heroes.
    • Luke Cage was a fairly obscure street level hero along with Iron Fist, and both became well known thanks to Cages strong debut in Jessica Jones and his own series, and Iron Fist while his first season was poorly received became more popular with audiences with season 2.
    • The Guardians of the Galaxy (Or more specifically the 2008 incarnation of the team introduced in the Annihilation story line in the comics), in particular, used to be one of the most obscure Marvel characters but they have had very successful films and are now one of Marvel's biggest franchises. They have shown up in other media: comics, animation, video games, and even theme parks.
    • Jessica Jones has starred in a sucessful Netflix series while Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel is appears in her own film released in 2019.
    • The Runaways, an extremely obscure team of super-powered teens created by Brian K. Vaughn has gotten their own Hulu series and it has been successful with critics as well as fans and audiences.
  20. Disney buying FOX opens the doors for a possible appearance from the The X-Men in the MCU. Wolverine is currently being considered for a movie or TV show, while Deadpool 3 is in development, with Ryan Reynolds returning. Fantastic four is also in development.
  21. Amazing action sequences in all of the films.
  22. Great soundtrack for many of the films.

Bad Qualities

  1. The villains tend to be generic, forgettable, "evil who must be stopped" characters, many of them also die in one movie.
    • This is especially true of Malekith from Thor: The Dark World and Ronan the Accuser from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1.
    • Reportedly, the producers wanted to avoid the problem that 1990s and early 2000s superhero movies had, namely focusing on the villains rather than the heroes, and so in the early MCU films just treated the villains as devices to move the plot forward.
    • Staring from Phase 3 however this problem was slowly addressed, with newer installments introducing more compelling villains such as LokiGCW, VultureGCW, KillmongerGCW, ThanosGCW, among others.
  2. Iron Man 2AMW and especially Thor: The Dark WorldAMW are considered the two black sheep of the superfranchise.
  3. A recurring problem in most movies is that comedy is often used in the middle of serious moments which while funny, tends to be out of place. The MCU also tends to sacrifice emotional richness for one off jokes at times, with the Mandarin twist in Iron Man 3 being one of the biggest examples of this.
  4. For a time the MCU received executive meddling from Ike Perlmutter and his creative committee which hurt several MCU films (Age of Ultron was mostly an advertisement for future films due to the Creative Committee for instance). The committee has thankfully dissolved and Marvel films are no longer limited by Perlmutter or his committee.
    • According to some reports, Perlmutter also refused to greenlight any female led MCU films, which is why Black Widow did not get a film until phase 4, The Wasp was omitted from the first Ant-Man film, and Captain Marvel did not debut until late phase 3 right before Endgame and wasn't given enough time to explore her character.
  5. While most of the movies are fun and enjoyable, they often tend to follow a predictable formula, with only a few films deviating from this. This problem is most prominent in films such as Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, and Captain Marvel, all of which were well received but also criticized for being too similar to previous installments in the franchise.
    • In fact, this has even been pointed by famous celebrities and even some audiences, with the current biggest example being Martin Scorsese (the director of The Irishman, The Wolf of Wall Street, Taxi Driver and others), who had an interview and was asked about his opinion on the MCU, where he responded by saying that the MCU films are more of amusement parks rather than actual cinema, which caused a media frenzy and, at The New York Times, Scorsese openly explained why he's not a fan of the MCU, and pointed out its flaws, especially the films' predictable formula and cliched nature, as well as the fact that cinema is being oversaturated by these films, and that more original films from other more prolific filmmakers are overshadowed by said films, and also explained his concerns if that continues.
  6. Often, new elements introduced in newer films cause minor inconsistencies and retcons previously established lore.
  7. The TV side of the franchise hasn't done as well. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was very well received, and so were Daredevil, The Punisher, and Jessica Jones, but Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Defenders received mixed reviews, while Inhumans and Helstrom were very poorly received.
  8. While the CGI is usually solid in the movies, and the use of CGI is often justified given the nature of superpowers, one can argue that the films overuse CGI and don't use enough practical effects to the point where entire rooms are done in CGI.
  9. Characters often have very noticeable differences from their comic counterparts, such as Talos being able to shapeshift.
  10. The MCU tends to have too much influence over various media, such as cartoons and games. Thanks to this, a lot of characters in the comics started to resemble their MCU counterpart in both costume and personality, the biggest example being the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Movies With Their Own Pages

Trivia

  • The first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was originally going to be Doctor Strange.
  • There are actors who played other famous characters before and after portraying in the MCU:
    • Chris Evans and Michael B. Jordan both played The Human Torch before portraying an MCU character.
    • Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch both played Sherlock Holmes before portraying an MCU character.
    • Cobie Smulders had played Robin Scherbatski from the hit TV series, How I Met Your MotherBTSW before portraying an MCU character.
    • Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Cate Blanchet all portrayed characters from both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises before portraying as MCU characters.
    • Djimon Hounsou portrayed the Black Panther in the 2010 motion comic based on the famous 2005 run before playing Korath in the MCU.
    • Djimon Hunsou and Zachari Levi both portrayed characters in the MCU before then portraying characters in the Worlds of DC franchise.
  • Actors of the TV show Community, had made cameos in various MCU movies:
    • Daniel Pudi (Abed Nadir) had portrayed as an agent of HYDRA in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
    • Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) had portrayed Tony Stark's assistant in Captain America: Civil War.
    • Donald Glover (Troy Barnes) had portrayed as Aaron Davis/The Prowler.
    • Ken Jeong (Ben Chang) had portrayed as a security guard and Yvett Nicole Brown (Shirley Bennett) as an employee on the elevator in Avengers: Endgame.
  • The only years the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn't release a movie were 2009 and 2020, possibly due to production of their own movies during the former and the COVID-19 pandemic during the latter.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently the highest-grossing franchise of all time.
  • There are a few running themes throughout the series:
    • The main protagonist often isn't the one who defeats the main antagonist or needs someone else's help to do so.
    • The second movie of each trilogy involves the protagonist getting a sidekick hero, or in the case of team up movies the team gets new members.
    • Every movie in Phase 2 had a character lose a hand in a similar fashion to Luke Skywalker.

Comments


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EijiZeBoi

2 months ago
Score 1
LOONA beat the Avengers.
avatar

EndBringer99

one month ago
Score 2
Wanna mention the expansion to Disney+?

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