Having been at it since 2008, moviegoers can no doubt admit that Marvel knows how to make comic book movies. While there have been complaints about particular movies not living up to previous entries and your typical nerd-rage stuff here and there, every single movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made a lot of money. A LOOOOOOOOOOOOOT of money. They have turned making comic book movies into an art form that the critics aren’t going to be able to ignore for much longer.
How have they been able to accomplish this? By taking their properties, many being relatively unknown, and turning them into live action comic books complete with somewhat of continuity and a form of comic book serialization. Seriously, if you weren’t a comic geek at one time in your life, how many people heard of Iron Man, Hawkeye or Thor before 2008 let alone the Guardians of the Galaxy or Ultron? It was a gamble that paid off in a big way.
Now, with the recent announcement of what is considered Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans of the Marvel movies and comic book fans the world over will get to see how Marvel manages to tie everything together from shaking the foundation of the Avengers in “Age of Ultron” to the end-all-be-all two-parter of “Infinity War”. From now until then there will be an astonishing eleven movies that all tie into the Marvel shared cinematic universe. That’s one more movie than Marvel has currently released under the shared movie universe to date.
But with that many movies to be released, topped off with the slate of DC movies as well as the secondary Marvel movies by Fox and Sony, will there be oversaturation of comic book genre movies? Will moviegoers get bored of the same old superhero routine? Do people get bored of the same old love stories/horror movies/crime dramas/artsy indie films? Probably, but those types of movies will always be made. Times change and something that wasn’t relevant for decades comes back and is more popular than ever while some things never really go away and just disappear under the radar for a while only to come back into the limelight with a bang. I don’t know how long the comic book movie trend will last. As with all good things, there comes an end. For comic book movies, I believe things are just getting started and I think that Marvel’s shared movie universe is the prime example of how to do things…one step at a time.
In the beginning Marvel didn’t slap moviegoers in the face with a full on superhero in tights film. They went with the more realistic approach with a modern take on a technology based superhero in Iron Man. It was somewhat more believable that someone with a genius intellect could invent a flying suit of armor than it was to believe that a god from another realm could walk among men with his magical hammer. As the audience became more open to the ideas of web-slinging teenagers, humans with genetic mutations and giant rampaging green monsters, the people behind the MCU started to slowly open the minds of the audience to the more outlandish ideas from the lesser known realms of comic book lore. The cosmic side of things was introduced in the Thor movies and “Guardians of the Galaxy”. The Dr. Strange movie is going to do the same thing by introducing the supernatural and horror elements of the Marvel universe. “Inhumans” is most likely going to be the workaround to having mutants in the MCU and “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel” will introduce the first black and female leads for Marvel.
It’s with this variety and diversity in which Marvel will be able to keep things fresh and entertaining for the next decade. Just like the comic books that influenced the movies, you just can’t pigeonhole a comic book movie as just a comic book movie. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was an excellent nod to the spy movies/political dramas of the 70s. “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a nod to pop culture of the 70s and 80s while wearing its love of Star Wars and modern science fiction on its sleeve. The Thor movies are our modern versions of the mythology movies of the past century. Movies like “Ant-Man” and “Dr. Strange” are based off of relatively unknown characters, but with the right mood and direction, can open up a whole new corner of the MCU. The same can be said with “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel” but in a somewhat different light.
What we all know and have come to expect is that all eleven of these upcoming movies will follow some kind of overlying story arc and by the end of Phase 3, there will be a bona fide universe full of hundreds of superheroes, supervillains and supporting characters the likes of which has never before been accomplished in the history of cinema. It’s a magnificent thing to think of, isn’t it? And I didn’t even mention the Netflix exclusive series’ that will introduce Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and an assortment of supporting characters into the MCU. When it’s all said and done, the possibility of some if not most of these characters making an appearance in the final battle with Thanos and his minions in a battle for the fate of the universe is a childhood dream come true. 2019 couldn’t come soon enough for me!
Check out Part One of this article HERE.