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Marvel Cinematic Universe

"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 19 films and 12 television series set in the MCU.

Why It Rocks

  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, while also adding its own twist on the characters to give them a unique touch and includes some original characters. 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. With obvious exceptions such as Doctor Strange 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 and was discovered and mined by the Wakandans.
  8. Despite setting the movies in a more realistic universe, they 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) played the superheroes perfectly.
  10. Stan Lee cameos in every movie. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it was confirmed that Stan Lee indeed always plays the same character.
  11. The Six Infinity Stones are integrated well into the general MCU plot in several movies and became a major ovearching 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 it's 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.
  13. Most of the movies have good to excellent ratings with both critics and fans. Even the weakest movies in the franchise still have rather decent ratings.
  14. The MCU successfully redeemed Daredevil, Punisher, Howard the Duck, Ghost Rider, Hulk, Captain America, and Spider-Man after previous disastrous cinematic ventures.
  15. Most of the time Marvel avoids studio meddling, something that almost always botches movies.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. It popularized the concept of a cross-over movie universe and proved it can work if done correctly.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
    • The Guardians of the Galaxy (Or more specifically the 2008 incarnation of the team), 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 set to appear in her own film set for release 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.
  21. Big Hero 6, despite not being a live action Marvel film like the rest, still got its own separate movie under Walt Disney Animation Studios. Even though it's not set in the MCU, it's still the first animated Marvel property to be theatrically released and not cross over with the other properties of Marvel (Though, we still got a Stan Lee cameo).
  22. The MCU brought a golden age of superhero movies today. While some were flops such as DC's Green Lantern and Fox's Fant4stic nevertheless most superhero movies under Marvel Studios and by other companies have been hits both critically and commercially.
  23. Disney buying FOX opens the doors for a possible appearance from the Fantastic Four, X-Men, or Deadpool in the MCU.

Bad Qualities

  1. The villains tend to be generic, forgettable, "evil who must be stopped" characters, many of them also die in one movie (with a few good exceptions such as Loki, Vulture, Kingpin, Kilgrave, Ghost, Ego the Living Planet, Killmonger and Thanos).
  2. Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World were considered the weakest and by far the worst movies of the Cinematic Universe.
  3. While the movies themselves are good, they often tend to follow a predictable formula, with only a few films deviating from this.

Movies With Their Own Pages

Trivia

  • The first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was originally going to be Doctor Strange.
  • Chris Evans and Michael B. Jordan both played The Human Torch before portraying an MCU character.
  • The only years the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn't make a movie were 2010 and 2009, possibly due to production of their own movies.
  • Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch both played Sherlock Holmes before portraying an MCU character.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently the highest-grossing franchise of all time.