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Marvel Cinematic Universe

"I Am Iron Man. 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, revitalized and revolutionized the superhero movie genre. Now, superhero movies are extremely popular.
  2. Rather than rushing into the crossovers right away like other cinematic universes, 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 destruciton.
    • 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., 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, 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.

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, Hela, Kingpin, Kilgrave, Ghost, Baron Zemo, Ego the Living Planet, Killmonger and Thanos).
  2. The movies tend to get a bit formulaic at times.
  3. While it is good that the concept of the interconnected movie universe caught on, many who have tried it have done it the wrong way by making movies that focus too much on setting up the connected world rather than just being a movie on their own. Such examples of cinematic universes that tried too hard to set up other movies include the DCEU (until 2017's Wonder Woman), Universal's Dark Universe (which has started poorly so far with The Mummy failing with critics and audiences in North America), and Sony's planned Amazing Spider-Man Universe (Amazing Spider-Man 2 was supposed to start this universe but the film's disappointing box office meant Sony had to share Spider-Man with Marvel Studios and Disney). Because of this, the idea of a interconnected cinematic universe is ruined.
  4. Two of Marvel's MCU TV shows: Iron Fist and Inhumans have been very poorly received (especially the latter, see below).
  5. Black Widow hasn't been given a solo movie despite the character's popularity and interest from both Scarlett Johansson and Kevin Feige as well as a script treatment by writer Nicole Perlman. According to some reports, this is due to former Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter blocking any female lead MCU movies.
  6. Lately, many people are considering the superhero genre to be oversaturated due to the large amount of MCU movies coming out every year.
  7. The color grading of most MCU movies looks grayish, flat and dull due to most films shot on digital cameras and the lack of proper blacks and contrast with the exception of Thor, Iron Man 1 and 2, and The Incredible Hulk which are shot on film cameras.
  8. Some higher-ups at Marvel have attempted to weaken other brands that own the rights of characters not owned by Marvel Studios such as X-Men and Fantastic Four at the time. The Fantastic Four, in particular, have seen their title canceled in 2015 due to rights issues. Several recent Marvel video games such as Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 and animated shows lately like Avengers Assemble and Guardians of the Galaxy have omitted any X-Men and Fantastic Four characters. Those same higher-ups have also been attempting to have the Inhumans replace the X-Men as Marvel's "minority society with superpowers" characters. Ike Perlmutter attempted to force the Inhumans into the MCU, initially as the main series movie which Kevin Feige was against. After Feige successfully canceled the movie, the Inhumans were turned into a rushed ABC show with terrible production values which bombed quickly with critics, audiences, and IMAX box office becoming the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first official flop.
    1. Thankfully, Disney purchasing Marvel Studios have since weakened the influence of those higher-ups and prevented them from further meddling with the MCU at least in the movies side of the franchise and Disney later acquired X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool.

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 Marvel Cinematic Universe didn't make were 2009 and 2010.
  • 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.