"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 which include released and upcoming films such as The Avengers quadology and related trilogies such as Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, The Incredible Hulk, The Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, the Spider-Man duology, the Ant-Man films, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel. As well as TV series such as The Defenders, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher on Netflix, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Inhumans on ABC, Cloak and Dagger on Freeform, New Warriors, and Runaways on Hulu. Canonically, these movies are set in Earth-199999 within the Marvel Multiverse and separate from the mainstream Earth-616. The series features standalone movies for the various superheroes and crossovers where the different characters of each movie meet each other. Currently, there are 16 films and 12 television series set in the MCU.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently the highest-grossing franchise of all time.

Why It Rocks

  1. The MCU, along with Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, revitalized and revolutionized the superhero movie genre.
  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 protagonists.
  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.
  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:
    • The Blue Space Stone is contained inside the Tesseract which was in Odin's vault in Asgard until it was destroyed. It is now in Thor's spaceship.
    • The Red Reality Stone is owned by The Collector.
    • The Yellow Mind Stone is attached to Vision's forehead.
    • The Purple Power Stone is safeguarded by the Nova Corps and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
    • The Green Time Stone is part of the Eye of Agamotto which Doctor Strange owns.
    • The Orange Soul Stone is currently the only Infinity Stone that hasn't appeared.
  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, Ghost Rider, Hulk, Captain America, and Spider-Man after previous disastrous cinematic ventures. They also have the rights to Blade and potentially redeem him as well.
  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. Disney has just recently held talks with 21st Century Fox (who hold the film rights to the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool) about acquiring 20th Century Fox and 20th Century Fox Television. Though reports indicated that the talks had stalled and the two sides weren't talking anymore, however, weeks later Disney has re-engaged talks with 21st Century Fox with those deal talks gaining momentum. Even Lauren Shuler Donner (executive producer of Fox's X-Men films) wants to see the X-Men in the MCU and Kevin Feige said "Yeah, of course" in one of the questions when he was asked if he wanted to see the mutants in Marvel's films. On December 14, 2017, it finally came: the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool were heading home to Marvel Studios to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    1. In fact, we can finally have one thing we all want: Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool vs. Phineas Flynn for a Comedic Showdown of Comedic Destiny.
    2. We"ll finally see storylines such as Avengers vs X-Men and House of M play out with the deal happening.
  18. 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.
  19. It popularized the concept of a cross-over movie universe and proved it can work if done correctly.
  20. Even without some of their biggest characters such as X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, and a few others (though the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool have since been brought back to Marvel), Marvel was still able to build their cinematic universe with the Avengers and later other characters such as the Guardians of the Galaxy, The Defenders, Phil Coulson and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Inhumans, New Warriors, the Runaways, Secret Warriors, Cloak and Dagger, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Doctor Strange, the Punisher, Cloak and Dagger, Ghost Rider and many other characters.
  21. 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.
    • Two obscure female Marvel characters: Jessica Jones and Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel are now getting the spotlight and attention they deserve. The former has starred in a sucessful Netflix series while the latter 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.
    • In fact, the MCU's success with obscure characters has made it possible for Moon Knight, Namor, Nova, Power Pack, Captain Britain etc to appear in live-action for the first time.
  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, Kingpin, Kilgrave, Baron Zemo, Ego the Living Planet, Hela).
  2. Some movies like Ant-Man and Doctor Strange despite being enjoyable can get a bit formulaic and feel like Iron Man.
  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).
  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 a large amount of MCU movies coming out every year.
  7. 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.
    2. The X-Men ever since ResurrXion have seen a revival with a ton of new X-titles launching with more coming, Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Charles Xavier have been resurrected from the dead in the comics. The X-Men have also been added to Marvel Future Fight as well as the Age of Apocalypse event and Rogue, Gambit, and Nightcrawler being added to Marvel Puzzle Quest.
    3. Even the Fantastic Four are on their way to being revived such as Marvel Legacy #1 officially bringing back Franklin and Valeria Richards to the Marvel Universe. Marvel Two-In-One is also bringing the Thing and Human Torch together in the storyline Fate of the Four which involves them trying to find Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Franklin and Valeria which could result in a Fantastic Four reunion.
    4. Thankfully, now the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool are back at Marvel Studios and set to be integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe the days of not seeing these characters in Marvel video games and animated shows are over.

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