So, at this point in history, we’re nine years in and sixteen films deep (seventeen as of Thor Ragnarok) with this Marvel Cinematic Universe thing. Next year will mark the ten-year anniversary of the MCU and the culmination of an arc that started in the first Avengers film. With the MCU officially being the biggest grossing film franchise of all time, the question might arise: how did they do it? It might seem obvious in retrospect that the MCU is the biggest franchise in the world but this has only been the state of the world for about five years. There are a few things I want to look at with this piece, all tying back to the central idea: The Marvel Experiment. What were the risks? How did they pay off? How did they not? Finally, what makes the whole universe tick? How does this monolith shake off the legitimate critiques of its world, i.e. lacklustre villains, same-y plots, and the like?
So, we’re about nine years into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with sixteen films under their belts. We’re about five years in from the Hollywood-shattering movie that was The Avengers. This will be the first year that three MCU films will be released in the same year. With Thor Ragnarok coming out later this year, and being directed by one of my favourite contemporary directors, I thought I’d look back at the first Thor film and uncover the thinking behind the film; how it works to its own goals and to the wider goals of the MCU.
The first Thor film was notably directed by Kenneth Branagh, which might seem like an odd choice. The dude known for mostly doing Shakespearean films decides to do a superhero film about Norse Gods. On the surface of it, it doesn’t make sense. However, there is method to Marvel’s madness.
This is not a piece I thought I’d be writing. Last year, following the festering pile of unmentionables that was Batman v Superman, I swore off DC films. I was convinced nothing was going to change that. If Warner Bros kept following BvS down the shithole, then there was nothing for me in the DCCU. However, a lot of people whose opinions I respect were praising Wonder Woman, and WW’s place as the first female superhero meant that her movie had an important place in the pantheon of superhero films. Also, tugging at the back of my mind was the thought that if this movie failed hard, studio execs would blame it on the female lead rather than the fact that it’s the fourth instalment in a franchise that occupies the same collective mental space as a tired horror franchise.
Since I’m writing this you probably gathered that I’ve now seen Wonder Woman. After seeing it, I figured my thoughts could be summed up in a single tweet. However, as I mulled over it during the night, I realised I have a little more to say than that. Not much more, but a little more. So, my initial tweet’s worth of comments would have been.
Wonder Woman was enjoyable. A good movie, not a great one. Amazing what happens when you have a director directing, and a screenwriter writing.
That title feels a little clickbait-y, doesn’t it? If it were more clickbait-y, it’d be called ‘The REAL Reason …’. I’ve been meaning to do this topic for a while. Some time ago, I heard this idea about the reason why there’s not much crossover between the Marvel TV universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are a few reasons and that could be given but I reckon there’s one big one. Though, before I get to it, let’s go on a journey first.
What’s up all? I’ve been doing some fiction stuff recently and have strayed away from my earlier bread and butter. There are a few reasons for the shift and I might delve into that later. If you prefer my fiction, that’s not going away. If you prefer my non-fiction/opinion stuff, that’s not going away either. Anyway, enough of that, onto today’s subject.
So, the Fantastic Four film franchise has had a rocky past of late, well more like an ongoing rocky existence. From the 90s Corman film, to the 00s films starring Captain America before he was Cap, to the stupidly-titled 2015 film, Fant4stic. It hasn’t been an easy ride for Marvel’s First Family, with their films being generally received on a scale of Ok to Bad. First, let’s delve into the tricky part of adapting the Fantastic Four for film, and then I’ll throw my hat into the ring attempting to the wrangle the beast at the conceptual phase.
Who’s strong and brave here to save the American Way?
So, my favourite MCU movie is Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s certainly not the most beloved of the MCU movies amongst the general population (often being overshadowed by its sequel The Winter Soldier, and its direct successor in the MCU, The Avengers), but I wanted to look back and admire its successes. In fact, I reckon the successes of the first Captain America film are a microcosm of the successes of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, without further ado, let’s look at Captain America.
(Author’s Note: I’ve only just started watching Supergirl. Will be minimal references to it in this piece)
Superman is my favourite superhero. Not a lot of people understand that. When I talk about Superman people tend to think of Henry Cavill’s turn as Superman, maybe they think of Justice League Animated, rarely they think of Christopher Reeve (blame my generation, millennials ruined Superman. What a title for a curmudgeonly click bait article). Anyway, it’s easy to see how Superman might not have aged well in the public consciousness. Stories come about when characters struggle and Superman, with his bizarre and lengthy list of powers suggest a limitless power. How could someone like that struggle?