Marvel Cinematic Universe – 10 Years in the making
With the release of Infinity War Marvel has arrived at a destination 10 years in the making and stuck the landing of one of the most ambitious projects in cinematic history. From the debut of Iron Man in 2008 that kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to the landmark culmination of Phase 1 in Avengers Assemble, Marvel has been steadily crafting an web of stories and characters that has spanned 19 movies and changed the face of cinema in the process.
When Samual L. Jackson’s Nick Fury showed up in the post credits scene of Iron Man and mentioned the Avengers Initiative, the concept of interlinking multiple superhero franchises into one unified vision and narrative seemed beyond believable or even possible to fans and critics alike.
Yet here we are, 10 years, 19 films, 100’s of characters later and Marvel as not only created the impossible, they have surpassed any expectations and made beloved heroes out of so called ‘fringe’ characters.
This level of world building has revolutionised cinema with many other studios trying to emulate what Marvel and Disney have accomplished yet none have captured the same magic and few have even been classed as a success.
With the strong foundations of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor established, fans had the build to seeing the Avengers come to life fuelling their excitement. Once the events of that film had played out the larger narrative of the Infinity Stones started to unfold and the grand story arc of the whole MCU came to light. A arc that was first established with the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger. If that first ever post credit scene with Nick Fury gave fans a glimpse of the finale of Phase 1 then the post credit scene of Avengers Assemble, featuring the mad Titan Thanos, blew the doors of the MCU wide open and signalled the coming of a larger event that fans of the genre thought would forever be confined to comic books.
Excluding the Avengers movies and sequels Marvel has produced 9 ‘origin’ stories of various heroes. 9 different characters that, 10 years ago, would have received their own film or trilogy and that would have been it. Before the start of the MCU there had barely been more than 9 title comic book characters or teams brought the the big screen in total. Marvel truly took superheroes in movies and turn them from fun action films into a genre all in themselves.
Many believe that with the coming of Infinity War and the untitled ‘Avengers 4’ we are going to see the finale of the MCU however I believe that it is in fact the complete opposite. The end of Avengers 4 wont be the climax of the series but merely the last word of the first chapter. Characters such as Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Ant-Man are still so new in this universe that they will help drive the story forward even if the original corner stones of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America do not.
The MCU is no longer a vision for the future but rather a toy box for writers and directors to play in and contribute their vision. With Disneys forthcoming acquisition of Fox that toy box will only expand and diversify further too with the inevitable inclusion of the X-men and Fantastic 4.
Where the ultimate story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will end up is unknown. However if the last 19 movies have established anything its that Marvel knows what they are doing. So sit back and enjoy the ride.