Why I’m very thankful for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Posted by in Film

Marvel Cinematic Universe is a term for the sum of all Marvel films. I guess it was created to have a name for all the differences from the comics. It’s even more than that: Marvel Studios is an instance looking over the films that were and will be produced. In contrast to DC Comics, which has not such an establishment. This leads to a great advantage for Marvel, because they can create continuity and guarantee that the storylines fit. Furthermore it’s possible to watch over the production and see what’s happening and if it’s fit to the ideas of the comic itself. These are just a few reasons why Avengers is such a enormous success. A well-planned one.
When I conclude the last movie year, I see a fantastic X-Men First Class, the (by Americans?) long awaited Captain America and at least The Avengers. When it comes to DC Comics, I only remember a funny but shallow Green Hornet and a very weak Green Lantern.

I have to state that my favourite superheroes and comic book characters are Batman and Iron Man. Normally Batman at first and for a longer time but concerning movies I have to say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe makes a really good job connecting all the movies in such a clever way over so many years. Something that’s not reachable for DC Comics superheroes, because they all have different producers and studios. Obviously nobody was interested in such a cooperation or had the idea that it could be such a big deal, which is a pity because in the DC Universe there is a team of superheroes too: the Justice League. It could be a similar case, apparently it isn’t at the moment.

That’s stunning, because for over 10 years I wasn’t really familiar with Marvel. I’m speaking of the time when I was a little girl and watched Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman with Dean Cain and the Batman cartoon everyday. They made my childhood and were something like the standard for me. Years later, when I was diving deeper into comics I found out about Iron Man, the X-men and Thor and was fascinated, because they seemed much more individual to me. They had issues. A scientist and playboy, the god of thunder and I noticed that Hulk is a heroe of marvel. Another tv-show I watched, when I was not yet able to look over the tabletop. Imagine! Lou Ferrigno!
But thats just my personal timeline. There is one problem that’s annoyed me when I was a child and that’s annoying me today too: how to get into the universe?

When I was small it was a bit difficult to get the comics, because even in the towns near by they usually weren’t available. Possibly the weaker popularity in germany is a reason. After and after I get some but getting a foot into the storyline nowadays is a bit exhausting. Those comic-worlds are a bit old. It seems to be nearly impossible to read all timelines and versions that were made over the decades. In addition to this it’s impossible to get some editions. And you know what I’m feeling? Regret. It’s a pity that it’s so hard to get into the multiverse(s), because I love the stories and I really would like to now how it happened. How became Iron Man … well Iron Man? Sure there are sometimes stories that were renewed but it’s not the same. If someone in an internet bulletin board/forum/panel talks the whole life of tony stark with all villains and lovers and you only now a handful of them, you would be jealous, wouldn’t you? Well, I am.

So I was happy for every film that showed me more. (And I was even happier when the film was a good one.)
I’m not sure when it started … maybe with the early Batman movies with Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight or later with Blade and the X-Men, but the superheroe-films started, had a boom and are present till now. But the Marvel Cinematic Universe gave us something new: a whole universe we can experience from the beginning.

The films always have some differences from the originals. For example to cope with the modern world: technique, politics and historical events. In case of the movie Thor a lot was changed and some comic fans cannot accept these changes and the idea of creating a cinematic universe. I can follow their opinions and argumentations too. But at least it feels great to see a universe developing, noticing all the references like Captain Americas shield appearing in the second Iron Man film or to wait for the post-credit-scene to catch a glimpse at the next villain. It feels like being part of the game and this is why I’m very thankful for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

At the end of my article I discuss some phenomena concerning the Marvel Cinematic Universe – have fun.

(Cross-)References

Marvel seems to be very certain about upcoming films for years. You can find a lot of hints that foretell next projects or even references to the original comic timeline. My favourites are Tony Stark using the shield of captain america to make the accelerator planar in Iron Man 2, I also liked Dr. Selvig mentioning a scientist who used to work with gamma-rays (Dr. Banner/Hulk).

Some of the references are like a special gift for the comic fans who know about the story like it was told in the comic. For example the Shirt that Thor wears – Jane gave it to him, telling it’s her exboyfriends and that his name is Donald. Correct me if I’m mistaken but I guess in the comics Thors identity was actually this Donald.

Other ones clearly connect the films, for example agent coulson mentioning that the Destroyer in New Mexico (Thor) could also be an invention of Tony Stark (Iron Man): „Guy never tells me anything.“

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These references connect the stories in an unique way and it’s really something special and surprising to notice one of them. It’s like a wink between makers and fans that is unseen by the non-fanatics.

Agent Phil Coulson

Phil Coulson, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., is a character that was introduced and created for the films and is not from the comics. But he is in the comics now!
He first appeared in Iron Man and was the agent everyone was avoiding and even didn’t noticed that he is an agent until he helps at the finale to get Tony and especially Pepper out of the misery. His on-screen time is always short and now after some films he appeared in, I would say, it’s way too short.

Lately blogs and reviewers talk about him as the „glue“ who sticks all the stoylines together and it really is like that. Just take the example where he talks Tony Stark that he had to go to New Mexico (where Thors Hammer appeared) and finds Captain Americas shield in Iron Man 2. Furthermore it’s always fun when he appears: „If you try to escape, or play any sort of games with me, I will taze you and watch „Supernanny“ while you drool into the carpet.“ Or just remember Thor Odinsson calling him „Son Of Coul“.

Maybe we weren’t able to recognise him being a badass but even this was managed with the mini-episodes (DVD-only I guess) „A funny thing happened on the way to thors hammer“. So the whole role was expanded and became a favourite of the audience and at least even appears in the spiderman cartoon and the comics.

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In my optinion he always rocks and I noticed him from Iron Man on. I’m happy that his role was expanded even more in Avengers and I believe in Agent Coulson. Who watched the film maybe knows what I want to express ;).

Plus it’s absolutely great that Clark Gregg, who embodies Agent Coulson, is a comic-fan himself and really engrossed in the whole marvel (cinematic) universe. The fanboyism in Avengers caps it all off. I guess there is so much sympathy for him, because he is a consistent part of the marvel cinematic universe and for persons like me, who were to „late“ for all the comic timelines, he is an anchor. Also new to the marvel universe. Furthermore it’s like he presents the fans and the normal guy who have to handle so not-normal guys (gods, superheroes, supersoldiers, professional killers, …) .

I root for agent coulson.
Avengers-Spoiler begin

The fans also seem to be a bit hurt (me too!) about his death in The Avengers. Even if it was the trigger for the avengers to assemble and to overcome their issues with each other, we are not happy. So there are some conspiracy theories that say that he isn’t dead …

  1. … , because it was just a dramatic trick of Fury to get the heroes to work with each other
  2. … , it was just an android and not Coulson himself
  3. …, he will be back as the vision
  4. …, well not forever… . A beloved character is suddenly there again with a smart explanation what happened 🙂 – comic drama.

I support the first theory. Because it was only Fury stating that he is dead – we never heard the paramedics say it.
The second one is not bad too, because Tony was talking at the beginning of the film about being only the Tony-android to play a trick on agent coulson. The more you like agent coulson the more you believe that this is a possible hint.
The third one is a bit difficult to understand for me, because I don’t know The Vision (see? I want to know more about the marvel universe…but it’s called a universe for a reason)
But – please simply come back. ;_;

Avengers-Spoiler end

Here are some interesting websites:
Clark Gregg and Sci-Fi-Movies
Maybe we see him again(?)
On his love for comics
Wiki

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Stan Lees appearances

Well, doing a cameo is popular – one of my favourite „games“ or „challenges“ while watching hitchcock-films. 😉
But Stan Lee is in every marvel film I guess. Ever noticed?

Have a look at this helpful video:

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Another thing you should be aware of while watching marvel-films. 😀

The timeline

There are a lot of connections and some fans took time to make some sort of infographics to get an overview: click if you have sometimes trouble to sort the timelines out.

The fans

The Avengers was one of the most anticipated films of 2012.
People were talking about marvels choice which comics will be produced as a film and soon there were some voices saying „possibly we get an Avengers-film“. They were right. Even if you weren’t reading the blogs and cinema-related websites you would have noticed the words after the Captain America or Thor film saying „x will be back in The Avengers“.
Everyone was searching for new information, material, pictures from set and trailers and they gave them to us!
Months before Avengers came out I read so often the sentence „when is Avengers finally here?“ or „how long will we have to wait?“ or „may should come soon!!!“. It’s hard to explain but the internet community was excited and it was a feeling of tension. (And believe me I’m a computer science student and I didn’t noticed something like this earlier)

For the ones who hadn’t a chance to see the film soon, it was extremely hard to avoid all the spoilers and discussions on websites, blogs or video platforms like youtube. There is so many artwork/fanart and so many people talking about this film – it was an unique experience on the world wide web and I’m not sure when this will happen again!?
At least the news about the all-time opening weekend box office record were fantastic and makes The Avengers to became an event. And Joss Whedon knows that the fans are one of the most important parts in this relationship: an open letter.

Me, I was very excited for weeks before the film was out and watched it at the day after the german premiere. Never read an Avengers-comic before and to be honest at first I thought this could end up as trash when the god of thunder meets Captain America and Iron Man meets Hulk. Ending up as trash … this would be hurtful. But with every picture and teaser I get more and more the feeling that this will be huge! And it was – it was fantastic. The coronation or high point of all these storylines that are connected now. There were so many moments I laughed and nearly fell from my seat because of the tension. From the moment of leaving the movie theatre until now, I’m having a look at the world wide web for new fanart and discussions and I’m still excited. After and after the situation gets calm now but I will never forget how crazy the situation was before the movie came and out and the first two weeks after. It was great and an unique event. Maybe it’s because I’m a geek and comic-enthusiast. But I’m very thankful for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

And at least: get LOKI’d!