MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media establishment and shared universe fixated on a progression of hero films created by Marvel Studios. The movies depend on characters that show up in American comic books distributed by Marvel Comics.
The Marvel Comics are highly famous throughout the world. Originally started in 1939 by the Late Stan Lee, Marvel have since published about 27,000 comics starring various Superheroes, Supervillains and a lot of fascinating characters who have amazing backstories and the side characters are much more than regular NPC’s.
These comics are the contributing factors that led to the movies and made Marvel one of the largest and the most renowned movie franchises to date.
The journey of Marvel Cinematic Universe started in May 2008 with the release of Iron Man which introduced us to Robert Downey Jr. He has truly become the face of MCU having featured in more than 8 different projects. The release of Iron-Man was closely followed by The Incredible Hulk which familiarized us with the Green Goliath i.e. The Hulk otherwise known as Dr Bruce Banner played artistically by Mark Ruffalo. Marvel kept releasing more and more movies with every passing year which gave life to several comic book heroes such as: Thor portrayed wonderfully by Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans was cast as Captain America and of course everyone’s favourite “Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman” which came to life courtesy of some brilliant acting by Tom Holland. Addition of Black Widow saw the casting of 1st female lead in the MCU. Some of the other characters introduced by Marvel include Black Panther played by the late Chadwick Boseman, the skilled sorcerer Dr Strange which starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Hawkeye the skilled archer played by Jeremy Renner.
These characters accompanied by a few more are the part of an organization known as The Avengers.
If there’s one thing every story needs, it’s conflict. And while conflict takes many forms, some of literature’s most beloved stories involve conflict in the classic form of the protagonist and antagonist. Speaking of superheroes, we cannot turn a blind-eye towards the importance of many antagonists that make appearances in the MCU. The success of movies is highly dependant upon the relationship between the Antagonist and the Protagonist. MCU executes this relationship perfectly. The first main nemesis faced by the Avengers was Ultron. He is a self-aware and highly intelligent robot who develops a god complex and a grudge against his creator with a goal to destroy humanity that has brought him into repeated conflict with the Avengers. Apart from Ultron,the next villain that is of great importance is Thanos who was after the Infinity Stones. His aim was to bring balance in the world and to find a new homeland for the people of Titan i.e., his home planet. More villains of considerable importance include Thor’s evil sister Hela who aims to take over Asgard and a cameo by The Supernatural entity named Dormamu which appeared in Dr Strange (2016).
WHO ARE THE AVENGERS?
Avengers are the backbone of MCU. Most of the projects are revolving around the avengers in one way or another.
According to MCU, The Avengers are a team of superheroes labelled as “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”. Their sole purpose is to defend the planet from threats both internal and external (extra terrestrial beings trying to take over the planet).
It has been almost 13 years since the start of this action filled journey. The franchise doesn’t seem to be running out of ideas due to some exceptional writing and production mainly by the Late Stan Lee who was the actual creator of all these superheroes we have been huge fans of.
WHAT MAKES MCU SO SUCCESSFUL?
The reason why it is one of the most successful movie franchises in the world is not only because of the skilled writing of the great Stan Lee but also because of the devotion showed by the actors in playing their characters. The late Chadwick Boseman is the perfect example of the said dedication. The late actor who is famous for playing the role of Black Panther started working for the MCU in 2016 when Captain America Civil War was released which introduced us to his character. He went on and featured in a couple more Marvel projects before his demise was announced in 2020 due to stage 4 colon cancer. It was revealed later that he had been battling cancer for the past 4 years since 2016. This shows how true he was to his role. The rest of the cast also shows the same level of dedication towards their role. Robert Downey Jr. has played Iron Man for about 12 years and did it extremely well. Longevity and loyalty of actors is one of the main reasons that MCU is one of the biggest movie franchises in the world.
THEME OF MARVEL:
What makes Marvel so great is the way they build their characters. The character arc of Tony Stark aka Iron-Man is a very good example of how brilliantly Marvel creates a persona, give them an appalling backstory, and make us feel closely attached to them. From an industrialist, crazy rich lifestyle to being one of the founding members of The Avengers, Tony Stark had one of the best character buildings in the MCU. The most eminent traits that are common in every Marvel Protagonist include the feelings of Valour, Loyalty to their duty and the importance of family bonds. The protagonists are not afraid to sacrifice their lives to save the planet from imminent threats both external and internal.
PHASES OF MCU:
Marvel Cinematic Universe is expanded over a course of about 21 films and several other TV shows. Marvel has divided these films over a course of 4 different phases.
- PHASE 1:
“With great power, comes great responsibility.”
The first phase of MCU comprises mostly of origin stories and backgrounds of the most prominent avengers. It familiarizes us with the general concept of the films and gives us an insight on what to expect from the next phase.
We begin the phase with Iron Man, where Tony Stark is the CEO of a weapons manufacturer who doesn’t feel any sense of responsibility for what he is putting out into the world. It is a movie about him learning to hold himself accountable for what he makes, deciding that his hands alone are the safest to use these weapons.
The Incredible Hulk and Thor end up being opposite versions of the same story when we look at this theme. While both title heroes begin their respective movies with unbelievable abilities, Bruce does everything he can to keep from using his power, whereas Thor seeks out fights to use his. By the end, they both learn the lesson that the responsible choice is to sometimes use their power.
- PHASE 2:
With the whole of first phase defining heroism and heroes, Marvel started the new phase with sequels for the heroes in the first phase but with a twist. They are put into various scenarios where they lose aspects of what made them the heroes they are. For example,
In Iron man 3, Tony Stark is put in a situation where he must step up and be the saviour without his arc reactor. Similarly, in the sequel of Thor i.e., Thor: The Dark World, Thor is put in a situation where he must commit treason to save his brother. Likewise, Capt. America in his sequel was shown as the antagonist becoming a wanted man fighting to take down the agency that he’s been going on missions for since being saved from the ice. This was all done to make ground for the final film of the phase i.e., Avengers Age of Ultron. All the avengers assemble and take down the AI developed initially by Tony Stark.
- PHASE 3:
By the time phase 3 comes around, it isn’t just a continuation but a culmination. Phase 3 is the end of the Infinity Saga for the MCU, a storyline with the infinity stones that has been building since the beginning. Because of this fact, it becomes incredibly fitting that the phase itself is all about legacy, both in terms of the legacies the characters continue, and the ones they leave behind. A consequence of this theme really ends up being that very few dads make it out of this phase alive…
This phase no doubt is one of the best phase in MCU history comprising of almost 11 movies. This is an end point in the long running Infinity saga that begins from Avengers Age of Ultron. This phase sees many of our beloved heroes meet their demise in the way of saving the planet.
In the end, it can be rightly said that Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the highly celebrated movie franchises in the world with over 21 movies with many more currently in production. The hard work of the actors, their dedication and devotion to their roles make MCU great. Started by Stan Lee and continued by Kevin Feige, Marvel has been a huge part of our childhoods and teenage. What makes Marvel great is the way they integrate moral values in action-packed fun filled movies. The movies are a lesson in themselves teaching us about importance of teamwork. The movies depict that money isn’t always everything. You could have all the money in the world. All the gadgets. All the riches. What matters most is what’s in your heart. What matters most is what you love and live for. Furthermore, Some of the hardest choices in life are made harder by seemingly appearing only when you feel most alone. Whether you’re truly alone or not, if a choice is presented to you, always do the right thing. It’s a testament that Steve Rogers lives by, it’s at the heart of any real hero.