Since its inception way back in 2008, some fourteen years ago, we’ve had the pleasure of watching many different entries in the MCU. Some of them have been poor, some good, and some downright worthy of winning Oscars, but I think we’re at a point now where we need to admit the Marvel Cinematic Universe is too big to fail.
A Rocky Start
If you’d have told me when I was watching Iron Man back in 2008 where we’d be at today, I’d never have believed it. I don’t think anyone would have. From getting the rights to Spider-Man back, to literally buying a company to ensure we’re as close to full strength character roster as possible now, it just didn’t seem possible. Not to mention that back then the idea of a multi-franchise universe was unimaginable, let alone with these many properties spanning this long and still going for years to come.
That said, we can’t ignore that the MCU didn’t get off to the best start, and whilst Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger: and Thor were okay to great, Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk were poor to terrible. Thankfully, The Avengers came along and brought all the heroes together for what was the best superhero movie at the time, and it was no mean feat. Having that many individual heroes on screen at one time and giving them their own story arcs, motivations, and big moments could have ended up a mess; see Justice League. Thankfully Kevin Feige, Joss Whedon, and Marvel Studios knocked it out of the park.
Ups And Downs
The ups and downs of the MCU continued well into what became Phase Two, with some stand-outs being the excellently received Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the potential money-risky Guardians of the Galaxy. On the other end of the spectrum, we also had Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 3.
The MCU really got into its rhythm come Phase Three, where pretty much every single film was a success, be it critically or financially, it’s hard to say there’s a downright bad film in it. There are bad parts of stories, effects, characters, and more, but no one film is inherently bad like entries in the first two phases. Phase Three caps off with two of the best films throughout the entirety of MCU with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which took the lessons of the team up in the first Avengers film and multiplied it all by one hundred. And this is another pointer as to why the Marvel Cinematic Universe is too big to fail.
Coming To A Theatre or Television Near You
Now we’re into Phase Four, and truthfully, it’s looking like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting even bigger. As much an institution of cinema these days as the regular outings for James Bond, Star Wars, or any number of horror film franchises, it seems a distant memory to think of a time when an MCU film wasn’t on the horizon at the cinema.
More than that now, we have the regular releases on Disney+ of the MCU television shows, which seem to be having direct and massive consequences on the universe that the movies are feeling. Recent examples include the villain turn of Wanda started in Wandavision and culminated massively in Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness or the biggest shakeup in the MCU to date with the introduction of the multiverse, which was showcased in the Loki television show.
The current saga being called The Multiverse Saga just goes to show how seriously the television shows are being taken, and how big a part they are. After all, it wouldn’t have been surprising for Marvel Studios to release these shows, keeping them as a separate or barely linked part of the MCU, which in turn would have made it easier to keep a cohesive story, but less immersing in a certain level for us the audience.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe Is Too Big To Fail
At this point, the MCU is churning out so many different properties aimed at so many different audiences, that it’s hard to see it end, or at least hard to see it end due to a lack of consumer participation. The MCU makes up four out of the top ten highest-grossing films ever, and with some highly anticipated films due for release soon, that number is only going to go up, almost because it’s nearly a certainty at this point that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is too big to fail.
On top of that, we’re now getting treated to older versions of characters we grew up with sharing the screen with the current iterations. Some examples are the two extra Spider-Men in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and the cameos of a certain Professor X in the recent Doctor Strange film. That’s only going to increase by the time we get to Avengers: Secret Wars.
So yeah, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is too big to fail, and as long as the quality stays consistent overall and they don’t rest on their laurels, I’m happy for that to be the case.