This week, the first trailer for next year’s Avengers: Infinity War was released online, giving fans a first look at a superhero movie that finally brings together all the characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a franchise comprising of almost 20 feature films, multiple television series, short films, comic book tie-ins, etc. It’s scope and ambition is of a scale never before seen in cinema. It’s an exciting time for comic book fans, however, I also can’t help but notice all the complaints stating that superhero films have over-saturated the film market, or that we never get original films anymore, it’s all just sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots, and adaptations.
While it may feel like repetitious, I believe it has something more to do with the way films are marketed. It seems like that’s all we get, because it’s those types of films that get all the attention. We see their trailers the most. We see their posters the most. We see their product placement at malls and grocery stores, and bus stops. They get the spotlight because they bring in the big bucks.
However, if you really look at the films getting made and released today, the variety is actually pretty outstanding. I’ve always been a film lover, and one of my favorite aspects of film is the variety there is. I love everything from big spectacle tent-pole films, to indie art-house films, to classic silent films. The key for me is quality. I love quality films, and quality films can really come from everywhere. Greatness can come from the biggest American action spectacle, or from the smallest foreign indie drama.
There are multiple comic book universes in existence today, however, I have singled out Marvel because not only is it the biggest and most successful, but also because I feel like it’s the best one.
The X-Men films have had some of the best as well as some of the worst. This year’s Logan is a shining example of quality superhero film-making. The DC Extended Universe is struggling to play catch up with Marvel, but films such as Wonder Woman show that there’s still hope there. Marvel’s successes have largely overshadowed it’s failures. Phase One had some of the weakest films, including the likes of Captain America: The First Avenger and The Incredible Hulk. Since then, we’ve seen a lot of good, and even some very great films, including Captain America sequels that have gotten better every time, and Guardians of the Galaxy, which took everyone by surprise. This year alone gave us arguably the best Spider-Man film ever made and easily the best Thor film every made.
What makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe so special, aside from having multiple quality films and television series, is the fact that they exist in the same manner as the source material they draw from. All of the previous comic book franchises existed in closed universes that didn’t include other comic book characters. The previous Spider-Man movies didn’t have Iron Man or Captain America or Black Panther.
The comic books, however, has always had these beloved characters co-existing with each other. They would pop in and out of each other’s stories, or even debut in other character’s stories. Now we finally have a film universe that does the same thing, giving fans a true adaptation never before seen. The MCU moves its characters around just like it does in it’s comics. It’s a truly exciting time. I’ve seen every film in the universe in theaters since Iron Man first kicked it off in 2008. While, not very one has been great, the franchise overall has been a hell of a lot of fun to see unfold over the years, and I’m incredibly excited to watch it continue.
If you’re reading this and thinking comic books movies still aren’t your thing, just know that there are plenty of great films out there for everybody, you just have might to look a little bit to find them.
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