It’s been a decade that Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around entertaining the fans worldwide through its superhero adventure stories based on Marvel comics and character created by Stan Lee. And now, MCU has reached the point where all these stories are going for an epic crossover, where mightiest superheroes will assemble once for an all to fight the battle against greatest villain universe has ever seen.
Over the period of ten years, MCU has established many superhero origin stories in the same universe. The MCU had kickstarted with Iron Man (2008), which came out on May 2nd, 2008. The script was not completely finished when filming began, since the filmmakers were more focused on the story and the action, even the makers were not sure about what they were doing, despite all these difficulties Jon Favreau, the director of the film has pulled off everything so brilliantly, that eventually had laid the foundation of what MCU today is. The casting of Robert Downey Jr. as TonyStark/Iron Man was considered very risky for the project because of his past but Jon Favreau commented: “The best and worst moments of Robert’s life have been in the public eye. He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That’s Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic book character having trouble in high school, or can’t get the girl.”, and today we see Robert Downey Jr. as the biggest star of MCU who has ignited the never-ending flame of incredible filmography.
In Iron Man post-credit scene, the fans were teased with the appearance of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., who approached Tony Stark for an Avengers initiative, and that’s where seeds for this greater universe were sowed. In the same year of 2008, along with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk (2008) was also released, and in this film also Tony Stark has made an appearance in the post-credit scene, which again hinted the crossover of superhero films in the near future.
Iron Man was Marvel Studios’ first self-financed movie but then in 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment for USD $4 billion. After this acquisition, the studio has not stopped yet and has delivered 18 in the saga out of planned 22 films. Avengers: Infinity War is going to be the 19th film in this chronology. MCU has defined the solid style of interconnected filmmaking where different stories are running in the shared universe and concluding together in the end. The MCU has maintained their timeline of events happening in different films pretty well apart from the Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) which had some incorrect timeline as confirmed by Joe Russo in his latest interview.
Iron Man serves as the perfect start to the MCU and is surely the best origin story ever put to screen for a comic book character. After the success of Iron Man, the next milestone was The Avengers (2012) and before that MCU introduced the new superheroes through films like Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Thor (2011), which assembled the core Avengers team. Making the team of Avengers alive on the silver screen was one of the most ambitious projects MCU had ever done in past. If we call Iron Man as the foundation, then The Avengers surely can be called as the backbone of this shared universe. The Avengers grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide and became the third-highest-grossing film during its theatrical run—as well as the highest-grossing film of Marvel production till present day. And all the credit for its success goes to Joss Whedon who has co-written and directed the film, which ultimately fetched him a chance to direct Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
MCU’s all the planned 22 films are cleverly divided across three different phases. The chronological order of these films is as follows :
Phase One: Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012).
Phase Two: Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015).
Phase Three: Captain America: Civil War (2016), Doctor Strange (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), Untitled Avengers Movie (2019).
In the first phase, MCU introduced all the characters through their standalone films and kickstarted the Avengers saga. Going forward, in the second phase, they not only introduced some more new characters and films having their roots connected but also discovered some deeper aspects of the existing members of the Avengers. Now, in the third phase, all the separate threads from previous films are coming together and are forming a big picture.
Along with mightiest superheroes, every MCU film has portrayed equally or more powerful villains – the villains which would act as the most important arcs in defining who the superhero really is. In the 1st phase, Loki played the villain character and threatened the Earth’s very freedom, which eventually united the Avengers. In the 2nd phase, Avengers faced the catastrophe in the form of Ultron, the AI program, which made the Avengers think about the meaning of their own existence. And Now, in the finale of the 3rd phase, the Avengers are going to face Thanos, the mad titan, who has an obsession with balancing the universe by wiping out half of its population. And in this quest, Thanos is trying to get a hand on all the Six Infinity Stones, which are appeared in the previous Marvel films and are located at different places. All powerful Thanos was first spotted in the post-credit scene of The Avengers(2012), and later, in the post-credit scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), since then he was pulling all the strings from background, but now, in Avengers: Infinity War (2018), he is going to get things done by himself.
It is the first time in the cinematic history when 22 superheroes are going to assemble against one powerful villain, and this is gonna be truly epic. So mark the date, 27th April, and be a part of this never seen before cinematic experience.
In every phase, MCU has evolved spectacularly, in terms of storytelling, technological advancements, mesmerizing visual effects. MCU films not only talk about superheroes and villains but also emphasize on emotional drifts of its characters, which enables the audience to root for them. It also talks about family, friends, and relationships which eventually makes it more human. Like any other films, even some MCU films are flawed, either in storytelling, or weaker script, or underdeveloped characters, despite all these factors, and as MCU is seen as a whole, every MCU film has its own fan base and has earned a place in the popular culture. Today, MCU has become the successful and highest grossing movie franchise of all time and gonna remain there for a very long time.