While its dominance of cinema continues to enthuse debate, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has set plenty of records to become one of the most successful franchises. Its shared univers has stretched the potential of interconnected movies.
As it spins through the multi-year storylines it loves to tell through chapters, the Marvel Studios connected brand has grown to include limited series and multi-season television shows.
The MCU has not expanded, but tens of thousands of characters, stories, and ideas still untapped from Marvel Comics. But cinematic and on-page Marvel might never be the same, according to the number of people familiar with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. As the MCU is an adaptation of Earth, it may as well be another Marvel Earth entirely.
The relationship between movies and comics isn''t reciprocal. While the MCU has chosen the greatest storylines from the pages, it hasnt been seen to a boom in comic book sales. It''s a mixed success for Marvel that many people have first encounter with Marvel icons like Iron Man, Hulk, and Black Panther.
The MCU is a testament to the comics that inspired the show, but its success is driven by the studio''s approach to filmmaking. By under the supervision of Marvel Studios President Kevin Fiege, the franchise has kept its appeal fresh, even when formulaic.
All Marvel films are superhero movies, either supernaturally. There is no escaping that genre with its rich science-fiction, a shady fantasy, and a wide spectrum of comedy. Yet, there are hints of a diverse spectrum of genres that the universe approaches, keeping things fresh and opening up unexpected ways to tell its stories.
Each MCU film has been sorted according to genre.
The MCU was built in battle, the battlegrounds of Afghanistan, where billionaire defense contractor Tony Stark was forced to transform himself into Iron Man. The first set-piece of the MCU was a terrifying attack. This is not the case for the big-screen MCU, but if more Avengers are involved, the danger of war increases. The Infinity Saga couldn''t have ended another way.
- Iron Man (2008)
- The Avengers (2012)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Although the MCUs most difficult genre came out-and-out frightening with Multiverse of Madness (detailing at least ten horror sub-genres) the franchise soon slowed away from those horr roots, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde infiltrate Banner and Hulks as they struggle to control one another.
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)
- Doctor Strange (2016)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
While Thor is one of the most successful MCU characters, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and a host of designers have often had a solid foundation in cosmic science fiction. Unlike its sequels, the first Thor vehicle concentrates entirely on the collision of our Earths superheroes and the new mythology at the end of the rainbow bridge.
- Thor (2011)
Iron Man 2 begins with Ivan Vanko attending Starks press conference from the end of the first film. It emphasised business revenge particularly mech-backed business revenge, and the implications of Tony Starks'' decision to become a public superhero might have been better explored, but the MCU was preoccupied with universe building.
- Iron Man 2 (2010)
Captain America was not a gimmick, but mirrored the captivating journey of Timely Comics into Marvel Comics. Captain Marvels'' debut was similarly defined in the 1990s.
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- Captain Marvel (2019)
Shane Black took the lead for the first billion-dollar solo appearance for Marvel. It was no surprise that the spooked writer behind the Lethal Weapon franchise gave us an 80s/90s buddy film with Stark and Rhodey against the Extremis super-soldiers.
- Iron Man 3 (2013)
This is a challenge, but how would a film that pitted a Norse God against Dark Elves not be a fantasy? Dark Elves!
- Thor: The Dark World (2013)
The Winter Soldier riffed on conspiracy thrillers from the 1970s, beating Robert Redford as big-bad Hydra Alexander Pierce. The MCUs took a more direct approach to the James Bond franchise, complete with a Bond Villain-style cloud base.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
- Black Widow (2021)
The majority of space operas are about sweeping generalizations, but this is where Marvel stories invade Star Wars'' territory. The first Guardians film was a risk that paid off when it was made up. Even though it was a mystery, it turned out that the protagonists were also a threat. However, the original alien make-up of the Marvel universe remained in place. Captain Marvel now supports the creators.
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
- Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
- Eternals (2021)
If the endgame was for the epic battle of its third act, it would be a shoo-in for this genre. Instead, it''s down to the shadiest Avenger and the obvious advantages of his technology.
- Ant-Man (2015)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
In Far From Home, Peter Parker was brought back to school after being dropped into the MCU. From Homecoming to the central anchor of Spideys second film, a travelog, the rom-com between Peter and MJ was shifted around action adventures. It''s most apparent in Far From Home, but what would have happened in No Way Home if Peter hadnt cared so much for him?
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Wakanda, an enormous alien and terrestrial part of the MCUs Earth, is a distinct and dynamically important addition, combining science fiction and social and historical themes in the genre. The sequel has a difficult task to follow, especially without Chadwick Boseman''s great but grounding presence.
- Black Panther (2017)
No doubt Shang-Chis'' debut in the MCU was a fine martial arts film, whether on the bus of San Francisco or the hidden city of Kun-Lun.
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
While it may seem obvious where the sequels to the above movies will go, the MCU is at its best when it surprises us. Just as Winter Soldier was an unexpected success, the next films which intend to catch up with Wakanda and Ant-Man and Wasp may slash expectations.
As of Phase Four, risks and genre-mashing have been revealed in the MCU small-screen expansion. What If? was an anthology that removed some of Marvel Comics'' publishers from the program, which included more radical ideas to the screen, like Marvel Zombies.
Hawkeye riffed on Die Hard and stands as the MCUs greatest Christmas series so far. Falcon and the Winter Soldier continued Captain Americas line in global conspiracy, while Lokis'' first season was obsessed with establishing Phase Fours multiversal emphasis. Moon Knight combines horror, mythology, and psychological thriller.
Wandavision, which performed the genre independently, was the most successful experiment ever made so far. Through the years, the first seven episodes were built around American sitcoms.
The multiverse has opened the MCU to further genre-bending adventures, and Fiege has expressed his desire for the franchise to become more diverse. One genre notable for its absence is the Western. Logan, which took itslead from the comic book arc Old Man Logan, proved that it worked well in the Universe for the time being.
The MCU has surpassed $25 billion in its global box office in less than a decade above its current level of GDP! Few platforms should be off the table for a blockbuster franchise that has had an unprecedented chance to take risks.