With directors coming and going and the whole of Geekdom ranting about the end of Marvel in the movies, I find it necessary to come to their defense. As the title says, this is about why I trust Marvel to make a great comic/superhero movie no matter what gets in its way. The fact is they have the best track record for ANY franchise in the past decade. They have went from making a few disconnected movies here and there to putting together an over arching storyline that has and will wow millions. They have trail-blazed the path to how comic movies should be done; especially when you have a vast comic universe like Marvels.
But what makes me so sure that I'd bet the farm on Marvel? Well, let me lay that out for you...
1) Near perfect casting
I said near perfect although I can't think of any major player that hasn't been dead on. Even when Rhodey star, Terrance Howard, went greedy and pushed for more money, Marvel was quick to find someone equally good for the role in Don Cheadle (maybe better).
From Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark to Chris Evans as Cap to Chris Hemsworth as Thor, every choice has been spot on. These three BECAME the big three for the Avengers before there was an Avengers movie (more on that later). But even Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow was perfect. We would like to see more out of Hawkeye star Jeremy Renner, of course. And everybody seems to be clamoring for a Hulk stand alone with Mark Ruffalo. I'm in!
So, the one thing that's yet to be seen is [The Avengers](movie:9040) next generation and whether they are as good a fit as the charter members. What am I getting at? I have been very vocal on here that Marvel is definitely been building their Avengers Universe around the old school model (more later). So, sooner or later, the big three have to be replaced , either by actors doing what actors do (ie. Moving on) or Marvel killing off characters. Or a little of both.
I think after the amazing success of [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973), we can shelve any discussion of whether Sabastian Sta has a long term role in the Avengers world. As far as that goes, Don Cheadle (Iron Patriot) and Anthony Mackie (The Falcon) can hold their own too. That leaves the new kids on the block in Avengers: Age of Ultron in question; Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Paul Bettany (The Vision). These will be the core of the next generation of Avengers and will either make or break the franchise future (no pressure). But, Marvel's past track record gives me great confidence in this group to be the right cast for the parts.
2) Overall Game Plan
This is a given, but I feel it necessary to go into. Many are still crying over the departure of director Edgar Wright from the Ant-Man production. Why am I not worried? This is more about the whole than the one. This is a team job. And Marvel, learning from its years of success from comic team planning, has, with great success, pulled together a TEAM to pull off the impossible. Tell me one more group of franchises like THOR, IRON MAN and CAPTAIN AMERICA that have been woven together with such accuracy and put together to make such a cohesive story arch before. I'll wait. I'll actually save you the trouble (goin' out on a limb here), there isn't any! This is a one of a kind production and they have mastered it. Sony seems to be learning from the model with weaving [The Amazing Spider-Man 2](movie:508593) to prepare for a real Spidey franchise which will include the Sinister Six and Venom stand alones. Fox too has a potential to show what they've learned by taking their X-men and Wolverine franchise and bring in stand alones like [Deadpool](movie:38663), Mystique and X-factor (to name but a few) and tell a story like none other. Fantastic Four could be brought into this, but Fox has to get their X-crap together first.
3) The Stand Alones
Marvel can put together a massive, over arching storyline, great. But, if not for their success with the Stand Alones (Captain America, Iron Man and Thor), there would be no use of us talking about the Avengers movies. Everybody held their breath when Captain America: The First Avenger hit the theaters. We had been told that all of the old school comic book heroes would all need new story-lines; especially Cap! I mean, who's going to sit through two hours of World War 2 action? It'll never work, right? Well, Marvel didn't listen and it DID work! Iron Man (on the back of RDJ's performance and charm) was already a big success. Thor also had them holding their breath. I myself told everyone that to sell a Norse God of Thunder as a likable, relateable hero was a hard one and, if Marvel pulled THAT off, they would have something. Well, they did and stuck to the character without messing too much with the old school (No Donald Blake? Didn't miss'em).
My point to all of this is that the stand alones were first and gave Marvel the success to build to the Avengers and the joint story-lines. Now, the pressure is on the next two stand alines ([Ant-Man](movie:9048), Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy) to push the story on. If there is a weakness, the future stand alone movies are it. But, given their track record, I trust them to make it right...even without Wright (lol...see what I did there?).
4) Dedication to the source material
Now, this is my theory from the beginning that has yet to be disproved. Marvel is hanging as close to the source material as possible. Of course, there will be compromises due to the nature of the business. But, for the most part, the Marvel quorum will always defer to the source material; in other words, the original comics from the 60s.
You talk to the people in the know about Ant Man:
Digital spy’s timeline:
Wright reveals that his storyline will be "a prologue where you see Henry Pym as Ant-Man in action in the 60's, in Tales to Astonish mode, and then the contemporary flash-forward is Scott Lang's story, and how he comes to acquire the suit, how he crosses paths with Pym".
Now, although Wright is off the project, the mention of Tales to Astonish is more Marvel than Wright. It is always the leaderships go to; old school comicdom.
You talk to Kevin Feige about Doctor Strange:
"There's a whole other side to the Marvel universe, which is the supernatural side. We've always been very interested in this aspect and this is going back to the early days of Strange Tales with Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. I love that stuff. We haven't done anything that mind-trippy yet and for me, Doctor Strange is our doorway into that."
On top of that, just working through the big three’s stand-alones shows us blatant build up straight from the original 60s Avengers. Building Loki as the official first villain? Avengers issue #1. The easter egg in THE FIRST AVENGER with a shot of the original human torch? Shadows of the Vision to come. Introduction of Aim in [Iron Man 3](movie:24391) and Hydra in Cap2. Not to mention the line up of characters in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Shall we call them off? Vision, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch. Add them to Hawkeye and Cap and you have the second generation of the Avengers ala Avengers #16. I could go on and on. Besides some minor things like adding Hawkeye and Black Widow too early and Ant Man and Wasp too late (I blame the waiting game with the movie), the overall story-line is being built right upon the foundation of the original source material.
All that and they are successful. That’s exactly what all the think tanks said couldn’t be done over the last decade. To survive with today’s audience, you had to change the origin stories, make them more politically correct and racially mixed. In other words, make them new and cool. Well, Marvel has made the story Oldschool cool despite all of the Hollywood types that apparently don’t understand comics at all. And everything people want is coming. The racial mixture will be more acceptable in the near future when they reach the later sixties in the source material. That’s where we see the Black Panther join the mix along with so many other black, Hispanic and (place race/nationality here) heroes and villains.
So, Fox….sony…if you haven’t already learned. Watch closely. What Marvel has done in the past few years is about to defy all the forms of moviedom convention again. [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) will surprise everybody and bring in the cosmic frontier missing so far. Ant Man will shock millions by being incredible and pivotal (yes, another article is coming). And Doctor Strange will explode onto the MCU scene and make things more mystical. And all of you people who said it couldn’t be done. Well, they did it.
And, if you’re the same people who are saying the Marvel parade is over, stop it.