ByMohammad Idrees, writer at
Just a guy who loves movies!
Mohammad Idrees

After all the buzz around the recent reveals from Marvel during their event, I sat down, cracked open a can of Red Bull and got to working. Now, here I have for you, a look at the MCU from where it all started and to where it's all heading. Some facts, a bit of speculation and a whole lot of fun so get comfortable and I hope you guys enjoy.

The odds were against Marvel Studios. A struggling company, the rights to it's main players were with rivaling companies and the thought of throwing millions of dollars into a movie about a character that was unknown to all but fanboys and fangirls was not a good one. However, Kevin Feige, now a household name, had a plan. A plan to bring what was happening in the Comics' universe to the silver screen. And it was all to start with May 2008s Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Tony Stark but that wouldn't have happened without the help of his friend, the director of Iron Man - John Favreau. Favreau pleaded with Marvel to cast Downey (whom had recently left behind a life of drugs and alcohol) and in the end, Feige budged. Thank you Mr. Favreau as without you, the MCU would not be as it is today. So Iron Man was released and everyone at Marvel were biting their nails with nervousness not knowing how the world would take what they had worked so hard on making. Boy did we love it. With a budget of around $140 million, Iron Man took in $318,298,180 domestically. Gaining 93% on Rotten Tomatoes also. Iron Man was the first step into a billion dollar franchise and had the first ever trade mark 'post-credit scene'. It was clear to Marvel and head honcho Kevin Feige that they had a hit on their hands but one hit does not make a franchise...

As I pointed out only just, one hit does not justify a franchise. Marvel had to do it again to prove it was not just pot luck. So after Iron Man followed June 2008's The Incredible Hulk. I think it's suffice to say it didn't go as well as Marvel had hoped. To say it had a rocky production would be an understatement. Edward Norton had picked up the leading role as Bruce Banner and in the agreement that was made, Norton said Marvel promised him creative control which was one of the reasons he agreed to take on the role. Norton went ahead and wrote a script for the entire movie but Marvel didn't like it and went with Zack Penn's original script. Norton was obviously angered as writing a script is no easy feat. Things became heated, quickly. Since then Norton has said that he refused to take on the mantle again into the Avengers movie because if he had agreed to, then to him it seemed the role would be like a suit that would be hard to take off. As you know, the role eventually went to Mark Ruffalo and I think we're all happy about that! So two movies in, one did reasonably well and the other bombed. The Incredible Hulk had a production budget of around $150 million and brought in $135 million in the US. No wonder Marvel has tried to shun this movie and does little to acknowledge it in the MCU and mentions it once in Avengers - "The last time i was in New York, I kind of broke Harlem" sound familiar to anyone?

So two movies in, the groundwork of the MCU was starting to take shape. The two movies were connected through Stark Industries logos on the military weapons in The Incredible Hulk and a cameo by Iron Man himself. The next movie to follow was Iron Man 2 in 2010 which had Don Cheadle replace Terrence Howard as War Machine (for the better in my opinion) and Micky Rourke to play badass villain - Whiplash. A nice addition to the cinematic universe but not a particularly strong one, Iron Man 2 had mixed reviews. If Marvel's reputation as 'hard to work with' wasn't established by Edward Norton then it would be by Rourke. If my memory serves me correctly, Rourke was on The Late Night Show with Seth Myers and said he did a lot of research for the character of Ivan Vanko and added a lot of emotional depth to the character but the scenes they recorded with said depth, Marvel went ahead and didn't use any of them.

Following Iron Man 2 was Thor. Bringing something fresh into the MCU with sort of magic that had a scientific grounding, Thor was received with open arms and Chris Hemsworth was a great casting. Two months later followed Captain America: The First Avenger with Chris Evans taking on the role. Nothing really outstanding but nevertheless it was good a movie. With these four characters the foundations of the MCU had been built. Albeit with a rocky start, Kevin Feige and Marvel's hard work had paid off and would culminate in...

Avengers Assemble! The movie that everyone had been waiting for since Nick Fury told Tony Stark he was part of something bigger! Marvel had to bring it for this movie and boy did they fucking bring it. Avengers hit theaters in May of 2012 and cooked up a storm. With a budget of about $220 million, Avengers bought in $207 million in the first weekend in the US with a total gross of $623 million domestically and well over a billion worldwide! Finishing their first phase on a high. Avengers was a success. Marvel had their franchise. All they had to do was repeat this success in the next phase.

Iron Man 3 was released to us in May 2013 and had a mixed reception. In my opinion it tried to be too funny which led to it leaving a bad taste in your mouth. The huge departure from the comics for the character of The Mandarin really didn't go down well but Marvel had that corrected with a Marvel one shot - All Hail The King. Nevertheless Iron Man 3 brought in $409 million in the US with a budget of $200 million and also going over the billion mark worldwide. Following the 'success' of Iron Man 3 came Thor: The Dark World November 2013 which didn't really bring anything that we hadn't already seen. On a budget of $170 million it brought in $206 million in the US. Passable is a word that comes to mind when thinking of this sequel. With these first two entries into phase 2 of the MCU, it seemed Marvel was going downhill and losing it's touch but then came...

Captain America: The Winter Soldier! This movie did really well. It showed that you don't need aliens or blue cubes to make a superhero movie. What you do need is a movie with a compelling story line and characters that do the story justice. Furthermore, this movie actually had an impact on the MCU, the fall of shield. With the other movies, they didn't really make a dent in the cinematic universe. With this movie and the one's before it, Marvel proved that they aren't just about simple superhero movies. Each movie in the MCU has it's own, distinct 'flavour'. This flavour was definitely apparent in the next entry into the MCU which was...

Guardians of the Galaxy. The movies before it were pretty much grounded to Earth so this movie expanded the MCU right into the cosmic universe. Also, Guardians was a big gamble for Marvel as they were completely unknown to everyone and even fans would have had a hard time placing them before this movie but now everyone knows who they are! A story about a fast-talking raccoon and a giant walking tree that only says three words - "I am Groot" - is a story to be laughed at. But Marvel took the gamble and it payed off BIG TIME. A full blown comedy with action and adventure likened to that of Indiana Jones, Guardians went down really well with fans and lifted Marvel to a level where no one could touch them. They took the most obscure of properties and pretty much made it as the best superhero movie of 2014 and maybe even one of the highest grossing movies of 2014 but that will remain to be seen as 2014 comes to a close. And with Guardians of the Galaxy we are brought to the present day...

6 years of the Marvel cinematic universe and it's stronger than ever - almost untouchable. The release of Guardians proved that Marvel has a loyal fan base and if it has the Marvel Studios logo before it, they are willing to give it chance. Then it's all down to Marvel to bring the quality. With Agents of Shield into it's second season, Agent Carter coming in 2015, Daredevil hitting Netflix in 2015 and a whole slate of movies confirmed all the way up until 2019, it's hard to see how Marvel can be stopped as they will be taking over our screens in the next few years. Starting in 2017, we will see three movies a year from the studio. With the announcement of Black Panther and Captain Marvel as well as Avengers: Infinity War (which by the way I think is such a badass name!) anticipation couldn't be any bigger. It is hard to see how Marvel could fall but Marvel do need to fix their villain problem and next years Ant-Man may be the one to break Marvel's winning streak. With a rocky production to say the least we'll just have to wait and see how it turns out.

Iron Man only seemed like it came out yesterday but here we are six years down the road with Age of Ultron just around the corner. Marvel is heading into some dark corners of the MCU with Civil War coming and Ragnarok too. I cannot wait to see what Marvel can muster.

Thank you so much for reading, guys. Now what do you guys think of the MCU? Is it showing signs of wear and tear? Are you getting fed up with what Marvel is doing? Leave your thoughts down below.

And don't forget guys you can get at me on Twitter:

See you guys in the next one.


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