EDITORIAL: How I Believe Marvel and The Avengers Have Changed Things

EDITORIAL: How I Believe Marvel and The Avengers Have Changed Things

Wishful Thinking or Clairvoyant Awesomeness? You Decide.

Marvel started something previously unimaginable with Iron Man in 2008 and in four years has possibly changed the future of Comic Book Movies. The idea was to simply create a cinematic universe in which various characters exist. It isn’t a revolutionary idea as both Marvel and DC have used this technique in various mediums for decades and the premise can be boiled down to “branding,” which every company uses in its marketing strategy. However, within big budget motion pictures, the idea of a shared universe was always a fanboy’s wish.

It wasn’t easy for them to execute, and admittedly for us to sometimes watch. Iron Man 2 was bogged down with the task of continuing Tony’s story while establishing the web of the universe. It was distracting. Thor and Captain America had moments which completely removed me from what was happening because we suddenly had to tie everything to the universe. It was fun for hardcore fans, but unless one of us were there to help explain things to casual fans or just movie goers, it was slightly odd.

However, the critical and box office success of The Avengers showed everyone, to the tune of 1+billion, that this strategy works. It is possible to please lifelong comic fans as well as casual fans and create something general audiences will love as well all within a shared universe. if you think every studio doesn’t have a room full of people working on copying this blueprint in an attempt to create similar success then stop reading.

Hopefully, this will cause DC/WB to get their act together. There are many paths to the destination, and DC/WB have decades of material to draw from to find its way. What I find more interesting is Fox.

Fox owns the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Both franchises had an original run and are in various stages of rebooting - X-men with a prequel/reboot and the Fantastic Four in a development reboot production purgatory. X-Men First Class didn’t have anything showing a larger universe overtly, but the film has the potential to be the basis of the “Fox/Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

It isn’t outside the realm of possibility to reboot the Fantastic Four in the ‘60s or ‘70s, using the FBI as a bridge to connect the two franchises in the same way SHIELD was used by Marvel Studios. Now, it would clearly be blasphemy for Fox to create an amalgamation of the Franchises, but it would be great to see them band together in a shared universe to defeat a threat neither team can handle on their own and there is plenty of crossover in the source material to draw from.

Such an idea was a pipedream until late April, but success coupled with a monetary juggernaut tends to change things. The possibilities of a time specific shared universe are endless. The X-Men are juxtaposed against the American Civil Rights movement. The Fantastic Four are set against the moon landing. The two can coexist through the Cold War, Vietnam and a smattering of the world’s trials and tribulations.

If a shared universe isn’t in Fox’s way ahead, then they are doing it wrong. Marvel showed that it can work and how to do it. Successful innovation is always piggybacked and Fox has an opportunity to create something fun, unique and special. Of course, it is all dependant upon Fox respecting the source material and dedication to treating the properties seriously.
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Filed Under "Avengers" 5/21/2012
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Tajin88 - 5/21/2012, 9:55 AM
Avengers changed a shit. Avengers had the same tone like Ironman, if and if a marvel movie changed a thing, then Ironman 1, but I tend more for Blade.
And people or should I say marvel fanboys shouldnt forget this, even if they want to forget:

"Chris Nolan's Batman is the greatest thing that happened because it bolstered everything." - Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige!
Frogman - 5/21/2012, 10:18 AM
I don't think that it is necessary for a joint universe to make great and enjoyable films. I honestly don't understand why everyone thinks because Marvel Studios has a Cinematic Universe that every other comic book movie studio has to copy them.
95 - 5/21/2012, 10:28 AM
I wanted a 20th Century Fox -- F4 / X-Men crossover ever since 'First Class' was said to be set during the Cold War. So I definitely agree that not doing this is a missed opportunity. A Space Race-set F4 is something I want to see before Marvel (hopefully) reacquires F4-- which they'll likely set in the present.
NextHero08 - 5/21/2012, 10:38 AM
The Avengers was a good film but they relied too much on combining the stories than focusing on the characters themselves. Thor and Captain America were so flat. Thor was made out to be a wuss, not much of a god and Captain America was boring and totally raped his origins. Plus, Hydra sucked. Then here comes the Avengers with a villain we already seen, nothing new shown from the heroes and a story that wasn't a surprise to anyone. The only thing that made me lose my mind was the after credits scene because it was something I didn't see coming.
marvel72 - 5/21/2012, 11:50 AM
every studio should take note,look at the money marvel studios films are bringing in.

they've spent roughly $1,000,000,000 on six movies & them six movies have grossed $3,470,034,291 as we speak & its still rising with the avengers.

@ yossarin

very good article,well done.
Viltrumite - 5/21/2012, 1:12 PM
My little brother's been sick, so we stayed in and watched X-Men: First Class yesterday, and he watched it again while staying home today, and we literally just discussed this a few minutes ago.
A Fantastic Four reboot set in the early 60s within X-Men: First Class' continuity would allow them to do so many things a modern adaptation wouldn't allow. The original origin could be used, and the retro-futuristic look of the comics as Jack Kirby drew them could be incorporated. Even the costumes could be better explained/adapted; they're experimental space suits made by Reed Richards from unstable molecules that the Four wore during the fateful rocket flight before being bombarded with more solar radiation than the suits were designed to handle.
You could see anti-mutant rallies in the FF movie, along with the Four initially accused of being mutants. In a First Class sequel, you can see the FF being adored on TV, while the X-Men wonder why they're feared.
It really lends itself to a load of great possibilites for both franchises, even without direct crossovers ever occurring. The tiny little references are part of what made Stan Lee's comics at the start of the modern Marvel Universe so enjoyable. I really hope Fox chooses to go this route.
ralfinader - 5/21/2012, 1:16 PM
@Yoss- good article

Marvel gambled and won, I doubt either Fox or WB are going to be willing to take that same risk (as we know, Marvel's plan was laid out and starting to steamroll before Disney got on the scene, and had Disney bought Marvel pre-Ironman, we probably never would have got the Avengers).
Knightrider - 5/21/2012, 1:45 PM
Wouldn't say has changed anything, I remember 08 after TDK people said the something. Every CBM now needs to be dark and realistic. Thankfully that wasn't the case and it is the same here, now it is CBM now need to be linked and be light and funny. Again, if every film became like that it would be a disaster for the CBM movie industry.

Just popular at the moment and with good reason, but as soon as the next big thing comes out we'd all be saying has that changed everything.
Minotauro - 5/21/2012, 2:24 PM
Money for stats dictating Marvels success is anything bu irrelevant. Ratings on how good the movie is, is where the CBMs are accepted good.
Gerrit - 5/21/2012, 2:43 PM
Just because it works for Marvel Studios it doesn't mean it would work for other studios. X-Men/FF 4 shared universe? I don't see it happening, its just too many characters, within X-Men alone some people already say there's too much Wolverine. X-Men combined with FF 4 are 10 or maybe more main characters and they are just too similar.
marvel72 - 5/21/2012, 3:25 PM
@ Minotauro

marvel studios has yet to make a bad film,if you compare them to other marvel films by rotten tomatoes ratings.

marvel studios films (good-very good)

-iron man 94%
-the incredible hulk 67%
-iron man 2 74%
-thor 77%
-captain america the first avenger 79%
-the avengers 93%

marvel films (bad)

-elektra 10%
-howard the duck 16%
-ghost rider 2 18%
-man-thing 20%
-the punisher (89) 24%
-punisher war zone 26%
-blade trinity 26%
-fantastic four 27%
-ghost rider 27%
-the punisher (04) 29%
-fantastic four rise of the silver surfer 37%
-x-men origins wolverine 37%
-daredevil 45%

then you have spider-man 3,x-men 3 & blade trilogy which score abit better.

marvelstudios - 5/21/2012, 7:15 PM
i want all the marvel charcter rights fox and sony has and have them back at marvel studios. fox's x-men franchise is horrible. although i liked sonys original spiderman franchise when it first came out, i would like the right back and have spiderman done by marvel then eventually put in a team-franchise
Ghostt - 5/21/2012, 8:12 PM
"If a shared universe isn’t in Fox’s way ahead, then they are doing it wrong."

well said and nice article. A shared universe and cameos is one of the great things about comics (and hip hop for that matter. they get it)
Bumble - 5/22/2012, 6:46 AM
the question you have to ask yourself is is a shared universe something that fox or wb wants?

let's think about this. yes, we've seen with the avengers the best (at least so far) what a cinematic universe can offer. but this universe took a lot of time and planning and 4 to 5 years worth of movies to build it up. you have to ask yourself if fox and wb are set up to really devote the needed resources to do such a venture. i mena, marvel has an entire film division devoted to its characters and its universe. it's not the same situation with fox or wb.

the other question you have to ask is do they really have that desire? wb and dc have had plenty of time to come up with their own plan. the writing has been on the wall for the avengers since iron man. but wb and dc have yet to really make one legit move forward to counter marvel's assembling of their greatest heroes. you may say green lantern, but where in that movie did you see any hints whatsoever about there being a bigger picture and other heroes out there? you are definately not going to see that in the batman or superman movies either.
Gutts81 - 5/22/2012, 10:52 AM
@Yoss you should do more articles man great read.
@Tajin88 Blade did not change a [frick]ing thing bro. Blade was a great movie I loved it. But No one even cared enough to say "oh yeah that blade was the start of the comic book movie revolution". Blade was a vampire movie in a time when we had almost no fantasy creature horror/action films. When Blade came out studios were in the scary/slasher movie frame of mind with all those scream knockoffs. It was not until xmen that studio execs stated paying more attention to what they could grab a piece of. And avengers just changed the game. Period. So I would not be surprised by any of this happening. Fox and Sony have rights to some of the best in Marvel so here's hoping they can follow the same formula and try not to produce the same thing BUT with the same results.
TheOverlord - 5/22/2012, 10:24 PM
1) I don't think Fox would ever do this. 2) I'm not sure they could do it if they wanted to - the contracts are different for each franchise. 3) I'm not sure Marvel would let them: people tend to forget this, but Marvel still owns the characters and Marvel Studios retains a certain amount of creative control as part of their licensing agreements. 4) I hope they don't do this. I don't see them letting go of X-Men any time soon, but there's at least a chance they'll relinquish FF and/or DD.
TheOverlord - 5/22/2012, 10:29 PM
Keep in mind that it's not just superhero movies studios will be looking at. They'll also be reconsidering the AvP formula. We may have Die Hard's John MacClane meeting Rambo, for example. The possibilities are endless. A lot of these will be crap, but that won't stop Hollywood from trying to milk the cross-over movie for all it's worth.
Jollem - 5/23/2012, 3:32 AM
very nice. *in borat voice
SalasStudios - 10/24/2012, 7:28 AM
Nice article! I agree that The Avengers definitely changed the superhero movie genre. I mean, just look at the Justice League movie: before Avengers, that movie was trapped in development hell for like 7 years! Now, 5 months after the Avengers, it's an active project with a possible release date and a re-written script! It'll be interesting to see how Fox handles all of this though. They don't exactly have a great track record...

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