The MCU and You
What Phase 2 and beyond really means for us, the consumer audience.
Rumour is abound with the talk of a Planet Hulk movie and a World War Hulk storyline in Phase 3, and while everyone has their own opinions on whether or not it will be good or bad, right or wrong no one really seems to be addressing the issue at hand - what it means for the audience.
Phase 1 was a global success, it's hard to fault that. With a total budget of $1 billion and earning close to $3 billion it's easy to see that people loved the Phase 1 movies.
Now in just a few short months, Phase 2 begins with Iron Man 3. Phase 2 will be pretty much more of the same (IM3, Thor 2, Cap 2) which is a good, safe move from Marvel. This ensures that the brand recognition they've built up in Phase 1 carries over.
While The Incredible Hulk was a good movie, I'm glad that Marvel are swapping this out for a GOTG movie. As someone who doesn't know a thing about GOTG, I'm going to be eagerly looking forward to seeing this, being introduced to new and fresh characters and a new perspective.
I'm sure many of the audience members are in the same boat I am in regards to GOTG and while it is a big risk taking it away from Earth into the cosmic sphere it is still a just move. At the climax of The Avengers we saw Iron Man take a nuke out through a portal into space.
This short, simple scene highlighted that beyond our world/mythology there is a greater world out there with all manner of aliens. If we didn't get a GOTG movie or something similar in Phase 2 then I would have been surprised.
Introducing the audience to a cosmic side both splits the MCU and combines it;
Splitting it -
From here Marvel can now do so many things. It can have Earth-bound stories or stories deep into space and on other planets. This ensures a greater variety of storytelling, and allows the MCU not to become stagnant with just the "aliens invade Earth, heroes have to stop them" storyline.
While some may believe that the cosmic side won't be believable (A talking raccoon? Pah!) We have to see that in many other films we've had anthropomorphic animals/plants/whatever and no one has batted an eyelid.
I don't see why GOTG has to be any different.
Green Lantern wasn't a bad movie because Hal Jordan went into space and interacted with a bunch of talking space aliens, let's just put that right there.
Combining it -
Drawing together different aspects of the entirety of the Comic Universe(s) can allow further integration between characters. Iron Man is linked with GOTG, and there's certainly no reason why Thor couldn't be.
Marvel's 'grounded' heroes such as Cap, Hawkeye and Black Widow might jar with the cosmic side of it, but therein lies great potential and conflict.
Remember in The Avengers when the heroes were squaring off against each other? The audience loved that, and it is easily one of the most memorable bits about the film. Now imagine Captain America coming up against Groot or Star-Lord and wondering 'what the hell is this?'
With that, Phase 2 is done.
But Phase 3 is shaping up to be less sequels (which is good) and more lesser-known properties.
Ant-Man and Doctor Strange are confirmed and the audience may not know much about these characters now, I have a feeling by the time their respective films come around they will. Each little post-credits scene in Phase 2 may just build up to The Avengers 2, or they could easily get creative and leave hints for Ant-Man, Doctor strange and others.
Personally, I would much rather see hints for Phase 3 in the Phase 2 post-credits rather than a build up to The Avengers like we got in Phase 1.
While the Phase 1 post-credit scenes were important, and allowed a universe cohesion, this no longer needs to build up to The Avengers as we know it is coming, and has already been explicitly stated that only Captain America 2 is going to have any sort of major SHIELD presence.
In IM2 and Thor 2 they are done with SHIELD (for now) so it doesn't make any sense to try to reign them in again.
I shall end with this:
The general audience will snap up anything that Marvel will have to offer, at least for the next two phases. Why? Because Marvel has captured their attention and garnered their interest.
Until Marvel slips up horribly and earth-shatteringly the general audience will be fine.
Comic fans, as we all are, may be a bit more cautious in regards to the plot lines and characters they use but again unless Marvel slips up horribly we will go and see what they have to offer.
I've used Green Lantern as a previous example and I will do so now. With a budget of $200 million (roughly average for a CBM nowadays) in it's opening weekend it generated $50 million dollars, an ok figure.
However with it being a critically panned movie, by the second weekend the movie was dead in the water. Word of mouth had killed it and so the general audience weren't likely to go and watch it.
This is the only way I can see Marvel losing traction over the next two phases - one slip up, bad press and word-of-mouth negative connotations.
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