Appreciation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and their success.

The MCU has emerged as possibly the most in-depth movie universe in film. Take a look at how we got where we are today and what is still to come.

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By GiantNerd - 3/3/2014


The Marvel Studios cinematic universe clearly has become top dog when it comes to bringing the super hero genre to life on the big screen. Spawning some of the most successful movies of all time and a standard that in my opinion isn't close to being matched by other studios. Let's take a look at their formula to success to be able to appreciate what sets them apart.

Casting



It all starts with Iron Man. Taking a relatively unknown property to the general public and making it one of the most respected comic book movies of all time seems like a pretty daunting task but they managed to pull it off. The biggest contributor to its success was the casting of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.



Marvel is very inspired when it comes to casting and I believe this is the reason the movie flourishes. The outline for the movie is pretty basic besides the jumps in the timeline throughout. It's the casting of RDJ that keeps you glued to the movie. It's his delivery of his lines and charisma that keeps you wanting to know what he's going to do and say next at all times.



Almost every character in the MCU is cast to near perfection. When Chris Evans was cast as Captain America I was a little worried because of his previous roles I had seen him in. After seeing Captain America: The First Avenger my worries were erased completely. The little Steve Rogers with the heart of gold is never lost in his performance of Cap.



Even when things got a little convoluted with the outing of Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. Marvel didn't just go with a replacement. They decided to go at the cinematic hulk in a completely different direction with Mark Ruffalo. This was one of the best decisions they have made. He brings the character of Bruce to life with the actual belief that this man can transform into the super powered beast while carrying himself in a very human way that makes the audience connect and care about him which I never quite felt with Norton.

Connecting the Films



After Iron Man was established, the connection began in the form of the intelligence group known as Shield. Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury and Agent Coulson would often pop in here and there throughout the films and try to assemble the team of Avengers. This worked well as we seen in The Avengers because the team had already been aware of Shield and what they are.

Different Genres



One of the most appealing things about the MCU is the way each movie feels like it's from a different genre but is still connected to the other characters that live and breathe in the same universe.



The fact that it is actually conceivable that Captain America and Thor exist in the same universe is an amazing achievement. At the same time though the various styles of the movies feel like completely separate entities on their own until the two characters stand next to each other in The Avengers series of films.

Expanding the Universe



We thought The Avengers were the only connection these characters had until they released the news that they would be making a film about The Guardians of the Galaxy. This not only expands the cinematic universe to limits unknown but also connects The Avengers to The Guardians due to the fact that both teams will be involved at one point or another with Thanos, who was revealed to supplying the alien army in The Avengers.



As they expand the reach of these films. They have also included specific items/artifacts from the Marvel Universe that connect these movies even more. It's really unique to see this kind of depth within this cinematic universe. This peeks a lot of interest for the audience so they can see glimpses of the bigger agenda unfold while enjoying a specific movie of it's own.

It's pretty amazing that we as comic fans and fans of these characters in general get to witness the planning and execution of something as special as this and something that has never really been done before.

Feel free to leave any comments or feedback in the usual place.
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18 Comments
Highflyer - 3/3/2014, 2:52 PM
Not sure if I agree with the whole Norton/Ruffalo thing. As much as I loved Ruffalo's performance, I never felt like a monster was inside of him at all. At time he reminded me of a Banner before the Hulk was born. I didn't feel like Ruffalo's Banner was a bomb ready to go off. In fact, I would even forgotten that he might turn into the hulk if the other characters didn't keep mentioning the possible danger every five minutes. I did feel differently towards Norton's Banner since he seemed constantly stressed, paranoid and desperate. Please don't think I'm bashing Ruffalo because I'm not.
Highflyer - 3/3/2014, 2:54 PM
I think of Norton as a somewhat 'made to survive the streets' Bruce that I'm used to seeing in the comics while Ruffalo to be somewhat 'Customized to interact with the other heroes'
Highflyer - 3/3/2014, 2:58 PM
I look forward to seeing Ruffalo in the Avengers 2. I just want them to give him his own movie so I can see what he can do.
Interestein - 3/3/2014, 3:27 PM
I loved Ruffalo in Avengers, but he didn't quite top Norton, you could feel his internal doubt, and see the beast inside him, he presented the characters struggle so well, I miss him. THE INCREDIBLE HULK is such an under rated movie, so so great.
GiantNerd - 3/3/2014, 3:34 PM
I love the TIH too I just never could see Norton's Banner in the monster. I did like his performance though I just thought the Ruffalo version was better. I get that Bruce is supposed to be a calm person but it always comes off so wooden to me on film. I like that Ruffalo's Banner had some sort of personality.
GizmoEl - 3/3/2014, 3:37 PM
I loved Norton and Ruffalo's Hulks. Norton had an entire movie which gives him a great advantage, however, Ruffalo stole the show in Avengers. His Banner looked like he was twitchy, uneasy, always fiddling with his hands.. It felt like something was crawling inside his skin. The little things and scenes like that sold me. I honestly forget about all the other Banners when I see Ruffalo as Hulk.
DrDoom - 3/3/2014, 3:50 PM
Ruffalo did a great job, but Norton is still the definitive Banner for me. Otherwise, good job.
MightyZeus - 3/3/2014, 4:44 PM
Marvel in my opinion has nailed the casting of each and every one of it's characters. I really enjoyed The Incredible Hulk and i loved the fact that it was a re-imagining and the origin story was told during the beginning credits of how Bruce Banner became the Hulk which is what i want from comic book films that are telling an origin story that has already been shown and told previously.

I liked Norton's performance as Banner and i enjoyed Ruffalo's performance as Banner too, so for me it's hard to choose which is better.

I'm looking forward to more Hulk scenes in Age of Ultron.
feedonatreefrog - 3/3/2014, 6:04 PM
Agreed with almost everything.

But the movies still don't do much for me.

...Actually I like the first Thor quite a bit (7/10).
Wallymelon - 3/3/2014, 6:52 PM
i agree with @highflyer. Ruffalo is good but Norton possesed the creature within. Ruffalo did a great Bruce but a bruce that has no real character development. He developed before the film even started. The fact that he controls his temper now doesnt leave the character much room to grow.
GiantNerd - 3/3/2014, 8:05 PM
I think it's more that he still can't control it, he just knows how to aim the Hulk when he isn't getting unleashed accidentally.
EpitomeofAwesome - 3/3/2014, 8:43 PM
I'm getting pretty tired of these editorials, but this was a great one. Good points, well-written, quick read, great job!
breakUbatman - 3/4/2014, 1:40 AM
I think Marvel Studios have amazing casting but ...

they don't meet their full potential. The heroes are fine but the secondary characters come on.

Obadiah Stane was a great performance, I 'd say Bridges worked well. Actually the whole IM cast was good

Scarlett in IM2 was not put to good use, in IM3 Kingsley was great and acted the hell out of that film (love it or hate it) but Guy Pearce felt wasted to me. Great actor but bland role.

Thor movies I honestly dont see why Zachary Levi was needed for Fandrall or why Ray Stevenson is not being used to his full potential. Hopkins is good but Odin could be so much more and the little bits of Rene Russo we got were spectacular, but why so little? Furthermore Colm Feore and Christopher Eccleston have such range but played very one dimensional characters.

Captain America had Hugo Weaving as Red Skull, once again underused. Same applies to the well cast Howling Commandos. I know its not Cap and the Commandos but why have actors of a certain caliber if you don't maximise on what you pay for?


Anyways that's my 2 cents - I enjoy the franchise but I'd like to see the cast put to great, not just good use. Come Winter Soldier I'm expecting a 'Robert Redford performance' from Robert Redford.
Wallymelon - 3/4/2014, 9:26 AM
Really? Hating on Hopkins? Russo does well. She hasn't been in the films long enough to have an opinion. Ray is great. Super funny. If they wrote more scenes for the warriors you wouldn't say anything about them. They're just underused
spookybear3 - 3/4/2014, 9:45 AM
A Marvel's trumpeter...
GiantNerd - 3/5/2014, 4:55 PM
Tetrahedron - 3/19/2014, 12:32 AM
Yeah, casting (and Kevin Feige obviously) are Marvel's secret weapons. Seriously the fact that Marvel saw something in Chris Hemsworth in his 5 minutes of screen time in Star Trek that translated to a character who to me is the living embodiment of everything I ever thought or didn't even think Thor should be speaks to the level of skill at play here.

They're not Dreamworks who pick celebrity names out of a hat when casting a movie, Marvel Studios seem to have a ridiculously intricate knowledge of who and what the comicbook characters are and what makes them tick and that's why they have had so few missteps with casting their films.

The one casting choice I've never really felt, was Rhodey. Both Don Cheadle and that other one didn't strike me as being "Rhodey from the comics" but that small misstep can probably be chalked up to a rushed production schedule and the limited availability of certain actors on short notice.
Tetrahedron - 3/19/2014, 12:35 AM
To everyone saying Norton was a better Banner I say Ruffalo ushered in Avengers Hulk and that is the greatest thing to ever happen to any comic book movie ever, so your point is moot.

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