Marvel at the Cinematic Universe – Phase One

Well_look_who_finaly_assembledPhase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is comprised of six films; Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers. Each of the first five films act as jigsaw pieces forming the Avengers film.

These films don’t just introduce our roster of super heroes that will save the world, it builds the world for them to save. Between cameos and subtle nods to Stark Industries and S.H.I.E.L.D we discover that everything is in fact connected allowing us deeper investment in the franchise as a whole.

The films settings vary considerably taking place in the modern world, world war two and the world of Asgard. All roads lead to the Avengers battling an alien invasion force’s attempts to conquer earth on behalf of the Titan Thanos and whilst our heroes will be victorious it’s clear that our world will never be the same. Continue reading

Marvel at the Cinematic Universe

Marvel’s franchise of films has dominated the box office year after year. With sixteen films so far and an array of TV shows making up what we call the Marvel Cinematic Universe I’d like to explore it’s various components released so far an speculate on what we may see in the future.

As I write this I’m wondering how exactly am I going to review such a vast collection, I think the process needs to be somewhat organic. I plan to use this post as an anchor point journeying through each phase (of which there are three so far), reviewing each film individually with an accompanying prologue/epilogue for each overall phase.

I’ve come to think three phases we have so far as the acts of a story; Setup, Confrontation and Resolution. Phase One focuses on origin stories for our heroes, Phase Two steps beyond this and allows the characters to develop in a mixed and often volatile environment where as Phase Three will resolve the ever embedded ark of Thanos’s plan to collect the Infinity Stones and presumably rule the galaxy.

So let us begin our journey, the first phase awaits…

Thanos Chair

Where’s my Hulk? – How Marvel could give us The Hulk sooner rather than later

Hulk

Have you seen him? Big, green, likes to smash things? I haven’t really seen much of him since the Avengers film aside from a brief cameo in Iron Man 3 (human form – I’m not complaining, can’t deny I bounced in my seat at the cinema!). But… where’s my Hulk?

Bruce BannerThe Marvel Cinematic Universe is somewhat set in stone already. Only Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron are left unreleased for phase 2, and whilst we know Ant Man and Captain America 3 will be a part of phase 3 there’s still no signs of the big guy. Mark Ruffalo stood out in The Avengers for an actor who hadn’t had his own film prior to the assembly of Earth’s mightiest heroes. He gave a calmness to Bruce Banner we hadn’t seen in The Incredible Hulk that gave him this aura of mystery and mastery over his condition. The film definitely leaves me wanting more from this actor’s take on the character and I’m not so sure I want to wait until the second half of phase 3.

Marvel’s been triumphant in getting fans excited about more than just the films, with one-shots released alongside the DVD/Blu-Rays and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on TV. This makes me wonder if we can’t do something equally challenging with the franchise, additional one-shot’s or even short films. Joss Whedon’s experience with Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog demonstrated that it’s possible to take an idea and a budget of 450k, release it online and make 3 million with it (Forbes interview with Whedon). With Whedon’s constant involvement with the franchise I’d really like to see what can be done with a small budget and a lot of fans willing to watch shorter Marvel productions.

I believe the audience is there, waiting for their Hulk to tear through the fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe…