How Marvel Has Evolved
As we embark on Infinity Gauntlet Fitness and inch ever closer to the release of Avengers: Infinity War (April 27th, you guys!) it feels like as good a time as any to reflect on the journey Marvel’s taken us on in the last decade. Particularly in the last two or three years, as the MCU has expanded and Marvel has gained more pop culture influence than even company executives (likely) ever dreamed of, it feels like there’s been a great deal of evolution. Once I got to thinking about this, I realized the extent of it is actually pretty great, so I decided to write it all up.
Side Arcs Have Drifted Away
This isn’t true in all cases. For instance the Captain America series is more or less directly in line with the core Avengers/Infinity War collaborative films. But elsewhere, a lot of the MCU side arcs seem a little bit more separate from the Avengers saga than they once did. Thor films have completely taken on their own flavor; the Guardians movies and Ant-Man series exist largely for MCU comic relief; and Black Panther certainly seems poised to launch almost its own world within the MCU. At this point it feels more like Marvel is in charge of several interconnected series, rather than one big one with a lot of separate chapters.
The Netflix Experiment Got Huge
Once upon a time the introduction of a Daredevil series on Netflix seemed almost quaint. It was exciting, to be sure, and as it turned out Netflix and Marvel did a wonderful job with it. But it seemed very small compared to the sheer magnitude of the MCU. But even though blueprints were released pretty early as to the plans to expand the Netflix concept, it feels like a surprise just how big it all got, and how quickly. We’ve now seen multiple seasons for multiple heroes, as well as The Defenders, and it’s only been a few years. Oh, and for what it’s worth, the newly released second season of Jessica Jones is as good as any of it! The show is ahead of its time and thoroughly entertaining.
The Gaming Priorities Shifted
Aside from streaming and TV, gaming is probably the biggest side branch of the Marvel empire, and it’s actually changed quite a bit. Two years ago most of what Marvel had to offer in this arena existed via mobile app or online casino. Now the landscape is quite different. Playtech, the online developer responsible for the casino games, flushed out all of its Marvel content. And the apps, while still running strong, are taking a backseat as the company looks to develop more high quality console games. A few of these are just around the corner, and should elevate Marvel gaming to new heights.
Diversity Became A Priority
To put it bluntly, all of Marvel’s leading heroes for many years were straight, white men. To some degree this was to be expected, since that’s the case with many of the most prominent heroes in the comic books. But the studio took far too long to figure out ways to emphasize non-white, female, or LGBT characters (and we’re mostly still waiting on that last one). But credit where credit’s due, diversity has become a clearer priority in the last couple of years. Black Panther just became one of the biggest hits in the MCU and is a terrific celebration of black culture (with a few fantastic, strong female characters as well). And there are some female-led films coming down the pipe. Things are moving in the right direction, and in a beautiful way the MCU feels different for it.
There May Be Award Talk
Here we’re looking into the crystal ball a little bit, but why not? There’s a chance that another year from now, when we’ve already witnessed the Infinity War, Deadpool has given us a stash of new quotable lines, and Infinity Gauntlet has whipped you into shape, we’ll be talking about how Black Panther performed at the Oscars. None other than Christopher Nolan has predicted a nomination, and he certainly isn’t alone. Award talk for a Marvel movie would definitely represent an exciting evolution in the MCU.
This is a contributed article from Henry Johns.