Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Marvel Cinema Family Tree

Iron Man is credited as ushering in Phase I of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, aka the next best thing since sliced bread with bacon. Since 2008, comic book fans have squealed in pure delight at the release of The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and movie fans, if not the world, had been waiting for: The Avengers. That many awesome superheroes in one movie that had been cohesively led up to throughout Phase I was enough to leave minds exponentially blown. However, Marvel Studios was only getting started. Phase II introduced Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. I get dizzy just thinking about these movies and how the sequels demonstrated growth in both storytelling and character development. But then Kevin Feige wanted to go and hit us with his best shot with a pop-up press conference last week where he announced the films for Phase III. Hold on to your Mjolnir…

  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)(unreleased/development)
  • Doctor Strange (2016) (unreleased/development)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)(unreleased/development)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017) (unreleased/development)
  • Black Panther (2017) (unreleased/development)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, Part I (2018)(unreleased/development)
  • Captain Marvel (2018) (unreleased/development)
  • Inhumans (2018) (unreleased/development)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, Part II (2019)(unreleased/development)

One detail that has helped The Marvel Cinematic Universe grow into a true powerhouse and remain cohesive and form stellar crossover movies like Avengers is sharing one production studio in Marvel Studios/Walt Disney. However, prior to 2008, there were several films based on Marvel Comics released, but they’re like second cousins under the roof of various other production studios. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we…

Howard the Duck (1986) [Those who stayed after GotG will appreciate this one]
Blade (1998)
X-Men (2000) [“And in this corner we introduce you to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, for the rest of his life”]
Blade II, Spider-Man (2002)
X2, Hulk, Daredevil (2003) [Before Affleck joined DC]
The Punisher, Spider-Man 2, Blade: Trinity (2004) [Ryan Reynolds’ first taste of superhero life]
Elektra, Fantastic Four (2005) [Before Chris Evans knew he was Steve Rogers]
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 3, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) [Before Ryan Reynolds was DC’s Green Lantern, he was suffering an identity crisis as Deadpool]

As you can see, if all of these movies had been produced under Marvel Studios, I have no doubt that in this current moment we could be seeing movies of even greater epic proportions. Can you imagine Spidey swinging in to fight alongside The Avengers or the Fantastic Four? Or Ghost Rider versus the Hulk after World War Hulk? At this time I think there are some legal negotiations happening over the rights to certain characters and film series’. I’m all for it. And while I realize going forward it would take some reboots or long awaited sequels, all I know is that I would love for this Marvel family to be truly whole.