My Hopes for the MCU
Marvel has managed to give comic book fans and non-fans alike what many people once thought wasn’t possible. They created not only a series of successful, entertaining and well-driven movies, but they have managed to create a whole connected cinematic universe, propelled by the massive success that was Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark was excellent, and you could argue without him, the MCU wouldn’t exist today.
Following on from Iron Man, we received an excellent Captain America film, a surprisingly good Thor film, and then the first Avengers film, which was able to excellently bring the whole team together in a film that was cohesive, well-paced and with arguably Marvel’s only good villain in the MCU so far, Loki.
Which brings us nicely to one of Marvel’s biggest problems. Although the films they have made in the MCU have all been very entertaining (yes, even The Incredible Hulk. It had great action scenes in fairness), they have often been lacking interesting or original plots and villains. Take Ant Man for example. It was excellent as a fun heist film, and Paul Rudd was great as Scott Lang (I also loved Michael Pena in that movie). However, the villain for the movie, YellowJacket, was entirely forgettable, with very little motivation for even being evil. Similar problems were seen in Thor: The Dark World, where Malekith was simply not a good villain. You can say the same of Iron Man 2, 3 and arguably Captain America: Civil War, although I personally really liked Zemo and hope that we see more of him again at some stage.
Where I feel Marvel really slipped was with Avengers: Age of Ultron. The trailers for the film had shown an incredibly menacing Ultron, with a deep, robotic voice. Yet, when the film came out, what we got was a more human sounding Ultron who was constantly finishing his sentences with either a joke or a stupid remark. Their was nothing menacing about him, and there was no sense of any of the Avengers ever being in any real danger. Sure, Quicksilver died, but his death didn’t have a huge impact like one of the main Avengers dying would have had.
I understand Marvel wanting to keep their films universal and light-hearted, especially since Snyder’s Man of Steel and BvS films were criticised for being too dark, but there needs to be a sense of danger in their films. People will get bored if they don’t show real consequences for our heroes, and we definitely need more compelling villains like Loki and Zemo (debatable).
I hope that Marvel learns from the criticisms their films have received, but I am optimistic that they will continue to provide not only very fun, entertaining and memorable films, but also films with great plotlines, great villains and bold decisions. Guardians 2 and Thor: Ragnarok have a lot to live up to, especially since they will be preludes to Avengers: Infinity War, but the trailers look promising, although the risks of Marvel repeating these mistakes still remain. Guess we will have to wait and see.
One thing is for sure though. It’s a great time to be a Marvel fan.