The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Reviewing the biggest film franchise of all time.

In 2015, with the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Marvel Cinematic Universe officially became the highest-grossing film franchise of all time — albeit with the benefit of inflation. It also remained the longest-running film series I’ve seen every entry of, even if it feels like I’ve seen every James Bond film through the osmosis of perpetual ITV reruns.

At the time of writing, it is 2017 — the first calendar year in which Marvel intends to release three films (due to a quirk of release dates, they’re due to release five films in the space of a year or so, from Guardians 2 to Infinity War). Commercially, the MCU seems secure, threatened at most by fellow Disney series Star Wars. Artistically? Absolute merit is debateable, but there’s little evidence that the competition is overhauling Marvel right now. DC remains a mess, and the X-Men series at Fox is wildly unreliable, swinging from middling (Deadpool) to appalling (X-Men: Apocalypse) to revelatory (Logan) in the last couple of years. The X-Men series is due to ramp up in the next few years, but it’s unclear who this is for.

In any case, here we are: a universe I know, and one everybody else knows, too. So these reviews will need a few more considerations — a), there will be spoilers, and b), there will be additional features:

High Points/Low Points: self-explanatory.

Flagrant Product Placement: we know there’s gonna be some. But is it intrusive? Realistic? Actually adding to the film, somehow?

Connections to Elsewhere: wouldn’t be a universe if things didn’t connect.

End Credits: the number and quality of scenes.

Overall: the final score.

…and so it begins.

Next: Iron Man (2008)