The Cinematic State of the Marvel Universe

It is probably safe to say that the world is a little excited about what Marvel has been doing lately with the Avengers prequels, the movie itself, and the hoped-for sequels in phases two and three.  With movies that interact with each other and introduce heroes and villains that will go on to star in otherwise unrelated movies, the present batch of cinema has this fan asking two questions:  (1) Will the individual heroes from some of the other movies be running into each other on the big screen as they do on the comics and (2) With all the heroes Marvel has to choose from, why a “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie (the current author had to look up the team when he found out about the movie).

It would seem that, unlike DC comics, Marvel was unable or unwilling to keep the movie rights to all of its characters before they started going to the Silver Screen.  Because of both mediocre successes or disputes with actors several of the characters have since reverted back to Marvel, but many of the most interesting remain with other studios.  Here’s a brief rundown of where they are:

20th Century:  Daredevil, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and their associated villains

Sony:  Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, and their associated villains

Universal:  Namor

So, as things stand there will be no fighting between Hulk and Wolverine, no Spider-Man as a Fantastic Four team member and Namor the Sub-Mariner will be with no one.  Blade might join the current Marvel franchise that includes Avengers heroes, but all other major characters are either already involved in them or are currently legally excluded.

With that in mind, taking a relatively minor group with several odd or exotic characters seems like the best option.  It is the only way the franchise can really use to expand, and the unique and attractive character of Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana)  is bound to attract moviegoers.  With any luck it will tide over the Marvel faithful until the favorites can make it back to their home studio.

About Cian Beirdd

I live with my kitty, and encourage his tuna and catnip addictions. I have a website as well;
This entry was posted in Comic book heroes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Cinematic State of the Marvel Universe

  1. Loki says:

    Not sure I agree about them only having minor ones outside of their current movies. They’ve reacquired Punisher and Daredevil, and while names like Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and Black Panther might not be well known outside of comics circles, nor was Iron Man or Thor ten years ago.

    But that they’re smaller than Spidey, the Fantastic Four and the X-men, I’m of course not going to argue. However, there’s a very good reason they don’t have these rights: they sold them before superhero films was a big deal. And through doing that, they grew enough capital of experience, market presence and actual currency that they could eventually launch their own studio. Without Raimi’s Spider-Man films and Singer’s X-men films, no Iron Man film. No Iron Man film, no MCU. So not having those characters in their stable at the moment is the result of a historical necessity, not a choice. And in my opinion, it’s a hugely good thing. Until the Disney purchase, Marvel was its own entity. DC is owned by Warner Bros. Note how the result is that Marvel’s been able to make huge business on their second- and third tier (fame-wise) characters, while DC is still unable to foot a success not involving Batman or Kal-El. Necessity is the mother of invention, you know. If Marvel had been owned by a bigger corporation that involved a movie studio with priorities of its own for the past twenty years, I strongly suspect the superhero movie landscape would look very different today — and not for the better.

    As far as crossovers go — for comedy cameos and post-credits scenes, absolutely. For secondary and tertiary characters (like Fury or Black Widow), they’re clearly doing it on a regular basis. But as far as Thor showing up in a major way in a non-Thor, non-Avengers movie, or Iron Man popping by in a big part on Ant-Man, I really doubt it. They want each of their characters to hold their own in the spotlight, and they also want to keep the big crossover movies feeling like a special event and treat, rather than business as usual.

    Interestingly, DC seems to be picking the opposite approach in their way of playing catch-up. Man of Steel’s sequel will contain Batman, Alfred, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor … Rather than doing many standalone movies and then rest a Team-Up film on the many legs like Marvel did, they seem to try to go for an ever-broadening tower where each new movie contains more and more characters. I’m skeptical that this will work as well (but will obviously be thrilled if it does).

    • Cian Beirdd says:

      You make a nice point, I had not thought of the long picture. Someone in the front office was very smart.

      • Loki says:

        Unsure if it was ever their initial plan, but whomever decided to start taking things in this direction was definitely very smart. Kevin Feige’s been getting a lot of credit for spearheading the MCU concept, so I would imagine he’d be one of the originators (if not necessarily the one to first think it up).

        Also — one studio can only make so many films. While it’s too bad that they don’t manage to hold to the same quality levels as Marvel Studios, I still think it’s a good thing that we’re now getting Spider-Man movies, X-men/FF movies and Avengers movies being released in parallel. If they were all in one studio, at least half of them wouldn’t be made, but since they’re competing, we get more. (And let’s face it — if Marvel had the rights to X-men and Spider-Man, we’d have had to wait a heck of a long time for a Captain America or Thor film).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s