By SAM AMADEO
Marvel’s Cinematic Universe
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a series of 21 different films intertwined in the same universe, with characters from one film appearing in various others over time. The first of these was the classic Iron Man released in 2008 starring Robert Downey Jr. Over the next ten years audiences were introducedto Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and many more. The decade also saw these superheroes assemble into a team called the Avengers, who appeared together in 2012, 2015, and 2018.
The MCU has become one of the most successful franchises of all-time, if not the most successful, grossing over $17 billion worldwide. Unlike most film franchises, the MCU, in most cases, hires different directors for each of their films in order to tell the same story through a different lens allowing each film to feel different but not unfamiliar. For example, the gritty, World War II stricken world of the first Captain America is nothing like the acid-induced space trip of Guardians of the Galaxy. The MCU has successfully been able to interconnect multiple stories into a cohesive narrative with little room for plot holes or clear mishaps.
For more reason than any other the MCU is the most successful franchise in history because it made the superhero genre cool again. Since 2008, after seeing the success of Marvel Studios cinematic universe, many other studios have attempted to create their own. Warner Bros. created a universe for DC Comics, Marvel’s comic book rival, with 2013’s Man of Steel. There have been seven films so far, but only Wonder Woman and Shazam! have received positive feedback and the DC series as a whole has been lauded compared to Marvel’s. Other studios like Sony, Universal, and Lucasfilm have also tried to do something similar with minimal success.
We’re in the Endgame now
The MCU has split its films into “phases” and on April 26 they will conclude Phase Three and wrap up the Infinity trilogy with the fourth Avengers film, Endgame. For die-hard fans of the films, there has been endless speculation and various theories as to how this milestone movie will end, and where the MCU is headed next. Including hardcore MCU fans Hector Salamanca and Dakota Rachuy.
“I think Iron Man will rebuild the gauntlet and use it to reverse what Thanos did [in Infinity War],” says Dakota, “But it is either going to kill him or cripple him. A lot of people think it is going to kill him but I disagree. I hope it only cripples him and he takes on a kind of mentor role for all the new characters coming in.”
“I think Thanos will get trapped in the quantum realm,” explains Hector, “Ant-Man and Captain Marvel will play a big role in taking him down. After Endgame I think Marvel will focus on what is going on in the rest of the universe instead of what is just happening on Earth.”
No matter how Endgame ends there is little doubt it will spark a lot of debate among fans and critics. Phase Four, a phase many thought would be the end of the MCU, will see many returning faces for fans including Spider-Man who turned to dust at the end of Infinity War. It will also see a fresh set of news faces including the Eternals, Shang-Chi, and the X-Men. Though the latter might not be seen on the big screen until the end of Phase Four in five or six years. Fans may have to wait that long as well to learn whom the next big villain after Thanos will be. There has been speculation has it being Galactus, a planet-eater far more menacing and powerful than Thanos, who some fans believe has been secretly looming in the background this entire time.