The Marvel Universe- 10 Years in the Making

April 22, 2018

The penultimate Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters in the next month, and it is expected to shatter box office records and close a decade-long chapter in the Marvel movie universe. The franchise thus far has enjoyed immense success, grossing almost twelve billion dollars at the box office.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe began in 2008 with Iron Man, which was a smash hit at theatres and lauded by critics of all ages. It propelled Robert Downey Jr. into the spotlight as the father-figure of this historic movie series.  May 2, a week after the third Avengers film releases, will mark the ten year anniversary of the start of it all.

In 2011, both Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, starring Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt respectively, would hit the silver screen to massive success. Although not as successful as Iron Man, they helped propel the momentum of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the critical flops of Iron Man 2 and the much-forgotten The Incredible Hulk. These two movies were also instrumental in providing the platform for one of the highest grossing movies of all time the following year.

The much anticipated Marvel’s The Avengers opened in 2012 and smashed existing box office records, propelling itself to the largest grossing opening weekend until the release of Jurassic World in 2015, forever making a mark in movie history. It was the first time that a shared movie universe had been so successful, captivating massive audiences. The Avengers shot Marvel’s previous success into the stratosphere and closed the first phase of Marvel films.

After three sequels to previous Marvel franchises (Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Marvel released the widely successful Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, embracing the light-hearted and comedic side of the Marvel films. Guardians of the Galaxy received one sequel in 2017 and will get a third movie in 2020.

The much anticipated sequel to Marvel’s The Avengers released in the following year. While Avengers: Age of Ultron managed to be a successful film, it was not as revolutionary as the first Avengers movie and thus audiences did not turn out to see it in droves like they had in 2012.

The third Captain America movie, Captain America: Civil War, was in essence the Avengers sequel that everyone wanted. Having the most characters in one film at the time of its release, critics and fans alike enjoyed the film, picking up the Marvel torch of breaking box office records. Civil War opened up the third phase of Marvel movies, which will be concluded with an untitled Avengers film in 2019. This phase introduced several key heroes that drew lots of praise, such as Spider-man and Doctor Strange.

2018 is shaping up to be one of the most successful years for Marvel yet. In March, Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman as the titular hero, hit theatres and again broke records. Black Panther was also significant as it was the first Marvel/superhero film with an all-black leading cast, a major step for the often criticized diversity in Hollywood. And, in April, Black Panther will rejoin the rest of the Avengers in Avengers: Infinity War. This film has not even been released yet and has already broken pre-sale records, a strong bellwether for the success of this film. Regardless of whether or not the bubble of superhero movies is bound to burst, it is undeniable that Marvel Entertainment has had a defining role in both superhero and cinematic history.

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