Friday, October 26, 2018

Microstory 960: Marvel Cinematic Universe

In 2008, a little movie called Iron Man came out. It was soon followed by The Dark Knight. These two films, though in separate franchises, would collectively prove that it’s possible to make a good comic book adaptation. What audiences would discover was that the main purpose of this film was to begin a new shared universe, done in a completely new way. Of course, Marvel did not invent the idea of a franchise—nor did it come up with the first shared universe—but it was done a lot more deliberately. Though not perfect, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is well thought out and cohesive. There are some timeline contradictions, which can’t be resolved, no matter what the executives claim. And not every Thor movie is the greatest. But in the end, it’s become one of the strongest franchises in the industry. It’s become so successful that other studios have attempted to recreate the magic, to varying degrees. We can all agree the DC Extended Universe films are generally pretty terrible, with only one glimmer of hope in the first Wonder Woman. The CW DC universe is much better, though there’s a clear hierarchy of quality entertainment that begins with Arrow and ends with Legends of Tomorrow. Universal Studios tried to do the same thing with their various monsters, but the only reason it worked the first time around is because it wasn’t advertised as such. They were promoted independently, and that the fact that there was some character crossover was something only certain members of the audience noticed. I too have incorporated a lot of the same strategies with my salmonverse stories that Marvel Studios uses, and comic books before them. Of course, I don’t share the universe with other storytellers, but I do cross them over in similar ways, and have ideas for over a handful television serials from this universe alone, which I would never be able to make myself. In only three and a half years of my website, I’ve come up with hundreds of characters across dozens of stories. Characters will appear in each other’s stories, then spin off into their own, or they will begin in their own, and make later appearances in others. I try not to think too hard about this. If a character possesses a special trait or skill that I need at a certain moment, I’ll bring them aboard. Their background fills in itself as time goes on, and the story develops as a whole. I owe a lot to the MCU; possibly as much as I do to the Stargate franchise. I could go into each film, and tell you what I did and didn't like about it, but I’ll just sign off here so you can watch them all again. Wakanda forever.

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