Friday, April 4, 2014

A Love Letter to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Dear Marvel Studios, Disney, Kevin Feige, et al.,

I just got back from a viewing of Captain America: Winter Soldier and I would just like to take a moment to thank you for your devotion to good story telling.

You and I had a bumpy beginning. You selling the movie rights of pretty much all of your characters, and me not loving anything the individual studios put out. X-Men and X-2 weren't terrible, but my expectations of anything related to my favorite super hero team are going to be way too high. And I get that wasn't you. You had very little (if any) creative control, but I'm still sad you gave them up in the first place. You wouldn't have let Halle Berry play Storm and wear that ridiculous wig.

Come on. Ororo is way cooler than that.

But I'm getting off topic. Because I know that wasn't you.

You wised up about ten years ago. You were starting to get a lot of your characters back and you promptly made Iron Man.

Seriously, remember how freaking awesome that movie was? Now, I had been a big fan of all the Batman movies up to that point because I'm a big fan of Batman, but this was hands down my favorite super hero movie when I saw it. I like a little comedy in my movies.

We'll gloss over Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 because you were still getting your feet wet with the former, and the latter you made so quickly because you were not expecting its predecessor to be so wildly popular. But now you know, you don't start filming before the script is done, nor do you make the main character go through the exact same arc. Even Sam Rockwell can't save you from that.

But even then, you were concocting a plan. A plan to introduce more super heroes that no one knew (because those were the ones you had rights to) and build up to a movie that brought them all together. It was unheard of. People said it couldn't be done. But you gave the finger to all those nay-sayers and gave us two solid (well, at least one solid and one sufferer of a low budget) movies in Captain America and Thor. "What is to be next?" we all wondered.

Now, in my opinion, this is when you really showed your colors.

You hired my very favorite Hollywood person to write and direct Avengers

It was a risk. You knew that. He had created one very successful show, one moderately successful show, and several unsuccessful shows ("success" meaning viewership and longevity. They were all great shows). As for film, he had directed exactly one fan-service movie at that point. That's all you had to go off of. That and his phenomenal writing and obsession with comic books. But from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Joss Whedon is a household name now and he finally has that blank check to make whatever he wants (after Phase Three is complete, anyway).  

In fact, he did such a good job that you put him in charge of Phases Two and Three in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the writing and directing of Avengers 2 and 3

Phase 2 began with a bang from Iron Man 3, with Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: Winter Soldier on its heels. 

But why stop there? You had successfully tied in four separate films with four huge characters. Why not turn to another medium in television? You decided to start planning series on Netfilx for characters like Jessica Jones and Daredevil, eventually making a Defenders miniseries, not to mention the Peggy Carter series for ABC, just because she is so awesome.  

And there was still more you could do! Thor is from another planet, why not bring other extra-terrestrials into the mix with Guardians of the Galaxy? And then tie those characters in with the Avengers and make Avengers 3 all about the Infinity Gauntlet?! 

I'm sure you'll kill off Iron Man at that point, but that won't be the end, will it? You'll replace him with someone like Black Panther (I'd prefer to see him sooner rather than later) and keep the members of the Avengers team changing as it does in the comics. Sure this will create a need to introduce a lot of characters, which require a lot of trilogies, but you've found a solution for that too, haven't you? One Marvel movie every quarter. Each season a new movie, forever tying in to the overall story. Just the way a comic book does. 

It's a beautiful formula. And, as my friend rightly points out, adding to this perfect storm is the huge success of female centric films like Hunger Games and Frozen right around the time you started toying with the idea of movies for characters like Black Widow and Captain Marvel. I think you've finally realized that there is a huge desire for female centric films among the movie going population and those movies won't be a big gamble as long as you pick a great creative team. 

And you're killing it in that department. 

With love and admiration (along with the hopes of continued success and lots of kick-ass ladies),