Anybody who follows this blog knows one thing about me: I LOVE the MCU. Kevin Feige and the people at Marvel have done something I never thought possible back when I first picked up a comic book: they created a living, breathing comic book for the big screen. From the moment Nick Fury showed up at the end of Iron Man, the MCU has been weaving a tightly connected film universe, but it may be time to loosen those threads a bit. Starting with Phase 2’s Winter Soldier, the MCU has been increasingly connected and it’s starting to hurt the quality of the overall universe.
Where once, we saw spots on maps indicating where superheroes were located on Earth and subtle references to the happenings in other movies, we now have Avengers co-starring in one another’s films. Not only did Tony Stark have just as much screentime as Cap in Civil War (I’d argue had one of the most compelling parts), but we also have Hulk co-starring in a Thor movie. I am all for the occasional cameo during a mid or post credit scene, but this is getting out of hand.
James Gunn, who I am not a fan of, has been railing against the idea of his characters mingling with the rest of the MCU and, at first, I felt he was just being a selfish prick, but he may have been right all along. It’s hard to develop characters when you are constantly worried about what the other Avengers are doing or trying to force one into your film. I realize what the MCU is building to and I absolutely love that they’ve done what they’ve done, but I am looking forward to the end of phase 3 and the retiring of the old guard of characters.
Looking at the potential stars of the post-Infinity War films (I know they changed the name of part 2), I have high hopes that they will be able to develop outside of the shadows of Tony, Cap and Thor. Black Panther, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange are poised to be everything their predecessors were and then some, but they need room to grow on their own first. Part of what makes Spider-Man so great in the comics is he can call the Avengers whenever he needs to but he doesn’t. He routinely fights multiple villains and holds his own. That can be translated to the big screen too.
The MCU has done its job, they established that all these characters exist in the same universe. We don’t need to constantly see it in every film though. Give a wink and a nod to what Dr. Strange is doing in an Ant-Man film but don’t necessarily show him. Remind us that Spidey could call T’Challa while fighting the Sinister 6….but that he doesn’t have to. Marvel doesn’t have to convince us their formula works anymore. They are no longer the scrappy studio using their B-list of characters to create great movies. They are only competing with themselves while DC tries to recover from their huge misses and Fox keeps ruining two of Marvel’s three biggest names. So please, MCU, loosen up. Just make movies. We know it’s all apart of something bigger, no need to remind us. Save the team ups for the team up films and let your stars shine.