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Why is the MCU so successful?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is one of the biggest and best film franchises of all time grossing over double that of Star Wars – but why have they become so successful? The innovative and ever-thinking directors have helped shape the MCU bringing new perspectives to this ever-growing library of films. Anthony and Joe Russo (The Russo Brothers), Taika Waititi and Joss Whedon have fashioned this franchise and without them it would not have reached the dizzying heights that it has today.

Directors are vital to the creation of a film. They are in charge of absolutely every detail like costumes, the actors, the shots, and the tone and editing of the film. The director is like the manager of a football team controlling every aspect whilst closely managing the individual players to be their best. They are vital to how the film will turn out. In the MCU, the director defines each film and even the trilogy of an entire character.

Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon was the first to undertake the impossible task of juggling the different actors and characters of the MCU. The result Avengers Assemble (2012)! With this film Marvel proved how effective the Avengers titles could be. Whedon brings the characters of the first four years together in an action-packed and memorable manner showing how effective the Avengers films can be.

Whedon takes the individual comic book characters and gives them time to shine on the big screen, uniting them in a massive MCU blockbuster. It is the start of an epic franchise with multitudes of dramatic heroes and in it Whedon makes the action big and bold. The dialogue is snappy, and it is great to see our heroes interact for the first time. The plot is not original, but it does not need to be. Joss Whedon debuts the assembled heroes in a safe manner creating a strong foundation for the MCU to grow into what we know and love.

The Russo Brothers

These two exploded into the MCU in 2014 with Captain America: Winter Soldier redefining what a superhero film can be. They turned the self-righteous and annoying character Captain America into the gritty heroic man willing to stand up to authority and think for himself. The Russo brothers changed the entire direction of the MCU making the world feel more real. S.H.I.E.L.D. is destroyed and the universe is cast into shades of grey paving the way for the MCU to become the character-driven gritty world that we see in later films.

The two Russos have achieved the impossible in juggling the superhero sized egos of their characters! The skill with which they give each character time and space in Captain America: Civil War alongside centralising the story between Cap and Bucky is incredibly impressive. They introduce Spider-Man and Black Panther – the future of the MCU – whilst expanding and doing service to those who have been there from the very beginning. It is incredible to see and be a part of. Infinity War and Endgame are two massive successes that juggle their scores of characters across both films, making those films absolute masterpieces. The brothers are able to tell a detailed and rich story which devotes time to each character and develops them all.

Taika Waititi

The off the wall and utterly mad film Thor: Ragnarök was a breath of fresh air for the MCU. Thor’s character is less full of himself and incredibly funny. Taika makes space seem crazy and amazing in this rich and detailed story. It is all down to him! Taika Waititi unlocks the comedic potential of Chris Hemsworth which had not been done in the MCU previously. He rips up the comic rulebook coming up with something originally and distinctly Taika.

The space of the film is full of insane neon colours and crazy characters like Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster. It feels original and fresh. This is by far the most unique and different of the MCU films and influences Infinity War and Endgame with the Taika way being carried through to them. The full influence of Taika Waititi has not been fully felt yet and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for Thor: Love and Thunder – even the name fills me with excitement!

Written by George Marshall

Edited by Isobella Norman

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