This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a huge celluloid undertaking that has numbered 18 films and counting, introduced scores of comic book characters to movie fans, and generated many billions of dollars at the worldwide box office.
The interlocking storylines of those movies have also built towards a battle with supervillain Thanos in the 19th feature — Avengers: Infinity War — so to celebrate this momentous occasion, FANDOM staff and contributors have written about what the MCU means to them. Kicking off with one of the stars contributing her thoughts…
Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlet Witch
It’s been the first time I’ve felt part of a community as an actor after drama school. At drama school you have this beautiful connection with an ensemble of people, and you don’t really get that when you have a freelance job. This has become a community. Because of going back to it, it does feel like we come from a community who support each other. I’ve now worked with [Jeremy] Renner and [Tom] Hiddleston on other projects that had nothing to do with this. And [Josh] Brolin. So it’s all connected in this nice little community.
Chris Tilly, Managing Editor
There’s so much to love about the MCU. The casting is top-notch (as I wrote about here), so-much-so that I can’t now read Iron Man, Captain America or Thor comics without thinking of Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth.
The tone is almost always right. When the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off, Christopher Nolan was in the midst of his incredible Dark Knight trilogy. Which as the name suggests, was dark. And sure there are serious moments in Marvel. But more-often-than-not, MCU movies offered an alternative. Something that’s light, colourful, and above all fun.
But the thing that most amazes me about the MCU is quality control. I can only think of a couple of turkeys along the way, with the majority of the features hugely entertaining from start-to-finish; big-budget b-movies that pretty much guarantee a good time at the cinema.
Graham Host, FANDOM Contributor
To me, it’s not the big heroes or dramatic sacrifices of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that made an impact. They were great, sure, but my favourite will always be Phillip (“His first name is ‘Agent’”) Coulson.
Coulson embodies everything the Avengers stand for. He does things by the book where possible, off the book where not, and has a tendency to get back up when knocked down. Between asking Captain America to sign his trading cards, the iconic “Don’t touch Lola” and even getting an Energy Shield put into his prosthetic hand, Coulson shows us not only that normal people can be heroes, but it’s even okay to be a nerdy fan whilst doing so.
Lauren Gallaway, TV Editor
The MCU is my favorite franchise of all time. What they have done over the last 10 years dwarves any other film series, even ones I love like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. The chemistry between the characters, the humor, the passion, the creativity — everything about the MCU is perfect and I feel lucky to be alive at a time when all these great films are in theaters. We may not see the likes of a franchise on this scale for a long time to come.
R.W.V Mitchell, FANDOM Contributor
My first real exposure to the world of comic book superheroes were the X-Men and Spider Man cartoons of the 1990s. Comics were a rare treat for me, and the vastness of their myriad worlds was, frankly, a bit overwhelming to an outsider. The cartoons changed that. They plucked fruitful stories from that ripe and bountiful orchard and turned them into delicious smoothies, perfect for a young palate itching for stories of adventure. I grew to love Professor Xavier’s band of mutants, and Spidey’s clashes with Lizardman Doc Ock and his other foes became favorite playground fodder for me and my friends.
I love the MCU because, much as those cartoons gave me access to a realm of stories I had never experienced, these movies serve as a welcoming gateway to a new generation of fans of all ages and backgrounds. Now, by expanding their commitment to films starring heroes of all races and genders, the MCU will without a doubt inspire a new generation of true believers committed to using their heroic talents to change the world.
Adam Salandra, Entertainment Editor
I have to admit I’m a little new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it has quickly become my new obsession. Growing up as a Batman fan, I just assumed I had to live my life in a DC bubble. But catching up on the MCU recently has proven to be an incredible experience.
The comedy in films like Thor: Ragnarok is on par with some of my favorite comedic movies from the past decade. And the stories are so rich and engaging, I can’t believe I wasted so many years without it.
One of my favorite film tropes is when a bunch of different characters are connected and come together in unexpected ways, so I can’t wait to see all my new friends join forces in Infinity War. The only problem now is that I just got to love these characters and now I’m potentially about to lose so many of them.
Carlos Rivera, FANDOM Contributor
For me, the MCU represented a return to my childhood days of reading my uncle’s collection of comics. I fondly remember how he took the time to explain the powers and origins of every character in the Avengers and X-Men franchises.
That’s why seeing some of my favorite characters on the big screen as an adult like Star-Lord and Dr Stephen Strange is so magical to me. It is the geek equivalent of meeting your favorite idol or artist in person.
Also, being able to get as much merchandise as I can find (and afford) of my favorite MCU characters is something I am extremely thankful for!
Drew Dietsch, Entertainment Editor
When I was a kid, you couldn’t have convinced me that Hollywood would make a movie with the Vision in it. The Marvel Cinematic Universe might appear to be a grounded approach to superhero cinema, but it still manages to interject utter weirdness like a red-faced android into its world. And we buy it! We accept that a talking raccoon and a sentient tree can help save the world from a living planet. If the MCU has done anything that is objectively positive, it’s making general audiences much more acceptable to bizarre characters and concepts. As long as the MCU never loses its wacky heart, it’ll continue to be the success it’s proven itself to be.
Rowan Girdler, FANDOM Contributor
The MCU snuck up on me gradually. The first Marvel film I saw in cinemas was The Avengers, which blew me away, but it took another couple of years for me to catch up and start watching every MCU film that came out. Now my friends and I have a tradition of seeing every new Marvel film together and I write about them online.
The thing I love most about the MCU is that it gives people superheroes to root for. Marvel’s heroes are bright, bold symbols of hope in a day and age where dark and cynical antiheroes are the vogue. Some might say that’s childish, but I say it’s the child within us that needs heroes the most.
Brian Campbell, FANDOM Contributor
At the end of Iron Man, Nick Fury declares to Tony Stark he is part of a larger world. At the time, I had no idea it would lead to what we’re about to experience in Avengers: Infinity War. It is amazing just how interconnected the lives of our heroes have been over the course of these films. Creative storytelling has always drawn me to the Marvel comics. It is a dream come true to see this creativity magnified for both the big and small screens. I love having FANDOM to share my passion for all things MCU.