In 2008, most of us freaked the hell out when Samuel L. Jackson uttered the phrase that orgasm-ed every nerd’s heart at the end of Iron Man: “I’m here to talk to you about the Avengers Initiative”. I myself didn’t think it would work, building up to one huge cinematic event over five movies. But in 2012 I ate my words when it worked. Marvel and Disney started the trend and now cinematic universes have either resurfaced or tried to emerge on there own, but no one has come close to Marvel’s success with the MCU. Three phases in and still kicking ass. DC attempted to sloppily rush to catch up, stumbling with the critical punching bag Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice that essentially tried to be a Man of Steel sequel, a stand alone batman film, a Dark Knight Returns adaptation, a Wonder Woman intro, a Death of Superman adaptation, as well introduce, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg while introducing the concepts of the MotherBoxes and holy shit it was bloated with not much pay off any where. Recently, Universal pictures released its latest incarnation of The Mummy specifically made to launch there updated “Dark Universe”. Well, it bombed. You see, back in grandparents day when black and white film was standard and Universal Pictures was king of the Hill, they were one of the first examples of crossing properties with movies like “Dracula versus The Wolfman” and such like it. Decades later, from what I’ve gathered, they took the classic Universal monsters and tried fitting them into an Avengers formula. So Far the Kaiju Universe has met with fair to moderate success with the 2014 Godzilla remake and Kong: Skull Island which got mixed reviews and the Godzilla sequel set for 2019 I believe; another example of another cinematic universe revived for modern times. Meanwhile Star Wars expanded their cinematic universe with the inclusion of side stories like last year’s Rogue One, which met with critical review (despite my own review); Fox released Deadpool, a spin off to the X Men Universe with critical acclaim, set to launch a possible X Force universe someday; coming this August and September are the Dark Tower film and It remakes from the mind of Stephen King, the most legendary horror writer of our time. If eyed closely, the Dark Tower books are the spoke that locks King’s universe together cleverly with easter eggs rather full on cross overs.
So what separates the unforgettables from the duds? It’s a mix of effort, material, and understanding. Marvel gets this almost perfectly. They understand their heroes, what makes them stand out, what themes surround each individual story and the importance of theme to each character, and there huge stories are told with care. I was genuinely impressed with Captain America: Cival War and how well all the characters felt relevant and there was growth in them since previous installments, they weren’t just there to be there (I’m talking to YOU D.O.J and Mummy!). I’m not entirely against the flood of universes making there way to the cinemas, I just ask they be made with love.
So, what’s you guys take on all this? Leave a comment below and may the gaming gods bring you glory.