Why the Marvel Cinematic Universe feels empty
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That’s right, this is happening. OK, so why is this not just a steaming
pile of clickbait? Hear me out. So far, there have been twenty of these movies. And uber-producer Kevin Feige says there’ll
be at least 20 more in the MCU — Marvel Cinematic Universe — within the next 10
years. Seriously, half of these people could disappear
and it would still be 148 too many characters. When we asked Vox’s audience for things
they think are overrated, Marvel and DC’s movies came up again and again. We love these movies – in the United States
alone, they’ve grossed more than 6.5 billion dollars. And yet there’s something missing. When you look at the history of fictional
universes — and at the MCU in particular — it’s possible to understand how it could
be fixed. Go back to 1939 and you’ll find the likely
birth of the Marvel Universe. It’s in Marvel Mystery Comics #7. These characters aren’t that well-known
today. But here, Betty tells Namor that The Human
Torch exists — establishing continuity and crossover potential. This was the start of a new era — one in
which corporations produced fiction. The idea was simple — you could use the fame
of one property to enhance the audience for another. And Marvel wasn’t alone in recognizing the
financial opportunity of crossovers in the 1930s and 40s. “The Green Hornet! Look at that picture on the wall. The man on that horse is one of your ancestors.” In the 1940s, The Green Hornet revealed that
the series’ central character, Britt Reid, was the grandnephew of The Lone Ranger, another
popular radio star at the time. “I hope you do something about those crooks
— just as your pioneer ancestor did.” Movie studios were thinking about this too
—when Abbott and Costello met Frankenstein, it joined the Dracula, Frankenstein, and Wolfman
movie franchises with a goofy comedy. It was basically Universal Studios’ Avengers
Infinity War, but with more running into walls. By the 60s, even DC comics was catching up,
like when Superman entered his fortress of solitude and finally met Batman. “I love you!” They enjoyed some cake. “You love me.” By the time Spiderman got his comic in 1963,
he was spending time with the Fantastic Four and promoting guest appearances from the Hulk. And this was also when the Marvel Universe’s
problems started. This snowglobe contains a half-century of
television. It’s the basis for the Tommy Westphall Universe
theory, which some argue might be the biggest fictional universe of all. The snowglobe appeared on the ‘80s television
show St. Elsewhere. That scene possibly showed that the whole
series had taken place inside a snowglobe world imagined by
a minor character named Tommy Westphall. The theory is that if a show had a crossover
with St. Elsewhere, that show must have taken place in Tommy’s snow globe too. And every crossover that show had, no matter
how tangential, would be in the snowglobe, and so on and so on, until you get almost
450 television shows in the same universe, in the same snowglobe. It spans from 1952 to… today. It’s a dumb theory. But, it’s meant to be. That said, the Tommy Westphall universe actually
illustrates some of the problems with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Crossovers require a bunch of artistic compromises. No one wants Cheers and I Love Lucy to be
a connected “universe.” It’s because of a bunch of business decisions
connected them. Sometimes, the network forced crossovers on
producers, other times, the producers came up with it — Garry Marshall said the reason
that Mork from Ork knew Fonzie from Happy Days and Laverne from Laverne and Shirley was because
his son said that Fonzie should dream about an alien. These crossovers are always about juicing
ratings, not telling a good story. The Tommy Westphall universe is a thought
experiment. Frasier and The X-Files don’t mix, even
though they do in Tommy Westphall’s globe. But even at Marvel, where continuity was planned,
it became a hassle to maintain. Marvel editor and writer Len Wein said:
“The problem at Marvel was that we suddenly became a business with a bunch of books that
Stan, [Lee] don’t think, ever in his heart expected to last more than a couple of years.” In 1965, Lee replaced most of the Avengers
just because the continuity for the original group had become too confusing to deal with. This continuity clutter happened in the movies,
too. Iron Man kicked off the MCU in 2008. The universe exposition dump didn’t happen
until after the credits. “Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger
universe.” Ant Man required a weak excuse right in the
middle of the movie. “I think our first move should be calling the Avengers.” “I spent half my life trying to keep this
technology out of the hands of Stark. I sure as hell am not gonna hand it to one
now.” These heavy-handed additions are about getting
crossover hype, not about telling a good story. But there’s a bigger problem than continuity
in the MCU — and there is a way to do it better. “Whoa you’re the Avengers.” The rest of this scene is a standard movie
fight. Their universe is only as deep as merchandise
and a few Easter Eggs. It’s cool when Peter Parker’s classroom
has a picture of Bruce Banner in the corner. But it’s not a transformed universe,
It’s like Quentin Tarantino including the imaginary brand of Red Apple cigarettes in
multiple movies. It’s cool. It’s not a coherent, intertwined world. The MCU is like our own, except for the crossovers. You can test it with the characters. Add Aquaman to that poster. If you didn’t know DC owned him, would anyone
notice? The MCU has no rules beyond corporate ownership. It’s a superhero hodgepodge. The same goes for DC. If you added Hawkeye here, nobody would care. And not just because it’s…Hawkeye. Marvel’s own property — X-Men, with a
movie universe owned by Fox and likely going to Disney — shows a better way. This universe is not just crossovers. Every character — human and mutant — has
taken sides in a generations-long battle, with real stakes, unlike Marvel’s Civil
War. That leads to creative possibilities, like
decade-jumping and even tonal experimentation with deep integration to the X-Men mythology,
if not the continuity. When Marvel experiments, like with Jessica
Jones, the big tie in to the MCU is…merch. “Do you have any cool toys in your room
you want to show me?” “Do you know Captain America?” X-Men movies are not all good, but they do
have a universal logic that’s stronger than Tommy Westphall’s snowglobe. Here’s another test. If you — little old you — were in a movie,
which universe would change you? In X-Men, you’d have to decide where you
fell in a decades-long battle. Do you side with mutants? Or humans? In the MCU, you’d be like this kid in Agents
of Shield — your big decision would be to buy some merch. “I’m OK.” Marvel has flirted with a richer universe,
one in which the lives of all people are transformed by a shared history. But right now, would anybody be surprised
if Disney forced a Marvel/Star Wars crossover? Marvel and Disney can make the right choice. In the late 80s, the Marvel comic Damage Control
toyed with the consequences of superhero life on the world at large. That made its cameo in Spiderman: Homecoming
a thrilling indicator of where the MCU could go. It was a world that anybody could imagine
themselves in. But until that experimentation transforms
the movies, the MCU is just a business strategy. The universe is still in development. If you want just the facts about Marvel, please
check out Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. It gives you a peek behind the scenes of Marvel
and how they shaped a half-century of our culture.

You know that one font every comic book uses? Phil Edwards explains where it came from, and how it became so enduring: http://bit.ly/2EoOE6a

I enjoy your content Vox, but for the most part, the arguments you make here… well they are pretty empty themselves.

Great video, but I don’t agree. There is a lot of story and sense behind each connection. For example: everything is connected. Black Panther, an otherwise completely separate movie, is connected to the MCU via Captain America:Civil War. And not just by him showing up, he and the characters from his franchise actually influence the story of CACW, the story would be different and wouldn’t make sense without him. His father dies, therefore he must avenge his father’s death and takes part in the story. It all makes sense after all.

I like the MCU but he does have a point, it feels a little shallow at times, and the movies feel so samey, with the exception of the crossover event films every MCU film feels the same just with a different character.

Your points make no sense at all. The MCU and the X-men were striving for completely different things! There are so many good connection throughout the Marvel movies connecting all the heroes together. Have you guys even watched the movies you talked about?!

It is overrated. But this video isn’t a great example of telling that. And it’s gonna be really hard to prove that Disney is destroying Marvel cause the majority thinks it’s not overrated. And that’s a problem, when There are more people who think wrong is right than the other way around.

Spider-Man Homecoming has way too much of a connection to the MCU. It's why I didn't like it. But you actually think "The only connection Spider-Man: Homecoming has to the MCU is merch and a Bruce Banner picture" really?

the thing is that the x-men have been around in their universe for centuries. the mcu saw its first hero in 1940's and nothing else that we know of until the 1980's/90's they are not comparable in the same way, might as well say you are disappointed that a 10 year old isnt as experienced as a 90 year old

This was the dumbest clip i saw from vox. I mean what were they comparing at the end disneys and sonys all do what they do to earn money. It's not just with superhero movies.

Was anyone genuinely surprised when the Avengers saved everyone and undid the snap? The whole story felt empty and the ending was more or less expected.

Something is off with MARVEL def! The actors are bland. The filming style is a cash grab. It feels cheap! Star Wars speaks to me but not MARVEL! It's BAD! The most overrated movie franchise in history! False advertisement? Bad actors.

Stan Lee created greatness and you guys are💓 'putting him down' c'mon let him 😪 🔥🔥🔥💜neverstoplovingmarvel

This franchise is not about quality what so ever. Look at series as LOTR and the OG Star Wars trilogy. Thats how you do a franchise

This guy has never completely seen an mcu, dceu or xmen movie properly. Or read the comics. He just couldn't adjust to the new trend in entertainment and is now hating and ranting.

The Fox/Marvel comparison is just not a good one, especially when talking about a “better way”.Marvel crossovers can be heavy handed and may be a lot to keep up with but Fox never cared, disregarded and would just forget they established caracteres or events in the universe they built. “Universes logic that’s stronger” what are you talking about?Characters ages would fluctuate, entire story arcs would be ignored, ending of movies treated as they never happened. Even after a easiest fix in movies time travel, they completely ignored everything in the next movie and scrambled everything up again.

Those movies stopped making sense a long time ago and people stopped caring. The only way they make any sense is if you take them as stories told in the Logan universe “maybe a quarter of it happened and not like this”

This video should be renamed to “Problems with cinematic universes” or something like that.

To be clear: Vox asked the audience, what they think is overrated and they (the audience) came up with the MCU, then Vox made a video about the audience's pick and now… the audience hates the video for calling the MCU overrated? WHAT?!

HOW DARE YOU, THE MCU IS VERY DEEP AND EMOTIONAL AND BEAUTIFUL. THERE ARE SO MANY CHARACTESRS THAT EACH ARE SO DEEP AND WOULD TAKE HOURS AND HOURS TO DISCUSS THEIR DEEP CHARACTER AND STORY. THE MCU IS MAGNIFICENTLY BUILT AND AMAZINGLY THOUGHT OUT, ITS STORY LINES AND CHARACTER ARCS ARE BEYOND SPECTTACULAR AND MARVELLOUS. THE UNIVERSE FEELS SO DEEP AND THE REALNESS AND RELATABILITY AND EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS OF THESE STORIES AND CHARACTERS AND THE UNIVERESE IS BEYOND WORDS. THIS VIDEO HAS ABSOLUTELY NO VALID POINTS WHAT SO EVER, THE FACT IS MARVEL IS MARVELOUS. THOSE WHO CARE ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY WATCH ALL THE MOVIES AND SEE THESE PEOPLES JOURNIES WITHEN IT, AND NOT JUST WATCH A FEW FILMS BECAUSE THEIR POPULAR THEN GO SAYING COMPLETELY UNRELATED AND INVALID POINTS ABOUT MARVEL CAN SEE THAT.

Watch marvel fanboys screaming their lungs out over someone having an opinion of how they talk about their own thoughts about marvel.

Dude have you even watched the movies or just read the plot ?
Als, keep in mind that Homecoming is legit based on the repercussions of the actions of the Avengers in the first Avengers movie, before you say that the MCU is "empty" and has "no connection". Also, who said that there are no stakes in the MCU. Every movie has some stakes or the movie comes off as bland. And if you want an example watch the first 15 minutes of infinity war. Besides, you never explained why you thought the MCU was "overrated" and "empty".
I came to this video expecting an honest, professional and mature critique of the MCU, and some solid arguments, but this video isn't even hating on the MCU, it is just a plain like-view grab, because I think everyone can agree that even mentioning anything negative about the MCU is sure to garner a huge crowd.

Also who gave you the write to draw over the amazing actors who are a part of an amazing universe

Tell me how int the world is the mcu not connected. Iron man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black widow, Black panther, scarlet witch, vision, spiderman = Avengers infinity war

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