Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ Movie Universe: Was it Worth It?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated April 15th, 2014 at 11:23 am,

Marvel Avengers Movie Universe Discussion Marvels Avengers Movie Universe: Was it Worth It?

The Avengers is officially a record-shattering box office success - a film revered by millions of fans that even managed to impress a lot of those ‘snobby critics’ out there. Here at Screen Rant we gave the film a 4.5 out of 5 star review, and filled over an hour and a half of our Avengers Podcast Special with glowing praise for writer/director Joss Whedon’s blockbuster Marvel superhero team-up. No doubt about it: Avengers is a monumental success on many levels.

However, it’s important to remember the road that led to The Avengers as Marvel Studios enters the next phase of its shared movie universe, in the build up to The Avengers 2. A few years ago, we posed the question of whether the road to Avengers was being paved at the expense of  the solo character films. Now that Avengers is here, we once again have to ask ourselves: was the big payoff worth the comprises in storytelling it took to get there?

To be clear: we’re not going to debate the quality of The Avengers. Us giving the film a good review obviously says that we thought Joss Whedon and company did a good job. What we will do here is look back at Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America, and identify which elements of those films were crucial to the story of The Avengers, and if each solo film was well-served by its inclusion in (and obligations to) a larger cinematic universe.

Click on each of the titles below to jump to the discussion of that film:

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Iron Man 

Iron Man 2008 Avengers Discussion Marvels Avengers Movie Universe: Was it Worth It?

Our Review Score: 4.5 out of 5

Avengers Contributions: Iron Man origin / Arc reactor creation / S.H.I.E.L.D. Introduction / Avengers Initiative

Iron Man was the film that started it all. By earning a worldwide total of $585 million, it proved that even second-tier Marvel superheroes (i.e., not Spider-Man or Wolverine) had legitimate box office appeal. Iron Man also proved that Marvel Studios was indeed the best place for these heroes to be adapted for the big screen – in full accordance with their source material origins and mythos – instead of being tinkered with and altered, as some third-party studios had done (see: Fox’s (mis-)handling of the X-Men movie franchise).

Of course, being released so early in the game – when Marvel’s plan to build a cinematic universe was largely still a gamble married to a pipe dream – Iron Man was free from some of the pressures that its followers (including its own sequel) would inevitably face. After all, the most direct connections between IM and The Avengers are S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the brief post-credits  “button scene,” which revealed Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury – more of a fun nod to fans than the obligatory weaving of a larger mythos.

nick fury samuel l jackson and iron man robert downey jr Marvels Avengers Movie Universe: Was it Worth It?

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) sets The Avengers initiative in motion.

In the end, Iron Man was mostly left free to tell its own story: How an arrogant arms dealer is nearly destroyed by his own hubris, and must learn to use his talents for a greater good. As a standalone narrative it’s complete and well-developed – even though it didn’t even have a fully-formed script as it entered production. Thanks to star Robert Downey Jr.’s charisma and his ability to successfully collaborate with director Jon Favreau, Iron Man was more than just a solid story: It was a fun introduction to the Marvel Movie Universe.

Verdict: Since it didn’t have a lot of Avengers obligations to fulfill, Iron Man was able to stand strong on its own mechanical legs.

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THE INCREDIBLE HULK…

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TAGS: agents of shield, ant-man, captain america, captain america 2, iron man, iron man 2, iron man 3, the avengers, the avengers 2, thor, thor 2

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  1. I’m hoping Marvel have decided not to feature Pym and Lang in the Ant man film. Just focus on one – Pym with Wasp. I;d like to see Benedict Cumberbatch in that role.

  2. 100% YES !!!! Total excellence bringing Marvels’ greatest together – Just want the Spider to swing across now from Sony to join in the fun !

  3. I can argue minutiae on each movie individually, or I could just ask you this: Would AVENGERS have been what it was, or nearly as great of a movie if the individual films leading up to it had not been AVENGERS prequels?

    What would we have to remove from THE AVENGERS movie because it was set up in a previous film?

    -Agent Phil Coulson would be a random character, and his “DESTROYER” gun -modeled after a THOR villain would also not exist.

    Where would this leave Professor Eric Selvig? WHO? HUH???

    Joss Whedon would have had to come up with some other origin story for the Cosmic Cube, because it would never have appeared in Captain America.

    What would HYDRA have done without this?

    Nick Fury would have required a serious introduction methinks.

    You could now argue that MANY people who saw the Avengers and really liked it never saw any of the other Marvel movies at all.

    Good for them, I say.

    The ONLY movies I think suffered for the Avengers are Iron Man 2, because Whiplash got the shaft in that final battle scene. I really think it was War Machine that weighed down the movie more than SHIELD though. And The Edward Norton HULK suffered because it is now UNWATCHABLE when compared to the Hulk on AVENGERS.

    • I was a fan of Edward Norton’s Hulk, but Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk was pretty damn awesome.

      • I thought Ruffalo did a good job stepping into the role but I still would have much preferred Norton. To me he was the best possible match for Bruce Banner.

        • Indeed, Edward Norton was the best Bruce Banner whereas Ruffalo was the best Hulk.

          • well said, and excellently put.

    • Hardly, The Incredible Hulk is the best Marvel Studio film. Ruffalo’s excellent performance doesn’t make that go away.

      • Dr.Sam, I am inclined to second that.

    • “his “DESTROYER” gun -modeled after a THOR villain would also not exist.”

      Seriously?

    • well said, I am completely puzzled by some of the claims of this screen rant article, Iron Man 2 aside and it’s problems, it’s a little too nitpicky and pedantic

      • I enjoyed IM2 more than most people, too, apparently. I still get goosebumps when IM and War Machine are back to back in the big fight.

  4. I can’t remember anything like this in movie history, but what really stands out to me is that it’s worked. Aside from Cap being better realized in Avengers and the Red Skull being a lame villain (with no disrespect to Hugo Weaving) I’d say Marvel has done remarkably well in keeping the quality uniformly high in these projects. Compare it to DC’s obsessive focus on what Nolan’s done with Batman, and their conservative reaction to that limiting their efforts to Bat and Superman live action movies. The horribly scripted Green Lantern movie’s failure might add to their hesitation to leave the safety of direct to dvd animated features, but however you explain it they’re getting left in the dust. When you step back and look at it, Marvel’s done something unique and amazing that will stand the test of time. You have to respect that.

  5. this is the perfect place to ask this, because its been bugging me, i must’ve missed something.
    I saw The Avengers for the second time yesterday, and i still can’t figure out one thing.
    What triggered Bruce Banner to turn into the Hulk on the helicarrier uncontrollably? And how come the second time around in the final battle scene he was able to control Hulk’s actions so easily and turn into it at will?

    • What triggered Bruce Banner to turn into the Hulk on the helicarrier uncontrollably?

      Loki.

    • I attribute it to a couple of things. first being, he has some control, but he can still lose control.

      Loki’s staff was affecting all of their behavior and causing them to go at one another and Bruce spent more time around the staff than any of them.

      He didn’t necessarily trust anybody on the carrier. When he found out that they had a prison for him on the ship, that upset him.

      Going back to him not having complete control. He wasn’t changing at will, he can change at will, but in this in this instance he was changing because he was hurt and pissed off. His anger was directed in that moment to whoever was closest to him. In that case it was Black Widow.

      So, doesn’t have complete control, was pissed, hurt, mistrust, Loki’s staff; put it all together and you get what you got.

      • Plus, later in the film Banner/Ruffalo says a something along the lines of” my problem isn’t getting angry, b/c I am angry all the time”, now of course we did not find this out before, but Loki, given his ability to recognize and read people, knew this all along. Even before Banner Hulks out on the Heli-carrier, we see the exchange between Widow and Loki, where she totally turns the table on Loki and his ability to read people. But as was shown, Loki had figured Banner out, and the rest is history.

    • I believe there were small nuances in that scene that showed each character in the room feeling the effects. My impression was that Loki was turning them against each other and elevating the dynamic in order to agitate Banner into Hulking out.

    • As others have mentioned, I think Loki was a major factor that he lost it on the Helicarrier, but I think another factor was when he realized that he controlled his fall to minimize the damage it would cause, he realized that he did have control over the Hulk.

    • You saw it tow times and still didn’t get it? huh.

      Well, it was because of two things:
      1. From the moment Loki stepped onto that Hellicarier, he started to mess with everybody’s mind… most noticeably, Banner’s: when Loki walked past him, Banner showed signs of a headache (implying Loki was starting his “infiltration into the mind”), also, when the Avengers were all busy arguing in the lab, it was because of Loki, hence the scene where the camera panned to Loki’s spear and the camera flipping over (implying things are being “turned upside down” due to Loki’s powers). You’ll also see Banner holding Loki’s spear at one point. PLUS, the fact that Widow actually said the words “So your play is Hulk.” when she talked to Loki ;)

      2. Most importantly, the Hulk is an animal. It’s in his nature to survive (remember when banner said he tried to kill himself and the Hulk intervened and spit the bullet out?). So when Loki’s forces came aboard the ship, and knocked out the lab, the Hulk was trying to come out simply to protect himself: to SURVIVE.

      In short: Loki was messing with Banner’s mind, and that’s why (when the Hulk’s survival instincts kicked in due to the near death experience) he couldn’t control the beast, BUT, when he arrived on the battlefield in NY, he was in control: Loki wasn’t messing with him and he could change freely.

      • Exactly. Loki didn’t turn Banner in to the Hulk. He pressed all the right buttons, set up all the dominos, knowing exactly what the end result would be.

    • That’s an interesting question kayell. I’m surprised more people aren’t asking. Oh wait. Lots of people are asking that exact question.

      You could just shrug you’re shoulders and think, “Eh, it’s just a silly Superhero movie,” like the vast majority of the audience that didn’t quite understand the Hulk’s final transformation, which was sudden and drastically different from every previous transformation in this movie and every other movie. Also, they seemed to go through great pains to present a Hulk transformation as a very bad, unwanted thing (again in every movie). Or you could accept some Rube Goldberg-esque explanation.

      BTW I “got it” (enough anyway), and it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the movie one bit. But I think it is inadequately explained and have said so for a long time. I even predicted people would be asking the question. You are the latest to bare this out. I predict that when the movie is watched again on DVD, more people will ask the question. It won’t go away.

    • What triggered the HULK? An exploding arrowhead.

    • @Kayell, Dr.Sam Becket answered the first question but the answer to your 2nd ? is by watching The Incredible Hulk movie starring Ed Norton. At the end of TIH, Banner has found a conscious way of conjuring the Hulk while meditating. However, the Hulk will still emerge if Bruce is heavily mentally or physically traumatized. Once the Hulk is on his way through Bruce, he can’t stop transforming into the Hulk at that point then the Hulk’s consciousness has taken over. The Hulk doesn’t always know what just happened to Bruce either, he gets bits and pieces and sometimes gets hostile to whoever is around because he may think that whoever was around just attacked Bruce, innately trying harm the Hulk also, so if Bruce is injured, the Hulk feels threatened even though he really dislikes Bruce mainly because he can’t stand having to share Bruce’s body and he feels that Bruce is a whimp.

      • You are correct, sir, on all points. Also, I was just waiting until someone would bring up Norton’s hulk and what happened at the end of that movie (2008 Hulk) to answer Kayell’s question of how Banner turned into the hulk to smash the alien ship in that epic battle scene.

  6. I liked all of the movies leading up to The Avengers, I don’t care what people say I thought Iron Man 2 was pretty descent and Thor was really good too.

    • I totally agree. I enjoyed all of them. IM2 was definitely the weak link in the chain, but I found it to be an entertaining way to kill a couple hours. I would definitely put in the first Iron Man movie in the Blu-Ray player before IM2, but it’s not like it was Spider-Man 3 or X-Men 3 bad.

  7. Stop the Whedon lovefest, please. The guy got lucky with Avengers. He has done a lot of crap in the past — don’t forget he did write the script for Alien: Resurrection — and making him the defacto head could be the Jenga-esque misstep you brought up. I like the movie universe, and I am very glad that Whedon didn’t mess it up, but I don’t want this to become his thing. He’s an smug a-hole who blames others for his failures (see his comments on Alien: Resurrection) and I don’t want to have to put up with his brand of storytelling for the entire second run of Marvel flicks.

    • About 5% of Whedon’s script survived to the shooting script.

      He’s done a lot of crap? Dollhouse, I’ll give you that one, but do tell what else, because I am dying to know…

      • Not true. Try 95% percent. Didn’t he said that his script was there, but was ‘badly’ executed and cast? Doesn’t matter I love Alien : Resurrection anyway…

        • Considering Whedon’s script had a whole third act set on Earth… I’d say 5% is closer to the mark than 95%.

          • This is an actual quote from Whedon (I still have to disagree on his impressions of the film, because as you know, I love it)…

            “Uh…you know, it wasn’t a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending, it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines…mostly…but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong that they could possibly do. There’s actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking, because everything that they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from the script, and people assume that, if I hated it, then they’d changed the script…but it wasn’t so much that they’d changed the script; it’s that they just executed it in such a ghastly fashion as to render it almost unwatchable.”

            • I have always thought Joss Whedon was a bit of a hack, and I was really worried that he would drop the ball on the Avengers. He is too willing to sacrifice character development or engaging dialogue in order to get a cheap laugh, and he does have a massive ego.

              However, I think Avengers was a great film. Not perfect, but great. I do think Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America suffered a bit from the Avengers setup, as villains became less important and at times the Avengers sub-plot felt shoehorned.

              I feel that Edward Norton was superior to Mark Ruffalo in every way, but the Hulk CG looked a bit better in Avengers.

            • I imagine this is not unlike what an author feels watching their book turn into a movie. I am sure they have their own unique vision of how it all goes down, and to see that happen and have NO SAY about it is rightfully frustrating.

              I too LOVE Alien Resurrection.

  8. Was it worth it? Is that a question that needs to be answered?

    At the time, a lot of people blamed the Shield stuff for IM2′s failings, but in truth, the script just plain wasn’t good enough, the cast did well, it just wasn’t up to scratch.

    IM 8.5
    TIH 9.5
    IM2 6
    CA:TFA 8.5
    Thor 7.5
    TA 9.5

    • Given the 7.5: Where did Thor fall apart, to your way of thinking?

      • It lacked a certain something for me, I think it was the whole fish out of water on Earth thing. Aside from Thor and Loki, the other characters were woefully under developed.

        I do like it, there a lot to like, there’s something endearing about the film. But IMO it didn’t wow me in the same way as the others.

      • I think Kat Dennings’ character knocked Thor down a rating point or two.

    • @Dr.SamBeckett.Im sorry but in my opinion i thought Cap was the least entertaining of them all.Don’t get me wrong it had heart but each time i look at it the film is more and more disappointing whereas the rest of the films still please me to this day.Especially the IM movies.

    • @Dr.SamBecket, Yes, that was THE problem, RDJ liked Justin Theroux’s handling of “Tropic Thunder”(great movie imo)and suggested him to helm IM 2 ANNNND Marvel should have kept the original screenwriters from IM 1 for continuity sake, because they knew what they were doing and were building momentum. Justin just wasn’t right for IM2 and wrote a very hollow and fluff script, however Shane Black would probably have done a much better job on IM2 and it would have dug MUCH MUCH deeper into character development for Whiplash and Tony Stark also leading a great segue into IM3.

  9. Iron Man 2 was a failure in another way: too much excessive comedy throughout the movie + Tony Stark acting like an idiot, which totally killed the movie for me. It wasn’t so much the lack of action or ‘okayish’ plot that put me off, it was the excessive and crass comedy, which made me shout out at my friends in the interval, “What the hell? what is this? when did this become a stupid ass comedy movie?”, which my friends agreed with. Iron Man 2 felt really over-indulgent and I’m glad Jon Favreau isn’t at the helm of the next one, or he might just have made me start to hate Tony Stark.

    • It wasn’t Favreou’s fault…
      IM2 had a very weak script written by Justin Theroux, plus Marvel Studios’ interference also played a big part — all because of a RUSHED PRODUCTION. I do think Favreou was a bit of a pushover (he should have expressed more dominance instead of just saying “okay sir” to all the actors, producers and others who wanted to mix in their “vision” for the film)
      But again, it’s wasn’t really Favreou’s fault that IM2 turned out the way it did – he actually made the best out of a bad situation considering the time he was given to make the movie.

  10. I think they could have saved some money by skipping Iron Man 2 and allowing Black Widow to debut in The Avengers. While I didn’t dislike IM2, I don’t deem it vital to either franchise. I’m not familiar enough with Marvel comics to know how well an Ant-Man movie would do, but, I have to say I like the idea of a SHIELD movie with multiple characters (a smaller-scale Avengers or X-Men type film). Dr. Strange could be kind of cool, too, depending on who portrays him and writes the character.

  11. I believe it was they key to the success of the avengers. Everyone knew the characters (most of them) going into the theatre so there wasn’t a need to do a lot of character development – just a little bit of catch up. Had there been no shared universe, we wouldn’t have had as much time to devote to action and if there had been no universe and the director kept the action, there was the risk of the characters seeming 2-dimensional.

  12. Kofi u mentioned that DC/Warner Bros. tried to lock up Christopher Nolan to be the godfather of their films, but isn’t he producing Man of Steel? I know thats just one movie but couldn’t they come to an agreement for him to produce future DC films if things were to work out?

    • I would personally be afraid of any shared DC universe with Nolan at the helm. The Justice League doesn’t need to be more “dark and edgy” and we most certainly don’t need “Prince” Kal-El to be a part of that.

    • I would be interested to see what he could do with other characters in the DC stables, but if he doesn’t, I look forward to seeing what DOES result. I think Nolan CAN move away from grim and edgy, if necessary.

      • I think the point though is I wouldn’t want a director that has to move out of their comfort zone but instead one that embraces the style that Justice League needs to succeed.

  13. Didn’t mean to bring up a DC topic but i had to ask.

  14. Was it worth it? Yes. But the real question is, will it last?

    • But does it blend!?!

  15. I found The Avengers to be very, very fun, and great marriage of Marvel’s and Joss Whedon style. But the whole shared universe has A LOT of inconsistencies… not to mention The Avengers is so full of plot holes it makes me cringe. And yes, Iron Man 2 and Thor suffered the most with the establishing of the universe. Also every mayor player in the team was a lot better in the individual films, with the minor exception of the very convenient change of heart Thor had, and the disposable Black widow we saw in Iron Man 2. But even so, Whedon make them work together almost brilliantly. A very bumpy, glitchy ride to get to The Avengers.

    • … okay, I’ll bite: what “inconsistencies” and “plot holes” are you referring to?

      • haha, how much time d you have? I may be wrong in SOME of these, but it got to the point where it was really distracting, at least for me, but maybe next time I’ll shut down my brain or something to enjoy the film at its fullest…

        Black Widow’s arm isn’t tear apart when reaching out to a high speed alien vehicle
        The Hulk tries to kill Black Widow for no reason other than ‘to create the chaos Loki wants’. Also wouldn’t a hit from the Hulk kill you if you are not the god of thunder?
        Banner controls the Hulk with ease in the final battle just because.
        The whole Banner controlling the Hulk denies then denies the denial of the ending of The Incredible Hulk
        Why did they change the design of the Hulk from one movie to another if they’re on the same universe (don’t give me the Mark Ruffalo is replacing Edward norton thing)?
        The Hulk was very angry and dangerous in The Incredible Hulk, in The Avengers he is a comic and dumb smashing monster
        Why do military keep firing at the Hulk when THEY ALREADY KNOW they can’t even hurt him?
        Where is the military during the whole mess? The aliens were pretty much an inferior race with no shields, armor or anything a powerless and glock armed Black Widow can’t take down
        Why launch a nuclear bomb and wipe out Manhattan before trying something else like say, send the military? Or perhaps send the nuc right to the hole from where the aliens are coming from?
        Wouldn’t the nuclear blast destroy the city but, since the Tesseract can’t be stopped, leave the portal open for more aliens to attack Earth?
        How did Black Widow inferred atumatically that Loki’s plan was tu unleashe the Hulk? Just because he said “You brought the monster”?
        It takes only a hit in the head to be free from Loki’s control
        How did Selvig was able to consciously insert a way for the Tesseract to be stopped? If you’re able to resist the control in some way, how come Hawkeye didn’t do it? And why the hell didn’t Loki tried to control Nick Fury, or kill him immediately and chose to talk, and then let Hawkeye shoot him, who didn’t presumed Fury was wearing a bulletproof vest? He was killing a lot of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but couldn’t kill Fury himself?
        Many agents and people die during the Helicarrier attack, but I guess that nobody cares for nameless extras, but when ONE agent Coulson dies, ALL The Avengers step forward.
        Why Iron Man attacks Thor and risking the escape of Loki? While they kept bitchslapping each other neither of them thought he might escape. How come Asgardians make jokes like Earth people? Why didn’t Thor used Mjolnier to escape from the prison, and just did it AFTER he was thrown from the ship? If the weapong Agent Coulson was pointing at Loki was developed from the Destroyer, how come he din’t knew what it did?
        I know why the chitauri leader thinks attack humans is to court death… his lame race has not advanced weaponry over Earth at all, aside from those huge moster/ships.
        I know it was supposed to be a joke, but can anybody really believe that someone working for S.H.I.E.L.D., a force that can monitor all people on Earth, would really be playing an ancient videogame in the middle of a crisis?
        Captain America was famous, but even with the trading cards, nobody know who he is now… not even the press? Really? And nobody know where ANY of the Avengers are after the battle, but didn’t a guy named Tony Stark publicly confessed his identity?
        It is useless to have an invicible ship when it makes that much noise and it’s so easy infiltrate and you don’t restrict access to your agent who’s being controlled by your enemy.
        Sure there was no way for Thor to return to Earth after the bifrost collapsed, but when Loki appears, it turns out there was actually a way…. very convenient right?
        Also conveniently, once the alien ship is destroyed, all the soldiers fall down… yeah, like we haven’t seen that already…
        After falling from the sky, Thor prefers to walk and search for Mjolnir instead of just, you know, extending his arm and all it.

        • God bless anyone that tries to address this, becasue I now have a headache after reading through about 30% of it.

        • A bit verbose…and some of the issues have been discussed (not necessarily RESOLVED, but at least talked about)…I am glad, however, that you brought up a number of other inconsistencies.

          Bravo.

        • okay, that’s a lot of stuff lol, but I’ll try to address most of em:

          -I don’t think hanging from a high speed vehicle would “tear” ones arm off – even in real life.
          -Hulk goes after Widow because she was the one who got Banner into the whole mess (she recruited him).
          -The Hulk didn’t really “hit” Widow: while he was running, his arm came into contact with Widow and since Hulk is so strong, even a slight contact is enough to send Widow flying.
          -See Hulk-transformation explanation in my above comment. No need to repeat myself ;)
          -Hulk looks different because technology has evolved. They used mo-cap which means they could get more emotion of the Hulk, not just a CGI beast.
          - Hulk was dangerous in TIH, and he’s also very dangerous in TA, so I’m not seeing your argument there.
          - The guy in the jet wasn’t trying to kill the Hulk, he was trying to distract him so that he wouldn’t end up destroying the Hellicarier – mission accomplished IMO.
          -Where was the military? Hell should I know ;) maybe they were on the way? There were cops, and the “coast guard” – remember, the invasion happened instantaneously, the military doesn’t just “show up” in a matter of minutes.
          - They didn’t send the nuke through the portal because they had no idea what was on the other side of the portal. And even if they did know, how the hell is a nuke supposed to lock onto a ship that it can’t detect? Once the missile went through the portal, it could very well have just missed its target.
          - “How did Black Widow inferred atumatically that Loki’s plan was tu unleashe the Hulk? Just because he said “You brought the monster”?
          It takes only a hit in the head to be free from Loki’s control” – the answer is yes, to both those questions. Deal with it ;)
          - Selvig didn’t put a fail safe in consciously… it was unconsciously. Loki’s magic is very strong, but like all movies, the human heart can always overcome evil. It’s a movie.
          - Loki lets Hawkeye “kill” Fury (why? I don’t know, he likes theatrics – he was going to let Hawkeye kill the Widow as well because he wants people to suffer, and having your friends or allies stab you in the back is a pretty good way of suffering)
          - The Avengers are influenced by Coulson’s death because almost all of them have built a relationship with him. They know him, they don’t however, know the other agents.
          - Thor did try to escape from the prison, but I’m guessing you didn’t notice that as soon as someone tries to escape from it, the latches go loose and the whole thing drops (Fury did a whole speech about it).
          - Coulson didn’t know what the weapon does because he didn’t make it. It was a prototype. I’m sure he knew it did “damage” lol, but what it did exactly? hell, I’ve been watching the movies and even I didn’t know what would happen.
          - “I know why the chitauri leader thinks attack humans is to court death… his lame race has not advanced weaponry over Earth at all, aside from those huge moster/ships.” – I have no idea what you’re saying there.
          - People do know who Cap is, but how are they supposed to know it’s REALLY him? If someone from WW2 was alive and well in the modern day, I wouldn’t believe it either – I’d think the guy is a hack.
          - The Avengers disperse, Thor goes back to Asgard, Cap rides away and Stark & Banner head to Stark Tower. We know this, but how would the fictional “civilians” possibly know this? They weren’t present during these events. Fury is covering up for them because they deserve a break.
          - You got a point there… the Hellicarier is pretty easy to infiltrate.
          - It’s explained how Thor gets back to earth: Odin uses his dark energy (at the end of THOR, Heimdal did say “there is always a way” so it’s not like this was just some random, fake explanation)
          - Yeah, the aliens all fell down because they were part of a “collective mind” and yes, we have seen it before. At the very most, it’s a cop out, but it’s not a “plot hole”.
          - That was actually very symbolic IMO: Thor felt he wasn’t worthy anymore. he was starting to doubt himself and felt that HE needed to come to Mjornir, instead of the other way round.

          Hope that solves some of your puips, but honestly though, I think you’re over-thinking the whole thing WAAAAAYYYY too much ;)

          • Wow, that’s a LONG comment :P
            Sorry.

            • haha! maybe you’re right and I’m over thinking stuff, but i assure you, I’m very forgiving about things like that in order to enjoy a movie, but never until now has a movie had so many things that I find distracting. Like I said, I rather shut my brain down and enjoy The Avengers for what it is, not the greatest comic book movie ever, but a damn fun and colorful experience. Cheers!

              • Well everyone’s different (if you have to shut off your brain to enjoy it, then so be it).

                Oh, and before you guys start thinking “The Avenger has no life” (I’ll admit, it’s a fair assumption after that comment ;)), I’d just like to point out that it’s 20:40 in SA, freezing cold outside, NOTHING on TV and I have the flu — so I’m sad to say, there really isn’t ANYTHING better to do than respond to crazy comments with an even crazier comment :(

              • You forgot about Cap, Hawkeye, and Tony Stark all smashing through plate glass windows without smashing every bone and organ in their bodies. (Or maybe you did. That was a simple “shock and awe” list).

                Black widow grabbing that vehicle and then jumping off it with only a few tumbles is totally ridiculous.

                But none of that really bothered me. Selvig could have just made a shut-off option without any intention of using it to stop Loki. Just being a good engineer. Then he just remembered it. Wasn’t it simply more dramatic for Thor to pick up his hammer at that moment? And the video game thing was funny. Whedon has the ability to jump between serious and ridiculous. To me, the fact that he knows things are ridiculous allows me to go along when he’s serious.

                Anyway mostly you’re way overthinking.

            • @The Avenger, Here’s a cyber Guiness for you or do you like Ale?

          • Thank YOU! You hit the bullseye on almost everything. All of the answers are in the movie, one just has to watch and listen. Plus, it’s a comic book MOVIE! Anything is possible.

            The hellicarrier was infiltrated because they had the proper codes to approach and dock, as seen by when Hawkeyes team approaches. Once the engine was disabled all attention was given to keeping the carrier flying. In another scene, someone clearly announces that the intruders are dressed in SHIELD uniforms.

            I guess the theaters need to turn up the volume when Loki mentions Odin using ‘dark matter” to get Thor to earth.

            Oh, and Loki, Loki, Loki would be the answer to 90% of the “plot holes”.

            As far as the Military…I believe the Council wanted to take military action but Fury advised the Avengers would handle. Dropping a nuke is done by the military. I do believe the National Guard did show up. Don’t think in real life tanks would immediately be rolling down Main Ave, pretty sure the Guard would show up first. Look at the military’s reaction to 9/11. I live in Md, surrounded by military bases and all of them went into “lock down” mode, not scramble the jets, tanks, soldiers and M16′s mode.

        • Really with a movie about superheroes this is something you are going to complain about? Yes her arm would have been torn out, normal adventure movie suspension of disbelief.
          Breaking through Banner in a hectic emergency I think it is very Hulk like to go after the first person he saw. Only saw the movie once, I don’t remember Hulk hitting her.
          Banner let the Hulk out on his own. It wasn’t forced out due to emergency or Loki’s involvement. And it is not like he was a perfect soldier, it was just go smash aliens.
          Maybe it was a money issue, that much more detail in Nortons would have taken money away from the battle or something else. Again not a real issue.
          He had his life threatened constantly in the Incredible Hulk. There was no point where he seemed like he had intelligence. And when he was in danger again he was pretty angry and dangerous on the hellicarrier.
          Didn’t Fury instruct him to get Hulks attention? I think it was just to get Hulk to go after the plane and get him off the Hellicarrier. They knew nothing would actually harm him.
          Agreed infantry should have been there with machine guns and what not taking them down. SHIELD agents would make even more sense.
          It is a nod to a SHIELD contingency plan to put Manhattan to the Negative zone in World War Hulk. But you are right they should have tried to shoot the nuke in through the portal first.
          The council does not know/agree. They are of the mindset nothing can withstand our greatest weapon.
          She is trained to do that. You brought the monster is not a normal response. It showed that it was on his mind for no reason.
          Yeah a hit in the head is pretty weak. Being knocked out can get your brain to reboot from a concussion I guess. A weak answer
          You are right. It should have just been he knew they scepter would be the key turning the portal on and off. It should not have been I controlled my mind well enough to put in a back door program.
          He had been controlling the doctor before hand. Having Nick alive on the Hellicarrier was part of his plan I guess., he could guess at how Fury would react to everything.
          It was only a push for Iron Man and Cap. And it worked perfectly. He was the only Shield agent outside of Fury they had prolonged contact with. A lot of people die, it sucks and is too bad, but if you personally knew someone it has a bigger affect on you.
          That’s what Comic book heroes do. They first meet each other and battle and lose the bad guy before realizing they should be working together. Stark is arrogant, and Thor does not believe Loki can hide from him
          What civilization does not have humor? Not a big deal.
          He was stunned the hammer didn’t work the first time. Couldn’t believe how far Loki had fallen.
          He had not seen the weapon be tested? It was based off the destroyer but how close were they to mimicking demi-god magic could be anyone’s guess.
          Earth defeated their invading army and the god Loki himself. That can be intimidating.
          Eh he was just running scans waiting for the computer to pop something up. In the meantime he was playing a game, would you have been happier had it been solitaire?
          They would now the symbol of captain America, but who would think it is the same guy from 50+ years ago. They mentioned Stark as being Iron Man on the news, and maybe he took a vacation and ignored all press and public, thus no one knew where he was.
          Not sure what noise you are talking about. I don’t remember Hawkeye using specific key cards or anything but I don’t remember him that much so I will give you that one.
          Heimdall clearly stated at the end of Thor there are always other paths…
          Yeah I also thought that was pretty weak.
          A moment for Thor to reflect on what just happened, for entertainment purposes. I dunno.

          Well those are my answers to your plot holes. Some are vastly better than others admittedly,

        • The fact is, virtually all of your “issues” aren’t shared universe inconsistencies but issues within the movie plot (which I think Avenger answered in their entirety) that ALL movies tend to have.

          • Yeah, I’m still waiting on those “shared universe inconsistencies” that he mentioned… ;)
            That whole comment of his only pointed out the “plot-holes”/gripes he had with ‘The Avengers’…

            Personally, the ONLY inconsistency in the entire MCU that I’ve come across was that War Machine was missing from the action – but even that can be explained.

      • @Avenger LOL! Thanks for saying that, a lot of people just say plot holes and etc, MAINLY because they either didn’t pay attention to what was going on,missed something, or didn’t understand something so usually they’ll just say plot holes instead of saying “Why did this or that happen or I didn’t understand so and so”.

  16. Great article Kofi, let’s hope Marvel Studios heeds your advice… and to answer the question: IMO, it was DEFINITELY worth it all, seeing as how I, and millions of others, had a blast watching all of these films on several occasions – IM2 being the only one that wasn’t as good as the rest…

    I do have a small quip though (as usual ;)), I don’t think ‘THOR’ suffered because of the shared universe thing… I think it’s arguable “mediocrity” was due to a rushed story and too much time wasted on earth with unfunny jokes. I can’t really recall any times when the shared universe thing mixed in with the actual story or progression of the movie though. SHIELD was there, yes, but that never distracted or detracted from the experience IMO.
    If THOR had a slightly longer run-time, or just cut out some of the stuff with Jane Foster “hanging” with her buds on a roof, then they could have included a lot more epic scenes focused on Thor and Asgard.

    Actually, besides IM2, I think Cap:TFA would have been better if not for the shared universe mixing in: the advanced weapons and ludicrous vehicles used in the movie (which was obviously a tie-in to put the emphasis on the cube) were unnecessary and were actually quite distracting – it wasn’t “bad” though, the movie was great, but if they’d have kept things simpler, it might very well have been even greater.

    • Thor would have been better had they not condensed his change of heart into a mere 24hr period. Maybe gods are prone to such sudden and deep epiphanies but most of us mortals would take weeks if not months. They should have extended the time (at least in appearance) and the fight with The Destroyer should have been much longer.

      • Plenty of people can’t, and will never learn.

        As he’s immortal, I’d have been more persuaded if he’d learned his lesson over a few centuries, and lifetimes. Finally living as a lame doctor he “learns” and finds out he’s Thor.

        • Well, Thor isn’t really immortal in the movie universe… withing a few thousand years, he grew from a baby to an adult, so that implies that he can die from age… and from wounds (Loki managed to stab him and Thor felt pain.)
          But, the Asgardians do have advanced medicine (the healing stones) so it’s unlikely that he’ll die from wounds.

    • Agree and appreciate the Thor assessment. The Avengers tie-ins weren’t distracting. And that anyone could consider Thor as leadership material is pretty terrifying.

    • My biggest problem with Thor (besides the 48-hour crash course in learning humility) was the fact that they shot their load with the Frost Giant battle in the first act. None of the set pieces that followed could compare to that sequence.

  17. Interesting article and I generally agree with everything.

    IM2 is definitely the weakest link out of everything mainly due to how practically every plotline and character felt wasted. There was also an overdose of Tony acting like an idiot.

    Thor just seems…odd to me more and more when I watch it. I think it might be that the Earth scenes just didn’t click along with the incredibly rushed romance between Thor and Jane Foster, which was very hard to buy. Focusing more on Asgard and the aftermath of Loki’s actions seems to be a good place to go as it would be nice to see more of that world and its characters developed. Although I’ve read we’re also checking in on Foster as well, which I suppose is inevitable.

    I kind of view Phase 2 as being the more difficult part of the Marvel Movie Universe in some ways. Marvel definitely needs to let up just a bit with some of the restrictions which caused problems for IM2 and Thor, though I suppose I can somewhat understand the why of their actions.

    Bringing in connections to all these characters in small ways is something I think could work. Still, we’ll start getting the next set of films in 2013 with IM3 and Thor 2 and I have to admit that despite my excitement I am worried.

    The Guardians of the Galaxy movie is the one out of the new introductions that worries me. Mainly since you are introducing a whole bunch of very different individuals in the same film in an aspect of the MU that has barely been shown yet. I imagine they’ll pick a focus character for that film and run with it from there, but it’s the one I’m most cautious about.

    As for unannounced films, I’d count Dr. Strange and Black Panther as being my choices. Both of the characters have straightforward enough origins that could work for a film I think.

  18. After doing my research into the script that Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish have supposedly penned for Ant-Man, I can now say I am completely against the project if it proceeds in its rumored form.

    For some stupid reason they want to introduce Pym in the past, have him come up with the Pym particle (time passes) and then have Lang steal the suit and use it in the present day. This would make Pym at the very least an old man and not really able to be part of the team as he rightfully should be.

    So this would mean no founding member Hank Pym, no connection with Wasp, no invention of Ultron and no Vision. I suppose they could have Stark come up with Ultron but he doesn’t have the correct mentality for imprinting and most certainly doesn’t need another enemy hell bent on his destruction (plus he doesn’t need any MORE of the inventing spotlight) They have to spread the bad guys around a bit and Ultron is Pym’s nemesis.

    My worst fear however is they are going to turn Ant-man into a version of “The Greatest American Hero”, having a bumbling thief trying to use the suit for his own ends, failing miserably many times but ends up unintentionally saving people instead and becoming a hero. Sorry but I don’t want a one dimensional ex-thief recruited by shield to use the suit for the Avengers.

    If that is indeed the plan then I denounce the project and the possible implications it will have for the Avengers.

    • Unless Pym is played by Don Johnson or Kurt Russell, I would agree.

      I personally would like to see Pym, Wasp AND Lang/Ant-Man II all in one film, however. Forget the ’60s, bring it closer to present day and/or around the Iron Man I timeline. The Pym particles are used mostly for scientific research (especially in nano-technology) and if Lang takes Pym’s Ant-Man gear to fight a foe, Pym could be “street clothes” Pym and throw huge quarters at threats. I think a balance could be found, and work well.

      But yes, take the ’60s out.

  19. I just think that they should focus on making the Cinematic Universe better,and don’t overblow it,like you said. I think that Hulk TV series is completelty unnecessary,and will just make things more confusing.

    Still,I have faith that the universe will get better.

    • I’d much rather see a Hulk-related series based around Doc Sampson or better yet… She-Hulk.

  20. I hope DC does the same as Marvel and create their own movie universe. That would be awesome!

  21. Humh didint even know there was a incredible hulk alternate opening :o

    • Either did I. Must be on Blu-Ray…stupid me still watching DVDS.

      • i believe its on both blu-ray and dvd special disk.

        heres the video anyway

        • Thanks!

  22. While Iron Man 2 was my least favorite, I wouldn’t say it was horrible. I don’t really blame having Black Widow or Agent Coulson involved…but Sam Jackson’s portrayal of Nick Fury in IM2 was pretty weak. Come on…they’re hanging out in a donut shop like a couple of normal guys. I think the reason Iron Man 2 wasn’t as good was more about secondary characters and story-lines like Justin Hammer and Warmachine.
    The question you pose is was the shared movie universe worth it? Yes, it was. The Avengers would be so long and drawn out if each of these characters weren’t introduced in prior movies. How much time would be wasted with introductions..every hero, secondary characters like Professor Eric Selvig , the villain, and even props like the gun Agent Coulson used. Shared movie universe very much necessary otherwise Avengers film would be so boring full of introductions and six minutes of action.

    Also, I hope for a Dr. Strange movie with Timothy Omundson.

  23. My ratings of the shared universe films would be something more like this:

    IM: 8.5
    TIH: 9.0
    IM2: 6.5
    Th: 7.0
    CA:TFA: 9.5(pre-Cap)/7.5(post-conversion)=8.5
    TA: 8.0

    “The Incredible Hulk” was the best of the films (especially in terms of rewatchability) IMO.

    • ““The Incredible Hulk” was the best of the films (especially in terms of rewatchability) IMO.”

      Agreed.

  24. The “obvious” answer is yes if the simple question is if it was worth it to get what we did with The Avengers. Sans IM2, I don’t think the movies suffered too terribly from this shared universe. Given the magnitude and the new idea they were trying to implement, I’d say they did a damn good job, even with a few hiccups. I still enjoy(ed) IM2 and can appreciate why it sort of went the way it did (I have way more problems with Hammer being a baffoon, Widow being about as interesting as a wood block) than the “shoehorning” that was alluded to above.

    My concern is how and with who they expand, especially into the cosmic realm, with things like GotG, which is a little bit out there.

    I’m excited to see what happens in the next 3,(4 since we all know Avengers 2 is a done deal), confirmed marvel movie sequels.

  25. My hopes for the next batch of films are pretty simple.
    Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2 – let those films work on their own. I’m not saying they shouldn’t tie together just don’t force in things that hurt the film we are watching at that very moment. Use the post credits scenes in all 3 that are so famous now to hint at what could take place in a….
    S.H.I.E.L.D. Film – That’s were they could expand on the over-arching story and use characters like Hawkeye, Black Widow, Furry and that film can introduce other characters like Ant Man or Black Panther. And when the flip hits the fan and we need the big guns that leads us to…
    The Avengers 2 – Which IMO should be and feel like an event, a culmination. If it feels like there’s no other option, when all hope is lost, that’s when you bring in the big guns. If they were to have one or two of them pop in to help another in the lead in films it takes away drama and also the fun.
    That’s also why I don’t want to see a sequel before 2015. If we start getting a Avengers film every 2 or 3 years it lessens the impact and can start to feel ho-humm. And that’s also when you run the risk of burn out. I know that seems crazy to think about now when the film is breaking record after record and demand is high but I can happen. It’s happened before with other franchises.
    Also, I love the idea in the article about using a showrunner type like they do in TV. I’d love to see Whedon as that person but I worry he maybe just burnt out at the moment. Give the guy a year while the Iron Man, Thor and Cap sequels get going then throw the farm at him to tie it together with S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers 2…
    Rant over ;)

  26. If Marvel is smart (three lines under IF), they’d treat movie/tv Hulk the same as solo vs. group movies. They all had solo level adventures, then something really big to bring them together. Same thing with Hulk. Keep both in the same universe. Hulk has TV level adventures, then something happens, something HUGE that wouldn’t fit on the small screen; there’s your movie. Then you go back to TV level adventures.

    Not only would this be less confusing, it could potentially make BANK! Because you’d have fans of the show clamoring to go see the movie, and you’d have new fans of the movie saying, “Wait, this is on TV too?! Lemme check that out!”

    Just a few thots.

  27. IM: 9.5
    TIH: 5
    IM2: 7.5
    Th: 8
    CA: 8.5
    TA: 9.5

    TIH was absolutely the worst out of the bunch. Terrible acting in part because of both the script and the actors. Glad they got rid of Norton, he was way out of place in that film. Only marvel movie that makes me cringe every time I try to rewatch it.

    • Iron Man 2 made me cringe so much the first time thanks to the excessive and tasteless (in many places) comedy, I didn’t even try to rewatch it :P But yeah, after IM2, I’d say TIH was the one I liked least.

  28. THANK YOU FOR THIS ARTICLE! I’ve found it sad that THE AVENGERS set up prevented fans from getting a stand-alone IRON MAN 2 and THOR. THE AVENGERS was brilliant, but unless you knew so much connective tissue from so many little scenes and plot points from the prior 5 films, the entire opening 20 minutes is lost on non-fans. It’s great to read a critic explore this REAL issue the Marvel film division should address.

  29. Was the Ant-Man movie confirmed yet? The way this article was wrote it sounded like it was but i dont recall hearing anything about it

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