Is The ‘Avengers’ Movie Hurting Other Marvel Movies?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 9th, 2010 at 11:04 pm,

 Is The Avengers Movie Hurting Other Marvel Movies?

[Editor's Note: I originally wrote this post back on March 8, 2010, questioning whether or not Marvel's lead-in film approach to their epic Avengers project was enhancing their movie universe or hurting it.

Now Iron Man 2 is in theaters, and after seeing some of the split reaction, I feel it's a perfect time to present these concerns again. I've updated the opening paragraphs, the rest appears as originally printed.]

Be sure to read our Iron Man 2 review.

By now you fan boys and girls have almost certainly seen Iron Man 2 and are geeking out over it. I’ll be the first to admit: There’s enough visual splendor and kick-ass action in the film to get Marvel movie lovers (and even average movie lovers) excited.

So why was I ultimately left feeling uneasy after viewing it?

I’ll tell you why: Now that we’ve pretty much gotten a complete look at what the story of Iron Man 2 entails, I immediately found myself asking myself, “Is The Avengers movie hurting the rest of these Marvel Studios movies?”

Before the fanboy mob can retrieve their pitchforks, barrels of tar and sacks of feathers, I’ll quickly explain myself:

Looking at the Iron Man 2 full trailer, the story seems pretty clear: After revealing to the world that he’s Iron Man at the end of the first film, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is living it up as a superhero celebrity – that is, until the negative side of that lifestyle rears its ugly head. Aside from the constant demands of the public, Tony is facing pressure from the government to turn over the Iron Man “weapon”; threats from angry evil doers like Ivan Vanko / Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) and rival industrialist Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell); even possible pressure from S.H.I.E.L.D. to step up and be a “company man.”

iron man 2 nick fury Is The Avengers Movie Hurting Other Marvel Movies?“Dude, you’ve gotta make this Avengers thing happen…”

If you really watch the trailer, you’ll notice that one of the key pieces of dialogue featured in it was Jim Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle) telling Tony that his “lone gunslinger act” is unnecessary and that he doesn’t have to go it alone. Hmmm, so that’s a central theme of this movie – Tony Stark realizing that he can’t be the only super hero on the block? Wonder why the filmmakers chose to go in THAT direction?

iron man 2 tony war machine Is The Avengers Movie Hurting Other Marvel Movies?“Seriously dude, you’ve GOTTA make this Avengers thing happen…”

Now don’t get me wrong: IRON MAN 2 looks like a good movie. The film looks to be yet another success for Marvel Studios and it is ABSOLUTELY going to make boat loads of money at the box office (especially the IMAX screenings).

However, whereas Chris Nolan reached greatness with The Dark Knight by approaching it as its own, standalone movie, my current fear is that at the end of the day, Iron Man 2 – along with Thor and Captain America – will be seen as little more than lead-in stories to The Avengers movie. That label already limits (for me) how great this movie can be in terms of story, since I’ll always be left wondering what this sequel could’ve been if not for the need of some contrived plot points that will better help The Avengers movie get off the ground.

iron man 2 collapsable mark v armor Is The Avengers Movie Hurting Other Marvel Movies?

While I’ll no doubt enjoy Iron Man 2 (as will most of you), this latest trailer has me feeling fairly certain that I’m in for a set piece to set piece three-act ride that will entail a checklist of pre-Avengers bullet points, which fanboys in the audience will be meticulously checking off.

As for Thor and Captain America? I have a feeling that director Kenneth Branagh will craft the former into a truly awesome standalone epic (save for the third act, which will inevitably bring Thor around to his Avengers fate). However, the fact that the Captain America movie already has the title The First Avenger slapped across it, leaves me with a lot of anxiety that it could be the most contrived and shallowly plotted film in this “lead-in” bunch. And I don’t want Cap’s story to come across that way at all; wouldn’t foreign audiences have a great joke to tell if the movie about ‘America’s superhero’ came off as a hokey advertisement for a bigger, better movie?

Queue the snarky review headlines…

avengers thor captain america iron man Is The Avengers Movie Hurting Other Marvel Movies?There is no “I” in team- but can that be a bad thing?

I don’t know, maybe I’m off the mark with all this… Anyone else feeling this trepidation or am I about to get slapped around in the comment section? Guess we’ll find out.

Iron Man 2 (The Avengers prequel) is now in theaters.

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TAGS: captain america, iron man 2, the avengers, thor

213 Comments

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  1. The Avengers is two years away! Why get so nervous about it when we still got couple more solo films? I thought Iron Man 2 was great for what it was, id probly give it 3 1/2 stars. I wouldnt use TDK as a example as how super hero movies should be made cause obviously Nolan intended that film to be in a very much real world scenenio. Second, not to spitball here but most of that films success was due to Heath Ledger’s Performance and supposely untimelu death afterwards. Back to Avengers, I agree with Justin, I too was skeptical about both RD JR. & Edward Norton being lead roles as Ironman and Hulk but was impressed and blown away by their performances. Like Justin said, Why bother judging now before its made and released.

    • @WallyWest

      I agree to a point. TDK shouldn’t be used as a standard benchmark to measure super hero films by.

      BTW I really enjoyed TDK as a super hero film. It reminded me more of the “Legends Of The Dark Knight” comic book series with it’s darker story lines and gritty style. I have always read comic books from a real world scenario and Christopher Nolan was really being faithful to the Batman mythos, especially as the graphic novels “Arkham Asylum” & “The Killing Joke” were used as references on set.

      I believe a realistic/mature approach was one of the things that set MARVEL apart from other comic book companies in the sixties. Stan Lee utilized a little realism into the stories and made the characters a little more believable with the reader identifying with character traits or flaws.

      Having said that I think if all super hero films start getting churned out in the same style as Iron Man, we are going to lose interest and get bored very quickly.

      I prefer a super hero film to have as much diversity in realism, drama, action. adventure and fun as the comic books themselves do. And this varies from title to title depending on the writers and artists and the particular style we are presented with.

      For me it’s the same with super hero films that have been faithfully adapted in style and character definition. They each have their place. My favorite films that are currently getting DVD rotation includes: “Batman Begins”, “TDK”, “Incredible Hulk”, “Hellboy”, “Watchmen” and “Iron Man.”

  2. @ Justin and WallyWest

    I’m confused at how you didn’t think Edward Norton and Robert Downey, Jr. would be any good – - let alone brilliant.

    Besides both of them being Oscar nominated actors (in “Primal Fear” and “Chaplin” respectively) have you ever seen Norton in “American History X” or “Fight Club” or “The 25th Hour” or “The Painted Veil?” Have you seen Downey, Jr. in “Less Than Zero” or “Two Girls and a Guy” or “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” or “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints?”

    Both actors are oozing talent and it was the smartest decision the studio could make by casting well seasoned, amazing actors so the fans would be able to swallow those actors with less than stellar resumes, like Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans.

  3. @ Magnetic eye and @ justin

    First of all, I was not doubting Chris Evan’s acting ability. I like him as an actor. On another not, I was NOT insulting anyone if thats what you might have been thinking. I was just noticing that noone ever mentioned that like piece of info….anytime or anywhere, that I noticed. So lets not get crazy and turn this into a negative rant on something else all together.

    @ Magnetic eye
    Furthermore, I only useed that analogy at that time 1) beacuse its how I felt and the first time I had a chance to speake my opinion about it & 2) It was the best I could come up with. So I apoligise if that upset you, not my intention. If you got one better, by all means please share. Anyways I hope to talk more about this with you all soon. Peace

  4. @Magnetic eye

    One more thing……I wasn’t aware that 1) the fantastic four wasn’t actually marvels property and (ya know, I just saw marvel on the begginging title screen and went with that.) 2) also wasn’t aware that they were making a remake. So Im sorry if I made anyone upset and that I didn’t do my research. and Im not trying to pick a fight with anyone (especially you magnetic eye). just responding to comments. T.T.F.N.

    • @Emmett

      That’s cool. You didn’t upset me at all. I tend to respond rather hastily sometimes. Yeah the Fantastic Four may be the property of MARVEL COMICS but Fox currently has the film rights.

      Hopefully MARVEL will one day obtain the film rights and we’ll see a faithful and mature action/sci-fi adaptation of the Fantastic Four. :-)

  5. @jessie well thats true but those r a diff genre of movies i mean these super hero movies r way diffrent from the roles theyve played. i just thought they were a lil seasoned i mean the ppl there playing r young still and these guys r like 40 granted they look great for 40 and they r in physical shape for it i just figured the wear and tear would b hard for them cuz they put alot into the movies look at ledger look wat dark knight did too him

    @emmett naw we wasnt insulted we just didnt mention it cuz i dont think anyone cares for fantastic 4 lol cuz they did suck im glad he’s playin cap he has the physical for it and he looks the role.
    now wat i do wanna see is ryan Reynolds playin green lantern now thats going to b sumtihn to see lol

  6. @ scott what do u mean tony stark wont have a real role in the avengers he has too there cant and wont b 3 avengers theres 4 and the reason these movies have lead in’s are for the people who dont know anything about the avengers and who they are or how they started they just cant make a movie and throw them all in it then ppl will b confused cus they wanna know how it all happened so do it before they ask is the smart way i guarantee half the ppl whove seen these movies dont even know who the avengers are or how they started stuff i know ppl who didnt even know who ironman was till the movie came out

    • Learn to use punctuation. Everyone will take you more seriously and will actually people able to read your posts.

  7. @ wallywest i totally agree ledger made that movie when u think about that movie u think about the joker and the reason that movie was so dark is because marvel is owned by disney so they not gon make these movies so dark thats y they havent been but i hope they will b i heard thor was gonna b a lil dark but capt america idk

    • Learn to use punctuation. Everyone will take you more seriously and will actually people able to read your posts.

    • I’m not sure if thats why the movies are not darker. I mean think about batman and gotham city all that. It was better to show the true dark side to what made batman the dark knight. Its the city that made it all so much better. Gotham is supposed to be infested with evil.
      As to Iron Man, Captain America etc yea they’re fighting bad guys all the superhero same. But Its not really meant to be dark and evil like batman. Iron man did good. But I agree I hope they give it more of a realistic side versus the kid friendly comic book side. Like Edward Norton’s Hulk versus the first lame ass Hulk. The newer one Hulk’s expressions were perfect. He looked literally like he wanted to punch babies.
      As to the Disney thing, everyone knows Disney is shady haha. With all the subliminal sex messages. And ontop of that, Disney also owned I believe it was Tri-Star? When they made Pretty Woman, a movie about a hooker. lol. Can’t get more kid friendly than that.

  8. “Is The ‘Avengers’ Movie Hurting Other Marvel Movies?” 50%. when IM2 was just about to be released, I kept reading about how full of Avegers references it was — to the point of a real annoyance, or something like that. then I saw the movie and there were just a couple of references, plus the secret scene (which was kinda silly) but it’s understandable.. TIH was hurt by Leterrier, mostly.. and IM2 wasn’t as good as the first one but feels like a good “bridge” in the IM trilogy.. now I wonder when are we going to see IM3 but that’s something else, a different discussion..

  9. one last thing: I like to think that the whole “Avengers-’you can’t afford me’” thing is like a msg to the audiences around the world: “wanna see an Avengers movie? watch all the Marvel movies! that way, we can afford to make a huge epic mega-fun Avengers flick”

  10. @magnetic eye well they r remaking it wit an all new cast so hopefully it will b good

  11. Other than that ridiculous “first Avenger” tag on the Cap movie, I don’t really have any misgivings (other than handing The Human Torch the title role..I mean, is there a shortage of early 20′s, all-American male leads?) I really hope they nix that useless subtitle before the teasers hit. I also hope they can explain Thor without dragging out the whole mystical box of worms – maybe he’s got more mitacalorians than regular people, or something. Perhaps they could draw on and expand the original Thor concept..he first appeared to fight aliens, right? Well, the fringe UFO community tends to believe in three types of ETs: the greys, the reptillians, and the “nordics”, who basically look like you’d expect (i.e. Scandinavian). That works for me! I really don’t need actual demigods running loose in my Marvel movieverse, if its all the same to Ari and company. Asgard should be another universe that occasionally intersects our own, allowing passage between. You could even make some evildoer’s attempt to tear the veil between “midgard” and these alternate worlds a major plot vehicle. Of course, the fact there’s a huge hammer lying in a NM crater might suggest a space alien angle, which also works for me. Would be cool if they worked Roswell into it somehow..

    • “I really don’t need actual demigods running loose in my Marvel movieverse”

      In the beggining of the comics Earth X (I believe, I could be mistaken it for universe x) they explained how the gods possessed there power (which is very interesting) and that there was a bigger plot to that itself (bigger than gods). So going by that theory I would like to keep thor as a demi-god rather than an alien.

  12. I’m getting a lot of similar feedback on my blog. A lot of people are worried about the lead in to The Avengers, and more importantly, what will happen to the Marvel movies if Avengers bombs at the box office.
    I’m concerned, but hopeful that Avengers will fulfil it’s expectations.
    As for hurting the other movies, you amke an interesting point. I have read some scathign reviews that argued there was too much set up for Avengers in Iron Man 2, but I disagree. Yes there are little nods to what’s coming, but I think the fan boys and girls like me enjoy those hints for those in the know. It just made me more excited about what was coming next.

    Great Site. Must remember to come back for more.

  13. Spoiler Alert***

    Well in this spirit, at the very end of Iron man 2, after credits have completely rolled, there is one extra scene.

    The scene in question is a drive to the New Mexico desert where there is an excavation taking place, A suited man who is overlooking the excavation site gets on his cell phone and places a call..

    “Sir we found it” he says

    The camera pans towards the site, where we see what they were looking for… The Hammer Mjolnir which belongs to Thor…

    Avengers it will be…let’s not forget Edward Norton Hulk, where Tony Stark makes a cameo and tells him that they are assembling a team..

  14. To those who don’t like the “First Avenger” tagline attached to the Captain America movie, you DO realize that it’s almost certainly to help boost interest in the foreign markets.

    Remember that the plan is for Captain America and the Avengers to be released only months apart. Non-U.S. audiences will be a heck of a lot more likly to see a movie that’s connected to the upcoming Avengers flick with the increasingly popular Iron Man than they will to see a movie that appears to only feature a hero who focuses on American interests.

    It’s life, it’s marketing, and in no way will it have an impact on whether the movie is good or bad. Let’s just hope they make a quality film and get over the title by seeing at as what it is.

  15. Also it aint the first Captain America movie thats been made. Im sure it will surpass the 90′s Captain America film that i didn’t like.

  16. who wants an avengers porno starring jenna jameson :P

  17. hmm tough 1 id say not i mean wdf how ppl gnna no about how they got started man if no one shows them isnt spiderman part of the avengers how they gonna fit him in ?

  18. Part of what made the 1st Iron Man movie work was its integrity: it was uncluttered, focused on a tight group of characters & an internally consistent mythology. You got to know those characters well, and get into the mythology, even if you’d never read a comic book before in your life. And the best elements of the 2nd film build on that foundation: Tony’s character flaws are on a collision course with his responsibilities, & his relationship w/ the straight-laced Jim Rhodes. Pepper’s sharp, sincere, & deserves a hell of a lot more than she’s been getting from the zillionaire playboy. And we spent the whole 1st movie wondering what the hell SHIELD is & what they want with Tony. The best parts of the 2nd movie grow directly from those elements: Rhodey’s conflict w/ Tony leads directly to the creation of War Machine, leading us to wonder what he (& the government he works for) is going to do with it. Pepper gets her reward, leading us to wonder what she’s going to do with it. SHIELD turns out to be some kind of covert agency led by badass Samuel L. Jackson, running badass secret agents like the Black Widow. (Notice that I said “covert.”) There’s enough material for another Iron Man movie there, which doesn’t have to have anything to do with other mythologies, at least not yet.

    But then we have this hammer in the desert for no reason, having nothing to do with anything else we’ve seen–at least nothing that you can figure out if you haven’t been reading comic books all of your life. Congratulations. You’re starting to lose your audience. Wait till they find out that you’re introducing magic into the hi-tech universe they just got used to. Woa! Check out that shark.

  19. Iron Man 2 was a joke. The Avengers with it’s no talent hack director will be worse.

    • Kind of funny to read this now “Bob James”. How many times have you been out to see ‘The Avengers’?

  20. The avengers were great. Added a nice twist to adding all the superheroes together. Humorous and fantastic. Plus, Thor is so sexy!

  21. I’m glad I didn’t read this post a few years ago. I’m glad in hind sight to say you were completely wrong. Marvel has done something unprecedented by sharing a movie universe and keeping continuity through six films, each building and enhancing the other. And Marvel gave me the Justice League movie I always wanted, except they called it Avengers. :)

  22. Aventers was a great film

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