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. I totally agree, especially about the “First Avenger” part.
    That part of the title has had me uneasy from day one!

  2. I totally agree, especially about the “First Avenger” part.
    That part of the title has had me uneasy from day one!

  3. I think the line in which Rhodey is talking about the lone gunslinger stuff is more referring to allowing Rhodey to fight alongside him as War Machine.. he can help him as he is facing greater and greater odds.

    I also could be way off mark, just pointing out another point of view is all

  4. I think the line in which Rhodey is talking about the lone gunslinger stuff is more referring to allowing Rhodey to fight alongside him as War Machine.. he can help him as he is facing greater and greater odds.

    I also could be way off mark, just pointing out another point of view is all

  5. I see what you're saying, but I think you may be expecting too much from the Avenger's movie. Of course it won't be perfect and the simple medium of film and the limits of a 2 – 2.5 hour film, and the limits of some suits at Marvle/Disney having their hands in it to make sure it appeals to most of the masses and sells lots of toys will compromise it some what. But that is the nature of the beast.

    Part of Iron Man's story in the comics is his relationship with the Avenger's. I'm happy that Marvel has set it up so that their heroes can pop up in each other's movies – like they do in the comics. It doesn't mean they are required to – but they can. This is something that Batman can't do as currently constructed by Nolan. And that worked great, but it is a bit limiting if you want to help sell a Green Lantern movie by having Bruce Wayne pop up.

    Yes, that stuff shouldn't be contrived if at all possible, but some of it will disappoint in the end.

    Think back to10 – 20 years ago and imagine someone was telling you they were making an Avenger's movie. I would have been incredibly stoked to see it come to life, but soooo afraid that they couldn't pull it off. Marvel has shown us that they can pull it off. They at least care about putting forth a quality movie.

    If this doesn't convince you that the Avenger's movie is a good thing, then to help yourself sit back and enjoy the ride think of this; What if the Avenger's movie was being made by FOX? Feel better?

  6. As soon as I saw the Stark Industries logo in The Incredible Hulk and the line about super soldier serum, I knew I was watching an elaborate trailer for The Avengers.

    I get it, Marvel is building towards Avengers. Fine. What do they do after that or do they have no other game plan?

  7. Honestly it doesn't really bother me, because ultimately that's what most of us want. I have full confidence in Marvel's direction and choice of directors for their films that they'll be able to tell a story that can stand alone as well as lead to the Avengers movie. Favereu even stated that when he started the first Ironman he was designing it for a trilogy so while you couldn't see it in the first one, after you see all three I'm sure you'll be able to notice how they all tie in beyond having the same characters in the movie. And as far as the Captain America film having the “First Avenger” tag slapped on it, I may not be up on my Marvel history but I think that's pretty much how the Avengers were formed, finding Cap frozen in ice and thawing him out so I'd be more surprised if it DIDN'T lead into the Avengers movie.

  8. I don't know. Maybe I'm just too dense to pick up on it, but I hadn't felt like they were laying it on too, too think with the films being a lead-in to The Avengers. As someone who's looking at all of the characters from the outside-in, I generally gathered the overlapping stuff was to show the movies are all taking place in the same universe and continuity.

    There were Easter eggs of Cap's shield in Stark's shop and Stark's name on the munitions used by the government in TIH, but those inclusion were all subtle enough and, with the latter, sort of made sense if Stark was the main private weapons distributor.

    So far it's seemed tastefully done in my opinion, but I think the Thor and Cap movies are going to be a bit of the greater test. Thor is eventually placed in modern era Earth eventually anyway, as is Cap, so I'm more concerned if they achieve that with comic-movie believability than anything else. Placing them in the same universe and continuity as Stark and Hulk seem easy if they get that down.

  9. I don't really feel it's that contrived, not at all. After all, the first Iron Man film was made with the long term goal in mind to lead into an Avengers film. But in order for such a film to work, they want to ensure that the lead characters can support their own franchises first. That's why they remade the Hulk with Edward Norton, it wasn't just redemption from Ang Lee's mess. The individual films do stand up on their own, but a team film has always been their goal here.

    Of course, a little anxiety over the idea is not unusual. After all, superhero teams have an unreliable track record in theaters. Fantastic Four and X-Men 3 are good examples. Nobody wants to go through all this build-up for a bomb. But until that day arrives, let's enjoy the show.

  10. Made by Fox??!! Please, don't even joke about that! :-)

  11. Made by Fox??!! Please, don't even joke about that! :-)

  12. Ok, look, Cap has always been a symbol of american ideals; such as Vietnam having to do with his departure from America and becoming Nomad…or his death. Now, The First Avenger actually is the most positive way to convey Cap's message. Those friggin nazis scumbags had to pay for their crimes, and Captain AMERICA was the first avenger! It makes beautiful sense. Do I have my facts wrong? Concur puh-lease

  13. It shouldnt hurt the avengers movie. Marvel and the studios just need to keep hollywoods two scents and dick loving drama out of it and it will all be dandy. If thats the main goal and marvel puts the fans first then all the movies should not be hurt in anyway. For us comic book fans, all the characters that marvel puts out are able to stand alone whether they fly solo or are in groups. Sure group work is awesome but still the stories are able to stand by themselves. But if Marvel takes there eyes off of us fans and turns there heads to pleasing hollywoods dick then it will all fall apart. I mean look what happened to the spiderman franchise. For instance, in the spiderman movies there was a scene where peter parker looked at his body in the mirror and flexed after waking up from that sickness he got after getting the spider bite. That was not for the fans of comics or spiderman. If it was up to me peter parker wouldve never been buff. Like I said, the trick is going to be for marvel and the studios to stay focused on us true fans who like the comic plots and not hollywood who distorts the plots. If that is the route marvel takes then every movie will be able to stand alone, as well as each character.

  14. It shouldnt hurt the avengers movie. Marvel and the studios just need to keep hollywoods two scents and dick loving drama out of it and it will all be dandy. If thats the main goal and marvel puts the fans first then all the movies should not be hurt in anyway. For us comic book fans, all the characters that marvel puts out are able to stand alone whether they fly solo or are in groups. Sure group work is awesome but still the stories are able to stand by themselves. But if Marvel takes there eyes off of us fans and turns there heads to pleasing hollywoods dick then it will all fall apart. I mean look what happened to the spiderman franchise. For instance, in the spiderman movies there was a scene where peter parker looked at his body in the mirror and flexed after waking up from that sickness he got after getting the spider bite. That was not for the fans of comics or spiderman. If it was up to me peter parker wouldve never been buff. Like I said, the trick is going to be for marvel and the studios to stay focused on us true fans who like the comic plots and not hollywood who distorts the plots. If that is the route marvel takes then every movie will be able to stand alone, as well as each character.

  15. What im most concerned about is that the Captain America movie isnt making very much progress, that could either mean that they are working super hard on their storyline <hopefully> or that they are behind and are going to slap together a crappy movie to get The Avengers movie out and running. On the flipside, I have little doubt that Thor will be affected very much because, this may be just for publicity but, every mention of the Thor movie has been on a positive note whether it be from Marvel employees or even other directors in the franchise.

  16. I can guarantee everybody that if these movies are made by directors and fans who are working as the cast who actually know these characters, then the avengers wont be short changed in any way. Ironman was great as a movie partly because the guy who directed it is a fan of it. Maybe not that crazy of a fan, but based on the way he made the movie you can certainly tell that he is a bigger fan of ironman than ang lee is of the hulk.

  17. Hey Kofi, maybe if your boy Brett Ratner had a hand in it then maybe you wouldn't have that sense of trepidation you do lol!

  18. I meant crew, not cast, my bad people

  19. I think the Avengers movie is definitely hurting the individual franchises. I mean, why aren't they going the alcoholic route with Iron Man? Probably because they need him for the Avengers.

    However, this crossing-between of the superheroes into one giant movie is honestly one of the coolest things I have ever heard of. I mean, it does sound a bit contrived, but c'mon. How awesome is it that we're going to have a team of heroes in one film?@

    Granted, it is probably hurting the individual films, which is a shame.

  20. I don't see it as overly contrived and hurting the story from a story perspective. But I think it is making Marvel make long term “casting” decisions to support this goal, which could impact the franchise.

  21. All valid points, but you've forgotten one thing…

    Tony Stark has an Iron Man suit in a brief case.

    Your argument is now invalid… don't ask how, just know you'll never be that awesome. ;)

  22. All those words, and really all it amount to is you sucking on Nolans balls.

  23. I think that while, yes, they will be setting up the Avengers, I don't believe that it will cause this movie to go all that far downhill from “what it could be”. Remember, they are still doing an Iron Man 3 anyways.

  24. Personally… I think you're just trolling.

  25. *slap*

  26. Wait wait wait. Wasn't it reported here as well as other places a few months back maybe even a year ago that the next Marvel movies ( namely Thor, Iron Man, Captain America) were going to tie into the Avengers movie some how anyway? I don't really think its going to be hurt by this seeing how as its not a movie about him and Rhodey scouring Antartica to look for Captain America.

  27. I think if they just stick to the great character development of these iconic marvel characters The Avengers movie will turn out fine. the problem with these films today is that the movie makers can tend to get CGI madness and then the film could end up a mess but so far with the first Iron Man and the Hulk they've done right, It's all about staying true to the characters in the end.

  28. i do and dont agree, if captain america is how people say he is going to be (dancing on stage etc) then it will be an epic fail.
    i hope its like ironman, where he has his own story with a small part added to show he gets into the avengers.

  29. Great post, Kofi.

    While I feel that way about Iron Man 2, I think the first installments of the Thor and Captain America franchises will work as standalone epics and that Iron Man may get the treatment you're referring to due to the fact that it's a sequel and that it's Marvel's sole Poster boy character in the film world at the moment.

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