Is The ‘Avengers’ Movie Hurting Other Marvel Movies?

Published 5 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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  1. Hmmmm… did I say “affecting” or “hurting?”

    Maybe you could use a second read through the article? Then take another shot at criticizing my intelligence?

    I know: reading comprehension can be difficult. Give it another go, though – you can do it!

  2. That's a valid point, Dale. Hadn't thought of that.

  3. I don't think that the “Avengers” Movie is hurting other Marvel Movies !
    Why ?

    There are several reasons for this.
    First most people have no Idea that there is an “Avengers” Movie coming.
    And who are those “Avengers” ????
    Many people don't know this even !!!!
    Avengers who ????

    They watched the first Iron Man and liked it and are going to watch the second one.
    All they know it's a Superhero Movie !

    I am a teacher here at a Uni,not in the U.S ! My students are around the age of 20,they like and watch Movies.
    They know Iron man,but never heard of that movie “Avengers”.

    That is just an example,most common people are no Movie geeks as we might be.
    It's just entertainment from them. As long as the action and story is good,they are going to watch it.

    Then we have the Marvel Fans,some of them have there favorite Superhero,others watch just any Film adaptation !

    I think the only people who might think that “The Avengers” Movie could hurt other Marvel Movies are Movie geeks who spend a lot of time reading after movies and follow the news.

    And even then,thats not sure !

    I look forward to all the Movies,but not that much to the “Avengers” Movie.
    There is a saying about to many cooks ruin the food !

  4. I've always thought a huge Marvel Superhero movie could be bigger than Star Wars if treated with the same respect and budget ! As said – most folks don't know much about these 'other' heroes – so by this clever way of gently bringing them in thru other movies like Hulk & Iron-Man…by the time the main Avengers movie is getting ready to come out – folks should know! Mabey A trilogy would be a good way to do this movie…and give more time for all the characters and villians to come together rather than fire them all in at one time in one movie !

  5. I like the idea of a trilogy. It makes sense and enables for proper character development. I'm pretty excited with what MARVEL studios are doing, even with what WB/DC are doing in terms of GL and Batman/Superman.

    It's true when you mention respect and budgets. It is sorely lacking especially as far as respect goes for the original source material by Fox Studios and Sony. Even worse when they attach incompetent directors like Singer & Ratner. I wasn't that thrilled by Sam Raimi or Tim Story either.

  6. Matt_2000- right on,
    LL- If you don't read comics you'll never see how in most books there are crossover “easter eggs” like company logos or newspapers that say Daily Planet even though you're reading a Green Lantern comic.
    I disagree about Iron Man being overshadowed or downplayed by looming Avengers movies. First of all everyone's gonna have to realize not every superhero movie is going to be a “Dark Knight” and that's okay. Marvel sold their rights to Disney because they want to make more 'hero' movies like Iron Man 1. I think it's great that we will probably be watching movies that will reflect the comic books more. Every movie will have crossover implications. The stories will get more interesting if only for the sake that there are more than two or three villains and heroes onscreen at one time.

  7. Matt_2000- right on,
    LL- If you don't read comics you'll never see how in most books there are crossover “easter eggs” like company logos or newspapers that say Daily Planet even though you're reading a Green Lantern comic.
    I disagree about Iron Man being overshadowed or downplayed by looming Avengers movies. First of all everyone's gonna have to realize not every superhero movie is going to be a “Dark Knight” and that's okay. Marvel sold their rights to Disney because they want to make more 'hero' movies like Iron Man 1. I think it's great that we will probably be watching movies that will reflect the comic books more. Every movie will have crossover implications. The stories will get more interesting if only for the sake that there are more than two or three villains and heroes onscreen at one time.

  8. as a fan of comics Marvel as a kid and later Dark Horse. I have been waiting most of my life for “a good” comic book movie to come along. I got that with Ironman 1 and The Incredible Hulk wasn’t horrible. My concern is that the studio’s are going to rush these films just to get after the wallets of “fans”. I would much rather wait another year or 2 or how ever long it takes to get a “good” movie. the trilogy aspect sounds like the best way to handle this. Have all of your individual hero movies lead up to a Avengers trilogy.

  9. It will hurt them, but probably not much. And The Avengers will make up for it in the most spectacular way imaginable. A worthy trade-off.

  10. I did an online survey with 243 respondents, and the most popular Avengers were Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hawk Eye, and Luke Cage. If a female character is needed then She-Hulk got the most votes of the women. I personally am a fan of the Beast and would like him included, but he didn't get the votes. What are other folks votes for the heroes that should be in the flick?

    • Does Fox own the rights to Beast? That would be cool. I guess I never realized he was an Avenger, but I’d love to see Grammer reprise his role in some conceptual continuity.

      • biglog

        That would be very cool to see Beast somehow involved but I think it does go back to Fox/Sony, I’m not positive who owns the rights. Another problem with him though, is that he’s a hero and not a villain and they already have plenty. The villain is what will make or brake the Avengers movie.

  11. i'm actually pretty excited. no one has ever done this in the history of film. on studio making several stand alone movies with separate characters that all coexist in one universe and then combining them into one movie at the end of the day.

    it's really big thinking on the studio's part. and i think with these characters' and their rich histories, it'd be almost insulting to consider them one shot, mutually exclusive characters. look what happened to superman. five movies and no mention of any other heroes in the universe. The Batman franchise can get away with it as batman even sees himself as an outsider to the JL.

    but iron man, hulk, thor, and cap all coming out within a few years of each other and they're all gonna just ignore each other? it's lame. i mean Spider-man, daredevil, FF all live in Manhattan and X-men just a couple hours away in the same state, yet their movies have us suspend that knowledge and treat them as exclusive entities.

    i like what they're doing with these flicks. they're creating a film universe in several episodes, piece by piece. it's brilliant.

    not to mention i didn't feel that IM was a big tease into Hulk or an avengers movie. or even a sequel. until the very end. Favreau was pretty good about keeping my attention on the story at hand, even though i was looking for any hint of a sequel. (of course i didn't get a hint. i got an anvil.)

  12. Come on, people beg for an Avengers movie but then complain about how it hurts other individual superhero films once they get it going. I guess since I’m not much of a comic book fanboy(just a fan of the movies) I don’t put as much stake into that kinda stuff but whatever. People will always want to have their cake and eat it too.

  13. This was truly an epic movie. Cheers all around. The story of Iron Man is that of the self reliance and adept mind of Tony Stark. I believe this played out in the movie. As an avenger, Iron Man was an anchor to the team and therefore I believe the other members will add great drama and in the end Iron Man and Cap should be integral in saving the team, but that is my take on how the Avengers operated in the 70′s comics that I read. Time will tell and so will the movies next year when Marvel rules the summer. I for one cannot wait.

  14. Sell.

    It’s the timeline. Iron Man has had 2 movies before the Avengers, Cap, or Thor. The Incredible Hulk setup nothing more than Easter Eggs. Iron Man 1&2 set up 3 different movies. Plus, with Tony being the brains/science/money behind the Avengers it’s only normal he’s the one who is going to put it together in the end so a lot of early details have to revealed within his storyline.

    SPOILER ALERT ************************ I’d almost bet at this point, (since his “review” at the end IM2) that he’ll say something along the lines of “screw you SHIELD, I’m forming the Avengers”. *************************

  15. Iron Man 2 was definitely hurt by adding all the Avengers stuff. Could have been so much better without it.

  16. I wouldn’t mind an iron man or Thor or even capt America movie with a story arc about them joining the avengers before the avengers movie came out. But that would have to be the central theme if it impedes on an already existing plot it will only lessen the movie. I hope that’s not what happened in ironman 2. This would also require the studio to wait a long time tk release the avengers movie, and when there is money to be made it will be.

  17. No, it’s all good.

  18. I think that for older fans like myself,they’re doing it right. For younger fans, either they know the history and will like it,or they won’t know the history and still get it. If you have no interest you’re not going to watch it anyway.

  19. “whereas Chris Nolan reached greatness with The Dark Knight ”

    Not really. And quit using this as the standard for superhero movies. Nolan didn’t even make a superhero movie. He made a mob/crime movie with a superhero in it. And it suffered because of it. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t deep, and it was just sort of good because of Ledger’s fantastic Joker but wasn’t at all “greatness”.

    • Matt,

      If you know anything about Batman you would know he started out as a detective in “Detective Comics” not “Batman”. And if you thought it was a mob/crime movie then you really weren’t paying attention.

    • I agree that The Dark Knight shouldn’t be used as the gold standard for superhero films, simply because it’s not a very superhero-ish film itself. Iron Man, while not necessarily as good a film, is much closer to being a perfect representation of what superhero films should be.

      • 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.

        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.”

        “Iron Man 2″ was great also. :-)

  20. *there may be spoilers* I just saw Iron Man 2 and yeah there were avengers tidbits thrown in here and there, it was pretty cool if I do say so myself, but seriously, why is this an argument? They have to tie in all the movies and make the audience realize that all these things are happening all at the same time in the same universe, so I dunno, I just don’t see why anyone has a problem with avenger involvement. I honestly think this is just people complaining for the sake of complaining. In my opinion the involvement of the avengers makes the story MORE interesting for me, but then again I’m a sucker for marvel movies… with the exception of Spidey 3, X-3, Electra, FF2, origins, and yeah, I like the good ones lol

  21. Lol Why bother having a controversy based on film that hasnt been made yet and wont be released 2 years down the road? After seeing Iron Man 2 last night it feels as if im reading a book and cant wait to get to the next chapter before im done reading the one im on. I believe Marvel knows what they’re doin otherwise WB/DC wouldnt be trying to do the samething.

  22. As Iron Man would say to this: “Sometimes you gotta run before you can walk”.

  23. I expect its natural to feel nervous or trepidatious about something like this…that’s never been attempted before.

    Its that old thing of being so involved that you’re just unable to sit back and enjoy the ride.

    Personally I think its great and can only add to the opportunities for other film makers to give their movies cross-over potential. Even if the execution in this first instance is a little unrefined.

  24. I love the little Avengers hints and set ups. I giggle with fanboy glee at every comic book in-joke. These new Marvel movies require, absolutely REQUIRE, a build up to the Avengers. If these characters exist in the same universe, their incredible feats and abilities would definitely have an impact on each others lives. To do away with the build up to the Avengers would make the eventual Avengers movie feel thrown together. It would be the Freddy vs. Jason of comic movies.

    • @scubadonc

      “To do away with the build up to the Avengers would make the eventual Avengers movie feel thrown together. It would be the Freddy vs. Jason of comic movies.”

      Man, I couldn’t have said it better myself! I 100% agree with you.

  25. Are you serious? How could this possibly hurt? This only enhances the viewing pleasure and creates one movie universe. It makes so much more sense than having standalone movies. Having other characters interweave and side stories are what makes these films special and are always present in the comics…

  26. “Houston, We’ve Got a Problem” it seems Robert Downey Jr. “may” not play Iron Man in the upcoming Avengers Movie… just maybe.

    The ending scene where Nick Fury was discussing Tony’s participation in the Avengers team seems to be a way for MARVEL to allow Robert not to be Iron Man in the Avengers movie.In the scene, Fury said that Tony’s personality defects (ex. textbook narcism) disqualifies him into joining the Avengers although they want him to be at least a “consultant”.What does this mean?

    This scene is a way for Marvel to simply say that “Robert won’t be Iron Man in the Avengers movie. He may have a cameo role, but not as Iron Man, just a consultant. Some other actor can use his suit but not Robert.”

    This is greatly discouraging? Why? this style of writing a movie, by giving room for the Avengers project not to be pressured into using the same actors may not only be affecting Iron Man but all the rest of the Avengers characters movies.

    I Guess the supposed “unprecedent movie event where characters and the actors that portray them will converge in one single uber-movie”
    won’t actually be happening the way we want it.

    • You’re not seriously reading that far into the last scene in IM2, are you? The impression I got for that is Stark isn’t a team player. The trailers bat around the “textbook narcissism” quote, and that’s definitely not a characteristic of someone who works well with others. If I had to guess, I’d say that will be a point being addressed in The Avengers, where Stark needs to see the benefit of not only working by himself. It would probably be during The Avengers that that turns around, unless there’s Iron Man 3 before it.

    • Even if Stark was “just a consultant” that does not mean Downey will be out of The Avengers movie, as Stark will be “a consultant”. You also seem to forget this is the character of Tony Stark you talk about. He”l be told to stay away, threatened with tasers and the like.

      He will thumb his nose at some of this authority and give his new teammates a hand.

    • Xander is correct imo. They are setting up The Avengers to be without RDJ but to keep Iron Man involved. They might bring in someone else to play the role or just have Iron Man not even take off the helmet. Who knows but it definitely sounded like they were setting us up to be without RDJ. Iron Man 3 RDJ probably, The Avengers RDJ probably not. Favs and RDJ already stated they don’t see how it could work with the mix of universes and I don’t think RDJ wants to necessarily be associated with it if the movie turns out bad (whether it makes a ton of money or not).

      • How could they NOT involve Robert Downey Jr with how popular he’s become off of the Iron Man Series? Iron Man was his comeback film for christ sake. Him not portraying Iron man would be a slap in the face of all his fans and for the people that allowed him to get that role and get him where he is today. Your argument is rife with inconsistencies and wasn’t well thought through at all. wow, I can’t believe people read into one quote that much.

      • Thank You for clearing that up chops, But then this is just a speculation. We cannot be outright sure of what Marvel is planning.

    • I’m assuming Tony Stark has to prove he can work with a team – - which is what he’s doing at the end of “The Incredible Hulk.” He’s sent as a consultant to try and bring in Bruce Banner to The Avengers. If Stark can persuade Banner over or if they just get the gamma technology then there’s hope for Stark on the team – - which he probably will. Stark will probably get cameos in “Thor” and “Captain America” to test him again on teammwork before The Avengers are assembled.

    • Marvel would be insane not to include Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man in The Avengers. Hardcore fans and casual moviegoers alike would all be wondering what the hell was going on. It would completely defeat the purpose of linking all these films together in the first place if they didn’t even bother to include their most popular hero and actor in their unprecedented team-up movie. If they had to choose, they’d probably cancel Iron Man 3 if it was the only way to get Downey into The Avengers. Surely Marvel wouldn’t be so stupid?

  27. Is there anybody here who really wishes that Marvel weren’t doing what they’re doing now?

    • No, except for maybe a few hardcore loyal to the bone DC fans who hate marvel…..

  28. I’ve seen this argument several times over the past year and it dumbfounds me why anybody would make it. All we’ve seen up until now is nothing BUT standalone franchises. Why not give what Marvel is trying to do a chance and see how it works first? Sure, there’s a million “what if” scenarios but that’s life. What if they just chose to do yet another standalone franchise and didn’t try this. Would the question then be “Is Marvel shooting themselves in the foot by not tying these movies together?” Nobody can say what the answer is… it’s all hypothetical arguments.

  29. I think the after the credits scene of Iron Man 2 really just gave me enough adrenaline to make me think that whatever problems might come about, im too excited for the Avengers to care.