At this point, it seems fair to say that Marvel Studios resides at least near the top of the world of pop culture, if not at the very summit. The 14 MCU films to see release so far have earned a gargantuan total of nearly $11 billion at the worldwide box office, and that number is sure to climb a considerable amount higher after next week's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 premieres.
Marvel Studios is also riding (mostly) high on the TV front, with streaming series Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage all ending up huge hits. The most recent series, Iron Fist, was roundly trashed by critics, but seems to have done a lot better overall with fans, earning high viewership for Netflix. ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is also currently going through one of its most highly praised arcs ever, albeit with that praise not necessarily translating to high ratings numbers.
Marvel Studios also has three big blockbusters all set to hit theaters in 2017, those being the aforementioned Guardians 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok. On the Netflix side, The Defenders are soon to assemble, and The Punisher is soon to come back and dish out his own brand of justice. Still, as eventful as 2017 will be, many are already looking ahead to 2018, which sees the arrival of Avengers: Infinity War. When asked about the project during a recent interview with Fandango, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige responded with the following comments:
“It’s more exciting than people are aware of right now, with what’s happening [on Infinity War],” Feige said. “We’re doing things you’ve never seen before with films based on comics."
While Feige obviously didn't reveal just what unprecedented aspects of Infinity War he's referring to, it's still a bold proclamation to make, as the MCU has already played host to multiple elements that had rarely or outright never been featured before in a comic book film. Visual effects and world building-wise, the last several years have arguably seen the most MCU innovation yet, with the Guardians films taking superhero adventures out among the stars, and Doctor Strange's magic leading to the reveal of worlds within worlds within the MCU.
If nothing else, Infinity War - and its still untitled 2019 sequel -- will likely serve as a test of just how good directors Joe and Anthony Russo really are, as they'll have to try and successfully balance the largest cast of major characters in the history of the MCU. While the filmmaking brothers already got sort of a trial run in that respect with Captain America: Civil War, Infinity War and its sequel will add the Guardians team, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, the Hulk, and Thor onto Civil War's already huge roster. Not to mention that intergalactic badass villain Thanos will be coming down to oversee the proceedings.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) release date: May 05, 2017
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) release date: Jul 07, 2017
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018