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  • Victoria Gee, MHS

Why You Should Watch the Marvel Movies

Over the past decade, Marvel movies have dominated the box office and amassed millions of fans worldwide. Most moviegoers already have an impression of the franchise. Nevertheless, if you haven’t seen the movies yourself, there are plenty of reasons to give them a chance. Although these films may not be peak screenplay or cinematography, they receive enough acclaim to continue shattering records. Admittedly, the twenty-three movies in the franchise are created unequally, but as with all things, choosing a favorite is a matter of personal preference. Regardless of which Marvel movie you prefer, the rest contain at least one aspect that will leave you wanting more.

Fans of the action genre have no reason to stay away from the Marvel movies. Because they are superhero movies, they all feature a decent amount of fist-fights, car chases, shoot-outs, and more. These movies deliver the most consistent and well-thought-out fight scenes of the past decade, including the notorious airport fight scene from Captain America: Civil War and the renowned Battle of Wakanda from Avengers: Infinity War. All the action scenes are engaging without being overabundant.

Marvel straddles the thin line of action by catering to a larger audience who may not enjoy the gore that is usually the trademark of the genre. The fight scenes in these movies are purposeful, only included to remind an audience of the lives at stake. Additionally, fight scenes are always broken up with silly quips or emotional moments to keep viewers grounded in the story. Films like Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Avengers: Infinity War are favorites for those who enjoy action-centric plotlines.

The violence that does permeate the movie is often overshadowed by weighty decisions that characters need to come to terms with. Such strong narrative screenwriting is the result of Marvel Studios employing some of the best writing teams in the industry. The writers, most notably duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, know how to keep the action to a minimum to bring light to more important parts of the film like character development and relationships. In the end, the writers ensure the movie has enough space to squeeze in more than jokes to keep the movies lighthearted and the viewers entertained. Though some viewers may complain about the duration of the films, every scene is integral to the plot, captivating the audience with the information, action, dialogue, exposition and subtle character changes that help shape the Marvel movies.

Additionally, no opportunity is ever wasted when the production department is casting. All the actors in Marvel movies seem perfect for their roles. On the off chance a casting mistake is made, it is fixed efficiently, and soon the fans forget about the original actor. Each cast member embodies their character and brings so much life to their journey. For example, without Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow, there would have never been a struggle to find her place in the world and eventually finding a real family with the Avengers. In the eyes of viewers, the faces of the actors meld into the characters. To many, there will never be a better Iron Man than Robert Downey Jr., a better Captain America than Chris Evans, a better Nick Fury than Samuel L. Jackson, or a better Loki than Tom Hiddleston. Even Stan Lee approved of the casting, saying, “[Downey Jr.] was born to be Iron Man, you know?... In fact, all the people – [Chris Hemsworth’s] Thor, every one of them – they are so perfectly cast, and I hope we stay with them forever.”

For some viewers, the visual effects, editing and background work are equally important as the storyline and casting decisions. Obviously, this comes down to personal preference. For example, directors Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame) tend to prefer shooting fight scenes using a camera that follows the action closely instead of using panning shots. While it can be seen as fresh, innovative and potentially more engaging, others might prefer otherwise. Since the movies cycle through many different directors with different visions, there is bound to be a movie to suit every viewer’s aesthetic.

Another aspect that many people worry about with blockbusters is the soundtrack. The music always adds emotions to a scene. An orchestral composition can highlight the big moments, and in some shots, the absence of sound can create a similarly dramatic effect. For example, in the Avengers films, Alan Silvestri’s compositions enhance the viewing experience and pique interest in a scene. Today, the Avengers theme has to be one of the most recognizable melodies from a movie soundtrack.

Movies within the Marvel franchise lack no shortage of dynamic characters who grow throughout the films. Many movie franchises struggle with character development because they are too invested in making plotlines intriguing enough for fans to keep watching. However, because most of the Marvel storylines have already been presented in comic books, writers can spend more time fleshing out characters. The writers know exactly when each character needs a defining moment or needs to be lifted up by others. For those who like watching consecutive, connecting movies that bring out the hidden flaws and motivations of characters, Marvel films hit the spot. For the full experience, watching almost all the films is recommended, preferably in release order (although fans agree that The Incredible Hulk can be skipped).

Despite the superhero status of the protagonists, audiences find them to be genuinely relatable and acutely human. One might think that the main characters are supposed to be superheroes and portrayed as powerful, superhuman beings. Instead, Marvel hooks viewers with problems that relate to and accompany viewers’ all too mundane lives. From pitying Tony when his relationship with Pepper hits bumps in the road, sympathizing with Scott when he can only see his daughter on the weekends, and feeling sorry for Steve when he was uprooted from the middle of World War II to relating to Peter as he secretly juggles Spiderman’s responsibilities with school, homework, and high-school romance, Marvel fans see these “superhero” problems as their own: rooting for characters to make the right decisions and further their own personal happinesses. Fans are drawn into the anguish, pain and loss that ties this fictional universe to their own. Because they are portrayed in such a realistic way on screen, characters almost become part of someone's life when watching the movies.

Lastly, Marvel Studios is open to listening to fan feedback and working to correct areas where they were previously criticized; one such example is their recent commitment to improving diversity in their films. This was initially a big issue for Marvel when the only female main character for almost five years was Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johannson), and the cast still mostly consisted of white males. However, the studio worked towards improving female representation and gender equity in its films. Captain Marvel (2019) was the first solo female movie for Marvel, and it was co-directed by a woman as well. Going into the next phase, which means completing a group of movies that complete an overarching storyline, Marvel is really pushing for diversity. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is set to take up the mantle of Thor, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel are being introduced, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) will be the first bisexual superhero in this Marvel universe, and Shang-Chi’s movie will be the first superhero movie with an Asian-led cast. The success of such films is critical to increasing diversity in the larger entertainment industry. The road will soon be paved for more women and people of color to be on both sides of the camera.

Viewers come for the action and the high profile casts and stay for the characters and their journeys. Not all of the movies are written or filmed similarly, but they form the larger, cohesive Marvel Cinematic Universe. First-time viewers may want to begin their journey through this universe by watching Avengers. All twenty-three of these movies (except for the two Spider-Man films) are available on Disney+.

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