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Llewellyn_Wells

Cinematic Universes & The Canon

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So, we all know that big trend for movie studios: building cinematic universes. We're still in the thick of it now, but certainly in the future there will be a chapter in film studies text books about serialized films and cinematic universes, for better or worse, took off with gusto in the late 2000s w/ Iron Man.

 

So my question is: does the historical context (keeping in mind that yes, it's too early to tell but this is just for fun, like the podcast is anyway) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicking off this trend grant one or more of it's films into The Canon?

 

Which MCU film or films would you welcome into The Canon?

 

I'm actually not a huge Marvel movie fan, I haven't seen them all, but I do think that it's an interesting time for blockbusters and that they're doing some really cool stuff.

 

My vote would be The Avengers (2012)

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Although an outlier in the MCU, didn't Guardians of the Galaxy get in? For kicking off MCU, Iron Man seems to be most appropriate. But man did I hate the Avengers. I'm just not a CGI Action fan.

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Devin put Guardians up for the Best of 2014 episode, but Amy put up Grand Budapest Hotel which won. They did talk about the MCU in that episode, and I think I recall them agreeing that Avengers would be the best choice as an MCU Canon candidate.

 

I'd agree. It may be the very best, and it holds a tremendously important spot in our current cinema blockbuster landscape.

 

Other then that, I think you could argue Winter Soldier on quality alone. Iron Man 3 is my favorite of the MCU, but I don't know if it deserves a slot. And with Guardians off the board I don't think there are any other real candidates. I like banging the drum for Ant Man, but that, too, I think doesn't deserve a slot. They're fun movies to discuss though.

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I'd make the argument that Civil War is not only possibly the best MCU film but the ultimate representation of the MCU and its impact for the Canon. Much like The Winter Soldier, the fact that you can watch this movie without much knowledge of the greater MCU but it being an integral part of the MCU is an achievement on its own. It being able to grab the tendrils of various characters and storylines from throughout the many films and create a cohesive piece in which multiple characters (not just the main ones) have worthwhile and meaningful character arcs is amazing, especially vis à vis something like Batman v Superman. And the fact that this is one of the few superhero films that breaks the mold and has not only a villain win but a villain win without casting a single blow to the heroes ... this film is a great thing, and it takes everything that people say The Avenger has to be the one to get in because it's the first big hurray meshing and perfects it. They would be remiss not to nominate this for the Best of 2016 episode, or sooner if they want to do an MCU episode. I just hope they don't versus it against an earlier era superhero movie like say X-Men, 2002's Spider-man, or The Dark Knight because I think this film truly highlights and shows the best that can be achieved with the current craze in Hollywood of expanded universes better than any other.

 

The only others I would consider are Iron Man for kicking it off and The Winter Soldier for being a perfect piece.

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Ant Man and Winter Soldier are my favorites so far (well, other than Guardians), but I wouldn't say they're Canon-worthy. Haven't seen Civil War yet.

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Do daikaju films count as a shared universe? Kevin Smith films?

this is a good point. marvel is not doing anything namely new or unique. whattabout the quentin tarantino 'cinematic universe'? or peter greenaway's?

 

i understand the argument for documenting blockbuster trends but this might be going a little overboard with the 'historical significance' argument, especially considering this isn't even 'history' yet

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this is a good point. marvel is not doing anything namely new or unique. whattabout the quentin tarantino 'cinematic universe'? or peter greenaway's?

 

i understand the argument for documenting blockbuster trends but this might be going a little overboard with the 'historical significance' argument, especially considering this isn't even 'history' yet

 

naw, I qualified this as being for a fun discussion. I'm just sparking discussion, and even specifically said that I understand that it was too early to tell. And sure, it's nothing new, but those "cinematic universes" are miles different than what I'm talking about. Jay and Silent Bob popping up in Mallrats isn't the same as the serialized storytelling Marvel is doing; and Vincent and Vic Vega having the same name isn't really the same thing either; and neither of those kicked off these major trends of studios scrambling to replicate it.

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naw, I qualified this as being for a fun discussion. I'm just sparking discussion, and even specifically said that I understand that it was too early to tell. And sure, it's nothing new, but those "cinematic universes" are miles different than what I'm talking about. Jay and Silent Bob popping up in Mallrats isn't the same as the serialized storytelling Marvel is doing; and Vincent and Vic Vega having the same name isn't really the same thing either; and neither of those kicked off these major trends of studios scrambling to replicate it.

 

i getchu man, sorry if i came across a little curt. Marvel is definetely doing more with its filmic 'universe' than Tarantino is with his oblique interconnections and references, but what that is seems to me mostly extratextual and more in the realm of marketing than filmmaking.

the Toho daikaiju example is probably closest to what MCU is doing - that is, the loosely defined universe of Godzilla and co. movies by a number of different directors and movies that range from full cast brawls to movies focusing on individual monsters. these movies were as you probably know, majorly successful, majorly influential, and majorly sending studios scrambling to replicate them (ultraman?)

thing is, i don't really see how this affects the filmmaking, in the case of any individual film, intertextual reference is like i said nothin new, even if MCU is doing it in a bolder way than folks have before - so the real significance of the MCU looks more to me like marketing than filmmaking.

now if this expanded universe thing really takes off maybe the MCU will become to the trend what El Topo or The Rocky Horror Picture Show are to the midnight movie ... but for now ...?

if my bias isn't showing i'm also not in love with superhero films or the MCU

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It's cool, man! I'm just trying to generate more discussion posts that aren't straight "Suggestion" ones, you know? It all remains to be seen, but I think eventually these comic book movies will become their own genre like Western, musical, noir etc. and The Canon seems like it could/should (maybe) represent something like that, and since this shared universe thing is booming now, yeah...I'm trailing off. That's a fair point though about Toho daikaiju, though. Anyway, I'm just trying to keep the board active, and myself at work for that matter.

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