OPINION: Marvel’s ‘Infinite’ popularity comes from careful planning

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OPINION: Marvel’s ‘Infinite’ popularity comes from careful planning

(CC by 2.0) Iron man Mark 7 suit, as seen in The Avengers

(CC by 2.0) Iron man Mark 7 suit, as seen in The Avengers

(CC by 2.0) Iron man Mark 7 suit, as seen in The Avengers

(CC by 2.0) Iron man Mark 7 suit, as seen in The Avengers

By Chase Morrone, Opinion Editor

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With “Avengers: Endgame” making over $1.2 billion worldwide in its opening weekend alone, it’s obvious that Marvel movies are extremely popular with the current generation. But what is it about these sci-fi masterpieces that draws millions of fans worldwide to theaters whenever a new movie is released? In my opinion, the reason is that Marvel movies are the first example of a fully realized Cinematic Universe, with each film tying into the rest through plots, character development, and hidden “easter eggs” or secrets and references that reward die hard fans.

Marvel, in contrast with film franchises such as the DC Extended Universe, or DCEU, took its time in setting characters up before making a large ensemble movie. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, kicked off with the hit movie “Iron Man” in 2008 and built on the universe’s history with sequels and prequels explaining different aspects of the universe. It developed characters and relationships, planning future story lines. Very few of Marvel’s movies have been considered flops, such as “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2” and “Thor,” and those which have were improved upon and overshadowed by other masterpieces, such as “Captain America: Civil War,” “Iron Man” and the original “Avengers.” Marvel Studios was also one of the first film studios to consider making all of their movies tie in together, rather than having 20-something standalone movies, with a few team-ups thrown in there for the fans.

Marvel critics tend to argue that the movies have a few “forgotten” plot holes and story lines, such as Thor’s relationships from Thor, the threat of Hydra from “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and the existence of the Extremis virus, which gives people healing powers and super strength, from “Iron Man 3.” To be honest, most casual fans have somewhat forgotten about these story lines, and the hardcore fans have now begun to accept the fact that they will not be reintroduced anytime soon. Some forgotten story lines and characters may be revisited in “Avengers: Endgame” (no spoilers), like Red Skull’s return in “Infinity War” as guardian of the Soul Stone.

Another aspect of the MCU that keeps fans coming back is the actors who have been in the series since the beginning. Very few actors in the movies were replaced, and those who were replaced before their big roles came into view. Such characters included Mark Ruffalo replacing Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/Hulk between “The Incredible Hulk” and “The Avengers,” Don Cheadle taking Terrence Howard’s spot as Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine between “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2,” and even Thanos being recast, with Damion Poiter portraying him in the post-credits scene of “The Avengers” and Josh Brolin taking over the role for “Guardians of the Galaxy.” A large number of familiar faces in the movies help more casual fans follow along with the plots, without having to binge watch every single movie.

The combination of brilliant plots and skilled actors entices fans to keep watching and explains why the Marvel movies made over $20 billion worldwide.