Dwayne the Rock Johnson joins the MCU as Wolverine

Dwayne the Rock Johnson joins the MCU as Wolverine

Amanda Ngo, Production Editor

You’re in the movie theater on the edge of your seat as a war-torn battlefield fills your vision. An antagonist stands, backed by their comrades. It is a pivotal moment that is crucial to the hero’s survival. Just as the action is about to start, a cringy one-liner from an offscreen character breaks the tension. You look over and you see…Kim Kardashian? 

Okay, that description was exaggerated, but the point is, we all know the Marvel formula by now. Throw some A-list celebrities, sarcastic (albeit sometimes out-of-place) jokes, and a bunch of CGI together and you get the iconic MCU feel. 

The birth of the goliath that dominates movie theaters every summer started with Iron Man. As Iron Man himself put it, he is a “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” and unsurprisingly, vain as well. 

Marvel’s focus on Iron Man was a strategic choice that guaranteed international appeal. Sure, Americans love the idea of the virtuous Steve Rogers, but would a man dressed in a literal American flag appeal as much to the international crowd? Of course not. 

By starting with the charming Tony Stark, the audience became invested in his character growth as he transforms from a shallow, superficial billionaire that wrestles with his ethics to a wiser, more open version of himself. 

Through Iron Man’s trilogy, the MCU gradually introduced beloved characters such as Captain America, Scarlet Witch, and Spiderman. The solo movies that introduced the heroes focused on local problems, such as Obadiah’s desire to overtake Stark Industries or Steve Roger’s conflict with Red Skull. 

In the same way that they grew their superhero roster, Marvel Entertainment also expanded the severity of the major conflicts in the movies. The first two Avengers movies, The Avengers and Age of Ultron increased the stakes, with the safety of Earth at risk. 

Fans were enraptured with the relatively realistic portrayal of the plots, and with humanity’s fate in the hands of the Avengers, there was a compelling conflict to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

The latter two Avengers movies, Infinity War and Endgame, further expanded the depth of the villain’s plans, with Thanos aiming to wipe out half of the universe’s population.

We are currently in Phase 4 of the MCU right now, which is slated to have 15 projects that include television series and films. As things are currently looking, the Avengers are up against Kang the Conqueror to uphold the balance of the multiverse. 

There’s an obvious pattern of upping the stakes, but as they get more and more drastic, do the movies become more enjoyable for fans to watch? 

As the number of projects expands, plot holes arise and the movies lose their realistic charm. Plot holes become glaringly obvious to the audience and the once beloved sarcastic humor that the movies provided become an annoyance. There are over 700 characters in the MCU currently, and at some point, it simply becomes too difficult for new fans to join the mass of Marvel fanatics.

We all know that Marvel is very complex and all the movies originate from comic books. The very first comic book was published in 1939. Since then, 27,000 Marvel comics have been circulated that have introduced over 8,000 characters, making the 700 characters in the cinematic universe only the tip of the iceberg. 

Fans are beginning to feel that Marvel and Disney are beating a long-dead horse. As it continues to expand, it leaves questions as to what is next after the fate of the multiverse. Surely there is no way to get any bigger than multiple universes. 

This article is meant in no way to discourage fans of Marvel movies; the movies still hold their endearing qualities and humorous touch. The MCU revolutionized the way superheroes were portrayed in contemporary entertainment, flipping the script on the virtuous, all-business nature of the superhero franchise. Maybe it’s the nostalgia in me that writes this article, hoping for a return to the old age of Marvel movies, but as the Avengers restore the fate of the multiverse, perhaps the MCU’s fate comes into question as well.