Avengers: Infinity War is almost upon us, and as of yesterday I’ve already seen the initial wave of freakouts crashing into the Internet. Which means I’ve had to launch Operation Anna Ignores Most of the Internet Until She Can See the Movie!
If you’re in the same boat I am—i.e., not entirely sure when you’re going to get to see Infinity War—fear not. I am not going to talk about the film in this post. But what I am going to talk about is all the work the MCU has gone to up to this point in order to build their shared universe and ongoing storyline, and why this impresses me as a writer.
When Iron Man dropped in 2008, the moviegoing world was introduced to Tony Stark, incarnated so ably by Robert Downey Jr. Had that been a truly standalone movie, that would have been peachy; Iron Man was huge fun. “But wait,” the closing credits told us at the time, “there’s more!” And there was: Nick Fury showing up in a post-credits scene, to bring Stark the news of the Avengers Initiative. And bringing _us_ the first signs that there was going to be a lot more to this story than one film could show us.
Then in 2011 we got both Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. And I was already on board after Iron Man, but Loki and Cap both, in their own spectacular individual fashions, sealed the deal for me. (I could write a whole separate post just on the topic of why I adore Captain America. And may, in fact, next time it’s my turn to post around here. ;D ) But that’s from the perspective of moviegoing audience member.
As a writer, what I really appreciate about the MCU is that over the last decade, they’ve taken the time to show us all these individual characters, which has gotten me to care about them. And at the same time, they’ve kept drawing the individual plot threads closer and closer together. One by one, we’ve seen most of the Infinity Stones show up and have come to learn about their various abilities—in some cases, spectacularly destructive ones. We’ve seen the universe from multiple angles: Earth in various locales. Asgard. The various worlds the Guardians of the Galaxy cast have been to. And, most recently and awesomely, Wakanda. (Which is of course on Earth, but which deserves calling out separately, because good gods I loved Black Panther. But that, again, could be a whole other separate post.)
This is storytelling at an epic scale. Character building across multiple movies—and I almost hesitate to use the term “world building”, since we are dealing with a storyline that spans many, many worlds, so “universe building” is almost more appropriate. I keep seeing posts from various sources on the Internet talking about “superhero fatigue”, but I can safely say that for me, at least, this is so very not a problem. We’re only just now getting to the big climactic fight for a storyline that’s been building over the last ten years—and okay yeah sure that’s asking a lot out of audiences, to stick with a storyline that takes so long to build. But y’all, seriously, I’m an SF/F fan and a devoted reader. I’ve easily taken this long to keep following series of novels that take just as long to build. Doing this for movies? Cake.
And sure, I’ve liked some of the Marvel movies less than others. Some of them I have declined to re-watch, even as I happily go back and watch others over and over again. (The first Captain America is particularly my favorite.) But this, too, is similar to some of my favorite long-running series of novels, wherein I like some installments of the story better than others.
So yeah, I am very, very excited for this latest chapter in the ongoing MCU saga. And trying very hard not to fret about whose chances of surviving this plot are slim! ;D
Talk to me in the comments, y’all! Who all’s going to see the movie this weekend? What are your favorite movies in the MCU? Who are your favorite characters?
Angela is totally not in the slightest bit nervous about Steve's chances in this movie NOPE NOPE NOPE (fidget fidget fret). And when she's totally NOT FIDGETING about Steve Rogers, she writes as both Angela Highland and Angela Korra'ti. You can find her books under either name at angelahighland.com! Or come say hi and tell her all about your favorite superheroes on Facebook or Twitter.