The Marvel cinematic universe or MCU is the most profitable and vibrant universe that one could ever imagine. It debunked the notion that existed in Hollywood that it is impossible to assemble a vast comic-book universe which is commercially viable.
The big-budget superhero movies phenomenon is relatively new as no studio earlier was interested in investing massive sums of money into a comic-book movie. The era of superhero movies can be divided into two periods – Pre Iron Man and Post Iron Man era.
In the previous era i.e pre-2008, the movies had a decent cast, limited budgets and modest audience which was really interested in watching comic-book movies. Comics were perceived to be read by a very niche, young audience who are basically nerds, so the movies did not have pan-demographic appeal.
In the modern era i.e post 2008, the superhero movies have superlative cast, massive budgets and huge audience waiting to get a glimpse of their favorite comic-book heroes and villains. Comics are now more mainstream, read by millions and hence movies have an enormous appeal cutting across demographics and geographies.
It’s been over 10 years since Iron Man first came out in 2008 to lay the foundation for MCU, and it’s going strong with 17 movies already released. But MCU ain’t perfect and it also has its inherent flaws which it needs to fix it sooner or later.
One of the many challenges is related to maintaining the consistency in the timelines of so many movies and TV shows. The task of tracking timelines is a pretty messy affair. Hence, MCU has to take extra precaution at the planning stage when they are conceptualizing and writing a screenplay. What happens is in the pursuit of rapidly expanding the universe, sometimes Marvel adds movies in the pipeline without defining when are those events unfolding which leads to confusion and chaos.
Recently, Marvel producer Brad Winderbaum had an interview with Screen Rant and he was asked about where does Ragnarok fits into the overall timeline of MCU. His answer was not convincing and in fact conflicting with a statement about previous movies. He said:
“It’s not like, five minutes after Ultron ends we start this movie. It’s a couple years later… This movie takes place basically…You know, it’s hard. In the timeline of the MCU, things kind of happen on top of each other, especially now in Phase Three. They’re not as interlocked as they were in Phase One, you know, during Fury’s Big Week and everything. So Thor: Ragnarok happens maybe on top of Civil War, on top of Spider-Man Homecoming. Somewhere in that park.”
Brad agrees that it’s hard to establish the timeline for MCU movies at this point. The Russo brothers have said that the Thor: Ragnarok takes place after 2 years of Age of Ultron. But Spiderman: Homecoming took place after the events of Civil War, so that makes little sense.
Tom Holland truly made a sensational debut as young Peter Parker, the solo Spiderman movie clocked high box-office numbers in the opening weekend and is shaping up to be the next blockbuster in the MCU. It has a serious shot at entering the Billion dollar club not at the box-office but in terms of overall revenue when everything is said and done.
There is a general consensus among film critics and audience that the movie did a great job in revitalizing the major superhero franchise. Some even called Tom Holland’s version as “the perfect Spiderman”. The story is based on Spiderman: Homecoming classic era comics and it unfolds after the events of Civil War. Also, he was already introduced in the Captain America: Civil War when Tony Stark reached out to him to be part of his team and fight against the Team Cap.
Spiderman: Homecoming succeeded in injecting new energy into Spiderman franchise and brought alive Peter Parker we all love so much. It’s a breezy, fun, colorful ride with fast-paced action and stunning visual effects, in some ways, this is the kind of Spiderman we have been waiting for. But if there was one complaint (which is always the case with Marvel), the villain was weak and did not pose much of a threat. In comics, Vulture has even defeated Spiderman but the movie version went down like a street criminal that Spiderman catches in his neighborhood every other day.
Hence, it was not entirely flawless but a great addition to Marvel roster and cinema dedicated to the beloved web-slinger. Critics were saying that it seamlessly blends into the big MCU and that’s where the problem lies.
In the movie, we see a flashback featuring Adrian Toomes and his construction crew cleaning up the wreckage caused by the Battle of New York when Avengers were called in to fight against Loki and his chitauri army.
But Dept. of Damage Control with Stark Enterprises took the project way from him as they supposedly wield more influence with the government. Then there is a time jump of 8 years.
The general MCU timeline is Homecoming is supposed to be around 2016 in accordance with Civil War events. But the plot hole is that “The Avengers” is supposed to be in 2012, so “eight years after” puts it at 2020 which throws the current day premise out of the window. In reality, it should actually be four years later to ensure the timeline of the current crop of Marvel movies is intact. If only Marvel had thoroughly gone through the timelines, this error could have been avoided.
Well, the talks of a sequel have already begun with producer Amy Pascal revealing the timeline of the next Spiderman movie. She said:
“What I think we should focus on is this Spider-Man who started in Civil War and then has this movie, and then will be in the Avengers movie. And we are starting now the next one which will start a few minutes after Avengers 4 wraps as a story.”
Hence, Spiderman: Homecoming 2 will be the first movie to be released in the MCU phase 4. But Marvel has acknowledged the problem, so due to major discrepancies, it has decided to officially publish the MCU timeline. Here’s what Kevin Feige (President, Marvel Studios) had to say to Screen Rant:
“All of that debate has encouraged us. We are going to be publishing an official, and I’m not sure when, or in what format, an official timeline. It’ll probably be a part of ah, I don’t know, a part of an in print that you can fold out and look at,” he said. “But suffice to say, only in limited cases do we ever actually say what the actual years are because we never want to be tied down to a particular year and I think people assume that whenever the movie is released is when is when the movie is taking place, and that is not the case.”
Well, if we take Marvel’s word then the good news is from now on there will be no messing around the timeline in the MCU. Everything will be well-researched and documented down to the last detail. There will be extra care at the time of scripting and editing. Can’t wait for Avengers Infinity War to hit the theaters. CHEERS!