The Rise of the Cinematic Universe

David Hronick

Over the past few years we have noticed the gargantuan success of movies interconnected through sequels or standalone movies. We have seen this success with things like Star Wars or Marvel. But other smaller movies are trying to copy this success, like with the “Monsterverse” movie series that started in 2014(2 years after the major success of The Avengers)with Godzillaand have made multiple films relating since. They are adding yet another movie this month, Godzilla Vs Kong. What I am curious about is what attracts people to these billion dollar movies? Now, some people(students right out of film school) think that these movies are not “art” but I definitely saw Avengers: Endgame in theaters 3 times(not joking) so I think a lot of people would consider these to be art. The reason why we love this so much is possibly because of the familiarity. Star Wars: The Force Awakens did incredibly well, grossing 2.066 billion dollars. This was possibly because of the warmth and recognition of the Star Wars title. Not only that, but getting to see the characters that were missed for so long. Now, if we look at Cinematic Universes that release their films almost back to back, we like to constantly keep up with their story and character arc. We want to see them do what they’re character would do. This is more important in filmmaking than you may think. If done well, like in the case of the MCU, this could go perfectly. Spoiler Alert below. When Captain America picked up Mjolnir in Endgame, his worthiness and sacrifice was something that had been the topic of multiple movies, so it paid off to the audience that it happened. Now an instance where a company tried to make a cinematic universe and failed so badly. The DCEU, or the DC Extended Universe. Aside from the movies all just not being great, the characters were not consistent. They acted differently in every movie. In Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Batman is easily one of the darkest characters in the film. But in Justice League he is played for laughs. This inconsistency is part of the reason why people disliked the film. And you may say that sometimes Marvel characters don’t act consistently, like how Thor suddenly became funny in Thor: Ragnarok. Well that was because it was a funny movie. Every character was funny since it was a comedy movie. But Justice League clearly wasn’t. The only character change we should see is character arcs, which can only evolve efficiently over the course of many installments of a book or movie. The connections that people make are also important, as crossover nights and other such events were extremely popular in TV shows. Even less clear connections make people happy, like how Pixar really likes putting that darn pizza truck in almost every movie they make. I believe that these are the main reasons why these movies are so successful.