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Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe too complex for casual viewers?

By all cinematic markers, Marvel has become a veritable behemoth. As well as generating a staggering $6,616,157,581 in box office revenue, three different Hollywood studios have produced 19 movies. Put simply, if you’re in the movie business and want to make money, tapping into the Marvel universe is a must. In fact, such is the franchises grip on the industry that anything that fits into its narrative is considered part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). For Variety’s Peter Suderman, the creation of an interconnected universe is the key to Marvel’s success. By planning movies years in advances, writers and producers can tie them all into a single overriding narrative which, in turn, elevates each individual offering. Indeed, as Suderman puts it, “one of the great, underappreciated virtues of the Marvel movies is their consistency — not in style, but in quality.”

Is Complexity a Killer for the Casuals?

Unfortunately, one of the dangers of creating a universe that’s filled with connections is that it becomes exponentially complex with every new release. As the next Marvel movie goes live, so too does another thread that viewers must follow in order to appreciate the full beauty of what’s on the screen. Of course, those behind-the-scenes are smart enough to know that each movie has to stand on its own as well as part of a cinematic canon. However, for casual audiences, this isn’t always the case. In a recent post on The Artifice, one poster questioned the current complexity of the MCU and whether it had become too much.

“The Marvel Cinematic Universe is complex and fascinating, and like many fans, I love the crossovers among the films. However, with the addition of several TV series (Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., etc.), it seems nearly impossible to keep up with the intricacies of the world,” read the post.

Have Spinoffs Helped or Hindered Marvel’s Growth?

The interesting point raised here is the one that touches on Marvel’s spinoffs. In addition to TV shows, fans have comics to indulge themselves as well as games. Video game developers like Square Enix are always toying with new Marvel projects, while casino sites have a similar interest in superhero games. Inside the Voodoo Dreams slots lobby, games such as Power Force Heroes and Star Dust have been directly inspired by the MCU. More directly, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man and more have been turned into slot games by Playtech. Between these games, comics, TV shows and movies, it’s certainly possible to argue that there is too much Marvel for the average viewer.

However, the opposite could also be true. With spinoffs providing a different perspective on the action, it may actually be easier than ever to keep track of what’s happening in the MCU. For example, if someone were to watch Netflix’s TV version of The Punisher, it would give them weekly bitesize insights into Frank Castle’s life. Similarly, by playing the Incredible Hulk game, players could get a feel for the features commonly found in the green man’s universe and what makes him angry. The MCU is certainly a major force in the movie industry and it’s certainly complex. Is it too much or can viewers now get more insights the before? If the money keeps rolling in, Hollywood bosses would argue that it’s not too much. However, only time will tell if casual fans are slowly getting lost in the ether.

In the meantime, we have Ant-Man and The Wasp heading our way. The film opens in the US on 6th July and UK on 3rd August 2018.

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