Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Marvel has a connectivity problem

The MCU was built on the promise that “it’s all connected,” but is that still accurate?
Courtesy of IMDB

Ever since the premiere of “Iron Man” in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken the world by storm. These beloved film and television adaptations of the classic comics and their characters are loved by millions, including me. I’ve followed the fandom with pride, defending every Marvel project with intense ferocity. But lately, there’s been some glaring problems that can’t be ignored. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, due to a massive influx in content in recent years, is struggling to keep the continuity of the universe afloat. In short, Marvel has gotten too big for its own good.

Before the climatic end to Phase Three, “Avengers Endgame,” Marvel was character-based. Even before “The Avengers,” we had “Iron Man,” “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Thor.” Audiences met these five core characters and learned to love them before they teamed up. Marvel spent time allowing us to be individually invested in each character, so when they do come together it’s extremely fulfilling. When some of these key players depart in “Avengers Endgame,” the loss is palpable. The audience’s emotional investment in these five main characters is what made the MCU special and personal.

After “Avengers Endgame,” Disney Plus launched with multiple new Marvel television programs. Individually, these shows are phenomenal. With “Wandavison” and “The Falcon and Winter Soldier,” fans were able to explore side characters that were previously less fleshed-out. “Moon Knight” and “Ms. Marvel” introduced characters and delved into their origin stories. There are more releases, sure, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them, but there’s a glaring problem: they don’t connect.

Connectivity is the pillar of the MCU. In its early days, the idea that multiple movies could connect was revolutionary. Marvel was doing something new, something radically different, and was very strategic in its planning. The Avengers Initiative was teased in “Iron Man” with the appearance of Nick Fury. Thanos, the biggest villain of the MCU, cameos in “The Avengers” six years before he shows up in “Avengers: Infinity War.” The universe was a universe, the slogan “It’s All Connected” propelling Marvel though its golden years. But now? Everything is disconnected.

Marvel is producing too much content. I never thought I’d say that, but it’s true. Between a new television series every other month and multiple blockbusters a year, it’s getting hard to keep up. The TV shows are barely connected to the movies, if at all. The only common thread —if you can call it that— is Wong, now Sorcerer Supreme, but he isn’t taken seriously in any sense. When he does show up, it’s only for comedic effect. There’s no central figure, or figures, unifying the universe as one. There’s a lot of speculation into the events of the world; the Avengers initiative may exist, it may not. The current timeline may be in the present day, it may not. That’s precisely the problem: no one knows.

The content Marvel is putting out individually is great. Movies like “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” were extremely enjoyable to watch in theaters and brought about new characters and new concepts. Shows like “Moon Knight,” “Hawkeye,” “Ms. Marvel” and new release “She-Hulk” introduce compelling characters and diverse storylines. These characters are great, and some of my new favorites, but you only meet them once in these shows and never again. A large portion of casual Marvel fans don’t even watch these shows, believing they won’t ever hold weight in the larger universe. Those fans aren’t wrong, they don’t. With the amount of content being released, there needs to be a stronger connecting thread between the television shows and the movies. The magic of “The Avengers” team ups and chemistry will be hard to replicate, but Marvel has to try. Without it, the very principle the MCU was built upon will fall apart.

Despite these criticisms, I will continue to consume all Marvel content. All of the new shows and movies have been thoroughly enjoyable, they just lack that overarching connecting thread. There is still hope for future projects like “The Marvels” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” I personally hope Marvel realizes this glaring mistake and brings us back to the days of “It’s All Connected” real soon.

Shannon Moore can be reached at [email protected].

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    ChrisOct 6, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    How is it NOT all connected if there is a multiverse?