Who hasn’t seen the latest Avenger’s Film? Not only does it mark ten years of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, it’s meant to shake it up.
There is nothing wrong with the MCU that it needs a shake-up. To keep fans interested, however, things do need to change. This is a wise choice for Marvel, as things could get stagnant if they keep doing things the way they’ve always done them.
It’s also a signifier of something else; getting too big.
Marvel originally made comic books.
The X-Men, Captain America, Spider-Man, Deadpool, and on and on. These series started out simple enough. As the stories progressed, it became more and more difficult for new readers to jump on and understand the depth of the story.
Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is having the same problem.
Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. These were the first four movies. If someone wanted to catch up on the entire MCU, it was only four movies.
Then five movies.
Another show here, another show there.
But events in this show predate events in that movie.
Who’s that person again?
Now Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is big and unwieldy.
Just like the comic books they were based on. Ironic, isn’t it?
Yet, in this massive and expanding universe, there are a few things missing.
Our great neighbor to the north is also home to a mutant superhero team- Alpha Flight.
This government-sanctioned group of costumed adventurers fought the biggest and baddest threats to Canada. Be they foreign, domestic, or other-worldly, Alpha Flight was there on the front lines to defend the good citizens of Canada.
Since they were mutants, a lot of the Alpha Flight stories were tied to The X-Men. Given Wolverine was a Canadian, he was a prominent guest star. They also expanded beyond just him, which was nice to see. But characters like him, like Wild Child and Wyre, shared a common origin with him. There were also other “creations” of the Weapon X program were either allies or villains Alpha Flight had to face.
Alpha Flight enjoyed a long run from 1982 to 1994. This was their best series as it had the most time to develop characters and arcs. Due to dropping subscriptions, Alpha Flight was canceled and didn’t see another ongoing series until 1997, 2004, and 2011.
These series, though well written and beautifully illustrated, only last a short time. The third series made it two years while the latter series only lasted less than a year each.
Given their involvement in dealing with the evil Weapon X program, it’s odd that they were not leveraged as much as they were for the films. And since Fox enjoyed using Wolverine so much for their horrible renditions of The X-Men, it’s a wonder they didn’t dig deeper and find someone from Alpha Flight to inject popularity into.
All I’m saying is Canada is a popular filming location already. Why not give Alpha Flight its own movie?
The Incredible Hulk
He’s big, he’s green, he’s always angry.
But when he’s not big, green, or angry, Hulk turns back into Bruce Banner.
While Universal couldn’t keep Edward Norton as Bruce, I find it odd that they’d only do one standalone movie about him. Mark Ruffalo is a great actor too. To be relegated to some side character is a waste of his talent.
There is also the waste of a good character.
It’s easy to assume that all Hulk is good for is smashing things. That was not the heart of the character though.
Stan Lee’s inspiration for the Incredible Hulk was mixing the stories of Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Frankenstein’s monster, though hideous and grotesque, was still a human being. Stan Lee argued that the only reason he was painted as bad was due to those ignorant villagers would get scared of him. When they’d get scared, they’d grab pitchforks and torches and chase him. Frankenstein’s monster was only defending himself.
Then there was Dr. Jekyll.
This brilliant scientist wanted to see if human nature could be divided. This might make it easier to be “good.” Of course, as these things go, the experiment backfired and we got two people in the same body. There was the mild-mannered and even-tempered Dr. Jekyll. Also fighting for control was the vengeful and manipulative Mr. Hyde.
By combining these elements, we get the Incredible Hulk; a brilliant scientist who wanted to increase his own potential, instead creates a monster out of his anger that he must now find a way to control.
The Incredible Hulk had so much potential to show a common ailment all people face- the anger within us that we want to give into. But when we do, all we cause is more destruction.
This theme was explored in the comic books, but oddly enough, never touched on in the movies.
And he’s still just “that big green guy” who pops in and out of other Avenger’s movies.
What a waste.
Speaking of wasted characters, there’s the original team-leader of The X-Men, Cyclops.
Many a novice would assume that it was Wolverine who was in charge, and they’d be wrong. Cyclops was the first team leader. And he was always the best. An original X-Men, Cyclops was there when Marvel started.
In the movies, he was first portrayed by the amazingly gifted James Marsden. And even his skills were wasted too as they turned Cyclops into this stodgy character. It gets worse too. While he’s relegated to third string behind much weaker characters, he’s also turned into a simple caricature.
Cyclops was so much more than that.
He was a leader who felt the burden of ensuring the safety of everyone. Balancing that against the mission, and Cyclops was always having to make tough choices on the fly.
Not to mention he was more powerful than most mutants. All he had to do was open his eyes to level an entire mountain.
With this insane power, Cyclops had to learn restraint. As a result, he was forever worried about hurting people. You add that to leading a team into dangerous circumstances and it’s no surprise that he was always conflicted.
To cope with this, Cyclops became a master tactician. He knew that better he was in the field, the better his team would be. The better the team, the better the odds everyone got to go home.
This brief, and abridged, description of Cyclops is overflowing with story potential. And yet, I keep seeing movies about Wolverine. Or movies that have Cyclops in the background.
Again, more waste.
Could There Be Hope?
Recently, Disney bought out most of Fox Entertainment’s Assets. Will they right these wrongs?
We may finally get to see Alpha Flight get their big screen debut. The Avengers model could be repurposed here. Each team member develops in their own arc. And every four years have a crossover movie with everyone showing up.
Cyclops may get his chance in the limelight too.
With other, lesser, superheroes getting their own movies, it should be Cyclops turn. Some of them good, some of them bad. The good ones have proven there is a right way to do it.
Until that happens, I’ll make do by watching other films. Other heroes that I’m not so emotionally attached to. I get to do this by checking the best internet deals so I can stream them right to my living room.
What superhero films are you waiting to see? Which superheroes aren’t getting their chance to shine?