While some may argue that the comic book properties that are now pervasive in Hollywood may in fact be a problematic part of the perceived creative stagnation that has been plaguing the film business for the last few years, the massive popularity of the Marvel flicks is confirmation—as if any was needed—that these movies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The studio’s latest effort, the playful and unexpectedly funny “Ant-Man,” just surpassed $400 million at the worldwide box office, and the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War” is guaranteed to be one of the studio’s most massive offerings yet, regardless of its quality.
Indeed, Marvel has come a long way as a brand, having since branched out into small-screen storytelling with “Daredevil” and the upcoming “Jessica Jones,” and also continuing to up the ante in terms of the sheer scale of their features. This last part is made abundantly clear when you take a gander at this brand spankin’ new video retrospective, which looks at some of the studio’s Phase One efforts—in other words, the films that started the whole Marvel craze.
Certainly when compared to the decibel-shattering, city-leveling, wide-scale CGI carnage that has become part and parcel of the Marvel formula (an unfortunate staple that appears to be an obligation on behalf of the creative braintrust, even in superior entries like James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”), the movies from the studio’s early Phase One work are at least comparatively quaint.
The first of the “Iron Man” movies is almost definitely the most appealing, and it not coincidentally also happens to be the most scaled-down. It’s telling that the video ends with a series of clips from “The Avengers,” perhaps the studio’s most popular effort, and also one of its biggest. That Joss Whedon-directed pic was an insanely popular FX extravaganza that put all its heroes into the equivalent of one big rock-star supergroup. It was dumb, loud, kinda funny and mostly forgettable, but audiences ate it up: it went on to become fourth-highest grossing movie of all time and ended up creating a whole new formula for the studio, as well as spawning a sequel in the form of ‘Age of Ultron.’ The video below – which heralds back to the days of the first “Iron Man” flick, as well as Ed Norton’s truly baffling “Hulk” movie and the first entries in the respective “Thor” and “Captain America” franchises—will no doubt appeal to the hardcore Marvel crowd, who are nothing if not fanatical about this sort of thing. Check it out below.