Has there ever been a series of interlocking movies like what Marvel Studios is creating with their Marvel movies? There have been long movie series (the Bond movies, Star Trek movies, the Star Wars saga), there have been series that have rebooted themselves (the Planet of the Apes movies), there have been movies based on other media (the Harry Potter movies, the Twilight movies) but there is really nothing even resembling Marvel’s interlocking, but relatively stand alone, films.
Next up for the studio is Ant-Man, featuring a lesser known character in the Marvel Universe. This movie is in the unenviable position of following this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and last summer’s surprise smash (a movie whose tone seems close to Ant-Man‘s) Guardians of the Galaxy. So what does Marvel do to remind the movie going public that this all fits together? It does this:
You may not know Ant-Man, but you know these other guys. Come see our movie.
Marvel even makes efforts to tie in the television show Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD in a remarkably important way. MINOR AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON SPOILER HERE: Did you wonder from where the Avengers were getting the information on HYDRA strongholds they were cleaning out, where they were told Loki’s scepter was being held and where Nick Fury dug up the helicarrier that the Avengers used to rescue, remarkably, the population of Sokovia in the movie? All of this happened during the second season of the show, all of it the results of the work of Agent Phil Coulson (played by Clark Gregg), a character all the superheroes calling themselves The Avengers think is dead. Only those watching the show would have known this in watching the movie and that fact made them feel they have inside knowledge while not detracting from the movie in the slightest. Nice move, Marvel. Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill even appeared on the show in April and she’s clearly talking in Avengers Tower to a shadowed Coulson.
Finally, Marvel makes it clear that the action in their movies is continuous and what they are going to do in Captain America: Civil War reads more like Avengers: Civil War than it does a Captain America movie:
“Captain America: Civil War picks up where Avengers: Age of Ultron left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.”
There is nothing else like this in the history of cinema, right? I certainly can’t think of anything.