The MCU Has More James Bond Than Star Wars

Since its release in 2008 Iron Man, NS Marvel Cinematic Universe took over Hollywood as an entirely new form of film franchise. Instead of a simple line of direct continuations, Iron Man launches a shared universe with a variety of superheroes and supervillains that can freely intertwine with each other’s stories. This is similar to the fact that Marvel characters have been on the page for decades, but it has never been done on the big screen before.

Of course, the MCU isn’t a completely original and groundbreaking endeavor. It owes a lot from previous franchises. If it didn’t have Richard Donner Superman and By Tim Burton Batman, superhero movies will not be considered viable. If it wasn’t for the three whales of Tongue, X Men, and Spiderman, Marvel will not be a staple of blockbuster cinema.


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The MCU’s obsession with heroes’ journeys and sequential storytelling draws many comparisons to Star Wars. Like Luke Skywalker, every Marvel hero doubts their abilities, loses a mentor figure and proves their mettle in a spectacular final battle. And love it Star Wars‘episode, episode-by-episode narrative structure, the MCU is a continuous story with no definite end in sight.

Luke Skywalker with the Green Light Sword in Return of the Jedi

But despite the obvious similarities to George Lucas’ space opera, the MCU actually has more in common with James Bond more series Star Wars saga. There is no “recipe” for a Star Wars movie. There’s usually a big battle at the end – and themes of good and evil and balance of light often come up – but the story can be anything from an homage of Kurosawa to a pseudo-Shakespeare tragedy. The Death Star has been used a few times, but it’s not the same thing as a narrative frame. Marvel’s widescreen output, on the other hand, has a special formula that each movie more or less follows.

The MCU’s formulaic plot is reminiscent of the Bond series. Like the MCU, the Bond movies follow a time-tested formula. In every Bond movie, 007 gets a new mission from the US, go on an adventure around the world pursuing that mission, meet a love along the way, infiltrate the great villain’s secret lair, and have a climactic showdown with them. in the grand finale.

The MCU formula isn’t as rigidly defined as the Bond formula – all Bond movies are required to have a “pre-title scene” to kick things off with a bang (and often some impressive stunt) – but familiar structure is certainly palpable in every Marvel movie.

Auric Goldfinger watches a laser beam go between Bond's legs

MCU is often accused of having a “villain problem”. Aside from the exceptional exceptions like Loki, Nebula, and Thanos, most of the MCU’s villains don’t return for the second film, so they don’t have a chance to be as complete or comprehensive as the other villains. more heroic colleagues like Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. A character like Malekith or Aldrich Killian or Ronan the Accuser will be introduced in the first stage as the evil mastermind behind the threat to end the world, then in the third stage they will be beaten. defeated by one or more Avengers.

This is also how the villain Bond presents to the audience. In the opening scenes of a given Bond film, fans will encounter a lustful man with delusions of grandeur and a uniquely quirky personality, like Dr No or Auric Goldfinger or Karl Stromberg or more recently. especially Lyutsifer Safin. They have an epic plan to reshape the world to suit their limited vision, and by the end of the film, Bond has executed those plans, destroying the lair and killing the bad guys. Except Infinity War, Inside Thanos really succeeded in carrying out his evil planMarvel follows this framework quite closely.

Every movie in the MCU, like every movie in the Bond franchise, culminates in the final battle. This is not always on a large scale – Man with a golden gun there is a one-on-one gunfight between 007 and rival assassin Scaramanga, while Captain America: Civil War There’s a brutal fight between Cap, Bucky, and Iron Man – but they’re often large-scale pieces.

Thor holds Jane Foster's hand

No one goes to an action movie like a Marvel superhero epic or a Bond spy thriller to see a love story, but since Hollywood is adamant about it, both franchises force a love story. perfunctory romance into each film. This is not the case with every Marvel movie – T’Challa and Nakia are old friends in Black Panther and Carol has no love for Captain Marvel – but most of them use this trick. It resulted in incredibly talented actors like Natalie Portman and Rachel McAdams being wasted on forgettable, one-note characters.

Marvel’s love interest is less opposed and more empowered “Bond girl” average, But the principle remains the same. In the eyes of studio executives, audiences won’t be satisfied unless the hero “gets the girl” at the last minute. It’s not enough for Bond to take down SPECTER or Spider-Man to save New York from a winged arms dealer – they must fall in love along the way.

Blofeld caressed the cat in You Only Live Twice

The formulaic plot isn’t the only thing the MCU borrows from the Bond series. The way the Infinity Saga builds to reveal Thanos as the “big bad guy” can be traced back to Bond. Sean Connery’s First Films similarly built their own great evil, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Blofeld was teased in off-screen appearances before finally taking center stage in You only live twice, NS Infinity War of the Bond franchise. Connery’s 007 competes with Blofeld’s subordinate from SPECTER – just as the Avengers fought off Mad Titan messengers like Loki and Ronan – before taking on the big bad themselves.

Guardians of the galaxy walk along the corridor

The franchise’s formula doesn’t necessarily limit the filmmaker’s creativity. It seems like having to follow a set checklist will lead to lackluster movies, by the numbers. And there are certainly a lot of them: the Bond series have Thunderball, A View to a Kill, and The world is not enough, while the MCU has Iron Man 2, Thor: Dark World, and Sorcerer Supreme.

But the loose narrative frameworks of both the Bond series and the MCU are flexible enough that idiosyncratic filmmakers can come up with their own unique way. both deliver goods and lower expectations. Bond has seen this with the films of Martin Campbell, Sam Mendes and Cary Joji Fukunaga, while Marvel has James Gunn, Taika Waititi and Ryan Coogler.

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