April 4 will finally see the release of the new Marvel Studios sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While Warner Bros. Pictures still attempts to get a handle on emulating the model of Marvel by readying their own slate of films based on the DC Comics Universe, Marvel has yet again proven just how ahead of the curve they are with The Winter Soldier. When Marvel initially launched their plans to become their own studio and production company in 2006, their plan had been unlike anything seen before in cinematic history: to create a collected universe of films that would see characters eventually join together in The Avengers. This is a style not unlike the Marvel Comics in which the films are based. And now, Captain America: The Winter Soldier proves that the wild ambition of Marvel Studios will continue and only get bigger.
If you saw this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, you’d know that it is a prelude to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Previously on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., an episode showcased the fallout of Thor: The Dark World, as the team of Agent Phil Coulson was performing cleanup on a site of a battle involving Thor and the Dark Elf leader, Malekith, in London. However, this week’s episode, “The End of the Beginning,” set up certain events for where characters would soon appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well. As Captain America: The Winter Soldier is now not just playing off events of previous Marvel movies, but the sequel is incorporating events of the television programs as well, reinforcing their ambition further. And Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is merely just Marvel’s first major foray into their long-form television plan. Soon, Marvel will be launching several new shows on Netflix that will encompass the previously established universe of their films (Phase 1 and 2) and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daredevil. The characters of these shows will come together for a TV miniseries event based off of The Defenders comic series.
Taking the argument even further, Captain America: The Winter Soldier even plays off events going as far back as Iron Man 2 from 2010 with the appearance of Garry Shandling as Senator Stern. In Iron Man 2, Shandling appeared as the humorous Senator Stern, who attempted to get Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) to turn over his Iron Man armor to the government. This was a smaller character who did not need to pop up again for these movies, but the reappearance of Senator Stern again here reinforces Marvel’s commitment to showcasing their films and TV shows as a singular, cohesive universe.
No other studio or film franchise has ever truly attempted or come close to what Marvel Entertainment as an entity has pulled off here and first began in 2006. Here we are eight years later, and Marvel’s efforts has resulted in some incredible entertainment. And eight years later with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it appears the ambition of Marvel Studios of where this multimedia universe can go will only continue to grow and become increasingly more and more fantastic.
By Jeffrey Harris