Superhero movies have become one of the most lucrative genres in all of cinema. However, it was not always this way. Films based on comic books were sporadic at best for many decades and have only recently risen to become the most popular ones to watch.
Specifically, it is the Marvel cinematic universe which is dominating the box office. It all started with Iron Man in 2008. This was the first film of the MCU franchise. There were several movies that featured Marvel characters before this, however. Blade (1998) followed the eponymous vampire hunter. Perhaps the most well-known stand-alone Marvel film series was the Spider-Man trilogy directed by Sam Raimi.
However, these stand-alone films did not link the characters together in the way that the MCU ones do. Iron Man became the first to add on a post-credits sequence that promised a sequel. After this film, there were several others which followed individual superheroes such as Thor, Captain America, and the Incredible Hulk.
These films were all building up to a huge crossover movie which would be called the Avengers. It was this crossover that led to the Marvel franchise’s huge success. The first Avengers movie in 2012 attained 1.5 billion dollars at the box office.
The series is popular due to a combination of cutting-edge action set pieces and comedy. Each superhero is well cast, particularly Robert Downey Jr who has become somewhat of a lead character as Tony Stark. Everybody has a favourite character and friends like to debate over the best ones. Fans are also attracted to the continuity that flows through into each installment.
The MCU series continues to churn out profitable films and has established itself as a multi-billion dollar franchise. Marvel is now more well known globally for movies than comic books. Cinemas see huge profits each year that these films are screened.