The other day I was reading some commentary on Marvel Studios films and it was pointed out that some of the characters have similar backgrounds, but different approaches to life. In particular, Ant-Man and Hawkeye are both the only fathers currently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which puts them in a vulnerable state for their heroics. Both don’t have native super powers, which makes them even more vulnerable as heroes. As I read the thought occurred to me of why isn’t there a film with just both of them in it? The film couldn’t be quite like how the current films line up with each other. Sure, the current movies are fairly independent of each other, but there’s still some scenes that are dependent on an ongoing storyline that fits within the “phase” they are in. What would it be like if there were Marvel films without needing continuation of each other? It got me thinking…
No Exposition Required
One reason for having these films where continuation doesn’t matter (but still is canon within the MCU) is you don’t need an introduction to the characters. They just are and we can enjoy the characters and their dynamics as is. Think about when the first Jason Bourne movie came out. We didn’t have a huge origin to him then, it just played out and we found out more about the character. We don’t always need the introduction of it. But, as the Marvel phases have rolled out, some introductions have been needed in every single film. Or it’s an origin tale. Why not replace that with more fun action scenes?
Expand the Expanded Universe
Even though these movies wouldn’t fit within an overarching story, there is still something that reveals that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a big place. Perhaps we’d see what happens in the super heroes lives when there’s not a big bad guy that keeps hitting every other film. We’d get to spend more time with the supporting characters as well. We just get to see deeper into the whole universe, not just a big battle and dilemma the heroes must overcome.
Who wouldn’t want to see a romantic comedy between Hulk and Black Widow? Or a buddy film between Ant-Man and Hawkeye? There are more open possibilities when you’re not focused on defeating a villain within a two hour span. Take the recent Thor short where it “explains” why he’s not in Civil War. No battles. No other super heroes (well, in super hero form because Bruce Banner is there). Could it be expanded into a mockumentary comedy? Could be.
Back to the Ant-Man/Hawkeye prompt that got me thinking about it all: I imagine this film to be where they have a play date with their kids. It’s basically the fumbling dad film with super powers. Let them still mess it all up because they can’t be dads on their own, but their use of powers causes them more trouble.
No enemies. Just trouble. You still use the super hero idea, but you don’t need it to connect with anything else in the universe. You could still mention it in other films and it still doesn’t matter. “Hey Ant-Man! That last weekend was nuts. Let’s not do that again!” You don’t need to know what happened that last weekend unless you saw that movie. Leave it be, and continue the big story in whatever that film is. Overall, it just enhances the films and we see some sides of the characters we wouldn’t see with a big bad.
There could be more reasons to have these stand alone films. Or maybe these are not good reasons. Either way, let us know what you think in the comments below!