The Marvel movie wave started with Captain America, and another one is coming in 2016.

Most people credit Iron Man with the first Marvel movie, but that was just the first one by Marvel Studios.  Way, way, way back in 1944 Republic Pictures released a 15-episode movie serial titled, Captain America—before there was even a Marvel, there was a Captain America.

Surprisingly, the next Marvel movie was not Spider-Man.  It was…Howard the Duck.  Created by no one less than George Lucas!

I have to say, I liked the movie when it first came out but now…I really don’t.

Other than two direct-to-VHS movies (Punisher and another Captain America in 1990), Marvel laid low for a decade until 1998’s Blade franchise proved that super-movies were still viable.  But we weren’t really there yet.  DC had some Batman successes, and the engines of Hollywood started warming up.  Joe Quesada helped Marvel comics get back on its feet with the MAX line in the early 2000s, Brian Singer took over the X-films, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man got Oscar nods, and finally Marvel was ready to give us Iron Man.

The movie was a big risk.  Robert Downey, Jr., was a train wreck off screen—nobody wanted to work with him—and nobody other than geeks even knew who Iron Man was.  But the movie got two Oscar noms and Marvel Studios was off to the races.  Apart from the safety of the sequel to Iron Man, they next released a Gods-on-Earth movie, Thor, directed by a man best known for adapting Shakespeare.  Then came Captain America: The First Avenger.

Why was that film so special?  Well, for one thing, it was a period piece—and although critics liked Rocketeer, audiences didn’t.  It was a risk.  For another thing, it announced that Marvel now intended to do the first super-gang-bang: The Avengers would come, sooner than later.

And it did, and it was great, but it may have been the beginning of the end.  Now, Marvel is ubiquitous.  There’s video games for PC and all other platforms on or  They’re lending their likening to Las Vegas in the form of hardware slot machines and on-line gaming.  My favorite one is Slots Heaven, where you can play online slots games like Hulk, Gladiator and more.  You have to be careful with online casinos, but this one seems to be the safest and best.

Avengers 2, Iron Man 3, Thor 2…None of these were great.  The only really “great” post-Avengers MCU film was Captain America: Winter Soldier.  The studio is taking too strong a hand, forcing Joss Whedon to make changes he didn’t want to Avengers 2 and firing the creator of the brilliant Scott Pilgrim movie off of Ant Man and replacing him with the not-brilliant-but-decent director of Dodge Ball.  They seem to be aspiring to mediocrity and corporate synergy, rather than where they were at their roots: Hungry, scrappy, and full of ideas.

Cap 3 will be Civil War, one of the greatest Marvel events in history.  Guys, please don’t mess this one up.

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