I have been following the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) since its inception, which at the time of writing was 13 years ago. It was a different time, and I was a different person, but my love for the MCU has remained more or less the same. Since 2008 I have watched all 23 feature films, 5 “One Shots” and 7 of the 13 television series, however not all of those series’ are considered MCU Canon, which has been a point of contention for many. In the early days, there was a real effort to make shows like Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter feel like they could be connected to the larger picture, but as more projects have come out and timeline alterations have been made, this has not continued to be the case. One could certainly argue that those two shows are still canon, because with The Multiverse anything is possible, but I haven’t really seen them as such in the time that they have been around. This matter was laid to rest last year with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige stating in an interview that the previous Marvel Shows are separate from the main film timeline. For my series of reviews, I will be focussing purely on the official MCU Canon but instead of doing them in release order, I am opting to watch them in chronological order. Despite being a fan of the franchise for as long as it has been around, this will be the first time that I am viewing it this way.
My main purpose in these series, besides reviewing the films themselves, will be to see how differently the narrative flows. We, as fans, would like to think that it flow just as smoothly as the Star Wars franchise which also was not released according to its in-universe chronology, but I have my doubts. There is this general belief, I feel, that the MCU has always had this grand plan and that it has never had to walk back on or alter anything, but this simply isn’t true. When this was all still a little experiment, there was a semi-plan leading to Avengers Assemble but that plan also had an introduction to Hank Pym (the original Ant-Man) so clearly this franchise was built on a fair amount of faith. That faith has been well earned by now, but at the time superhero films had a poor reputation, as did Robert Downey Jr who would lead the very first endeavour Iron Man. As the universe grows, so too does the lore, and that lore can occasionally be tiny fragments that get forgotten about or retconned (looking at you Maximoff backstory). The other point of interest will be the mid/post credits scenes which almost always tie into the next film to be released. I love these segments, but I think that when viewing this franchise chronologically, these are going to cause a bit of a pacing issue.
I’ve been putting off a proper MCU Re-watch for a considerable amount of time now. I didn’t do one to prepare for Avengers: Endgame or Wandavision but I have been so invested in the story for such a long time that I didn’t have any issues remembering anything. There are certainly some projects that I have seen more than others, be it favouritism or lack of time since their release and after the lack of Marvel content in 2020, I found myself really missing this universe. I told myself I wouldn’t dip in and out of MCU films last year because I knew that my Big Re-watch was coming but that may have been slightly foolish of me. After a year off, I’m eager to get back into it and with Phase 4 of the MCU currently in it’s beginning stage, I can’t think of a better time to do this.