The Ultimate Marvel Film Guide: 2017-2019

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The Ultimate Marvel Film Guide:

1944-1990 | 1998-2004 | 2005-2009 | 2010-2014 | 2015-2016 | 2017-2019

Despite constant predictions that the superhero film bubble would burst, superhero films continued to dominate the box office throughout the end of the decade. This was in part because of a competition between the two main American superhero comic book companies, DC and Marvel, but also competition between many Marvel characters.

In the 1990s Marvel comics had sold off the film-rights to many of their titles. While most had reverted over the years to Marvel Studios, now owned by Disney, there were still studios owning the film rights to popular Marvel characters. Universal Studios held the distribution rights to films purely based on the Incredible Hulk, Columbia Pictures had the rights to Spider-Man and associated characters, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) had shown them struggling to turn their lucrative rights into money-making films. The biggest competitor to Disney's Marvel Studios was 20th Century Fox, who held film rights not only to Fantastic Four but also X-Men and associated characters. As long as they kept making films featuring those characters before the rights expired their film rights were extended. This had allowed them to make a series of X-Men films followed by a recast, prequel series that had begun in 2011:

  • X-Men (2000)
  • X-Men 2 (2003)
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  • X-Men: First Class (2011)
  • The Wolverine (2013)
  • X-Men: Days of Futures Past (2014)
  • Deadpool (2016)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Yet by far the most successful studio making films featuring Marvel characters was, appropriately enough, Marvel Studios. Their Marvel Cinematic Universe contained inter-connected characters, with each impacting on events on the next. Marvel also conceived their films as having over-reaching story arcs and grouped their films into 'phases'. The Marvel Cinematic Universe consisted of the following films to date:

Phase 1:Phase 2:Phase 3:

1. Iron Man (2008)

2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

3. Iron Man 2 (2010)

4. Thor (2011)

5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

6. Avengers Assemble (2012)

7. Iron Man 3 (2013)

8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

12. Ant-Man (2015)

13. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

14. Doctor Strange (2016)

Listed below are all the Marvel film adaptations made 2017-2019, with recurring actors and characters who appear in other films shown in Bold. Also mentioned is whether the films pass the Bechdel Test. This can be summarised as whether the film involves two or more female characters who have a conversation together that does not focus on men in general or specific male characters.

Logan (2017)

DirectorJames Mangold
Studio20th Century Fox
PlotIn 2029 mutants are dying off, with no new mutants born for 25 years. Logan, formerly called Wolverine, is hiding in Mexico where he cares for the frail and elderly Charles Xavier who due to his age is losing control of his abilities as well as his mind. Logan himself is slowly dying of adamantium poisoning when he is hired by a nurse to take her and an 11-year-old girl called Laura to a place called 'Eden' in North Dakota, which is really a story from a comic book. After accepting, Gabriella is murdered and Logan learns that Laura is a mutant created from his DNA by a team of scientists who are hunting her down. Can Logan and Xavier take her to safety?
Length137 minutes
SettingMexico and America 2029, in a world all-but free of mutants
Characters
  • Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman)
    • Powers: Super healing, adamantium skeleton, especially claws
  • Charles Xavier aka Professor X (Patrick Stewart)
    • Powers: Telepathy, ability to control other's actions and cause paralysis
  • Laura, a young girl created from Logan's DNA (Dafne Keen)
    • Powers: Super healing, adamantium skeleton, especially claws
  • Donal Pierce, leader of the Reavers (Boyd Holbrook)
    • Powers: He has cybernetic enhancements, particularly a robotic hand.
  • Caliban (Stephen Merchant)
    • Powers: The ability to sense and locate mutants who cannot tolerate sunlight
  • Dr Zander Rice, doctor behind Transigen project to create mutants (Richard E Grant)
  • Gabriella, Transigen nurse who helps Laura escape (Elizabeth Rodriguez)
  • X24, a younger clone of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman)
    • Powers: Identical to Wolverine, however he is younger and faster.
Related Films
  • X-Men (2000)
  • X-Men 2 (2003)
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  • X-Men: First Class (2011)
  • The Wolverine (2013)
  • X-Men: Days of Futures Past (2014)
  • Deadpool (2016)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
  • Logan (2017)
  • Deadpool 2 (2018)
Bechdel TestFail
Post-Credits SceneNone, although some showings also feature short-film Deadpool: No Good Deed.

This was intended to be the final X-Men film starring original cast members Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 (2017)

DirectorJames Gunn
StudioMarvel Studios
PlotThe Guardians of the Galaxy are hired by Ayesha, High Priestess of the Sovereign race, to protect the Sovereign's power source or batteries from attack, after which they are given the outlawed Nebula as payment. Bored, Rocket steals some of the batteries, incurring the wrath of the Sovereign who pursue and damage their ship, which crashes, before the Guardians are rescued by a powerful, mysterious figure claiming to be Quill's father, Ego. While Rocket and Groot guard Nebula and repair the ship, the others travel to Ego's planet where he reveals that he has godlike powers which Quill has probably inherited. Meanwhile Ayesha hires Yondu and his Ravagers to capture the Guardians, however as Yondu has been expelled from the Ravager Community, his crew, led by Taserface, mutiny. Will Rocket, Groot and Yondu be able to escape? What will Nebula do next? What is Ego's secret and what does he have in store for Quill?
Length130 minutes
SettingMarvel Cinematic Universe: Earth, Ego's planet
Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, despite being from Earth he has learnt that his father was an alien (Chris Pratt)
  • Gamora, orphan raised by Thanos to be an assassin (Zoe Saldana)
  • Drax the Destroyer, literal-minded warrior (Dave Bautista)
  • Baby Groot, small humanoid tree with limited vocabulary (Vin Diesel)
  • Rocket, bounty-hunter raccoon created by a mad scientist (Bradley Cooper)
Other Characters
  • Nebula, Thanos' daughter who is jealous of Gamora but aids the Guardians (Karen Gillan)
  • Yondu Udonta, leader of the Ravagers, the pirates who raised Quill (Michael Rooker)
  • Mantis, an empath raised as Ego's pet to help him sleep (Pom Klementieff)
  • Ayesha, Golden High Priestess and Leader of the Sovereign people (Elizabeth Debicki)
  • Taserface, leader of a group of Ravagers who mutiny against Yondu
  • Kraglin, Yondu's second-in-command (Sean Gunn)
  • Stakar Ogord, a Ravager leader (Sylvester Stallone)
  • Ego, ancient cosmic being with a brain the size of a planet core and Quill's father (Kurt Russell)
Related FilmsAll Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially:
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Bechdel TestPass
Cameos
  • Howard the Duck (voice: Seth Green)
  • Meredith Quill, Quill's mother Laura Haddock
  • Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum)
  • Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames)
  • Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh)
  • Mainframe (Miley Cyrus)
Stan Lee CameoAstronaut talking to the Watchers
Post-Credits SceneYes, both mid-credits and post-credits

Spider-Man Homecoming (2017)

DirectorJon Watts
StudioColumbia Pictures and Marvel Studios
PlotAfter the Battle of New York (Avengers Assemble) Adrian Toomes invests heavily in his salvage company, expecting to clear up the city, only to be forced out of business by Tony Stark's US Department of Damage Control. Seeking revenge, he plans to use what he has salvaged so far to make weapons to sell on the black market. Years later, Tony Stark asks a young boy called Peter Parker who has spider-like abilities help him fight Captain America (Captain America: Civil War) but then ignores his calls. Wishing to impress the Avengers, Parker decides to discover who is behind the alien weapons and stop them himself. Yet the more time he spends as Spider-Man, the more his school life suffers and the more the girl of his dreams eludes him.
Length128 minutes
SettingMarvel Cinematic Universe: New York, Washington DC and Maryland
Characters
  • Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, 15 year old boy with ambitions to be an Avenger (Tom Holland)
    • Powers: Can climb up walls and has amazing reflexes. His suit contains a wide-range of technology to help,
  • Adrian Toomes aka Vulture, a scavenger/arms dealer with a grudge (Michael Keaton)
    • Equipment: Unbreakable flying suit with wings scavenged from alien technology.
  • Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr)
    • Equipment: has a number of flying suits with various capabilities.
  • Aunt May Parker, Peter's aunt Marisa Tomei)
  • Harold 'Happy' Hogan, Tony Stark's best friend, driver and bodyguard (Jon Favreau)
  • Ned Leeds, Parker's best friend (Jacob Batalon)
  • Liz Toomes, love interest and villain's daughter (Laura Harrier)
  • Michelle 'MJ' Jones, one of Peter's classmates (Zendaya)
  • Aaron Davies, small-time criminal (Donald Glover)
  • Eugene 'Flash' Thompson, Parker's school rival (Tony Revolori)
  • FRIDAY, Tony Stark's AI (Kerry Condon)
  • Karen, AI in Parker's Spider-suit (Jennifer Connelly)
  • Betty Brant, classmate and host of school news reports (Angourie Rice)
Related FilmsMarvel Cinematic Universe, especially:
  • Captain America: Civil War
Bechdel TestNarrow pass
Cameos
  • Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans)
  • Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow)
Stan Lee CameoGary, annoyed man in an apartment
Post-Credits SceneYes, one mid-credits and one post-credits

By far the most famous Marvel character is Spider-Man. Although Marvel Studios longed to make a Spider-Man film, the film rights to Spider-Man were owned by Columbia Pictures, a company owned by Sony, not Marvel Studios. Columbia had owned Spider-Man's film rights since 1985. After the disappointing performance of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Sony decided that rather than try and compete against the highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe, they would work with it. While keeping the film rights to the character, they allowed Spider-Man to appear in Marvel Cinematic Universe films starting with Captain America: Civil War, and in exchange would co-produce a Spider-Man film with Marvel Studios which would include characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically Tony Stark.

The 'Homecoming' of the title reflects the fact that Marvel Studios have made a Spider-Man film, which they consider to be a homecoming, as well as an American school tradition which briefly appears in the film. A much younger, more school-age Peter Parker was cast to differentiate him from the character played in previous films and other Marvel superheroes. Instead of facing an all-powerful, evil villain, he faced a much more down-to-earth foe who was simply trying to earn enough money to raise his family, but using illegal means to do so. The Vulture was played by Michael Keaton, who had famously played Batman in the 1989 film of the same name, and had more recently won acclaim in Birdman (2014) for playing an actor struggling to get work after playing a superhero.

The film did attract some criticism for casting 52-year-old Marisa Tomei as Aunt May Parker, as many fans felt that the actress was too young. Marvel defended their decision on the grounds that most 15-year-old's aunts are likely to be roughly the age of their parents give or take a few years, so 40-55 is a more realistic age range than over 80.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

DirectorTaika Waititi
StudioMarvel Studios
Plot

Thor is busy fighting demons who claim that Asgard will soon be destroyed during Ragnarok, as Odin is no longer ruling. Thor returns to discover that Loki has been impersonating Odin, and the two of them are helped by Dr Strange to locate him in a town in Norway. Odin warns them that he is dying and his death will free his oldest child, Hela, from her prison.

Hela, unleashed, destroys Thor's hammer Mjolnir and Thor and Loki end up on Sakaar, a galactic rubbish dump ruled by the Grandmaster who watches gladiatorial games. There he is enslaved by a Valkyrie, a surviving warrior from the last war against Hela, and befriends fellow gladiators Korg and Miek. He is also reunited with Hulk.

Can Thor, Loki and Hulk return to Asgard and stop Hela from resurrecting the dead and conquering the universe, and what will be the cost?

Length125 minutes
SettingMarvel Cinematic Universe: Planets Sakaar and Asgard
Characters
  • Thor, prince of Asgard (Chris Hemsworth)
    • Powers: Immortal King of Asgard.
  • Bruce Banner aka Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)
    • Powers: Turns into a superhuman green monster when angry.
  • Loki, prince of Asgard and Thor's adopted brother (Tom Hiddleston)
    • Powers: Manipulative, he can hypnotise and create illusions.
  • Hela, Thor's older sister and goddess of death (Cate Blanchett)
    • Powers: Immortal, stronger than Thor and can control the souls of the dead
  • Heimdall, guardian of the Bifröst Bridge (Idris Elba)
    • Powers: All-seeing and hearing, he guards the only way into Asgard.
  • Grandmaster, hedonistic ruler of Sakaar who enjoys gladiatorial games (Jeff Goldblum)
  • Odin, King of Asgard and father of Thor and Hela (Sir Anthony Hopkins)
  • Dr Stephen Strange, wizard (Benedict Cumberbatch)
  • Valkyrie Brynhildr aka Scrapper 142, Asgardian slavetrader working for the Grandmaster (Tessa Thompson)
  • Skurge, Asgardian warrior who allies with Hela (Karl Urban)
  • Korg, gladiator on Sakaar (Taika Waititi)
  • The Warriors Three, Thor's best friends:
    1. Volstagg (Ray Stevenson)
    2. Hogun (Tadanobu Asano)
    3. Frandal (Zachary Levi)
Related FilmsAll Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially:
  • Thor (2011)
  • Avengers Assemble (2012)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013) &c.
Bechdel TestFail
Cameos
  • Asgardian actor playing Odin (Sam Neill)
  • Asgardian actor playing Thor (Luke Hemsworth1)
  • Asgardian actor playing Loki (Matt Damon)
Stan Lee CameoGrandmaster's servant/barber
Post-Credits SceneOne mid-credits scene, one post-credits scene

Jaime Alexander was unable to return to play Sif due to scheduling conflicts. Cate Blanchett as Hela plays the series' first female villain. Matt Damon, who cameos as an actor playing Loki, had previously played a different character named Loki in Dogma.

Black Panther (2018)

DirectorRyan Coogler
StudioMarvel Studios
Plot

The African kingdom of Wakanda is built on the remains of a vibranium meteorite that has allowed them over the centuries to become the most advanced country, but hidden from the rest of the world, with four of the five tribes in alliance and the fifth living in the mountains. A special herb allows the ruler of Wakanda to become super-strong and be known as the Black Panther. After the death of T'Chaka his son T'Challa inherits the throne after winning a ritual combat with the Jabari tribe's leader, M'Baku.

Soon afterwards he captures an arms dealer/terrorist Ulysses Klaue, the only man who had penetrated Wakanda's secret and stolen vibranium in order to make weapons, who is freed by a man named Killmonger, who has a claim to the throne and hopes to defeat T'Challa and use Wakanda's technology to arm the downtrodden of African descent to rise up around the world. Can T'Challa, with his sister, mother and girlfriend, discover his secret

Length129 minutes
SettingCalifornia in 1992 and 'present day' (ie 2018) South Korea, London and Wakanda, fictional hidden country in Africa, immediately after events of Captain America: Civil War.
Characters
  • T'Challa aka Black Panther, King of Wakanda (Chadwick Boseman)
  • N'Jadaka aka Erik 'Killmonger' Stevens, ruthless former Black Ops soldier (Michael B Jordan)
  • Nakia, T'Challa's ex-girlfriend and Wakandan spy operating worldwide (Lupita Nyong'o)
  • Okoye, Wakanda's Dora Milaje general (Danai Gurira)
  • Everett K Ross, CIA agent (Martin Freeman)
  • W'Kabi, chief of the Border Tribe whose parents were killed by Klaue (Daniel Kaluuya)
  • Shuri, medical and scientific genius who is T'Challa's 16-year-old sister (Letitia Wright)
  • M'Baku, leader of Wakanda's Jabari tribe (Winston Duke)
  • Queen Ramonda, T'Challa and Shuri's mother (Angela Bassett)
  • Zuri, religious leader of Wakanda (Forest Whitaker, young: Denzel Whitaker)
  • Ulysses Klaue, South African arms dealer and terrorist (Andy Serkis)
  • Ayo, member of Dora Milaje (Florence Kasumba)
Related FilmsAll Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War
Bechdel TestPass
Cameos
  • T'Chaka, T'Challa and Shuri's deceased father (John Kani - Flashback)
  • Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Shaw) in post-credits scene
Stan Lee CameoGambler in a casino in South Korea
Post-Credits SceneBoth Mid-credits and Post-credits

The fictional country of Wakanda seems to be located in South Sudan and the language spoken is predominantly the real South African language of Xhosa, with other words and phrases used to imply a pan-African nation. Yet the country of Wakanda was based on Native American legends about the Creator's homeland where conflicts no longer exist and first associated with Africa when popularised by Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan serialised story The Man-Eater (1915) and film adaptation Tarzan the Ape Man (1932). The Marvel Comics character of Black Panther was created in July 1966, before the Black Panther movement was founded in October 1966. Like many of their popular characters Marvel sold the film rights on and throughout the 1990s Wesley Snipes tried to get a film adaptation made, only to make Blade instead. The film rights to Black Panther reverted to Marvel in 2005. As both Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman had appeared in The Hobbit trilogy, they were apparently nicknamed on set as the 'Tolkien White Guys'. This was briefly the 8th most successful film of all time before being nudged down into ninth place by Avengers: Infinity War and went on to win three Oscars2.

Shockingly Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer in 2020 aged only 43.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

DirectorsAnthony and Joe Russo
StudioMarvel Studios
PlotThanos seeks to gather the six infinity stones from their hiding places3, planning to use them to destroy half of all life in the universe, while the Avengers across the universe seek to stop him. It all comes down to a final showdown in the advanced African country of Wakanda. Who will survive?
Length144 minutes
SettingDeep Space, Edinburgh, New York, Knowhere, Vormir, Titan, Wakanda, Across the Universe
Characters
  • Tony Stark aka Iron Man, leader of the Avengers (Robert Downey Jr)
  • Thor, prince of Asgard (Chris Hemsworth)
  • Bruce Banner aka Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)
  • Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans)
  • Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Dr Stephen Strange, magical neurosurgeon Benedict Cumberbatch)
  • Colonel James 'Rhodey' Rhodes aka War Machine (Don Cheadle)
  • Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland)
  • T'Challa aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
  • Vision (Paul Bettany)
  • Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
  • Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie)
  • Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)
  • Loki, prince of Asgard and Thor's adopted brother (Tom Hiddleston)
  • Heimdall, guardian of the Bifröst Bridge (Idris Elba)
  • Eitri, weaponsmith King of the Dwarves of Nidavellir (Peter Dinklage)
  • Wong, Master of the Mystic Arts (Benedict Wong)
  • Mantis, an empath able to make people sleep (Pom Klementieff)
  • Nebula, Thanos' adopted daughter and Gamora's sister (Karen Gillan)
  • Drax the Destroyer, literal-minded warrior (Dave Bautista)
  • Gamora, orphan raised by Thanos to be an assassin (Zoe Saldana)
  • Groot, small humanoid tree with limited vocabulary (Vin Diesel)
  • Rocket, bounty-hunter raccoon (Bradley Cooper)
  • Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow)
  • The Collector (Benicio del Toro)
  • Thanos, intergalactic tyrant wishing to wipe out half of all life with the infinity stones (Josh Brolin)
  • Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, despite being from Earth he has learnt that his father was an alien (Chris Pratt)
  • Shuri, Princess of Wakanda and technical genius (Letitia Wright)
  • Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross, US Secretary of State (William Hurt)
  • FRIDAY, Tony Stark's AI Interface (Kerry Condon)
  • M'Baku, leader of Wakanda's Jabari tribe (Winston Duke)
  • Okoye, Wakanda's Dora Milaje general (Danai Gurira)
  • Ayo, member of Dora Milaje (Florence Kasumba)
  • Ned Leeds, Parker's best friend (Jacob Batalon)
  • Children of Thanos, henchmen:
    • Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary)
    • Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor)
    • Proxima Midnight (Body: Monique Ganderton, Voice: Carrie Coon)
    • Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw)
  • Stonekeeper (Ross Marquand)
Related FilmsAll Marvel Cinematic Universe
Bechdel TestFail
Cameos
  • Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD (Samuel L Jackson)
  • Maria Hill, agent of SHIELD (Cobie Smulders)
Stan Lee CameoSchool bus driver
Post-Credits SceneYes, featuring Nick Fury and Maria Hill

On release this was the fourth most successful film of all time, behind only Avatar (2009), Titanic (1997) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). It was released to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

DirectorDavid Leitch
Studio20th Century Fox
Plot

After his fiancée Vanessa is killed on the day that they decide to start a family, Wade Wilson aka Deadpool tries to commit suicide but is saved by Colossus. Deadpool decides to join the X-Men and, on a mission to capture unstable teenage mutant Russell Collins aka Firefist, who is seeking revenge against the 'Mutant Re-Education Centre' orphanage run by the Essex Corporation where he had been abused. Deadpool kills one of the abusive staff and both he and Russell are taken to the Ice Box, a prison for mutants. There he is forced to wear a collar that prevents him from using his powers.

Meanwhile a soldier from the future called Cable travels to their time to kill Russell, who in the future kills Cable's wife and daughter. His attempts to break into the Ice Box to kill Russell instead free Russell and Deadpool. Despite denying that he cares, a remark overheard by Russell, Deadpool decides to adopt him, free him and defend him from Cable. He runs auditions for superheroes to join his 'X-Force' team. Yet Russell seeks revenge against the orphanage headmaster. Can Deadpool convince Russell to change his path from that of anger and villainy and live a better life?

Length113 minutes
SettingEarly 21st Century United States
Characters
  • Wade Wilson aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds)
    • Powers: Accelerated healing, which his left him covered in scars.
  • Cable, time-traveling soldier from the future with cybernetic eye and arm (Josh Brolin)
  • Vanessa, Wilson's fiancée (Morena Baccarin)
  • Russell Collins aka Firefist, abused teenage mutant (Julian Dennison)
    • Powers: Pyrokinesis and ability to control fire
  • Domino (Zazie Beetz)
    • Powers: Incredibly lucky
  • Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand)
    • Powers: Can create explosions
  • Piotr Rasputin aka Colossus (Stefan Kapicic)
    • Powers: Can turn his body metallic
  • Weasel, Wilson's best friend (TJ Miller)
  • Black Tom Cassidy, mutant imprisoned in the Icebox (Jack Kesy)
  • Blind Al, Wilson's flat mate (Leslie Uggams)
  • Yukio, Negasonic Teenage Warhead's girlfriend (Shioli Katsuna)
  • Peter, man applying to be a superhero (Rob Delaney)
Related Films
  • X-Men (2000)
  • X-Men 2 (2003)
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  • X-Men: First Class (2011)
  • The Wolverine (2013)
  • X-Men: Days of Futures Past (2014)
  • Deadpool (2016)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
  • Logan (2017)
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)
Bechdel TestFail
Extended VersionThe Super Duper [email protected]%!#& Cut is 12-minutes longer, but not widely available
Cameos
  • Juggernaut (Ryan Reynolds)
  • Dopinder, taxi driver (Karan Soni)
  • Vanisher, invisible Man (Brad Pitt)
  • Professor X (James McAvoy)
  • Beast (Nicholas Hoult)
  • Quicksilver (Evan Peters)
  • Cyclops (Tye Sheridan)
  • Storm (Alexandra Shipp)
  • Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee)
  • Wolverine [archive footage] (Hugh Jackman)
  • Rednecks (Matt Damon & Alan Tudyk)
Post-Credits SceneYes, saving Peter and referring to X-Men Origins: Wolverine

The film incorporates cameo footage that was filmed during the production of X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019). This film was released shortly before TJ Miller was implicated in sexual abuse allegations and making false bomb threat claims. It has since been stated that Miller would not be appearing in any further Deadpool films. Following Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox it is uncertain whether the family-friendly company would be interested in continuing making more adult superhero films, even though on release it was the most successful R-rated film ever on release. That said it is expected that Deadpool will be the only character from the X-Men series that Disney will continue.

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

DirectorPeyton Reed
StudioMarvel Studios
Plot

Scott Lang has been under house arrest after breaking the Sokovia Accords4 for almost two years with only a few days to go before he is free. Yet when Hank Pym attempts to rescue his wife Janet from the Quantum Realm, the subatomic state that she has been trapped in since 1987, a realm that Lang is the only living being to have returned from, Lang sees a vision of her. Reunited with his ex-girlfriend Hope and despite having previously angered Pym by supporting Captain America and forcing Pym to flee from the authorities, Lang agrees to help them rescue Janet. All they need is one final component from blackmarket tech dealer Sonny Burch to build a stable quantum tunnel.

While Lang tries to avoid being caught breaking house arrest, Pym and Hope's plans are complicated by Burch and his hoodlums' attempts to steal their technology. They are also haunted by attacks from the 'Ghost'. They learn from Pym's former colleague that she is Ava Starr who as a child was rendered quantumly-unstable by a failed scientific experiment that left her able to phase through solid objects. SHIELD trained her to be an assassin, but aware that she only has days to live, she is prepared to do anything to extend her life.

Length113 minutes
SettingPrelude: 1987, Main Film: San Francisco two years after Captain America: Civil War
Characters
  • Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, superhero under house arrest trying to do the right thing by his daughter and the love of his life (Paul Rudd)
    • Powers: Has an unreliable suit that enables him to shrink, grow and control ants.
  • Hope van Dyne aka Wasp, Hank Pym's daughter and Scott's ex, (Evangeline Lilly)
    • Powers: Has a suit that enables her to shrink to ant-size and fly.
  • Hank Pym, genius behind the ant-controlling and shrinking technology (Michael Douglas)
  • Luis, Lang's best friend and manager at Lang's firm X-Con Security (Michael Pena)
  • Cassie, daughter of Lang and Maggie (Abby Ryder Fortson)
  • Ava Starr aka Ghost, dying woman able to phase through objects (Hannah John-Kamen)
  • Sonny Burch, greedy gangster wanting to steal valuable technology for the black market (Walton Goggins)
  • Agent Jimmy Woo, FBI agent hunting Pym who longs to find Lang breaking parole (Randall Park)
  • Jim Paxton, policeman engaged to Lang's ex-wife, Maggie (Bobby Cannavale)
  • Maggie Paxton, Lang's ex-wife and mother of his daughter Cassie (Judy Greer)
  • Dave, Lang's employee at X-Con Security (Tip 'TI' Harris)
  • Kurt, Lang's employee at X-Con Security (David Dastmalchian)
  • Janet van Dyne aka Wasp, Pym's wife and Hope's mother lost in the Quantum Realm (Michelle Pfeiffer)
  • Dr Bill Foster, Pym's former assistant and mentor for Ava Starr (Laurence Fishburne)
Related Films All Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially Ant-Man (2018) and Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Bechdel TestPass
Stan Lee CameoMan whose car is accidentally shrunk
Post-Credits SceneMid Credits related to Avengers: Infinity War and Post-Credits

This film is set at the same time as Avengers: Infinity War.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

DirectorsBob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman
StudioColumbia Pictures & Sony Pictures Animation
Plot

Teenage genius Miles Morales is struggling to find his place in the world, particularly when his parents move out of his school to a boarding school because they feel it would give him better opportunities. He hero-worships Spider-Man, who his father disapproves of, and his uncle Aaron, who he feels is the only one he can relate to. When he is out painting graffiti in an abandoned tunnel he is bitten by a strange spider. Following this he begins exhibiting strange new abilities that he cannot control.

When trying to investigate what happens to him he discovers that the tunnel was next to where Kingpin had built a Super Collider intended to cross different parallel universes, which Kingpin plans to use to be reunited with his dead family. Spider-Man Peter Parker tries to stop Kingpin, believing the collider endangers New York, but after being briefly plunged into the collider is killed. He gives Miles a USB stick before he dies, but Miles inadvertently damages it.

Meanwhile other Spider-Men are brought into this dimension, one of whom, Peter B Parker, promises to train Miles into how to be Spider-Man. He is aided at first by Spider-Woman and others from different dimensions, who understand the burden and responsibility of being Spider-Man. Peter B Parker is particularly jaded, having broken up from the love of his life, Mary Watson, because he did not feel ready to have children.

How long can the travellers from parallel universes remain in this dimension before dying? How will Miles react when he discovers that his uncle is trying to kill him? Is Miles ready to face Kingpin? Can Miles also teach those who are aiding him, showing Gwen the value of friendship and will the experience in training Miles prepare Peter B Parker for the burden of becoming a father?

Length112 minutes
SettingNew York City and across the Spider-Verse, different dimensions containing a Spider-Man or equivalent
Characters
  • Miles Morales aka Spider-Man, teenager trying to find his own path (Shameik Moore)
  • Peter B Parker aka Spider-Man, 38-year-old jaded hero from a different dimension (Jake Johnson)
  • Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, original spider-man from this dimension (Chris Pine)
  • Gwen Stacy aka Spider-Woman, schoolgirl from a different dimension (Hailee Steinfeld)
  • Aaron Davis aka Prowler, Miles' uncle and secretly Kingpin's henchman (Mahershala Ali)
  • Jefferson Davis, Miles' father and a policeman (Brian Tyree Henry)
  • Aunt May, Peter Parker's aunt (Lily Tomlin)
  • Tion Morales, Miles' mother and a nurse
  • Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker's widow/Peter B Parker's ex-wife (Zoë Kravitz)
  • Peter Parker aka Spider-Man Noir, from a 1930s monochrome universe (Nicholas Cage)
  • Peter Porker aka Spider-Ham, anthropomorphic spider bitten by a radioactive pig from a cartoon universe (John Mulaney)
  • Peni Parker & SP//dr, girl from anime universe where she shares a telepathic link with a spider in a biomechanical suit (Kimiko Glenn)
  • Olivia 'Liv' Octavius aka Doctor Octopus, Kingpin's scientific advisor (Kathryn Hahn)
  • Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin, crime lord disrupting space/time continuum (Live Schreiber)
Bechdel TestNarrow Pass
Cameos
  • Miguel O'Hara aka Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac)
  • Lyla, O'Hara's AI (Greta Lee)
  • Peter Parker aka Spider-Man from 1967 animated series (Jorma Taccone)
Stan Lee CameoStan, seller of Spider-Man costumes
Post-Credits SceneYes

By far the best animated superhero film of all time, this was a worthy winner of the Best Animated Feature Oscar and was even rated as among the best films of the decade by critics. Its unique, distinct style effectively resembles a comic book but the film is enthused with character and realism, not to mention one of the greatest ever cartoon pigs.

This film contains one of Stan Lee's last cameos, recorded shortly before his death. It is dedicated to both of Spider-Man's creators, artist Steve Ditko who died 6 July, 2018 and writer Stan Lee, who died 12 November, 2018.

Venom (2018)

DirectorRuben Fleischer
StudioColumbia Pictures
Plot

Journalist Brock is investigating reports that Carlton Drake, head of San Francisco's Life Foundation, is experimenting on humans to develop pharmaceutical cures and drugs. He hacks into his fiancée Anne's computer, who is a lawyer working for the same legal team as Drake's lawyer, in an attempt to expose Drake, which results in her getting fired and ending the relationship.

Drake's secretly using his space programme to gather alien life forms and experiment on combining them with humans. When Brock investigates this he becomes bonded with an alien symbiote named Venom, who gives him strength and power but causes him to act bizarrely. Drake becomes obsessed with finding Venom after all the other alien life he has gathered dies, until he himself becomes infected with the alien leader, Riot.

Can Venom and Brock work together to stop Drake and Riot's plan to lead an invasion of Earth that will result in all humanity becoming enslaved?

Length108 minutes
SettingSan Francisco, early 21st Century
Characters
  • Eddie Brock, journalist who unwittingly hosts an alien symbiote named 'Venom' (Tom Hardy)
    • Powers: Strength, speed, agility, healing
  • Anne Weying, Brock's ex-fiancée and lawyer (Michelle Williams)
  • Carlton Drake, immoral genius and entrepreneur (Riz Ahmed)
  • Roland Treece, Drake's head of security (Scott Haze)
  • Dan Lewis, Anne's new boyfriend and doctor (Reid Scott)
  • Dr Dora Skirth, scientist working for Drake (Jenny Slate)
Bechdel TestFail
CameosCletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) in mid-credits scene
Stan Lee CameoMan walking his dog
Post-Credits SceneMid-Credits scene setting up a sequel
Post-Credits scene essentially a trailer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

A Venom script had been in existence ever since the character appeared in Spider-Man 3 ten years earlier. Though Columbia were willing to work with Marvel Studios with Spider-Man, they still hoped to launch their own film series based on other related characters that they had the rights to, choosing Venom to be the first in a standalone series that would feature characters from the Spider-Man stories, but not Spider-Man himself due to their contract with Marvel Studios. A sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, was in post-production and delayed by 2020's COVID-19 virus outbreak.

Captain Marvel (2019)

DirectorsAnna Boden & Ryan Fleck
StudioMarvel Studios
Plot

Vers is a member of the Kree Empire's elite Starforce squad and only remembers the last six years earlier, but has incredible powers. Trained by starforce commander Yon-Rogg, on a mission against the Kree's enemies the Skrulls, who are able to shapeshift, she is captured and her forgotten memories are probed, particularly those regarding Dr Wendy Lawson who was the designer of a joint NASA-USAAF Project Pegasus. After escaping and landing on Earth Vers believes that the Skrulls are planning to assassinate Lawson and steal her work.

On Earth Vers encounters SHIELD agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, with Fury aiding her find Project Pegasus. They learn that Lawson had died six years earlier in 1989 during a test flight, and photographs show that Vers was the pilot, and that her real name was Carol Danvers, with her pilot nametag cut in half with 'Carol Dan' remaining on Earth and 'Vers' taken by the Kree, who had shot the aircraft down.

If everything she believed is a lie, what is the truth behind the Kree-Skrull war? Who can be trusted in the presence of aliens who can shapeshift? If she is human, how did Carol gain her superpowers? Can Carol's best friend Maria Rambeau help her discover who she is? And just how did Nick Fury lose his eye?

Length119 minutes
SettingKree Empire's homeworld of Hala and Los Angeles, 1995
Characters
  • Carol Danvers, known as Vers, pilot with amnesia who believes she is a Kree fighter (Brie Larson)
    • Powers: Strength, stamina, plasma blasts, flight
  • Nicholas Joseph Fury, junior SHIELD Agent (Samuel L Jackson)
  • Talos, leader of the Skrulls (Ben Mendelsohn)
  • Keller, director of SHIELD but really Talos in disguise (Ben Mendelsohn)
  • Phil Coulson, rookie SHIELD Agent (Clark Gregg)
  • Maria Rambeau, Carol's oldest friend and fellow pilot (Lashana Lynch)
  • Yon-Rogg, Commander of Starforce and Vers' boss (Jude Law)
  • Dr Wendy Lawson aka Mar-Vell, Kree disguises as human designer of the Lightspeed engine (Annette Bening)
  • Supreme Intelligence, AI that appears as someone respected by who communes with it (Annette Bening)
  • Ronan, Kree general (Lee Pace)
  • Starforce: Kree elite assassin squad
    • Korath, swordsman (Djimon Hounsou)
    • Minn-Erva, sniper (Gemma Chan)
    • Att-Lass, marksman (Algenis PÉez Soto)
    • Bron-Char, bare-fist fighter (Rune Temte)
Related FilmsAll Marvel Cinematic Universe
Bechdel TestPass
CameosMid-Credits Scene:
  • Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans)
  • Bruce Banner aka Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)
  • Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, assassin (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Colonel James 'Rhodey' Rhodes aka War Machine (Don Cheadle)
Stan Lee CameoHimself trying to read and memorise his lines in Mallrats
Post-Credits SceneBoth mid-credits scene linking Avengers: Inifinity War and Avengers: Endgame and post-credits vignette

As Stan Lee passed away while this film was being made, the opening logo has been changed so that instead of showing a range of Marvel characters it instead shows Stan Lee and his many cameos. Characters Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, a character who would often encounter the Kree in spin-off television series Agents of SHIELD, were digitally de-aged 25 years so that their ages would be consistent with the film's period setting compared to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This film reveals that the Tesseract or Blue Space Stone, previously appearing in Captain America: The First Avenger and Avengers Assemble, had caused Carol Danvers to gain her powers, though she is not known as 'Captain Marvel' in this film.

The title 'Captain Marvel' has a complex history, with the first comic character by that name created by Fawcett Comics in 1939, who published his adventures until 1953 when DC Comics sued for copyright infringement, claiming Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman. In 1967 Marvel Comics bought the copyright of the name 'Captain Marvel' from Fawcett Comics and developed their own superheroes who use that name5 while DC bought the character rights for the original Captain Marvel in 1972. DC also released a film in 2019 based upon the first character originally called Captain Marvel, Shazam!. Similarly Carol Danvers should not be confused with 'Kara Danvers', since 1961 the Earth name of Superman's cousin Supergirl.

This was the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to focus on a female superhero, after Wonder Woman (2017) had finally dispelled the myth that all female superhero films flop6. Another huge success for Marvel, it made over a billion dollars and was the fifth highest-grossing film of 2019.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

DirectorsAnthony and Joe Russo
StudioMarvel Cinematic Universe
PlotIn the aftermath of their defeat by Thanos, the surviving Avengers locate the tyrant, hoping to use the Infinity Stones to bring back the dead, only to discover that Thanos has destroyed them all. Thor kills Thanos. Five years later Scott Lang escapes from the quantum realm, explaining that for him he had merely been trapped for hours. After conjecture that the quantum realm can allow time travel, the survivors plan to build a time machine and collect all the Infinity Stones from the past, create a new infinity glove, reverse Thanos' acts and then return the stones back to their points in the past to prevent the timeline being corrupted. Can the heroes do all this, and will those who will willingly sacrifice themselves to save others be able to allow each other to make that sacrifice?
Length181 minutes
SettingFive years after Avengers: Infinity War
Characters
  • Tony Stark aka Iron Man, leader of the Avengers (Robert Downey Jr)
  • Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans)
  • Bruce Banner aka Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)
  • Thor, overweight prince of Asgard (Chris Hemsworth)
  • Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, assassin (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Clint Barton aka Hawkeye, archer (Jeremy Renner)
  • Colonel James 'Rhodey' Rhodes aka War Machine (Don Cheadle)
  • Scott Lang aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)
  • Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson)
  • Nebula, Thanos' adopted daughter and Gamora's sister (Karen Gillan)
  • Okoye, Wakanda's Dora Milaje general (Danai Gurira)
  • Wong, Master of the Mystic Arts (Benedict Wong)
  • Harold 'Happy' Hogan, Tony Stark's best friend (Jon Favreau)
  • Rocket, bounty-hunter raccoon (Bradley Cooper)
  • Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow)
  • Thanos, intergalactic tyrant who wiped out half the galaxy (Josh Brolin)
  • Dr Stephen Strange, magical neurosurgeon Benedict Cumberbatch)
  • T'Challa aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
  • Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland)
  • Gamora, orphan raised by Thanos to be an assassin (Zoe Saldana)
  • Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
  • Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie)
  • Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)
  • Loki, prince of Asgard and Thor's adopted brother (Tom Hiddleston)
  • Mantis, an empath able to make people sleep (Pom Klementieff)
  • Drax the Destroyer, literal-minded warrior (Dave Bautista)
  • Shuri, Princess of Wakanda and technological genius (Letitia Wright)
  • Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross, US Secretary of State (William Hurt)
  • Maria Hill, agent of SHIELD (Cobie Smulders)
  • M'Baku, leader of Wakanda's Jabari tribe (Winston Duke)
  • Ned Leeds, Parker's best friend (Jacob Batalon)
  • Groot, small humanoid tree with limited vocabulary (Vin Diesel)
  • Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)
  • Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD (Samuel L Jackson)
  • Stonekeeper, guardian of the Soul Stone (Ross Marquand)
  • FRIDAY, Tony Stark's AI Interface (Kerry Condon)
  • Valkyrie Brynhildr, Asgardian (Tessa Thompson)
  • Children of Thanos, henchmen:
    • Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary)
    • Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor)
    • Proxima Midnight (Body: Monique Ganderton)
    • Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw)
  • Hope van Dyne aka The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly)
  • Frigga, Queen of Asgard (Rene Russo)
  • Peggy Carter, founding member of SHIELD (Hayley Atwell)
  • Howard Stark, founding member of SHIELD (Dominic Cooper)
  • The Ancient One, head Master of the Mystic Arts and Strange's mentor Tilda Swinton)
  • Aunt May Parker, Peter's aunt (Marisa Tomei)
  • Jane Foster, scientist and Thor' love interest (Natalie Portman)
  • Korg, former gladiator on Sakaar (Taika Waititi)
  • Ramonda, T'Challa and Shuri's mother and Queen of Wakanda (Angela Bassett)
  • Hank Pym, founder of Pym Industries and original Ant-Man (Michael Douglas)
  • Janet van Dyne, Hope's mother and original Wasp (Michelle Pfieffer)
  • Laura Barton, Hawkeye's wife (Linda Cardellini)
Related FilmsAll Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly Avengers: Infinity War
Bechdel TestPass
Cameos
  • Edwin Jarvis, Shield Agent (James D'Arcy)
  • Howard the Duck
Stan Lee CameoCar driver in 1970
Post-Credits SceneYes, and Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer

This overtook Avatar (2009) to become the most successful film of all time, earning over $2.8 billion. It is also the fifth biggest film of all time in the UK, where The Avengers will always be associated with John Steed and Mrs Peel, behind Star Wars; The Force Awakens, Bond films Skyfall and Spectre, followed by Avatar. Natalie Portman had publicly stated that she did not wish to reprise her role as Jane for this film, but was included through the use of a deleted scene from Thor: The Dark World. Anyone feeling that this film contains a ridiculous number of characters would be right.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

DirectorSimon Kinberg
Studio20th Century Fox
Plot

During a space rescue mission undertaken by the X-Men, Jean Grey is struck by a living space flare. Absorbing the energy, she gains immense power that she struggles to control, hurting those around her after remembering how she accidentally killed her mother in 1975. Grey develops two conflicting personalities, with the arrogant, powerful Phoenix seemingly under the energy's control. Meanwhile a race of aliens known as the D'Bari seek the energy for their own ends, hoping to take over the world.

Length114 minutes
SettingEarth orbit, America in 1992
X-Men & Mutants
  • Charles Xavier aka Professor X, founder of the X-Men (James McAvoy)
    • Powers: Telepathy
  • Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender)
    • Powers: Ability to manipulate metal objects using magnetism
  • Raven Darkholme aka Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence)
    • Powers: Can shapeshift to impersonate anyone else
  • Dr Hank McCoy aka Beast (Nicholas Hoult)
    • Powers: Immense intellect combined with, blue, animalistic strength.
  • Jean Grey, transforming into Phoenix (Sophie Turner, Young: Summer Fontana)
    • Powers: Strong, uncontrollable telepathic and telekinetic powers.
  • Scott Summers aka Cyclops (Tye Sheridan)
    • Powers: Uncontrollable ray beams when his eyes are exposed
  • Ororo Munroe aka Storm (Alexandra Shipp)
    • Powers: Can control the weather, enabling her to fly
  • Peter Maximoff aka Quicksilver (Evan Peters)
    • Powers: Moves at supersonic speed
  • Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee)
    • Powers: Teleportation, he has blue skin and a forked tail.
  • Selene Gallio (Kota Eberhardt)
    • Powers: Telephathy
  • Ariki (Andrew Stehlin)
    • Powers: Has whip-like hair
Other Characters
  • Vuk, leader of the D'Bari who manipulates Phoenix (Jessica Chastain)
Related Films
  • X-Men (2000)
  • X-Men 2 (2003)
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  • X-Men: First Class (2011)
  • The Wolverine (2013)
  • X-Men: Days of Futures Past (2014)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
  • Deadpool (2016)
  • Logan (2017)
  • Deadpool 2 (2018)
Bechdel TestPass

Following 20th Century Fox's takeover by Disney it was revealed that this would be the last X-Men film to be made and the final one featuring established X-Men characters7. Although the Phoenix plot had featured in X-Men: The Last Stand it was felt that it had been relegated to a backstory and had not been properly explored. Yet though the film is also known simply as Dark Phoenix in the USA, Sophie Turner who actually plays Jean Grey aka Phoenix is credited fifth. This is the first X-Men film not to include Hugh Jackman as Logan.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

DirectorJon Watts
StudioColumbia Pictures and Marvel Studios
Plot

Restored to life, Peter Parker feels pressured to be always ready to save the world when all he wants to be is a helpful, neighbourhood spider-man. On a school trip to Europe he plans to tell MJ how he feels about her, but his idea is disrupted by a global crises. Nick Fury turns up and reveals that he is needed to help save the world from Elementals, beings of Earth, Air, Water and Fire. They have crossed over from a parallel world which was destroyed, the only survivor being Quentin Beck who is soon nicknamed 'Mysterio'. Parker also learns that Stark had left him control of EDITH, a powerful AI that can control all the weapons and other tech developed by Stark Industries, particularly flying robot drones.

Can Parker decide to save the day even though it means abandoning his plan to get the girl?

Length124 minutes
SettingIxtenco Mexico, Queens in New York City, Venice, Prague, Berlin, the Netherlands and London
Characters
  • Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, 16 year old boy who feels pressured to be an Avenger (Tom Holland)
    • Powers: Can climb up walls and has amazing reflexes. He is wearing a dark suit and is nicknamed 'Monkey' has a pair of glasses containing AI EDITH
  • Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD (Samuel L Jackson)
  • Quentin Beck aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal)
    • Powers: Can fly and zap things with his staff.
  • Aunt May Parker, Peter's aunt Marisa Tomei)
  • Harold 'Happy' Hogan, Tony Stark's best friend and May's love interest (Jon Favreau)
  • Michelle 'MJ' Jones, one of Peter's classmates and love interest (Zendaya)
  • Ned Leeds, Parker's best friend (Jacob Batalon)
  • Eugene 'Flash' Thompson, Parker's school rival (Tony Revolori)
  • Betty Brant, Ned's love interest (Angourie Rice)
  • Brad Davis, another school rival (Remy Hii)
  • Julius Dell and Roger Harrington, teachers (JB Smoove & Martin Starr)
  • Maria Hill, agent of SHIELD (Cobie Smulders)
  • EDITH, AI in shades left to Parker by Tony Stark (Dawn Michelle King)
Related FilmsMarvel Cinematic Universe, especially:
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame
Bechdel TestFail
Cameos
  • Tony Stark aka Iron Man in flashbacks (Robert Downey Jnr)
  • Obadiah Stane in flashbacks (Jeff Bridges)
  • William Ginter Riva, scientist who worked for Stane (Peter Billingsley)
  • J Jonah Jameson, editor of Daily Bugle (JK Simmons)
Post-Credits SceneBoth mid-credits scene and post-credits scene

This is the last film in Marvel's Phase Four and once again Columbia effectively are hiring Marvel Studios to make a Spider-Man film for them, allowing established Marvel characters such as Nick Fury and Hogan to appear. JK Simmons briefly cameos as J Jonah Jameson, having played the role in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy (2002-7). Following this film Marvel and Sony, Columbia's parent company, had a disagreement over the use of Spider-Man which led to fears that the character would not be featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet in late September 2019 it was announced that an agreement had been reached.

Into the Future

The rate at which superhero films were hitting the cinema was truly unprecedented; more Marvel superhero films were released in 2018 alone than in the whole of the 20th Century, yet there were signs that this was the peak and the rate would gradually reduce, though in 2019 no-one could have predicted that cinema releases would grind to a halt in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in cinema closures worldwide from late March and few films were released when they were allowed to reopen in many nations in Autumn 2020, with many cinema chains remaining closed.

In early 2019 Disney finished negotiating the purchase of its fierce competitor, 20th Century Fox. This enabled the film rights Fox held to Marvel properties such as the X-Men to be reunited with Marvel Studios, another part of the Disney Empire. Once this purchase had been completed Disney announced that they had no intention of making X-Men films in the near future, at least not in the next five years. The current rate of superhero film release was in part driven by competition between Disney and Fox and, in the blockbuster business, a failure can cost hundreds of millions. In the short term it looked likely that no more X-Men films will be made. The related, and much cheaper, character of Deadpool remains popular and attracts an older audience, and so as it is not competing for the family audience, is likely to continue as long as it proves popular.

There was one final 20th Century Fox film that remains unreleased; although filming on The New Mutants ended in September 2017, the trailer met with a lacklustre reception when shown. Though the original expected release date was for January 2018 it was then announced it would be released later that year, then some reshoots were scheduled to take place in summer 2018 with an early 2019 release which became a late 2019 release. After much publicity that it would be released in April 2020 the closure of cinemas worldwide led to it being delayed once more. This is the first superhero film to prominently feature two gay characters in a relationship. Many suspect Disney will not give it a cinematic release at all and instead use it to promote their new streaming service, Disney+. Despite this it was finally released in August/September 2020 when, with cinema audiences still low due to the pandemic, it bombed.

Meanwhile the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to develop and grow. With four of the recent films making the top ten most successful films of all time list (unadjusted for inflation) the audience is still there. Yet with many of the original actors and characters in the series moving on to other things, films based on new characters will need to replace the already existing established favourites. Will they prove as popular? But in the short term would the superheroes be defeated not by a villain, but by a virus?

1Chris Hemsworth's brother.2Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Original Score.3The Powerstone from planet Xandar, Space Stone with Asgard's refugees, The Time Stone with Dr Strange in New York, Mind Stone in Vision's head in Edinburgh, Reality Stone with the Collector on Knowhere and the Soul Stone on Vormir.4By supporting Captain America in Captain America: Civil War.5Including the male Kree Captain Mar-Vell also known as Dr Walter Lawson the original Captain Marvel and followed by Monica Rambeau, with Carol Danvers, created in 1968, originally Ms Marvel as Mar-Vell's girlfriend and becoming the sixth Captain Marvel in her own right.6Films Elektra (2005) and Catwoman (2004) both happened to feature female superheroes and both flopped because they were appalling, not because they featured superheroines.720th Century Fox made film The New Mutants in 2017 and finally released it in September 2020 only for it flop during the Coronavirus outbreak.

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