The Marvel Universe has hit the jackpot with its many heroes who triumph over a host of villains, sometimes individually and sometimes by banning together to overcome their adversaries.
Whether it be Iron Man or Captain America, the heroes prevail over their enemies to save mankind, and Americans and moviegoers around the world flock to the box office to watch them subdue or dispose of their opposition.
The hero overcoming the villain is a proven and lucrative formula that Hollywood has embraced, and with advanced technology that has ushered in the computer graphic and digital era of filmmaking, more fantastic feats can be filmed without stuntmen facing dangerous tasks.
Iron Man, Tony Stark, a billionaire playboy, and philanthropist, is the Marvel hero similar to Batman, the D.C. Comics hero. Both are geniuses who perform their heroic feats of strength and cunning by using gadgets and inventive ways of overcoming villains.
The movie, “Iron Man,” released on May 2, 2008, was a box office success, raking in $585.2 million.
“Iron Man II” was released on May 7, 2010, and moviegoers spent even more for the sequel. The movie netted $621.2 million with Robert Downey, Jr. returning to portray Iron Man.
Marvel’s “The Incredible Hulk” was released on June 13, 2008, but it fell short of the Iron Man movies, grossing $265.5 million at the box office. Edward Norton portrays Dr. Bruce Banner whose experiment with extreme gamma radiation leads to his exposure, causing him to become The Incredible Hulk when angered.
On May 6, 2011, “Thor” grossed more at the box office than “The Hulk.” Chris Hemsworth portrays Thor, and the film brought in $449.3 million.
“Captain America: The First Avenger” was released on July 22, 2011, and Chris Evans portrays the weakling who becomes transformed into a superhero by receiving a secret government serum. The film grossed $370.6 million.
On May 4, 2012, “The Avengers,” features a team of heroes, including Iron Man, The Hulk (played by Mark Ruffalo), Thor and Captain America who are joined by Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to protect Earth from Loki, Thor’s villainous brother who bring alien allies to Earth in his attempt to conquer the planet.
“The Avengers” topped all the other Marvel films at the box office, netting $1.5 billion, perhaps solidifying Marvel’s team of heroes pitted against enemies of Earth formula of movie making.
“Iron Man III” was released on May 3, 2013, and the film netted more than either of the previous two by grossing $1.2 billion at the box office.
“Thor: The Dark World” did better at the box office than “Thor,” but fell short of the $1 billion mark by netting $644.6 million.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was released on May 4, 2014, and it was more successful at the box office than “Captain America.” The film grossed $714.4 million.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” was released on Aug. 1, 2014, and the team that featured a genetically modified human named Rocket who has a raccoon’s head and other strange-looking heroes except for Quill (Chris Pratt) netted $772.8 million.
On May 1, 2015, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” hit the silver screens, and a new box office record of $1.4 billion was achieved.
“Ant-Man” followed with a release date of July 17, 2015, and the film grossed $518.9 million.
“Captain America: Civil War” was released on May 6, 2016, and Marvel discovered that the “third time charms.” The film netted $1.2 billion at the box office.
“Doctor Strange” was released on Nov. 4, 2016, and it netted $676.4 million.
On May 5, 2017, “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” surpassed “Guardians of the Galaxy” by grossing $869.1 million.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” was released on July 7, 2017, and the film grossed $880.2 million.
“Thor: Ragnarok” was released on Nov. 3, 2017, and it netted more than “Thor: The Dark World” by grossing $854 million.
“Black Panther” was released on Feb. 16, 2018, and moviegoers paid $1.3 billion at the box office, making it one of the highest-grossing films ever.
“The Avengers: Infinity War” topped the box office by grossing $2 billion after its release on April 27, 2018.
“Ant-Man and The Wasp” was released on July 6, 2018, and netted $623.1 million.
“Captain Marvel,” followed by being released on March 8, 2019, and it netted $1.1 billion at the box office.
Released on April 26, 2019, “Avengers: Endgame” smashed Marvel’s box office record by grossing $2.8 billion.
“Spider-Man: Far from Home” was released on July 2, 2019, and it netted $1.1 billion at the box office.
Released on July 9, 2021, “Black Widow” grossed $379.8 million.
“Chang-Chi: And the Legend of the Ten Rings” netted $432.2 million after being released on Sept. 3. 2021.
“Eternals” was released on Nov. 5, 2021, and it grossed $402 million at the box office.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” grossed $1.9 billion following its release on Dec. 17, 2021.
“Doctor Strange” was released on May 6, and its box office totals are yet to be determined.
Digital filmmaking and computer graphics have contributed to Marvel’s success in presenting their cinematic stories that keep movie aficionados purchasing tickets in order to vicariously experience the heroic feats of their Marvel heroes.
Marvel comics date back to the 1950s when the fledgling company was competing against DC Comics, the industry leader with Superman flying high. In 2009, Disney purchased the Marvel Cinematic Universe for $4 billion, and for more than a decade, Disney has released blockbuster movies based on Marvel’s heroes.