“Over the last few years I have been loosely following the unfolding project known as the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ (beginning with Iron Man, 2008) with a degree of interest, albeit that of a cinema-going layperson with little knowledge of comics or superheroes.  But as somebody whose research interests encompass issues of serial narratives in television, what strikes me as interesting about these films is that they seem to constitute essentially a new mode of serialised storytelling for the cinema.  Whilst certain ‘high-end’ television series are routinely praised for bringing supposedly ‘cinematic’ values to television, it seems to me that the Marvel series doing something which might be conceptualised as the reverse, porting modes of serialised storytelling that have been prominently developed on television over the last few decades into a popular film series.  In this vein, I might suggest that the different ‘phases’ of the project can be seen to loosely correspond to a typical serialised season structure of contemporary television drama; thus films such as Iron Man 2 (2010) orThor (2011) serve as average ‘case-of-the-week’ instalments, building up to the intermittent Avengerscrossover films which draw together the various characters and plot threats into moments of particular climax, and thereby play a role analogous to the season finale…”



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