What Makes a Marvel Sequel Good? | NowThis Nerd

Hi guys, my name is Dev, I’m a producer at NowThis and I just saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

It’s an incredible movie and a solid sequel Which, for Marvel, isn’t always a sure thing Their origin stories are pretty much always satisfying But when the heroes return for round 2 things get a little more shaky Some of the worst reviewed Marvel movies are sequels

And yet, other sequels are some of the best MCU movies, including ‘Guardians Vol 2’ Let’s take a closer look and try to figure out WHAT MAKES A MARVEL SEQUEL GOOD? The problem with a lot of these sequels is that they just give us more of the same The same characters in a slightly different situation, maybe a bigger budget, but ultimately they don’t deliver anything different than the first film The best Marvel sequels, like 'The Winter Soldier' and 'Iron Man 3,' take the characters we love from the first films and recontextualize them in a completely different genre

You can’t jam every superhero into the same story template Marvel has a huge roster of diverse and interesting characters, but their uniqueness can’t shine through when they only get to play in one sandbox Let’s look at 'Iron Man 2' Released in 2010, it was Marvel’s first attempt at a real sequel, and they played it safe Tony Stark isn’t a weapons dealer anymore, but he’s still the same egomaniac ass from the first film– only this time he has to find a cure for his toxic blood instead of the shrapnel in his heart

The villains of the story are Justin Hammer and Ivan Vanko Hammer is a greedy industrialist, while Vanko is driven by revenge Which is a big leap from the first film where Obadiah Stane was also a greedy industrialist who also wanted revenge Revenge might be the most played-out supervillain trope in history, just beneath world domination The Green Goblin wants revenge against some corporate suits

The Penguin lashes out at a society that spurned him, while Catwoman demands payback from the man who tried to kill her Hell, two different versions of General Zod want vengeance on Superman for the actions of his dead father, the exact same motive shared by Ivan Vanko You know how it ends The hero foils the bad guy’s plot after some big battle and flies off into the sunset It’s a fine origin story, but it’s boring by the sequel

Compare 'Iron Man 2' with 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' It’s Marvel’s best sequel and arguably the finest film they’ve ever produced Why? Because it’s not a superhero movie New directors the Russo brothers wanted to create a superpowered 70’s conspiracy film, citing Sydney Pollack’s classic 'Three Days of the Condor' as a major influence They even cast 'Condor' star Robert Redford as their main antagonist, and took heavy inspiration from its story and style

In 'Condor,' Redford is a CIA analyst caught in a tense game of cat and mouse as he uncovers a conspiracy embedded deep inside his agency: There are similar scenes between the two movies, like deadly apartment invasions that help build a sense of tension and paranoia There’s also a feeling that nowhere is safe, no one can be trusted and allies may not be who they seem Speaking of which, the titular Winter Soldier brings to mind another amnesiac operator: The Bourne films are another modern take on the spy thrillers of the 70s, and another influence on the Russos Without the laser beams, rocket boots and other trappings of the superhero genre, the Russos focus on up-close, Paul Greengrass-style action There’s a lot of gunplay in the film, ground level chase scenes and tight close quarters combat

The enemy isn’t just some guy, it’s an institution Cap’s core values like his faith in the government are what’s at stake, not the fate of the universe Leaving the sincere, sentimental stylings of Joe Johnston’s first film behind, the Russos took a different approach and created a taut political thriller With his simpler days of fascist-punching behind him, they used the change of genre to modernize Cap for our complex, technocratic world Even brilliant filmmakers like Joss Whedon and Edgar Wright can get strung up on the formula

They both felt constrained by Marvel’s strict story requirements and parted ways with the studio But Marvel does occasionally let an auteur go wild with their vision, like when they tapped action movie legend Shane Black to write and direct the final film in the Iron Man trilogy The creator of 'Lethal Weapon' seemed like an odd fit for a superhero movie, but his famous wit and focus on character was a perfect match for the franchise That’s right, Shane Black turned Iron Man 3 into the ultimate buddy cop movie All the hallmarks of a Shane Black buddy movie are in Iron Man 3: It’s filled with his sardonic, self-aware humor: Unlikely allies slowly bonding through a perilous journey: And, of course, it’s set at Christmas time: For Shane Black’s Iron Man, he placed his superheroes into a genre he’s more comfortable with instead of conforming to standard superhero tropes

And you know what? It wasn’t an epic Avengers crossover, but it was still a ton of fun Speaking of fun, we’ve finally come to 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Marvel put a lot of faith in quirky horror director James Gunn, and he delivered a unique film that stood apart from the rest of the Marvel universe Gunn took inspiration from the Dirty Dozen He created an ensemble of scoundrels, soldiers and outlaws forced to work as a team for a chance at a fresh start

As great as the characters were, by the end, even ‘Guardians’ falls back on a stock superhero climax There’s the so-so villain… And there’s his doomsday macguffin For the sequel, the plot doesn’t seem to matter as much Instead, the movie has fun exploring how the newly established Guardians fit in their roles The characters all have their own stories and arcs, even baby Groot and this random guy

It’s the crew you all know and love in crazy new situations that force them to learn and change It feels like an episode of 'Futurama' meets 'The Empire Strikes Back' What it doesn’t feel like– is a superhero movie And neither do the best Marvel sequels

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