Why the Marvel Cinematic Universe feels empty

  • Published on Oct 15, 2018
  • What makes a fictional universe good? In this requested episode of Overrated, Vox’s Phil Edwards explores the past and present of fictional universes to try to figure it out.
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    Want to read more? Check out Sean Howe’s book about Marvel: www.amazon.com/Marvel-Comics-Untold-Sean-Howe/dp/0061992119

    And explore Tommy’s Universe:

    Fictional universes and crossovers have been around long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Green Hornet radio show had a crossover with the Lone Ranger that kicked off the trend. In comics, the Marvel Universe started long before Stan Lee was at the helm.

    But these crossovers have a problem: They can privilege business relationships ahead of storytelling immersion and really interesting universes. As the Tommy Westphall Universe shows, crossovers often become a map of business decisions rather than of integrated fictional stories, and that leads to worse stories.

    This problem plagues the MCU as well. When Marvel engineers crossovers, they aren’t thinking about a universe transformed by superheroes - they just want more quips, explosions, and cash. Or at least that’s Edwards’s argument - do you think the MCU works?
    Overrated is a series that takes a look at the things we all know - the books, the trends, and the ideas that have become iconic - and answers the question: “Why is this so famous"?
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Comments • 21 985

  • Vox
    Vox  Month ago +865

    You know that one font every comic book uses? Phil Edwards explains where it came from, and how it became so enduring: bit.ly/2EoOE6a

    • God of TOMATOS
      God of TOMATOS 2 days ago

      Micheal Eagles just because someone stated it’s not that doesn’t mean it isn’t

    • Eggsy Garcia
      Eggsy Garcia 7 days ago


    • Eggsy Garcia
      Eggsy Garcia 7 days ago

      Vox 🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜

    • Eggsy Garcia
      Eggsy Garcia 7 days ago

      Vox SHUT UP

    • Eggsy Garcia
      Eggsy Garcia 7 days ago


  • Mediawatcher
    Mediawatcher 28 minutes ago

    Definitely not one of your best idea for videos

  • NM6467
    NM6467 8 hours ago

    Useless video. Waste of time

  • Marko Ross
    Marko Ross Day ago

    I saw the 30,000 likes and looked through the comments to see if I could find a comment in defense of this video. Couldn't find one

  • Cthulhu Keanu
    Cthulhu Keanu Day ago

    Man, can’t wait for you guys to find out about the Iliad and the Odyssey- you’re gonna hate them.

  • Rishav R
    Rishav R 2 days ago

    I actually agree with vox in this one.

  • Bruce Malinowski
    Bruce Malinowski 2 days ago

    99k people couldn't handle the truth

  • moon ruin
    moon ruin 2 days ago

    because stan lee died :(

  • Theman Joe
    Theman Joe 2 days ago +1

    I've seen a lot of MCU criticism videos, and I'm completely comfortable in saying that this is by far the worst one I've seen. half this video was basically "did you know that other properties did connected universes too?" yeh, okay, other properties did it, that doesn't make the MCU bad. your only arguments for why the MCU feels like a business strategy is a few throwaway avengers references from ant man and spider man homecoming, and then you don't even explain what's wrong with them. yeh, it's an avengers reference, what's the problem? these don't take away from the story whatsoever. ant man is still a story about a father having to prove himself to his family, and spider man homecoming is still a story about Peter learning to accept who he is. this goes for most MCU movies. they all have their stories to tell and the references don't take away from it. and the x men comparison is really stupid. the MCU isn't supposed to be about making a decision like the x men universe is, it's usually about seeing the characters become better versions of themselves, it's not about "buying some merch."

  • Victoria Duval
    Victoria Duval 3 days ago +2

    Because there’s not enough Hawkeye, next question

  • the riddler
    the riddler 3 days ago +1

    99K likes. *WOW*

  • w h y
    w h y 3 days ago +4

    *Then Stan Lee dies*

  • Yixuan Wang
    Yixuan Wang 3 days ago

    What is the music starts at 8:40?

  • Tone202
    Tone202 4 days ago

    If you put hawkeye in the DC universe you would get an outcry that would cost you millions.

  • Scott Reacher
    Scott Reacher 4 days ago

    Essentially this video just very poorly researched and Vox is SCUM.

  • Rowan Newcomb Rodriguez

    RIP Stan 😢😢😢😢

  • Darcy Harland
    Darcy Harland 5 days ago

    While i dont agree with a lot of this video. Detective pikachu now exists which i think is the equivalent to a horrible cross over like the one suggested of starwars and avengers in this video.

  • yesmanandy
    yesmanandy 5 days ago

    Lol at all the crying marvel fans

    • God of TOMATOS
      God of TOMATOS 2 days ago

      I thought the video would tell me that the MCU felt empty it failed and was “a steaming pile of clickbait” if you read some of the comments they make genuinely good points unlike this video... although yeah some of it is just wailing fan boys who would dislike even if the video was actually good

  • Nicholas Szwajda
    Nicholas Szwajda 5 days ago

    Heaping pile of gooply gook

  • beatjunkybg
    beatjunkybg 5 days ago


  • Cyber Anderson
    Cyber Anderson 5 days ago

    RIP Stan Lee

  • Diógenes
    Diógenes 5 days ago

    además de sobrevalorada , es aburrida , es una película de acción que con el paso del tiempo será olvidada por ser sólo la película del momento

  • Bruce Snow
    Bruce Snow 5 days ago

    You're really draining down the hole, don't you Vox? I can understand this video, opinion and all, but oh boy - then you go on to attack Stan Lee in an article right after his death. Great job at keeping your reputation there.

  • Hey U
    Hey U 5 days ago

    I mean yeah they kinda are but it’s still wayyyy better than DC

  • Erik Reyes
    Erik Reyes 5 days ago

    This video is so below the channel’s level

  • benjamin budin
    benjamin budin 6 days ago


  • feeeqaaa
    feeeqaaa 6 days ago

    i love vox's content seriously, going into this hoping to have a different perspective/viewpoint on mcu movies but nothing in this video make any sense? this still didnt answer the title of the video...

  • HyperBreadbeard
    HyperBreadbeard 6 days ago +1

    This line is idiotic "By the 60's even dc comics was catching up".
    Vox I really hope you realise that DC had their first crossover the same year (a few months after in fact) as Marvel and that crossover also happened to be the first ever superhero team.
    If that took literally 1 min to lookup, then what does that say about your research skills 🤔

  • John Diego Masga
    John Diego Masga 6 days ago +1

    It’s emptier now!! #RIPSTANLEE #Excelsior

  • Nathan Buford
    Nathan Buford 6 days ago

    I love this comment section

  • Bobby Wasabi
    Bobby Wasabi 6 days ago +1

    This video felt empty

  • Aubra Hickerson
    Aubra Hickerson 6 days ago

    Bless this video. Thank you.

  • Paul Benedict E Diasanta

    It now feels empty because Stan Lee died

  • dcsmerf12
    dcsmerf12 6 days ago +1

    You know what feels empty? This video.

  • Gabbi Durham
    Gabbi Durham 6 days ago

    You honestly haven’t done your research if you really think this.

  • Rafael Cirqueira
    Rafael Cirqueira 6 days ago +1

    You lost me when you said the Fox X Men Universe "showed a better way" with "real stakes" and "deep integration"

  • frank x
    frank x 6 days ago

    I enjoy Marvel movies but acknowledge that MCU is just a pile of self-promoting crap.

  • GeoPlayer123
    GeoPlayer123 6 days ago

    holy crap just looked at like to dislike ratio

  • iLikeNoodles
    iLikeNoodles 6 days ago

    R.I.P Stan Lee

  • MM Earlene
    MM Earlene 6 days ago +1

    this a click bait

  • gigs1890
    gigs1890 7 days ago +1

    Lol spiderman homecoming was the worst choice of an example of a non-transformed universe

  • CintreuseGrande
    CintreuseGrande 7 days ago

    I liked this video Vox :)

  • Josh Wilson
    Josh Wilson 7 days ago

    I think most of the superhero movies are crappy cash-grabs, and like the rational approach Vox takes, but I couldn't follow this one. Most of the superhero movies are crap for the same reason that 75% of action movies are crap: they spend far too much time on CGI nonsense and not enough on character/plot/world development. Lindsay Ellis explains it better than I ever could in her video explaining why Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterpiece in the action genre: action for the sake of action is tiring; action as an outcome of well-developed world building is awesome. usclip.net/video/PLLGN7zv-3k/video.html

  • Leo Kearns Stanley
    Leo Kearns Stanley 7 days ago

    you're OLD

  • gucci squidward
    gucci squidward 7 days ago

    Rip stan Lee

  • King Crozma
    King Crozma 7 days ago +1

    0:12 what do you mean it is lol

  • Jennifer Yang
    Jennifer Yang 7 days ago

    These hero cross-over movies feel empty most of the time but they are still relatable for its audiences. If anything I think it is a better influence to the young audiences, showing that the world has more than one hero and does not revolve around one hero.
    Cross overs definitely are effective in terms of marketing, and it is an interesting way of creating unexpected storylines.
    The problem is just that most of the movies have storylines that are too linear and has nothing new to show it's audiences. They are essentially expensive graphics made to boost a 16 year olds ego.

  • David Brandon
    David Brandon 7 days ago

    i hate this this is why im not sub subscribed

  • MrKingoverall
    MrKingoverall 7 days ago

    The dislikes are more than the likes

  • Suleiman Mustafa
    Suleiman Mustafa 8 days ago

    R.I.P Stan Lee

  • greg martin
    greg martin 8 days ago

    The ending is a bit unsatisfactory

  • Elizabeth Ondoma
    Elizabeth Ondoma 8 days ago +1

    So, is the MCU empty, or is it that Vox has no other content to yap about?

    Not trying to be hateful but, this is just unnecessarily sloppy

  • Lalo B
    Lalo B 8 days ago

    This guy sucks his videos suck.

  • Marc Juenger
    Marc Juenger 8 days ago +1

    Wow, that felt a lot longer due to how wrong it was about all of its stances on the MCU. Then when you thought it was over, they used X-men as a fix for continuity issues? Amazing. If you need a quick insight into the real inner workings of the films, and why they work, just watch how it should have ended’s review of black panther. It’s not much, but it covers a lot of ground that the creators of this video clearly missed. Starting with character development for real stakes to the viewer and addressing real world issues in a fictional platform.

    • Marc Juenger
      Marc Juenger 8 days ago

      This was such an off-topic video about the stances it was taking that I had to check to be sure it wasn’t posted on April 1st before responding.

  • Rayaan Ali
    Rayaan Ali 8 days ago +3

    R.I.P Stan lee
    Creator of the best superheroes and cameos ever.

  • Rita Viviano
    Rita Viviano 8 days ago

    Canzoni per bambini

  • K 1
    K 1 8 days ago

    I was interested in the opinion of this video until about 40 seconds in and the narrator said "... vox set out to" at which point I scrolled down, saw that this was in fact a Vox video. So I down voted it, let you know how much you suck, and left.

  • HoBrosGaming
    HoBrosGaming 9 days ago

    Big oof look at that dislike ratio

  • Christian Owers
    Christian Owers 9 days ago

    Man this video was so bad I disliked it twice haha

  • TheMythey
    TheMythey 9 days ago +1

    Wow, this has to be the most dislikes I've ever seen on a video, EVER. Damn!

  • Andrew
    Andrew 9 days ago

    can u fire this guy

  • un usuario mas
    un usuario mas 10 days ago

    Marvel estupid Fanbase

  • Hayden Burke
    Hayden Burke 10 days ago

    Well executed, but your point is kinda dopey.

  • Ali Reyes
    Ali Reyes 10 days ago

    Dont mess with dem comics fanbois, cause damn they'll show you how triggered they are.

  • BecauseYouMatter
    BecauseYouMatter 10 days ago

    Learn a thing or two from Cheddar on Marvel - usclip.net/video/PSaoKQCWAbI/video.html

  • CRAZYLazyboy101 -sonic fnaf and more!

    or you could just be a hater

  • An3
    An3 10 days ago

    Marvel is Selling Merch and they are Really Good at it. That's all. Idk it's all about the Toys but I can't see kids Playing with Tarantino figures... Not even the Bride.

  • An3
    An3 10 days ago


    MAIKA 10 days ago

    Dissapointing vox video.

  • enrique2395
    enrique2395 10 days ago

    the fact that the dislike:like ration is off tells me u dont know wtf u talking about smh

  • Victor Laye
    Victor Laye 10 days ago

    Brilliant video. It's pretty disappointing that MCU fans don't even try to understand the reasons for its success and are directly offended just because someone dared to say that what they like is not as great as they think.
    You have the right to love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but you can't deny that it's very overrated and wobbly : each character lives his own little adventures against an unidimensional enemy in his own little world and only reunites with the others during big events labeled under the "Avengers" banner.
    But for me, the MCU's real problem is still elsewhere. Although the films may be dynamic, satisfying and entertaining for the main audience, they are also incredibly classic, predictable, and platitudinous, because Kevin Feige only hires interchangeable yes men and screenwriters with no visual identity or thematic personality who never take any risk, which prevents any innovative artistic creation.
    So before trashing a pretty clever video that dared to denounce something you don't accept, try to understand why this thing pleased so much to you in the first place.
    During a french interview, James Mangold explained why there were no post generic scenes at the end of "Logan", one of the best superhero films of the decade : « I'm fed up with the fact that blockbusters are becoming more and more simple launching platforms for the next blockbuster. They are no longer movies, but product placements, platforms to sell toys and prepare the next film. Rather than film, they should be called two-hour commercials. » That says a lot about the beloved but not-so-perfect Marvel Cinematic Universe.

  • Evan white
    Evan white 11 days ago

    “Here me out” clicks off

  • Custard Karim
    Custard Karim 11 days ago +1

    I found out literally nothing.

  • Nick Cameron
    Nick Cameron 11 days ago

    seriously don't do comic book stuff like this...

  • Gabriel Frank-McPheter

    So X-men is better then MCU? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • tom meyer
    tom meyer 11 days ago

    Is anyone else having problems disliking this video or is it just me???

  • Oscar Fernandez
    Oscar Fernandez 11 days ago

    Oh boi this video must had damage vox USclip algorithm 🙂

  • Swam
    Swam 11 days ago +1

    •Iron Man
    •The Incredible Hulk
    •Iron Man 2
    •Captain America: The First Avenger
    •The Avengers
    •Iron Man 3
    •Thor: The Dark World
    •Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    •Guardians of the Galaxy
    •Avengers: Age of Ultron
    •Captain America: Civil War
    •Doctor Strange
    •Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
    •Spider-Man: Homecoming
    •Thor: Ragnarok
    •Black Panther
    •Avengers: Infinity War
    •Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    •Agent Carter
    •Jessica Jones
    •Luke Cage
    •Iron Fist
    •The Defenders
    •The Punisher
    •Cloak and Dagger

  • Harris Devon
    Harris Devon 11 days ago

    Omg the amount of dislikes 😂

  • Danny S.
    Danny S. 12 days ago

    The main flaw about the MCU is that Infinity War felt pointless a couple weeks after it was released, as sequels were already announced for characters that kicked the bucket in that movie. That's a major screwup. Other than that, I've been having a blast following it all.

  • Tence One
    Tence One 12 days ago

    Please make a Punisher reboot!

  • Charlie H
    Charlie H 12 days ago

    Ummm.. sorry... but.. wtf?

  • Vince Williams
    Vince Williams 12 days ago

    Vox states that these characters should abandon THEIR personal struggles and instead be brought down to up and represent what we think are problems more. They instist that the fact that there are INDIVIDUALS who represent the best of what they bring for things bigger than them is an atrocity. A facist discatorship is one bad thing... A population that believes there are no special people who exist beyond the power structures that they have been shamed into believing is another. They insist that these movies should represent better the people its reaching instead of allowing the movie to ask of its viewers to suspend belief and take a ride with these characters.
    The archetype of the hero is older than written history. It was individuals who displayed abilities that defied convention. People who overcame unimaginable odds and overcame their own insecurities and doubts. They didnt look to their people to push them to glory....They found it within themselves and everyone learned so much more about themselves because of it. They didnt chain the hero in hopes to extract their abilities to better the people. It doesnt work that way. To a point people often choose to wallow in their misery. They will be the ones left to dictate things for everyone at our peril. Theres courage and resentment within every person. Which will we choose to nourish?

  • Vlad G
    Vlad G 12 days ago

    I hate comic books, and comic book movies, but I hate Vox a million times more.

  • man up
    man up 12 days ago +1

    98k dislike lmao vox please stop with this non sense

  • sabo
    sabo 13 days ago

    I just want to know what song is playing at 2:45 that’s literally all I got out of this video, all I care about anyway

  • valdamaer
    valdamaer 13 days ago

    This is sort of valid but not really also screw you

  • No Rain No Rainbow
    No Rain No Rainbow 13 days ago

    You fail to establish what exactly is wrong with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there for your entire argument Falls flat. Unable to finish watching this.

  • Milena D.K.
    Milena D.K. 13 days ago

    One thing that bothered me about Marvel (even as far back as middleschool) was the lack of internal logic in the movies. Even in an imaginary universe with magic or high technology, you need a set of rules to govern it so that the audience can successfully suspend their belief and spend an hour or two in the fictional universe.

    Meanwhile, Avengers isn't sure whether it wants to be a universe with magic, with super high tech, with aliens or with fantastical creatures. It has both Thor (magical god) and Ironman (very technology based) working in the same team. Having a hero basing all his power on technology (albeit fictional) while another is a quasi-medieval god using magic means that the universe has shaky rules and it's hard to suspend belief.

  • Bisse 079
    Bisse 079 13 days ago

    your channel is overrated, seriously how tf you have 5M?

  • Dee Rush
    Dee Rush 13 days ago

    I agree with what he is trying to say, but . . . I think he needed a bit more than 9 minutes to say it.

  • mastgamer GAME OVER
    mastgamer GAME OVER 13 days ago +1


  • Faiz Aiman
    Faiz Aiman 13 days ago

    So many butthurl marvel fan😂

  • jtjr26
    jtjr26 14 days ago +1

    I generally like these Vox vids but this video felt hollow and meandering with no real point. You almost sound like one of those critics that say superhero blockbusters are ruining modern cinema. I admit I am a fan of the MCU. Some of the films are better than others for certain. I do not think its comparable to the DC shared universe however like you are implying. The MCU has build a massive interconnected universe over the years. Initially this was through extra scenes until the Avengers movie happened. From there there are more interconnected pieces and crossovers but I think the MCU has earned the hype. Crossovers area big part of comics so why wouldn't they be part of a series of movies.
    Now DC's attempt to create their own shared universe has been mostly a failure. Also DC started from a stronger position with some of the best known characters in comics and they bungled it but rushing out a crossover movie without the established film narrative like the MCU built up over time.The result was Justice League which he studio hoped would be as successful as the Avengers was nowhere close to that level of success. I guess what I am saying it I think its unfair to say the MCU is overrated as they have earned their rep over time with film fans. The DCU (or whatever they want to call it) is overrated and does deserve scorn which is a shame as some of my favorite comic book characters are in DC comics.

  • Kaito Spin
    Kaito Spin 14 days ago +1

    Please USclip take this video down. it contains:
    -Violent or repulsive content
    -Hateful or abusive content
    -Spam or misleading

  • Mike 2
    Mike 2 14 days ago

    Yes people would be surprised if Disney forced a Marvel and Star Wars crops over.

  • Martin the Show
    Martin the Show 14 days ago

    Can’t wait for the hate comments flood

  • getmedieval
    getmedieval 14 days ago

    yeah.. great video and all, but the reason they’re bad is because the entirety of this cinematic franchise is mindless.

  • Jeff Cao
    Jeff Cao 15 days ago

    x-men movies have so many continuity problems and tons of people that die and then come back which makes the stakes almost laughable at times.

  • Akep 321
    Akep 321 15 days ago

    Trust me, is they crossed marvel and dc, people would notice