When Marvel Studios first established their shared universe, they were sure to make characters such as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk as accessible as possible for a broader audience. Even if fans knew their stories, it was quickly revealed that these heroes had been slightly altered for an all-new generation. But despite some tweaking here and there, the spirit of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes remained intact. And eventually, after introductions were made, they crossed over in “The Avengers.”
After spending over a decade engrossed in this story, it’s not as necessary as it once was to cast a wider net. People who have been watching are already accustomed to suspending disbelief enough to accept what’s going on in these movies. Magical, scientific, cosmic, and supernatural elements all mix together to form this world and viewers bought into it. With that established, Marvel can take more chances and tell more stories that are more ingrained in this mythology. Of course, origin stories are still important for newer characters, but nearly all of the Avengers have expanded their stories in at least one or two “solo” films by now. The need to stand alone hasn’t been as imperative as it was four phases ago. The storytellers have done their part by building a strong foundation for this franchise before adding floors and extravagantly decorating them.
Now, part of the fun with the MCU is finding all the ways that details connect to each other. There are many different ways to enjoy the media that you consume, particularly the live-action offerings from Marvel. If you only want to follow Ant-Man or Ms. Marvel or the Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s completely doable. Just look to the source material for the best example to do so.