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What Was The First Marvel Movie?

captain america the first avenger poster

To answer that, we have to travel back into annals of prehistory.

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This was an age long before luxurious gardens hanged in the streets of Babylon. Long before the Colossus of Rhoades was erected. Long before the Fall of Rome.

Long before the great pharaohs were entombed in their pyramids. Long before the first artists painted their likeness on the walls of caves. Long before the invention of stone tools. Long before ancient man crawled out of the Cradle of Humankind.

Long before the first mammals crawled out of their burrows. Long before an asteroid lit the atmosphere on fire. Long before the great and terrible dinosaurs thundered their heavy footfalls across the face Earth.

Long before great steaming jungles throbbed in the darkness of prehistory. Long before an ancient species took its first quivering steps out of the salt sea. Long before the oceans teemed with the beginnings of life.

Long before the seed of life was planted in that chowdery womb known as the “primordial soup.” Long before the Earth was captured by the gravity of the sun. Long before the stars were birthed in distant and unknowable nebulae.

Long before the annihilation of most anti-matter from the universe. Long before atoms began to fizzle and sputter into existence. Long before the universe existed in a pinprick point of singularity. The Egg of The Cosmos, awaiting its Great Hatching.

This was an era inconceivably long ago. So long ago that our very notions of time and causality break down. An era known by a strange tetragrammaton of numbers. An era known as… 2008.

There is only one record of that era. All other knowledge of 2008 has been lost to history. It is a movie. What is the name of that movie you ask?

It is called Iron Man.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is born

Iron Man
(Marvel Entertainment)

And what sort of film is this Iron Man? It is an ancient tale not unlike the Epic of Gilgamesh. It concerns a great hero Tony Stark, who is a sort of blacksmith of powerful technological weapons. He attempts to sell these weapons to a mighty kingdom called The United States, who is waging an unjust war in a far off land called Afghanistan. He travels to Afghanistan to demonstrate the awesome power of his weapons, but is captured by enemy soldiers.

To escape captivity, he builds himself a suit of armor in order to defeat his captors. He is successful, and returns to the United States the promise that he shall no longer build weapons. But does Tony Stark then become a simple farmer? Indeed not. An evil man named Stane wants to use Tony’s work in order to build new, more terrible weapons. Stane even builds a copy of Tony’s mighty suit, and uses it to try to kill Tony in single combat so that Tony will not interfere in his dark designs. Tony however defeats the cruel Stane, and christens himself as Iron Man, vowing to become great hero of the world.

Indeed, this movie is what those of era would call “dope,” even after untold eons have passed since its original release. It was what the ancient scribes called “a box office success” and made millions of a crude currency called “dollars.” However, this is not the first of the movies made by Marvel, simply the first made by the ancient order the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But what is the difference between Marvel and the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Indeed, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was an ancient order founded to create films concerning Marvel characters that Marvel still had the “legal right” to produce. The concept of many of Marvel’s other characters was sold to other ancient orders, like Sony Pictures, and Marvel was not allowed to commit these characters to films so long as Sony paid tribute to Marvel with heaps upon heaps of “dollars.” It is all rather confusing, and the ancient orders employed the use of scribes called “lawyers” to scry these divine laws in order to not break them unjustly. To find the first Marvel movie, one must look even further into the inconceivable past. A primeval time know as… the 40’s…

The Republic Pictures serial films

Captain America punches a bad guy in a black and white film.
(Republic Pictures Corporation)

The 40’s were a time of great civil strife, and all the world looked upon the face of War and wept at his terrible visage. To comfort the people (and indeed, make some serious dosh from their tribulations) members of an ancient order called Republic Pictures Corporation made a series of short films (called serials) about the great deed of a mighty warrior named Captain America. The film serial is, unsurprisingly, called Captain America.

The argument of the film is this: a string of strange suicides befall a group of scientists and businessmen. Each of them die clutching a scarab. It is revealed that the businessmen and scientists were all part of an expedition to the site of Mayan ruins, and that one of the few survivors, Dr. Maldor, orchestrated their deaths because they claimed all of the riches and fame from the expedition for themselves. The masked hero Captain America must defeat the nefarious Dr. Maldor before he is able to use his devastating technological inventions to bring more harm to the world.

Enter Spider-Man

Spider-Man leans over his camera.
(Columbia Pictures)

Indeed, this tale is ancient. So ancient, in fact, that Marvel comics was not even called Marvel comics at the time. Marvel was then known as “Timely Comics,” and would not be rechristened as Marvel until eons later, in an epoch known as the 60’s. However, it would not be until the next epoch, the 70’s, that the first “Marvel” film would be released. Indeed, that film was a 1977 “straight for TV” movie known simply as Spider-Man, and it told the tale of a young hero who was bitten by a certain spider that give him the wall climbing powers of arachnids.

But there are tales more ancient than these, for indeed, before any hero was committed to film they were first written of by ancient authors in a series of picture-writings known as “comic books.” Where comic books came from, mankind may never known for certain….

(featured image: Marvel)

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.

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