Analyzing the MCU: The Big Apple
With Captain America: Civil War cleaning up with critics and the box office, Daredevil & Jessica Jones keeping us fed with controlled diet of binging on action, and many more things on the horizon that keep us Marvel faithful awake at night, it’s easy to tell that the teams behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe are doing something right. Multiple things, if we’re being completely honest. One of those things, a tad unexpectedly in some ways, is showing just how massive New York City is.
I want to preface this with the following: I lived near Chicago most of my life and I am currently just outside of Nashville. But I have never been to NYC and only have glancing knowledge of how it’s structured and who lives where. So I have seen a skyscraper before and can appreciate a good skyline but I’m still very much ignorant of much of the city.
Taking into account all of the MCU movies and TV shows so far, (I do need a little leeway for having not watched Agents of Shield or Agent Carter. One day…) we have seen an almost ridiculous amount of New York City. Hulk smashed through most of Harlem during his bout with Abomination, Captain America showed us the New York of old for part of the movie in all its nostalgic wonder, Iron Man gave us a glimpse of the skyline with Stark Tower, and the Avengers made Manhattan the battle ground for the final battle against an alien threat. In the Netflix Originals, we see the community of Hell’s Kitchen and it’s misfit heroes that defend it.
The most notable in this context is Daredevil, and how he constantly references the feeling that the city becomes something more than just a place to live. It becomes a deeper kind of home, a place that keeps drawing you back even if you believe you want to leave.
That experience gets a corroboration in Civil War when Cap and Spider-Man, on opposite ends of the battle, share a moment of kinship from declaring their borough after the “Where are you from?” is posed. It is a small, almost insignificant piece of dialogue but it illustrates how New York is like multiple cities united under one banner.
Small points like these help keep the viewers immersed in the universe, and certainly keep them returning for more. Hopefully, with Luke Cage & Doctor Strange in the fall, we’ll get to see more of a city we have seemed only to have started exploring.