Kracauer notes that “everything depends on the ‘right’ balance between the realistic tendency and the formative tendency; and the two tendencies are well balanced if the latter does not try to overwhelm the former but eventually follows its lead” (298). It is with this notion that I can understand the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it blends the realistic with the formative, but does so that the fantasy aspects never overtake the realistic aspects and keeps the universe it is building confined to the measurement of reality: science.
Every Marvel movie explains the uncanny in terms of science, which is a familiar concept to the layman which attempts to maintain a level of verisimilitude that can keep an audience grounded. It is only after the scientific world is established that the audience can find themselves prepared to face the formative tendencies of creative control. It’s at this point where Marvel introduces the fantastic powers that define the superhero genre, but only in small doses. The first of the Marvel movies, Iron Man (2009), centered around an industrialist who found himself in a real-world captive situation. The world has established that it is mostly like our own reality, maintaining the realistic tendencies of film, and then introduces the formative aspect of the Iron Man armor, which begins to uneven the scales of the balance of the cinematic approach. It is through the slightest of fantastic teases that keeps the real and unreal balanced, and the audience entranced.
Marvel introduces that fantastic aspects of their films in a way that doesn’t sway the viewer to realize how improbable the events actually are. Only when there have been broad introductions of magic has Marvel struggled due to the unfamiliarity of what a reality that included such things would be like, making it hard to believe the science of those worlds and thus brings it to the forefront of consciousness that they may be plausible but ultimately, they are conspicuous manifestations of the creator’s imagination.