Today is July 2, 2021. We're one week away from the release of Marvel Studios' Black Widow. It's also the day that films like The Tomorrow War, The Boss Baby: Family Business, and Fear Street Part 1: 1994 make their debuts. It's a great day for movie fans, but it also serves as a reminder of how challenging the last couple of years have been. See, two years ago today, Spider-Man: Far From Home was released in theaters.
We have officially gone two entire years without a movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There have been three TV shows from Marvel Studios released this year, and that has certainly helped bridge the gap between movies, but this is the longest hiatus we've ever seen from the MCU. The Incredible Hulk was released in June of 2008, followed by Iron Man 2 in May 2010, a little less than two years between them.
Of course, the MCU in 2010 wasn't what it is today. It's now the biggest film franchise in the world, releasing two to three movies each and every year. Under normal circumstances we would have likely seen three or four movies from Marvel Studios by now. Black Widow was supposed to come out over a year ago. Unfortunately, the pandemic had other plans.
COVID-19 changed everything for everyone around the globe. Regardless of what industry you work in or where you live, we've all been affected by the pandemic. Going a couple of years without a Marvel movie isn't such a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But this hiatus does paint a picture of how drastically our world has changed since 2019.
The MCU has become one of the biggest entities in all of pop culture. The theatrical experience has long been paramount to so many of us enjoying entertainment — we have grown up and spent our lives going to theaters. Both of those things were suddenly gone. No, the MCU doesn't matter in comparison to so many other things in life, but it represents a sense of normalcy for fans around the world. Going to a theater a couple of times a year and watching Captain America or Black Panther on the big screen is a wonderful experience we all became accustomed to. Like eating out at restaurants and actually going to school in-person, losing MCU movies and the greater theatrical experience completely upended our norms.
2020 sucked, for many reasons that have nothing to do with Marvel movies, and it changed the lives of millions for the worse. But we're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The virus hasn't gone away completely and there are still steps to be taken to beat this thing for good, but we're getting there. Vaccines are being distributed at an impressive rate. They're widely available here in the United States, which has allowed luxuries like movie theaters and restaurants to reopen. Even though we still have work to do, normal feels like it's starting to return, little by little.
"Normal" used to feel mundane, but now it's a reason to celebrate, it's something many feared we may never return to again. And of course, as we return to this state of normalcy, it's no surprise that a big screen return for the MCU is just a few days away.
Black Widow isn't just another MCU movie — it's the first in a brand new chapter in our lives and our history. It's the return to normal we've all been waiting so long for. It's a small token of victory, that we're finally getting the chance to move forward with our story once again.