In reality, the later instalments of what is now the Captain America trilogy are unlikely to have been creatively mapped out at the point Marvel was delivering Captain America: The First Avenger, back in 2011. Perhaps the kernel of an idea existed, somewhere in the back an individual’s mind – there is a wealth of comic book source material to draw upon, after all. But, the specific journey of the characters involved, and the plot arc as we now know it, is something that developed incrementally – informed by the reception of the previous instalment, as well as the stories in other Marvel movies, and the climate in the superhero genre in general. Such is the nature of the cohesive cinematic universe.
This being the case, the remarkable way in which this trilogy hangs together cannot be overstated, and it is testament – almost entirely – to the talent and dedication of the screenwriters, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Sure, the work of the directors – Joe Johnston, and Anthony and Joe Russo – plays a big part in the success of the films, as does that of the rest of the cast and crew. But these scribes are the truly consistent, most creatively involved people in the production of the series as a whole, and what they have built is a technical achievement of the highest order.[zergpaid]
Trilogies are not easy to make – as the Iron Man franchise has proven. Most suffer from inconsistent characterization and quality, due to the directors and writers changing from film to film. The Captain America franchise, on the other hand, benefits from a lower turnover of personnel, resulting in story episodes that build upon one another effectively, while succeeding as standalone movies in their own right.
Each film has a different tone, but the accuracy of the characterization marries them together in a believable way. While that is not to say that each film is as successful as the others, in overall terms (The Winter Soldier is ultimately better than Civil War, for example) – it is still the case that, as a whole, the Captain America franchise is currently the very best part of the MCU.