While (with the exception of Marvel's The Avengers) I've got mixed feelings about Marvel's Phase 1 in terms of quality (sometimes I like them more, sometimes I don't), in any circumstance I always have a great deal of respect for what they tried and accomplished.
In the minds of any sane film producers, the idea of making a film about a B-list comic book character with a washed-up actor in the lead role and with a director whose last film was the epitome of underwhelming wouldn't be even considered. In hindsight, it was Marvel's greatest decision they ever made. And they didn't stop there. Before Thor was released, a lot of critics and bloggers thought it wouldn't do well because the title character wasn't as much of a household name as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, or the X-Men; it involved a lot of super-shiny costumes and set pieces; and it was directed by someone primarily known for Shakespearean adaptations who hadn't directed a big action movie before. And then it made 450$ worldwide, was pretty well-received critically, and gained an active and devoted fandom (personally it's my favorite pre-Avengers movie, although probably not the best). The Marvel Cinematic Universe and Marvel's The Avengers as a whole were also quite risky in hindsight. Ever since the nineties it was declared over and over that a movie about a Super-Team consisting of superheroes each big enough to have his own solo movie, thus requiring a lead-star-capable actor for each role, would never be more than a fanboy's daydream. Even so, The Avengers are not exactly the most-well know superheroes.
Now, indepedently on whether you like the end result or not, they put a lot of (risky) effort in this project and I'm glad it paid off for them (from a general standpoint, both critically and financially). Possibly the best proof about this experiment's influence over the genre and (sometimes ignored) merits is that Fox and WB have decided to try their own, with X-Men: Days of Future Past and Justice League respectively.
Last edited by didich
on March 28th, 2013, 7:18 am, edited 2 times in total.