The modern superhero movie is nigh on inseparable from the concept of a cinematic universe. While cinematic universes are nothing new, as everyone from Kevin Smith to the classic Universal Monsters have utilised a shared Universe – Marvel’s great success has meant everyone has tried to jump on board. We have a Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Extended Universe and even a Godzilla/King Kong extended Universe.
As a result superhero movies nowadays try to hide tons of little secrets into their movies. They usually serve to get the audience talking about upcoming movies, and are undeniably a great tool for getting good word of mouth. Iron Man and Captain America were arguably the first to really start doing it, layering tons of sneaky references to movies that wouldn’t come out for years. Man of Steel does something very similar with Batman.
What really impresses us though, are those long running secrets. Some series feature dozens of little references that fans have to track down. You have to see every film, in order to work out what’s coming next in their favourite shared cinematic universe. Marvel have been doing this masterfully with hyping up the debut of the Mandarin, hiding Ten Rings references all over their cinematic universe, even in films completely unrelated to Iron Man.