After almost a decade and over 16 years, the MCU has become a continuous brand that has eclipsed most of the industry's biggest series, sitting alongside the Pixar universe, Star Wars and the Disney Classics as a bona-fide behemoth.
It would be easy to suggest that it's all been flawless along the way - that the ship that Kevin Feige steers like a juggernaut through the box office waters towards billion dollar catches every time has never gone off course - but that would be incorrect. So too would the accusation that there have been few boundaries tested and few innovations encouraged, in the name of creating one mega-successful but ultimately homogenous flavour profile.
Saying silly things like that shows off biases and ignorances either way. There have been rocky patches, just as there have been surprising successes, and there have been stunningly inventive, utterly unique movies just as there have been those steeped in nostalgia. And for all that talk of bubbles bursting, the fact that every single release seems to closely flirt with billion dollar box office takes is testament to the MCU's boom time.
No wonder Feige felt confident enough to get Sony to the table for a Spidey conversation.
But the real question at the moment is whether Spider-Man: Homecoming was good enough to warrant the unprecedented rights-sharing deal that brought Marvel and Sony together. For that to be the case, it really needed to break the top rung...