Trigger Warnings – None, except some strong language and crude humour
Spoilers for anyone who doesn’t know about the Marvel Cinematic Universe/Civil War/Ragnarok storylines
Hey, so did you see the big Marvel schedule that came out showing we’re going to have spandex spangled superheroes coming out of our asses until the next ice age? Who am I kidding? Of course you did, you’re human, you have the internet, how could you not? Marvel dropped the bomb and we were all blown away as they announced many many more films, including more Thor, more Iron Man, more Captain America, more Avengers, a Black Panther, more Guardians of the Galaxy and so on and so on and this made a lot of people very happy and very excited and then it made a few people like me just sigh. Yes, I sighed, I tutted, I looked at this list with a tint of sadness, which I shall now explain
Nobody can argue that Marvel has really brought the hero genre on leaps and bounds from when it was the slapdash efforts of Tim Burton half-heartedly making a gimmicky mess about Batman, hero movies are the biggest box office successes going at the moment, so much so you wouldn’t be wrong for thinking Robert Downey Jr. must just shit gold. An expansive universe of interconnected films that all allude to a mega film in the future and several nerdgasms across the globe, wonderful, but doesn’t dumping every single idea they have for the next six years in our lap in one go seem a bit much? For one, it assumes each of those films will be a success and whilst Warner Brothers can bounce back from bad films by making something else, Marvel exists purely to make these kind of movies so one slip up and they are dead in the water. If the next Avengers film is a flop, which it probably won’t be but if, then what? Gloss over it and roll out the third? A great big buffet at a party is great but if you serve sloppy turd in a bowl and then tell people “Oh, don’t worry, you don’t have to eat that”, it somehow doesn’t make the prawn cocktails better and everyone still goes home thinking “Why did they serve that at the party?”.
Marvel have made a commitment to us for six years and are now obliged to deliver, which they seem intent on doing, as does DC, who went so far as to pay the cast in advance as long as they promise to actually turn up and take part. However, with these contracts and commitments, everything has to run smoothly or the companies have lost a lot of money. That’s why RDJ has Marvel by the balls and can ask for pretty much anything, he is Iron Man, if he leaves then he punches a great big hole in the film franchises and the whole thing falls apart. I’m all for grand schemes and planning but thinking of the next six years and planning it in such detail so early? You’re assuming success, which you probably will achieve but still, one small mistake and you’ve committed to making films nobody is interested in any more and you’ve already agreed to pay for and make. Amazing Spider Man made this mistake, the second film was supposed to launch a cinematic universe but it was a flop compared to pretty much every other big hero movie ever but since Sony already said they’re making more, they can’t back out of it and now they have to make more movies they already know are going to fail, which is going to reflect in the quality of these films
On another point, this seems childish but doesn’t having a road map spoil it all for you? I mean, considering Marvel has announced the Civil War and Ragnarok storylines are coming, we know straight away that Iron Man will be a bad guy in later films, Captain America will hate him, Ultron doesn’t count for shit and eventually everyone has to beat up Thanos. I preferred the subtle approach of Nick Fury turning up at the end of the movie to hint at Avengers, it wasn’t as obvious as a prophet on the rooftops but an astute fan had an idea what to expect and could be smug about it but now everybody knows, where’s the fun? The hardcore Marvel fan will already know how each film ends so it detracts from the thrill of seeing them and whilst we’ll all still turn up, we’ll be a little less excited about it. Upshot, nobody will linger around cinemas for the end credit scene, why bother? Ooo it hints at a Doctor Strange movie? Wait, I knew that… Fuck… Why should I go watch that? Oh yeah, Benedict Cumberbatch is in it, ok
Marvel has assumed quite arrogantly we’re all going to worship them for presenting us this neverending of stream of comicbook crusaders, both beloved and obscure, from now until eternity just because we liked the last few and they’ve got celebrities involved so go figure. Films don’t just print money and trends change, in fact ticket sales are already declining but that’s not surprising as most Marvel film fans are actually women but the female representation in these films is “Look, this one has boobs and a catsuit, that’s a strong female character right? Please love us…”. Female lead hero movies have yet to come into their element, you need only refer to the Catwoman movie for that truth, but it would be nice to see one that is done with some dignity. There is a Spiderwoman movie coming though so we’ll see but I don’t hold onto much hope at present, given these films lack female talent and perspective in the writing room. Hollywood has this habit of trying to reduce all success to a formula, they see what films have in common and repeat until no more money comes out of the dead cow. Not a sound plan. If things keep up, we might see the Superhero genre follow the fate of the Western, done to death, very little differences between them, a few faces we keep seeing over and over until nobody can see them as anything else and then bing bang boom people get bored, the trend changes and a new genre sweeps in to kick ass at the box office.
I’m probably that guy with the sandwich board speaking of doom but does it not cry out as obvious to anyone here that this is probably being a little bit too arrogant. Films don’t just print money just because and any film maker that makes that assumption usually goes home broke, or the equivalent to such in their role. I’m all for a few more but frankly, if all I can expect to see in the cinema for the next six years is buff white guys in tight outfits beating stuff up, I’m going to stop visiting the cinema as often. Maybe it’s just me and all these films will make money and will keep being successes right up to 2042 and we’re all watching the holographic projection of Avengers 14 – The Entire Marvel Universe Implodes, with an after credits scene that alludes to Guardians of the Galaxy 10 – Rocket Raccoon’s Bad Fur Day