Is anyone else getting really, really tired of the MCU?
Perhaps this is considered heresy among the comic book movie fandom. Showing any kind of negativity, fatigue, or ambivalence to any movies – whether they’re made by Marvel or DC – is normally enough to warrant a stream of online abuse.
That said, when Kevin Feige announces, as he’s recently done, that the upcoming “Avengers Four” will provide some kind of “finale” to the MCU, it almost feels like this might be the perfect moment to end the series on a high note and move on to something else.
“There will be two distinct periods. Everything before “Avengers 4” and everything after. I know it will not be in ways people are expecting.”
We all love the MCU. It’s a wonderful feat of moviemaking precision. Even the worst of its movies are still pretty enjoyable, and it’s been going now for well over ten years.
At this point we’re getting three Marvel Studios films a year, and even for seasoned veterans, it’s getting hard to keep up or even care.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” felt like a big deal at the time, but a mere three or four months later, it’s just faded into the background, taking a seat alongside “Doctor Strange” and “Ant Man” as movies that are neither fantastic nor terrible. Mediocrity is the greatest threat to the future of Marvel Studios.
The problem is that many of these movies all hit the same story beats, feature the same humor, the same art style, and often, the same characters. There’s no enough variety in these movies, and sooner or later, it’s going to start hurting the franchise as a whole.
With “Avengers 4”, a lot of the big name actors associated with the MCU will be ending their contracts. Marvel has the choice to replace them (either with new actors or all new characters in classic superhero guises), or pay obscene amounts of money to keep them involved in the series.
Perhaps now is a good time for a fresh start, to allow Marvel to bring in some new ideas and new talent, reworking their classic characters within an all-new continuity that will, if anything, make these movies stop feeling so generic and cookie-cutter for a year or two.
Fox is doing good things in this respect. The “X-Men” franchise now has a series of different, distinct canons that don’t connect to each other. “Deadpool” doesn’t happen in the same world as “Logan”, and neither of them are quite the same that the main “X-Men” series.
Next year we’ll be getting “The New Mutants” as well, which also seems to be going in a different direction.
These different tones and continuities mean that the “X-Men” brand can maintain some semblance of familiarity while simultaneously allowing for more artistic freedom and creativity. What was, a year ago, an increasingly formulaic and bland movie universe, now seems to be one of the more exciting and vibrant sides of the comic book film landscape.
This isn’t to say that Marvel should stop making movies – obviously that won’t happen for a while yet. The studio should, however, consider branching out to tell stories that aren’t beholden to existing cinematic continuity.
Let’s have some standalone comic book movies, with different actors providing new takes on existing beloved characters. Or perhaps, Marvel could do something totally original, producing movies that don’t connect to existing comic book lore at all, but instead provide us with fresh ideas that will keep the studio going forever.
The big danger is that Marvel Studios ends up like Pixar, with all of its unique, smart ideas gobbled up and assimilated into the generic moviemaking mold simply in order to keep the company churning out passable films on a fixed schedule.
That would be a real shame, as the studio clearly has a lot to offer still.
Perhaps, if we’re lucky, “Avengers 4” will spell the end of the current interconnected continuity of the MCU, and what comes next will allow for some bold new takes on beloved comic book icons.