MCU and Comic Book Films in General

Update: Wow, I didn’t even think that I had any readers, yet, you must be out there because this entry has generate some hate mail, or at the very least negative feedback. One even demanded that I remove the post because it was disrespectful, which was ironic given the wording used in their email. Here is a question: Do you enjoy the MCU? Then enjoy it. I don’t. That is my opinion, which you will have to live with.

I enjoyed “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” it’s probably not the best X-Men movie (that would be the original) but I would say that it was one of the last really good comic book movies I have seen. “Wait. What? But, but, but, the MCU. X-Men sucks!” Sorry, but I disagree. You can have your opinion–I respect that. But that is where it ends. I have seen, to my chagrin, about 95% of everything that Marvel has released, and each one is similarly bland. I liken it to different flavors of ice cream, where each looks reasonably different but ends up tasting the same as the rest.

One of the things that becomes apparent when watching them is that they are unwilling to do anything in the way of character development. I have mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again, as it is one thing that is by design. As I feel examples are always helpful, here are a few:

  1. Thor’s Eye
  2. Odin’s Death
  3. Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne making up, interject Scott Lang
  4. Captain America

Unfortunately this is true,

There are plenty of examples, nearly every film in the MCU feels the need to undermine any character development (usually with humor) to avoid making somebody in the audience uncomfortable. This leaves the films flat and unmemorable. Sorry, but explosions are not great moments, nor do they add to the story. You can only save the world so many times, when the audience cannot feel with the characters on screen then you having little to offer.

While we are on the topic of character development we should talk a little bit about the much hated “Venom” film from 2018 that did remarkably well at the box office despite all of the spite and negative reviews it received. Here are the box office totals as reported on Box Office Mojo:

  • Domestic (24.9%): $213,515,506
  • International (75.1%): $642,569,645
  • Total: $856,085,151

When we meet Eddie at the start of “Venom” we see he is at the top of his career. This is his starting state. While not bad, he, through his selfish actions, quickly looses everything. He spends the rest of the film rebuilding. He regains some of what he had, but not all, and in the end he is better off as a person than when he started his journey. Through character development we have watched him progress. While it is a good film, it is not great, but it uses the techniques of good story telling to develop a character to a satisfactory end. Whether that will continue into the sequel is another thing unto itself. “Let There Be Carnage” can continue this direction or it can attempt to cater to the MCU fan base. With the latter option you have the hurdle of appeasing the new audience with the potential of alienating the original. There is already a lot of negative chatter from the vocal minority of the Internet, who see it doing too little to appease them. A similar negative narrative was stirred up for the first film’s release. It, as the numbers show, did well enough in theaters. When the film makers continue the formula they employed already they can make a satisfying film to view, but it will be ridiculed. Metascore has it at 35% approval. Ouch. Thankfully, Metascore doesn’t dictate if a film is a success or not.

On a side not, sequels are almost always plagued by the law of diminished returns. I would be pleasantly surprised if LTBC would out preform the original. There may be some hope for the comic genre in film after all.

The progression of comic to film translations has been interesting to follow. In its current state, the MCU is the driving force. Evolution is import, and the MCU has changed shape from inception to its modern form twice. When it first appeared (Ironman 2008) they chose to remove the aspects from the source material that made it less accessible to general audiences, since then it has devolved closer to the roots, but its major change came through the Disney acquisition. Movie goers have responded with approval so it would have been unlikely to change again until the formula failed to preform as expected.

The current pandemic has thrown the formula out of alignment and Disney is not able to welcome viewers into theaters as they were with Endgame Mania. This appears to have amplified their drive to move over to streaming/television. As you can see with the current phase (4):

Phase 4 Television/Streaming

  • WandaVision
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  • Loki What If…?
  • Ms. Marvel
  • Hawkeye
  • Moon Knight
  • She-Hulk

That is a big emphasis on TV which is paying off better for Disney, whereas, previous phases were skewed toward theater where nearly every film earned more than a billion at the box office. I feel that it will be hard to recuperate that once the pandemic comes to a close, and it will almost certainly be more profitable to tie in their earnings from the various franchises with monthly subscriptions.

Amber Reigh avatar
Amber Reigh
Hi, my name is Amber. During the day I am a data analyst for an insurance company at night I am a recreational writer. You've found my blog. How nice. I don't have a specific topic that I write about. I am not a full time foodie, adventure traveler, or fashionista, though I have been known as anyone of those at various points in my life. My writings tend to slant toward geekdom and fan culture I've enjoyed throughout the years.