"All good things must come to an end" - Star Trek: The Next Generation - Series Finale.
Superhero Cinematic Universe seemed like a dream concept that you always wanted to see. Even as a kid, the thought of heroes from different movies teaming up to fight a common threat seemed like it was out of the realm of possibility.
And then came 2008, Iron Man hit the scene and kicked started the "Marvel Cinematic Universe"!
Though, at the time, for casual movie goers who just saw that there was a superhero film and thought it'd be cool to check it out, they would never imagine that this was the first piece of a puzzle leading to the third highest grossing film of all time!
I know I didn't! Now look at us! Not only do we have an Avengers movie, but a sequel coming out!
Oh! And look over there! Fox is making their own Cinematic Universe?!?! With X-Men characters?!? AWESOME!... Wait, Sony too with Spider-Man? Cool!
Oh, and now DC's joining the fun! Nice, can't wait to see.... Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice?
...Oh, whatever, there's a new Spider-Man film coming out! Can't wait to see that!
ONE VIEWING LATER
Ok, so I think you guys get the drift.
Hello, everyone! My name's AvatarKatar! But you can call me Avatar!
I posted a thread a while back with a theory about Ultimate Peter Parker!
Now, I am back with a new theory: "How long do Superhero cinematic universes have till they bite the dust?"
"Wait!" The reader shouts.
"What do you mean 'How long do they have'? They're doing great!"
My reply: "Not entirely..."
Marvel/Disney's Cinematic Universe might be going great with box office hits like Iron Man, The Avengers, Iron Man 3 and Captain America: Winter Soldier, but besides them, everyone else seems to be... struggling to catch dat Avengers money.
With Sony milking Spider-Man more than Nintendo milks Mario.
Fox having a streak of hit or miss X-Men/Fantastic Four movies (I know Days of Future Past was awesome, but First Class and The Wolverine where mixed and X-Men 3 and Origins were panned and there ain't one person who can say the Fantastic Four films live up)
And DC/Warner Bros. trying desperately to catch up to Marvel.
On top of that, Marvel is very controlling over their cinematic universe, to the point where Edgar Wright, who was attached to do Ant-Man since 2006, walked away a few months ago over creative differences with Marvel and scaring off other powerhouse directors from directing.
Also, did I mention Robert Downey Jr. only has two more Marvel movies left to do? One of which is already being filmed and the other if Avengers 3.
And Chris Evans has said that once his contract expires (Which it does with Avengers 3), he'll never return to the MCU.
Kind of a big problem, no?
Suddenly, this shared superhero dream movie universe is starting show it's holes and why at the moment, Marvel really should have bought back Spidey and the Muties back from Sony and Fox.
You see, there are multiple factors to why the Superhero cinematic universes are going sour even though Disney's is going strong.
These reasons take up the number 4.
1) Quantity over Quality
Before all of this, references and cameos to other Marvel films were actually already being thought up on!
Did you know that Hugh Jackson's Wolverine almost made a cameo in Spider-Man? Or that the Punisher actually had a walk on cameo in Spider-Man 2?
Yes, Sony, Fox and Liongate were playing around with their film rights. Crossing over before Marvel Studios was a thing.
Nowadays, Fox won't even let Marvel reference Mutants in Age of Ultron (Calling them "Miracles" instead) and Sony is so ziptight with Spider-Man that the only way for him to even be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is if they go bankrupt... which might actually happen, really. (And yes, I know that Oscorp was almost in Avengers, but even then, that was a building, this is a character)
This is more problems with the studio itself but, let's face, Sony's Spider-Man cinematic universe is the weakest (Arguably worse) of the Marvel cinematic universe, and I can say that without much hesitation.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was rated even lower than Spider-Man 3 on Rotten Tomatoes (and it was even labeled rotten! Not even Spider-Man 3 was labeled rotten!)
Most criticism are against the plot, which pretty much tries to establish the "Sinister Six" spin-off film in one go.
Fox's universe is hit or miss. Many people loved X-Men, X2 and Days of Future Past, but X-Men 3, Origins, First Class and The Wolverine were more mixed, First Class had more positive reviews, so did Wolverine but were criticized for breaking continuity (First Class) and breaking it's tone (Wolverine) and X-Men 3 and Origins were down right panned.
DC, even though they have their complete comic book universe in their hands, are choosing to rush into a crossover movie that baffles people more and more with each announcement with reception towards the film being an all-out mess. It IS cool to finally see a Marvel/DC Cinematic Universe showdown come May of 2016 with Captain America 3 and Batman Vs Superman coming out the same weekend (Which we know is intentional, DC may say 'no', but how do you overlook the fact that your competitor's film comes out that same week?).
The main Marvel Cinematic Universe, while achieving great critical success for Iron Man, The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier... is floundering with their other films.
A main criticism of the MCU is that it's basically a glorified tv series with each film feeling like a 2 hour episode as oppose to a cinematic experience, with each film pretty much having the same tone despite being directed by different people. While Iron Man may be one of the greatest comic book movies of all time... what was the point of Iron Man 2? Or Thor: The Dark World. And why did it feel like I watched the same film as last time? It's because the MCU has both a formula and an established tone.
Which moves us to:
2) Marvel Studios' tight grip over the MCU
A few weeks ago, Edgar Wright was all ready to direct "Ant-Man"! This director whose made films such as "Shaun of the Dead" and "Scott Pilgrim" as establish his directing as quirky, over-the-top comedy and has his own way of directing. He even wrote the script. Then Marvel Studios took Edgar's script and made some changes to it.... And these changes were just too much for Edgar...
It's not really known what these changes were, but knowing previous times a script has been changed, it's usually because they wanted to either:
"Add more references to the other films and lay ground work for future films"
"Change it to match our current tone."
Edgar's style is definitely different than everyone else's who pitched in on the MCU and Marvel, while initially liking the style, possibly changed it after the success of Captain America: TWS.
And how can you blame them? Ant-Man was already a huge risk to the studio, why not take control away from the director to make sure the film follows your vision instead of the directors!
Yeah.. That's one of the main problems of Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Taking away creative control from the directors and hiring directors to give your vision instead.
Directors make movies for a reason, they want to put their vision on the big screen! So what happens when a major studio comes in, takes away your freedom and makes sure your film is similar to the last one? You get kind of angry...
It's not just Edgar either, Thor 2's originally director walked out because of creative differences too. Jon Favreau, director of the first Iron Man, had difficulties with Marvel over the script for Iron Man 2 which resulted in his replacement for Iron Man 3... and even Shane Black fought with the studio briefly, he originally wanted Iron Man 3 to be based on Demon in a Bottle...
That's the reason why Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and even to an extent The Avengers, feel more like a tv show instead of a cinematic experience. It's because Marvel fears that anything too out of line of their previous film's tone would result in a failure. While I personally like Captain America, IM 2, Thor, Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 do indeed feel like simple episodes with not much gripping content.
Not to say I don't enjoy them, but they don't take as much risks one may like them to take.
Thor and Thor 2 feel lackluster despite the lore it's in.
Iron Man 2 felt like it was made simply to introduce characters and concepts to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Looking at you, Black Widow).
And Iron Man 3 felt like it was trying to take a safer route, sure Tony's house explodes and he takes out his mini arc reactor and blows up his armor... But he still comes back as Iron Man in Avengers: Age of Ultron, so uh.. Kind of pointless.
I don't know why, but Captain America feels like they break this tone better than everyone else, in fact, Captain America is probably the only installment in here that might prove this point wrong.
Each Captain America installment tackled different tones.
The First Avengers was a quirky, period piece atone to "World War II" propaganda while Winter Soldier was a dark, exciting espionage thriller filled with twists and turns!
Guardians of the Galaxy looks to take a more comedic route ala Edgar Wright's Ant-Man.
So figures cross that this turns out that I'm wrong.
3) Too Many Cinematic Universe to follow
Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, DC! All cinematic universes but owned by 4 different studios, 3 of which have the Marvel banner!
... How confusing must that be.
It might be more of an iffy thing, but one thing's for sure, the casual movie goer won't know the difference. Sure they could look it up, but who wants to do that? Just watch the film! It is a film, right? A standalone experience? I don't need to watch no Avengers to get what's happening in Iron Man, no?
Yeah, you kinda do, but that's going off topic.
On topic, not everyone is going to tell who owns which and who can appear in what.
The reason being two things:
A) They use the Marvel banner
B) They use some of the same characters!
Sure, we know who owns which and who can appear in what, but my not as knowledgeable relative won't. I can explain it to them, but they won't really care to listen.
On top of that, X-Men is a pretty big universe, as big as Marvel, really.
Spider-Man... Let's face it, Sony just wants Spider-Man for the money and are trying to fool themselves that it's rich mythology that can hold on for a cinematic universe.
Again off topic but, it's a very confusing process, especially considering The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver can be used by both Fox and Marvel!
If that's not headache inducing, I don't know what is, and both characters are very important for their respective teams so... oooo, can't wait to see how that turns out.
4) Actor contracts are expiring
We love Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, we all do. But we all know his time as Tony is coming to an end and would sadly be replaced with someone else (I personally would love to see David Tannent take up the mantle. Dunno why but I just love his time as the Doctor.)
Chris Evan, as already stated, will leave the MCU too come Avengers 3 and will never return.
And whose to say anyone else won't leave... Pepper Potts, Nick Fury, Black Widow... Will come back but sadly with possibly different faces...
Surprisingly, this all is actually a lot of Marvel Studios' own fault. Marvel underpays their actors a lot and, to quote Robert Downey Jr. himself, "he’s not going to work for a place where they treat his colleagues like shit".
Literally, all the other actors go behind Robert when it comes to problems with the studio with one rep saying “I have four words for Marvel – ‘Fuck you, call Robert.’”.
Surprised? I was..
While nothing is perfect, these flaws are what I, and many others, are fearing might end this golden age of Shared Superhero Universes.
I love what's happening, but let's face it, what's happening now can be done better.
And while Shared Superhero Universes are kings of Hollywood right now, a new competitor might soon breach through Hollywood and become the next big thing... They're called "Video Game Movies".
In the end, even if the Golden Age of Superhero Movies comes to an end... There's always a silver age.
Thanks for reading!