Some Not So Super Aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Samuel Hull, Staff Writer

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It’s no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a cash cow, quite possibly the fattest cash cow in film history. They have a universal appeal, that transcends race, gender, and class. However, I believe that it’s this the vastness of the franchise’s comic book mythology, its preoccupation with setting up future films, and poorly written villains that are hindering these films from reaching their full potential.

Take for example, Avengers: Age of Ultron, a prime example of a mediocre superhero movie that garnered lukewarm praise from fans and critics alike, but still made a ton of money. James Spader portrays the villain of Ultron with a memorably intimidating demeanor, but Spader’s performance was tragically wasted. The script glosses over the character’s motivations, leaving a rich well of character development unexplored. This is more or less the case with every Marvel villain, with the exception of Loki.

Marvel has slated its releases up until 2019, so we know that this franchise won’t be winding down anytime soon. The issue is that to achieve this longevity, the writers have to essentially grant their characters the gift of immortality. And when you know for sure every Avenger is going to make it out fine, there is a glaring tension deficit. This issue plagues nearly every Marvel movie. Captain America: Civil War is in an incredibly well-written movie, but it falls short in the suspense department because we know for a fact that Iron Man and Captain America will resolve their conflicts and no one will die. It leaches all the unpredictability out of the film. Another side effect of the franchise’s ambition is a preoccupation with setting up the next movie.

A large percentage of the films are spent setting up the next installment in the series, therefore detracting from the film we’re watching. I thoroughly enjoyed Ant-Man, because it was almost entirely self contained. That is until a plot contrivance forces Ant-Man to break into an Avengers base to steal something. This could’ve been an engaging subplot, if it wasn’t so carelessly executed, but it’s too blatant of a tie-in attempt to be effective.

I like Marvel movies, I genuinely do. But ignoring problems like these would be doing cinema an injustice. And if we blindly praise these films, and buy tickets to see them, we’re essentially telling the studio that we don’t want anything to change. And we’ll keep getting sloppier and sloppier Marvel films.

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