I’m just going to go ahead and say something that will get my blog blacklisted by legions of Marvel fans: I’m sick of Marvel movies. It’s not that I think they’ve gotten bad. The excitement’s died down, that’s all. I also think that Marvel movies have lost their way.
First of all, I want it to be known that I think Marvel’s superhero movies are doing a lot of things right. They’re taking things in new directions. Most pre-Marvel superhero movies do an origin story, and then… They’re stuck. I’m going to use Sam Raimi’s Spider Man movies for this example. Yes, even the third one, because it TEACHES AN IMPORTANT LESSON.
See, the reason we see so many superhero origin stories is that they’re the only part of a superhero story that’s really set in stone. Superman came from Krypton. Batman has dead parents. Spiderman hit puberty. But because of the nature of comic book continuity, everything after that is eternal status quo, which is a problem when it comes to film, because you need some sort of arc.
Every origin story has a small, self-contained arc, which is why they usually encompass one movie per. Peter Parker learns that with great power comes great responsibility. Then, after the first movie, you need to present some new form of character development for the sequel… And then we run into problems, because the source material has nothing of the sort for you to go off of, at least, nothing that hasn’t been temporally reset in some sort of reboot or another. Sam Raimi was forced to slapdash together what he could, and that’s how we got this abomination.
This is something that Marvel is averting brilliantly, or at least trying to. Except for Iron Man 2, all of Tony Stark’s character development carries over pretty well to the next movie. I found his PTSD after the wormhole in Avengers to be a particularly excellent touch. Marvel is doing things like bringing in Winter Soldier and making an attempt to adapt the Civil War arc.
So, what’s wrong with Marvel movies? Why am I so sick of them?
Do you remember this little gem?
After watching that I sat in the theater with my jaw hanging until the usher forcibly removed me. I spent the next month shitting my pants over it with all my geeky friends at school and pondering the significance of it.
Now take a look at this:
Bleh. Boring. We know exactly what’s coming, so there’s no more fun to be had in wondering what those crazy geniuses at Marvel are going to do next. I’m not excited about Marvel movies anymore, instead, I’m wondering why the fuck Ant Man gets his own movie. They’ve put their whole hand down on the table. To put this in a narrative context, there’s no suspense. It’s like if there was a text screen at the beginning of Captain America 2 that said “Nick Fury gets shot in this movie, but don’t worry, he’s still alive at the end.” Which transitions nicely into my next point…
Quick, make a list of all the characters you’ve seen die in superhero movies. Now, cross off all the people who came back in some form or another. Who’s left? Uncle Ben, Ivan Vanko, and the other Uncle Ben from the rebooted Spider Man movies?
This Cracked video explains the death-in-Marvel-movies phenomenon better than I ever could, partially because I stole this argument from them. Thanks, Daniel. But, for those of you who can’t watch the video, basically, every time you kill a character and then bring them back, every bit of emotional weight that that death carries is lost. Here’s an example unmentioned in the video: Big Hero 6. Does Baemax sacrifice himself to save Hiro? No, not really, because there was no sacrifice. Nothing was lost. They just rebuilt him and kept on hero-ing. I would argue that Dan up there’s a bit behind, in fact. There’s not just no emotional impact because we figure those characters are still alive, but there’s not even any sense of danger anymore. None of the conflicts feel like “this is serious” fights, because all the characters will probably make it out alive anyway. It’s like reading One Piece.
What happened to you, Marvel? When Disney first bought you, you had their financial backing and continued to be fucking fantastic. Fantastic 4, as it were. But then Disney’s suits come in and start demanding more control, insisting on an eternal status quo in which they can continue to sell toys and t-shirts. I now direct a question towards Disney. Your founder once said “I don’t make movies to make money, I make money to make movies.” What happened to that?
In Other News:
They released the first Assassin’s Creed Chronicles yesterday.
Guys, this is exactly what I was talking about in the last post
. The designers finally realized that a game
needs to be fun
. They made it like Mark of the Ninja, which the AAA meatheads are complaining about, but Mark of the Ninja was good
. They toned down the sandbox and went for more structure. Instead of spending millions on a graphics engine to make sweat look a tad more sweaty, they went for graphics that look good.
This is the first Assassin’s Creed
game that I’ve been excited
to play, ever. It’s also reasonably priced at $10 USD.
Started powering through Half-Life. We never finished it after the Hans n’ Albert video.
I also started writing a stand-up set. It’s about relationships and being a poor university student, so far. I don’t know when I’ll be able to perform it.
Finals are rapidly approaching. Best of luck on yours.