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1.The Death of Original Ideas
Even before the MCU kicked into high gear, moviegoers bemoaned the general lack of original ideas. It seemed like almost every movie had to be a sequel, a prequel, a spinoff, and so on.
Now that the MCU has made Disney richer than god, this has gotten even worse. It’s difficult to get moviegoers to check out a new franchise or new character without bringing in characters we already know. Arguably, Civil War was the worst example of this: Disney didn’t know if we’d turn up for a third solo Captain America movie, so they jangled an entire set of keys in front of us, hoping we’d turn up for that one big battle.
Other studios have gotten more desperate than ever, which is why we’re getting countless Avatar movies and Fantastic Beasts movies instead of more original sci-fi or fantasy franchises. Oh, and it’s why we can’t have a new Spider-Man movie without jamming in everything but the kitchen sink from the previous generations of these movies!
2.The Need For a Cinematic Universe
Originally, Nick Fury’s appearance in Iron Man was intended as a fun little Easter Egg. After the movie’s success, it kicked off the idea of a cinematic universe.
And here’s the thing: a cinematic universe is perfect for a film adaptation of comic books. God knows comics had half the heroes of the world living in Manhattan, so it’s only fitting they keep running into each other onscreen as well as on the page.
But now everyone thinks they need a cinematic universe and they keep failing. This includes the “Dark Universe” intended to revive classic Universal monsters and Sony’s ongoing attempt to have a separate Spider-Man villain universe (does anyone really want to see Morbius?).
Considering that the DC Extended Universe was also a huge flop, maybe everyone should stop trying to make cinematic universes happen.
3.The Definition of Formulaic
Let’s be honest: most comic books are insanely formulaic. They usually involve heroes getting powers, getting defined by tragedy, and then seeking redemption through good deeds. So on the whole, we can’t exactly blame the MCU for being so formulaic with the movies. If anything, that is proof they are being true to the comics.
However, the success of the MCU has led other studios to try their hands at formulaic characters and stories. For example, the Fast & the Furious franchise and characters eventually became parodies of themselves. And even streaming movies are affected: Enola Holmes basically trades off your knowledge of Sherlock to barely define her character. And Red Notice was clearly made in a lab to be “generic witty action pablum,” and it landed with the resonance of a wet fart.
Ultimately, we don’t begrudge the MCU for making their formula work. But we’ll always begrudge the other filmmakers and studios creating crappy, formulaic dreck in the hopes of being the next MCU.
4.Killing Chances For Smaller Movies To Succeed
Many MCU fans clutch their pearls every time someone like Martin Scorcese talks about how these superhero movies aren’t real cinema. He’s 100% right about that, but the Marvel superfans may not know why filmmakers like him have it out for Marvel.
Basically, there are only so many theaters and so many screens. When a Marvel movie comes out, it’s tough for almost any other film to succeed, especially smaller movies. For instance, good luck finding a screen with Last Night In Soho showing after Spider-Man: No Way Home comes out. Worst of all, blockbuster expert Steven Speilberg sees the superhero trend as a bubble about to pop.
“There’s eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown,” he said. “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.” If that happens AFTER the MCU kills the chances for decent non-superhero movies, filmgoers will be left with very little for a long time.
5.Ruining A Generation of Filmgoers
Fair warning: I’m going to sound like an old man here. But whatever: pretty much by accident, the MCU is ruining newer generations of movie buffs.
Most people who have been around the block a few times view these Marvel movies as junk food. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with junk food so long as you aren’t cramming it into your mouth 24/7. You have to balance your dessert with a proper meal.
However, the success of the MCU means countless studios and filmmakers are focusing entirely on creating junk food. And since the junk food movies edge out better films from your local cineplex, then the junk food movies are basically all that younger generations will see growing up.
Look closely across social media and you can see younger users screeching at Scorcese, Spielberg, and others for not making movies with enough spandex and explosions. Now, just imagine how bad Hollywood will be when these vapid little idiots grow up to be filmmakers!
6.No More Visual Variety
The MCU is an adaptation of some of the most colorful characters, comics, and stories ever created. So have you ever asked yourself why all the movies look so grey and nasty?
According to Bruce Markoe (Marvel Studios’ senior VP of feature postproduction) way back in 2013, it has to do with all the digital shots of each movie. He pointed out that “90 percent VFX” and that they try to streamline production and “standardiz[ing] our workflow in particular for color and on set.”
Now, what Markoe did not discuss, but what seems implicitly clear, is that using washed-out colors, cold coloring, and poor saturation somehow makes all of this easier. It makes sense when you are watching the finale of Endgame and the dark colors fit the apocalyptic stakes. But when the only pop of color onscreen is a red or blue outfit against a muddy gray backdrop, we have a problem.
The general success of these digital VFX movies has led to an industry-wide shift away from film cameras and over to digital cameras like Marvel uses. To see why this is bad, just go watch a movie on Netflix and notice how everything looks like a TV show instead of an actual movie!
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