Since Marvel Studios signed on the dotted line on the contract that Disney presented to them, the only way was up for the then struggling studio. And by “up” I mean the bank. Over 10 years later, Marvel has seen additional zeros in its bank account. Was there a cost to those zeros? Indeed. Quality vs quantity has always been the toughest battle since the dawn of time – do you produce great movies that last in the minds of the viewer, or do you flood the market with so much that you own the minds of the viewers? It’s safe to say Marvel has been able to own the minds of the viewers.
The rivalry between Marvel vs DC has been evident for the longest time. DC owned the big screen with Superman and Batman from the 80s and 90s whilst Marvel tried to stake a claim. Marvel failed at each attempt. Blade was an interesting start that developed into Spiderman and the rest is history. Looking back at it all, with the flooding of Marvel movies per year, it’s safe to say Marvel has peaked and is now declining.
A lot of movies these days result in sequels or reboots and the current era of movies is on a decline for original content. I guess if a studio throws $200 million at you, you have to spend the money but spend it wisely. As of late, Marvel has failed in its spending the second time around. Guardians Vol 2 was green lit before Vol 1 premiered. A decision at the time I thought was way too bold. Having watched it recently, I think someone got too excited at the announcement in 2014.
The qualities of the following movies are between poor to average:
Iron Man 2 – the movie got lost in itself. The success of Iron Man and the rebirth of RDJ seemed to have caused this movie to be the bad hangover you get when you mix your alcohol. The highlight – ripping a Rolls Royce Phantom at the Monaco Grand Prix #Money
The Avengers: Age of Ultron – Joss Whedon had nightmares throughout the process of this film. I would too! How do you try make Stark invent Ultron? Someone should have stopped him. A billion dollar return does not give you the licence to make such decisions. Or maybe it does.
Thor: The Dark World – Petty Jenkins was set to direct this film but left the project due to a “gut feeling”. Wise decision and look at her now with a successful Wonder Woman movie. #Patience. It was at this point I should have realised Marvel is declining. The movie seemed to have lacked in a lot of departments.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 – Childish and proof of the decline of Marvel movies. An hour into the movie I felt like I was watching Cartoon Network at 17 years of age. It was at that age I realised I was too old for cartoons. At 28, I may just be too old for Marvel.
X-Men: Days of the Future Past – I actually liked this movie but after multiple conversations with fans, I realised my like for this movie was blinded. Jennifer Lawrence is the cause of the franchise’s decline as no one seems to have the necessary grit to tell her to be blue or walk off.
The Amazing Spiderman 2 – another movie that I liked until I realised I was watching a rom-com. It was evidently clear the writers took advantage of Garfield and Stone’s relationship and put it on the big screen. At that budget, I could have made 10 rom coms and 1 would be Oscar nominated.
The Wolverine – one of the saddest 2hrs of my life. Not because the movie was emotional, far from it. It was because I had lost 2hrs I was never going to get back. The highlight – the snow in Japan is amazing. Reminded me of Tarantino’s depiction of snow in Kill Bill Vol 1.
Let’s not forget where Marvel got it right:
Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier – One of the most outstanding movies in the Marvel roster. The story had cohesion with progression that was captivating. Although Scarlet Johansson failed at having a Russian accent, we allowed it because she’s pretty. Wait… What?
Spiderman 2 – arguably Tobey Maguire’s best performance as the web slinger. Doc Oc was a great villain and coming off the Green Goblin, it was difficult to think Parker would have to overcome another impossible challenge. A quality sequel!
X2: X-Men United – the Fox cash cow really came alive in this movie with it being an origin story for Wolverine, the power of Jean Grey, the psychological thriller of Professor X’s life and the icing on the cake, the sadistic nature of Striker. Absolutely brilliant!
Rounding it all up
The tactical nature of Marvel has been executed well – they flood the year with movies making you forget if a movie was good or not. If it was bad, you shrug it off and look forward to the next Marvel instalment. Take a step back and take a moment to question the quality of the second instalments. It’s safe to say the above 3 will stand out as definite successes in terms of being the total package. Marvel has a low success rate in making a second movie for one of their comics. Going forward, it is not looking good.
You may argue the creative content does not entirely belong to Marvel (X-Men and Spiderman) but the counter to that is the characters belong to Marvel. Had they been titled Arachnid Man or The Retaliators, then Marvel can distance themselves from the reality of an inability to produce quality content. But here we are with another average second instalment from Marvel; one has to question the future of the MCU.
One thing is definite, Marvel has peaked and we are witnessing the decline.
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