Last Friday the latest Marvel Comics Universe film, The Marvels, was released and its opening box office numbers were, to put it kindly, quite abysmal.
I wasn’t shocked, frankly.
This is the 33rd MCU film and while the movies released recently haven’t had the super (pardon the pun) success of the films released during the MCU’s golden age, neither did they appear to be “flops”. That seems to have changed with this film.
There are those who say it isn’t about superhero fatigue but I’m firmly of the belief it is just that.
Of late, the DC movies, including Black Adam, The Flash, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods didn’t have spectacular box office numbers. I found it interesting how many comic book nerds (of which I am one!) gloated that the DCU films were such a dumpster fire and how they were doing so badly… yet The Marvels has underperformed even those films.
Which brings me back to the idea there may be some kind of superhero fatigue going on.
Let’s face it, the movie industry is still trying to get its legs. COVID really messed up the way movies were both made and released and once people got used to not going to theaters and seeing things via streaming and in the comfort of their homes, things certainly had at least the possibility of changing.
I’ve noted this before: The older I get the more I realize just how things can change and radically from one moment to the other. I’ve lived through many different music eras and have seen styles come and go -and return! I’ve also seen how the digital industry has changed my own shopping habits. Things change and sometimes we do not go back to how it was before.
The MCU films have been a truly staggering success. A lot of money has been made since Iron Man was first released in 2008 and the success of superhero films has been something a comic book fan like myself has enjoyed.
However, even a comic book fan like myself can get tired of things… especially when it feels like we’re getting retreads of concepts and stories.
Frankly, I’ve been bored with the MCU since the dual release of the first Dr. Strange film as well as the first Guardians of the Galaxy. The later was a huge success but when I saw the film it didn’t work for me at all. Dr. Strange, I felt, was little more than a reworked Iron Man, only with magic instead of the Military Industrial Complex.
And shock yourself: I have yet to see the final two Avengers films.
This is coming from someone who feels Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my second favorite superhero film of all time. (To those curious, my favorite remains the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve Superman)
Now, I do wonder if maybe things can turn around and people give these types of movies another go. There’s no reason to think they don’t but I do feel like maybe it’s time to stomp on the brakes a little and perhaps not flood the market with so much superhero stuff, both in movies and on TV.
Either way, it is what it is and it wouldn’t surprise me if a few months down the road Hollywood discovers something else that’s a big success for them… not unlike the recent Barbie and Oppenheimer releases.