movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Thu Sep 08 2016, 10:02pm | 11 comments
Good points. Seeing so much coverage for the 50th anniversary with marathons of the TV series and films, tons of social media…Paramount made the wrong bet with the mid-summer release, especially on the US market.
But that might put off the new fans they’re clearly trying to bring in with the trailers – in the same way that I heard people saying “yeah, I might go to see Captain America: Civil War, but HOW many other films do I need to watch first?”.
“yeah, I might go to see Captain America: Civil War, but HOW many other films do I need to watch first?”.
This is an interesting problem as the MCU grows and the movies keep getting more interconnected. It’s essentially the same problem the comics have had — how to bring in new readers without intimidating or confusing them with loads of backstory.
I wonder if, before the release of movies that rely particularly heavily on backstory, Marvel (and other franchises) should just routinely put out “the story so far” videos — even up to, say, a half-hour long — editing together enough relevant clips from past films to give a first-time viewer a sense of the story and some investment in the characters.
The answer the comics seem to have found is periodic reboots, which makes some sense in film too as the cast age out of the roles.
I thought of that, but it seems that we’re also getting tired of reboots in films (how many more times do we need to see the Wayne parents die or Krypton explode?).
With regard to the cast aging out, the MCU seems to have a few other options:
1. Adopt the comics’ idea of the multiverse, with different versions of characters existing in other dimensions (and sometimes crossing dimensional boundaries and meeting each other). This would allow, say an Iron Man to cross over from an alternate universe, who happens to be portrayed by a younger actor.
2. As in the comics, allow other people to take over costumes and identities. Marvel has been good about letting new characters — notably women and minorities — take on, or share, the roles of older heroes (see Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Ms Marvel). That kind of passing on of the mantle hasn’t really been explored in film so far, and it would be interesting to see them do it.
3. Simply recast without rebooting. They’ve done it before, and with major characters like Hulk and War Machine. Perhaps it’s not too much to ask the audience to accept.
While trying to coincide the release more closely with the actual 50th anniversary may have made sense, I’m not on board that a September release would have felt like a special event. early-September, like February, is where studios dump their movies they have no real expectations for. The chicken-egg problem here is tough to solve*, but I think Beyond would have gotten largely ignored – more so than it was – even with the anniversary hype.
The bigger failure is that CBS/Paramount couldn’t get Discovery ready for a fall premiere.
Can I just say, as a comic-book geek, that DC’s Rebirth has now cancelled out the original point of Crisis on Infinite Earths? We now have way too many Supergirls and way too many different origins for Wonder Woman. I can no longer remember who the characters are this month and why I’m supposed to care about them.
The number of Super*s really has gotten out of hand.
I suppose there can always be a Second Crisis on Infinite Earths. :-)
We can always step away and just read Saga and Bitch Planet…
I’m convinced the MCU will eventually colapse under its own weight, because few of these options will be satisfying to movie audiences, I don’t really think Disney/Marvel has decided what will happen after “Phase 3”, and the movies make too much money for the suits who watch stock prices to allow the series to just stop for a while.
ETA: see: Sony’s Spider-Man series, what the hell happened there
I don’t want to step away. I just feel like I have no choice. Hey, look! It’s a metaphor for this year’s movies.
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