These hits never stop for Marvel during its so-called multiverse saga. The behemoth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has spent most of the post-Avengers: Endgame era in turmoil, constantly shuffling its release schedule and having to rewrite, shoot, and re-edit seemingly all of its movies as a result. Shows on the fly to capture everything that’s happening.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon. The Marvels, essentially a franchise title at this point — featuring a Captain Marvel sequel, as well as Disney Plus’ WandaVision and Ms. Marvel, without actually giving viewers any reason to watch them — bombed at the box office. Of course, the Jonathan Majors situation isn’t going to fix itself, and probably as a result of those first two, the director of the next Avengers movie will apparently no longer be directing the next Avengers movie. As things stand, we have every reason to believe that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue to be the way it has been: with a series of unrelated stories that don’t matter to each other and have no big picture. Narrative to talk
At this rate, Marvel’s will likely be the first of many box office bombs for the MCU — unless they can find a better way to correct course.
In the first decade of the biggest movie franchise ever, it taught its fans to watch a certain way. While the various franchises didn’t always have major character crossovers, they could at least manage some references to current events elsewhere—for example, Doctor Strange included a reference to War Machine being injured in Captain America: Civil War. . . That nod rewarded fans for watching the whole thing by giving a sense of the franchise as a whole and where each of the individual series stood in relation to each other. It was clear that this was a world that was indeed connected.
The post-Covid part of the MCU hasn’t had that. Despite having so much ground to work with, there have been only traces of big themes, like Julia Louis-Dreyfus assembling her previously small group of Avengers across a few movies and shows, but ultimately too much content and too little connection between them. There is. .
This is a problem because it was clearly not planned to be this way. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it changed the schedule and essentially delayed the entire franchise by a year. But Spider-Man: No Way Home was left for December 2021, and the Doctor Strange sequel it was supposed to lead to ended after that.
I can’t even begin to guess what had to change in both of those movies and in other movies because of that reset. But my best guess is that Marvel’s solution was to make everything as standalone as possible, and remove all traces of these false references to other parts of the MCU until they could get back to work. So the early days of the Multiverse saga were filled with stories that had no apparent connection to each other, leaving us with a bunch of orphaned new threads like Shang-Chi, Eternals, and Moon Knight. Moon Knight in particular was very cynical and made no reference to the rest of the MCU or anything else Marvel. The only reason we even know it’s in the MCU is because Marvel said it was – the show itself offers no evidence for that claim. At least the Eternals knew about Thanos.
Worse, many of these stories themselves seem to suffer greatly from the removal of the franchise’s connective tissue. At the end of Black Widow, Natasha is surrounded by government vehicles, but then the movie leads to her being free and clear without explanation. Shang Chi presumably takes place during Blip at the beginning, but there’s basically no contextual clue as to where that film sits in the finished film’s timeline, or how Carol Danvers and Bruce Banner—who both appear in the same mid-credits sequence—are. Indeed they have, after Thanos.
WandaVision did their entire musical number “Agatha All Along” before revealing that, in fact, Wanda created her own comedy world on her own, with Agatha appearing later. So, it definitely was not Agatha was thematically all over the place throughout The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and they had villains without a plan, as if the details of their original motivations had been lost. Everything Marvel released in 2021 was accompanied by the strange feeling that there was supposed to be something more there. Eventually the threads were supposed to join together to form a larger tapestry, right?
Three years later, Marvel doesn’t seem to be in control any more than it was then. The last three major MCU projects—Secret Invasion, Loki Season 2, and Marvel’s—all smell like their plots have been lost. Marvels was clearly meant to lead directly into Secret Invasion – these stories go together but don’t make sense in that order. And The Marvels is one of those movies that moves at such a fast pace that it almost manages to make you forget about its almost non-existent plot—at least until you get to the out-of-left-field ending. It’s set up by the rest of the film at all.
Loki Season 2, meanwhile, was full of subplots that followed in the final two episodes — surely they had more planned for Ravonna Renslayer. That, And Sylvie was an afterthought for most of this season — and at the end of it all, the events of Season 2 didn’t significantly affect any of the MCU’s ongoing storylines. And at the start of 2023 we have Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania, which apparently has a Many more scenes from Bill Murray Which they ended up using – even though some of those scenes were important pieces of the plot and backstory. Murray is barely finished in the cut.
It’s the last bit that really says it all. It’s not like Marvel doesn’t do this to tell these stories well and do so in a relevant way. They spend the money and film what they need to film, but whenever something changes in the larger franchise, they screw up and waste everyone’s time – over and over again. And so, the last three years have been full of shows and movies that are, at best, barely coherent in context, and don’t function as a unit at all.
The cumulative effect is that, well, there aren’t really any royalties to care about. There is nothing to be emotionally attached to. Marvel is now just the same brand as before, with a bunch of distinct franchises that don’t work together. It’s a real drain, subconsciously — fans have lost their emotional urgency to the franchise, over time and in a low-key way, and you could see that waning enthusiasm in the franchise’s low opening weekend for The Marvels. This drain will continue until Marvel ceases to operate in this manner.
That’s no easy task, especially since it’s entirely possible that the MCU is about to happen A departure from Jonathan Majors, who currently plays the main villain of the franchise, and that would require a lot more rewriting and filming. But they can’t simply dump everything to a point — Marvel has to do more to make the MCU work as a whole again. It will be very expensive, but Disney can afford it.
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