Marvel’s Biggest Success Reveals How Much They Are Failing

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Chris Pratt recently reminded us with his behind-the-scenes video on Instagram that Avengers: End Game was released in theaters five years ago, on April 26, 2019. That day, that film, and what led up to it, will go down as one of the greatest sagas to span a decade. Today, Marvel is struggling to regain the momentum it had so firmly built and established, and it comes down to a lack of foresight, imbalanced narratives, and uninspired writing.

The Day Movies Changed

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For those who have not been following the chronology of the MCU films that led up to Avengers: End Game, the first few films were simple origin stories, powerful, fun to watch, and a bit serious but lighthearted enough to keep us smiling. We met Iron Man in 2008 and then Hulk, Thor, and Captain America in their films, with bits of humor here and there but intense subject matter as well, including Nazis, warmongers, and dark beings seeking to rule the universe. The films also dealt with real issues of ego, hubris, jealousy, love, and overcoming seemingly impossible odds.

A Team-Up Years In The Making

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Thus, long before Avengers: End Game, Marvel fans were already falling in love with these core members of the crew. With the first two Avengers films, The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon brought us witty dialogue and real sadness as we had to confront the ugliness of humanity. We laughed as Hulk flung Loki around Stark Tower and cried with Wanda Maximoff over the loss of her brother.

After we escaped the nasty fate of Ultron, the writing of MCU films and characters continued to improve. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang in Ant-Man was both touching and silly. Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War brought a fresh and fun youth to the team.

Building The Universe Brick By Brick

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Writer-director Ryan Coogler brought us civil rights issues with Black Panther, and Doctor Strange introduced us to physics and magic. Each movie had its depth and intensity as well as its sharp, sassy dialogue, setting the stage perfectly for the Russo brothers to round up to Avengers: End Game. James Gunn and Taika Waititi brought unforgettable team-building and humor with The Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok, respectively — arguably two of the best films in the MCU. The last to join the team was Captain Marvel, and her film was both funny and inspiring.

Nothing Will Ever Beat Endgame

When the team came together to stop the snap, failed to do so, and brought everyone back in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: End Game, the Russo brothers just had to slam dunk a perfect layup. And they did. The movies tugged at our heartstrings, left us on cliffhangers, forced us to say goodbye to heroes we’d loved for a decade, and wondered what would come next.

Marvel’s Hubris

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Since 2019, we have been in a kind of collective shock. Sure, there have been some hits, like the Spider-Man follow-ups and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but most of the movies that have been released have fallen flat. They have taken themselves too seriously, like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, or they have been too ridiculous, like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels.

A Changing Of The Guard

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Since Avengers: End Game, our leaders are gone with Tony and Natasha dead and Captain having flung himself into the past. And the Guardians have disbanded! Honestly, we don’t even know who’s in the Avengers anymore. Kevin Feige says the MCU will be slowing down the release of new material in the face of superhero fatigue.

Lack Of Planning Is Killing The MCU

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But I don’t think it’s that. I don’t think we’re tired of superheroes after Avengers: End Game more than we could be tired of any great comics, books, or shows. After all, Supernatural ran 15 seasons successfully, and fans are still asking for more. It’s not the superhero’s fault. Instead, it seems like a case of poor planning, a failure to balance critical issues close to our hearts and minds with humor, and an absence of good writing.

Get those elements back into play, and there might be a chance the MCU can make a comeback — and a powerful one at that. Here’s hoping.

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