"Marvel"ous or Not?

By Linda Cheung and Varun Pillai


Over the past 14 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, MCU, has taken the film and television industry by storm. However, the creation of multiple timelines and interconnected realities has caused some critics to believe the negative trajectory of the Marvel franchise is inevitable.


Recently, the MCU has been releasing new titles. Due to the vast amount of content that has been put out, many fans have mixed opinions regarding the quality of the new content and the frequency to which it is published. Martin Scorsese, a film director, producer and screenwriter said in the New York Times, “Marvel isn’t real cinema,” and many students have mixed opinions regarding this statement.


“What he means is that cinema is a different thing, it’s an art form and it’s completely different from the MCU or comedy movies," sophomore Gordon Mun said. "Martin Scorsese is basically saying that Marvel isn’t that kind of art form. He’s not saying it’s bad, it’s just something different. The only reason he made that statement was because of how franchise films and Disney are crowding out all of the independent films and to him it’s just a horrible thing."


The “West Side Story” movie released in 2021 serves as an example of this argument. Although the film received high ratings, it generated an estimated $76 million in profits internationally while operating on a $100 million budget. Critics gathered that the film suffered because it was pitted against “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” a movie directed by a larger franchise. Furthermore, critics theorize that the failure of these types of films will discourage Disney to continue making them due to the significant financial investment with minimal profitability.


There were multiple changes in “Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness” that separated the film from its predecessor. Many fans consider “Doctor Strange 2” to be Marvel’s first endeavor into the horror genre, leading to many mixed reviews. As Marvel continues to dissociate from reality due to the introduction of the multiverse, many fans express their concerns regarding the connection between the audience and the characters. This is because of the film’s unprecedented gory scenes considering Marvel’s historically palatable productions.


“It's a more light, comedic horror that I like. I feel like it got criticized for having weak effects, but I think that was intentional, and I like 'Evil Dead,' so I was a fan of that aspect of it,” social studies teacher Dr. D’Orsogna said.


Source by Sam Tsui

Every time a Marvel production is released, fans do not waste time to start critiquing it.


Phase four marks a significant milestone relating to the direction of the MCU because the introduction of episodic television covers more content without the time limitations of a feature film. This grants an easier preparation to the anticipated fifth Avengers movie. However, the combination of episodic television and feature films presents unique challenges regarding audience engagement. As a result, fans have coined a phenomenon known as “Marvel fatigue.”


“Marvel fatigue is really interesting to me. I have a problem with the amount of stuff being released. It’s not that I’m fatigued from Marvel. My problem is that Marvel is releasing so much, and I feel like they are going more for quantity over quality,” senior Ryan McNeely said.


Additionally, the introduction of the multiverse into the MCU has brought an assortment of new characters and storylines. Titles such as “What If..?” and “Loki” have offered glimpses into the trajectory of the multiverse. Despite a hopeful outlook regarding the future of the MCU, critics fear this opens up far too many possibilities, enabling potentially lazy story writing.


“I’m not somebody who ever thought I could feel like this about it. I find myself getting more and more worried about the direction of the MCU, only because I don’t know what to expect," math teacher Mr. Brusca said. "They always do such a good job and I’m sure they have a good plan, but I don’t think anything will ever top the infinity stone saga, so I’m a little bit worried about what’s to come.”


Ultimately, in its 14-year tenure, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has proven time and again that it continues to be a driving force in the pop culture landscape.