Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

New Marvel films lack direction, alienate fanbase

New+Marvel+films+lack+direction%2C+alienate+fanbase
Karis Lau

Over the past two decades, Stan Lee’s iconic comic-book characters have been transformed into beloved and inspiring superheroes on movie screens. Marvel Studios has also earned praise for its connected plotlines and creative storytelling. In fact, according to data from Rotten Tomatoes, a film-review site, six of the world’s 20 highest-grossing films ever have been produced by or in association with Marvel.
However, after the end of the Infinity Saga — 23 movies strung together pitting “The Avengers” against the looming threat of supervillain Thanos — Marvel has struggled to find direction and purpose with its new projects.

While the studio has produced successful films in the Multiverse Saga, such as 2021’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” — which accumulated over $1 billion in the box office and received a 93% critical rating — many viewers have noticed and criticized the lower quality of more recent projects. Two of the three Marvel films released in 2023 received relatively low critic and fan ratings. According to Rotten Tomatoes, “The Marvels” garnered a 62% critical consensus while “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” received a mere 46%. Conversely, 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok” received a 93% and 2018’s “Black Panther” attained a 96%.

While English teacher Terence Kitada, who worked as a Marvel intern in 2007, believes that multiple plotlines branching out with no clear connection is contributing to the films’ decline in popularity.

“(Currently, there are) these weird and disconnected storylines,” he said. “In the Infinity Saga, it’s all building towards one story, and so (there was) a clear story arc. Now it’s like, ‘Oh hey, here’s “The Eternals” if you want that, and here’s “Shang-Chi” or “She-Hulk.”’ Do they connect? ‘No, but let’s just keep on making things and see what happens.’”

Senior Jeri Lieberman-Evans believes that Marvel’s historical popularity is difficult to maintain after multiple successful projects with many different plotlines and characters.

“Part of (the decline) could be the general opinion is changing because Marvel is such a big film franchise,” she said. “When they make good movies, they’re overhyped and when they’re bad, like ‘Morbius,’ they get overhyped in the other direction.”

Furthermore, Marvel’s traditional role as the superhero trendsetter, coupled with its release of mediocre films and television shows, has contributed to a phenomenon called “superhero fatigue.” Though Marvel set a high standard with several blockbusters, recent declines in its films’ overall quality have exhausted cliches and are beginning to wear out fans and viewers.

Since the finale of “Avengers: Endgame” in 2019, there have also been departures of multiple actors at the heart of the franchise, including Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man). The legacies of these actors are etched into Marvel’s history, and the studio has had difficulties establishing new central characters since.

While Marvel has not been successful in box offices recently, there is time and hope for the franchise to return to its previous success. Indeed, some of Marvel’s staple attractions remain: Marvel Club President senior Kaitlyn Gonzales points to the franchise’s ability to transport viewers to fictional worlds.

“I feel like the characters have a lot of versatility when it comes to putting (fans) in their position or identifying with them,” she said. “(The franchise) also serves as an escape from reality. In everyday life, you’re not going to face a supervillain that has powers.”

With the highly anticipated release of “Deadpool & Wolverine” this summer, Marvel will look to reset and transition the franchise into a new phase.

“There’s still an appetite in the sense that people still watch (Marvel) movies,” Kitada said. “However, (Marvel writers and directors) have to find a different way to capture the audience or go in a different direction.”

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About the Contributors
Ellie Yuan, Social Media Editor
Senior Ellie Yuan is a social media editor for The Oracle and has been on staff since January 2022. She enjoys playing tennis, traveling, listening to music and drinking coffee.
Karis Lau, Graphic Artist
Senior Karis Lau is a graphic artist for The Oracle. Outside of school, Karis enjoys playing volleyball, crocheting and making art.
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  • K

    KamelanoMar 19, 2024 at 12:46 pm

    Hey, this is kamelano, is it ok if i use this picture of the infinity glove for my album art?

    Reply
    • A

      Amann MahajanMar 21, 2024 at 5:49 pm

      We don’t allow our art to be used on external projects. Thanks for asking!

      Reply