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Friday, April 21, 2023 

College paper admits there's superhero fatigue...but that's all

A columnist for the Ithacan acknowledges it's gotten to the point where the moviegoing audience has tired of superhero fare, but offers no explanation or argument why audiences are losing interest in the films, sticking instead to a superficial approach that doesn't really explore any of the deeper reasons why film viewers are bailing:
When “Avengers: Endgame” became the second highest-grossing movie of all time, making nearly $2.8 billion by the end of its theatrical run, it seemed as though not even the sky could limit the gargantuan power of the comic book movie genre. However, it is only when something is seen as being too big to fail that it can be knocked down a few pegs. This is exactly what seems to be happening in the current era of supposed superhero fatigue.

In January 2023, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was featured on “The Movie Business Podcast,” where he discussed why he does not believe movie-going audiences are becoming tired of superhero cinema and storytelling. Feige compared comic book films to films like “Gone with the Wind” in that they are both adapted from written material. He said that because audiences are not feeling fatigued from watching movies that are adapted from novels, they would not feel fatigued from watching movies that are adapted from 80 years worth of comic book storytelling. The difference here that Feige does not seem to grasp is that most novels do not tell relatively similar stories over and over again. Movies that are adapted from books do not follow a predictable formula unless it is directly a story that has already been told before.
Most novels are usually stand-alone, and such film adaptations aren't based on a whole shared, expanded universe where only so many characters from different series appear as guests in each other's comics, and gather together in a team series like Avengers and Justice League of America. In addition, most novels are strictly text-based experiences with little in ways of illustrations. Feige sure doesn't seem to grasp that there is a difference.
Superhero comic books and superhero movies are extremely formulaic. A person can read a comic book or watch a comic book movie fully aware that the story is going to end with the heroes beating the brand-new villain of the week without almost any consequences. Even if a story does not end this way, there is almost nothing Marvel can do at this point to shock audiences in the same way it did at the end of “Avengers: Infinity War.” With what Marvel has currently set up with their latest saga of films following “Avengers: Endgame,” even if the next “Avengers” film ends with a shocking cliffhanger that will lead into the subsequent movie, it is bound to not have the same type of pop cultural impact that “Avengers: Infinity War” had.

Aside from a few standout entries like “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” it has felt like Marvel has been losing its magic. Projects released over the last two years like “Thor: Love and Thunder,” “Eternals,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and more have felt lower in quality than what audiences have received in the past.
Yes, but most curious they don't acknowledge these movies did receive criticism for wokeness. What, they don't think that turns anybody off with how alienating these forced and contrived ingredients are? Sadly, it would appear not. Yet if Marvel's injection of LGBT propaganda into their screenplays is any suggestion, they can shock audiences for all the wrong reasons. Of course, shock value isn't often something positive, and definitely not if it's played as cheap, offensive sensationalism.

And then, the paper's writer takes a more sugarcoated path:
Luckily, Marvel has until May 2025 when “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” is scheduled to be released to get fans fully back on board. Upcoming projects like the Disney+ series “Secret Invasion” and the Captain Marvel sequel, “The Marvels,” look like they both have the potential to bring back the beloved Marvel magic. However, it is James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3” that has the most pressure to be positively received by both critics and fans. [...]

Films like “Joker,” “The Batman” and “The Suicide Squad” have felt like massive breaths of fresh air for the comic book movie genre. They are almost enough to make up for the lackluster releases that the studio has been responsible for that have aided in the superhero fatigue conversation. DC’s two latest films, “Black Adam” and “Shazam: Fury of the Gods,” have been critically panned and bombed at the box office. Because of their massive failures, DC Studios has much more riding on Gunn and his partner Peter Safran than it would have had otherwise.

It is up to their upcoming slate, along with films like the “Joker” sequel and “The Batman: Part 2,” to save DC Studios from being drowned by fans who are becoming more uninterested in the comic book movie genre with each passing lackluster film. As for Marvel, aforementioned projects like “Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3” and “The Marvels,” as well as Sony Pictures’ sequel to the Academy Award-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” will hopefully set the brand back on track and prevent superhero cinema from getting one step closer to going the way of the western.
Ugh, to think they're taking such a glossed over, superficial approach to angle of darkness the Joker and Batman films represent. No serious argument is raised here why optimism and a sense of humor are concepts the filmmakers - to say nothing of comics writers - is something they all need to brush up on, and without resorting to PC wokeism along the way, as the Spider-Verse sequel happens to do, which is why their superficial view of that cartoon movie makes this column all the more laughable. Even the 3rd GotG movie, IIRC, will reportedly be going that route, one more reason why the aforementioned fatigue is bound to set in deep.

So this college paper just skims the surface of why these comic adaptations are waning in success, and doesn't really answer any serious queries why they're failing artistically for starters, and financially next. Which goes to show leftist university press can be some of the most unintelligible around.

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